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


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At The Level Of Self-Expression

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

January 4, 2023



"I'm happy, and things are good."
... 
"There isn't anybody who shows up with tennis shoes and a tennis racquet who can't play tennis at the level of Self-expression. They may not play at the level of champion but there isn't anybody who can't play at the level of Self-expression."
... 
This essay, At The Level Of Self-Expression, is the companion piece to American Genius.

It is also the twenty second in the open second group of Experiences Of A Friend (click here for the complete first group of thirty five Experiences Of A Friend):
  1. Friend, Partner, And Ally
  2. Go To The Beach
  3. Proof Of Life
  4. Going Out Like A Supernova
  5. Relationships: They Start, They End
  6. Evidence Of Source
  7. On Knowing When To Be Ordinary
  8. Letting Be
  9. Transforming The Untransformable
  10. There's Always The Next Piece
  11. Plastic Chandelier II
  12. Yes You Really Are That Big
  13. A Way With Words
  14. The Quietest Mind
  15. Approaching Integrity
  16. Dancing With Life II
  17. Staying In Integrity
  18. Ordinary People Star, Extraordinary People Recreate Themselves
  19. Committed Existence
  20. When You're Being Like Werner, You're Not Being Like Werner
  21. "There's Life Happening Where You Are"
  22. At The Level Of Self-Expression
in that order.

I am indebted to Aaron Bartlett and to Dr James Doty who contributed material for this conversation.



Foreword:

I was inspired to write this essay, At The Level Of Self-Expression, while I was listening Werner speaking with Dr James Doty of Stanford University's Department of Medicine's Center for CARE  (Compassion and Altruism Research and Education).

Listen the podcast of this conversation:
Werner Erhard: Discovering the Man, Redefining What's Possible
Recorded Wednesday October 27, 2021
Posted Sunday January 23, 2022
Time 1:11:32

On a similar note, I was inspired to write the essay titled American Genius while I was with Werner speaking with Dr Doty on an earlier occasion about his life's work and how compassion has played a role.

Watch the video of that conversation:
Werner Erhard: Conversations on Compassion with Dr James Doty.
Recorded Thursday November 16, 2017
Posted Monday December 11, 2017
Time 1:43:57


Werner Erhard's story ie his spiritual hejira, doesn't need to be told - that is to say it doesn't need to be told any more than it's already been told. There are two good reasons for this. One is: it's already been told completely and adequately. It's already been written. It's already been filmed and videotaped. It's already legend. And two is: there's really only marginal value to be gleaned from his story (albeit an extraordinary story that's been told faithfully and accurately) when it's stacked up against what unerringly teases out the actual experience of transformation and the onset of authentic Self-expression.

Look: you can't read  yourself into transformation and Self-expression from what's been written. It doesn't work that way. And you can't watch  yourself into transformation and Self-expression from what's been filmed and videotaped. It doesn't work that way either. But you just may be able to listen  yourself into them, from Werner's speaking. That's because transformation and Self-expression are all in his mouth. What does that mean Laurence, "all in his mouth"?

Try this on for size: transformation and Self-expression show up in my mouth, in my voice, in my speaking, in my sharing. Mostly they show up along with the presence of Self  which goeswith  (as Alan Watts may have said) what's always tangibly there whenever Werner is speaking. And the thing is they're not tangibly there "now and then" ie only on formal occasions (I define a "formal occasion" as whenever you're breathing). No, they're there literally when-ever. That means they've been there from the onset of transformation on the planet in March of 1971, and have been there 24 / 7 / 365 for fifty two years since.

If you stop for a moment and just look into your experience, you'll see that's speaking at a completely different level than talking about. It's speaking at the level of Self-expression. And isn't your experience of Self endless?  Self is endless. So speaking at the level of Self-expression, is also endless. Listen for that  ... and yes, you may just be able to listen yourself into transformation and full Self-expression, where reading yourself into them and / or watching yourself into them just plain don't work. So rather than listen Werner's story, listen where he's speaking from  throughout it. It's a reliable access to transformation.

Ordinarily (ie loosely / with no rigor), speaking and listening are better distinguished as simply talking  and hearing. When you talk, I hear what you know. Speaking at the level of Self-expression on the other hand, turns out to be extraordinary - doubly so. It's extraordinary inasmuch as when you speak, I not only hear what you know: I get who you are really. That much is a given. But what's even more extraordinary about speaking at the level of Self-expression is when you speak, I not only hear what you know: I get who I  am really. That's the gift of being around Werner: around him, who we are really is gotten.

There's no presence of Self in ordinary talking and hearing. In ordinary talking and hearing, you talk about what you know, and I hear what you know. And if I have a good memory, I may even end up knowing what you know. Extraordinary speaking at the level of Self-expression on the other hand, brings forth presence of Self for both  the speaker and the listener: you speak, I get who you are really; I listen, I get who I am really. And none of that depends on what we are talking about. Being around Werner, that won't have to be explained: you'll just get  it at the level of Self-expression (note-taking not needed).



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