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


Coal Face:

Down And Dirty

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

January 25, 2010



I am indebted to Palmer Kelly who inspired this conversation.



Given the true nature of transformation, given how far removed the written word of Conversations For Transformation is from the real deal  (the spoken face to face  word), it's almost a mystery to me how any of these essays in this Conversations For Transformation internet series ever work at all - even to the very slightest degree.

When I write and publish a new essay, my estimate of how it'll fare enlivening the space in which transformation can show up varies from "Damn!  This is great!" to being seriously, majorly concerned it'll be a total, embarrassing fiasco.

Ironically, even though one measure of success for these Conversations For Transformation is whether they enliven the space in which transformation can show up or not, I don't do this in order to succeed. By the same token, neither am I stopped by thoughts of a total, embarrassing fiasco. This is what I do, so I do it - regardless of what the voice in my head says about it. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is where Conversations For Transformation's strength is.

Then there's feedback. Feedback, for me, is a major aspect in, a major component of any and all of these Conversations For Transformation. While I've certainly got my own opinion of what's going to work with them and what's not going to work with them, the truth for me is there's no evidence  any of it actually does  work until someone says it works.

Oftentimes it's those essays I'm concerned are really  going to be fiascos which, it turns out, receive the most appreciative feedback. I've considered what accounts for this, this mismatch  between my estimates and actuality.

It's like I'm the guy deep down in the coal mine, chiseling, drilling, and hammering away at the coal face. I'm sweaty, black (sooty), and dirty, and it all looks very messy from my side, even though I started out with the idea of going down into the mine to retrieve value. It's only out there  when people who warm themselves by the resulting coal fire (so to speak) say "Wow! Thanks for this! This works!" when I realize I can give up my concerns about a fiasco. I guess being sweaty, sooty, and dirty, with all thoughts of any ultimate value being temporarily obscured, goeswith  the territory (as Alan Watts may have said) of mining value deep down in the coal mine up against the coal face.

On another level, given the foundation, the platform  I stand on is an inspiring partnership among many, many people in many, many countries who are making transformation available on the planet, it's probably also true if I just stand here in integrity, this can't fail - no matter how many faults and flaws Conversations For Transformation may have, no matter how many faults and flaws I may have. You know what they say in the classics: just stand up, open your mouth, and read the dictionary or the telephone directory out loud. It's not the content  anyway. It's never  the content.

While I'm committed to staying open to correction and suggestion, and I do make suggested corrections often and whenever appropriate (that's the beauty of the internet, by the way, as a medium of expression: it's flexible and can be changed and updated often, unlike a book, for example, which once printed, is static, at least until the next printing), I can't always correct what people point out without completely trashing the essay in question and starting over again, so I may chose to leave it exactly the way it is, faults and flaws and all.

Neither can I always duplicate one unique expression which works in one particular Conversations For Transformation essay in another essay. They don't always flow or come that way. That's why I call them "Conversations For Transformation" and not "principles for transformation" or "rules for transformation" or "treatises for transformation". They're much more spontaneous, they're much more fun, much more fluid and malleable, much more rough and down and dirty  than that.



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