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

Too Much

Solvang, California, USA

September 21, 2008

"It's all too much for me to take - the love that's shining all around you." ... The Beatles, It's All Too Much

This conversation is the antithesis  (literally, not the thesis but the anti-thesis) of getting it all done. You could also think of it, wryly, as the anti-dote  to futile attempts to get it all done. "Getting it all done", it turns out, is an old wives' tale, an urban myth. Truth be told, you can't ever get it all done because there's too much.

Face it: you'll die  with items still incomplete on your "to do" list. You'll never  get it all done.

It's true! Stop and take even a cursory look at it. It's obvious you'll never get it all done. Getting it all done isn't feasible, no matter how much time you have, no matter how long  you'll live. The stone cold reality of it is this: Life being what it is, there's always something to get done, whether they're chosen projects like putting the final brush stroke to the oil on canvas painting on your easel, or endured projects like keeping your fingers away from one more  slice of cheesecake, or resisted projects like compiling all those scrappy bits of expense receipts, preparing taxes, and writing that check to the government. There's always something. There always will be.

In a created, powerful life, reducing "all there is to get done" to nothing isn't an option. You can phase out some trivial items, to be sure, but the pile  itself just keeps on growing by itself. The best you can do is prioritize. That's "Time Management 101". The pile doesn't shrink. "Stop the world! I want to get off!"  isn't an available button to push.

For me, success isn't measured by getting it all done. Frankly, getting it all done costs way  too much, takes way  too much time, and requires way  too much effort ... AND  ... given its inherent nature as a shifting, changing, growing, moving  target, it's futile anyway. Its advocation is a colossal scam. If my life, if the only life I'm allocated, was defined only in terms of getting it all done, then it wouldn't be worth living.

Yet it's the height of naïveté  to use this to avoid what I'm responsible for  getting done. So issues worth examining are these: does what there is to get done overshadow who I am, overwhelm  who I am? How much of it and how much of getting it all done robs me of the presence, of the experience, of the audacity  of living who I am hour by hour, day by day?

There's something to be said for living in a way in which who I am isn't overshadowed, isn't overwhelmed, isn't diminished  by whatever I do, no matter what I do, no matter how much of it there is to do, no matter whether or not the urgent  column of my "to do" list incessantly grows by another hundred items for every five items I complete and check off.

How do you live this way? It's simple, really (which will be difficult  for some people, really  - but that's another conversation  for another essay on another occasion). The way to live this way is by generating a context  for living this way - not a concept, not a belief, not even (in spite of what we're talking about here) a strategy for living, not a recipe  for life. A context you generate, a context you call forth  is a stand you take for your Self. It's a distinction. In creating it, who you are  comes forward.


This class of conversation is oftentimes erroneously interpreted to diminish  the importance of the domain of concepts  and beliefs  in life in favor of (as if  one is somehow "not as good as"  the other) generating a context, a stand you take for yourself. Diminishing the importance of concepts and beliefs is both foolish as well as in denial of their essentiality. For example, you'd never have gotten to these Conversations For Transformation in the first place if, before you started, you didn't have a concept like "Conversations For Transformation are available on the internet".

The thing isn't to diminish the importance of concepts and beliefs. The thing is to distinguish  the domain of concepts and beliefs, and be clear it's a different domain than who you really are. That it's a different domain isn't because I say it is. It's a different domain because that's what's so.


When life is overshadowing, when life is overwhelming, when there's too much  to get done, that's almost always never the real issue. The real issue is almost always the collapsing of the domain  "concepts and beliefs" with "who you really are". When those two are collapsed, there's no space  for who you really are, to be. And that  (not "too much to do") is the source of the sense of being overshadowed, of being overwhelmed.

You'll never get it all done. There's too much. But there's that context you can generate at any time  under all circumstances, in which anything and everything you do gets done with ease, with love, with a sense of pleasure and fun, without costing you your experience of who you really are.

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