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


An Experience That Begins Before It Begins

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

March 24, 2017



This essay, An Experience That Begins Before It Begins, is the prequel to the trilogy The Leadership Course:
  1. The Leadership Course: Not Yet Titled (working title)
  2. The Leadership Course II: Not Yet Titled (working title)
  3. The Leadership Course III: Not Yet Titled (working title)
in that order.




This conversation is about an experience that begins before it begins. To be specific, it's about a particular experience that hasn't yet begun which has already begun. Wait! Are you sure that's even possible Laurence? How can anything begin before  it begins? What does that even mean?

Actually it's not just the one experience that this conversation is about, that begins before it begins. In point of fact, there's a panoply of experiences that begin before they begin. Consider this: what these experiences that begin before they begin have in common, is they begin when we commit  to them.

Although you may not have regarded them in quite this way before, the many experiences fitting this description are almost all ones with which you're already familiar. For example, there's marriage. There's the wedding ceremony when marriage begins. But marriage actually begins long before then. It begins when you commit to being married. Another example would be a course - especially an ontological  / phenomenological  course. There's the opening ceremony on day one of the course when the course begins. But the course actually begins long before then. It begins when you commit to being a participant. The course begins, in other words, when you register. The Leadership Course is such a course. It begins 218 days from now. I registered in it about an hour ago ie my Leadership Course has already begun.

My personal thoughts, notions, and ideas about being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership have gotten me where I am today. There's nothing wrong with where I am today. That said, I've long been committed to having a breakthrough  in being a leader. And my own thoughts, notions, and ideas about being a leader (as unvarying, constant, and pedestrian  as they are) haven't produced a breakthrough in me being a leader (if they were going to, they would have done so by now).

In committing to / registering in this course, I'm setting aside all my thoughts, notions, and ideas about being a leader ie I'm bracketing  them, if you will. I'll be a participant in the course not knowing anything  about being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership. I won't second guess the distinctions of the course, or its methods. There's a certain unreciprocated trust that's required, to be this way. It's disconcerting. But I've been around Werner before. There's a well-known signpost on the path, that points to his work of transformation. It says "Follow the instructions, and take what you get.". There's never been a time, not once, being around him, that adhering to this injunct hasn't produced results for me. In spades. Big  time. In being a participant I intend to follow it (that is, I'll continue  to follow it).

The stated promise of the Leadership Course is "Participants will discover for themselves what it is to BE a leader and to exercise leadership effectively as their natural self-expression.". Whatever that is, I'll find out. As I said, I'm not trying to be a smart aleck  about this, or to second guess the results. Yet waiting for this course to begin, is reactivating - which, in and of itself, is not unusual for Werner's courses. It's clear to me there are areas of my life where I'm not  being a leader, places where I want someone to tell me (or at least advise  me) what to do, places where I want someone to lead me, even someone to protect  me (it's the truth, albeit an uncomfortable one). It's possible these areas are inconsistent with the results of the course and will be surrendered to new ways of being. But I don't know. We'll see.

Jeopardy  answer: An experience that begins before it begins. Question: What is the Leadership Course? The Leadership Course: Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model, begins 218 days from now. I registered. I've committed to being a participant. It's already begun.



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