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


Somewhere At 39,000 Feet Over Africa

July 30, 2009

This essay, Interview, is the second in the second trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. Familiar Unfamiliar Territory
  2. Interview
  3. Straight Talk
in that order.
The first trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Prelude
  2. Ask Me Anything
  3. Coming Around Again
in that order.
The third trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Dancing With My Mouth
  2. Cave Paintings
  3. Velvet Tsunami
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Creating Creating
  2. Tell Me Something About Nothing
  3. Lucid Disclosures
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Closer And Closer
  2. Tête À Tête
  3. Dancing With Life
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?
  2. Wonderings About Nothing In Particular
  3. Tipping Point
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Beyond Breathing Underwater
  2. Bold Faced Truth
  3. What You Create For Yourself About Me
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Once In A Lifetime
  2. Fireside Chat
  3. Whole And Complete
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Questions For A Friend
  2. Nothing Else I'd Rather Be Doing
  3. Free To Be And Free To Act
in that order.
The tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Attracted To Dance
  2. I Told A Friend I Love You
  3. Terse Transformed Communication
in that order.
The eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. A Context Worth Playing In
  2. Tie The Brush To My Hand
  3. Unimaginably Terse
in that order.
The twelfth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Will I Do When You Die?
  2. Access
  3. The Newest Piece Of Work
in that order.
The thirteenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Worthy Of The Company
  2. Creating Them For Myself
  3. Standing With Masters
in that order.
The fourteenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. This Context Of Privilege
  2. I'm Not Going To Let It Go
  3. Questions For A Friend XIV III: Not Yet Titled (working title)
in that order.

It's a privilege.

Being with you like this and having your listening and permission to ask you anything is a privilege. That's not merely something I'm saying about this opportunity: it's the only  thing worth saying which even comes close to describing what's available here: totally open listening and absolute freedom. Saying anything else is a superfluous, even unnecessary commentary.

Ten Questions With No Already Always Answers

 1)  In awe, I see what you're accomplishing now. I look and see the way what you're accomplishing now is impacting the future. But really that's just my own interpretation of the way what you're accomplishing now is impacting the future. In other words, that's just my own interpretation of your inexorable legacy. I want to know what your legacy, the way you  intend it to be, will be - aside from what I already know your legacy will be.

I want to know:

"Aside from what your friends know about you, aside from your legacy of transformation, for what would you most like to be remembered?"

 2)  It's been said forgiving is "giving up the right to resent". Forgiving isn't always easy. But then again, giving up the right to resent isn't always easy either. It seems to me forgiving with ease requires recognizing something profound in people, while at the same time coming from a profound place in yourself. I assert when you re-presence  the profound in others while coming from  the profound in yourself, forgiving becomes easy and natural ie it simply unfolds in the process of life itself.

Please speak to this.

"On what do you draw to forgive people who are hardest to forgive?"

 3)  Since its inception your work has taken on a myriad forms. It's been decades since there was only one flagship course whose success could be measured simply by what graduates said about its impact in their lives. Now there are lots and lots of courses and programs deploying many varied forms of expressions impacting millions of people in hundreds of countries. Conversations For Transformation have found their way into the upper business boardrooms, up to the top academic echelons, and on to the highest spiritual, religious, and philosophical podiums. As far as I can tell, determining success in each of these vastly differing media requires separate and specific statistics and tallies. I'd be interested to know if you've simplified this process by combining all of them into one single universal measurement of success.

What's your evidence it's all working?

"By what measure do you personally determine the difference your work makes globally?"

 4)  True power is often misunderstood, quite aside from the fact that true power is rare. I've never had a problem with your power. I've never seen it misused or inappropriately applied. Today, now that the global listening for transformation and possibility is wide open, we're seeing what I like to call sweeter  deliveries by you. But in the early days when the general listening wasn't as open, we saw more of a breaking past, even a breaking into  its stuckness, into its fixedness  with - I might say - inspired and brilliantly effective results. Some people couldn't contain this approach. It became cannon fodder for fabled criticism.

Personally I experienced it as wonderful theatre, as riveting drama. "If you make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs", and I love having breakfast with you.

"How do you respond to accusations of people who blur your precisely applied ruthless compassion with egomania?"

 5)  The issues to which transformation can be brought, completely altering their probable almost certain future in the world, are legion. How do we prioritize them? There's only so much work we can do in one day. Where do we begin? To which issues do we assign resources first? How do we determine which wants and needs can, should, and must wait?

"What's the one outcome in the world's current probable almost certain future you most passionately want to transform before it's too late?"

 6)  Do you have heroes? I've considered who my own heroes are (and I do have people I consider to be heroes). But if the context in which a hero is evaluated is one in which I consider their  greatness eclipses my own natural greatness as a human being, the respect and acknowledgement in designating heroes quickly devolves into nothing more than a kind of immature, naïve "starstruck"-ness.

Now that the background listening is set,

"Looking back through time until human beings first appeared on Planet Earth, who are the people you admire most?"

 7)  My life is inspired by you. I'm clear about it. It's more than that actually. It's to the degree I tell the truth about it, the better my life works - not just for me but also for everyone I interact with. There's a new possibility  present and tangible for everyone I interact with out of my relationship with you. I know that, and even if they don't know that or don't get it  in quite so many words, I assert that's the wanted quality they're getting from me.

I'm wondering if this is how it shows up for you too. In other words, even though it's you who are its inspiration (which means to me you've already got it), does what I do bring forth a new possibility for you too? I'm wondering exactly how indiscriminating and borderless  this quality is.

"What have Conversations For Transformation made newly available to you, their inspiration, which you didn't already have?"

 8)  Since I met you, my entire notion of what it is to get away, of what it is to take a break has shifted. To be sure, I like to travel and to discover new places. But the allure of taking a vacation in order to  get away, in order to  take a break has declined drastically. I love where I am (and by that I mean wherever  I am). I'm doing what I love doing. My erstwhile yearning to take a vacation in order to get away and to take a break doesn't grip me as it once did. If I do take a vacation, its allure is the opportunity to write Conversations For Transformation in another environment. In other words, when it comes down to it I never get away: who I really am  comes with me everywhere I go.

Having said that,

"Do you take vacations? If so, where do you like to go? If not, what do you do to relax?"

 9)  Recognition comes in various forms: having a major bridge named after you, being awarded a Nobel prize, getting a fifteen minute sustained foot stomping hand clapping whistling cheering standing ovation from a stadium full of people who were outright skeptical of you to begin with.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if someday you also got the first two.

Seriously though,

"What's the most memorable, validating acknowledgement of your work you've ever gotten?"

 10)  It's been said "When I don't know who I am, I serve you; when I know who I am, I am you.".

That's not quite right.

I do know who I am. And who I am is I am you serving you.

Please tell me:

"How may I best serve you?"

A Quiet At Asking's End

Interviewing you is unlike interviewing anyone else.

Interviewing anyone else presupposes they'll answer my questions. Once they've answered my questions, only then could I say the intention of the interview is fulfilled and complete.

Interviewing you only presupposes interviewing you. Once I've asked my questions, then the intention of the interview is already fulfilled and complete. You're free to answer all of my questions or none of my questions or some of my questions. I've got no attachment to any particular number of answers. It's my experience  of you I get interviewing you which actually gives the answer to any of my questions.

Thank You very much for allowing me to interview you.

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