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 Scholar And A Gentleman

Boon Fly Café, Los Carneros Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

March 22, 2011

This essay, A Scholar And A Gentleman, is the six hundredth in this Conversations For Transformation internet series. That doesn't mean anything. It's just what's so.

It is also the twentieth in an open group Encounters With A Friend:
  1. Showing Up
  2. Poet Laureate
  3. A Man In The Crowd
  4. Real Men Cry
  5. A Different Set Of Rules
  6. Nametag: A True Story
  7. Half-Life
  8. Waiting On You
  9. Erotica On Schedule
  10. A House On Franklin Street
  11. NeXT
  12. Reflection On A Window
  13. Here And There
  14. How To Enroll The World
  15. Demonstration
  16. Two Of Me II: Confirmation Not Correction
  17. Holiday Spectacular
  18. Hello! How Are Things Going For You?
  19. Regular Guy
  20. A Scholar And A Gentleman
  21. Images Of You
  22. With Nothing Going On
  23. Where No One Has Gone Before
  24. Attachment: Causeway Between Islands
  25. If You're Not Then Don't
  26. Images Of You II
  27. Living Where Life Is
  28. Create Me The Way I Am
  29. How Do You Spell The Sound A Ratchet Makes?
  30. You Don't Ask "Why Me?"  When It's Raining II
  31. The Stink Of Zen
  32. Sitting Quietly In A Room Alone
  33. Footsteps On Metal Stairs
so far, in that order.

We've just had dinner. We're standing alone afterwards outside the restaurant. It could be any restaurant. In any city. In any country. What shows up outside this restaurant in this city in this country in the context of our friendship could show up anywhere. It just happens  to show up outside this  restaurant in this  city in this  country. But the exact geographical location doesn't matter.

What does matter is what's showing up. You're answering a question I've just posed. I asked whether all of your work, whether all the courses you've developed, whether all the seminars you've sourced and led, whether all your work with academia and business, whether all of it  isn't simply the Self unfolding, expanding, expressing itself, playing in the world - in other words, whether the collection of all your separate yet related endeavors secondarily  represent hugely successful business, academic, and educational ventures which primarily  are simply the Self being the Self ... unfolding, expanding, expressing itself, playing.

I'm riveted  by this conversation - which is to say, I'm riveted by being in this particular  conversation with You. Gradually I realize as much as I'm taken with what we're speaking about, what's really got  me, what's really grabbed my attention and is making me look in awe  is the way you're being, the way you are  while you're speaking what you're speaking.

My attention has shifted from you the speaker, and from listening what the speaker is speaking ... to you the being  the speaker is being, while he's speaking what he's speaking.

You're being wholly and perfectly congruent  with your Self. It's palpable. Ordinarily I don't see this as close up with many other people. I'm not in its presence often. So I have scant other experience of this way you're being, to compare to. In fact, given I have scant other experience of it, I don't really know how I know what it is  I'm seeing. But I get  it anyway - I recognize  it. I recognize you live completely, fully, and wholly within the context of who you really are.

You speak. I respond. You listen me. I'm fully gotten. And no matter how  I'm being, I don't detract from who you're being. You allow me to be - which is to say you include me in this context called Self, the context to which you're totally present. In other words, through you being Self, I'm being Self too. It's this conversation with you which is an access  for me (as well for whomever else listens you) to also be Self.

I have the thought "How do you do  this? How do you be  this way?". I notice I want to be whatever you're being ie whatever  it is. I see this translates to "I want to be like you" or "I want to be like you be.".

Yes. It's true. It does. I can own it.

Fast Forward

It's eight months later - almost to the day. I'm having a conversation with a friend in which I'm taking a stand for her being great. I'm not fixing or making better. This isn't a Band Aid  consolation.

I'm not allowing her to get me to say  she's great (which she is) because I want her to get it for herself. If she gets it for herself, she'll get it in spades  - way more than I could ever say  she's great. I'm simply standing for  her being great.

When she asks me "How?"  questions ("How"  to be great, "How"  to not be not great  (yes, that is  very Zen ...), etc), I don't answer - and I say I'm not answering. If I answered, I'd inhibit her being great for herself. I invite her to stand in the possibility of being great. I don't explain what standing in the possibility of being great means. I just ask her to stand in that place. She does. Then she gets how great she is.

While I'm being this way with her ie unswervingly standing for her greatness in such a way that she gets her own greatness, I realize in a flashback I'm being the way you were being  outside the restaurant. In other words, I realize I'm spontaneously being like you be. I'm not consciously trying  to be like you be, even though I want to be like you be. Yet here it is: it just happened.

Back To My Future

That's worth sharing. But the breakthrough I have next  is really  worth sharing.

I realize I'm not being like you be  after all. I realize the way you be is such that I can't  be like you be by being like you be. Literally. I realize I can never be like you enough to be like you. I can only be like you (here's the thing) by being like Laurence. By that I mean I can only be like you by being who Laurence really is. In fact no one  can ever be like you be. But I can  be like you be if I be like Laurence be's ie I can be like you be, by being congruent with my Self. Indeed, anyone  can be like you be, by being congruent with themselves. Really.

That's the key to the Kingdom right there.

Said more pertinently, being like you be isn't an access to being like you be. Rather, when Laurence is being who Laurence really is and being like Laurence be's, that's  my access to being like you be.


Oh yes, I almost forgot - the scholar  and the gentleman  in the title of this essay: do they refer to one of the protagonists in this piece? Or to the other? Or to both separately? Or to both together?

Well ... I'm not saying. I'm going to leave you to figure that out ie I'm going to allow you to make it up  for yourself.

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