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


Final Release

Cakebread Cellars and Auberge du Soleil
Rutherford, Napa Valley, California, USA

October 6 and 8, 2017



"Without integrity, the workability of any object, system, person, group or organization declines; and as workability declines, the opportunity for performance declines." ... Dr Michael Jensen

"I seem to be a verb." ... Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller
This essay, Final Release, is the seventeenth in a group of seventeen on Integrity: It is also the eleventh in an ongoing collection with embedded Music Videos: I am indebted to Anita Lynn Erhard who contributed material for this conversation.




I eschew audiobooks. Nonetheless as I drive, I'm immersed in Werner speaking integrity - specifically as he occurs in the context of my upcoming Leadership Course. I've read (and spoken) this material in preparing for it as if it's my own  (so now it is) rendering the need for an audiobook playing it on my car's stereo, redundant.

It almost galls  me to discover in this inquiry that the path to integrity never ends. I'll never get there ("get there"  being a euphemism for finally reaching a permanent state of integrity). Worst of all, being in integrity can be considered to be climbing a "mountain with no top" (as Werner postulates). My personal take on it before I listened Werner's was being in integrity is like climbing a mountain with a top that continuously grows taller  as I climb: just as I reach where I calculated the summit would be, I discover this integrity mountain's now grown taller than I measured. Actually I prefer Werner's - but no matter whose, no matter how high I climb, there's always further to go, suggesting the being  of "being in integrity" may in fact be a verb  rather than a noun  (as Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller may have said).

with Alexandra - Something Stupid (Frank and Nancy Sinatra)
Reconciling this state of affairs with my penchant for final (easy) solutions ie for quick fixes  is an unavoidable rite de passage  if I'm ever going to lay claim to living a life of integrity or (to deploy an earlier analogy) to being a climber of the mountain of integrity. I mean why even bother embarking on climbing this mountain when there's zero chance of ever making it to the top  (in both Werner's postulation as well as in mine)?

Listening Werner while being with transformation, and all the while inquiring into the nature of integrity, a few sacred cows  quickly succumb to close scrutiny. The first (and arguably the essential one to vanquish) is that integrity is a virtue. We have it that bad  people don't maintain integrity, and good  people do. But integrity isn't normative. Integrity (which is to say acting without  integrity, or acting with  integrity) isn't merely one of many possible ways to play the game of living. No, integrity is the entire game.

Without integrity, nothing works (says Werner - repeatedly). It's a chilling realization actually: a life without integrity, can't  work (that's integrity as a purely positive proposition, not as a wrong / right, bad / good moral judgement). Here's what I've often overlooked: high performance  is only possible when based on a platform of integrity. Not only will a bicycle with broken spokes in a wheel not work, but it's never going to win races. Integrity's impact on workability, is indisputable. And workability's impact on performance, is indisputable. So integrity's impact on performance  is indisputable (it's taken me waaay  too long to finally figure that out).

For many people (I suppose) the connotation of "performance" will be in producing results as in a job or as in a sport. For me, when Werner speaks "performance", I listen all of the above, and  I also listen "performance as in a life well-lived". That's enough for me. That alone is worth the price of admission. I've released my attachments to smoking and drinking as a segue to a life well-lived (I could say the same about an unhealthy diet and inadequate exercise). I've released (for the most part) my needs to dominate and to be right. I've released assigning importance to my own opinions, realizing that all  opinions are codifications of the truth, and I've become skeptical of all such codifications especially my own. And after releasing all of them, given what's made itself visible from underneath that erstwhile pile of obfuscations of the truth, I've finally released any and all doubts about Werner's assertion about integrity's impact on performance as a purely positive proposition. Without this final release, a life well-lived is unreachable, if not outright simply not possible. Sorry, but it isn't.

I propose that as a result of integrity making a life well-lived possible, that integrity of necessity makes the space for people  to shine ie it allows the space for love and relationship to come forth naturally. In addition to audiobooks, I eschew all those self-help  writings about relationships. Add integrity, and you'll re-write all those manuals yourself. Here's the bottom line: integrity creates the space for relationships to work easily, effortlessly, authentically, and (if I were to add one more descriptor) harmoniously. That, right there, may be the final arbiter of integrity: in and around integrity, is a space to be fully, totally, openly, completely, and naturally with people, with nothing in the way, and nothing additional needed. That's integrity - as in the impact on performance. That's performance - as in a life well-lived.



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