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


Stepping Up:

A Retrospective Of The Future

Hilton Hotel Grand Ballroom, San Francisco, California, USA

October 3, 2006



I am indebted to Linda Zraik who inspired this conversation.



I've never heard Werner use the word choreography  to describe coordination of the public events which make his work available in the world although I did see him dance once. I've never seen a human being so alive as Werner dancing - right down to the tips of his fingernails.

So if I use the word choreography  to refer to the coordination of Werner's events, that's my personal view of things. It's more likely Werner would describe such management as logistics supervision. Whichever term is used, one of the hallmarks of his choreography is it's brilliant deployment which creates consistency over time and place deliberately.

For example, when Werner was first becoming widely known as a radiating power of transformation in the world, big crowds got the opportunity to meet him at "Be Withs" - events so-called because at a Be With  you got to be with Werner. That was their sole purpose.

Since those halcyon days, clear format and support structures have been devised and bolted into place to deliver Werner's work predictably, unerringly, and effectively independent of Werner delivering the material himself. But back then you got what you got by being around Werner.

At a Be With the choreography was such that the chairs on the podium came from the kitchen and office of Werner's home, the Franklin House. Werner could have used chairs supplied by the meeting facility. But he wanted the chairs to come from his home.

Not many people knew that. For those who did, when you looked at Werner at a Be With you could see his home extending to the podium and including the entire auditorium. Werner was creating the space for a thousand people and more to be with him in his home - only more intimately  ...

To me, that's like a great recurring lead riff in a synchopated jazz composition, like a golden thread  meandering through the theme of an intricate and carefully woven tapestry: Werner's kitchen chairs with him on the Be With podium! It strikes a chord with me, one which resonates profoundly. I love the consistency. I love his ongoing conversation for transformation and his choreography connecting the dots between the places and the years.

The truth be told, had he just sat there and read the telephone book or the dictionary and done nothing else, these events would have worked just as well. It was clear to everyone present it's who Werner is being that creates the magic. Werner is simply wonderful  with people. Add to that the brilliance of his conversation for transformation itself and his facileness with it, those events were simply awesome.

I've sought out and met many great teachers, swamis, and gurus. I've read most of the recognized texts, theories, and paradigms in which intelligent authors and philosophers describe their views of the human condition. And, given this is the twenty first century, I've watched many of the latter day masters, both religious and pragmatic, on late night cable, dish, and satellite television. In every case I've come away with a sense of being in the company of a powerful man or a woman, of having heard a truly remarkable person speaking, and of being in the presence of genuine greatness. From each and every single one of them I got something valuable.

And yet, from the get go, there's always been a profoundly unique distinction I've gotten from Werner. It's this:

In the presence of every other teacher I get how amazing they are. In Werner's presence I get how amazing I am.

That's my best shot at articulating what I've gotten over the years from this work of transformation because my expression of it keeps altering, keeps coming forth newly, keeps on re-inventing itself. I guess it's still simmering after all these years. Its continuing emergence has great relevance to how I create my life ongoingly, to how I'm always morphing  into the next, new Laurence.

In this context, what continuously occurs for me is an injunct to step up  to the plate of my life. I'm cause in the matter, whether I own it or not. I may as well step up!  Without integrity nothing really works, whether I am that or not. I may as well step up!

I'm transformed ... now I'm not  ... I'm transformed ... now I'm not  ... I'm transformed etc. That's how it's been going over the nearly thirty years I've known Werner. No matter how the dice roll, I may as well step up!



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