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


Online! II:


The Landmark Forum [Online], Landmark Worldwide

March 3, 2021

"To make sure a person doesn't find out who they are, convince them they can't really make anything disappear." ... 
This essay, Online! II: Untethered, is the companion piece to Online!: Free To Be And Free To Act II.

It is also the twenty seventh in an open group inspired by Landmark Programs: I am indebted to Mark Spirtos and to Dr Joseph DiMaggio and to Kathy Bosco and to my children Alexandra Lindsey Platt and Christian Laurence Platt and Joshua Nelson Platt, and to Jolin Beth Halstead, the mother of my children, who inspired this conversation.


The announcement that Werner's flagship programs, particularly the Landmark Forum and Forum for Graduates - Free to Be and Free to Act are now being offered online, got me wondering about two things.

The first is: is it possible to deliver the results Werner's work delivers in-person, online? I share my experience of this in the essay titled Online!: Free to Be and Free to Act II.

The second is: is it possible to deliver not merely the results Werner's work delivers in-person online, but specifically is it possible to deliver transformation  online, particularly for non-Graduates? I share my experience of this in this essay, Online! II: Untethered.

Comparing one experience that produces insight, value, and the access to transformation, to another different experience that produces insight, value, and the access to transformation, is never a great idea. That's because comparing is an in-the-stands  activity not an on-the-court  activity. And it's never a great idea to cultivate an in-the-stands view of life when the on-the-court experience is available and calling. Cultivating the former, just produces more entrenchment and a loss of freedom. We live mostly in the stands of our own lives when the only skin to be had in the game is on the court (but that's a conversation for another occasion).

I recently participated in the Landmark Forum online as a reviewer, having participated in it more than a few times before in-person. I didn't do it to compare the two. The differences between the experience of any program delivered in-person and its counterpart delivered online, would be obvious. Rather I had a long, carefully constructed list of what I wanted to accomplish in it - simply put, of the possibilities I intended to invent for myself and my life out of participating in it. And along with it all I had a burning question that wasn't so much "Is it possible to deliver the results  Werner's work delivers in-person online?" which I had already resolved for myself (yes it's possible - in spades)  as "Is it possible to deliver transformation  online, particularly for non-Graduates?". To be honest, my opinion at the get-go was that it wasn't possible. I was already certain that an in-person environment is the  required milieu for delivering transformation, that sudden out-of-time  realization of who we really are, the getting of which occurs not unlike opening the door of the fridge to get something to eat, and being stunned, blown back  on finding the Grand Canyon  in there!!! That's what the experience of truly, authentically  discovering transformation (or for that matter, anything else truly profound) for yourself, is like.

With that in the background, I completed the introductory evening launching session, and the five days of the Landmark Forum online (it includes three full thirteen hour days of online classroom sessions, two open days for trying out / sharing your transformation and possibilities with people, and an evening graduation and guest opportunity session). In this regard, I discovered three things (there were dozens  of things I discovered in totality, which include the three I'll distinguish now).

The first is arguably the most obvious, and yet it's one I unwittingly overlooked going in. It's that if the people who deliver the Landmark Forum online say  it will deliver transformation just as it delivers it in-person, then it will  - or it won't be delivered online until it does. And that's what they do say. It's not a statement to be taken lightly, ordinarily. But then again, the people who deliver the Landmark Forum online, aren't playing by ordinary rules. They're playing by extraordinary rules. I should have known. If they say the Landmark Forum online will deliver transformation just as it does in-person, then it will. And all there would be for me to do is experience it for myself. So I, knowing who they are, got it clear for myself that it was delivered online as soon as they could say it delivered transformation online.

I suppose you could say what was up for me to discover, is how I stacked my own opinion that it can't be done, against their given word that it can and will be done. But in the end, I was delighted to give up my opinion in the face of the overwhelming evidence in their favor. Indeed, the Landmark Forum online delivers a fullness and depth of transformation which I, in over forty two years being around Werner's work, haven't plumbed before. In this way it's nothing short of utterly miraculous.

The second is my concern that managing  (for want of a better word) the group online would be a chore more epic than herding cats, given everyone online is not as accessible as if they were there in-person (for example, what if someone too confronted, disconnects?). That, I discovered, is managed by a masterfully fitting set of ground rules which, rather than cover what to do online to get the most out of the experience, cover what not  to do online to not diminish the experience. And there are always  ground rules (always, yes? - in life, there are always ground rules ...). The ground rules also make it clear that transformation as delivered by the Landmark Forum online is only promised if you're in it for the entire experience. And if you're not, you may  get transformation ... but you can't expect  it. In the face of this, the simplified yet iron clad set of ground rules, made that group management look even easier (and effortlessly tighter) than group management I've observed when the Landmark Forum is delivered in-person. But listen: people are whip smart. Word is out that Werner's work is the real deal. And no one runs too far from that which they've always wanted in their lives. It was palpable from observing the Zoom "gallery view" of all participants faces. No one wanted to leave this extraordinary event.

The third was my core concern: does  the Landmark Forum online actually deliver transformation as unerringly, as pointedly as the Landmark Forum in-person? I got two answers. First (the one I overlooked going in): yes, because the people who deliver the Landmark Forum online say so. Second: yes, a thousand  times yes. And the latter comes in retrospect from my own experience as a participant, not from some disembodied, disengaged in-the-stands intellectual opinion about its delivery methodology. At first I considered that could also be due to the fact that the format of the Landmark Forum is constantly being reviewed and tuned ever finer, and so transformation is accessed more powerfully and more unerringly with every iteration. So this, its latest iteration (now online) would of necessity embody enhancements which would bring transformation out into the light even more brilliantly, both in-person and online. And there's also this: in all likelihood, if you're participating online, you're participating from your home - which means transformation even more immediately and directly shows up in your life at home where it most appropriately and fittingly belongs. In this way, the Landmark Forum online may even be a more  effective medium for delivering transformation than in-person - if that's even possible.

The Landmark Forum online creates a vast, complex, powerful ontological space  in which its participants can access the possibility of being free to be and free to act. Even more than that, it creates an ontological space in which its participants can access the possibility of being completely untethered  to the past, and be free to be and free to act. In it, I created the possibility of healing my family, a possibility which I made real during the breaks. That's something people work on for years if not decades. For me in the Landmark Forum online, it happened in hours. As for the rest of the items on my list, I got them handled - and if I didn't get them all handled, I got them majorly advanced toward being totally handled. Interestingly enough, what I was left with was that the items on my list, although substantial, may have been too small. The question to ask may not have been just "What do I want to get out of participating in the Landmark Forum?" with a pretty good idea of what's possible, but rather "What do I want to get out of participating in the Landmark Forum that until now, I haven't even considered to be possible?"  (it's that powerful).

Look: this is an extraordinary  iteration of Werner's work ie another  extraordinary iteration of Werner's work, a textured symphony of layered dulcet master-tones of which you'll never tire of listening, as it reminds us at ever deeper and deeper levels of the brilliance and extraordinariness that's possible in our lives, when we've somehow always settled for less, having left unexamined our all too human superstitious thinking for so long, leaving our lives run for the most part by falsehoods and absurdities, locked in place from the time we were five years old or thereabout. We're adults run by the mindsets of children. It's no wonder our lives don't work well.

If I were you, I'd run  (not walk) to register. And given it's online, now you can participate in Werner's work from anywhere in the world  - even from countries where the Landmark Forum isn't yet offered in-person. In the Landmark Forum online, you'll get many, many more questions than you'll get answers. That's its way. It gives you the tools to get answers for yourself, rather than selling you its version of your answers. And whether you're already a graduate or not, there's one question that may stay unanswered when things get to their all too soon end: it's "Why didn't I do this sooner?  This is too important to not know about. What took me so long?".

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