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




Stunningly Gifted Visionary

Lovall Valley, California, USA

October 7, 2018



This essay, Stunningly Gifted Visionary, is the twenty first in a group of twenty one on People: This essay, Stunningly Gifted Visionary, is the companion piece to A House On Franklin Street.

I am indebted to Ron Mann who inspired this conversation and contributed material.




When we look at the past, there's often a sense of nostalgia that goeswith  doing so (as Alan Watts may have said). For what I intend here, that way of looking at the past will only get in the way of this conversation. Nostalgia is really looking at a past in the present  - which is to say, it's looking at a past clouding  the present. My intention here is to look at a past which was a clearing  for the present. I intend to look at a past on whose shoulders an extraordinary present and a future stand, a present which stands today, and a future which in all likelihood, will stand forever. In particular I'd like to look at this past in celebration and acknowledgement of one extraordinary man's talent, without which the magical, vibrant quality of this past (and therefore of this present and this future) would have never become available.

Design by Ron Mann

Photography by Russell McMasters

Franklin House, San Francisco, California, USA

1982

Click to expand
Franklin House Dining Room
What do I see in this past on whose shoulders this extraordinary present and future stand? I see Werner being extraordinary. I see extraordinary, breakthrough ideas. I see people being extraordinary. And I see something that was always there (like air for birds, like water for fish) ie which was so  always there (like Self for people) that its impact and enormous contribution are easily overlooked: I see its background interior design. That's right, and I also see the talented, Self-taught brilliant man who implemented all of it. In his breakthrough design of the Franklin House's interior, Werner's work really took wing. I see his background physical setting ie the pieces  he meticulously chose and carefully assembled which matched Werner's intention, perfectly conducive to Conversations For Transformation manifesting powerfully in it.

When Werner did what he extraordinarily did, when the ideas did what they extraordinarily did, when people did what they extraordinarily did, it was all done in this space inside of and in front of that most brilliantly designed interior. And the brilliant design of that interior was so appropriate to the work at hand, so right, so accepted, so fitting  that it was very easy, like high class Zen, to overlook it and to take its brilliance for granted. I myself made sure never to do that. Who Werner is, spoke newly, loudly, and clearly to me in the Franklin House. Transformation had always spoken to me. Transformation with Werner in this environment, more than just spoke to me: it touched me, it moved me, it compelled  me.

Those fabrics, those colors, the artwork, the coarse yet practical carpeting, the pragmatism of it all, simply stunned me. I could have Conversations For Transformation anywhere, in any environment, at a bus stop, on a beach, in an airplane, in the checkout line at the Safeway  store where I shop. I could also have Conversations For Transformation in this  environment in which something more je ne sais quoi  would happen, making these Conversations For Transformation beyond extraordinary. Then I'd get the impact of his legendary interior design prowess. Being around it was being around true greatness.

Consider this: if you were an interior designer with a mandate to design the interior of facilities in which Conversations For Transformation occur, what would you do? Now consider what the ideal, the perfect interior design style would be for the interior of facilities in which Conversations For Transformation occur. His were both. The very spaces designed by him demanded  Conversations For Transformation.

What makes his gift even more remarkable is those were the years in which Conversations For Transformation were in their infancy. Interior designers like to browse design magazines, looking for ideas already in play to be inspired by, on which to build their own. But there was no prior interior design for facilities for Conversations For Transformation back then because there were no prior Conversations For Transformation  back then. His design came from nothing, inspired, inspiring, awesome, stunning, original, and (for its future) ground-breaking - that is to say he  came from nothing, this stunningly gifted visionary who created transformation's physical expression in the world, another modest hero in big boots, an as yet not fully acknowledged, enormous power accelerating Werner's work's presence in our world.



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© Laurence Platt - 2018 Permission