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


Personal Business

Napa Bowl, Napa, California, USA

June 8, 2005



When I met Werner Erhard for the first time listening him speaking transformation, I saw how self-serving (small "s") my own notions of transformation were. I had it that for transformation to occur, something about a person had to change. I had it that transformation was some kind of personal state of so-called higher consciousness attained  only through hard work over a long time ("It takes time" I always said), by disciplined practice, and / or by following a rigid system of beliefs.

When Werner spoke transformation ie when he called it forth in his speaking, when he demonstrated  it, I saw nothing had to change although it may. I saw transformation isn't personal. I saw transformation isn't a different state of consciousness but rather it is simply a chosen, committed, intentioned way of living based on the recontextualization of who human beings are as their word.

* * *

"That's cool", I thought. "Werner rocks!". But then when he told me I can choose to make the success of all humanity my personal business, indeed that every human being can choose to make the success of all humanity their personal business, my head spun.

I was totally taken aback with his effrontery, with his brashness, with the outright egomania of his suggestion. "Moi? The success  of all humanity? Excuse me? You have got  to be kidding!".

* * *

But no. In the mirror Werner provides I saw he was actually not  kidding at all. I saw the only person kidding anyone on that score was me kidding myself. I saw not only is he correct in the way only a pioneer and a visionary is correct but with relief I also saw I had suppressed that very aspect of mySelf for way too long. I saw being that way is congruent with my true nature, with who I really am, with who we all really am.

As I further engaged in the inquiry with him I saw if I was willing to take on living that way I would also have to be willing to reshape the context  in which I lived. I would have to alter what I consider possible for one human being to be. Indeed I would have to alter what I consider one human being really is. I have a name. I have an address. I have people in my life. Indeed I certainly have a body for which I seem to be responsible for taking with me wherever I go. But who or what am I really. as a human being? I mean really?

* * *

The notion of context and what it is began to come to the forefront of my inquiry. It came not out of the question "Who am I?". Rather it came out of the question "What makes it possible for me to be able to ask the question 'Who am I?' in the first place?".

* * *

That's when I started to get context. That's when I started to see who I really am is the context for my life. Who I really am am is the context for Life itself. Who I really am is the context for all of it. And while I seem to have some choice in the matter of the questions I ask, the cards for who I really am as the context for all of it have already been dealt. By that token, that aspect of my life is a done deal  so to speak.

Getting that turned everything I know completely on its ear. I got making the success of all humanity my personal business is really not about doing  anything at all. Making the success of all humanity my personal business is a chosen, committed, intentioned, recontextualized way of living based on the observation that who I really am is the context for my life, for Life itself, indeed for all of it.

* * *

It requires no proof. I am that because I assert I am that. QED. That's all it takes. I am that the success of all humanity is my personal business. I am not that out of what I acquire although that may make an impact. I am not that out of what I do although that may make an impact too. I am that out of my true nature, out of who I really am as a human being, not out of a tired old sense of identity but rather out of realizing that I am, before all and after all, the context for it all.

* * *

Making the success of all humanity your personal business is a stand and an invented possibility. It's not a decision. Neither is it something to enact. Rather it is a chosen, committed, intentioned way to be. It is - quite literally - the choice to be who you really  are.

In our world such assertions based on a stand rather than on evidence of ownership have always been contentious. Yet people who have inquired into and who have discovered who they really are are more likely, just in the process of living their lives, to respect ethnic diversity, to be considerate of the environment, to realize entitlement based on ideology comes from a flawed sense of Self as identity, and to realize war represents bankruptcy of action rather than the means to action. The success of all humanity and choosing to make it your personal business is predicated on the choice we human beings each have to live who we really are, or not. And if we are going to succeed (and it's not yet clear if we will or if we won't: the jury is still out on that one), it's not only because that choice is where the success of all humanity starts. It's because that's the access we each have to cause it to go that way.



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