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

Cardinal Error

Burgundy House, Yountville, California, USA

October 16, 2019

"If you got it, stand up." ... 

Werner said to us




And I stood up. But there was an error I unwittingly made when I stood up, at the end of my first exposure to his work: I assumed what he'd just made available was as obvious to everyone else as it was to me. In hindsight (and hindsight is always  20/20 vision), that was naïve. Just because it was obvious to me, didn't guarantee it was equally obvious to everyone else. So when I communicated later with people about what I got, I wasn't speaking to where they were at (I couldn't have been).

Some pundits say Werner put together pieces from various disciplines, isms, Zen etc, along with a big dollop of common sense  to create the earliest iterations of his work. I don't think that's accurate. My opinion of what he did was he retraced his own steps toward that inexorable moment out of time  on the Golden Gate Bridge, then developed a participatory theatre  (if you will) which re-produced the sequence of insights he'd had along his own spiritual hejira, culminating in the moment of transformation, his rationale being if it worked for him, and if it worked for him in that order, then it should work for others too. No, Werner's work comes from his experience of who he is for himself, from discovering who he really is, not from some hodge-podge, some olio of other disciplines and isms. That simply has no rigor.

At the moment of reckoning ie at the "If you got it, stand up" breakthrough which marked the tipping point of the four days and three evenings long conversational process, my being leapt up even faster than my body did. It was as brilliant as it was stunning. I had the sense it was important  - in the real sense of the word: it had import. Why had I not discovered this before? How could I have missed it? How could anyone  have missed it? And so I assumed everyone knew this (or at least knew about  this). It was a cardinal error. To be sure, in my speaking over the years since then, I've resonated totally with many of my listeners. But given the cardinal error implicit in my assumption about them, I wasn't resonating with at least half of them, maybe more. Even my enviable enrollment statistics couldn't mask the fact.

I recognize that now. Since then I've developed a certain way of being with the experience sourced by Werner which communicates something interesting for people. This approach seems to work, even if a few of them don't totally get my speaking it ie even if the possibility of being transformed, isn't 1,000% obvious for them too.

Here's what I respect about the commitment of all est  Trainers, Landmark Forum Leaders, program leaders etc (ie it's one of the many, many things I respect about them): they're willing to take the time to speak this work in a way that people will get it, and they're willing to do the the work on themselves necessary to be able to speak it that way. After forty years, I've seen this cardinal error of mine for what it is. And I get I've been impatient. And I get what it's cost me. I've been kind of selfish - stingy really. Transformation / who we are is communicated through speaking and listening. I get that. But it's a cardinal error to assume everyone already listens it. There's no already knowing  this. There's no pre-exposure to it. If it's not generated newly every moment of every hour of every day, then it's unavailable.

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