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

As Your Natural Self-Expression

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

New Year's Day, January 1, 2015

"You will leave this course being a leader and exercising leadership as your natural Self-expression in any situation and no matter what the circumstances."
 ...   promising the Leadership Course: Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model 
This essay, As Your Natural Self-Expression, is the companion piece to The Leadership Course: As Your Natural Self-Expression II.

It is also the fifth in a group of ten written on New Year's Day:
  1. Orion
  2. Clean, Well Lit Quarters
  3. External Tank
  4. The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line II
  5. As Your Natural Self-Expression
  6. Werner's Work In Academia
  7. About Assisting: On Leaving My Baggage At The Door
  8. Another New (Symbolic) Beginnning
  9. So What Revisited: The Implement
  10. Empty And Meaningless, And Meaning-Making Machines
in that order.

Making a promise is a linguistic act. A linguistic act is an act of language. A linguistic act is not merely the act of deploying language talking about  something (commentary, description, narration etc), and neither is it defined by the act of talking in order to talk  (gossip, chit-chat, shooting the breeze, "talking story" etc). A linguistic act is the act of bringing forth something  through language - like an assertion ("I assert ..."), like a commitment, ("I commit ..."), like a promise ("I promise ...") etc. Given who we are is our word, linguistic acts are the open door to full expression of Self in the world.

When I listen you make the promise to people I just listened you promising you'll give people access to something which will become their (quote unquote) natural Self-expression. Wow! In my world, when you promise you'll give people access to anything which will become their "natural Self-expression", in a word you're promising you'll transform their lives, yes? - or, spoken with rigor, you're promising you'll give them the tools ie you're promising you'll give them the implements  (both the language implements as well as the experiential implements ie the ontological  implements) with which they can transform their own lives.

It's worth taking time out for a moment to consider the scope and breadth of this audacious claim ie of this extraordinary promise, of this astonishing linguistic act.

Given the ordinary course of events in life, given the way life creeps on and on at the same brain-numbingly petty pace (as William Shakespeare may have said), a promise like this clearly doesn't occur within the realm of business as usual. We're obviously not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. And when you're implying that your promise will be delivered in a few days or less, you've got me broken out of my reverie. You've got me sitting bolt upright now. You've got me paying rapt attention.

When we human beings attend courses, we can be taught to understand things. We can also be taught what it takes to do  things. For example, we can attend courses on painting and on writing and even on leading. We can be taught to understand what it takes to paint and to write and to lead. We can be taught what a painter does and what a writer does and what a leader does. The thing is that understanding what it takes to paint and to write and to lead, and knowing what a painter does and what a writer does and what a leader does, doesn't make me be  a painter or be a writer or be a leader.

This is what makes your promise that I'll be being  a leader and exercising leadership "as (my) natural Self-expression"  all the more remarkable, all the more outrageous, all the more "Wow!".

When anything is or becomes my natural Self-expression, which is to say when my actions are or correlate with my natural Self-expression, then I'm being, expressing, and doing who I really am in the world. That's priceless. That's being authentic in every way imaginable. I would say it's also as close to a definition of being enlightened  as there could be - except "being enlightened" has a certain eastern  context which I don't require (as Werner Erhard may have said). If you were only  promising being a painter or a writer as my natural Self-expression, that would be enough of a stretch. But promising being a leader  as my natural Self-expression? Now it's time to step away from the realm of business as usual and into the realm of the miraculous ie into the realm of promising and all of our own linguistic acts.

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