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


Bodega Head, Bodega Bay, California, USA

Father's Day, June 17, 2018

"They say ev'rything can be replaced, yet ev'ry distance is not near. So I remember ev'ry face of ev'ry man who put me here." ... Robert Allen Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan, I Shall Be Released

This essay, Gratitude, is the companion piece to People To Thank.

It is also the sixth in a hexalogy comprising The Laurence Platt Story:
  1. Laurence Platt Autobiography
  2. Laurence Platt Autobiography II
  3. Laurence Platt Intersections
  4. Laurence Platt Photo Album
  5. Laurence Platt And Associates
  6. Gratitude
in that order.

It is also the first in the trilogy Gratitude: The Laurence Platt Story is the prequel to Wherever I Went, There I Was.

This essay continues the story of my life. The story of my life isn't who I am. Who I am is Conversations For Transformation inspired by the ideas of Werner Erhard. Sooner or later the story of my life will be told. I want to support it being told accurately.

I am indebted to my parents Andee Platt and Dr Asher Manfred Platt and to Professor Marthinus "Martin" Versfeld and to Professor June M Juritz and to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and to Alan W ("Wilson") Watts and to Ian Simpson and to Philip Grenville "PGT" Thompson and to Mai Keli "Mike" Ratu and to my children Alexandra Lindsey Platt and Christian Laurence Platt and Joshua Nelson Platt who inspired this conversation.

If you lay claim to the gift of transformation (that is if you lay claim to the miracle  of transformation) which is to say if you're willing to stand  for having gotten it, then if you tell the truth about it, you've got people to thank. No kidding! And if you tell the truth about that, you've got waaay  more people to thank than can fit into a more or less one computer-screen-sized essay. I'm grateful to the following people who are (in a very real sense) bagatelle pins  in my life: encountering them bounced me in new, discontiguous  directions, which put me here (quite literally) where I am today. By acknowledging them, I acknowledge and express my gratitude to everyone in my life. Said more explicitly (since "in my life" is redundant): by acknowledging them, I acknowledge and express my gratitude to everyone period).

Photography by Joshua Nelson Platt

Bodega Head, Bodega Bay, California, USA

11:00:23am Sunday June 17, 2018 "Father's Day 2018"

Thank You my parents Andee and Asher Manfred. They raised me within their love for each other, the space for their love for me. From my mother I got creativity. From my father I got service. Though I didn't say it loudly ie at least though I didn't say it enough, I dedicated my life to them in acknowledgement of what they made possible for me (which by the way, I only got to appreciate fully when I became a parent myself). Thank You Mom and Dad.

Thank You Marthinus "Martin" Versfeld, Professor of Philosophy at UCT  (University of Cape Town). There were the philosophers who talked up a storm yet radiated nothing at all. There were the people who shone like the sun with no worthwhile conversation to go with it. Martin had both. He was perhaps the first person I ever met who walked the talk. I couldn't articulate what he had, but I knew I wanted it. He named his house Klip en Klei. That's Afrikaans for Stone and Clay  - perfect for an authentically radiant, brilliant philosopher, and another clue. Thank You Martin.

Thank You June M Juritz, Professor of Statistical Sciences at UCT. I took June's Mathematical Statistics class. Twice. Once in 1970. I didn't get a passing grade. Then again in 1973 thanks to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (next). This time, with June's coaching I got the highest score possible. What June gave me was how to really study, how to look things up  in a library, how to do (complete) research, a skill which hardly a day goes by that I don't still use pointedly - with great leverage. Thank You June.

So thank You Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishi warrants an essay dedicated entirely to him - which I've already written. If I were to consider ten people with whom I would gladly be stranded on a desert island for an indeterminate period of time, Maharishi would be on that list. I dropped out of college with my degree incomplete. Maharishi exhorted me to go back and finish it - long after I'd given up on it. I did go back. I finished it. I graduated. Thank You Maharishi. Thank You Great Seer.

Thank You to the goddesses who nurtured me. In those exquisite, timeless moments in the presence of true passion I matured and grew up. In them and in our times together, I got to know my own loveliness and, in instances I would prefer to forget yet never can, my own jerkishness as well. Getting to know both qualities (like it or not, we have both) gave me a full, authentically unswerving access to my own humanity. Thank You. You know who you are. I love you. Always have. Always will.

Thank You Alan W ("Wilson") Watts. Alan has made so much available to so many people worldwide that it's almost impossible to quantify, and acknowledge him fully enough for it. But if I had to choose just one thing to acknowledge him for, it would be his seminal work he titled "The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are". In it, he confirms what I'd long suspected: that there is such a taboo (I knew it! ...) which means I can locate it and peer behind its veil (which he lays bare also) then discard it. In knowing Alan and discarding the taboo, I got turned on to real  Life in a way I had never been turned on to real Life before. Thank You Alan.

Thank You Ian Simpson. Ian invited me to consider working with him at IBM  (International Business Machines) even though I had never applied for a job there, and had very minor, pedestrian notions about computer programming. Surprised yet delighted, I accepted his invitation. Big Blue  laid foundations for my twenty year long international career, allowing me to start my own business, raise a family, and eventually establish college funds for my children. Ian's gift was huge. Thank You Ian.

Thank You Philip Grenville "PGT" Thompson. PGT became my programmer / analyst mentor at IBM. An extraordinary  talent, the first truly razor-sharp mind I had ever encountered, PGT showed me how to think at an assembly  level (you may need some mainframe computer systems acumen to fully get "assembly level" / Assembler language). What I only realized much later was that with the thought-instruments he introduced me to, PGT was not only a driver for my programming and software mastery: he was also a foundation-layer  for my writing these Conversations For Transformation - not least importantly, their technical base. Thank You PGT.

Thank You and a special "Bula bula! Vinaka vaka levu!"  (Fijian for "Hello, I wish you Life! Thank You very much!") to Mai Keli "Mike" Ratu. Mai Keli showed up in front of me one day (quite literally) in Nadi, Fiji and adopted me for the duration of my lost year  in the Fiji Islands. I arrived in Fiji as a tourist in transit to the USA. Thanks to Mike, I left as a local émigré. It was a rich tropical Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday  episode which altered me in ways I'm still fathoming. Thank You Mai Keli.

Thank You my children Alexandra Lindsey, Christian Laurence, and Joshua Nelson. People talk about "making it" in terms of success, acquisitions, amassing property, possessions, wealth, fame etc. Listen: that's not making it. As a human being, you've really only made it when you've entered into both friendship and worthwhile conversation with your own adult children. That's the only definition of "making it" that's worth anything. Thank you Girly Girl, Big Guy, and Blonde Boy. We made it.

Thank You Werner. Look: thanking Werner Erhard is akin to thanking Life itself. Really. And if that's too much to ante up ie if it's too over the top  to say, thanking Werner is also nothing more (and nothing less) than thanking a rad  dude, a regular guy, my good friend. Maybe what's different here is unlike in gratitude to many others, I'm not thanking Werner for anything specific. So what is "Thank You Werner"?  It's complete, total Self-expression ie it's we're  complete. That's  gratitude.

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