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




Breakfast With The Master VIII II:

Keep Talking

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

March 21, 2020

Early on: "If you keep saying it the way it really is, eventually your word is law in the universe." ... 
Later on: "Keep sharing." ... 
This essay, Breakfast With The Master VIII II: Keep Talking, is the second in the eighth trilogy Breakfast With The Master:
  1. Breakfast With The Master VIII II: What People Crave
  2. Breakfast With The Master VIII II: Keep Talking
  3. Breakfast With The Master VIII III: Fearless In The Face Of Life
in that order.
The first trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Conversation With A Laser
  2. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  3. Secret Agent
in that order.
The second trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Health
  2. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Finances
  3. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Open
in that order.
The third trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Raw Power
  2. It Works Better As A Possibility
  3. Magic At Heart
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master IV: Parental Care
  2. Breakfast With The Master IV: Taking The Guilt Out Of It
  3. Breakfast With The Master IV: Language As Music
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Whatever Works
  2. Yesterday's Transformation
  3. Billions And Billions Of Stars
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master VI: Doo-Wop, Coffee, And Intention
  2. Breakfast With The Master VI II: Cherish These Days
  3. Breakfast With The Master VI III: Forwarding The Fulfillment
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. We're Here
  2. Being A Being Coach
  3. You Already Got It
This essay, Breakfast With The Master VIII II: Keep Talking, is the sequel to Keep Sharing.
The eighth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is the sequel to When The Whole World Speaks With One Voice.



I want him to be OK. With everything's that's going on, I can't bear the thought of him not  being OK. I'm wondering if he's safe and well. In the ordinary scheme of things, I would want confirmation of that. Then in a flash, I get that in my very wondering if he's safe and well, I'm leaving open the possibility that he's not  safe and well. It's my own racket I see. It's got nothing to do with his actual safety and wellness. What else would he be  (get that?) other than safe and well? I mean really.

So it's in the politeness of conversation that I ask how he's doing. And it's in his spoken reply that I get he's OK. I get it not just from what he shares (and what he shares also confirms he's OK). I get it from where he's coming from  when he shares what he shares. The place to look to know if people are OK or not, isn't in what they've amassed. People may have all the right things in these challenging, disruptive, and uncertain times, and still not be  OK. If having the right things made us OK, all wealthy people would be fulfilled - and you and I know that's not true. Neither is doing all the right things: people will do all the right things, and still not be  OK.

No, I get it from where he's coming when he speaks. That's how I can tell he's OK. I could have anticipated that. Yet that would have just been my story about his OK-ness. Getting newly where he's coming from, is proof. What's extraordinary is he brings his being OK (ie his OK-ness) forward in our conversation as a base, as a contribution, as a demonstration. He brings his OK-ness forward as a possibility for everyone. His OK-ness reflects my OK-ness. In his I see mine, even when I forget.

Our cyber-conversation continues, and in it the term "social distancing" occurs for both of us as a misnomer. We both know what it means and why it's called for. There is however, an inauthenticity implicit in the term "social distancing", a term which confuses who we really are, with our bodies. Our scientists, doctors, and best experts in these matters, have urged us to stay six feet apart when we're in the presence of other people ie to be "socially" distant. And we all know what that really means: it means to keep our bodies  six feet away from other people's bodies. But that's not  social distancing! It's physical  distancing. It's only "social" distancing if who we are is our bodies. And in this cyber-conversation, we're certainly physically distant, yet socially  we couldn't be more intimately connected / in communication. There's no nurture in physical distancing. Social distancing on the other hand, can be richly nurturing, especially given the plethora of tech tools available. As I said earlier, in my tenure as an IBM trainer, I trained the technical staff of many Fortune 1000  companies, yet I'm still not big on tech. With regards to its benevolence to humanity, the jury's still out as far as I'm concerned. Yet in these challenging, disruptive, and uncertain times, we may be witnessing tech's heroic, shining moment.

Then (speaking of tech) something very, very interesting starts unfolding: the internet, overloaded as it is (everyone's under lockdown) with a massive new, untested, unexpected load of Googling, YouTubing, texting, e-mailing, WhatsApping, Zooming, Facebooking et al, starts to sputter, freeze, and thrash. I notice the audio quality is degrading fast. I only catch his every other word, every other syllable. Then the video quality starts crashing fast also. His image on my screen, is fast-forwarding, freezing, and even pixeling out, right before my frustrated eyes. And I, ever the techie, say "Just a moment: I'll see if I can adjust some settings (translation: "I'll try to fix  this") and if the connection drops while I'm doing it, wait for me: I'll be right back" and he  says (totally calmly) "No, don't do that: just ... keep  ... talking.".

Say whut?!  Keep talking? Are you kidding me? Not with this distraction. Ordinarily at a point like this I would have come to a dead stop, a screeching halt, frustrated, thwarted, unable to continue. But this time in spite of myself  I keep talking just because that's what he says to do  (I take on what he says, sight unseen, as coaching even as my skepticism hangs thick in the air). Almost totally distracted by the tech failure ie by the audio and video degradation, I keep talking even though I don't really get it. If he's popping in and out of audio and video on my screen, then surely I am on his too. I want to stop and fix this. It's so  distracting. I can barely keep a sentence together. It's hard to stay focused. Yet I keep talking, and that's when I notice what's very, very interesting (and truly awesome) about what's playing out.

When I let go of what's running me (ie the urge to fix things), when I just talk, when I'm not distracted by the failing audio and video, I notice we're still in a clear, coherent, getable conversation. If I let the audio skipping be, if I let the video pixeling be, if I let the thrashing be, if I just keep talking until it's his turn to talk, then just listen him talking and get whatever there is to get from what he says until it's my turn to talk again, I notice there's nothing lacking in our conversation. Nothing! It takes a few moments for the enormity of it to sink in. I test it: I keep talking, ignoring the tech deficiencies, talking when it's my turn, listening when it's my turn, breaks and all. It's clear what's being said. Our conversation is whole, unbroken, tech failings of audio and video notwithstanding. Nothing's lacking. Nothing's wrong.

I won't offer an explanation for how or why this is happening. Doing so will just ruin my shared experience of him. And it will certainly destroy  it if I impose a tech  explanation on it. This I will venture however: who he and I and we all really are, live in and are connected in a context that's way bigger than tech, that's way bigger than the internet itself in fact. The context we are, the context we live in, the context we're connected in, is language. Our connection is in our talking ie it's in our speaking and listening. And while tech plays a contributing role, tech itself also occurs within the context of who we really are  (get that?). That's the connection. It's this connection in this "breakfast" conversation that has us maintain totally clear communication even in the midst of tech's glaring failures, breaks, and deficiencies.

Suddenly whatever was overloading the internet eases up, or is resolved by its servers. The audio and video quality of our WhatsApp call is clear again. And we're still talking. And I'm left with "Did what just happened, really happen?". And he's silent. Smiling. Waiting patiently for me to say something else. Anything. The next thing.



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