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

Stoopid  Fantastic

The Last Mission, Sonoma Valley, California, USA

January 20, 2010

"As stupid as it sounds, it's true there's a sense of joy with simply being with what's there." ... 
This essay, Stoopid  Fantastic, is the companion piece to Causal State.

It was written at the same time as Zen Bland.

I am indebted to Palmer Kelly who contributed material for this conversation.

Some things and events I call "quantifiable" fantastic. They're fantastic, and I can quantify why  they're fantastic. Or at least I can share my opinion  as to why I think they're fantastic.

Like Avatar, for example. Avatar  is fantastic. It's movie making at it's most fantastic. It's I-Max. It's 3D. It's James Cameron. Even if cinematography is set aside, James Cameron movies are financially  fantastic. Think about it: the last three James Cameron movies each made more money than the gross national product  of the poorest ten nations combined. Or is it the poorest twenty  nations combined?

For some, that may not be moral. But it's fantastic.

Like a black president of the United States and a woman secretary of state (the third  woman secretary of state, to boot), for example. That's fantastic. It's more than fantastic, actually. As little as forty years ago, a black president and a woman secretary of state were barely blips on the radar of possibility. Go back before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat on the bus. Go back before the women's liberation  movement. Stand in those bygone eras and consider a future black president of the United States and a future woman secretary of state. They were never gonna happen!  No way, José!  Not ever.

And now, not one but both  have happened. That's fantastic.

I'd like to be specific about how I'm using the word "fantastic". I'm using it quite literally. I'm using it like a "fantasy", like something which once was only possible in a fantasy, in a legend, in a story, like something which once could only have existed in the most fertile of imaginations ... and is now day to day actuality, reality. That's fantastic. That's how I'm using the word "fantastic".

Here's the thing for me, however: I may or I may not  be moved by "quantifiable" fantastic things and events. Even though I can quantify why  I think they're fantastic, even though I can justify  why I say they're fantastic, even though I'm willing to offer my opinion, my two cents worth  about why they're fantastic, quantifiably fantastic things or events don't necessary move  me.

Yet I'm moved to tears, I'm blown away  by those blindingly simple  things or events I call "stoopid"  fantastic.

Yes it is misspelled. Intentionally. Here's why:

What I'm distinguishing here are things and events which are so blindingly simple in hindsight  (and hindsight is always 20/20 vision  ...), which are so glaringly obvious in retrospect that when I realize exactly what they are, I feel self-deprecatingly sheepishly stupid  for taking so long to realize what they are, for not seeing them sooner. I want an expression which implies my sense of self-deprecatingly sheepish stupidity and then some  ... for taking so long to realize what they are, for not seeing them sooner. I want the implied "Duh!".

Hence ... stoopid  fantastic (with it's implied "Duh!") rather than merely "stupid" fantastic.

These are some stoopid  fantastic examples:

But I didn't think of it. He did. That's why people say Werner's a Zen master. It's also why I say Werner's Werner.

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