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


Artist In Acrylics, Artist In Words

Vallejo Ferry Dock, Vallejo, California, USA

August 31, 2012



This essay, Artist In Acrylics, Artist In Words, is the sequel to BREAKTHROUGH PAINTING.

I am indebted to Lisa Johnson and to Alan Watts who inspired this conversation.




The true transformational art form is face to face  speaking and listening. Writing and reading is only a not so close approximation.

Writing and reading in turn correlate with painting and whatever the corresponding receiving act for painting is - let's call this looking at. You speak (I listen you speaking). You write (I read your writing). You paint (I look at your painting). As authentic expressions of transformation, the latter two art forms writing and painting (approximations that they are) move progressively further and further away from face to face speaking and listening, from language, from the spoken word ("Logos")  as the Petri dish  of transformation.

I've explored this state of affairs with regard to expressing transformation through different media, denied it (at first), argued it, finally realized / got its truth, and now I'm totally comfortable / at home  with it. I'm OK with it as simply what's so. I'm under no illusions that the written word is as effective, as accurate  a context for transformation as the face to face spoken word. Because I'm under no illusions that the written word is as effective, as accurate a context for transformation as the face to face spoken word, I can write these Conversations For Transformation with no pretense that writing and reading are interchangeable with face to face speaking and listening as the context for transformation.

This theme (and keeping this distinction clear) runs consistently throughout this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays.

If there's a comparison to be made between writing and painting, it would be that the domain of writing and reading is more akin to the domain of painting and looking at, than it is to the domain of face to face speaking and listening. Both writing and painting can be practiced, worked, reworked, and perfected before the final product is presented. In conversation, on the other hand, the domain of face to face speaking and listening, there are no take twos. In face to face conversations, there's no practicing, working, reworking, and perfecting. The spoken / listened word is immediate.
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BREAKTHROUGH PAINTING by Laurence Platt
BREAKTHROUGH PAINTING #3240
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This immediate model from face to face speaking and listening is the model I use when painting. Yes there could  be take twos with painting. But when I paint, I intentionally eschew them. Everything I paint is one off, one time, without practice, without reworking, without perfecting. Nothing is corrected. Nothing is deemed a mistake. Nothing is discarded. The purpose this serves is to bring my painting into closer alignment with the immediacy of face to face speaking and listening as the context for transformation. But even this closer alignment doesn't imply it can ever equal it - certainly it can never replace it.

I'm used by  painting and looking at, in the same way as I'm used by writing and reading, in the same way as I'm used by face to face speaking and listening transformation. Both painting and writing especially become possible when the rest of my life is successfully managed with enough uninterrupted quiet, calm, still time to commit to putting acrylics on bristol  card, and words on the internet. Both are luxuries. There's no need  for either.

I don't write for any particular reason. I don't write because  ... (fill in any reason here). I write because I write. I don't paint for any particular reason. I don't paint because  ... (fill in any reason here). I paint because I paint. In other words in both these contexts, "because" is a superstition. That's their Zen.

"I write because I write"  and its corollary "I paint because I paint"  aren't Laurence Platt original quotes, although I've made them my own so they are  mine now. Rather they both originate in Alan Watts'  ideas. Alan Watts first got me interested in inquiring into what I now call the superstitious because  (if you will) - masterfully so, I might add. But it wasn't until much, much  later when I first encountered and listened Werner Erhard that the such‑ness, the thus‑ness  of "I write because I write"  and the such-ness, the thus-ness of "I paint because I paint"  became real for me. It's Werner who alerts me to "because" as a superstition.

What Werner also alerts me to is transformation as authentic being, speaking, writing, and painting like a possibility. That's just for starters, transformation being the platform for all of it, for all of Life, for all the living there is to do and be had on our planet, for all possibilities, indeed for the possibility of possibility  itself.



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