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

My Constituency

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

February 22, 2016

"Creation is a matter of distinction.".  ... 
"If I don't manage to fly, someone else will. The spirit wants only that there be flying. As for who happens to do it, in that he has only a passing interest."  ... Rainer Maria Rilke transcribed by  
This essay, My Constituency, is the companion piece to It is also the fifteenth entry in The Laurence Platt Dictionary: It is also the sequel to Because I Do.

It was written at the same time as "Which One Is Maharishi?".

The way I discovered these Conversations For Transformation had begun ie the way I discovered they're now out-here, is one day I realized my website had about fifty essays on it. That's when I knew. Not much planning went into this. The whole thing just unfolded ie it just happened. I'm interested in the creative process, and especially in the way artists (writers, poets, sculptors, painters, musicians etc) describe it. Creativity has an element of "it just happens"  which both rings for me as well as inspires me (there's also Michelangelo's take on it: when asked to explain the process by which he sculpted David from the marble slab, he denied sculpting David at all - David, he said, was already there, already wholly and completely formed, already present in the slab; what he did was simply remove the excess marble).

When the total number of these essays grew to something substantial, some of my readers began asking me "Why do you write them?". They wanted to understand my reason. At first, I didn't know what to tell them. I didn't have a reason. So I looked closely at myself, examining my motive, looking for a reason. But I didn't find one - in fact subsequently I've gotten clear there is none. So I told them "There's no reason.". Yet they still said "But there must  be a reason ..."?

That's when I began answering "Because I do.". "Because I do" has become my de rigueur  answer to the question "Why do you write them?" - and it's the truth. Yet invariably people who aren't ready for a Zen answer will want something more palatable. So they'll ask again "No really:  why do you write them?". And again I'll answer "No really:  because I do.". For some, that'll be maddening. For others, it'll catalyze a breakthrough. The light bulb will dim - or it'll glow brighter.

Even though it may sound like it's personal, there's really nothing personal about "Because I do". Neither is it a smart alecky  response or a sassy  response although it's possible if you're not ready for a Zen answer, there's a really good chance you may hear it that way. No, it's actually a pretty darn accurate observation  of the way the creative process works. Simply put, making distinctions  is what drives the creative process. Creation, as Werner says, is a matter of distinction. And not if but when the creative process works well, it gets noticed. When it gets noticed, it gets noticed within and by a certain constituency  if you will - that is to say "because I do" has gotten noticed within and by a certain constituency.

From the Cambridge International Dictionary:


a group of people who support, or are likely to support, a particular person, product, suggestion, etc

That's what the dictionary says about the group of people who comprise a constituency. The definition fits both the more colloquial political  constituency as well as my non-colloquial "because I do" constituency, with the essential difference being my latter has no ulterior motive. Taking a certain freedom which poetic license allows, I'd like to expand on the dictionary definition of the group of people who comprise my constituency. While there wasn't an intention originally to found a constituency (that's not how this began), clearly with one million twenty seven thousand views since its inception, a constituency has resulted.

Given the group of people in my constituency ie given you, I specifically acknowledge your speaking  and your listening  - particular your listening. I'm clear it's in your listening where these Conversations For Transformation live. I say that obviously, and not so obviously. Obviously they occur in your listening (reading) as a result of my speaking (writing). Not so obviously, they originate in your listening in the same way as they originate in mine. Given our commonality as human beings, when transformation shows up in my listening, it's a highly likely possibility that it'll show up similarly in yours. All of us, you and I, are a listening for transformation. I just happen to have committed to the minor task of writing some aspects of it down.

Interestingly enough, it's not so much what I write down (speak) which is the domain of transformation. It's that which is enlivened by the way you read (listen) what I write down (speak) which is the domain of transformation. This is my constituency. So if I were to tweak the dictionary definition of "constituency" so that it better reflects this state of affairs, my entry in The Laurence Platt Dictionary would say:


a group of people who listen, or are likely to listen, a particular person, product, suggestion, etc

rather than "a group of people who support, or are likely to support, a particular person, product, suggestion, etc".

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