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

Make It Up For Yourself

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

May 7, 2020

"I made it up. You can too."
...   transcribed by Laurence Platt in Nametag: A True Story 
"Transformation is being in a conversation for transformation. When you are no longer in a conversation for transformation, you are no longer transformed."
"There's a big difference between other masters I've known / met / read, and Werner. And it's a difference that gets to the heart of what it is to be human. With each of the others, I'm left with what a great human being they are. With Werner, I'm left with what a great human being I am."
... unknown
This essay, Make It Up For Yourself, is the companion piece to Making This Up As I Go Along.

It is also the sequel to Nametag: A True Story.

It is also the prequel to What I Make What Happens Mean.

There's a natural outcome of participating in the work of transformation, which is that you'll discover yourself generating your own life - or simpler put (if you prefer), it's that you'll discover yourself making up  your own life. In fact if the natural result of participating in this work doesn't result in you making up your own life, then whatever it is in which you're participating, isn't the work of transformation (and you can put that in the bank). Notice the term "sourcing your own life" also works well, whereas "living your own life", while apropos, doesn't work quite as well. "Living" my own life, is little more than being at the effect of what I'm dealing with. And to be sure, I do "live" my own life. Yet when I "source" my own life, I make up the very substance of my own life which I live. The two distinctions are worlds apart.

Here's what makes our work interesting: there's a structure the work of transformation provides, a baseline, a foundation on which life can be lived transformed. That's valuable. Yet even that very baseline, that foundation has no enduring value until we take on making up the substance of the life we have, for ourselves.

In this way, the work of transformation is arguably one of the few business enterprises that says "Register for this, it's yours, now make it up for yourself.". It's ironic, especially when touted by a copyrighted body of work, that unless you make it up for yourself, you won't get it. From a business perspective, that's not an easy row to hoe: to provide something of enormous value for people, while stipulating that if they don't then make it up for themselves, what they get will have diminuted value.

Yet the work of transformation is exactly like that. And what we make it up from  is the very stuff of our own lives. No, "the very stuff of our own lives" isn't the drama, the soap opera we inherited ie it's not the default living that came with the package at birth. Rather it's the possibility that only comes into view when we discover that who we are isn't tied to, dependent on, or limited by the patterns we inherited from the past. The stuff I'm likely to be tied to, dependent on, limited by, is simply that which default living demands I deal with. Who I am on the other hand, is an expression of Life itself - which is to say who I am is being with  Life itself.

Wait! So how do I "make up" transformation for myself? The way living transformed (ie the way being with Life itself) manifests, is through language. Transformation lives only and expressly through language, and speaking is its conveyor. Stop speaking, and there's no opening for transformation. Speak, and living transformed is possible again newly (be careful: if you expect living transformed to be God showing up and becoming colorfast in life's fabric like a dyed T-shirt, she ain't coming!).

In my younger, naïve-er days, I struggled with this. First I struggled to get  something. Then I struggled more because I wasn't  getting anything. Yet there never was anything to get. I see that now. There's no special state to attain. This is it! There's only a context to be ongoingly responsible for, one to generate over and over and over again and again and again and again and again and again, one which you make up for yourself. In this sense, transformation is counter-intuitive. You can't get it from anyone. You have to ongoingly make it up for yourself. And you're not obligated to. But if you don't, you can't have it. That's the counter-intuitive way it works.

So the way of transformation is to ongoingly make it up for yourself. And should it call you, you can further make it up for yourself in ways that make it attractive to others to make it up for themselves too. Yet no one is ever required to make it up that way. From where I stand, even when I merely and only make it up for myself, others are naturally inspired and attracted* to make it up for themselves too. It's its nature. When you make it up for yourself, this work becomes self-perpetuating.

* In 1979 I went to South Africa and led the first series of ten guest seminars there which enrolled the first one thousand people and inexorably started Werner's work in South Africa.

At the end of one of those seminars at the Newlands Hotel in Cape Town, a man came up to me and said in a thick "boer" accent: "You spoke for an hour. I didn't understand anything you said. Whatever you've got, I want it.".

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