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

Thank You, I Got It, And Nobody's Interested Anymore

Trefethen Family Vineyards, Oak Knoll Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

November 25, 2013

"The way to handle a monster is to give it lots of space."  ... 

There's a plethora of amazing materials available on the internet which are yours free giving direct, intimate access to Werner's work. These priceless expositions include videos of Werner speaking distinctions with extraordinary clarity, videos of Werner interviewing men and women who are pioneers, champions, international leaders (dare I say heroes?)  in their individual fields, as well as all of Werner's publicly available scholarly papers - by "publicly available" papers I mean those papers of his which are now edited and formatted appropriately for public release - more will follow. If you're going to surf the internet looking for inspiration, there's plenty of it out there.

So it was one day when a friend (he was angry) sent me a link to a website which can only be described as outright hostile  to the work of transformation. I'd seen this gratuitous sort of thing before on the internet. I don't pay as much attention to it now as I once did - I hardly pay any attention to it at all now, in fact. But I'm totally clear about the broader genre  in which the target of the link belongs. I told him I've trained myself by reading pieces like it. "You've trained  yourself by reading pieces like it?" he asked. "What do you mean?".

What you read, I told him, in this type of piece is simply someone's opinion, possibly merely someone venting their vindictiveness. It's very, very easy to get drawn into an opinion (it's very human  in fact) and in so doing completely lose touch with your own experience, especially if the opinion is hostile to that for which you have affinity. Personally I'm skeptical of all  opinions: theirs, yours, mine, especially  mine. The idea with any opinion is to allow it to be, to give it room. This is particularly true for hostile, vindictive opinions. The way to handle a monster is to give it lots of space (as Werner Erhard suggests).

Listen: that's what transformation is, yes?: the mastery of creating space. Responding to any opinion, and particularly responding to an opinion about transformation (and a hostile opinion to boot) by attacking back or even by defending, is really quite pointless. I suggested to him "You call yourself 'transformed', yet you get seriously bent out of shape by someone's counter-opinion? That's not really being a great advertisement for transformation, is it? You have to train yourself to create space for it, to include it.".

This harkens to the one tenet which runs through all martial arts, which is this: don't be where the blow lands. The battle is lost in the moment you stop to think  about responding to a fighter. Don't be  where the blow is struck. It's a response based in being  not in reacting.

In double Emmy award winning PBS  ie Public Broadcasting Service producer Robyn Symon's critically acclaimed sleeper hit Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard, an opportunity to appear and speak is given to a persistent self-appointed ombudsman  of the value of Werner's work. One possible response to his placement in the documentary could be a huffy "No way!  No way does that guy deserve  to be in this movie ...". But Robyn's masterful inclusion of footage of him stating his opinion makes a far more powerful statement than a twenty one gun rebuttal (or even excluding him entirely) ever could. The guy has an opinion - an opinion, that is, on to which he seems to hold ferociously and defensively and righteously. Yet it is his opinion, and in the space of transformation, there's a pure sweetness of generosity in not merely listening him speak it, but (more than that) inviting  him to speak it, even providing an internationally distributed and admired platform for him on which to speak it and be heard.

And it's even more than all that actually. It's the always ever gathering momentum of the recognition and acceptance of the value of Werner's work in both the public sector and the private sector, in both the academic sector and the business sector. It's the exponential expansion of the numbers of international participants in and graduates of Werner's programs which demonstrates in spite of a few virulent and vindictive opinions to the contrary, the work stands alone and speaks for itself and proves itself with no defense or counter-attack required. While there may once have been a time in the distant past when these hostile postings first appeared on the internet and raised a few eyebrows, they've now become like litter on the median of the highway, litter to which nobody pays much attention these days - my own listening for it has settled into a calm "Thank You, I got it, and nobody's interested anymore.".

Really. This is the status quo of the litter of hostility to the work of transformation on the internet: it's out there - it's been out there for a while. At first it raised a few eyebrows. But the truth is now nobody's interested anymore.

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