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


Much More Than A Compendium:

Reflecting On The Source Of Werner's Work

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

September 10, 2015



This essay, Much More Than A Compendium: Reflecting On The Source Of Werner's Work, is the companion piece to Moment Of Truth.

I am indebted to Eric Edberg who contributed material for this conversation.




People say all kinds  things about the source of Werner's work: the ugly, the bad, and the good. I'm not and have never been overly concerned with what people say about it. Look: it's what we do. We say things. We express opinions. Now there's nothing wrong with expressing opinions. If you're human, you have at least a few of them. It only becomes problematic when we blur the lines between our opinions, and "The Truth". And of all the distinguishing lines that exist, those are lines which are very easy to unknowingly blur.

<aside>

That's why I'm skeptical of all  opinions - both yours and  my own ie especially  my own. The Truth opinionated isn't the truth anymore.

And that's also why I'm the one who takes my own writings with the biggest pinch of salt.

<un-aside>

Opinions are like fingers: everyone's got them, and so what?! It's only when opinions aren't distinguished as opinions  that they get in the way. But an opinion distinguished as an opinion  (you distinguish an opinion as an opinion by deploying the prefixes "It's my opinion that ..." or "In my opinion, ...") is just an opinion, and so what?! Until we, knowingly or unknowingly (usually unknowingly) blur the lines between opinions and "The Truth", expressing an opinion is a no harm no foul. It's what we do.

Having qualified that, one of the things people say about the source of Werner's work ie one of the opinions people hold as "The Truth" about the source of Werner's work, is that it's an olio, a hodge-podge, a compendium  he put together using bits taken from other classic courses he participated in and / or led back in the day, the Dale Carnegie course  (founded by Dale Harbison Carnegie) and the Mind Dynamics  course (founded by Alexander Everett) to name but two, as well as ideas from philosophers like Martin Heidegger to name but one.




So Where Did He Really  Get It From?


Werner's breakthrough on the Golden Gate Bridge (the way he shares it) was the experience of becoming Self  - which spontaneously became expressing Self, and then sharing Self (that's what Self does). So the accurate answer to the question "What's the source of Werner's work?" is "The source of Werner's work is himSelf" (that's Self  with a capital ess). Where Werner got it from is himSelf - which is to say where Werner got it from is the  Self. That's its source.

Even given all the other experiences of all the other courses he participated in and / or led back in the day, and even given all the other philosophies he studied back in the day, the source of Werner's work is the experience he had of himSelf ie the source of Werner's work is the experience he had of becoming the  Self, in that breakthrough moment out of time on the Golden Gate Bridge. An olio is not a source. A hodge-podge is not a source. A compendium is not a source. An experience, on the other hand, is a source - in particular, the experience of Self is a source.

Newly being Self and newly expressing Self (which is to say bringing Self forward), Werner charted a shareable access to Self, to being Self, and to bringing Self forward. It's this particular charted access which makes Werner's work profoundly unique - not to mention uncannily on target, delivering transformation, integrity, mastery, and leadership again and again and again over and over and over.

It's not the Dale Carnegie course or the Mind Dynamics course or any other course which comes forth when people participate in Werner's work. Neither is it Martin Heidegger's philosophy or any other philosophy which comes forth when people participate in Werner's work. People who participate in Werner's work report that, arguably for the first time ever, who they really are comes forth just in the process of Life itself  - fully, completely, and authentically. And it's not the Dale Carnegie course or the Mind Dynamics course or any other course which comes forth when Werner comes forth. Neither is it Martin Heidegger's philosophy or any other philosophy which comes forth when Werner comes forth. It's Werner who comes forth when Werner comes forth  - fully, completely, and authentically.

It's this very powerful, very Zen, very no-nonsense, very no frills, very dogshit reality  distinction which is at the heart of Werner's work and transformation.




The Expression Of Becoming Self


Werner's work therefore ("in my opinion") isn't the expression of a compendium comprising the Dale Carnegie course, the Mind Dynamics course and others, and Martin Heidegger's and others' philosophies. Consider rather that it's the expression of the Self coming forward - which is to say it's the expression of becoming Self, of being Self, of expressing Self, and of sharing Self. That said, what's interesting as well as ironic to note is that its particular delivery format and material, really have far less to do with its workability, than the intentionality and the presence and the natural Self-expression of the leader delivering the material, and of the participants' listening for and inquiring into the material.

In this regard it's been suggested that rather than deliver any specific material in his seminars, Werner could simply stand on a podium and read the dictionary and / or the telephone directory to his audience, and that  format would work just as well too ie the results would be the same, and people would get it just as profoundly (trust me: in terms of the Self sharing the Self, and given who Werner's being, that's actually a lot closer to plausibility than it may sound).

The essential distinction "transformation"  Werner's work teases out and brings forward, is vexingly hard, even slippery  to explain. Really it is. It's even harder to understand (and it's actually not worth investing much time and effort in understanding it, given it's well known that understanding is the booby prize). But it can  be experienced. You can experience becoming Self, being Self, expressing Self, and sharing Self. When it's experienced, it's its own explanation.

To characterize the source of Werner's work as a compendium of bits of other courses and philosophies, is really ("in my opinion") naïve, and misses its source entirely - indeed it actually gets in the way of fully getting the profundity of what it makes available, and reduces any useful conversations for transformation which come from it, to cheap talk and jargon.



Thank You For Your Relationship With Werner



With all that said, I'd like to take this moment to lay bare a sentiment which frequently recurs in these Conversations For Transformation, both in their bi-weekly e-mail announcements, as well as being permanently embedded in the lower left of their home page as my acknowledgement "Thank You for Your Relationship with Werner.".
Werner is Self being Self in our world - just as you and I are. Anyone who's fully being themSelf and / or who's fully committed to being themSelf, has a relationship with Werner - knowingly or unknowingly. And anyone who's fully being themSelf and / or who's fully committed to being themSelf, also has a relationship with everyone else who's fully being themSelf and / or who's fully committed to being themSelf, including the greats Dale Carnegie and Alexander Everett and Martin Heidegger.

<aside>

I include Dale and Alexander and Martin secondarily for creating awesome courses and expounding riveting philosophies, and primarily for being committed to people being fully themSelves - in that order (such are my own personal priorities).

<un-aside>
Werner's work is really much more than a compendium. Really. The source of this work is the Self. The source of this work is the possibility of becoming Self. It's the possibility of the Self being fully unleashed in our world.



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