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

Yacht In A Storm:

An Analogy

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

July 9, 2020

"I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul." ... William Ernest Henley, Invictus, quoted by Nelson Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Madiba Tata (uBawom)Khulu Mandela

This essay, Yacht In A Storm: An Analogy, is the companion piece to Runaway Train.

"Midnight Rambler"

Photography by Richard Bennett
courtesy Sail Magazine

54th annual "Blue Water Classic"
Sydney to Hobart yacht race

December 1998 Yacht In A Storm
This - right now - is a critical time in our world. Everyone knows what I'm talking about. I don't just mean what's going on in your  world or in my  world. Looking at it that way totally misses the vastness of what's going on all over the planet at this time; it also inhibits grasping the full enormity that what's going on in your world and my world is the same for everyone everywhere.

It's a rare moment in human history when what's going on, is the same for everyone everywhere. And even if what's happening with you isn't happening for everyone else right now, it'll soon be.

I could listen her forever. She was saying that it's as if a storm, a huge  storm suddenly ie out of the blue, swept over us on a beautiful calm day when everyone was out on the bay for an easy, pleasant, leisurely weekend sailing, in the company of good friends. Completely unexpectedly, we all found ourselves in the midst of this colossal, merciless, very dangerous tempest, the kind of which even the most skilled yachtswomen and yachtsmen suffer their worst nightmares about.

I got it. She was creating an analogy for the current set of circumstances the world is facing, and the way they've all but besieged us and, without our permission, embedded themselves firmly in all aspects of our lives. "It doesn't look good" I mused (without blaming - just factually). "No it doesn't" she agreed, adding "Some of the yachts are going to go down, along with their captain and crew. Some aren't. Like the angel of death, this storm will take some, and pass over others.".

"I wonder" I posed, warming to her analogy, "if I have say as to whether my yacht will go down, or whether it won't ie is this storm an equal-opportunity destroyer, or not?". She paused, pursing her lips, then said "Something like this is so unusual, and we know so little about it, that we can't play it based on our prior experience of similar, earlier events because there weren't any. So I venture that a yacht which is most likely to go down, is one on which the captain takes his hands off the tiller. Conversely, a yacht which is least likely to go down, is one on which the captain keeps her hands on the tiller.". "And what is 'the tiller'?"  I asked. "Oh, it's that pole attached to the rudder ie it's the thing you steer a yacht with" she said. "No no, that  I got" I smiled, "what I'm really  asking is: in your analogy, what is 'the tiller'?".

"The tiller" she said, "is a distinction" ("A distinction?  Hmmm ..." I said). She then distinguished between what's happening ie what's so, and what I don't enjoy about what's so. She distinguished between what's so, and my prayer for what's so to be another way. She distinguished between what's so, and my opinion about what's so. And "the tiller" is: relating to what's so as what's so, not to the way I'd like it to be. That doesn't make what's so any different (there's still a very dangerous storm going on) but what it does is it puts me in the captain's chair with my hands firmly on the tiller, meeting all the storm's wild undulations, riding it out for all I'm worth.

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