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

Learning From The Best

Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, California, USA

March 21, 2018

"If you are afraid of death, be  afraid. The point is to get with it, to let it take over - fear, ghosts, pains, transience, dissolution, and all. And then comes the hitherto unbelievable surprise: you don't die because you were never born. You had just forgotten who you are."
... Alan Watts, The Book On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
This essay, Learning From The Best, is the companion piece to Being Around Werner.

It is also the sequel to Passing.

I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt who inspired this conversation, and to Bruce Miller who contributed material.

Last night, in one of those intimate, kind, loving, generous, worthwhile  conversations whose depth and profundity is often only possible between children and their parents (and it's another whole order of magnitude that's present when it's between children and their parents who are all graduates of Werner's work), my daughter Alexandra and I were talking about what the passing of my Mom / her Grandma is like for us.

One of the things Alexandra said she was struggling with, was a realization she got from it: that one day it'll be me and Jolin, her  mother, whom she'll be burying. Wow! In that instant, I confronted two things: one, how much she loves Jolin and me, and two, my own death, and that in a very real sense, I'm powerless to stop it taking me from my darling daughter and my awesome sons (arguably it was the first time I'd confronted it in quite such vivid clarity).

I said "Hmmm, yes that  part of it sucks, Girly Girl"  ("Girly Girl" is my term of endearment for her) "we don't go on forever.". I said the word "sucks" emphasized with a laugh - and we both laughed, surrendering to its obviousness. Along with all the love filling the space to overflowing, there were also hints of a certain poignant sadness for both of us, she expressing it more than me - but then again, she was being more honest than I was.

This morning when I awoke, I texted her to ask her how she was doing. I got her in her gym early. She replied "I'm good, I'm fine: in great shape.". And she was - I could tell, almost telepathically. And then she followed up her text with another which said "I'm learning from the best" (implying me).

Wow! That re-wrote the book on what it is to be touched. I texted her back "Me too, I'm just passing it on" (implying Werner).

She got it. Listen: when you get what she got, the power it unleashes is awesome. It's immense. It made me realize recreating transformation is digital  not analog.

Recreating Transformation Is Digital Not Analog

Now what do you mean by that, Laurence: "... recreating transformation is digital not analog"?  OK, in this analogy (and it's only  an analogy, and at some point all  analogies break down and fail) let's say we're recreating sound which is stored on vinyl and tape ie on analog media.


The words "analog" and "analogy" appear to have the same root.

In the context in which I'm using them here, that's an unrelated mere co-incidence, having no significance whatsoever.


You recreate vinyl by playing it on a device which uses a stylus  ie a needle to capture the sound. The very action of repetitively using a stylus, steadily degrades the vinyl. If you recreate the recreated vinyl, the degradation in sound quality gets worse and worse until the original sound is barely recognizable. The same could be said of recreating tape: even though no stylus is involved, tape pulls, drags, and degrades with successive playing, amplifying and emphasizing errors, rendering the sound quality worse and worse until the original is also barely recognizable. That's analog recreation: eventually, continued recreation renders the original barely recognizable.

In this sense, recreating cheap talk, is also analogously analog - especially if it's its meaning  that's being recreated. Recreating transformation (which is to say recreating being in a transformed way)  on the other hand, is analogously digital. Digital recreation is the technology for recreating a CD  (Compact Disk). Sound on a CD isn't stored in a degradable format like on vinyl or tape. Sound on a CD is stored in bits  (binary digits)  which are read by a laser beam, not by a stylus or by pulling tape across a magnetic head. If the recreating device accurately retrieves the bits (and it either retrieves them accurately or it doesn't retrieve them at all), then endless recreations (as well as recreations of recreations)  of the original can be made without loss of quality - in other words, fully recreating it.

Being around Werner (learning from the best), getting who he bes  with me, then recreating being that way with my children, speaks to transformation's proclivity to be recreated digitally without loss of quality.

That's what Girly Girl got. It's what I recreate. More than that, it's what I recreate for my children to recreate.

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