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


Mercedes-Benz

Highway 29, Napa Valley, California, USA

March 25, 2012



"Somewhere between Corte Madera and the Golden Gate Bridge, the man in the car on the freeway was transformed."
... Professor William Warren Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, in the account titled "Once Upon A Freeway" in chapter nine callled "True Identity" in part III, "Transformation",
   of "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est"
I am indebted to Charlene Afremow who contributed material for this conversation.




I'm driving a platinum blue 2003 Mercedes-Benz E320 by my Self  traveling north on Highway 29 through California's Napa Valley, the wine country  where I live. It's been raining - but it isn't now. The air has that sparkling clear scrubbed clean  look and feel, accentuating the sky and a few clouds as if they're pasted there from a watercolor painting. The Mercedes purrs  hugging the asphalt, as sure footed as a train gripping its tracks.

Vineyards sweep by. Fields sweep by. There's no exterior sound. This car is so well sealed it could float. It requires very little driving. I've got my right foot barely touching the gas pedal, my left leg folded close in to the seat, my left hand on the steering wheel, my right arm resting on the plush upholstery next to me. Looking through the windshield this way, I'm as alert and relaxed as when I watch an enthralling movie.

I don't want for things  in my life. I have all the things I need. And if I am to have things, then I want the best. I own a top of the line Mont Blanc Meisterstück  pen given to me as a gift. It's the finest pen there is. When I hold it in my hand, I know it was made  to fit my grasp. The heft is perfect - plain and simple. As for Mercedes-Benz's, I don't own one. But certain models are in my top ten favorite cars. Now I'm driving this one - with nothing going on, without wanting to own it, yet with total appreciation for a machine so finely engineered. After watching the fare dished up by the media on the evening news, the sheer artistry which crafted this car is a refreshing reminder, for a change, of one of the things we're really good  at. There's nothing to do in this moment except sit and enjoy (no, revel  in) this immaculate car and it's unique ride.

I come to an intersection, easing to a stop in front of the red light. The Mercedes slows without so much as a squeak or any interrupted momentum which, in any other car, would have swayed me forward in my seat (the suspension system and shock absorbers stabilizing this work of art on wheels  are impeccable). I'm sitting at the intersection with nothing on my mind ... nothing  ... until it slowly dawns on me this is where I used to turn off the highway to go to a place I once lived. Living there wasn't a worse time of my life or a better time of my life than now. Rather what's true is it's a past  time of my life. And I don't make this turn much anymore these days.

Sitting here in the Mercedes stopped at this red light at this particular intersection, I notice I'm in an entirely new realm from where I was then. I don't recall making much of an effort to move from that realm to this. Yet here I am, having made a segue  I never imagined I would make: from that ... to this ... and this  is proof I did.

Somehow I've segued here. This is the finest there is. This is the finest there could be. Then, intrigued by that thought, I notice as fine as this is, it could be finer. For example, I could be wealthier, I could move into a bigger house, I could upgrade my wardrobe, I could even go to Hawai'i and surf by day and write Conversations For Transformation by night. Now that  would be perfect, wouldn't it?

Yeah ... but  ... (and in a flash, I see it so clearly  ...) this  is perfect, right here in this car, right here at this intersection, right here under this sky and these few clouds pasted there from a watercolor painting. This is the best there is. This is the best there could ever be. And I nearly missed it. I nearly forgot to choose this is the best there is right here  and right now. When I get this, all the air goes out of my lungs in a spontaneous sigh of joy.

Interesting ...   While sitting, I'd started thinking how it could be finer. Now, I'm ... just ... sitting. Now it seems as if I've been just sitting here for all eternity past. Now it seems as if I'll just sit here for all eternity to come.

The light changes to green ("Go!  ..."), interrupting my reverie. Again with no momentum swaying me backwards, the Mercedes accelerates as smoothly and as powerfully and as effortlessly as a Saturn  rocket inexorably blasting off except without the sound.

Vineyards sweep by. Fields sweep by.



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