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


Essays - One Year Later:

Critical Mass

Sonoma, California, USA

August 17, 2004



This essay, Essays - One Year Later: Critical Mass, is the first annual State Of The Union  celebration of Conversations For Transformation:
  1. Essays - One Year Later: Critical Mass
  2. Essays - Two Years Later: Glass Walled Studio
  3. Essays - Three Years Later: Internet Presence
  4. Essays - Four Years Later: Side By Side
  5. Essays - Five Years Later: Arm In Arm
  6. Essays - Six Years Later: A Very Good Year
  7. Essays - Seven Years Later: By My Self
  8. Essays - Eight Years Later: Riding The Open Range
  9. Essays - Nine Years Later: Recreation
  10. Essays - Ten Years Later: Decade
  11. Essays - Eleven Years Later: Unimaginable
  12. Essays - Twelve Years Later: A New Beginning
  13. Essays - Thirteen Years Later: A Certain Space
  14. Essays - Fourteen Years Later: Not Yet Titled (working title)
in that order.




Conversations For Transformation
Conversations For Transformation
Essays By Laurence Platt
Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard
And More
Exactly one year ago today when I launched this Conversations For Transformation website as a platform for my essays inspired by the ideas of Werner Erhard and more, I intended it would receive one thousand views a month. This website is now twelve months old and has received over fourteen thousand six hundred views, exceeding my original intention for one year by over two thousand six hundred views/

In the currency of the internet where a well trafficked website can receive that many views in an hour, fourteen thousand six hundred views in twelve months is chump change. But in the currency of possibility and enrollment, fourteen thousand six hundred views is that many new worlds of transformation.

In my school years, I enjoyed writing (we called it "composition"). My teachers said that while my compositions were straight and accurate, they had no zest. How I tried to change that then! How I aspire to write more that way now! The first transformational writings fell out of my mouth (or perhaps I should say "fell out of my pen") in 1969. They are some of the koans which appear in my koan collection Not Writing.

At first I had no intention to express transformation in writing. In fact I had no idea either, for that matter, that transformation could  be expressed in writing. And even now that I am that transformation can be expressed and received by writing and reading, I personally regard this form of communication as one degree of separation away from what is arguably the  way transformation is expressed and received: by speaking and listening face to face.

Ever since I was born I have been aware that my true nature is transformation. When I met Werner Erhard in 1978, his friendship and education enabled me to eventually marshal my language to express that transformation in my day to day conversations and inspired me to write some of them down.

Fulfilling a promise I made to him in the kitchen of the Franklin House in San Francisco at 2:00am one morning in 1979, I went to South Africa and over the course of a year led the first series of ten guest seminars around the country in the major cities which resulted in the first thousand enrollments in South Africa, starting Werner's work there completely.

But that environment and that experience wasn't just any environment and nor was it just any experience. That environment was endarkened by the halcyon apartheid years during which inviting both black guests and white guests to my seminars was a criminal act. Cohabitation among black people and white people contravened the so-called "Immorality Act" in South Africa which was a capital offense.

Speaking transformation into that listening trained me in ways the depths of which I am still plumbing twenty five years later. I got totally clear in that experience that expressing transformation is not sanctioned by the environment. For me, you express transformation in order to express transformation. There is no ulterior motive.

Today Nelson Mandela's grandchildren are graduates of Werner's work in South Africa, and Mark Shuttleworth is the second civilian on the planet to pay a space agency $20,000,000.00 to travel by rocket into outer space, having invented the possibility of doing so in his Landmark Advanced Course in South Africa.

I was trained to speak transformation, mostly by being around Werner. But what really created an entirely new possibility for me as a writer was reading Professor William Warren Bartley III's biography of Werner titled "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est". It is must read reading not only for people who want to know how Werner's work started, but also for people who want to know about the layers upon layers of experiences that Werner had along the road to being transformed. Reading "The Transformation of a Man", I got that Bill Bartley had created arguably the finest example ever that all of it can  be communicated in writing. My writing muse was validated, confirmed, unleashed, and up and running.

When my essays had almost reached critical mass but were not yet published, they were housed in various places, inter alia: One day while riding my bicycle through the vineyards of the Napa Valley, I had an epiphany: make my writing available to as wide an audience as possible!  Within a day I launched this website, posting at first a selected stock of vintage writing.

I don't have a plan for writing. All I do is express mySelf coming from transformation and the message takes care of itself. I don't put a lot of significance into what I write. The intention of my essays is that in reading them you get where I stand when I write them. Where I stand when I write them is in nothing ie in the space of transformation. If you get that when you read them, they succeed. If you go off into the meaning when you read them, they fail.

Each essay is holographic. Any part is the whole and the whole is any part. Each essay appears to me all at once, whole and complete. Sometimes that process is sudden ("BAM! There's another one! Grab it quick!"), as with Skydiving. Sometimes that process is gradual, like looking under the couch in the dark for the remote control and finding instead that beautiful crystal marble which rolled there a long time ago which you had totally forgotten about, as with Vast. Other times I have an experience I am obligated to flesh out and expand, as with The Whole Truth, which shares completing with my father Asher Manfred, and with Nothing But The Truth, which shares completing with my my mother Andee (I really want you to get that: The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth). Whichever way they make their presence known to me, when these essays show up, they show up - all at once, whole and complete. All I do is whittle away at them like a carver whimsically paring a piece of balsa wood with a sharp knife. It's not that I carve essays out of wood. Rather, I pare away any excess wood that keeps the essays hidden. Or, like wire mesh which holds adobe onto the hacienda and ivy onto the topiary, these essays provide a framework on which your already transformation is empowered.

These essays are my gift to you. There is no charge. Since I launched this website exactly one year ago today and made these essays available, they have been read and studied in seminars around the world. They have been translated into the Thai language. They have been read on the radio in Bangkok during peak commute hours. And with none of those projects had I anything to do: like everyone else, I found out what happened after the fact. These essays have a life of their own, and they have legs.

You may link to this website. You may copy these essays. You may reprint them. You may distribute them by e-mail or by any other means as many times as you wish. You don't require my permission to do any of that. My only request is you reproduce them accurately and exactly and in their entirety. Please change nothing - not one comma, not one period. Please leave nothing out. Please be sure each title stays clearly visible stating the essays are written by me inspired by the ideas of Werner Erhard and more. Beyond that, they're yours to own and to share as you see fit. I write these Conversations For Transformation for You.

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