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 Told A Friend I Love You

Silverado Vineyards, Silverado Trail, Napa Valley, California, USA

September 11, 2016



"I know that you know that I love you. What I want you to know is that I know you love me."  ... 
This essay, I Told A Friend I Love You, is the second in the tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. Attracted To Dance
  2. I Told A Friend I Love You
  3. Terse Transformed Communication
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 second trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Familiar Unfamiliar Territory
  2. Interview
  3. Straight Talk
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 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.



Consider this: even if you and I had all the time in the world, no even if you and I had all the time in the universe, there would never be enough time to ask you all the questions there are to be asked, let alone enough time to ask you all the questions there are to be asked of you personally. The reason for this is manyfold. For starters, the body of your work which inspires these Questions For A Friend, is always expanding. And so just as soon as I'd get to the end of the entire vast set of questions inspired by your body of work, such as it is at any one particular moment in time, it would have expanded, calling forth many, many more questions inspired by your new, expanded body of work.

But that's not the end of it. As your body of work expands, so my experience of transformation  expands. And as my experience of transformation expands, so does my ability to direct questions to an ever more profound experience, expand. It's arguably in the latter sense that there'll never be an end - ever  - to these Questions For A Friend.

With all that said, here's my current tenth set of ten Questions For A Friend for you, inspired by you and your brilliant body of work, such as it is now at this one particular moment in time. It took me ten days to come up with these ten questions, informed by your receptivity to me asking them. Thank You for the privilege.



One Question A Day For Ten Days



 1)  Anyone with an even rudimentary experience of participating in any of the many iterations of your work anywhere on the planet over the last forty five years, can attest to the power (even to the necessity)  of committed, open, face to face, spoken and listened communication to tease out the possibility of transformation. In contradistinction, today's social media and texting are poor substitutes for real communication. They simply don't (indeed can't) provide the same opportunity for transformation. I notice you expressing a similar sentiment in the New York Times, and I'd like to get more of your take on this. It's a central issue for our times (no pun intended).

First question:

"Speaking with the New York Times about the numbing effects of digital technology on millennials, you say 'The cost to this generation is enormous. They are losing access to their humanity.'. Please elaborate."



 2)  Maybe it's just me, but I don't see you being replaced any time soon - not even in the next hundred years or more. On the other hand, what may also be true is you've so successfully empowered the breakthrough that is transformation (as far as any one individual can possibly empower it) as to allow it to be ongoingly empowered from now on by ordinary people not necessarily having the same high profile as you.

Second question:

"It's often said no one is irreplaceable. In the work of transformation, you're arguably irreplaceable. When you look to your legacy, does a successor occur for you?"



The next two questions pertain to the Leadership Course. The first pertains to your breakthrough creating it and delivering it; the second pertains to the participants' breakthrough getting it.


 3)  Your promise for the Leadership Course is both audacious and bold. In the way things ordinarily work, I go to a course, I learn something, then I practice it, and over time I get better and better at it. I may only realize the promise of the course long after I've completed it. And that may only account for an educational course in which I learn something. It may take even longer to realize the purpose of an ontological  course in which I be  something. Ordinarily I don't leave a course (ie any  course) fully being  the ontological space of the course. To promise this for the Leadership Course, is both audacious and bold.

Third question:

"In the Leadership Course you promise participants will leave the course being a leader and exercising leadership as their natural Self-expression in any situation and no matter what the circumstances. What makes it possible for you to deliver this, the holy grail of leadership courses, where others fall short?"



 4)  Delivering the Leadership Course so that participants leave the course being leaders and exercising leadership as their natural Self-expression in any situation and no matter what the circumstances, calls for a breakthrough from you, especially given the plethora of same old same old  courses which aspire to yet fall short of providing exactly this. The participants, on the other hand, are called to create a breakthrough for themselves also, if they are to receive and fully realize your course promise.

Fourth question:

"Again in the Leadership Course: what's the essential breakthrough people experience which makes it possible for them to be leaders (ie to lead) rather than merely know about (ie understand) leadership?"



 5)  As anyone knows who's participated in any of your courses which deploy your materials presented on slides and printed media, their readability  (if you will) is an essential component of and a contribution to the workability and success of the course. I've watched you spend hours and hours  fine tuning just one sentence to ensure it works. Your course materials work on all levels, especially in replicating your spoken word and your discovery thought flow so that both are transmitted directly to us, and we get them as if by osmosis. Many chapters of your courses are delivered by the leader reading your materials to us verbatim and / or us reading them out loud along with the leader. It's unusual to be read to (and to read along) in a course. But it works - undeniably (such is the brilliance of your course materials).

Fifth question:

"All your course materials are uniformly brilliant. What are your measurements for their perfection? ie when you're writing and reworking them, how do you know when they're complete and ready for us?"



 6)  There's likely not one single person of good will anywhere who doesn't envision global transformation (ie whatever their picture of it may be) in place on our planet. It's a vision which informs and drives and defines the possibility of many different groups and organizations of diverse scope and application who now all see global transformation not only as possible but also as within reach. What moves me is noticing how many of these groups and organizations trace the inspiration for their vision of global transformation directly back to you. It's staggering.

Sixth question:

"Countless individuals have realized the purpose of your work in their lives, as have couples, families, groups, businesses, communities, and organizations. What's your vision of what the world looks like when it's realized globally?"



 7)  Whenever we're speaking the possibility of global transformation, a certain subtext  of this conversation is "We can make things better" - or at least that's what I hear ie that's what occurs for me. Being transformed, on the other hand, includes accepting things exactly the way they are and exactly the way they aren't. So as paradoxical as it may sound, our declaration of the possibility of global transformation, and applying our talents, energies, and resources to transforming the planet, may negate the possibility of the planet already  being transformed (at least in our experience) - and in fact always was, and always will be.

Seventh question:

"You've differentiated between our ability to invent new possibilities as contexts for our lives, even while Life itself turns out whichever way it turns out (as it's been doing for millennia). Does this imply the world will get closer and closer to being transformed globally, yet because of this characteristic of Life itself, it will never get completely there? Or do we simply include this eventuality in Dorothy's assertion 'It's already perfect the way it is - even if it doesn't always look like it.'?"



 8)  When I say "I love you", it's the truth for me in more ways than one - in three in particular: I love you the person; I love you the regular guy;  I love you the space. And I've never been able to separate these three. So I don't try to anymore. Arguably who I love most is the person being / generating the space. The space inspires me. The regular guy befriends me. But it's the person being / generating the space who touches me and moves me.

Eighth question:

"I told a friend I love you. She said 'No you don't! You love the space of Werner, not the person.'. I told her my 'I love you' doesn't make that differentiation. Should it?"



 9)  Please share with us what's next for you. What's incomplete on your doing now  list? More pointedly, what breakthroughs for your future have become possible for you, given your experience of creating and delivering the Leadership Course? What's next for Werner Erhard?

Ninth question:

"It's hard to imagine anything following the Leadership Course. It's a tough act to follow. What's next for you after the Leadership Course?"



 10)  I'm envisioning that as long as there are human beings on the planet, the work of transformation will go on. Each of us, on the other hand, will eventually die, and when that happens, there'll most likely still be items left incomplete on our to do lists. Do you envision leaving such an incomplete list? Or do you have a mechanism in place for getting it all done before then?

Tenth question:

"Do you envision getting everything done you say you intend to get done? Do you envision a time when you'll declare 'It (ie my work) is finished!'?"



The Great Game We Play Being Complete



What I'm clear about in asking you these ten questions in this current tenth Questions For A Friend trilogy (and in all these trilogies) is that the secondary value in asking them is getting your answers to these questions I (and, I assume, many of us) have always wanted to ask you. The primary value however is to interact with you being complete. And as much as we prize it and covet it, it's a rare opportunity to experience being complete in a relationship. In being complete in a relationship, what we speak and what we listen (and in our case, whatever's asked and whatever's answered) is really just the great game we play in the space of being complete.

Being a player with you in this great game is a gift and a privilege for which mere thanks can never be enough.

With my Love and Respect,



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