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 - Fourteen Years Later:

Lenses Of Creativity

Charles Krug Winery, St Helena Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

August 17, 2017

"If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place."
"We cannot put off living until we are ready. The most salient characteristic of Life is its coerciveness: it is always urgent, here and now  without any possible postponement. Life is fired at us point blank."
... Jose Ortega y Gasset read out loud by  
This essay, Essays - Fourteen Years Later: Lenses Of Creativity, is the fourteenth 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
  18. Essays - Eighteen Years Later: The Heart Of The Matter
  19. Essays - Nineteen Years Later: On Being Used By Something Bigger Than Myself
in that order.

I am indebted to the Chief who inspired this conversation.

Creativity is a lens if you will, which refracts the realm of all possibility as possibility, onto the realm of all possibility real in the world. Since the realm of all possibility as possibility is infinite, the realm of all possibility real in the world, is infinite too. You and I are the space ie you are I are the context  in which that lens shows up.

That's who (or if you prefer, what)  we human beings really are ie that's the quintessential role we play in the infinite scheme of things.

Conversations For Transformation As Lenses Of Creativity

Between possibility as possibility, and possibility real in the world, we stand: the lenses of creativity. The epiphany from which this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays arose fourteen years ago today, wasn't based on (which is to say it wasn't grounded in) possibility as possibility (at least that's not what I had in mind at the time). Neither was it grounded in possibility real in the world (that came later).

         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
What I saw riding my Cannondale  bicycle that day between the towns of Yountville and Napa in the Napa Valley aka the wine country  in California where I live, is the lens of creativity that I am ie the lens of creativity that we are, in the matter of bringing forth possibility as possibility, and having it become possibility real in the world.

What I saw ie what I realized was within my reach to bring forth, was pretty bold, pretty audacious you could say. But it was what I saw which wasn't  (yet) in my reach, which really shaped this project. I saw I hadn't mastered the abstracts and language of possibility as possibility. And therefore to speak from and about possibility as possibility, may not have been my best approach. I simply wasn't qualified to do so.

I saw that if I did venture down that path, my ignorance would show. And people being people, would notice my ignorance showing, even if my friends would forgive me anyway in lieu of the courage it takes to be willfully ignorant in public in the interests of full disclosure, and to be authentic in telling the truth about what I know that I don't know.

I also saw I wasn't qualified to say too much about possibility real in the world. Again, I wasn't practiced in this area, so I had the same concern about not burdening a reading public with my however well-intentioned ignorance. But more to the point, the matter of possibility as real in the world, has already been thoroughly covered both in great detail as well as in great depth (brilliantly so, I might add in my opinion) by Werner Erhard and his work which is extensively available worldwide. I saw, in other words, there's no point in re-inventing the wheel.

Somewhere in the middle ground, I saw the opening which called me, the opening from which I knew I could provide something truthful, something unique, something personal (and so, something authentic), something worthwhile, something useful. I saw I could provide (in the sense of make available)  an example of the lens of creativity I am, positioned as I seem to be between the two great realms of possibility: possibility as possibility, and possibility real in the world.

And again I saw I wasn't skilled, schooled, or facile with discussing who you and I are as unique lenses of creativity in the way I construe a lens of creativity to be. Yet that didn't seem to present the same insurmountable issues as discussing the two great realms of possibility did. I saw all I would have to do to provide access to the lens of creativity you and I are, is be creative  - neither skill, nor schooling, nor facility would be required. My intention then, became to simply be creative in lieu of  discussing who you and I are as unique lenses of creativity. That commitment to being creative has resulted in this Conversations For Transformation internet series of now nearly one thousand three hundred essays over fourteen years.

My exposé of creativity then, would be one of demonstration  rather than of intellectual explanation. In other words, its intention would be to make a certain experience of creativity tangible and easily recognizable, rather than to provide a mere understanding of the creative process and the steps one may follow in order to create something. In this way, each essay in this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays, would be a lens of creativity. And although each essay would of necessity create something, their power would lie not in what they create but rather in being (and thereby providing access to) the lens they are - in other words, secondarily it's their subject matter, but primarily it's the mere fact that they be.

Creativity As Proof Of Itself

With lenses of creativity themselves as my envisioned end products, one approach could be to prove  something. I could cite all the research. I could acknowledge all the forefathers of and all the precursors to the subject of creativity. I could compile and share a bibliography of papers written on the subject as my references. I could even recreate the widely accepted memes and theories of the day as to the view of what creativity really is and / or what it really isn't.

If I did all of the above, there would probably be a great deal of agreement for having that particular view. I'd likely be offered kudos  for adopting that view, especially by people who in their own particular view of studying creativity and saying what constitutes it, agree with me.

That view, the view of the observer, the view of the commentator, the view of the critic, the view of the reporter, would be what Werner calls the view from the stands. The view from the stands is so-called because it's based on the view of an observer at a basketball game or at a tennis match watching the game from the stands, having an opinion of the game being played out in front of him on the court. Notice there's nothing wrong with the view from the stands. It's a valid view. It's the view of scores of sports reporters and of thousands  of screaming, deliriously happy fans.

What's clear upon closer inspection is the view from the stands is simply different than (not better  than - simply different  than) the view of a player on the court who is actually in  the game ie who is actually playing the game rather than simply watching the game.
Werner calls the player's view, appropriately enough, the view on the court. Again, the view on the court isn't better than the view from the stands. Yet they're obviously different views with different correlated experiences of the game itself.

What I saw in that epiphany somewhere on the road between Yountville and Napa, is another approach which would work with far greater impact. I saw I had to provide an on the court view of what it is to be a lens of creativity, rather than a view from the stands. And how do you provide an on the court view of what it is to be a lens of creativity? You be  a lens of creativity, yes? ie you be  creative. Merely describing a lens of creativity, and even what it takes to be a lens of creativity, is and always will be the view from the stands. The view on the court of what being a lens of creativity is, is being a lens of creativity.

I saw that if I were simply being a lens of creativity, which is to say I saw that if I were simply being creative  (view on the court), I would be saying far, far more about what it is to be creative than if I were to have cited hundreds of books and papers written about  being creative (view from the stands). In other words, being creative would provide proof of creativity itself ie I would provide creativity as proof of itself  - with no further explanation accompanying the evidence. In any case, explanation may risk getting in the way of ie contaminating ie diminishing the power of the demonstration of whatever it is to be creative.

What If It Wasn't Necessary To Create Anything?

In the ordinary course of events, I have a reason to create. I create in order to:  in order to get something, in order to get some-where, in order to accomplish something, in order to fill a need etc etc. But what if none of the above  was necessary? What if the world and Life itself was full and whole and complete exactly the way it is (and exactly the way it isn't) so it wasn't necessary to create anything? Imagine it wasn't necessary to create anything because it was all already there ie all already present, and whole, and complete. Now that  would be an interesting space to be in, an interesting place to come from, an interesting world to live in. It begs the intriguing question: is there ever an option of creating without  the "in order to"?

I like to assume the answer is yes. In the realm of engineering, an engineer may create a bridge in order to span a gorge (there's the reason). But in the realm of art, an artist may paint a painting in order to paint a painting. In this context, the phrase "in order to" cancels itself out in lieu of the thing itself  (there's no reason). Standing in transformation would certainly present an opportunity to do exactly this. More than that, standing in transformation then being creative with no "in order to" would not only illustrate pure creativity (which could be defined as "being creative for the sake of being creative" - that's what the artist does when painting a painting in order to paint a painting) but it would also illustrate the space of transformation.

Listen: it's really hard  to figure out how to illustrate the space of transformation, and actually illustrating it is even harder. The closest we'll probably get to illustrating the space of transformation, is simply by being transformed, by coming from that space, and by being creative "for the sake of being creative". That way, we leave out the middle man (the "middle man" being explanation  / understanding) and people can then get transformation directly, viscerally, immediately, urgently, point blank.

That way, I assert, is the way this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays works best. Each of them are lenses of creativity. To be sure, there's a lot of useful material in them. But "useful material" really belongs in the realm of explanation / understanding. And if there's one thing these Conversations For Transformation are not  designed to impart, it's explanation / understanding. Neither, for that matter, have I found that explaining them (or understanding them, for that matter) adds any value - to the contrary, explaining them and understanding them may actually distract from the experience they make available ie it may only get in their way. The "useful material" is only included to maintain your attention.

The real  impact of what's presented here (that is, if I do this right) results in a getable experience of being creative, which speaks to you and resonates with your own creativity, and makes you go "Yes! I get it", and leaves you coming from your own freed up creativity as your natural Self-expression. That's what allows for a sense of ease about what it is to be transformed.

As for the need to maintain your attention (and I'm clear there's a need to maintain your attention), it's a critical aspect of the way this works. If you didn't pay attention, this work would devolve into mere entertainment. The thing is this: nobody can transform your life. Your transformation is a function of you bringing your attention to Life itself. If there was no need to maintain your attention while being creative (and so no need to provide useful material), I could present you with lists of random numbers, endless chapters from dictionaries, possibly all the entries in a state-wide business directory, given it's not the content  from where the inspiration sources but rather the context in which it's communicated. Context communicates. If you're paying attention, you'll get it. If you're not, content ie useful material in and of itself, won't suffice to get the job done.

This leads me to a concern I've often stated I have in this regard. And it's a big concern. It's this: this is the written  word. I personally don't consider the written word to be a good vehicle for the kind of communication that communicates via context. The spoken  word on the other hand (ie the face to face, in the flesh, hot and heavy, spoken word) is a far more suitable vehicle for that kind of communication. In this regard, it's often been noted about Werner that all he'd have to do is show up in an arena, and read the dictionary and / or the telephone directory for the crowd present, and they'd all get transformation.

Wait! I'm not joking. That's not an idle claim. If you're paying attention, transformation is on offer and available from Werner doing nothing else but reading the dictionary and / or the telephone directory out loud - as wild as that may sound. Honest!

So it's not the content of what we're saying that imparts creativity and transformation. It's the context ie it's who we're being  when we're speaking it, that creates and transforms. My challenge as a writer has always been to bridge the written word onto the spoken word in this regard, or at least to have a shot at representing it via the lens of creativity, all the while knowing the written word is at best only a close approximation to the spoken word if it comes to communicating a transformed context.

In this regard, I true* myself to creating while coming from the space of "it's not necessary to create anything", given the world and Life itself is full and whole and complete exactly the way it is (and exactly the way it isn't). In other words, in this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays, I true myself to being creative simply and only for the sake of being creative - nothing else. Each essay in this series then becomes its own lens of creativity - nothing less, nothing more.

With all that said, in real life it often is  necessary to create things, and the idea of it not being necessary to create anything (given that the world and Life itself is already full and whole and complete exactly the way it is and exactly the way it isn't) is simply a space to come from. This is pure Zen: creating, while coming from knowing it's not necessary to create anything. It's from interacting with this paradoxical koan  that true creativity and being free to be a lens of creativity, sources.

Thank You For Your Listening

Thank You for the gift of your Listening. No, thank You for the generous  gift of your Listening.

I'm clear it's You and your Listening that provides the Context in which this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays inspired by the ideas of Werner Erhard, and more, shows up.

I'm equally clear that without your Listening providing the Context, there would be no Conversations For Transformation. Not these. Not mine. Not yours. Not others'. Not anyone's. Not anywhere. Not now. Not ever.

Thank You for providing the Context.

Thank You for Your Relationship with Werner.

*   Merriam-Webster's dictionary allows "true" as a transitive verb: to make level, square, balanced, or concentric; bring or restore to a desired mechanical accuracy or form.

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