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
Sacramento, California, USA
February 12, 2010
I am indebted to Ken Ireland who inspired this conversation.
Your hand is your hand. It grasps, but it can't grasp itself. Your eye
is your eye. It sees, but it can't see itself.
There's a certain poignancy in your hand not being able to grasp
itself. There's also certain poignancy in your eye not being able to
see itself. These poignancies form the cornerstones of a great many
analogies grounded in
and also in other ways of seeing.
Yes it's also true with one of your hands you can grasp your other
hand. Yes it's also true your eye can see itself in the mirror.
But in both those also trues, the original poignancy is lost, or
at least we've branched off and started an entirely new analogy
At some point, all analogies break down and fail, including my own ie
especially my own. They strive to ie their
purpose is to point to
But then, to be really effective, they have to disappear. They have to
get out of the way and instead leave nothing but
Analogies are powerful only if and when they point to and
impart real experience. Any analogy as an
analogy is a failed analogy when it gets in the way of real
experience - which is almost always.
Someone asks you "What's transformation? What's it like?". If the next
sentence coming out of your mouth starts with "Well, it's a bit like
..." as a prelude to a great explanation, as act one in a
clever analogy play, you've probably lost their listening right then
and there. You can't explain transformation. Any analogies
you put to it will most likely miss their mark, and may even damage it.
The reason for this is threefold.
One, an analogy, a comparison to something else, isn't
the thing itself. Transformation can't be fleshed out through
explanation simply because it's the background for, it's the
context in which all analogies live. The very act of using
an analogy for the experience of transformation therefore almost
always gets in the way of the experience of
Two, analogies ie comparative explanations, speak (possibly
inadvertently) to the figuring it outmachinery
of human beings. Once
become sucked into the turbines of the figuring it out
it becomes harder and harder to distinguish between real, genuine,
thrilling, alive transformation, and the
in which it's being evaluated. Although any analogy starts off with
good intentions, they're really not immediate enough,
they're really not naked enough to be a suitable vehicle
Three (and this is the hardest one to give up), it's actually
easier to talk about transformation in terms of analogies,
in terms of comparative explanations than it is to really
be transformed. It's easier to hide out. It's easier to be
a Monday morning quarterback than a player on the
It's more comfortable. But not transformed. What
when people are really being themselves, what's right there in your
face when people are coming from
who they really arelike a possibility is an immediacy, a
presence of Self
which speaks louder than words. And even on those occasions when the
most appropriate way to answer a question about transformation is to
come up with the perfect analogy, if you're speaking
analogously without bringing forth
presence of Self
ie without bringing forth Being, there's no power in it. The
wheels simply spin on the ice.
Deploying an analogy to describe
is like saying the hole in the sand looks like the stick you made the
hole in the sand with. Holes in the sand and sticks are worlds apart.
into words is like trying to describe a stick by telling you about the
hole in the sand (as
Werner Erhard may have
The idea is, I think, to leave people more empowered than when you
first met them, to leave them with more of who they really are than
they had access to when you first started speaking with them. In this
regard only, the end justifies the means.