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


Do It For Nothing

Exertec, Napa, California, USA

Fourth of July, 2009



This essay, Do It For Nothing, is the fourth in a group of nine written on the Fourth Of July:
  1. Anticipation: Accounting For An American Love Affair
  2. Independence Day
  3. I'd Rather Be With Me
  4. Do It For Nothing
  5. The Only Way Out Is Through
  6. Under All Circumstances
  7. Word Power
  8. When There's Nothing To Say
  9. The Possibility Of Being Independent And Free
in that order.

I am indebted to Nassrin Haghighat who inspired this conversation.




There's never a worse  time or a better  time to share yourself. There's never a worse place  or a better place  to share yourself. It's always now  (what better time is there?); it's always here  (what better place is there?), and you're already yourself. If it's a good  time to share yourself, then share yourself. If it's a bad  time to share yourself, then it's a really a good time to practice sharing yourself in bad times, so share yourself. When you've mastered sharing yourself in bad  times, then the bad times are good  times. Even the bad times are good for sharing yourself (as Brian Poole may have said).

You may not get anything in return for sharing yourself. There's no guarantee you will. And you may. But you don't need anything in return to validate or to reward sharing yourself. Sharing yourself is its own validation and its own reward. If you have it that it requires getting something in return to validate or to reward sharing yourself, then sharing yourself that way is arguably inauthenticity  ie it's not what it appears to be - it's more likely to be closer akin to manipulation  than it is to sharing.

Share yourself regardless of whether you anticipate you'll get anything in return, or not. That's not to be taken as encouragement nor as a motivational directive  but rather as a clarification:  it's just what's so about what it takes to really  share yourself ie what it takes to make available who you really are. Once you start manipulating the environment to make it conducive to sharing yourself, once you start bargaining with circumstance  to make it easier to be who you really are (or worse, to profit  from being who you really are), something is imposed which effectively obfuscates  who you really are.

Listen:  this doesn't eschew authentic occasions for manipulating the environment and bargaining with circumstance. Nor does it suggest transformation requires renouncing profit, not profiting at all, or retiring to a monastery and giving up all your worldly possessions. Rather, it points to the "Go!"  switch for sharing yourself as totally distinct from  environment, circumstance, and profit.
Werner Erhard says "If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place.". Transformation is only useful when it's taken out into the world. In life you can be who you really are, and you can profit - both. But if you're being who you really are in order to  profit, something is blurred  which effectively stops the authentic expression of who you really are. You can't get anywhere with one foot on the gas and the other foot on the brake at the same time.

Do it for nothing. Share yourself in order to share yourself  ... for no other reason. If you must  have a reason for sharing yourself, try this: share yourself because you say  you'll share yourself ... for no other reason.

Sharing yourself isn't a function of feeling good  ie whenever you feel good, that's a good time to share yourself - otherwise it's not. Sharing yourself isn't a function of having your act together  ie whenever you have your act together, that's a good time to share yourself - otherwise it's not. Really sharing yourself is an act of intention - anytime, under any circumstances. As a matter of fact, there's really no such thing  as sharing yourself unless it's done intentionally, unless it's an act of intention.

Share yourself with anyone and everyone. Share yourself with those you consider to be enlightened  (which, by the way, is called preaching to the choir)  and equally with those you consider to be unenlightened. See if you're thrown  to share yourself less readily with those you consider to be unenlightened. See if you can distinguish your judgement in the matter (which, by the way, is really a form of prejudice). What, for example, does your judging machinery tell you about those it considers to be unenlightened? Notice whether you have it that your judging machinery is accurate in its assessment, or not.

Share yourself regardless of whether you get love back or not. See if you can distinguish whether or not you only share yourself when you know you'll get love back. See if you can distinguish whether or not if you've determined in advance you won't get love back, then you'll back off from sharing yourself.

Share yourself as an act of intention in order to share yourself as an act of intention. For no other reason. For no other validation. For no other reward. Do it for nothing.



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