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



Tête À Tête

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

March 1, 2011



This essay, Tête À Tête, is the second in the fifth trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. Closer And Closer
  2. Tête À Tête
  3. Dancing With Life
in that order.
The first trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Prelude
  2. Ask Me Anything
  3. Coming Around Again
in that order.
The second trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Familiar Unfamiliar Territory
  2. Interview
  3. Straight Talk
in that order.
The third trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Dancing With My Mouth
  2. Cave Paintings
  3. Velvet Tsunami
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Creating Creating
  2. Tell Me Something About Nothing
  3. Lucid Disclosures
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?
  2. Wonderings About Nothing In Particular
  3. Tipping Point
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Beyond Breathing Underwater
  2. Bold Faced Truth
  3. What You Create For Yourself About Me
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Once In A Lifetime
  2. Fireside Chat
  3. Whole And Complete
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Questions For A Friend
  2. Nothing Else I'd Rather Be Doing
  3. Free To Be And Free To Act
in that order.
The tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Attracted To Dance
  2. I Told A Friend I Love You
  3. Terse Transformed Communication
in that order.
The eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. A Context Worth Playing In
  2. Tie The Brush To My Hand
  3. Unimaginably Terse
in that order.
I am indebted to Clare Erhard-Trick who contributed material for this conversation.



Imagine there's no one around. Imagine it's just you and I  alone together enjoying some precious private quality  time together. Imagine we're sitting on comfortable chairs (they could be deck chairs on a deserted island lagoon beach at sunset, wavelets lapping over our bare feet ... which would be nice but it's not required for this conversation), and we're enjoying a drink together (iced water) with nothing else going on.

It's quiet where we are ie wherever  we are. The only audible sounds are your voice when you're speaking, my voice when I'm speaking, and the occasional clinking of ice cubes in our glasses.



Ten Pointed Questions Without Expectations For Particular Answers



 1)  I can tell you what I love about your work. I love its freedom to be. I love its freedom to create. I love the peace of mind which comes with the grounded realization things are OK the way they are (and the way they aren't). I love its technology of dismantling upsets. I love the excitement of inventing possibility. I love its bigness to forgive. I love its strength to love. I love the intellectual  satisfaction of it also - it's impeccably  and immaculately  laid out. I love its Zen. There's nothing about it  I don't love. And believe me, that's some statement coming from me, the erstwhile Mr Skeptic Knows It All.

But that's me - and my life. It's your work. What do you love about your life as you make your work available?

First question:

"The promise of the current iteration of your work is to empower people to live Life powerfully and to live a life they love. That you live Life powerfully is fait accompli. What do you love most about your life?"



 2)  The market, the demand  for your work in India today is arguably one of the biggest markets for your work on the planet right now. I can imagine that being there in the midst of it, getting the enormity  of it, communicating with it (and in  it), and shaping it, has changed you. Perhaps "changed" isn't the best word to use in this context. But to say I can imagine how it's "changed" you is good enough for jazz.

How has what you're accomplishing in India changed you?

Second question:

"Out of your experience following your recent groundbreaking tour de force in India, who are you now? And: who are you generating yourself to be for the future?"



 3)  It's hard to fathom how you do it. I know of no one  who puts more work into a single twenty four hour day than you do. It's disconcerting. It completely resets  the height of the bar of what's possible for productivity. Even if I don't appreciate one single idea you put forth, I'd be hard pressed not to notice the wellspring  of energy you bring to Life in such quantity and with such power it energizes everyone around you, many of whom simply can't keep up with you - which is why you've organized your life with teams of people supporting you rather than with individuals.

How do you do it? Where do you get it from?

Third question:

"Your constant international travel schedule would fell an ox - and lesser men. What keeps you going? What drives you out of bed early in the morning and keeps you up late at night - day after day after day, year after year after year?"



 4)  To address, to be received and welcomed by academia, Harvard Kennedy School and many others, is an extraordinary  accomplishment, especially for someone who isn't a college graduate. It's a solid validation of the ideas your work disseminates. After this, what mountains are left for you to climb?

Fourth question:

"After your ongoing projects in collaboration with academia are fulfilled and complete, or at least completely started so they then expand by themselves spontaneously, what do you want to do next?"



 5)  Are the outcomes of my life predestined before I'm born? Or do I have a say? - that is to say, do I get to choose, create, and have sway over the outcomes of my life? Or is the degree to which I get to choose, create, and have sway over the outcomes of my life, already predestined?

Fifth question:

"It's the age old philosopher's conundrum: what for you is the relationship, if any, between destiny and choice?"



 6)  Transformation, it could be said, is the result of a deliberate act, the result of intentionally taking a stand for who we really are. When you first introduced me to transformation, I breathed out a silent "Yesssss!!!". Although I hadn't gotten it by myself until that moment, once I got it I realized I always  had it. In hindsight, it seemed so obvious to me - although hindsight is always 20/20 vision. It was a while before I realized although it's just as obvious to many other people, it's not always so obvious to some.

Sixth question:

"What accounts for why many people grasp transformation when it's presented in a clear working context, and others don't? Could it be 'grace'?"



 7)  Every so often I look at myself in the mirror and laugh. These are the moments when I realize I've been trying to get transformation right. You can't get transformation right  - even if that's what good students  like me try to do. Trying to make transformation right turns it into a belief. If there's one surefire  way to kill transformation, it's to turn it into a belief.

I notice I turn everything  into a belief. And I notice how hard it is not to do that. Perhaps it's worth more to distinguish where I obfuscate transformation by believing it, than it is to attempt to stop believing it.

Seventh question:

"Recently I calmly realized I'm no longer afraid of dying ... then immediately afterwards I had the thought 'Darn! I just created yet another belief.'. Does all knowing devolve into belief?"



 8)  It's an intriguing plot for a screenplay: the idea of enlightenment  arising in India five thousand years ago, infiltrating cultures all over the world including these United States, and heralding a great new possibility for the world. The trouble is we human beings spend a lot of time talking  about, speculating about, opining about enlightenment to the point where we've almost completely buried  actually experiencing  enlightenment. Two things changed in the world like a possibility  when you made your presence known:

 1)  Speaking about  enlightenment (or transformation)  became distilled and clarified as speaking  transformation, which in turn freed the experience  of transformation and pointed out the access to it;

 2)  It became very obvious there's nothing particularly significant  about enlightenment / transformation - it's just what's so.

Witnessing your work recently making a huge impact in India had me musing on this extraordinary state of affairs: enlightenment, starting in India, infiltrating countries all over the world, has returned to India as transformation - it's come full circle.

Eighth question:

"India has given the whole world a vast, rich 'spirituality', if you will. Is it useful to describe your work there as having brought 'enlightenment back home to India'?"



 9)  Although we're all of the same Self so in this sense we're all one and the same, the odds are that in the world, I can't be you - I can only be me. That said, here's a hypothetical: what if I could  be you? What would I have to be, to be you? Please speak about the one thing  I would have to be, to be you.

Ninth question:

"What's the essential thing which for you best epitomizes who you are for yourself?"



 10)  If you had the opportunity to start again at square one  and do it all over again, knowing what you now know, is there anything you would do differently? I mean "differently" in the sense of "more efficiently", "more streamlined", "more effectively".

Tenth question:

"Are you dissatisfied with what you've accomplished in any way? If so, how?"



Après Ski



Imagine there's still  no one around. Imagine it's still just you and I sitting here, talking. But now the day is done, our glasses are empty, and it's time to go home.

In the ordinary world, in the business as usual  world, when you and I go home, when you go your way and I go mine, we're apart. But this isn't the ordinary world. This isn't the business as usual world. Given what's possible out of who you are, I am never without you. Neither, by the way, is anyone else who's also in this conversation with you, ever without you.

Imagine that!



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