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


Remember To Forget

Napa, California, USA

February 22, 2021

"Distinctions have a short half-life, and need to be recreated from time to time." ...   speaking with Laurence Platt in Encounters With A Friend #7 
"If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." ... Sheldon Kopp


I wrote this essay for those graduate friends of mine who've said the impact of their participation in Werner's work, while life-altering, faded after a while.

They're right. Left entirely alone, the experience they had can and will fade. So here's the straight inside scoop on what has that happen, and a powerful view of recontextualizing and ongoingly re-empowering it.

If you've participated in Werner's work, guess what? That's not Werner's work.

Say whut?  Now wait a minute, you say. I did it. I got it. But you say that's not  it? That's right. Power isn't powerful when it's past tense. Power doesn't exist as a memory  of power. Power only lives in the moment. A memory of power is not power. Power, once experienced and now a memory, must be regenerated for it to be powerful again - or it stays in the past. An experience lives in the moment. A memory of an experience is not the experience. Transformation lives in the moment - or better, it lives moment  to moment (if you prefer). A memory of transformation is not transformation. Transformation is accessible as your ongoing generation of your experience of it, not as the experience you once had of it. A dyed T-shirt once dyed is always dyed - ergo  a dyed T-shirt is not a good analogy for transformation.

When you registered to participate in Werner's work, you wanted answers. But it didn't give you answers, did it? It gave you questions  ie tools to use in inquiring so that you could discover the material for yourself. You participated in Werner's work, and when you did, you were offered and tried out a set of tools to use inquiring into what has life work and what has you get in the way of life working. But isn't life an ongoing, never-ending process? If you got that set of tools and you deployed them back then, and you don't ongoingly deploy them today ... and today ... and today, then at worst you never really got them in the first place, and at best you left them in the past where they can't do you much good. Some things are best left in the past. The profundity of discovering life working for yourself, isn't one of them.

A clear indication that you may just have left that set of tools in the past where they can't do you much good, are rubber-band  snappy retorts spoken out loud (or silently) in response to conversations for transformation, such as "I know that!", "I already know that", "I understand that" etc ie the usual gang of suspects providing compelling living proof that you're no longer generating transformation ongoingly moment to moment. It's pernicious. We fall back into it so easily. We all do. You do. I do (I especially  do). It's when I assume I know  the material because I once experienced it in the past, and so I no longer need to generate it ongoingly moment to moment, that there's no new, open, fresh listening  for transformation, no beginner's mind  if you will. Beginner's mind is the Petri dish  for transformation. Beginner's mind means listening openly to the material as if I don't know it, even if I've heard it before. On the other hand, listening from already knowing the material, is smart rat's  mind. If you're honest, you'll see the cost of listening with smart rat's mind rather than with beginner's mind, is transformation. That's being pragmatic, straight.

It's a simple enough rut to get stuck in, one in which we all get stuck from time to time. You do. I do (I especially do). But when transformation isn't being generated ongoingly, it goes out of existence. Neither the menu nor the memory of the taste of the filet mignon, is the steak. In this way, neither the pointer to nor the memory of transformation, is transformation. So when you say things like "Participating in Werner's work was great ... and then the experience faded", that's tantamount to you saying "I'm no longer taking responsibility for transforming my life.". Consider if it did fade, what's more likely is it faded when you went AWOL  from the experience.

A smarter approach may be to complete the experience you had back then, then leave it there in the past. However awesome it was, however great it was back then, however profound it was, leave it there in the past. Forget about it. Moreover, ongoingly remember to forget  about it. Transformation not ongoingly generated in the present yet remembered from the past, isn't worth much. But as an experience inspired  in the past and now ongoingly generated for the future, it has lasting power.

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