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

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Unpredictable Moments Of Perfection

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

November 7, 2010



"A miracle is something that validates who you are rather than diminishes who you are."  ... 
This essay, Unpredictable Moments Of Perfection, is the companion piece to Where The Rubber Meets The Road.

I am indebted to Laurel Scheaf who inspired this conversation.




There are moments of perfection  which, when they occur, validate the workability  of Life. When a moment of perfection occurs, although it's surprising, it's not a surprise. That's subtle: "surprising" yet "not a surprise" ... because of course Life works! (even if we have to be reminded of it from time to time) and this, a moment of perfection, is the evidence.

There are predictable  moments of perfection and there are unpredictable  moments of perfection. Interestingly enough, while moments of perfection don't occur with any reliability, they can be anticipated. They can be expected. They can be predicted. Here are examples of two of my favorite predictable moments of perfection:

Synchronicity:

I'm driving, singing along with a favorite song on the radio. The road enters a tunnel. With diminishing reception, the radio becomes increasingly staticky  until the song on the radio is completely unintelligible. I keep on singing, only without accompaniment - the song on the radio is now just crackle and hiss.

I get to the chorus as the car nears the end of the tunnel, singing solo "When I'm home, everything seems to be ri-ight, when I'm home ..."  and just at that exact  moment the radio antenna picks up reception again, and from the speakers perfectly in sync  with me singing, comes "... feeling you holding me tight, tight yeah! It's been a hard day's night ..."  and I'm harmonizing along with the renewed song on the radio again, both of us exactly  in sync with each other again, with neither of us, not me nor the song on the radio, having missed a single beat during the outage.
Intentionality:

I'm leading a five day seminar for an enterprise in the state of Arkansas. It's certainly the biggest enterprise in Arkansas. But more than that, it's not only one of the biggest enterprises in these United States: it's one of the biggest enterprises on the planet. At this location alone there are twelve thousand employees. I arrive early on the morning of the first day to get set up. Their parking lot, which is about the size of six football fields, is empty at this early hour, so I park right in front of the door to the building. I'm assigned a support person, a liaison  to clear me through security and to get me whatever I need. There's a lot for us to talk about. We agree to discuss most of it over lunch which we schedule for three consecutive days.

On the first day we drive into the town for lunch in my rental car, and when we return, of course the parking lot is totally full. At the far edge of the parking lot as we enter, she sees one empty space, about a four hundred yards walk to the front door. "Park there" she says, "the lot is full.". Politely declining, I say "We'll find one closer" and I continue driving towards the front door. We pass another empty spot. "Park there!"  she says, excited to find another one, "the lot is full.". This one's about a two hundred yards walk to the front door. I say "We'll find one closer.". I find one right at the front door. I've driven by hundreds  of parking spaces, all full, and I find the empty one I want right at the front door. She says nothing.

The next day we return from lunch and the parking lot is full. She sees a space at the edge of the lot. "You better take that one" she says, "the lot is full.". I say "We'll find one closer" and again, I find one right at the front door. Again she says nothing. On the third day we return from lunch and the parking lot is full. She sees a space near the edge of the lot. "You should take that one" she says, "there are no other spaces. The lot is always full after lunch.". I say "We'll find one closer.". Again I find the one empty space I want. It's the space closest to the front door. Of course it is.

This time she turns to me, rapt and intrigued, and asks me "How do you do that?".
If predictable moments of perfection are evidence life works, un-predictable moments of perfection provide exponentially more evidence. Arguably, as in my two examples above, I play a part in causing ie in intending  predictable moments of perfection. But it's the unpredictable moments of perfection, the so-called miracles  in Life in which you don't play any part at all, that is to say in which you play a drastically diminished  part, which provide irrefutable evidence Life works, and which validate who you really are.

It's an unpredictable moment of perfection when I come home late at night to discover a herd of cows waiting to greet me at my front door. They could be anywhere  on the six hundred and fifty acre ranch. Yet they're here!  Right outside my front door. It's an unpredictable moment of perfection when out of the blue  I get an e-mail from an old friend I've been thinking about but for whom I have no contact information. It's an unpredictable moment of perfection when I'm flipping through the one dollar  sell out DVDs at the local video store, and I come across one of a kind of my favorite childhood movie of fifty years ago, Albert Lamorisse's The Red Balloon  about which no one hears anymore. It's an unpredictable moment of perfection when I forget to set my alarm clock but I wake up anyway, rested and refreshed, one minute before the alarm would have gone off. It's an unpredictable moment of perfection when completely unexpectedly (like when I'm waiting for a bus at the bus stop) I have a peak experience, a "high noon"  of the spirit when all my beliefs and concepts and positionality are stretched so thin they simply can't hold me back, and I get a clear uninterrupted vision of the real  possibility of my life.

One way you could regard these unpredictable moments of perfection, these miracles if you will, is they're islands of perfection  in the sea of Life's unworkability. They're great when they happen! They provide respite  from the ongoing unworkability if you will. You could also say they show up as Life's thanks and rewards for staying the course  ... staying the course, that is to say, in the sea of Life's unworkability.

What's a surer-footed  way of regarding these unpredictable moments of perfection, these miracles, is they're not islands of perfection in the sea of Life's unworkability. Rather, as this conversation speaks them, they're portholes  of perfection in a boat  of unworkability through which you look out onto the sea of Life's inherently magnificent workability.

In other words, unpredictable moments of perfection provide glimpses of what's really possible. They provide insight into Life's workability rather than being exceptions  to Life's unworkability.



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