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

Accidental Guru

Pride Mountain Vineyards, Summit Trail, Spring Mountain Appelllation, California, Napa Valley, California, USA

June 6, 2015

"Dreaming John of Grafton looked upon the people, laughed a little laugh, and then whistled and was gone." ... John Drinkwater, The Crowning of Dreaming John of Grafton (from The Children's Encyclopædia by Arthur Mee)

This essay, Accidental Guru, is the companion piece to Reluctant Warrior.

I am indebted to Robert Prentiss and to John Taylor who inspired this conversation.

When I experienced transformation the first time, it was a total shock to my system - my belief  system, that is. No, it wasn't the kind of shock we usually refer to when we say something shocks us. There was no impact. There was no horror. There was no disgust. There was no effrontery. There was no insult. Not that  kind of shock. Rather it was the kind of shock which is shocking for its jawdropping (and heretofore hidden) obviousness. It was the kind of shock which is shocking for its "Oh my God!"  simplicity. It was the kind of shock which is shocking for its point blank knock me on my ass  profundity. It was so profoundly shocking, so obvious that I concluded something about it, something which would take me the better part of the next two decades to realize was erroneous, and then to unravel it.

My erroneous conclusion was that transformation occurs just as shocking, just as jawdropping, just as obvious, just as simple, just as profound for everyone  as it did for me. But it doesn't. It doesn't occur that way for everyone. The way transformation occurs for everyone (which is to say the way transformation occurs for each individual person) is exactly the way transformation occurs for each individual person, however that may be - nothing less, nothing more.

One of the ways transformation occurs for me is it doesn't require any doing or any practicing. Transformation isn't so much a discipline  as it's a way of being. But it's not just any ordinary way of being either. Rather it's a way of being which comes forth through its intimate connection with speaking ie with language (notice it's more intimately connected with "language" the verb  than with "language" the noun). So the way transformation is enlivened and presenced isn't by practicing anything or by developing a skill and getting it right, but rather by simply speaking  it.

I discovered this by accident. One day I noticed transformation had disappeared from my life. I assumed it had simply run its course and then faded away like a comet flaming out. But at the same time I also noticed I was no longer speaking it. A lightbulb went on: there's no transformation whenever I'm not speaking transformation! Wow! Speaking transformation brings forth transformation! In other words what transformation is, is being in a conversation for transformation - so when I'm no longer in a conversation for transformation, I'm no longer transformed (that's vintage Erhard  by the way - it's also the paraphrased quote from whence the title of this website sprang). I don't know why it works like this. Yet neither do I know any other way that works better.

So what exactly does "speaking transformation" imply? Speaking transformation is largely a matter of being willing to share transformation from personal, direct experience for at least some of the time (if not for the same amount of time) that's allocated to recreating the rich body of distinctions which is transformation. The former without the latter demonstrates no mastery. The latter without the former may not be transformation at all.

I intend to do both - which is to say I challenge myself to do both twice a week every week in this ongoing Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays. Although I haven't specifically separated these essays into one or other of those groups (ie essays which speak from personal experience, and essays which recreate distinctions), a good starting point to access essays spoken from my personal experience is the essay titled

 •  Laurence Platt Autobiography

The links embedded at the start of that essay, lead to some of the other essays spoken from my personal, direct experience.


At some point during the inexorable assembly of the body of work on this website, it became inevitable I would have  to write Laurence Platt Autobiography. It is, after all, the story of my life.

But the story of my life isn't who I am. Who I am is Conversations For Transformation inspired by the ideas of Werner Erhard.

That said, sooner or later the story of my life will be told. I want to support it being told accurately. That's why I wrote it.


Sometimes I'm asked "Is transformation a (so-called) altered state of consciousness?". It's a valid question, an appropriate  question. My answer is no it's not. There's certainly a quality of awareness, a way of being with all things (with self, with Self, and with everything else) which, given the way we're ordinarily present to things, is an altered state. Yet upon further examination, it's what we call the altered state which is actually the natural  state, and it's the way we ordinarily see things without examining them ie without inquiring into  them, which is really the altered state. That's why I personally hesitate to deem transformation to be an altered state of consciousness because for me, transformation is the natural way of being, the mundane way of being, the dogshit reality  way of being - and really any state of consciousness from which transformation is absent, is what I call an altered state of consciousness.

Interimly, what I'm doing by speaking transformation like this is keeping it enlivened and presenced because

 a)  I want it in my life and I want it in the world, and
b)  I've learned from that erstwhile accidental discovery.

Ultimately, what I'm doing by writing these Conversations For Transformation, is sharing Werner (I want you to know this isn't something he asked me to do, neither am I paid for doing it - and as you know, I don't charge for this either). That's it. That's all. There's no hidden meaning. There's no ulterior motive. In this regard, in these essays when I speak from personal, direct experience, it's my original work. When I recreate  distinctions, the recreations  are my original work. However the distinctions themselves and the making  of the distinctions themselves, aren't my original work. They're Werner's. With regard to the distinctions themselves and to the making of the distinctions themselves, I'm at best just the relayer in all this.

Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2016 through 2018 Permission