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 The Steak Not The Menu

Browns Valley Yogurt and Espresso Bar, Browns Valley, California, USA

June 13, 2018



"Talking about transformation is no more than a representation, an image of the real thing. It's like eating the menu instead of the steak - neither nurturing nor profound. It is in being transformed - in being authentically true to oneself - that one lives passionately free, unencumbered, fearless, committed. It is in living life in a transformed way that the steak and its sizzle show up."
... 


It's a subtle distinction. And it's safe to say we, with every good intention, have missed it - not just for days or for weeks or even for months, but for centuries. It's "speaking transformation" as opposed to "speaking about  transformation". "Speaking about transformation" is the menu. "Speaking transformation" is the steak. And we all know it's stoopid  to make a case for eating the menu in lieu of the steak - so likewise, for "speaking about" transformation in lieu of "speaking" transformation. But Laurence, didn't Werner say transformation is a rich body of distinctions?  Don't you have to learn and remember them to speak about them to be transformed?

Menu courtesy Oban Steakhouse, Oban, Scotland "Warning: this is only the menu. Don't eat it:  it's not the steak!" ... Laurence Platt
Good question: does living a transformed life require you to become a master of delivering its rich body of distinctions? In other words, if you can't present an intelligent, witty discourse recreating all the distinctions accurately for the audience in a packed lecture hall on an Ivy League  college campus, can you claim to live a transformed life? Pursuing this inquiry reveals one of the most profoundly marvelous ways Werner's work works (and of the way it doesn't).

Here's my take on this: I "understand" water (don't we all?). I understand it's the second state of matter (of solid, liquid, and gas, it's liquid). I understand my body needs it; also that a molecule of water comprises two molecules of hydrogen combined with a molecule of oxygen (thus "H2O") etc etc ...  And yet knowing all that? isn't required for me to experience being wet when I dive in.
Werner's promise for the Leadership Course (for example) is "You will leave this course being a leader and exercising leadership as your natural Self-expression in any situation and no matter what the circumstances." There's no mention of understanding  leadership (that's not on the agenda - it's not required). There's no mention of remembering  the distinctions of leadership. Its method is akin to discovering what being wet is, by diving into the river. The work is experiential  in nature - "contextual"  if you prefer. You can set aside your understanding in the lobby as you arrive, then pick it up again later if you like. But be not surprised if you decide to leave it there.

* * *

It's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu it's the steak not the menu.

[... being tightened up ...]



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