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


It's Its Own Trainer

Napa Valley, California, USA

April 2, 2013

This essay, Integrity: It's Its Own Trainer, is the sixth in a group of twenty three on Integrity:

Consider integrity.

It's its own trainer. The best way to be trained in integrity is also the easiest way: just be around people who are in integrity. Being around people who are in integrity is the entry level training for being in integrity. Then, the mere act of practicing the learned entry level principles and abstracts and ontology  of integrity, reveals the ever deeper principles and abstracts and ontology of integrity. In this way integrity, once enabled, once enlivened, trains itself ie becomes its own trainer.

Why isn't it so easy for me to train myself to be in integrity from scratch  (so to speak) without first being around people who are in integrity? It is possible ... but that's the long way home - because until there's integrity, until integrity and its impact are recognizable, until integrity is distinguishable, there's no foundation on which, no background against which, no stand from  which things can work. That's actually not altogether unexpected. Things simply don't work without integrity. In fact without integrity, nothing  works (as Werner Erhard may have said). It's a vicious, steadily devolving circle. When things don't work, there's no platform on which integrity and its impact can be measured and known. And without integrity nothing works.

So integrity can be trained at an entry level by being around people who are in integrity, after which it becomes its own trainer. But listen: there's a danger in approaching integrity training the way we approach any other training in order to become good  at something, in order to learn a new skill, in order to learn a better move in the game. The danger is this: learning integrity isn't simply learning a better move in the game. Integrity is the entire game. Learning integrity isn't simply learning a new skill for my life. Integrity is my entire life.

Gee! I hope you get this.

There's a lot of overlap  between the definition of teacher  of integrity and the definition of trainer  of integrity. Indeed, it may not be entirely possible to completely separate the two. Nonetheless I'd like to give differentiating between them a shot - not so much to make a point about the difference between a teacher and a trainer, but rather to make a point about the nature of integrity.

A teacher of integrity may be someone I emulate, someone whose words and actions in integrity I borrow, copy, take on and act out in my own life. In learning integrity, a teacher of integrity is a valuable friend, partner, and ally.

The designation trainer  of integrity applies to a mentor who not only teaches me integrity but who also ensures I master the abstracts of integrity for my Self  so that pretty soon I'm rendered independent of my integrity trainer, yet I can maintain integrity. Furthermore, I'm rendered independent of my integrity trainer by my integrity trainer herself  ... and  ... by my agreement  with my integrity trainer. My integrity trainer writes herself out of a job  just in the process of training me, entrusting my own integrity from then on to be its own trainer.

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