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

Scottie Dog

Black Stallion, Napa Valley, California, USA

June 23, 2015

"Life is kind of like a Monopoly game, and you can't play a Monopoly game unless you have a piece - a Scottie dog* or a top hat, or whatever it is - and in life, I need one of these, and a personality, and a mind, and all of those things."
"You've got it backwards: that's like saying 'Fireplace, give me heat, then I'll give you wood.'."
  ... Charlene Afremow, steering a training conversation
"Most of the work I see out there is self-improvement, which is essentially having your attention on the wrong thing. Werner's insight that he was whole, complete, and perfect, is essential for transformation. Disappearing barriers to that experience and expression of wholeness, completion, and perfection, is the game. When we disappear into contribution to another is when we are at our best."
  ... Scott Forgey
This essay, Scottie Dog, is the companion piece to
  1. Throwaway
  2. Used By The Truth
  3. It's All Over For Laurence Platt
  4. Using Laurence Platt
in that order.

I am indebted to Charlene Afremow and to Scott Forgey who inspired this conversation and contributed material.

To be clear, this (ie what I do) isn't an ego thing for me.

At some point in any transformed life, it's inevitable things will no longer show up in terms of amassing more prestige or in terms of amassing more wealth. There's nothing wrong, by the way, with either prestige or with wealth. Rather they no longer occupy front and center stage. Instead things start showing up in terms of what's worthwhile  ie in terms of what makes a difference  ie in terms of what's authentic. It's also at about this time that the awesome responsibility for the freedom of choice we all have (or the aw-ful  responsibility, depending on how you regard it) really sinks in. I'm talking about the freedom to choose what our lives are really  going to be about. When this dawned on me, I said "This is all there is, and this (ie all  this) is what I got. Now what am I going to do with it?". That's confronting.

Scottie dog
That's what this (ie what I do) is for me - which is to say that's what this has become: something worth doing, something worthwhile, something which makes a difference, something authentic. For me, life is no longer a kind of treasure trove which I can plunder without guilt, and from which I can freely harvest without consequence. We've tried that model. It's left the planet in dire environmental and socio‑economic straits as a result. No, life is a game whose object is to make a useful contribution, to add something of value, to qualify for saying (when we've run our course) "We left the beach in a better condition than we found it.".

In this game I need a token, a piece  if you will - like the Scottie dog or the top hat we use to get around the Monopoly board with. That's what my persona  is for me. In other words, that's the opportunity  my persona is for me: it's my piece, the Scottie dog I use to get around the board of the game of life with. Regarding it this way was a shift requiring some getting used to, some managing. If these were my earlier years when the goal was to accumulate reward ie to amass prestige and wealth, this work that I do would have been all about ego.

But they aren't. And this is now. So it isn't. I've learned a new kind of relationship with my creation and consequently with my persona, with my piece, with my Scottie dog. What I've learned (which is to say what I've taught myself)  is how to use my persona for all it's worth to facilitate and support what I create, then to put that creation out-here  so that the experience it calls forth for you, is a space, a possibility, a way of being which is wholly and totally and freely available to you. Whatever part I play in it and whatever qualities this experience may have, my purpose is to ensure it's completely yours to own.

Monopoly board with Scottie dog and other pieces on GO
That, by the way, is the whole idea with transformation, an idea which makes transformation unlike any other experience I know of: it's at its best ie it's at its most powerful when it's given away. And listen: if you don't give it away then it wasn't transformation in the first place  (in which case DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200).

There are so many worthwhile things to create. There are so many things I could possibly create in life. My creation could be a sheet of music. My creation could be a completed sculpture. My creation could be a finished painting. All of that's valid. Some of the greatest artists who've ever played the game of life, created one or more of the above, using their Scottie dog to get around the board. For my Scottie dog, for my piece, I prefer my own persona.

I don't only want to evoke the experience of living powerfully as an artform. I don't only want to evoke the possibility of the expression of life as art. The expression of life as art is as magnificent as it gets, be it as music or as sculpture or as painting ... and here's the thing: or even as conversation.

My intention is to not only evoke the possibility of living as conversation - as profound and as moving and as masterful as that may be. It's that in addition, what I want to generate for people ie what I want to call forth  for people, is who we really are. Now that's  a game worth playing. No, it's way more than that: it's the only  game in town. And in my observation, as I'm going around the board of life evoking the experience of who we really are, there's no piece more perfect ie there's no Scottie dog more appropriate than my own persona.

I sometimes hear it said that the worthwhile paths  (if you will) are those which lead to the disappearance of the persona. To me, the notion that it's possible (and useful) to disappear the persona, is ultimate persona - it's as misguided a notion as one which claims it's possible and useful to disappear an arm. To me, the idea that it's possible and useful to disappear the ego, is ultimate ego  - it's as misguided a notion as one which claims it's possible and useful to disappear a leg. You have a persona. Be responsible for it. You have an ego. Be responsible for it. It's the piece you move around the board as you play the game of life. It's your Scottie dog.

Indeed, it's impossible to play the game of life without it.

* ... or "Scottie dawg"  - if I recreate that rich, deep, Philadelphian accent.

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