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

Future Perfect

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

November 12, 2008

"Sadness is supposed to cure being sad." ... 
Every one of these Conversations For Transformation is, as the title of each page indicates, inspired by the ideas of Werner Erhard. Why say it on each page? Why repeat it literally hundreds and hundreds of times? Because it's the truth, and the truth has a way of working better when it's told.

That's what's so about the raison d'etre  of this body of work: these Conversations For Transformation are inspired by the ideas of Werner Erhard. You could also say these Conversations For Transformation are an expression  of a relationship. You could say these Conversations For Transformation come from  a relationship. In fact, you could say these Conversations For Transformation are  a relationship.

Some of these Conversations For Transformation document the relationship. If you sort by group, the groups which document the relationship are This essay, Future Perfect, is the second in an open group Conversations With A Friend:
  1. Privilege At Daybreak In The Battle Between Good And Evil
  2. Future Perfect
  3. This Is What It Means To Be!
  4. Empty Cup
  5. Conversation With A Friend: A Symphony Of Notes
  6. The Sound Of Your Voice
  7. Conversations With A Friend VII
  8. Space For Redemption: When "I'm Sorry!" Isn't Enough
  9. What Did You Do To Me?
  10. You Are Always With Me
so far, in that order.

It is the prequel to
  1. Full On You
  2. "Sadness Is Supposed To Cure Being Sad"
in that order.

Some time around now (it may actually have been four or five or even six months ago, but some time around NOW), the tide turned and an opportunity to be with you presented itself. There's never a moment in my life when I don't have my intention on creating an opportunity to be with you. But that's like intending for the tide to turn: the tide turns when it turns. The best I can do therefore is to intend the tide will turn when it turns. That way, my intention is never thwarted.

Realizing an opportunity to be with you was coming on inevitably, inexorably, I created a new essay, actually an empty shell (a page and a title devoid of content) in this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays, which I immediately published to the internet. It would remain there, empty for months until the time came to use it as the vehicle to share the experience of being with you again.

Being an empty shell holding nothing but a possibility for a future, I titled it Future Perfect. Future Perfect would, in this way, stake a claim to an intended future. It would literally be a placeholder  on the internet for an as yet unmaterialized future. Staking a claim to an intended future is the best way I know to have things work in my life as close to perfect  as I can muster - hence the title Future Perfect. The play on words  referring to the conjugation of the tense of a verb  to indicate an occasion which will have occurred in the future  is a convenient addition to the sense the title conveys.

In the days leading up to the opportunity, I created a list: things to speak about, things to ask you about, things to tell you about, possibilities for the future, requests, promises etc. I was also willing to ditch the entire list and just let whatever wants to happen, happen. The days slipped by, the weeks ran by, the months rushed by, and then ... here we are and there you are ... just  ... like  ... that.

When our time together ended, I recreated and wrote down everything that transpired. All of it. Some of it from memory. Some of it from chicken scratch  notes I'd feverishly made in the margins of my list. Ready to share you with the world, my finger hovered over the [PUBLISH] button.

But that button never got pushed. Instead I deleted everything I'd written. Everything. Future Perfect was once again an empty shell.

I could tell: whatever I'd written wasn't yet it. Whatever I'd written wasn't yet ripe. Yes, it was factual. Yes, it was true. But like fine wine aging in a French Limousine  oak barrel, it wasn't yet ready. I realized its maturity isn't necessarily synchronous with me reporting what happened. I realized I needed to sit  with the powerful new experience of being with you again, and let it age a bit, let it mature a bit. I realized I needed to get the full impact of You ie the full impact of the experience  of you first before committing anything to the written word and the internet. Indeed, committing anything to the written word and the internet before then would have, no doubt about it, been premature. It could even have interfered with fully grokking  what had just occurred. When it's time to write, write. But when it's time to grok, grok.

I'm twice as old now as I was when I first met you. I'm still young enough to err, but now I'm old enough to know how naïve it is to assume a conversation with you is just a conversation with you. Yes, most conversations are  just conversations. But in a conversation with you, something else is in play, some profound experience of simplicity, of bedrock obviousness, of love, of affinity, and of friendship is in play. This profundity moves my core like the shifting of tectonic plates. It's actually destabilizing at first. Yours is an earthquake  to my pedestrian life. It literally rocks  me to the quick, and I have to let it settle down before I write about it ie before I can  write about it. Then my words come, and then they recreate my experience of you for the world. But my words themselves are only secondary to the experience that is being with you. Anyone who doesn't get that, doesn't get you. Or me, for that matter.

Now the tectonic plates have stopped shifting. Now I'm ready to share the same experience as before, the same series of events as before, the same conversation as before except  now having fully gotten You. The ground has stopped shaking. Future Perfect is starting over.

Take Two: Starting Over

Werner Erhard
Good health and vitality. This is good. This is the possibility of, indeed the predisposition for  longevity. While I never want this to end (I mean ever), to realistically respect lifespan  is to honor, is to appropriately regard  the finiteness of the precious time we have together. I could have been born at any time. Being here on this  planet right now  with you right here  makes me glad and thankful I was born when I was.

It's no surprise you're radiant and calm. And there it is again: that air, that aura of enjoyment  around you as you do exactly what you're doing. Then I look again. To say you enjoy  what you do, doesn't really express it. Your enjoyment isn't related to what you do. Enjoyment is where you come from, so enjoyment comes to whatever you do.

We don't speak about this. Yet I get  it. You're at home, you're relaxed, you're happy. Actually, "happy" isn't a good word for this either, but it's good enough for jazz. Happiness, enjoyment, satisfaction, all of the above. They're already  there, a magnificent platform on which to do anything ie a magnificent platform on which to do whatever you do  yet independent of whatever you do.

Vicariously I get how this works in my life too. It's a perfect expression, a perfect example of how much of what you provide comes from you just by you doing whatever you do. In the "olden days"  ie when today's structures for support weren't yet developed, we'd say we got what we got simply by being around you. It's clear. It's true. It's still  true. The privilege  of being here like this, the gift  of it is real for me.

I ask about a phenomenon my friends and I have noticed in the extraordinary shifts occurring now in the world's political arena, shifts which are easily identified by the new language now in play. In the media and in the popular conversation, we hear about a breakthrough in human unity. We hear about transformation of tired, old, unworkable attitudes and ways of life. We hear about a transformative figure entering the world stage. We hear about new possibilities for the future. It's no accident, I say. One hundred monkeys bouncing around on one hundred typewriters for thirty seven years will not  write Macbeth.

"Did ... you ... cause ... this?" I ask, pointedly.

At the end of the ensuing exchange, two things stand out:

 1)  I acknowledge you for causing it.

 2)  You acknowledge many, many people for causing it. You acknowledge life itself  for causing it. You acknowledge an idea who's time has come  for causing it. At best, you indicate some language tools  developed during your Conversations For Transformation were valuable in articulating it (and therefore in generating it, I add). But you yourself take no credit  for causing it. You've got no ego involved in causing it. In this regard, you remind me of Nelson Mandela causing the transformation of South Africa without taking any credit for himself either. But then again, I myself acknowledge you for causing that transformation too.

Throughout the conversation with you, I notice I'm back in the kind of freedom which completely surrounds you (now, as it always has) and gives me permission to segue  from open sharing to tears then back again. Of everything that happens with you, this phenomenon of tears, this experience of je ne sais quoi, this rising of "I don't know what"  spills out of my eyes, melts my heart, and renders me suddenly speechless - at least, momentarily. There's no quarter for attachment  around you - none. If you don't dispassionately pass me a Kleenex, you simply remind me to take my time. It's interesting: the emotional climate, as it were, buys nothing around you. If I don't create the relationship, it isn't there. That's not totally unusual. That's par for the course  out in the world too. What is  unusual is the way you be  which keeps the focus on the relationship as I generate it  rather than simply on something which happens by default  when people are together, chit-chatting  party style.

If I tell the truth about my experience at any particular time, if I dig deep  and faithfully, unflinchingly  report on everything  that's going on, there's a certain vein of sadness which, while not always in the foreground, has reappeared from time to time throughout my life, even after I've assumed I've completed it and it's disappeared. To reference it with you, I call it the "anchor of sadness". If it doesn't disappear ie if it hasn't disappeared by now, then I wonder if the prudent way to be with it is to let it be  within a context of "it is what it is and it ain't what it ain't".

"No. I'm opposed  to suffering" you say. You flesh it out further, suggesting whatever I'm sad about probably isn't  what I'm sad about. You suggest "It probably happened much earlier  than that.". You assert "sadness compensates for a loss", and furthermore that




In one decisive stroke, you've laid the trap bare to the bone. You suggest a more effective way to be with sadness is to unravel it ie to get in touch with  the original incident, to get in touch with the original loss  for which the sadness is the supposed  compensation. You suggest it's prudent to get in touch with who I created myself to be  out of the original incident. This repaves the way, re-blazes the trail  for choice in the matter of a way of being which doesn't perpetuate sadness, which doesn't perpetuate an "is what it is".

Again you remind me you're opposed to suffering, as I, pencil flying, feverishly chicken scratch  in the margin of my list. Silence ensues. I say "Yes". Then we move on.

Speaking of silence, that's another thing I notice with you which shows up in not quite the same way as silence normally shows up for me with other people. Silence normally shows up for me with other people when something has ended, or at least when I think something has ended. And when something has ended, that's my cue to move on, to move on in the conversation, indeed to start a new conversation. With you, silence is simply silence. It doesn't indicate anything has ended - necessarily. It's not necessarily a cue to move on. Sometimes it's a pause as you look at the next thing to bring forth into the current conversation. Sometimes it's a pause as you look over here to see if I got what's just been said in the current conversation. In the silences with you, I notice how hair-triggered  I am with regard to silence. When the current conversation is silent with anyone else, usually there'll be some awkwardness, usually I'll try to fill the silence by saying something. Yet with you that's not called for. With you during the times of silence, during the times when something else  other than awkwardness is going on, that's likely the times when Self  is most profoundly present, and I'm on high alert  to not say anything stoopid, to revere the silence, indeed to respect  it - that is to say, to respect that particular quality of being  which comes forth from silence.

One of the most (if not the  most) "you"  aspects of the conversation comes up next quite unexpectedly. I mention to you these Conversations For Transformation are being translated into Farsi, the language of Iran, and will be presented in Iran on a website. You tell me you know the name of the man who'll be the translator. Then, as normal as anything, you say you've forgotten  his name but will remember it. So I, not interfering, leave you be so you can remember it. Later in the same conversation, you suddenly say "It's coming.". At first I'm unsure to what you're referring. You say it like an interruption of what I'm saying at the time. Momentarily, I'm unbalanced by it. Then, astonished I realize you're describing, out loud, what you see  as the man's name you're recalling, comes back to you. I'm amazed. You're not engaged  in the act of recall. You're observing  the process  of recall. When you announce "It's coming", you're referring to the man's name you're watching as it rises up from your hidden memory like a scuba  diver's bubbles inexorably rise up from the ocean depths until they break the surface.

For you, there's no struggle to remember. You just watch. And eventually you speak the man's name. Total recall. It seems a trivial incident. It's just you recalling something you forgot. Yet to hear you speak your non-interfering observation of this simple everyday process enlightens  my life as I consider where  you have to be, or (better) who  you have to be, to be the observer  of, rather than the interferer  in, this simple, ordinary, well known process of life. It's so trivial. It's so absolutely simplistically basic. And yet it's completely and utterly profound. The tectonic plates shift again in a kind of aftershock. You rock  my life.

You're generous without adding. You're healing without taking away. It's OK the way it is for you, and if it's not OK the way it is for me, then when I'm around you, it's OK the way it is for me again in a way that even after I'm no longer around you, it's OK the way it is for me. When it's OK the way it is for me, my life is whole, complete, fulfilled, satisfying, and given by a future worth living into. Coming on the heels of this is the somewhat odd sensation of chagrin as I realize it's always  OK the way it is for me. Somehow when I'm with you, I stop lying about it.

My time with you is drawing to an end. I ask what you'll be doing next. You say your focus is now on academia, which leads to a tied in  conversation of how your work may be disseminated in the future (we say this inside of a context of anything is possible). You speculate it may be delivered through an enhanced internet presence, taking a cue from the transformative figure  currently entering the world stage. Who knows? It's all open. It's all up for grabs. Anything is possible.

When you say "Goodbye", your words and your intonation push into  me. You'd think a "Goodbye" would push away. Yours doesn't. Your "Goodbye" pushes into. This is interesting ...   For the first time, I make a connection between your "Hello" and your "Goodbye". It's this:

When you say "Hello" and you shake my hand, your handshake pushes back  at me. It pushes into  me. Both your "Hello" and  your "Goodbye" push into  me. How interesting ...   How very  interesting ...   I never noticed this before.

I'm left with nothing special, just a conversation, yet an enormous sense of privilege, and a fundamental reason to be. My eyes are moist, brimming with tears. But around you that's nothing new.


You have to find your own way to him. It's like a kind of obstacle course he's set up. You have to be very, very intent to make it through. I can support your intention to make it through, and I do. But I can't tell you how.

You could say that's exclusive. But that's not my intention. I also happen to consider his availability to be via the new language now in play, to be via the breakthrough in human unity in the media and in the popular conversation today, to be via the transformation of tired, old, unworkable attitudes and ways of life, to be via the fuel to drive the transformative figure now entering the world stage, and always to be via new possibilities for the future so life works for everyone with no one and nothing left out.

That's who he is. And he's clearly everywhere.

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