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

The Big Four Oh

From Alameda Island to Napa Valley
California, USA
and the Whole Wide World* in between

August 27, 1978 through August 26, 2018

"Those who know don't speak; those who speak don't know." ... Lao Tzu asserting

"Well ... may  be." ... Laurence Platt responding
This essay, The Big Four Oh, is the companion piece to Bake Your Cake (And Eat It).

It is also the sequel to The Big Three Oh.

I am indebted to Werner Erhard who inspired this conversation (really), and to Angie Mattingly who contributed material.

It's the last weekend of August 2018. Forty years ago in the last weekend of August 1978 to be exact, I got transformation for the first time (or it  got me  - I'm not sure which way it was). I stood bolt upright when it happened - not because the space was standing room only (which it was, but that wasn't it) but because that was the instruction we were following in the guided process we were in at the time. "If you got it, stand up" the trainer said. So I stood up. But look: I stood up only partly because the trainer said so. Mostly (more profoundly) I stood up because it was the overwhelming, natural, obvious  action that specific experience called me to take.

To cast it like it was, the experience of transformation fit the trainer's "If you got it, stand up", not the other way around. The accuracy of the process, the certainty of it, the appropriateness of it, the fitting-ness of it, the brilliance of its script, the dramatic theatre  of it, was perfectly executed (I thought). I was in a state of complete and total disbelief. Yet the words that came out of my mouth were "Yes! Yes! Yes!"  (and there must have been a few "Wow!"s and an "Omigod!"  in there as well).

From the day I was born, right up until that very moment, in one way of another, that experience had been in my sights. For as long as I've been able to muster and entertain independent thinking, I've always had a natural sense it was possible, a compelling vision, if you will. Yet what I didn't  yet have, was a commitment (ie one I'd put in place) to have it be more than wishful thinking for me. In those late-night-around-the-fire meandering, protracted "spiritual" conversations, we debated (and doubted) that it could ever be attained in this lifetime. I did deploy the word "attained" back then, but I've subsequently dispensed with it / dropped it, finding it no longer apropos. "In this  lifetime" was also a recurring theme in those fervent conversations. Today however, I have no pragmatic use for the concept of reincarnation.

And then ... there it was: larger than life, and twice as natural. I got it, impossible as it was to miss, not sitting alone in a saffron robe meditating in a monastery or a cave somewhere in the Himalayas, but standing up in a pretty mundane, drab town hall, surrounded by about two hundred to three hundred other people (most of whom also got it, and some of whom didn't), and chipped, scratched, mass-produced identical chairs, under a plastic chandelier, some of whose lightbulbs were out.

"It's a con, it won't last" the naysayers and the skeptics and the princes of darkness said. That was forty years ago.

Listen: there's only one minor difference between having gotten transformation an hour ago, and having gotten it forty years ago: if you got it forty years ago, you've had it longer. That's the only difference. Really. There's something else that should be noted here. It's in response to those who say "I also  got it forty years ago" (or longer, or thirty) "... but it faded.". It faded? No it didn't fade. You just stopped creating it. Tell the truth: you only got it in the first place because you created it, yes?

The moment you get transformation, is like the pointy base of a huge letter Vee:  the longer you create it, onward and upward, the wider apart its sides get, the more possibilities show up. That seems to be its nature: transformation ongoingly expands and expands and expands ... oh, and just when you think it's run its course and can't possibly expand any more (as I've thought, erroneously for sure, on countless occasions), it's back again, ever more awesome. Transformation is transformation, no matter how recently you got it or how long ago. Whatever I apply it to (or whether I apply it to nothing at all) irrevocably shifts my entire life and Life itself.

Happy 40th transformed birthday! It's our celebration. It's not for me (that "me" is an illusion): it's for all of us, for who we are, for the possibility of who we could be.

* Of course "www" is not known as the acronym for "whole wide world", and many people incorrectly assume it stands for "world wide web". But it actually stands for "world wide Werner".

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