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



The Plaza, Sonoma, California, USA

March 9, 2010

"He stood in front of us - this tall, slender, immaculately dressed blue-eyed man - in full view, for sixteen hours each day, two successive days in a row. Not once did he leave the room for food or rest. Not once did his attention or concentration slack. He had virtually total recall of anything said to him by a trainee and would refer back to things said earlier with minute accuracy. He remembered why each of us had enrolled; and he knew what we thought our problems were. At midnight he seemed as clean and well pressed, and as fresh, as he had been at eight o'clock that morning. Like most things he did, this was also a kind of ... demonstration."
... Professor William Warren Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, in his introduction to "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est"
This essay, Demonstration, is the companion piece to It is also the fifteenth in an open group Encounters With A Friend:
  1. Showing Up
  2. Poet Laureate
  3. A Man In The Crowd
  4. Real Men Cry
  5. A Different Set Of Rules
  6. Nametag: A True Story
  7. Half-Life
  8. Waiting On You
  9. Erotica On Schedule
  10. A House On Franklin Street
  11. NeXT
  12. Reflection On A Window
  13. Here And There
  14. How To Enroll The World
  15. Demonstration
  16. Two Of Me II: Confirmation Not Correction
  17. Holiday Spectacular
  18. Hello! How Are Things Going For You?
  19. Regular Guy
  20. A Scholar And A Gentleman
  21. Images Of You
  22. With Nothing Going On
  23. Where No One Has Gone Before
  24. Attachment: Causeway Between Islands
  25. If You're Not Then Don't
  26. Images Of You II
  27. Living Where Life Is
  28. Create Me The Way I Am
  29. How Do You Spell The Sound A Ratchet Makes?
  30. You Don't Ask "Why Me?"  When It's Raining II
  31. The Stink Of Zen
  32. Sitting Quietly In A Room Alone
  33. Footsteps On Metal Stairs
so far, in that order.

It is also the prequel to Full Self-Expression: Demonstration II.

I am indebted to Charlene Afremow who inspired this conversation, and to Barry Colton and to Charlene Afremow and to Nancy Scott and to Elizabeth Russell and who contributed material.

Listening to you, transformation makes sense. That's actually a lot closer to the truth than what others may think I'm saying. Usually when we say something makes sense  we're implying it's congruent  with ie it fits our belief systems of what's possible. Said another way, when we say something makes sense we're implying it fits into what we already believe  is possible.

Transformation never  fits into any belief system of what's possible because transformation completely recontextualizes  what we believe is possible. And that's besides the fact that along the way to recontextualizing what we believe is possible, transformation also totally recontextualizes  belief systems themselves; that is to say transformation recontextualizes  exactly what it is to believe. Standing in transformation, people need belief systems about as much as fish need bicycles (as Patricia Irene "Irina" Dunn may have said).

Being rigorous, what I'm saying when I say "transformation makes sense" is "transformation makes sense possible". The former is already slotted in  to something we think we know but don't really. The latter is sourceful, generative, unconstrained, and open ended.

One holographic slice  of transformation making sense is delivered by you speaking it and consequently by me listening it. And (if I don't stay awake to it) along with speaking transformation and listening transformation comes a certain inevitable wanting to explain  it and understand  it. I notice neither explaining transformation nor understanding transformation are required to actually deliver  transformation nor to live it. Rather, explaining and understanding show up around transformation because that's what seems to happen when people talk, be it about transformation or about anything else.

Another holographic slice of transformation is its rich body of distinctions  which sets up the support structure for transformation and teases out  the context  in which transformation occurs. Although the distinctions of transformation may initially seem challenging intellectually, their value isn't the property of only the intellectually facile. Rather, once they're in place (which is to say once they're distinguished  then put in place like, for example, the distinction of mind  as distinct from Self), they become bastions ie axioms  of Conversations For Transformation. They become the very bricks with which the structure of Conversations For Transformation is built.

So I stand in the structure of Conversations For Transformation and as long as I'm in these Conversations For Transformation speaking transformation and listening transformation or vice versa as the case may be, my life is transformed. Many of the things I listen you say transform my life. Many of the things you say inspire me. Actually that's putting it mildly. The truth is closer to "Many of the things you say rock my world", one of which is this:

Photography by Ray "Scotty" Morris - Left to right: Ted Long, Laurel Scheaf, Werner Erhard, Charlene Afremow, Randy McNamara, Landon Carter, Phyllis Allen, Ron Bynum, Ron Browning - California Street Building aka "CSB" - December 1977
Werner Erhard with
est  Trainers




When I first heard you say it my initial thought was "God‑damn!  This guy's got it. He's really  got it.". Starting from that moment on into the present day and beyond, my subsequent thoughts are tinged with a new, vivid shade of joy, a new buoyancy which is accounted for as follows: if I'm the only one who knows transformation is being in Conversations For Transformation, then who's to say it's not just my own private fantasy? But if I'm clear you know it too, and I know you're not simply humoring  me by agreeing with me, then it's a confirmation of who I'm being ie it's a validation of my experience.

You don't need to explain it to me and I don't need to understand it. Both of those are bicycles fish don't need. It's who you're being  which is the demonstration  of it. Whenever I'm challenged by the awesome expanse of transformation's infinite possibilities, when the voice in my head whines "It's too vast - I can't go there", I realize none of my cleverness, none of my intelligence, none of my knowing how it all works  will get me to go there. Even my common sense  tells me not to go there. Of course, there's a cost to not taking on the challenge of the awesome expanse of transformation's infinite possibilities: what it costs me is a loss of power, a diminished sense of presence of Self, a disappointing compromised integrity, and the ultimate cost: getting my old life back. When that's what it's like, there's only one thing which empowers me to not stop, which empowers me to move on, which empowers me to keep on forwarding the action, which empowers me to not settle for business as usual  and that's you  - the demonstration of what's possible with transformation.

If you can be it, especially in those  spaces, then clearly it's possible to be it - ergo  I can too. You hold up a sign which reads "The horse is going that  way". I get it. I'm delighted  when I get it. I'm also slightly peeved with myself for not getting it by myself sooner. "A-Ha!"  I shout in triumph, shifting my balance to ride in this direction, allowing all the struggle and effort to fall away onto the trail behind me.

It's so great being around you. It's more than that actually. It's a privilege. You're a one way ticket direct to Self - - on time departure, express, non-stop, no changing planes. When I'm with you, I realize none of my cleverness, none of my intelligence, none of my knowing how it all works matters. When I'm with you, I get there's nothing  to get all over again - so be!

You're an intergalactic treasure in our universe's village square. People who mess with you haven't a clue who they're dealing with. You're the source of the ecstasy in my life. I can never thank you enough for the demonstration you are.

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