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


Eye To Eye

Judd's Hill, Napa Valley, California, USA

May 18, 2013



This essay, Eye To Eye, is the tenth in an open group of Experiences Of A Friend:
  1. Stepping Back
  2. At Home As Self
  3. Empty Windows
  4. Futile Like A Freedom
  5. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  6. Werner As Intention
  7. Who He Is For Himself
  8. Source Quote
  9. Puzzle Solved, Mind Unraveled
  10. Eye To Eye
  11. Mystical Connection II
  12. Relentless
  13. Being Around Werner
  14. Being Always In Action: A Possibility
  15. Shaken Up And Teary
  16. On Being Sad
  17. The Complete Presentation
  18. Force Of Nature
  19. Everyone's In Love With Everyone
  20. I'm Old School
  21. Werner At The Speed Of Choice
  22. I Get Who You Are From What They Do
  23. The Significance - Not What Happened
  24. You Know I Love You - And I Know You Love Me
  25. Speaking To People's Relationship With Werner
  26. A Master At Being (And Having People Be)
  27. Werner As Source
  28. A Man Who's All There
  29. My Heart And You
  30. Mind Control
  31. Again And Again And Again And Again And Again And Again
  32. Unwavering
so far, in that order.

It was written at the same time as


There's a certain look people have in their eyes when they're lost in thought. I could describe this as the way people appear when they're looking inside  ie when they're being introspective. But I don't find the distinction inside  to be very useful - especially with regard to the transformation of who we really are. So to describe this particular look as the look people have when they're lost in thought rather than as when they're looking inside is good enough for jazz.

There's another look people have in their eyes when they're avoiding making eye contact. No, I'm not saying when they're avoiding making eye contact for any reason  - just avoiding making eye contact. And for some people, that's all the time  ie that's their modus operandi. When I look them in the eye, they'll look anywhere except  in my eyes. They're not lost in thought, and neither are they out here. Rather, they're out there  - which is to say they're not being introspective, and they're not being fully present either. Describing what this look is as being out there, is also good enough for jazz - it's not exactly that.

Then there's another look people have in their eyes when they're being fully present, when they're fully out here being with me. When I look them in the eye, they're looking me in my eye. They're fully out here being with me - and one of the ways I can tell they're fully out here being with me, is via this particular look in their eyes when they're looking me in the eye. It's apparent, obvious. "The eyes are the window to the soul" - yet that's not it either.

Photography by Kenneth Yamamoto - Tuesday May 31, 1977
Werner Erhard
I'm sitting across the table from him. Yes this is a fine restaurant, and yes the food is fabulous. But this isn't what I'm really paying attention to. We're talking amiably and animatedly, joyed to be together again. I pause, a forkful of salad almost to my mouth ... and that's when I fully notice the look in his eyes as he's looking directly into my eyes. This look of his is a look I've never seen before. It takes my breath away (just as well my mouth is empty).

The look in his eyes cues me  he's fully out here. He's looking at me directly, straight into my eyes, fully present, being with me. And what I also see in his eyes is while he's not being introspective, he's totally lit up  inside. Then again, while "lit up inside"  isn't the most useful way to say it, saying it this way is also good enough for jazz. He's being both. He's fully out here looking into my eyes fully present being here with me ... and  ... he's totally lit up.

There's more. There's something else. There's something he does  with his eyes which, in a split second, alters my entire way of being, something which gives me an entirely new possibility of being for my own being, something which gives me a whole new possibility of being for all human beings. What he does is he looks into my eyes fully out here fully present being with me ... and  ... he's totally lit up ... while his eyes are exactly on and with his eyes.

Now, there comes a point in sharing any experience when words become inadequate to describe it. There's a point in every experience beyond which it can't be captured in words, which is ineffable, which is beyond language - and this is one such occasion. His eyes are exactly on and with his eyes while he's out here fully present totally lit up. And what I'm getting from him is an invitation, an invitation which is boldly saying "Be this!  Take it. It's yours.".

His invitation is really saying much more than merely "Be this!" - as powerful as that may be. It's coaching "Do  this! You can do  this!" (I did say it was what he did  with his eyes). It's offering "Have  this!". Across the entire visual spectrum, both introspectively and out here, he shares his transformation.

Listen! That thing he did with his eyes while looking into my eyes? It isn't it. Gee! I hope you get that. What he did with his eyes looking into my eyes was simply his invitation which triggered my experience. It's really important I communicate this - otherwise it will sound like all I'm suggesting is the option of some kind of mimicry, of some form of simple apery. No, it's what he did with his eyes which brought forth a new possibility - for me and for everyone.

Picasso's act of showing us how to pick up a brush, wouldn't paint Blue Nude. Rather his act of picking up a brush is the possibility  of painting Blue Nude.



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