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


Hard Focus:

Unflinching II

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

July 21, 2022

"I began to tell the truth unflinchingly. If I said that something would happen, you could bet that it would - you could bet everything you owned. When you start to tell the truth, you begin to look at your offhand remarks, and to examine every single one of them. You begin to notice the lack of fit between the word and the object. You begin to realize that you almost never tell the truth exactly. And you realize that anything less than the truth is a lie: you can not 'pretty much' tell the truth. To 'pretty much' tell the truth is to lie."
sharing his experience with Professor William Warren Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, in the account titled "Conversion in Beverley Hills" in chapter six called "Conversion" in part II, "Education", of "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est"
This essay, Hard Focus: Unflinching II, is the sequel to Leadership III: Unflinching.

Look with me, and let's finally confront this completely for what it is: when we "... tell the truth unflinchingly"  about what's going on in our lives ie about whatever we're dealing with that matters to us, it's not merely because our morality says telling the truth is "the right / the good thing to do". It's that while we're fully living our day-to-day lives and while we're practicing the disciplines on our paths, telling the truth unflinchingly is an entire discipline distinct in and of itself, a complete path to all paths  (if you will). Even more than being just one more intersection  to explore along the way ie even more than being just one more thing to try out to see if it will make our lives work better like wielding another implement to test its heft and efficacy, we could say that telling the truth unflinchingly is arguably the entire  way.

From the Cambridge International Dictionary:


from the adjective unflinching
not frightened of or not trying to avoid something dangerous or unpleasant

As the context for any inquiry I immerse myself in, I've started to question how I can shift anything  in my life ie how I can impact, alter, transform, or make a difference in anything that matters to me unless I'm willing to first tell the truth unflinchingly about whatever it is I'm dealing with. Indeed, I can't come to grips with and / or understand anything that matters to me unless I hard focus first on what's so and not merely on what justifies my actions ie not merely on what I like and / or on the way I want it to be, and then tell the truth unflinchingly about all of it - raw, unvarnished (and yes, "understand" is questionable at best but here it'll do).

In my relationships with people for example, some areas work and some don't. And in the areas that don't work, it's oh so easy to come up with a litany of complaints about what they  could do to fix or improve them. But it's only when I tell the truth unflinchingly that I get to see my  role in their  unworkability. Being unflinching is a requirement, not because my contribution to their unworkability is hidden from view but rather because the way I'm thrown, my role in their unworkability is cleverly disguised / justified as right and good. But in life there are no points for being right and good. The only worthwhile points in life are for what works for everyone.

Choosing to impose on yourself the discipline of hard focus and telling the truth unflinchingly are prerequisites if you're ever going to pierce through merely being justifiably right and good, and get down to what what actually works for everyone. It doesn't come easy. It does however get more facile with practice. Don't flinch.

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