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 - Thirteen Years Later:

A Certain Space

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

August 17, 2016

edward estlin "e e" cummings

Photograph courtesy

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart) "Miracles are to come. With you I leave a remembrance of miracles:they are by somebody who can love and who shall be continually reborn,a human being;somebody who said to those near him,when his fingers would not hold a brush 'tie it to my hand'--"
 ... e e cummings, A Poet's Life, read out loud by  
George Bernard Shaw

Photograph courtesy "This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
 ... George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, read out loud by  
This essay, Essays - Thirteen Years Later: A Certain Space, is the thirteenth 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: Lenses Of Creativity
  15. Essays - Fifteen Years Later: Essence
  16. Essays - Sixteen Years Later: It's All In The Mouth
  17. Essays - Seventeen Years Later: The Heart Of The Matter
in that order.

It is also the sequel to Uncommon Correspondence.

Today is the thirteenth anniversary of this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays. Thank you for generously providing a certain space within which this collection ie this expression of acknowledgement of Werner Erhard who introduced me to transformation, is empowered to come to life. If, after all this, I'm clear about one thing, it's that when I have something to say, if it doesn't effortlessly and naturally call forth this certain space, then it's probably not worth saying anyway.

This certain space is your listening. It's the context for this internet series of essays ie it's the space in which they occur. I'm not saying "a certain space" implying it has a je ne sais quoi  (that's French for "I do not know what") quality to it. Rather I'm saying "a certain  space" implying it's reliable, count-on-able, trustworthy, sure, and intent. In other words, it's something I can comfortably be around and commit to. It's this certain space which supports and is conducive to full Self-expression.

         Conversations For Transformation
                   Essays By Laurence Platt
     Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard
                                And More

                           Click to expand
Conversations For Transformation
Essays By Laurence Platt
Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard
And More

Having No Point Is What Makes This Great, Really

A friend of mine, having been introduced to these Conversations For Transformation for the first time, asked me what my point was. She posed her question as a challenge. Her  implicit point was: everything we do has a point. I told her I don't have a point. There's no point I'm trying to make. "So why do you do what you do? Why do you write?" she asked (again the challenge: there's got  to be a point). I write because I write. That's the whole expression. Indeed, what  I write is merely a by-line. There's nothing else. There's no ulterior motive.

A long moment of silence ensued. I'm not a mind-reader. I don't know what she was thinking (and no one else has any way of knowing either). It's possible, however, that something started to open up for her as she confronted this project unfolding now over its thirteenth year of the making ... for which there's no point. We're so attached to the notion that there's got to be a point or that there's got to be a reason for everything we do. Well ... there may be. What we overlook or avoid or aren't always willing to confront, is there may not  be. Maybe we just do what we do because we do. Maybe.

In any project for which there's a point or a reason, it could be said it's the point and / or the reason which drives it and has it unfold. In this particular project which doesn't have a point or a reason, there's a whole new possibility of being to confront: the possibility of being solely for the purpose of being, the possibility of being solely for the point of being, the possibility of being solely for the reason of being. Nothing else.

But she (just like I was a few years ago) wasn't (yet) ready to hear that. I could tell she was confronted by it. Yes, to her credit, she stayed with it. I recognize that as the bigness she is. I recognize it because I've been there myself so many times before in my conversations with Werner. It's like the air we breathe and the ground we walk on, that there's got to be a point and / or a reason. True freedom starts when we realize none of this came with a reason - and if there's to be a reason, it's whatever reason we impose on it. Maybe.

Werner As Source

There's no particular qualification required to source transformation other than to open your mouth and just speak it. And the way you hone your ability to speak transformation is you speak it again and again and again. That said, the starting premise for sourcing transformation, is that anyone  can do this. Anyone. It doesn't require some special attribute in the same way as being seven foot tall is a useful attribute to have if you intend to play professional basketball. No, anyone can do this. Over time I've gained experience in what works for me and what doesn't work for me. Over time I've had opportunities to get feedback from people. When I listen them, I can correct myself.

Transformation is an intangible which, like love, is easier to know from direct experience, than it is to describe. With these Conversations For Transformation, one of their common themes is to speak transformation (and love, to a certain extent). In this regard, many of their sub-plots differentiate between speaking transformation, and speaking about  transformation.

In my own experience, if there's been something that's qualified me to do this other than just doing it, it's being around Werner. I say that because it's got to be said in the interests of full disclosure. Not saying it, yet continuing to write these Conversations For Transformation essays without acknowledging Werner as source, has no integrity. These essays didn't come about because one day I sat down and decided to write something. No, they came about out of the time I've been around Werner. If that didn't happen, it's unlikely I would have written anything like this. It just plain wouldn't have happened.

There's a particular experience people have being around Werner which by now has made inroads into almost all the countries and cultures of our world, into major business and academic enterprises and government entities, which has impacted them in ways which we haven't yet begun to gauge. It's often suggested that being in this course or being in that course offers the authentic experience as originated by Werner. That's probably true. These Conversations For Transformation draw on all these experiences. But in particular they draw on my experience of who Werner is (or, spoken more accurately if not less colloquially, they draw on my experience of who Werner be's  with me when I'm around him), to the point where without that, there's a less than zero probability they would have come into existence at all.

I celebrate this fortuitous opportunity every day of my life. I'm glad things turned out this way. I'm glad it's in my life and can emerge from this platform.

What Works

Here's what's works for me: what really works for me is being correctable ie allowing myself to be corrected. That's a big advantage in a work like this whose medium is the internet: I can apply being corrected to changing, altering, and editing essays easily and quickly. To be sure, I don't accept all corrections without considering them first. That said, there are some smart people out there, some very  smart people. And it's really my good fortune that many of them offer coaching for saying what I've been saying both literally and technically, in ways which are sometimes more effective than the ways in which I've been saying them. I consider it a gift to be able to include their corrections in my online work (y'all know who you are: Thank You!).

Paintings and books and even finished CDs don't have this luxury. Once a painting is painted or a book published or a CD burned, for the most part that's its final form. Conversations For Transformation on the other hand, like living itself, are ongoingly malleable. Allowing people to contribute to me and to this work wasn't easy for me at first. I had to get over my erstwhile penchant for getting it right all by myself - an idée fixe  left over from early childhood, now no longer either necessary or useful.

With that behind me, I realized what a contribution others could make, and that Conversations For Transformation, in addition to being a platform for speaking something, could also be an opening for people to contribute. I maintain final arbitration over matters such as style and any non-traditional uses of grammar and punctuation when they're required to render transformation in writing. I'll freely break with the classic rules of grammar and punctuation when they're impediments to transformation being authentically expressed. Those who offer grammar and punctuation corrections without allowing for this, may experience some frustration with me flouting the traditional rules in this way.

Actually I know what it feels like for them. I was once like them about these rules myself too. I was no different than  them.

Haven't I Heard This Before?

Are these Conversations For Transformation repetitive? Absolutely  they are. In fact that's the whole idea. There's a source experience of transformation here which, when not recreated over and over and over again, goes away. That's simply its behavior: it disappears if it's left alone and not recreated. Such is the nature of transformation.

What this project is then, is a means of bringing transformation to the foreground over and over and over again. The individual essay topics themselves are merely vehicles for carrying this out. Essentially a conversation for transformation goes on forever, speaking and listening transformation over and over and over and over. We, however, have short spans of attention. And as for listening, we never have and we never will  (as Werner may have said). So to keep things interesting, it's necessary to change the subject every so often, every once in a while. If you don't agitate the bathwater occasionally, you may not realize it's still warm.

With that said, the idea here isn't to merely present many different topics and to move from one topic to the next. That may be what works in making movies, and it may be what works in making tech. But it isn't what's happening here. Perhaps the only  value in coming up with a new essay twice a week, is to maintain interest in the core experience at the heart of all of them - which is the same core experience for each of them.

This core experience is the experience of transformation. It's the experience of transformation which, it could be said, is only brought forth by speaking. When I stop speaking, I have no facility for bringing forth transformation. None. And neither do you. And without a facility for bringing forth transformation (ie for giving it away), I have no facility for having transformation for myself in my life. None. And neither do you.

Being Used By Something Bigger Than Myself

This is essay number one thousand one hundred and seventy four. The Conversations For Transformation website to which it's published, has received over one million one hundred and twelve thousand views. None of that means anything. It's just what's so. There's no shortage of material. And what ensures there's no shortage of material is that these essays aren't about  anything. Rather they're from  something.

What does it mean: they're "from" something? Being from something, they make something available. They bring something forth. Look: as stoopid  as it sounds, it's true the way to bring forth transformation in your life is by giving it away. That's the way it works. Even though these essays may look, read, and feel as if being about something is their raison d'etre, that's not it. No, there's no raison d'etre. What they do is provide a platform from which to give Werner's work and transformation away. That's all. And as such, there's a literally endless supply of material. This endless supply uses  me. Often the titles of these essays reveal themselves to me before I've ever considered what they'll be about. Their titles are their entry points. Once the entry point is established, access to the material is wide open. My job is to expand and to share from that material.

Sometimes there's no material in sight for a new essay as its publishing deadline rapidly approaches. When that happens, I'll add a new title to the contents page of the website as a work in progress  ie as a coming attraction, and then I'll sit with it as an abstract until I start writing it. At first, there's maybe nothing forthcoming. Indeed it sometimes seems at times like these as if each essay starts with chronic writer's block. But I've done this long enough to know writer's block is just the signal to start writing. It's when the "On Air"  sign illuminates in the studio. So I start. Thereafter the essays seem to write themselves.

By the way: I never deal directly with writer's block. Rather it just seems to disappear all by itself into the process of writing - or, stated more rigorously, it just seems to disappear all by itself into the new ways of being which call me powerfully into being, and into the new openings for action which call me powerfully into action (as Landmark Forum Leader may have said) (if you're assuming I should have said "as a  Landmark Forum Leader may have said", no that's not it).

You could say something's using me to write these essays. And you could also say whatever it is that's using me, I've given it my permission to use me. You could say I'm being used by the truth. Now if that indeed is what's really using me (and I'm not attached to that being so ... but it could be), then it's a privilege not to be taken lightly. So I don't take this lightly.

Does It Make Any Difference?

In the end, the question to ask is "Does it make any difference?". Do Conversations For Transformation make any difference? I mean really?  Look: it's going to turn out whichever way it's going to turn out anyway. It's been doing that for millennia. And it'll continue doing that for millennia to come. So in all likelihood, the answer to the question is no, Conversations For Transformation don't make any difference. What Conversations For Transformation do allow for however, is creating new possibilities for ourselves and our lives, and for living in a way that's creative, applied, and fulfilled - regardless of the circumstances.

That's an essential distinction to make. Trying to make a difference in the way the world turns out is tantamount to trying to change the world. We've been attempting that forever, and how's that going for us? Making a difference in the way we live our lives ie making a difference in the possibilities we invent for ourselves, on the other hand? Now that's  something we do have some power to implement. It's this latter domain in which I say these Conversations For Transformation belong.

They belong here. With you. In a certain space.

Listen: Thank You. For Everything.

In particular (and mostly) Thank You for Your Relationship with Werner.

You have my Love and Respect as always.

Laurence Platt

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