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


Lowest Common Denominator

Somerset, New Jersey, USA

June 8, 2011



This essay, Lowest Common Denominator, is the companion piece to Webmaster.

I am indebted to Patricia Zentara who inspired this conversation.




The vehicle  for delivering transformation is the spoken word.

Is this "the truth"?  What's true is it's my opinion. It's my point of view - which I'm inviting you to try on for size  to see if there's anything useful to be gained by looking at the spoken word this way.

Is the spoken word the only  vehicle for delivering transformation? From what I've experienced it's the most effective, the most powerful vehicle for delivering transformation ... AND  ... given the way it is for us human beings, I say it's also the most appropriate, the most natural vehicle for delivering transformation. In particular, when I say the spoken word is the most effective, the most powerful, the most appropriate, the most natural vehicle for delivering transformation, I'm referring to face to face  conversations between live human beings.

It's this delivery model which is at the heart of Werner Erhard's work. What of other delivery models through which transformation may be delivered? Can transformation be delivered in the written word  rather than in the spoken word? Can transformation be delivered in videotaped  conversations between live human beings? Can transformation be delivered in audiotaped  conversations between live human beings? Can transformation be delivered in webinars  ie in online seminars?  The jury's still out on all of the above. For my money I would venture some or all of them may succeed in delivering transformation. But as to whether or not they can deliver transformation as effectively and as powerfully and as appropriately and as naturally as face to face conversations between live human beings, I would venture it's not likely. That's not a vote indicating my personal preference. Rather it's what seems to be the nature of what transformation calls for. And that's also my opinion, my point of view.

In order to deliver transformation via the internet in the written word (if indeed it's possible to deliver transformation in the written word at all), the way I code the Conversations For Transformation website and the essays it showcases, takes into account and builds on the internet's lowest common denominator. It's more than that actually. It's in order to deliver transformation in the written word as widely as possible  via the internet, the way I code the Conversations For Transformation website and the essays it showcases, targets  the internet's lowest common denominator.

What do I mean by the internet's lowest common denominator? It's this:

 1)  In addition to greased lightning fast T1 lines  and broadband, much of the internet is still delivered by dial up modem. If you're receiving the internet by broadband, you can easily receive websites with features which cater specifically to dial up modem users. The opposite isn't true. If you're receiving the internet by dial up modem, you can't easily receive websites with features which cater specifically to broadband users. To reach the widest possible audience, I code the Conversations For Transformation website and the essays it showcases, with features which assume everyone  receives the internet by dial up modem.

 2)  There are many different internet browsers available. The latest browsers can display website features older ones can't. I'm not assuming everyone uses the latest browser. Even if  everyone used the latest browser, some of the latest browsers can display website features other latest browsers can't. My idea is to code the Conversations For Transformation website and the essays it showcases, assuming everyone uses an old browser. This way I reach a much wider audience. Also, for this purpose I maintain a library of eight different browsers (Flock, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape Communicator, Netscape Navigator, Opera, and Safari) with which I test any new feature before I include it. To pass the test, the new feature should work with and be visible by all browsers, if not by as many browsers as possible - or else I eschew it.

 3)  By now there's a veritable plethora  of internet accessing devices to choose from: personal computers aka PCs, Apples (and what Apple fan won't tout the advantages of an Apple over a PC?), iPads, iPhones, indeed all smart  phones, Blackberries  etc. The more modern the internet accessing device, the more sophisticated the features it supports - touch screen  being an obvious example. An internet accessing device which supports a website with touch screen features can also support a website with no  special features - touch screen or otherwise. But an internet accessing device which can't support a website with touch screen features, will render a website with touch screen features poorly or even not fully functional.

So in order to deliver transformation in the written word as widely as possible via the internet, the way I code the Conversations For Transformation website and the essays it showcases, targets the internet's lowest common denominator by not discriminating against people surfing the web  on the basis of

 1)  internet access speed or

 2)  browser version or

 3)  device type.

Transformation isn't partisan  or exclusive or private. It doesn't belong to people of any particular faith or religion. It's not the property of any country, class, caste, or creed. It doesn't favor people with a certain skin color, sex, or sexual orientation. It isn't limited to one income group or another. It's equally accessible everywhere to all people of all ages at every moment under all circumstances. So in delivering transformation via the internet in the written word (which at best is merely an approximation  to transformation), it's simply appropriate to deliver it in a way which isn't partisan or exclusive or private and is equally accessible everywhere to all people of all ages at every moment under all circumstances.

This is the lowest common denominator of the internet meeting the lowest common denominator of what it is to be a human being - which is what it is to be endowed with the possibility of being transformed.

It's also what works.



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