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

Riding The Horse Revisited

Chicago, Illinois, USA

July 5, 2017

 "It's much easier to ride the horse in the direction he's going." ... 
This essay, Riding The Horse Revisited, is the third in the ninth trilogy Visits With A Friend:
  1. Intimacy In A Crowded Place
  2. What Goes On Internally
  3. Riding The Horse Revisited
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 sixth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Sophisticated Palate
  2. Open To Everyone
  3. Portal
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 the sequel to A Request Asked Harder.

It is also the prequel to Reinventing The Game.


Unlike most of the other essays in this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays, the body of this essay, Riding The Horse Revisited, embeds no links to other videos, photographs, quotes, papers, music, music videos, other websites, or even to other essays.

My intention in omitting these useful links from this particular essay is to clear the space of all but the absolute minimum required material so you can be with it and give it your full attention with no distractions, allowing you to recreate the exchanges portrayed in it as accurately as possible for yourself. It's in recreating the exchanges portrayed in this essay accurately for yourself, that you'll get to own its experience in its entirety.

If it's true that "creation is a matter of distinction", then creating a relationship is also (at least, in part) a matter of (creating a) distinction. In an ordinary relationship, creating the distinction may be as simple as acknowledging I feel good  around someone. But this isn't an ordinary relationship. In fact its persistence and ongoing sustainability depends  on me staying awake to what distinguishes it, then re-creating those distinctions ongoingly. When I look at (which is to say when I distinguish) the ways he shows up in our relationship, I notice they occur in three broad areas:

In the course of this exchange, we inevitably get to talking about what it's like to be him. I admit I've wanted not so much to be like  him, but rather to be  him (this is bone-numbing  tell-the-truth time, I remind myself). The latter is clearly never going to happen: that seat's already taken. But there's a chance the former may happen. I share with him my evolution in this regard to make my point. "People" I tell him "who are most like you (in my opinion) aren't like you. People who are most like you are like themselves.". A lot of what goes into this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays, are ideas inspired by his ideas. This  idea however, "People who are most like you are like themselves", is actually an original Laurence Platt idea. I name two people in this regard to bolster my observation: an associate of his, and one of his daughters. I say "He is himself, in the same way as she is herself, in the same way as you are yourself. In that  way, they are most like you.". It's a pay dirt  share. "It's great that you get that" he acknowledges.

That's the part of our conversation about being like  him (given that being  him is already taken). It's followed naturally by the part of our conversation about delivering what he delivers. In paying tribute to a long-time trusted colleague, he gives clues to what it takes to deliver what he delivers: Then when you put forth your natural Self-expression, people will get it (and isn't that what he delivers over and over and over again and again and again?).

At first I think "No, it can't  be that  simple.". But as I look at my resistance to simple things (we're averse to ie we're skeptical of simple things, yes? - they insult our pseudo-sophistication) I let go of my consideration about it being too simple ... and I notice it is  simple. This is the realm of Self-expression. In being effective in this realm, age makes no difference, university degrees make no difference, how wealthy you are makes no difference, whether you're good-looking  or not makes no difference. In being effective in delivering what he delivers, what makes a difference is mastering the material, and mastering your own life, then simply standing up and speaking. It is  that simple.

"Man! That's some good light  you've got coming out of your face Lar" he says to me (Lar  is his term of endearment for me, from the Roman god of the house). Taken aback I say "It's the good light I get from you Chief, I'm just giving it back to you", my eyes misting over, my throat constricting, hoping he doesn't notice (he does).

This is the guy who once said "It's much easier to ride the horse in the direction he's going" which has gained notoriety as an aphorism which set the wheels (ie the hooves?)  of transformation in motion. When I first heard it, I considered him to be someone who sat astride the back of the horse of life  (if you will) riding it in the direction it was going, without resisting it ie without trying to ride it in a direction in which is wasn't  going (that's not a bad analogy for having a life that works).

Being with him this time, I notice there's new light from this aphorism. This time I see something I'd never seen before in nearly forty years of being around him - or perhaps I did see it before, but there was too much else going on at the time for me to take it all in, so I missed it.

He's still riding the horse in the direction he's going. But he's not simply sitting astride the horse and going wherever it's going. No, he's fully engaged riding  it for all he's worth. He's calling out to the horse, cajoling it, talking to it, urging it on, teasing it forward ... and faster. It makes you want to ride with him. It makes you want to be a member of his posse. And it's not just his own  horse he's urging on: it's everyone's  he's in contact with: his colleagues, his staff, participants in his courses, everyone he meets  (those who recognize who he is, and those who don't), the world. Everything he says carries some heft, some weight. Everything. 24 / 7 / 365.

The Posse by Joy Blackburne
WE walk over to ride the elevator together, just the two of us. I have to leave. He's very gracious, thanking me for coming. I notice I'd forgotten about that part: he's  thanking me  for coming? when I assume the thanks are due the other way around. He knows we didn't get to the end of my list of topics. He invites me to e‑mail the rest to him. I've absorbed more than enough material to create something substantial to share. I want what I've got, to be definitive, to be complete. So I draw the line: I decline his invitation. He gets I decline. We hug. He kisses my cheek. I kiss his. It's a tender moment - a solid like a rock  tender moment. I exit the elevator, then turn around to face him. He's reading the numbers on the buttons, selecting the one to push that will take him back to his floor.

Then the door closes, and he's gone.

Background soundtrack: Traffic: Freedom Rider - wait for 5.1M download

Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2017 through 2020 Permission