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 III:

Pillar Of The Community

Grand Ballroom, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cancun, Mexico

November 5, 2017



This essay, The Leadership Course III: Pillar Of The Community, is the thirty third in an open group of Experiences Of A Friend:
  1. Stepping Back
  2. At Home As Self
  3. Empty Windows
  4. Futile Like A Freedom
  5. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  6. Werner As Intention
  7. Who He Is For Himself
  8. Source Quote
  9. Puzzle Solved, Mind Unraveled
  10. Eye To Eye
  11. Mystical Connection II
  12. Relentless
  13. Being Around Werner
  14. Being Always In Action
  15. Shaken Up And Teary
  16. On Being Sad
  17. The Complete Presentation
  18. Force Of Nature
  19. Everyone's In Love With Everyone
  20. I'm Old School
  21. Werner At The Speed Of Choice
  22. I Get Who You Are From What They Do
  23. The Significance - Not What Happened
  24. You Know I Love You - And I Know You Love Me
  25. Speaking To People's Relationship With Werner
  26. A Master At Being (And Having People Be)
  27. Werner As Source
  28. A Man Who's All There
  29. My Heart And You
  30. Mind Control
  31. Again And Again And Again And Again And Again And Again
  32. Unwavering
  33. The Leadership Course III: Pillar Of The Community
  34. American Genius
so far, in that order.

It is also the third 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 Life, Love, And The Whole Damn Thing.

I am indebted to Lorlett Hudson who contributed material for this conversation.




For there to be integrity, someone has to be in integrity like a stand, like a possibility. For there to be authenticity, someone has to be authentic like a stand, like a possibility. When someone is in integrity, the possibility of being in integrity becomes available for everyone. When someone is authentic, the possibility of being authentic becomes available for everyone. But it's more than someone merely being in integrity, and it's more than someone merely being authentic that makes integrity and authenticity available for everyone: it's being in integrity unflinchingly  ie generating integrity; it's being authentic unflinchingly ie generating authenticity. That's how being in integrity and being authentic gain traction as possibilities for everyone, instead of simply as virtues ie instead of just as desirable character traits.

Photography by Ivan Vrhnjak
courtesy Lorlett Hudson

Cancun, Mexico

3:01:23pm Wednesday November 1, 2017
Werner Erhard with Lorlett Hudson

In all the times I've ever stood in integrity, which is to say in all the times I've ever stood for  integrity, there was a sense of "Now  I've got it - I've finally got it right.". It's seductive - not to mention completely illusory. It's as if being in integrity is a place to get to, like a measure to meet which once met, will stay in place forever without requiring me to have any more of my attention on it. I had being authentic like that too. My being authentic goeswith  (as Alan Watts may have said) a certain veil which covers the true nature of being authentic. It's really the same veil which covers the true nature of being in integrity: that I, with enough practice and effort, can get them into a condition which requires me having no further attention on them. The idea that being in integrity and being authentic are ongoing  processes? It doesn't come easy for me. I'm thrown to want to get them over with  - like I'm done washing the dishes. I want both the process of being in integrity and the process of being authentic to be over, finished ie needing no more attention.

That's where he comes in (that's where he steps  in actually), not only brilliantly distinguishing that both being in integrity and being authentic aren't ends in and of themselves (around him, you actually rediscover them as ongoing, never-ending commitments), but he also vividly demonstrates what it looks like (and what it takes) to ongoingly generate being in integrity and being authentic as one's natural Self-expression.

His is a stunning  demonstration, a breath-taking tour de force. Whereas my natural tendency for being in integrity and being authentic, is to want to realize  them as goals, his is to climb  up to them, then continue climbing to points ever higher, never stopping at any point he reaches before climbing on, always in action.

In any community of leaders who tout and espouse being in integrity and being authentic as the rudiments of being a leader (it's more than that actually: it's in this  community of ours, we say that without being in integrity and without being authentic, you can forget about being a leader altogether), he's a pillar. Indeed, you could describe him as "the"  pillar. But I've been around him for quite a while now. And I'll bet you good money he would say that's not as useful as describing him as "a"  pillar. If you say it that way, there's an opening for everyone  in the community to be a pillar ie it becomes a possibility for everyone. And while it's true we're all pillars (or at least it's true we each have the potential  to be a pillar), it's crucially important for me  (as a matter of my integrity) to acknowledge him as source in the matter. That's why it works for me to call him "the"  pillar of the community, and to assign the "a"  pillar descriptor to what inexorably opens up for anyone who's around him.

From the Cambridge International Dictionary:

<quote>
Definition
pillar


noun
a strong column made of stone, metal, or wood that supports part of a building
<unquote>

Also from the Cambridge International Dictionary:

<quote>
Definition
community


noun
the people living in one particular area or people who are considered as a unit because of their common interests, social group, or nationality
<unquote>

Then there's one other aspect of this I've been scrutinizing ie one other component of his being a leader and exercising leadership effectively, and it's this: it's probably true to say (this is simple conjecture - I'm not asserting it as fact) that he  doesn't describe who he is for himself and what he does in the world, as being the pillar of the community. That particular label is just something I laid on him. Rather, being the pillar of the community simply falls out of what he does. So what, then, is it that he does exactly? Consider this: all he ever does is just be  ... him  ... Self. That's it. That's all. His being in integrity, being authentic, even demonstrating being a leader, falls out of him just being himSelf - without compromise, without ulterior motive, with no explicit reputation  to earn. As I said, I don't know if it's true, but it could  be that all he does is just be himSelf, and being oneself goeswith being in integrity and being authentic and being a leader and exercising leadership effectively.

Listen: if  that's true, then I would have opened up a crucial porthole into the engine-room with all its levers and dials and pedals needed to leverage the ideas he shares which are so valuable and so attractive and so powerful to so many. In this way, I assert he's not so much being a certain way for  people (that is to say he's not so much being in integrity and being authentic and being a leader and exercising leadership effectively for  people) but rather he's being that way with  people.

Now be careful: when I say "for  people" as distinct from "with  people" in this context, it's not a trivial distinction. And neither is it just semantics.

<aside>

Look: here's the thing about rushing to discredit this assertion (or any other transformational assertion, actually) with the off-handed "Oh, that's just semantics!":  we now know it's all  "just semantics" ie we now know all of it is constituted in language.

But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.

<un-aside>

Savor this. Discover it for yourself. The distinction is both subtle and profound. I'll bet good money that's  what's at the heart of his value and attraction and power.



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