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


Sabbatical II (End)

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

September 1, 2021

"If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place."
"We cannot put off living until we are ready. The most salient characteristic of Life is its coerciveness: it is always urgent, here and now  without any possible postponement. Life is fired at us point blank."
... Jose Ortega y Gasset read out loud by  
This essay, Sabbatical II (End), is the companion piece to Sabbatical.

It is also the sequel to
  1. Sabbatical II (Beginning)
  2. Sabbatical II (Middle)
in that order.

It is also the sixth in a hexalogy conceived during my second sabbatical:
  1. Sabbatical II (Beginning)
  2. Silence And Nothing
  3. Sabbatical II (Middle)
  4. Full Self-Expression: Demonstration II
  5. Setting Up For The Rapids
  6. Sabbatical II (End)
in that order.

Conversations For Transformation receives its one million six hundred thousandth view with the publishing of Sabbatical II (End).

I am indebted to Mark Spirtos and to Micki Carroll who contributed material for this conversation.

In real life, there are no sabbaticals. From real life, there are no breaks. From real life, there are no time-offs. From real life, there are no vacations. Real life is too ongoing, too immediate, too urgent, and too unrelenting ie too relentless  for sabbaticals. In real life there's no time  for sabbaticals. Literally.

But look: there is such a thing as a sabbatical. Technically speaking, a sabbatical is paid leave from academic work. Traditionally, it's one year paid leave for every seven years worked. That said, real life isn't an academic assignment. And there's no taking leave from real life. Taking leave from academic work puts me on sabbatical - whereas taking leave from real life (of which an academic assignment is merely a subset) puts me Q: exactly where? A: in real life!

That's one of the things that occurred for me / I discovered during the inexorability of my second sabbatical. It's its biggest take-away. It reveals real life doesn't take breaks - or, spoken with more rigor: in real life, there are no breaks. If you're looking from the correct vantage point, that's actually quite obvious. Yet we rarely live and act as if it is. I'm alive, so I'm always on  (the "gold pad switch is always on"  - as Werner may have said). And even on those occasions when I'm not matching my word that I'm always on, I'm always on!  It's more than that really. It's when I tell the truth about it (ie it's when I 'fess up to it), it's on those occasions when I'm considering a break from real life as a viable option, that I'm being demonstrably inauthentic. Real life doesn't take breaks. The gold pad switch is always on. Always.

That was the discovery which, of all of them that occurred during my second sabbatical, is arguably the  one, the one whose descriptor may be terse, yet which has a plethora of ramifications, all of which are vast, global, context-shifting, life-altering, indeed life-transforming.

In addition to living from now on, from and with the new context and possibilities this discovery makes available, I also intend to apply three new procedural and cosmetic ideas from my second sabbatical which will fine-tune these Conversations For Transformation so they're more congruent with my life and with Life itself  (if you will). That said, none of these new ideas are set in stone. Although I've already begun implementing them, for the time being consider them to be experimental:


I've been posting and announcing two new Conversations For Transformation a week, every Wednesday and Sunday at midnight PT for seventeen years. Often, with this Self-imposed deadline fast approaching, I'd sit down to write ... and there was nothing forthcoming except so-called writer's block. Yet each committed essay always appeared on time and as promised, including those stopped by writer's block (in which I wrote about writer's block, thus deploying writer's block to get over writer's block). There was that ... and there was also Werner's observation during one of our face to face visits: a scheduled / committed  kind of creativity may prove to be more creative than a whenever-I-feel-like-it  kind of creativity (that's the gist of what he said - it's not a verbatim quote).

While I eschew "whenever-I-feel-like-it" creativity as a foundation for Conversations For Transformation, I'm retracting my commitment (for the time being at least) to post and announce two new Conversations For Transformation a week, every Wednesday and Sunday at midnight PT, and will instead work longer on each essay until it's complete, and then post and announce it whenever it's complete / ready;

Included in the original design of Conversations For Transformation was a feature rendering each essay as a complex, multi-dimensional space. It was the provision of clickable hyper-links on pertinent words and phrases, linking them to other essays and / or internet web-pages which expanded on the distinction at hand, and / or provided additional information. As Conversations For Transformation grew and grew, the number of clickable hyper-links in each essay also grew and grew (and grew) correspondingly until they began to encroach on the point where the only words / phrases with no  clickable hyper-links, were "the" and "and".

I receive a lot of input / feedback, especially pertaining to this feature, with many of you saying the copious hyper-links are simply too much  and are therefore counter-productive and distracting, while others of you say they're valuable, adding clarification and depth to each essay.

In the next iteration of post-sabbatical II  Conversations For Transformation, I'll experiment with cutting back on the number of clickable hyper-links. This isn't because I share the opinion that too many clickable hyper-links are counter-productive (I myself happen to be of the opinion that they contribute to each essay being a complex, multi-dimensional space). Yet the fact of the matter is so many clickable hyper-links take an inordinate amount of time to code  (I hand-write all the Conversations For Transformation code myself, eschewing page-makers like WordPress  and Site123  et al). Distilling lots of links down to just specific, critical ones, affords me extra time to focus on each essay's subject material (coding all the clickable hyper-links can take longer than writing the subject material itself).

In the next iteration of post-sabbatical II Conversations For Transformation, my intention is to write / speak more from personal experience of transformed Self. By that, I don't mean write / speak more about  transformed Self. I mean write / speak more coming from  transformed Self - which means be responsible for writing / speaking more coming from transformed Self. And it's important to note that "Self" is always  transformed (my phrase "transformed Self" is actually a redundancy).

In pre-sabbatical II Conversations For Transformation, the source from which I came, was the friendship afforded me by Werner (actually, "afforded us  by Werner"). That's not going to change (I don't see how it could: in a very real sense, all Conversations For Transformation are  conversations with Werner). What I would like to do next (ie the direction in which I'd like to move now) is that of trusting myself enough to re-discover and re-distinguish Werner's ideas and abstracts of transformation for myself. Then, coming from that space, share them in my writing / speaking.

This kind of writing / speaking will miss its mark entirely if it's merely about  transformed Self. There's a lot of that sort of thing about, but it's not the real deal. This kind of writing / speaking only works when its velocity comes from  transformed Self. And when it does, it could be about  ... well ... almost  ... anything  ...

Writing / speaking these Conversations For Transformation is like climbing that integrity mountain: it has no top, so you better be enjoying the climb. I could never get to the end of writing / speaking them because that suggests transformation is in their content. It's not. It's in their context. If I stop writing / speaking them, there's no context for transformation in my life. It simply doesn't exist outside of writing / speaking it ongoingly.

That's the seminal idea of Werner's which re-presenced and re-proved itself to me during my second sabbatical: transformation shows up in my writing / speaking Conversations For Transformation; when I'm no longer writing / speaking Conversations For Transformation, I'm no longer transformed.

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