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

Creating Them For Myself

Napa Valley, California, USA

August 28, 2018

"There are certain things you can only know by creating them for yourself."  ...   transcribed to a post-it note* by Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize-winning physicist 
This essay, Creating Them For Myself, is the second in the thirteenth trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. Worthy Of The Company
  2. Creating Them For Myself
  3. Standing With Masters
in that order.
The first trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Prelude
  2. Ask Me Anything
  3. Coming Around Again
in that order.
The second trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Familiar Unfamiliar Territory
  2. Interview
  3. Straight Talk
in that order.
The third trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Dancing With My Mouth
  2. Cave Paintings
  3. Velvet Tsunami
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Creating Creating
  2. Tell Me Something About Nothing
  3. Lucid Disclosures
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Closer And Closer
  2. Tête À Tête
  3. Dancing With Life
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?
  2. Wonderings About Nothing In Particular
  3. Tipping Point
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Beyond Breathing Underwater
  2. Bold Faced Truth
  3. What You Create For Yourself About Me
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Once In A Lifetime
  2. Fireside Chat
  3. Whole And Complete
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Questions For A Friend
  2. Nothing Else I'd Rather Be Doing
  3. Free To Be And Free To Act
in that order.
The tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Attracted To Dance
  2. I Told A Friend I Love You
  3. Terse Transformed Communication
in that order.
The eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. A Context Worth Playing In
  2. Tie The Brush To My Hand
  3. Unimaginably Terse
in that order.
The twelfth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Will I Do When You Die?
  2. Access
  3. The Newest Piece Of Work
in that order.
The fourteenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. This Context Of Privilege
  2. I'm Not Going To Let It Go
  3. Questions For A Friend XIV III: Not Yet Titled (working title)
in that order.

This is the blueprint, my working notes  if you will, for an upcoming exchange with Werner. It's an exchange I'll flesh out for the thirteenth group of essays in the collection I call Questions For A Friend. Consistent with my intention to work totally overtly like an artist in a glass walled studio, I present this as a work in progress.

Top Ten Questions Chosen From Hundreds Over Two Weeks

 1)  I had an aunt whom I loved dearly. And when I was a child, whenever I asserted myself (nurtured children discover how to authentically assert themselves), she would ask "But what if you're wrong, Laurence?". It took me decades to locate and undo the damage that did to my sense of being certain and self-assured. I've struggled at the start of new, major direction-changes in my life, with the question "How do you know you're right?".

First question:

"You got what you got on the Golden Gate Bridge by yourself. There was no guarantee sharing it would work. Now there's overwhelming evidence of the brilliance of your move. But at the time, how did you know you were right?"

 2)  Given who I know you to be, there could be two views you have of the body of work you've unleashed, and the impact it's had on the world. The first view could be the masterful, detached view "It happened" ie it simply unfolded in the process of Life itself, and it's not personal, and if you hadn't have done it, someone else would have. The second is more personal. I want to know your personal view (of course, a personal view can also be a masterful, detached view).

Second question:

"Your friends' sense of what you've made available, is awe, astonishment, even gratitude. What's your sense of what you've done?"

 3)  It's my argument (at least with certain listeners) that your work honors and fulfills all disciplines, all religions, all philosophies, and possibly all therapies as well - or is at least able to provide what their core missions consider their outcomes to be, and then takes them way beyond that, into a totally new realm. On the other hand, blurring the lines between any and all of the above, however well-intended, may only add unnecessary and unwanted confusion.

Third question:

"You're on record saying that of all the disciplines you engaged with before creating the magnum opus of transformation, Zen was the essential one. What's your relationship with Zen and the classic disciplines today?"

 4)  History shows that for the nearly 50 years that you've been bringing forth the work 24 / 7 / 365, you've never lagged or stopped or taken a hiatus or a sabbatical from generating it. New iterations have stood on the shoulders of what came before, and sometimes new iterations were breakthroughs not  standing on anything that came before.

Fourth question:

"What are you working on these days? What chapter are you currently writing?"

 5)  I personally consider the Leadership Course to be the crowning jewel of your work - at least, so far. Something happened to me in the Leadership Course, an explanation for which I don't have, which left me being naturally and effortlessly at cause in my life.

Fifth question:

"It's been ten months since I took the Leadership Course from you in Cancun. The vast amount of material you presented (slides, videos, research from business, neuro-science etc) has faded from my memory. Yet I've not ceased newly and ongoingly being a leader and exercising leadership as my natural Self-expression in any situation and no matter what the circumstances. Clearly, realizing this promise didn't require cramming and remembering, the way traditional education does. How did you do that?"

 6)  I'm not a big fan of the idea that you won't be around forever. I can't bear it, actually. With trepidation, I want to know about the changing of the guard, about what it may look like in a post-Werner world.

Sixth question:

"You're irreplaceable. That said, how do you envision (how will you designate) your successor: a specific individual? a team? an idea?"

 7)  The moment people get transformation, is like the pointy base of a huge letter Vee:  the longer we create it, onward and upward, the wider apart its sides get, and the more possibilities show up. So starting with the moment of the onset of transformation, it's all  transformation. Today, there's so much going on in your vast body of work, that as an answer to the question "What's Werner's work about?" from someone who doesn't yet know what you do, "Transformation" fails - on account of a) it preaches to the choir, and b) there's so much more on offer than just transformation (although that's the bedrock it's all grounded on).

Seventh question:

"There was once a one-word answer to the question 'What's Werner's work about?'. That one-word answer was 'Transformation.'. What one word (or phrase) answers that question today?"

 8)  The work of transformation presents a rich, treasure trove of ideas and distinctions. In it, there's one particular area in which you've been singularly inspired: it's in getting yourself out of the way  as the central focus of the work, allowing it to focus on who people really are, and on what's possible for people. That said, I'm clear that without what you've done personally, we wouldn't be having this conversation (or any other conversations for transformation either) at all. Really.

Eighth question:

"What requisite quality do you personally bring to bear, without which the work could never have become what it is?"

 9)  You've said the gates to the temple of truth are guarded by two dragons: paradox, and confusion. And the essential paradox of transformation is a) things are OK the way they are (and the way they aren't), yet b) transformation calls us to share it, which implies a sea change from the way it is. On re-thinking this however, the second horn of the paradox could, I suppose, be implicit in the first.

Ninth question:

"Have we reached critical mass? Has the work of transformation impacted (become embedded in) the fabric of society profoundly enough to ensure this conversation will go on forever?"

 10)  In the karass  (which is a term coined by the writer Kurt Vonnegut to mean a network or a group of people) in which you move, there are extraordinarily talented leaders, artists, sculptors, painters, poets, physicists, mathematicians, religious leaders, Zen masters, professional athletes, Wall Street financiers, historians, Silicon Valley whizz-kids, musicians, champion race car drivers etc, and also many plain ol' ordinary folks just like you and me. In that lofty company, someone must have said something about your work, which was a once-in-a-lifetime zinger  that just took your breath away.

Tenth question:

"The Feynman note* aside, what do you consider to be the most validating acknowledgement you've ever received?"

Completion, And Statement Of Purpose

I know you. Man! I really know you. The purpose of these exchanges, and where the preponderance of their value comes from, is fulfilled by this opportunity to be with you, and to be in this conversation with you, and to share it with the world. Please answer as many of these questions as you want to. Feel free to answer some of them, or all of them, or none at all. My objective in asking them, has already been realized. Simply in engaging with you in this conversation, I already got 90% of the value there is to get from this. Take your time.

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