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


Churchill Manor, Napa, California, USA

March 31, 2015

This essay, Laurenceplattology, is the thirteenth entry in The Laurence Platt Dictionary: Conversations For Transformation receives its nine hundred and fifty thousandth view with the publishing of Laurenceplattology.

I am indebted to Mark Spirtos who inspired this conversation.

I was speaking with a fellow, a graduate of Werner's work who told me he had gotten a lot out of his participation, yet once he stopped participating, any value he gained had subsequently "faded away". He said "faded away" like a criticism, like an invalidation, like the value he had gained was supposed to somehow endure permanently by itself like a non-fading indelible dye. He said "faded away" like Werner's work was not what Werner claims it is. He didn't say it like he was taking responsibility for his value fading, nor as if he was inquiring into why it faded for him. I suggested that his participation in Werner's work worked  (which is to say he got value out of participating) because he created himSelf during his participation, and that subsequently he stopped creating himSelf, simply forgetting  creating himSelf is the source of the value in his life. Create it: there's value. Stop creating it: it "fades away".

That didn't go down well with him. He wasn't willing to look at his role in the value in his life fading away.

To his credit, he contacted me again some months later and rebroached the subject. One of the things he asked me was whether it was expected that he and all the other graduates would "become like Werner". I could tell underneath it all, he admired Werner. I could also tell he confused "creating himSelf" with "becoming like Werner", blurring the line between the two.

Towards Re-creating Werner Authentically

Werner's a Self-made guy, about whom there's a lot to love and about whose work there's a lot to love and from which there's a lot to gain. But the idea of Werner's work setting out to make people like Werner  is inaccurate, unfortunate, and misleading. It renders getting any real value out of participating with him, almost impossible. The truth is who Werner is in the entire exercise of your own transformation, is almost incidental.

That said, it's hard not  to get who Werner is when participating with him, simply from the demonstration he is. Yet as extraordinary as that is, it's actually not where the real value occurs. The real value doesn't occur over there  where he is. The real value occurs where you  are. To get the value from participating in Werner's work is to get who you really are and the hidden or suppressed or unrealized possibilities for your life. That's the primary outcome. To get who Werner is, while arguably useful, is only of secondary interest.

More sooner than later once you've been introduced to transformation (which is to say more sooner than later once you've come within earshot  of the conversation for transformation), it's natural to ask the question "Given this new context of transformation for my life, what should I do (indeed, how should I be)  newly in the situations in which I find myself now?".

Listen: you won't get anything powerful for this question by asking the circuitous "What would Werner do?". While that may be a tempting question to ask, it's really just dodging the issue ie it's really just evading being responsible. Rather, the question to ask in these instances is the direct, pointed "What would I  do?" - which is to say "What would my authentic Self  do?".

Being in touch with my authentic Self (which is to say simply "being  my authentic Self" - or even terser, "being authentic") is one of the graduate experiences  available in participating with Werner. Being my authentic Self and inquiring into being my authentic Self, has value. Being like Werner, even as an access to being my authentic Self, may have some interim value. But ultimately it's little more than a distraction, a sidebar. That's why in my view, people who are most like Werner ie people who most remind me of Werner aren't people who are like Werner.

Wait! What does that even mean  Laurence? What do you mean when you say "People who are most like Werner, aren't people who are like Werner."?

It means people who are real  like Werner, are people who are most like themSelves. I, in other words, am not being most real when I'm being like Werner. I'm being most real when I'm being like Laurence.

Without being like mySelf, it's pointless ie it's futile  trying to be real by being like Werner. Trying to be real by being like Werner ("What would Werner do?") is a pitfall. Werner is like Werner. I am like me. I really have no access to being like Werner. I only have access to being like me.

So here's an opening: Werner is who he is for himSelf, just as I am who I am for mySelf, and I do  have access to being who I am for mySelf the way Werner is for himSelf.

The Thing In ItSelf

Now, with all that said, whatever I may want to call this way of being (which is to say however I may wish to distinguish it and characterize it), I'm reluctant to turn it into yet another ism  or another ence  or another ology. Yet in order to reference it, I do need a suitable word with which to talk about it - and as far as I can tell, a suitable word with which to talk about it, hasn't yet been coined. So to give it one, a handle  if you will, I (self-deprecatingly) invented "Laurenceplattology"  which I've transcribed to The Laurence Platt Dictionary:


a stand for transformation, a way of listening, the art of being who you are for yourSelf the way Werner is for himSelf

Be sure you get the paradox: although you have no access to being like Werner, being who you are for yourSelf the way Werner is for himSelf, re-creates Werner authentically.

Laurenceplattology: for me (ie especially  for me) it's an idea which is simultaneously both endearing and disconcerting.

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