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

Freedom To Be

Novato, California, USA

January 25, 2018

"You have nothing to do with the cards you're dealt. How you play  the cards you're dealt, with that you have everything  to do." ... Laurence Platt terse, circa 2009

"You may not have say over the cards you're dealt, but you have total say over how you play them." ... Laurence Platt terser, circa 2017

"You may have no say over the cards you're dealt, but you have total say over who you're being  when you play them." ... Laurence Platt tersest, circa 2018
This essay, Freedom To Be, is the ninth in a group of twelve on Enrollment: It is also the sequel to The Friends Of The Landmark Forum In South Africa.

Almost everything of value in a conversation for transformation ie 99.999% of it, occurs in the listening  of it ie occurs in the experiencing  of it.

Boy! does that  ding and deflate Emperor Ego who's certain  he'll get kudos for talking about  transformation skillfully ie adroitly, cleverly etc ... or what? To be sure, a lot of the value in any  conversation occurs in the listening of it ie occurs in the experiencing of it. But in a conversation for transformation particularly, it's almost all  of it. And the qualities which make conversationalists great in ordinary conversations, don't necessarily translate well in conversations for transformation. Even the stars of your old college debating society aren't necessarily prepared to manage conversations for transformation well. A conversation for transformation isn't persuasion. It's not convincing. It's not being holier than. The skill required for conveying transformation isn't debating, persuading, convincing, or being holier than. It's enrollment.

Enrollment is creating a new possibility for another so they're touched, moved, and inspired by that possibility (as Landmark Forum Leader may have said) (be careful: if you think that's a typo which should be corrected to say "as a  Landmark Forum Leader may have said"? ... no, that's not it). What does that imply? Secondarily it implies that when I'm speaking coming from enrollment, a new possibility shows up in the other's  listening. Primarily and essentially, it implies that when I'm really being enrol-ling, a new possibility shows up in the other's being. The content  of enrollment ie what I talk about, gets me less than half the way there, even if it's my  opinion that in articulating it intelligently, I'm being enrolling. Enrollment is only enrollment if it lands  (if you will) in the other's listening ie in the other's being (if that seems overly deep and complex, just stop, stand still for a moment, and look:  you'll see it's really a no-brainer).

"So  ..." he asked, "Why should I do this? Why do I need  this?" in response to my invitation to him to register himself to participate in Werner's work and experience it for himself personally, directly, first hand. "I've done a lot of this sort of thing, you know: what will I be  out of it, that I'm not already being?" he asked. When he said he's "... done a lot of this sort of thing  ...", I knew that if I wasn't being enrolling, I'd have very little chance of being heard over the already always listening  (I say "... over the  already always listening" and not "... over his  already always listening" because the already always listening isn't personal).

But when he asked "... what will I be  out of it ...?" and not "... what will I get  out of it ...?", I knew then that he would love it: he'd asked an ontological  question! "That's a great question" I said. "What you'll be  out of it, depends largely on what you want to be out of it - and more powerfully, on what you intend  to be out of it, and what you invent  yourself to be out of it; essentially, what's available is the freedom to be  any way you want to be.".

His retorted challenge followed quickly, yet not necessarily unexpectedly. He didn't make any request for clarification. He essentially simply outright denied the possibility of what I'd proposed: "But we don't  have the freedom to be any way we want to be. That's just not true!"  he protested.

People hear what they already hear (tell the truth: you only hear what you already hear, yes?). There's a certain listening which becomes possible with transformation, that's unavailable prior to its onset. To wit, there's a certain listening we have for being, prior to the onset of transformation, one we're sure  about. Yet it's a listening which almost totally obfuscates what's really  possible for being. For starters, prior to the onset of transformation, we consider a "being" to be a thing  whereas a being is really a context. Also, prior to the onset of transformation, we consider that for us to "be", is for us to be created  when really for us to be, is to re-create ourselves.

I trod calmly around any possible argument triggers. I just wanted to get  his denial, without getting drawn into the trap of rebutting his challenge. Simply getting  the communication, and not getting drawn into the trap of rebutting the inevitable challenges, is a required  skill for enrollment. Conversations for transformation just don't work well (no, they don't work at all)  when they devolve into challenge and rebuttal. Rather than rebut any challenge, I've learned to simply not react to them ie to not run where their gauntlet is thrown down (it's essential martial arts: the best defense is "Don't be  where the blow lands", yes?). My enrollment momentum  is lost as soon as I stop to think  about how to rebut the challenge (remember: enrollment lands not in an intelligent rebuttal, but rather in the other's listening and being).

Freedom to be, is the freedom to be any way like a possibility. And in the absence of enrollment, possibility is typically considered to be a set of available options from which to choose. Possibility is seldom considered to be that which determines which very options are available.

He was listening - that much I could tell, but he was mostly silent. So I stopped speaking ... and waited. Then he said "You know, I've been listening to you talk for about an hour, and to be quite honest, I don't understand anything you've been saying.". Then, turning to face me, he said "But whatever it is you've got, I want it.".

As far as a conversation for transformation goes ie as far as an enrollment  conversation goes, it was almost ideal, nearly perfect - in fact so ideal and so perfect that it started the transformation of an entire country. The possibility of freedom to be, to any red-blooded human being, is irresistible. Oh and its irresistibility isn't personal.

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