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


Birmingham, Alabama, USA

July 11, 2004

This essay, Chess, is the companion piece to It is also the prequel to Chess II.

I am indebted to Reverend Pondurenga Das who contributed material for this conversation.

There's the story about a man who wanted to improve his chess. So he went to study with a chess champion.

He learned the Ruy Lopez and he learned the King's Indian. And after he learned those two new moves, he noticed he didn't win any more games than he usually did.

So he went to study with a grandmaster.

He learned to queen side castle  early, and he learned to set up an en passant. Yet neither did knowing those two new strategies give him an edge to win any more games than he usually did.

So he went to study with Werner.

And he learned to develop his pawns.

* * *

Life, like chess, is a game. You have your piece in life for which you are responsible. You have your pieces in chess. Of all the chess pieces, pawns are the least conspicuous.

Unlike castles and bishops, pawns can't sweep across the chessboard. Unlike knights, pawns can't jump other pieces. Unlike the queen, pawns can't move both straight and diagonally. Unlike the king, pawns aren't the center of attention. Yet pawns' strength is their ability to move inexorably forward, one square at a time. And there're more pawns than any other piece on the chessboard.

When your power pieces are maximized, how do you avoid weakening the advantage yet leverage the occasion to move?

Develop your pawns.

Werner Erhard distinguishes "life" from "living". "Life" is the never ending series of circumstances we encounter and the situations we put up with or try to change during our time on Earth. "Living" is simply experiencing being here right now, right now, right now. There's nothing to be except who you are. There's no place to get to except here. There's no time to design a future except now. Living life this way is called playing from win.

Your life has already turned out. This is it. So: what's next?

The next thing is the next thing and it's right in front of you. Choose it. It's straight forward.

Develop your pawns.

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