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


Open To Everyone

Chicago, Illinois, USA

July 24, 2010



This essay, Open To Everyone, is the second in the sixth trilogy Visits With A Friend:
  1. Sophisticated Palate
  2. Open To Everyone
  3. Portal
in that order.
The first trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Second First Impression
  2. Do Artists Retire?
  3. Presence Of Love
in that order.
The second trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Black Brick
  2. Wet Water
  3. On Saying Nothing
in that order.
The third trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Master Of Life
  2. Face To Face
  3. Love And Kindness
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Personal Piece
  2. Magnum Opus
  3. Walk A Way With Me
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Natural Expression
  2. Essential Question
  3. There Is No "The Answers"
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Meetings With A Remarkable Man
  2. Being Directed By The Unanswered Question
  3. Out Here
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Read To Us
  2. Seven Fingers
  3. Smart People
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Visits With A Friend IX (working title)
  2. Visits With A Friend IX II (working title)
  3. Visits With A Friend IX III (working title)
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Visits With A Friend is the sequel to View From A Fallow Wheatfield.

It is also the prequel to Tempered Tornado.

This essay, Open To Everyone, is the companion piece to It is also the prequel to


He says it so flatly (no intonation, no insistence, no persuasion) I'm enrolled immediately. Whatever was in the way before isn't there anymore. I'm interested in trying it on as soon as he says it. That's unusual for me. Usually when I try something new on, I'll only do it if I've already got a pretty good idea how it's going to turn out. And if I don't  have a pretty good idea how it's going to turn out, then the odds  of it turning out well have to be good before I'll try it. In this case I don't have a clue  how what he's speaking will turn out if I implement it. And as for the odds of it turning out well, I see one of only two choices: transformational breakthrough success or total abject fiasco. Nothing in between. These aren't good odds.

Yet regardless of this risk, when I look at it through (what else?) my already always listening, what I can't ignore is this: agree with him or not, what he's speaking has me on the edge of my seat. Whatever he's speaking about, however it turns out, whatever the odds, I want it. That much I do know.

8:42pm Saturday July 24, 2010
Werner Erhard
What he's speaking is this:


        ALWAYS BE OPEN TO BEING RELATED TO EVERYONE YOU HAVE BEEN RELATED TO.


Can you imagine what that does for a life? Indeed, can you imagine what that does for Life itself?  I'm related to everyone I'm related to now. I will be  related to everyone I'll be related to tomorrow. I get what an enormous  space could open up if in addition to that, I'm related to everyone I have been  related to. That would mean being in relationship with all people all the time like a possibility  with no one left out. Not the people I don't like whom I leave out. Not the people who've hurt  me whom I leave out. In this paradigm I leave no one out like a possibility.

I don't have to ask him what this implies. I get it. It's immediately obvious. What it would require is for me  to take a new stand, and it would require the people I've left out to do absolutely nothing at all.

I don't hear it like it's a good idea. I don't hear it like it's what nice guys  like me should  do. I don't hear it like it's the right thing  to do. None of those account for the attraction in what he's saying. Rather I hear it like it's what I hold at bay, like it's what I put off, like it's what I resist. And in the face of what he's speaking, I realize it's the idea of letting go all I'm resisting, whatever  that may be, which is so appealing.

I ask him what it takes to give all of it up, this barrier  in the way of being related to everyone I've been related to. Apropos people I don't like and people who've hurt me ie those from who I've disengaged and am no longer related to, he talks about the wisdom of forgetting  the past. Reinstating the clean slate. Bringing back the tabula rasa.

Then he tells me something about himself which stops me in my tracks. For one of the very few times I can recall (it doesn't happen to me often) I can say nothing. I'm speechless. But I mean speechless like "Wow! I got it.". In speaking about bringing back the clean slate he tells me he has no memory. "When I look in the mirror" he tells me, "and I notice I'm brushing my teeth on the right  side, I can't remember if I've already brushed my teeth on the left  side, or not.".

A minute goes by in silence. I can't think of anything to say. Really  I can't. The idea of having no memory in the context in which he's speaking having no memory  is very very  powerful to me.

What grips  me is I've never considered not remembering  as something useful before. Suddenly I see forgetting  as another useful tool in my toolbox. I notice I have overtones and notes, an epistemological lock  which tells me "forgetting is bad;  forgetting is a failure;  forgetting shows lack of concentration"  na na na, etc. Yet here in this case - with not one shadow of a doubt - forgetting is a potent tool. But more than that, I'm clear just from observing the sheer velocity at which he works (his traveling and seminar presentation schedule alone would fell an ox and require a full time staff who can barely keep up with him, and that's only what he does part time), that forgetting actually makes a power  available which would otherwise not even register on the scale of what's possible.

I say "What you've just said opens up something I already know I'm committed to. I've just not had the access  to it which you've now given me. And besides which, I see I've had a lot of stuff  in the way of discovering this access myself sooner.". He says "Right. And you don't even have to do anything with it. Just live inside the possibility  of being related to everyone you've been related to.".

In just one conversation with him I get back in touch with the love which is always  there for me at the start of all  relationships I've ever been in. I notice I'm being the possibility of being open to everyone. And isn't this, at the heart of it all, who human beings really are? The beauty of it I notice is there's nothing I need to do  about it. It's a given. It's already fait accompli.

He smiles at me. I look down at the notes I made before I came and brought with me for the next thing I'd like to have a conversation about.



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