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


Poet Laureate II

Calistoga, California, USA

December 19, 2010



This essay, Poet Laureate II, is the companion piece to
  1. Poet Laureate
  2. A Rose By Any Other Name
  3. Poet Laureate III
in that order.

It is also the second in the quadrilogy Poet Laureate:
  1. Poet Laureate
  2. Poet Laureate II
  3. Poet Laureate III
  4. Poet Laureate IV
in that order.

It is also the sequel to Empty Cup, the fourth essay in an open group Conversations With A Friend.

I am indebted to Kihā "Billy" Pimental who inspired this conversation.




It would be totally inauthentic of me, the author of Conversations For Transformation, to not get myself clear about the difference between the domain of the written  word and the domain of the spoken  word as vehicles for imparting transformation. Even if I get clear about this difference for myself, it would be inauthentic of me to not generate  it as a distinction in such a way as to be a stand for it.

It's often been noted how futile it is to hunt butterflies. Once you've captured them, they've lost the very quality they had which made you want to own them in the first place: their freedom.

So it is with Conversations For Transformation. By writing them down I've taken them out of the domain of transformation ie out of the domain of the spoken word, out of the domain of speaking  and listening, and put them into a mere close approximation  to transformation ie into the domain of the written word, into the domain of writing  and reading. When I write them down they lose some of the very quality which made them noteworthy in the first place.

What I've written down shares my experience of transformation. But it's only an approximation to the up close and personal, face to face  experience of transformation which is constituted in a conversation when transformation is spoken. My written word isn't the spoken word. That is to say the written word isn't the domain of transformation.

I'm gratified when I realize Conversations For Transformation create space for people. Creating space for people is my intention. Conversations For Transformation is my expression of this. I made up Conversations For Transformation. Out of nothing. Out of nothing, that is, other than  my friendship with Werner. One day I just up and decided to do this. Twice a week. Really. The thing is I've got no private access to the inside track. I've got no special gift or ability to do this. I'm just a guy who likes surfing and a cold beer from time to time. Neither do I get any special favors from anyone for doing this. If I write Conversations For Transformation, they happen. If I don't, they don't. And even when they happen, no one checks up on me or corrects me or tells me ways to write them better. Sometimes I'm concerned when I read something I've published after the fact, and it doesn't meet even my own standards for clarity. But people get it anyway. Or at least people get most of it - most of it, that is, when I'm  being clear. So I say they work. Or rather something  works.

But really: the fact that anything  about them works at all  amazes me when you consider Conversations For Transformation, as I write them, don't even occur in the domain of transformation.

Question (which I'm actually asking myself but posing it openly nonetheless): is it possible Conversations For Transformation, the written word in the domain of writing  and reading, can impart transformation as effectively and as powerfully as the spoken word in the domain of speaking  and listening?  I've got some experience in this by now. I'm not a guy in a diner  about this any more. My answer is this: for all intents and purposes, no. But it's not im‑possible. It's just very, very  difficult - human beings being what we are. If, for example, the Bible  and the Torah  and the Koran  and the Vedas  worked just by reading them, enough of us have read them that there'd be peace in the world by now.

The great philosophers have it that the philosophical discourse in its purest form is poetry. When you're living  it, when it's real, when it's no longer something you're trying to grasp (and nor, for that matter, when it's not longer something you're trying to teach), when you're just living it in the empty silence and joy it really is, then what you've got is pure poetry. In that  sense, I'm willing to stake the value of Conversations For Transformation as poetry, even before I'd be willing to stake the value of Conversations For Transformation as equivalent to or even similar to what's available in the transformative  domain of the spoken word ie as what's available in the domain of speaking  and listening  as transformation.

To be sure, Conversations For Transformation are another inlet, another way to get something, another way to provide a background, a context for listening transformation. Yes they do make a difference - especially for those already initiated  into, already fluent in Werner's possibility of transformation. But does reading them accomplish the same thing as what happens in up close and personal, face to face experiences with Werner in conversation about transformation? I, their author, am under no illusions whatsoever  that it does.

What it comes down to for me is this: in one on one face to face conversations with Werner, not unfamiliarly known as the Socratic method, people transform their lives. I've looked at the how  of this and at the why of this for nearly forty years. And what I can say about it now - clearly, unequivocally, and certainly - is this: I don't know how  it works and I don't know why  it works, and it neither matters if I know how  it works nor if I know why  it works because people transforming their lives in one on one face to face conversations with Werner is just what's so. It's count-on-able. It's what happens. It's just the way it is.

That said, all Conversations For Transformation can ever be (and I'm willing to stake this also: all any  words, all any books written about  transformation can ever be) are close approximations to transformation. But not transformation. Pointers to. But not the experience. Menus. But not the steak.

That's me - in my current role as the author of Conversations For Transformation: I'm at best a menu writer. You could even call me the "ad man"  - I've been called a lot of things. But I'm not the chef in my current role. And I'm under no illusions  about being the chef in my current role either.



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