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


Gamechanger II

Limpio Laundry, Napa, California, USA

January 16, 2015



This essay, Gamechanger II, is the companion piece to I am indebted to Mandy and Johan van der Put who inspired this conversation.


Werner Erhard's work, it's been said, is a gamechanger. I hear that stated over and over and over again. But I would actually dispute it. It's not a  gamechanger. No, it's the  gamechanger. To be even more specific ie to be even more rigorous  in making this assertion, I'd say it's not pointed enough to aver it's Werner's work per se  which is the gamechanger: it's better to say it's Werner's work distinguishing what it distinguishes  which is the gamechanger. It's distinction which changes the game.

See, if I don't tighten it up like that, then I risk falling into the same trap as saying things like "It's Sir Isaac Newton's gravity which prevents us from flying off into space.". No, it's not  Sir Isaac Newton's gravity which prevents us from flying off into space. It's just plain old gravity  which prevents us from flying off into space ... and  ... Sir Isaac Newton is credited with distinguishing gravity, yes? So with that now fully examined, I'm clear to assert it's Werner's work which is the gamechanger.

There's still more to flesh out here. There's this: if I assert Werner's work is the gamechanger like it's only one  gamechanger, it's being way more than merely miserly, stingy: it misses the point entirely. What's so is Werner's work distinguishes a plethora  of gamechangers, a rich body of gamechangers in fact. Elsewhere in this series I've addressed one of Werner's gamechangers which is articulated as "There's nothing to get, so (should you choose to do so) you're free to create anything". That's real freedom. That's a gamechanger. In this conversation I'd like to address another of Werner's gamechangers, which is articulated as "Your speaking determines the world in which you live, not vice versa.". Let's face it: that's also a gamechanger, given how much we're resigned to being run by life as simply business as usual, yes?
Werner, in this regard, distinguishes one of two possible relationships our speaking has with the world:

 1)  When the words I speak fit the world in which I already live (description, commentary, opinion, gossip  etc) it's a "word to world"  fit. When my speaking is a word to world fit ie when my words fit the world in which I already live, then I'm a machine ie then I'm simply reacting to what's going on.

 2)  When the world shows up  to fit the words I speak (assertion, bringing forth, promising, standing with, linguistic acts  etc), it's a "world to word"  fit. When my speaking is a world to word fit ie when the world shows up to fit my words, then I'm source ie then I'm god in my universe.

This isn't a "one or  the other" selection. Neither is this a suggestion that one is somehow better  than the other. To suggest it is like suggesting an arm is somehow better than a leg, or a nose is somehow better than an ear. Speaking with a world to word fit isn't better (or worse, for that matter) than speaking with a word to world fit. What's pivotal here however, is examining and recognizing the difference. To be clear, it's the act of differentiating between world to word speaking and word to world speaking which is pivotal. Understanding and debating world to word speaking, while fascinating, is almost useless. As a living practice however, it has power.

Almost all our speaking prior to the possibility of transformation, is speaking with a word to world fit. It's fair to designate speaking this way as "business as usual". Discovering the possibility of speaking with a world to word fit ie discovering the possibility of transformed language, heralds the end of business as usual. It's a breakthrough. It's the gamechanger. By any stretch of the imagination, it's a gamechanger when the words we speak determine the world in which we live, especially when all we've known until now (which is to say especially when all most of us humans have known until now throughout history)  has been the other way around.



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