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

On Misconstruing Enlightenment

Sonoma, California, USA

July 20, 2013

This essay, On Misconstruing Enlightenment, is the eight hundred and fiftieth in this Conversations For Transformation internet series.

It is also the companion piece to It is also the first in a quadrilogy on Enlightenment:
  1. On Misconstruing Enlightenment
  2. Enlightenment In The Danger Zone
  3. Enlightenment Is Giving Up The Notion That You Are Unenlightened
  4. A Space In Which The Wind Blows
in that order.

A woman asked me "When did you first participate in Werner's work?". "Almost exactly thirty five years ago" I said (it was the third and fourth weekends of August 1978 to be precise). She didn't respond immediately. Then, slowly, as if contemplating out loud, she said "Wow! Thirty five years ... I guess you've completed everything, that nothing reactivates you anymore  ...".

And I thought to myself "O K  ... this is  going to be an interesting conversation ...".

An Interesting Conversation

There's another conversation which is often mistaken for the inquiry which is the conversation for transformation. That conversation isn't an inquiry. It's a quest. It's a searching for. That quest, that searching for, is for enlightenment, for self-realization, for actualization, for salvation ... you know, it goes by various names. That conversation and the conversation for transformation aren't the same. They not even similar. And if they seem  similar it's because, as we're wont to do, we blur  the differences between them - which is to say because our mind  blurs the differences between everything  (the logic system of our mind being "everything is the same as everything else ... except not always").

Besides which, here's the secret: you don't search for  enlightenment, for who you are. You create  enlightenment. You create who you are. Gee! I hope you get this.

There are two essential differences between the conversation for transformation, and the conversation which is the quest for, the searching for who you are ie the searching for enlightenment. In the first place, the rigor inherent in Werner's conversation for transformation isn't matched in that seemingly similar conversation - in fact in all likelihood the rigor inherent in Werner's conversation for transformation isn't matched in any  other conversation. In the second place, Werner's conversation for transformation is the possibility of you already got  it - which is to say it's the possibility of you standing for  you already got it. Differentiate this from the conversation which is the quest for, the searching for enlightenment in which we're hell-bent on getting it someday. Tell the truth about it: it's a totally different order of things, yes?

Now, in terms of having completed everything  (as my new friend contemplated), there are arguably a finite number of originating incidents  in each of our lives, each of which became a cornerstone of our epistemology. And it's a small  finite number at best, each of which can be recalled and completed. Yes it's possible to complete all originating incidents. Whether they're completed all at once, or whether they're completed individually over time as they're recalled, it's indeed possible to complete all originating incidents. And the net result of completing an originating incident is its associated epistemology with its ability to knowingly or unknowingly (mostly unknowingly) impact our view of the world, starts to break up. When it releases its grip, new unfettered ways of being, become possible and spontaneously show up.


If I say "... it's indeed possible to complete all originating incidents" without any further clarification, I may leave you with the impression Werner's work is preoccupied with the past and only focuses on completing the past and cleaning up the past.

To be sure, the past and completing the past and cleaning up the past are given the attention they merit. However they, the past and completing the past and cleaning up the past, while necessary acts in the play which is Werner's work, aren't included for themselves nor for their own value. Rather, they're included for the openings their completion creates for the future.

When the past is completed and cleaned up, there's a new possibility (which wasn't present before, indeed which couldn't  be present before) of inventing new futures with nothing already preconceived or predetermined.

This is the appropriate emphasis on the past and on completing the past and on cleaning up the past in Werner's work. They aren't the main acts in and of themselves. The main acts are those which bring forth new possibilities, new openings for action, new futures which otherwise would never have been possible, which otherwise could never have come to be.


As for new  incompletions which arise during the normal course of Life itself, Werner's work provides the tools to complete new incompletions as and when they come up  ie as they occur. That these tools can complete new incompletions as and when they come up, is now no longer at issue. The jury's no longer out on this one. They're back. And the verdict is it's fait accompli  ie it's unanimous Werner's work provides all the tools to effectively and powerfully complete all originating incidents and other new incompletions as and when they come up.

I suggest it's a misconception, a cherished myth  actually in the quest for, in the searching for enlightenment that there comes a state, a place  where completion is ongoingly assured, where the process of completing is over, a done deal. Listen: to hold enlightenment as a state to be attained sometime in the future in which everything's complete and the process of completing is over, is wishful thinking at best, and naïveté and procrastination at worst. It's here, right here, and right now. You already got it. There's nothing to get.

Completion, in point of fact, is an ongoing 24 / 7 / 365 process of creating completion. If at any time you stop creating completion, which is to say if at any time you stop creating yourself as complete, then you're no longer complete.

The Background

The background for this has a lot to do with our construction and functioning as machines. And our construction and functioning as machines belies the likelihood of my new friend's second contemplation: that after thirty five years "nothing reactivates you anymore".

How we're constructed and function as machines assures reactivation is always ongoing and only ceases when we're six feet under. The work of transformation doesn't promise a solution  to, the permanent end of, the absolute cessation of reactivation. Here's why it doesn't promise these: because to do so would fly against the construction and functioning of our always ongoing reactivation machinery.

I assert the notions inherent in that other conversation, that quest, that searching for, which hope for  (and indeed sometimes even pray  for) a state of never being reactivated and therefore never having to be responsible and never having to get off it, simply (hopefully, well intentionedly yet futilely) overlook, indeed ignore our construction and functioning as machines.

What the work of transformation does  promise is the possibility of being 100% responsible, the possibility of getting off it - getting off it, that is, as soon as you notice you're on it  ... and then getting off it faster and faster  on each subsequent occasion you notice you're on it again. That's the good news. The bad news (realistically and pragmatically?) is given my construction and functioning as a machine, there'll come a subsequent occasion when I'm reactivated again, when I'm on it again, when I'm called to get off it again. And when it comes, I'm committed to meeting it unflinchingly head on, face to face.

Here's my question for you: how long do you wait, how long do you indulge  yourself before getting off it when you know you're on it? How long do you take? You could say when (not if)  you're reactivated again, when you're on it again, when you're called to get off it again, there's one measurement of enlightenment which is actually worth something, and it's this: how fast you get off it. You could say those transformed leaders, those heroes, those bastions, those pillars  who unerringly and tirelessly generate from the leading edge the world of transformation, are exactly  the same as you and I ie they're no different than you and I except in one particularly telling way:  they're committed to getting off it faster. That's all.

The More You Speak Transformation, The Speedier The Listening For It Becomes

So I said to her "Am I complete with the past? Yes. Totally. Do new incompletions come up in my life from time to time. Absolutely. Do I get complete with new incompletions as and when they come up? Ongoingly, quickly ... and  ... powerfully. And here's the thing about your 'nothing reactivates (me) anymore': it's just not true. But ... when I'm reactivated I have no interest in dramatizing it or being right about it, so I'll give it up as fast as I can ie I'll get off it as soon as I notice I'm on it. And I'm committed  to noticing when I'm on it.".

She'd been listening attentively and got everything I said. She'd recontextualized  (I love  that word) everything she once believed to be true about having completed "everything"  and not being reactivated by anything anymore - recontextualized, that is, from an erstwhile context given by our cherished die‑hard  myth of getting it someday  through a quest, of getting it someday through a searching for, to a fresh new context given by the paradigm of you already got it  transformation.

I could tell she preferred the latter (it's no surprise she did). I said to her "It's so much greater when there's nothing to get, isn't it?". I could tell she got that too. What was also great was how fast  she got it. When I got it for the first time, it took me longer than it took her - much, much  longer. It seems to me the more Werner's work is spoken in the world, the speedier, the easier the world's listening for it becomes.

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