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


I Can't Transform What I Make Wrong

Vino Bello, Napa, California, USA

October 22, 2020

"Good judgement comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgement." ... Rita Mae Brown

The essay, I Can't Transform What I Make Wrong, is the companion piece to I Can't Transform What I Make Wrong II.

I am indebted to Udi Ipalawatti who inspired this conversation.

Transformation (all too often erroneously colloquialized as "change") isn't the same as change. More than simply not being the same, "transformation" and "change" live in different domains. Transformation as a pointed expression, is "recontextualization" (I love  that word) which lives in an ontological  domain. And as for change (which lives in an epistemological  domain), "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"  - the more things change, the more they stay the same, yes?

Given the way we listen (which is to not listen at all  ...), it's inevitable that the language of transformation, initially a powerful fulcrum for leveraging the very fabric and quality of our lives, will more sooner than later become conceptualized and devolve into jargon over time. That's to be expected. And there's nothing out of the ordinary about it either. It goes with the territory  of being human. So when any particular expression of the language of transformation is no longer effective, we'll have to make time to re-create it, to re-generate it, to re-empower  it if we intend for it to remain powerful and effective. This conversation is one such occasion.

When I observe "I can't transform what I make wrong", I don't mean I can't change  what I make wrong. Neither do I mean I can't try  to change that which I make wrong. And isn't that exactly what we do? We try to change that which we make wrong - not the least of which we do by talking about it, then by criticizing it. Especially in the court of public opinion, we agree with this person, we disagree with that person, this is right in our opinion, that's wrong in our opinion etc. If I can change (or at least if I can try to change) that which I make wrong, what am I implying when I assert I can't transform  what I make wrong?

"I can't transform what I make wrong" is actually a warning light, an alarm (if you will), a litmus test  confirming whether I've transitioned away from being transformed, or not. Another way of saying "... whether I've transitioned away from being transformed ..." is "... whether I'm no longer authentically being who I really am  ...". If I'm to transform anything, if I'm to recontextualize it, I have to give it the space to be the way it is (and the way it isn't), all within the context of who I really am. And if I'm making it wrong, I'm not giving it the space to be the way it is (and the way it isn't) ie I'm no longer being who I really am. Transformation isn't change. Rather, it's bringing who I really am to bear on the situation at hand, whatever it may be. And if I'm making the situation at hand wrong, I can't transform it.

Now: please don't just accept that on face value. In particular, don't believe it just because I said it. Take it out for a drive on the track. Put it to the test. In the court of public opinion, pick a polarizing figure, someone you quietly make wrong, someone you'd like to change. Then, in the court of public opinion, make them wrong vociferously, try to change them - and while you're doing that, pay careful attention to ie observe whether or not you can be transformed at the same time and in the same space as making them wrong. The result of this simple test is obvious and incontrovertible: you can't. That's not merely an opinion. It's the bedrock experience.

Does this mean that something else is called for ie that something else is required? No. In fact this doesn't mean anything at all. This isn't a remedy or a cure or a fix  for anything. Rather it's just a simple observation. It's a distinction. I can't transform what I make wrong. It's one of those signs along the road of transformed conversations: making someone or something wrong can't live in the same space as bringing transformation to bear on them. It just can't. It doesn't work that way.

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