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 A Whole New Different World

Napa Valley, California, USA

April 12, 2012



"No you're not!  No, you used  to be different. Now you're the same."
 ... 
 responding to a Six Day Course participant who's saying she's different after transformation
"The being of human beings is a mechanism, the end of which, the purpose, the design function of which is survival. You see now, you can't hear it  because you know  it's going to work out. You're just sure  it's going to work out. It isn't going to work out. Really! It is not  going to work out. This is all there is. This, this what you got, is what there is - never mind the fairy tale. This is it!  It is not going to work out because it has already worked out!  This is the way it worked out. You don't like  that? Too bad  ..."
 ... 
 speaking the A Shot Heard 'Round The World event
This essay, It's A Whole New Different World, is the companion piece to Fight, Flee, Or Face Up (The Train Is In The Station).




You could say this about transformation: it's a whole new different world. Yes you could. You really could. And almost everyone who's ever participated in any of the plethora of iterations of Werner's work over these last four decades would agree with you. So would I. But to be clear, my qualified  agreement is this: yes, while saying it that way is good enough for jazz, in fact a closer look reveals two thirds of it isn't really true at all - rigorously  speaking, that is.

The world of transformation is "whole" (as in full, unfractured, complete)?  Yes that's true. The world of transformation is "new"? No that's not true. The world of transformation is "different"? Also not true. So before I say transformation is a whole new different world in the good enough for jazz sense (which I'll do in just a moment), let's first address why "new" and "different" aren't really rigorous enough adjectives to be appropriate descriptors for transformation.

It's not a new  world. The world has always been this way. It's been turning out this way for millennia. Indeed you could say the world looks  new through your transformed eyes ... but it's not really new. The problem I have with saying the world is new after transformation is this: it abdicates responsibility for creating transformation. If there's one sure fire way of dampening transformation, it's to not take responsibility for creating it. It's not the world after transformation which is new. What's new after transformation is you  ... creating a new context  for all things (a new context for the world, in particular) ie creating transformation.

You could say the world indeed shows up  newly in this new context. But it isn't the world which is new. Really  it isn't. The world has always been this way. It's the context which is new. And you're the creator of this context.

As for different, Werner states it eloquently: it's not different  - it's the same. Transformation doesn't make the world different. Rather (and this is key) it brings forth the possibility of the world being the same  (the world being the same, means the world being just the way it is and just the way it isn't).

Transformation doesn't change the world - it never has, and it never will. What transformation does is recontextualize  (I love  that word) the world, which in turn allows a new realm of possibility for the future of the world, to emerge. At the risk of over belaboring this point, notice this new realm of possibility doesn't change the world. By definition, change makes something from something. A new realm of possibility, on the other hand, makes something from nothing.

So with all that clarified, I can now say (again): after transformation, it's a whole new different world (and yes, saying it that way is good enough for jazz). I'm not waiting for the world to work out - it's already worked out. I'm not waiting for someday  to come - it's already come (and gone). I'm not waiting for the right time to come - this is it!  I'm not waiting for someone or something to show up like a knight in shining armor, like a fairy godmother  to fix me, save me, and rescue me - they aren't coming.

What I'm saying isn't that I'm now fixed, saved, and rescued. No, it's not that. Neither is what I'm saying better than that (or worse, depending on how you listen me ...). What I'm saying is that transformation recontextualizes what it is to be fixed, what it is to be saved, what it is to be rescued. And there's nothing to fix, there's nothing that needs saving, and there's nothing to be rescued from. And by the way, neither is there anything to work out. This is it!  It's already worked out.

Now that's a whole new different world, yes? OK, you say: new and different than what?  For starters, new and different than a world fractured and incomplete, than a world not yet worked out. New and different than a world waiting for someday  to come. New and different than a world waiting for the right time to come. New and different than a world waiting to be fixed, saved, and rescued.

That's transformation. It's a whole new different world.



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