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

New Experience

Cayetano Creek, Coombsville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

October 18, 2014

"I want to direct people to the fact that, given that who they are really is their word, being a man or woman of integrity leaves one being whole and complete."  ... 
This essay, New Experience, is the seventh in a group of eleven on Listening: It is also the sequel to Whole And Complete.

Children say the darndest  things. People, every day, say the most amazing  things. And mostly (if we tell the truth about it) we never listen to any of them. Listening: we never have and we never will. It's true. What we call  listening, which is to say what we confuse  with listening, which is too say what we do instead of  listening, is we assess  what people are saying. We compare what people are saying, we scan it against a background of ie against a database  (if you will) of what we already know. Then, whenever there's any match between what people are saying and what we already know, we'll say we (quote unquote) "understand"  what they're saying.

Whenever you examine this process unflinchingly for yourself, you'll notice how rare it is when you're really listening. You'll notice how rare it is when, in the process of listening, you're not simply granting understanding (ie a comparison to something you already know) but rather gaining an entirely new insight  (ie something you had no idea  about before) - or better yet, gaining entirely new experience, new experience you never had before, new experience unknown / not possible  for you before.

You can't get Werner if you don't listen Werner. That's true for anyone actually: you can't get  anyone if you don't listen them. And it's particularly true for Werner. If you're going to get something beyond that which you already know, beyond mere assessment, beyond mere understanding, in fact if you're going to get entirely new experience, then the actionable pathway to it (which is to say the access  to it) is listening - opening up, getting out of the way, and simply listening. Both assessing and understanding are antitheses  of listening. Yet that's what we do. We do them all the time: assess, understand. We never listen: we never have and we never will.

I've just completed an exchange with Werner. I've been listening Werner intently  (I've also just been listening my listening  Werner intently - but that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion). I've transcribed our exchange ie I've written it down in a way which is suitable for sharing. It's as clear as I can get it for now. It has as little of Laurence in it and as much of Werner in it as I can get it for now. I'm pleased and satisfied with it - for now. I tidy my desk. Then I go outside and cross the fence which prevents cattle from entering the Cowboy Cottage yard, and stroll slowly, leisurely, across the cattle pasture meandering down to the river.

And as I'm, walking, I'm still listening him speaking, clear as a bell, "I want to direct people to the fact that, given that who they are really is their word, being a man or woman of integrity leaves one being whole and complete.". There's no assessment. There's no understanding. There's just listening. There's just new experience.
Photography by Joshua Nelson Platt - Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA - 2:36pm Wednesday January 1, 2014
New experience: Cowboy Cottage across the cattle pasture from the river called Cayetano Creek
There are three components of his extraordinary possibility. First there's his breakthrough idea that who you are really is your word (can any one man lay the claim to originating an idea like that - and if not originating it, then at least championing  it? yes, I think so) which, even after one cursory glance, can be seen to have validity. Then there's his particular idea of what it is to be a man or a woman of integrity  (and to be sure, to get this fully, you should consider pre-reading one or two of his brilliant exposés of what integrity is). But it's his third component, his tie up really, which has me experiencing something new bordering on / akin to triumph, even victory, which is his actionable pathway, his access to being whole and complete (which is being a man or a woman of integrity ie who you are really is your word).

It's not simply because he said it that it's true (and that might indeed be the case also). It's that if you listen ie if you really  listen, which is to say if you open up, get out of the way, and simply stand in his languaging of it  without assessing it or trying to understand it, then it's available to you directly, clearly, as a new experience.

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