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

Ordinary People

Landmark Breakthroughs: Living Outside The Box Seminar, Doubletree Hotel, Rohnert Park, California, USA

August 31, 2015

"If you could really accept that you weren't OK, you could stop proving you were OK. If you could stop proving that you were OK, you could get that it was OK not to be OK. If you could get that it was OK not to be OK, you could get that you were OK the way you are. You're OK, get it?"
This essay, Ordinary People, is the companion piece to
  1. A Possibility Given Approach
  2. Immersion In The Conversation: On Being In A Seminar
  3. On Never Having Left
in that order.

It is also the nineteenth in an open group inspired by Landmark Programs: It is also the prequel to Damned Choice.

I am indebted to Patricia Ann Fry who inspired this conversation.

Werner Erhard's contribution to humanity it could be said, pivots on something so patently profound, so blindingly simple  that's it's incredibly easy to miss it completely - and if we tell the truth about it, almost all  of us did miss it completely at first - I for one certainly did. The premise of all our epic personal explorations, the raison d'etre  of our most intimate, private inquiries and conversations, the goal of all of our searches and seekings, even the basis of our most heartfelt prayers, was to find a way to be OK.


As natural a human endeavor as it is, and as commonplace as it is, finding a way to be OK comes with an inconvenient truth. Here's the inconvenient truth finding a way to be OK, comes with:

Finding a way to be OK, reinforces ie locks in  the notion that you're not already  OK. And if you're not already  OK, then you can never  be OK. In other words, finding a way to be OK, prevents you being OK.

Don't gloss over that too quickly. It's very  subtle. It's also very Zen. And it will drive you crazy if you try to figure it out.


How revolutionary  it was then to establish a beachhead ie a platform  on which to demonstrate we are  OK. But not only are we OK: we always were OK, and we always will be OK - all interpretations to the contrary aside.

Be careful! If you assume that's a tenet of positive thinking  or even of the dearly naïve looking on the bright side of things, you'll miss it entirely. It's an experience. Arguably it's the  fundamental experience of our lives. More than that, it's an experience which always  was and is and will be available to anyone at any time. The search for a way to be OK was at best a minor distraction and at worst a well-intentioned yet time wasting exercise, given the experience of being OK was always available.


Werner's work will keep you straight, authentic, and present. When you get you're OK, and you always were OK, and you always will be OK, the ongoing conversation about finding a way to be OK, necessarily goes quiet.

That's huge. We've only just begun to tap into it. When it's fully gotten, it will totally transform all religions.

But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.


Upon getting I'm OK and always will be OK and especially  upon getting I always was  OK (even if I didn't get that at the time), it's become abundantly clear to me that with the ongoing conversation about finding a way to be OK necessarily gone quiet, I'm effectively back where I started. That's the colloquial way to say it. Spoken with rigor, "I'm effectively back  where I started" should be restated as "I'm effectively where  I started.".


When I refer to "... where I started", I'm neither implying the same experience as, nor even a similar experience to Thomas Stearns "TS" Eliot's "... arriving where I started and knowing the place for the first time".

Rather, this is the patently profound, blindingly simple, blunt "I never left where I started  in the first place.".


What interests me about this is that in the end, after nearly forty years of this work, how clear it's become I'm not going anywhere (who was it who said there's "nothing to do, nowhere to go, and nothing to get"?  Moi?). I find myself to be the same slightly boring Laurence I always was ie just an ordinary person who fundamentally isn't really any different now than the way I was then. And when I say "fundamentally isn't really any different", I'm referring to who I am - some aspects of my physical appearance over the past nearly forty years have certainly changed.

Introducing Werner's work to South Africa

Photography by Peter Stanford

In 1979, photographer Peter Stanford came with a
reporter Sandy Robins to interview me for the Cape
Argus, the major local newspaper. They were both
totally enrolled. You can see how Peter captured the

Sandy created a full page article in the Saturday
evening edition mentioning my next seminar.

One hundred and fifty three people showed up.
Photography by Laurence Platt

Judd's Hill, Napa Valley, California, USA

10:38:14am Tuesday August 11, 2015
Laurence Platt

There is however, one key difference nearly forty years later in who I am: today this slightly boring ordinary person has the rich body of distinctions which comprises Werner's work, which I can deploy for living life transformed, for inventing possibility, and for causing discontigous breakthroughs in areas of my life when none were ever going to happen by themselves. In other words I'm an ordinary person living what there is for ordinary people to live in life, who now has the distinctions ie the tools to live it naturally and well.

Transformed people are just ordinary people who happen to have access to extraordinary distinctions. If you have it that you being transformed is out of the ordinary and / or is somehow unusual or special, you're piling on unnecessary arrogance and significance which will get in the way of an otherwise pragmatic experience having the possibility of showing up in life for all people equally all by itself naturally anyway ... and always has ... and always will.

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