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 Leadership Course:

As Your Natural Self-Expression II

Calle Retorno del Rey, Cancun, Mexico

October 31, 2017

"You will leave this course being a leader and exercising leadership as your natural Self-expression in any situation and no matter what the circumstances."
...   promising the Leadership Course: Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model 
This essay, The Leadership Course: As Your Natural Self-Expression II, is the one thousand three hundredth in this Conversations For Transformation internet series. That doesn't mean anything. It's just what's so.

It is also the companion piece to As Your Natural Self-Expression.

It is also the first in the trilogy The Leadership Course:
  1. The Leadership Course: As Your Natural Self-Expression II
  2. The Leadership Course II: Leadership Is A Barefooted Girl
  3. The Leadership Course III: Pillar Of The Community
in that order.

The trilogy The Leadership Course is the sequel to
  1. An Experience That Begins Before It Begins
  2. Thinking On My Feet
  3. No, It's What You Say  About It
in that order.

It is also the prequel to I am indebted to Steve Zaffron and to Jeri Echeverria and to Miriam Carey and to Tabatha White and to Anne Peterson and the entire IEM  (Innovative Event Management) team who inspired this conversation.

Werner's Erhard's promise is (quite simply) off the charts, outrageous, audacious, bodacious, ridiculously over the top, fearless. Now to be quite clear about this, I've listened him make the same promise many times before on different occasions (which, although they all occurred within the last fifty years, were each actually made in different eras)  in different countries in various contexts and under different circumstances, as well as (given the ever-changing zeitgeist)  in different vernacular  (ie whenever and wherever he's spoken it, he's spoken it deploying subtly different languaging).

Yet in its essence, it's always been the same mind-bogglingly bold promise spoken as an assertion you know no human being should ever make, indeed one you know no human being has any business  making - no, it's an assertion you know no human being could possibly  make (in other words, it's an assertion you know a human being has neither the power to make nor the right  to make - at least not reliably nor count-on-ably).

"Enlightenment", a term we use to convey (ie to point to) life lived in a state of fulfillment and empowerment, is (by now) such a loaded  term, a term so fraught with so much meaning, so dripping  with significance, so oil-stained  by association and comparison as to be rendered no longer effective (we've settled for eating the menu, forgetting there's a steak) that its perhaps best to simply discard it altogether and let it enjoy a dignified passing into the annals of time.

That said, when I pursued that particular linguistic abstraction  if you will (by that I mean "enlightenment" as a linguistic abstraction brings forth a realm of possibility) and that which it pointed to and offered (that is to say when a much younger moi  pursued that which it promised), I was clear it was something I would aspire to, something I could perhaps even accomplish (attain  may be a more apropos expression of how I'd conceptualized it). I was also clear (which is to say I had already pre-conceived)  that it would "take time"  (and because of that, I knew I'd have to wait for its result, and be patient while waiting for it - possibly for years). More than that, I was clear the onus would be on me  to make it happen - in other words, I was clear no one could (quote unquote) lay it on me  (or on anyone else, for that matter) like a gift (the idea of enlightenment as a given / received gift, was for me a contradiction in terms, an example of what it is to be unclear on the concept).

The stone cold, flat-footed beyond-dispute fact of the matter is for decades now, he's turned that ubiquitous, cherished paradigm on its ear. He says (in effect) "I promise to deliver it for you if you do this, then inquire into that, then have a conversation with me about what you discovered", "it"  being becoming effectively, naturally, joyfully  1,000% clear about who you really are (and about who you actually aren't)  and empowered. Oh, and the process doesn't require lifetimes  as some devoted, dedicated, zealous monks may assume. No, his timeframe is days, a week tops. And I did say he promises  it. You and I can and may promise a lot of things in our day to day lives (and we often do). So the act of promising in and of itself, is neither unusual nor unfamiliar to us. But listen: how can anyone promise that? 

But wait! There's more: he promises he'll deliver it whether or not you take notes, and whether or not you remember all the minutiae and details afterward. Say whut?  No note-taking needed? No studying required? No need to remember it all? Actually no. None of the above. All he requests is you commit to stay in the conversation with him through to its completion. In effect you're invited to simply be around him ie to be with him and to speak with him. That's all. Do that, and he promises he'll deliver it - which, by itself, is astonishing to the point of being preposterous (I hear myself muttering under my breath "No  one can promise that, no  one ...".).

And then, just when I think I can't stretch myself to consider this erstwhile impossible idea as even remotely close to plausible, he continues, magnifying it, leaving it as an expanding opening rather than merely as an idly dropped static line, by adding this killer distinction: that you'll realize the result "... as  ... your  ... natural  ... Self  ... expression  ..." - which is to say when you get it ie when you get the Big "IT", you'll get it as your natural Self-expression ie as who you really are in the world. And then he continues and unflinchingly delivers exactly  that - no ifs, no ands, no how about?s, no buts.

And when it's over, he casually exits the course room, checking on some notes scribbled on paper handed to him as he walks through the door and out of sight into the sultry Mexican night. And although you're likely to want to run right out after him and hug him and say "Thank  you! Thank you so ... much!", there's no need. He knows you've got it for yourself as a gift now, and you  know you've got it for yourself as a gift now (you could even say you've created  it for yourself as a gift now) and you're empowered now, free to give it away yourself, or to simply enjoy it for yourself by  yourself.

You wonder what could be next for you, given your experience of your own being isn't now anything like it was a mere few days ago, and you're no longer the kind of human being you once were back then - in fact you're actually somewhat unrecognizable  to yourself at this point in time (and maybe you're even a bit edgy and slightly uncomfortable with this deliciously new unrecognizability) given who you once used to be for yourself, and the enormity of it all sinks in that you'll continue to be astonished ongoingly by this transformation of who you really are in the world, and how you're being, for the rest of your life.

That's what he promised. And that's the way it happened - exactly that way. And it's not just you. This is the way it lands / has landed for hundreds and hundreds and thousands and millions  of people over the last fifty years. That's what makes it inexplicably ultra-extraordinary ... and  ... also maddeningly-ordinary, both at the same time. Listen: that's about exactly right: it's we who are after all, the ultra-extraordinary maddeningly-ordinary denizens of the planet and our own lives. We all will soon figure out this is the way it is for us human beings in our universe. All Werner does is look into the space, then distinguishes what the showing  is ie he distinguishes what's already  so ie he distinguishes what's already out-here. Then he points a finger at it. And when he points, I see what he's pointing at. I don't look at his finger.

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