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


Ideal Medium

Exertec, Napa, California, USA

November 7, 2015



It's a question that came up in a recent conversation - that is, it came up again  in a recent conversation, just as it's frequently come up in conversations before that one. It's this: is there an ideal medium  for transformation? Is there even such a thing as the perfect context  for bringing forth transformation that's all of reliable and getable and sharable? Or: is there a suitable Petri dish  in which to culture transformation (if you will)? As far as I can tell (which is to say "in my experience"), yes there is. I assert the ideal medium for transformation ie the medium in which transformation best thrives, is speaking and listening in face to face conversation.

It's no accident Werner's work originated (and it's no accident Werner's work was first presented) in a group setting ie in a seminar environment conducive to all participants' speaking and listening. If there is indeed an ideal medium for transformation, then it's a given ie it's axiomatic  that elements which enable speaking and listening have to be present and available to everyone - which is arguably why traditional lectures and well-intentioned religious sermons have proven effective for clearly laying out the components of complex belief systems for example, yet haven't proven to be effective media for bringing forth real, authentic transformation.

In speaking with artist friends, other media (including literature and poetry and music) have also been touted as possible contexts for bringing forth transformation. Throughout history, the idea of classical and romantic expressions of literature, poetry, and music as transformative  is one we've been particularly fond of. Yet after close scrutiny, each and every one of them (and I'm including my own Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays in this category as well) can be seen to be transformative up to a point  yet always one or more degrees removed from transformation's ideal medium: speaking and listening in face to face conversation.

Listen: that doesn't mean it's not possible (and I'm not saying it's not possible) to experience aspects of transformation in poetry and literature and music. What it does mean (and what I am saying) is that poetry and literature and music simply aren't transformation's ideal media - because they're not face to face conversations.

If poetry and / or literature are going to be effective in making aspects of transformation available (that is if poetry and / or literature are going to be as effective as they can possibly be in making transformation available), I assert they'll have to express a certain presence of the writer / author in the medium ie they'll have to express a certain presence of Self  generated by the writer / author in the media. If music is going to be effective in making aspects of transformation available (that is if music is going to be as effective as it can possibly be in making transformation available), I assert it'll have to express a certain presence of the composer / performer in the medium ie it'll have to express a certain presence of Self generated by the composer / performer in the medium.

This aspect of it is pivotal: how poets and writers and musicians generate presence of Self such that transformation comes forth, tangibly alive through their art, is the challenge of all artists. Moreover it's a challenge which if taken on, will determine whether they'll succeed, not merely as artists but as transformational  artists, or not.

Another possibility for making transformation available (or at least for directing people to it) in any environment when its ideal medium, speaking and listening in face to face conversation, isn't front and center stage, is to use whatever platform happens to be available to enroll people in the Landmark Forum. That's a straightforward, direct approach to making transformation available. It also works well - regardless of whatever medium the artist is most facile with and / or is currently engaged in.



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