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


If That's What You Got

Sailing On San Francisco Bay, California, USA

May 18, 2004



I am indebted to Stewart Emery who inspired this conversation.



Transformation is slippery. You can experience it. You'll get your life from it. But without speaking it, you can't share it. And without sharing it, you can't keep it.

Yet what's interesting about speaking it is what I say about it isn't it. In fact, what I say about it isn't worth much. While I may share my experience of it with my words, I'm clear my words aren't the experience of it that I'm sharing. The experience of it my words convey is worth something. My words themselves aren't worth much. This is something that sooner or later has to be confronted.

If I share transformation by speaking it, and if in speaking it my words aren't it, then I'm lying about it. Indeed, all I can do is lie about it. In that sense, I'd rather lie about the truth than lie about a lie.

If I say "I lie" and in so doing I speak the truth, then I lie. If I say "I lie" and in so doing I lie, then I speak the truth.

Whatever I get from the experience of transformation is whatever I say I get from it based on whatever I'm willing to stand for getting from it. And the closer I get to saying what I get from it without being positional about what I get or about what it is, seems to create openings for others to get it from my speaking it. In the face of positionality, it seems fewer openings for others to get it from my speaking it are likely to appear.

I can almost submit to chagrin and frustration when I notice while transformation creates a new possibility for recontextualizing my mind and my own right / wrong machinery, almost in spite of myself I will - from time to time - share transformation not simply in order to share transformation but rather in order to be right. It's very pernicious. (Isn't "recontextualizing" a marvelous word? I'm even hesitant to ruin it by explaining what I mean by it.)

But it's not the mind that's the problem, Werner said to me. Rather, the problem is its positionality.

There really is nothing to get. Really. Nothing. This is it. And whatever you say you got from transformation, your words ain't it. At best, your words share an experience which, arguably, is it. That requires you get off being positional about it. Literally, you have to get out of the way in order for it to be shared. In the mastering of that most Zen of all states of affairs, transformation occurs non-linearly and out of time. You don't want to leave people experiencing you're great because you're able to verbalize your own experience. You want to leave people experiencing their own greatness out of what your words evoke. That's the distinction between talking about transformation, and sourcing, generating, and sharing transformation by speaking it.

Stewart Emery was the first person Werner designated an est trainer. In the final stages of an est  Training, the scrappy Australian answered a woman who said "I don't get it" with "Good. There's nothing to get so you got it.".

The woman was perplexed at first, and then she lit up and said "I get it. So getting it is whatever you get.".

"If that's what you got" Stewart responded.

* * *

Well said. Thank You, Stewart.



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