Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

The Way It Turned Out

Soscol Avenue, Napa, California, USA

July 14, 2014

"Earth's the right place for love: I don't know where it's likely to go better."  ... Robert Lee Frost transcribed by  
This essay, The Way It Turned Out, is the companion piece to Not What You Expected.

This is the way it turned out. Exactly like this. Not any other way. This  way. Welcome to real life on Planet Earth.

In spite of all the wishful thinking, in spite of all the prayers, it did turn out this way after all, didn't it? No woulda coulda shouldas  are worth anything any more - not even the most cherished ones, not even the right  ones, not even the ones earmarked for the common good. As hard as it is to confront, we may as well discard them once and for all. Once they were notions of how things could be different. Now they're just clutter. Once they were charts and compasses for plotting changing things, the very stuff of elaborate schemes and pipe dreams. Now they're just wasting space and gathering dust. Face it: once it's turned out, everything we amassed trying to make it turn out differently, is redundant, yes? It's a searing, epic moment: the end of hope, the acceptance of reality, the genesis of a new realm of possibility.

This epic moment (like every  moment actually) is a moment of choice, a moment of truth. It's on the cusp of "Is this a time for renewed integrity?" and "Is this a time for continued inauthenticity?". That's one heck of a choice, isn't it? No, it's one heck of an ongoing  choice actually. It's a naked choice. It's a razor's edge choice. It's an intensely personal  choice. There's no peer pressure strong enough to force you to choose either way - in fact there's no peer pressure strong enough to force you to choose at all. Whether you choose at all or whatever you choose, no one will know unless you tell them. It's a very private  choice. And the thing here is regardless of whether you choose at all or regardless of what you choose, it's already turned out and it'll keep on turning out anyway.


Listen: the fact that it's already turned out and it'll keep on turning out anyway recontextualizes  (I love  that word) any choice.


How does that land for you? How does it land for you now that it's turned out, that "the way it should be"  never materialized after all? (you know, that  way? the way it's s'posed  to be? it never happened, did it?). How does it land for you that this  is what materialized instead? Exactly this. Only this. Not that. This. What's that like for you? Is it a predicament? Or is it an opportunity? Is it confining? Or is it freeing? Or is it somewhere in between? Can you be with it the way it turned out?

We invested heavily in it all somehow, someday working out. We bought into  the belief. We weren't expecting to discover it's already worked out, were we? Oh, and didn't we think it would all somehow, someday lead to a better place?  Instead the only place it led to (obviously) is this  place. The only place it obviously led to is here. If we tell the truth about it, this isn't a better place, is it? Yet neither is this a worse  place. It's just ... this  ... place. (Gee! I hope you get that.)

If you look, you'll notice the train bringing us here is already in the station. Not only is the train already in the station but in fact it arrived here, in fact it pulled in to the station a long, long time ago. This is as far as it goes. We're at the end of the line. We've arrived. Yet we're still sitting in the Pullman cars, debating away, oblivious to the fact that the train has stopped and we've arrived. It's time to get out and explore. No more waiting for the the train to get to the station. Oh, and no more sitting around on the now stationary train hoping it'll go clickety-clack toot-toot  and start moving again. This is it! We're here. This is the way it turned out.

So what's next? You may have an answer in terms of what's going to happen  next, that is to say in terms of what must happen next in the sequence if this is all going to turn out. But that's no longer useful because it's already turned out. So the question "What's next?" has an entirely new implication now. Now it's "What's next?" for you, it's "What's next?" for me, it's "What's next?" for us, it's "What's next?" for the being  of human being, it's "What's next?" for how we play the next act together in the stage production called "Life on Planet Earth" like a possibility  now that it's all turned out. This is IT. This is the way it turned out. "What's next?".

The question calls me to take a totally new look with a fresh focus. It demands a transformed projection of what's possible now, given that it's already turned out. And if what we tried until now didn't work, could it be because everything we tried until now was predicated on the unexamined notion that it hasn't yet turned out?


In effect, what we've been doing until now waiting for it to turn out, is tantamount to waiting for water to become wet.


Transforming living with the way it turned out, is simple - but not always easy. There are no pat answers. It's disconcerting yet challenging, not for the faint‑hearted.

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