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



What Will I Do When You Die?

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

December 5, 2017



"If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place."
...  
"If I don't share you with the world, I didn't get you in the first place."
... Laurence Platt responding to  
"Miracles are to come. With you I leave a remembrance of miracles:they are by somebody who can love and who shall be continually reborn,a human being;somebody who said to those near him,when his fingers would not hold a brush 'tie it to my hand'--"
... e e cummings, A Poet's Life, quoted by  
This essay, What Will I Do When You Die?, is the first in the twelfth trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. What Will I Do When You Die?
  2. Access
  3. The Newest Piece Of Work
in that order.
The first trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Prelude
  2. Ask Me Anything
  3. Coming Around Again
in that order.
The second trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Familiar Unfamiliar Territory
  2. Interview
  3. Straight Talk
in that order.
The third trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Dancing With My Mouth
  2. Cave Paintings
  3. Velvet Tsunami
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Creating Creating
  2. Tell Me Something About Nothing
  3. Lucid Disclosures
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Closer And Closer
  2. Tête À Tête
  3. Dancing With Life
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?
  2. Wonderings About Nothing In Particular
  3. Tipping Point
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Beyond Breathing Underwater
  2. Bold Faced Truth
  3. What You Create For Yourself About Me
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Once In A Lifetime
  2. Fireside Chat
  3. Whole And Complete
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Questions For A Friend
  2. Nothing Else I'd Rather Be Doing
  3. Free To Be And Free To Act
in that order.
The tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Attracted To Dance
  2. I Told A Friend I Love You
  3. Terse Transformed Communication
in that order.
The eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. A Context Worth Playing In
  2. Tie The Brush To My Hand
  3. Unimaginably Terse
in that order.
The thirteenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Worthy Of The Company
  2. Creating Them For Myself
  3. Standing With Masters
in that order.
I am indebted to Cathy Elliott who contributed material for this conversation.



For the most part, these Conversations For Transformation have made an impact in the world beyond anything I could have ever imagined when, acting on an epiphany in August in the summer of 2003 while riding my Cannondale  bicycle twenty miles up the Napa Valley and back, I began writing them down as they occurred to me, and posting them to the internet. At that time I had no idea whether that would work, or whether it would quickly devolve into an utterly and totally embarrassing fiasco, a debacle. Over one thousand three hundred essays later, and over a million and a quarter views later, the jury's no longer out in this case.

<aside>

Apropos juries and their verdicts, I read somewhere (I don't know how they calculate these things) this Conversations For Transformation website is about the eight millionth  most popular website on the internet (the internet has over 1.2 billion  websites) and in Russia  it's about the eight hundred thousandth  most popular website.

Listen: eight millionth  is a long  way from #1. But it is in the top six percent, and the top point  six percent in Russia ("Wow!" I murmured to no one in particular when I read that).

<un-aside>

People have been and continue to be very generous in their acknowledgement of this body of work, some of which I'm even willing to take a bit of credit for. For example, what's often acknowledged (in some form or another, like a recurring motif) is with these Conversations For Transformation, I've created a powerful way to connect myself to source. And by making them freely available, I've created a powerful way to connect anyone who reads them, to source.

Whenever I hear that, it validates this project. It lets me know that what I'm doing is on track and working. But that's actually not the full story.

In general terms, yes I did create them as a powerful way to connect myself to source. In specific  terms however, I created them as a powerful way to be connected to you, Chief. My suspicion is they have the power they have because being created to connect me to source, they also connect anyone who reads them, to source generally. But they're at their most  powerful when they connect me to you, and consequently when they connect anyone who reads them, to you specifically.

<aside>

I'd like to share something about the access you've granted me, through which inter alia  I get to ask you ten questions from time to time, then give you the space to answer as many of them as you like.

It's no secret: I've committed my life so that whatever I get out of these exchanges of ours, I make it my personal business to share it whole-heartedly with the world.

That's my qualification, my credentials. That's it. And that's all. That's what this takes. Nothing less. Nothing more. It's what works.

<un-aside>

What I get out of these exchanges and the way I share it with the world, looks  academic. To be sure, there's a lot  of writing involved. Each of these so far one thousand three hundred and seventeen essays is, in a way, a paper. And although I'm not committed to expressing my own opinions and interpretations or even my own hardened points of view  in them, some or all of the above will invariably seep into what I'm publishing - again, the hallmarks of academic dissertations.

None of that however, is what this is for me. What this is for me, is a personal account. As I said, these Conversations For Transformation are at their most powerful when they connect me to you, and consequently when they connect anyone who reads them, to you. Each of the ten questions in each of the Questions For A Friend trilogies, is an opening to a conversation among us as close friends. Yes the form they take is written, quasi-academic pieces posted to the internet. But that's purely incidental. They're actually better thought of as the overheard conversations which effortlessly and easily go on around a great dinner with a nice bottle of wine which real friends share when they have the good fortune to be together with nothing pressing distracting from the sheer pleasure of reveling in each other's company.

My intention is to continue doing this for as long as you and I are able to continue doing it. It's what makes life extraordinarily liveable. I don't know who'll go first: me or you. If I go first, I'll go with an enormous vault of questions unasked, and with years of conversations unspoken. But if you go first, I don't know what I'll do. I can't bear the thought. I've asked myself many times "What will I do when you die?". I don't know the answer. I just ... don't ... know  ...

In the meantime I have ten more questions to ask you. If it's alright with you, may we please begin now?



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