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


A Man Is The Crowd

Madison, Wisconsin, USA

December 10, 2010



This essay, A Man Is The Crowd, is the third in a quadrilogy inspired by Werner's work in India:
  1. Werner Erhard Slide Experience
  2. Lucid Disclosures
  3. A Man Is The Crowd
  4. Eyes Wide Om-pen
in that order.

It is also the sequel to
  1. Werner Erhard Slide Experience
  2. A Man In The Crowd
in that order.

I am indebted to Ashish Vidyarthi who inspired this conversation.




Candle Holder? Or People?
I start going through approximately three hundred or so photographs muttering "I should be doing more important things"  ... or at least that's what I tell myself at first. A friend of a friend sent them to me. "OK, I'll just skim through them now" I think to myself "then file them somewhere and go through them again later when I have time.". I look at the first one, then the second one, then the third ... and with each new one I'm taking more and more and more  time, incredulously realizing the privilege, the intimacy, the enormity  of the unexpected gift of this collection. Slower and slower, I look in depth at each one, taking nearly three quarters of an hour to go through them all, any other items I've scheduled for this time now unceremoniously cast aside, overlooked, forgotten.

It's an impossible task selecting the good  ones because they're all  great. Whoever's pointing this camera knows exactly  what they're doing. These aren't merely happy snaps, kind of like those you begrudgingly and patiently, stoically  sit through for someone's boring vacation show and tell. These photographs prove photography as an art form. And what they each depict is equally artful. They each show, in their own way, human beings fully engaged, fully communicating, joyfully expressing relationship as the source of who we really are. And as I'm sorting through each of them, mentally I'm making notes to set aside showing the protagonist, the one around whom the crowd's milling, the one on whom all foci are converging. The photograohs showing him and his interactions and his inter‑re‑actions with the crowd are clearly the money shots.

... or so it would seem ... at first. These are the ones, the seventy or so I choose for a project I'm working on. I choose them because they depict source. I choose them because they show language  as the inspiration for human beings fully engaged, fully communicating, joyfully expressing relationship as the source of who we really are. This is the core set I want for my project: only the ones which show him.

During the project development cycle, its layout and and my chosen photographs come into my view again and again and again. What also comes into my view, as I shuffle, check, reshuffle, recheck, rechoose, and reorganize the core set, are the photographs I don't  choose, the ones I gloss over. They're the ones which don't  show the protagonist. They're the ones which only focus on the crowd, the ones which show the people in the crowd without showing him. And slowly ... very  slowly ... so slowly that at first I'm not even aware it's happening at all, I gradually start to see what the photographs which don't show him are saying, what the photographs showing only the crowd are saying. And when I get what they're saying, under my breath I let out an "Of course!", smiling a new smile with a rush of delighted energy which has me suddenly fully awake sitting bolt upright, driven by the sheer epiphany  of it.

A Man? Or The Crowd?
Photography by Ashish Vidyarthi -
 Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership:
 An Ontological / Phenomenological Model -
 Asia Plateau, Panchgani, Mahārāshtra, India
It's the ones in which he doesn't  appear which show ie which evidence  the power of language  to inspire human beings to be fully engaged, to be fully communicating, to be joyfully expressing relationship as the source of who we really are, arguably even more so than the ones in which he does  appear. It's the ones in which he doesn't  appear which underscore the value of what he's saying. It's the ones which don't  show him, which only show the crowd which capture what's really occurring  is his presence. It's very beautiful. It's very Zen. It's the focus on what isn't  which brings out the focus on what is. It's the ones which don't show him  which, given peoples' joyously animated expressions, really  show who he really is. When I get this I include all three hundred or so of them especially  the ones which don't show him.

It's not the ones of a man nor the ones of the crowd. It's both. A man ie this  man is  the crowd. The crowd is this man.



Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2010 through 2016 Permission