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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Catching Myself

Jefferson Street, Napa, California, USA

January 25, 2022



"The beginning of mastery is that what you are mastering at least comes up for you immediately when you have failed with what you are mastering, that is to say, you consistently immediately catch yourself."
...   leading the Mastery Course 
"This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
... George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, read out loud by  


As the rich body of distinctions that is Werner's work evolves and expands, indeed as it becomes ever more fine-tuned and unerringly more accurate, and is made readily available worldwide, it evokes for me a certain question regarding mastering transformation, a question which goes something like this: if I were to choose just one aspect of what it is to be engaged in mastering transformation to say something about (and by that I don't mean merely pontificate: I mean authentically share my experience), then which aspect of being engaged in mastering transformation would that be? And: why "aspect" (singular) limiting it to only one? Isn't it all  one?

The thing is transformation as it's fleshed out by our language and conversations, isn't defined by just one aspect. Sharing my experience of engaging in mastering transformation / being transformed is more like sharing a multi-faceted jewel, a sort of splendid torch  if you will. So if I had to share one aspect of my experience of mastering transformation, I'd be compelled to distinguish which single facet of this multi-faceted jewel to focus on, to bring the entire jewel / torch into sharp focus.

Simply put: for me, this single facet would be the distinction "This is it!" (that's Werner quoting Alan Watts), followed in second place by "It's OK the way it is.".

<aside>

This essay is a graduate conversation, so I won't be fleshing out either "This is it!" or "It's OK the way it is" in it, because

a)  you already got 'em, and
b)  I've already fleshed them out fully in detail and in depth elsewhere in this body of work.

<un-aside>

That said, be careful (watch out for the pitfall): neither  of them are true, are they really? And when I say "Neither of them are true ...", I mean neither of them are true like an incontrovertible assertion, like an exact replication of an experience, like an accurate reflection of reality. The truth as it occurs for me, isn't "This is it!". The truth as it occurs for me, is closer to "This is it!" followed by "This isn't  it!" ... and as soon as I realize I'm stuck with "This isn't it!" again, I pivot and regenerate "This is it!". Neither is the truth as it occurs for me "It's OK the way it is.". The truth as it occurs for me, is closer to "It's OK the way it is" followed by "It's not OK the way it is" ... and as soon as I realize I'm stuck with "It's not OK the way it is" again, I pivot and regenerate "It's OK the way it is.".

So to re-create Werner (and listen: there is no-one I know who's more rigorous to re-create in sourcing being engaged in mastering transformation, than Werner): the beginning of mastering transformation is that "This is it!" / "It's OK the way it is" at least comes up for me immediately when I have failed with mastering transformation ("This isn't it!" / "It's not OK the way it is"), that is to say, I consistently immediately catch myself. Engaging in mastering transformation, I'm catching myself as "This is it!" / "It's OK the way it is" inexorably  devolves into "This isn't it!" / "It's not OK the way it is.". Having mastered transformation, doesn't mean such devolution no longer occurs. As I'm engaging in mastering transformation, I'm catching myself when it does. That's what mastering transformation calls for.

A master of transformation isn't someone for whom such devolution no longer occurs. That's just one of many widely held albeit naïve beliefs about masters. A master of transformation is distinguished, defined, and known by the velocity with which she / he catches themself when it does.



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