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


Prince of Wales Theatre, West End, London, England

January 17, 2013

"Responsibility begins with the willingness to be cause in the matter of one's life. Ultimately, it is a context from which one chooses to live. Responsibility is not burden, fault, praise, blame, credit, shame or guilt. In responsibility, there is no evaluation of good or bad, right or wrong. There is simply what's so, and your stand. Being responsible starts with the willingness to deal with a situation from the view of life that you are the generator of what you do, what you have and what you are. That is not the truth. It is a place to stand. No one can make you responsible, nor can you impose responsibility on another. It is a grace you give yourself - an empowering context that leaves you with a say in the matter of life."
This essay, Blameless, is the fourth in a group of five written in London, January 2013:
  1. Turned Tables
  2. Don't Regulate The Tate
  3. English Tea
  4. Blameless
  5. London "I": The Memorandum
in that order.

This group of five written in London, January 2013 is the sequel to Clear For Takeoff.

This essay, Blameless, is also the fifth essay in an ongoing collection with embedded Music Videos: I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt who contributed material for this conversation.

Some time around now (it may have been closer to two decades ago or two years ago or two weeks ago but nonetheless some time around now)  I experienced a breakthrough in what it is to be responsible for my experience. This breakthrough includes the realization that whatever  my experience is, I'm responsible for it, I'm the source of it, I make it up. Literally: whatever my experience is, I create it that way - unknowingly or knowingly, unwillingly or willingly.


Now, if you're thinking "Hey, Laurence! That's pretty basic. It's Transformation 101. Didn't you already get that a long time ago?", actually it doesn't work that way. Transformation isn't a fixed  way of being. You get it. You lose it. You get it again. Said another way: when you get it you get it, when you don't get it you don't get it. And as soon as you get you don't get it, you got it again.

So yes, it's a very real  possibility to have a breakthrough in an area in which you already had a similar (or even the same)  breakthrough before ... and  ... have it be just as powerful (or even more powerful)  the second time - or the third time or the fourth time or the fifth time ...


At first I didn't like what I got - and so what, right? Seriously, what I didn't like is this: if I'm the source of my experience, if I make up my experience, if I create my own experience, then why can't I change it?  - especially when I'm not enjoying the way I'm being. It's a paradox - and it confused me.
Werner Erhard says "The gates to the temple of truth are guarded by two dragons: paradox  and confusion.". Cueing off Werner's idea, I sat with the paradox and the confusion I was experiencing, until what I noticed was I was trying to solve  them. I noticed my natural way ie my human response  to paradox and to confusion is to try to solve them. In a burst of clarity, I simply stopped trying to solve them, and instead just let them be. In the instant I let them be, I could experience them fully, and they lost their grip on me, allowing my responsibility for my experience to come forth in a whole new light.

There's an intention driving everything Werner distinguishes. If this seminal idea doesn't cause an impact, if it doesn't have bearing, if it doesn't give leverage, if it doesn't make a difference  in everyday life, then it's honestly not worth much. To listen Werner's ideas as merely intellectual theories, is to not listen them at all. They're the very antithesis of conjecture. So here's where being responsible for my own experience (and in particular, where being responsible for my own experience without blame)  comes to bear in my everyday life:

With a certain chagrin, I find it ironic that when it's time to receive something I've been waiting a long time for, it may no longer be available. I'm referring here to waiting for my children to become emancipated adults so that as adults and living close by, we can share together and exchange together and be friends together with nothing coming between us and with no one interfering in our being together. But ironically now that this time has come, now that they're grown up and are adults, what I've opened up for them is such a spirit of adventure, courage, and fearless mobility that now they're traveling the world and are no longer close by - Alexandra is in London attending London School of Economics, and Christian is on his way to New Zealand to attend Canterbury University in Christchurch.

And there's nothing and no one to blame, especially not the circumstances and especially not my children and especially not me who taught them this virtue of free spirited independence and especially not anyone else, for this turn of events and for its accompanying seeming loss of the closeness ("closeness" as in "physical proximity", that is) between Alexandra and Christian and I.

This was definitely not an instantaneous epiphany. The truth is it took me a while to see there's nothing and no one to blame for this. To be sure, before I saw it, I covertly blamed the circumstances and other people for keeping us apart, until I saw there's no responsibility in blaming anything  or anyone for how our lives turn out - theirs or mine ie especially  mine since my experience of the way my life turns out is inextricably in‑a‑dance‑with  my experience of how my children's lives turn out. Once I get (ie once I get again)  there's no power in blaming circumstances and people for how our lives turn out, I get the way our lives turn out is just what's so.

And listen (this is pivotal): I always  have access to being responsible for my experience of what's so because it's my experience of what's so.


This breakthrough in rendering circumstances and people blameless  for how our lives turn out, is another breakthrough in the class of breakthroughs I can have over and over and over  again, and have them be just as powerful (or even more powerful) the second time - or the third time or the fourth time or the fifth time ...


When I stand here, when I stand in this space, when I stand in this empowering context of holding circumstances and people blameless for how my life and my children's lives turn out, and instead be totally responsible for my experience of what's so, I'm not only empowered and emboldened: I'm also enabled to support my children completely and fully and wholeheartedly in whatever (and where-ever in the world) their chosen directions in Life are, without getting in their way  - which is to say, without letting my own agenda  get in their way.

"Dreams Unwind, Love's A State Of Mind"

with Alexandra - Rhiannon (Fleetwood Mac)
I keep a list of songs I'd like to play with Alexandra - which is to say I keep a list of songs I'd like to play backup guitar for, while Alexandra sings. This way, when we're together I'm ready to jam.

There's a repeating refrain at the end of one of the songs on my list, the Fleetwood Mac classic Rhiannon  (Rhiannon is a Welsh goddess) from their breakout 1975 Fleetwood Mac  album, which goes like this: "... dreams unwind, love's a state of mind  ... dreams unwind, love's a state of mind  ...". It's perfect for Alexandra to sing. Even when I'm alone and in total silence, I can hear Alexandra singing it, with me providing backup, staying out of the way of her gorgeous voice.


Speaking frankly, love doesn't need to be as elusive and as hopelessly romantic  as merely a state of mind - which is tantamount to little more than a fleeting mood (a fleet-wood  mood?). For me, love is no less than and no more than intentionally granting another the space to be the way they are and the way they aren't so they can change if they want to and they don't have to (as Werner Erhard may have said).

But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.


In a Self expression like music, I'm being more responsible for my experience in the moment, than I am in many other endeavors. In many ways, music (and singing in particular) is close to the perfect model for sharing who we really are, given the voice ie given the spoken word  is the vehicle for transformation ie is the instrument of transformation. I say "close" because the authentic vehicle for transformation ie the real instrument of transformation, is the deliberately  spoken word rather than the stylized and rehearsed sung  word. Yet to say the Self expression of transformation, and in particular to say the Self expression of transformed relationship  comes forth through music and through singing in particular, is good enough for jazz  (no pun intended).

Here's the thing when it comes to Self expression and transformed relationship through the music Alexandra and I create together: it's a celebration of being together. This is what's so. This is how it turned out. This is the expression of our relationship. No, it's not just the expression of our  relationship: it's the expression of relationship  - period. We can be together. We can make music together. So we do. And nothing and no one is to blame for the times we weren't together or for the times we aren't together. The not so instantaneous epiphany has taken root and is now in full bloom.

This is the seminal, freeing idea from whence Self empowerment springs. Distinguishing it is what it is to be emboldened. This is the grace I give myself and my children, this empowering context which leaves us with a say (and a joy) in the matter of being responsible for our blameless experience of Life.

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