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 Magnificent Seven

Silverado Trail, Napa Valley, California, USA

August 12, 2011

This essay, The Magnificent Seven, is the companion piece to On Knowing When To Be Ordinary.

It is also the eighth in a group of twelve embodying ideas from Movies: It was conceived at the same time as When You've Got Nothing, Give It Away.

I am indebted to Dusan Djukich who inspired this conversation.

Directed by John Sturges - © United Artists - 1960
The Magnificent Seven - The Movie
Deploying an analogy to describe transformation is like saying a hole in the sand looks like the stick you made the hole in the sand with. A hole in the sand and a stick are worlds apart. Putting transformation into words is tantamount to describing the stick by telling you about the hole in the sand the stick made (as Werner Erhard may have said). In fact, describing transformation with or without  deploying an analogy is like saying the hole in the sand looks like the stick you made the hole in the sand with.

It doesn't. They're worlds apart.

That said, what I'm attempting here in this conversation is describing transformation. What I'm attempting is describing a stick by telling you about holes in the sand made by the stick. In this conversation, the holes in the sand are the top seven results of Werner's work ie the magnificent seven  results of Werner's work as shared by people over the last forty years who have participated in Werner's work. My intention in telling you about holes in the sand made by a stick is you'll get a sense of what the stick looks like ie you'll get a sense of what transformation is like.

This approach is one of the best approaches I know for sharing transformation. Transformation is only valid  when it produces results. It's only useful when it's shared. This implies if you're not producing transformed results in Life, then you're not transformed ... or, as Werner points out with bang on the money  accuracy, "If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place.".

Now, it could be said selecting only  seven results of transformation to share, implies a dearth of results, a shortage of benefits. It could even be said this implies the experience of transformation isn't the powerful, Life shifting experience graduates say it is. Yes, both of these could  be said. But if you listen them that way, you'll miss the value of what I'm sharing. Instead, listen for the depth at which each of these magnificent seven results impact people. When you listen them this way, you'll get a sense of how lives are completely transformed by them.

The magnificent seven are:


Courage isn't overcoming fear. It's distinguishing the machinery  of fear ie it's noticing fear, and acting anyway. The opportunity created by participants in Werner's work to distinguish the machinery of fear (to distinguish any  human machinery, actually) provides an access to acting even when you're afraid to act. This is courage. Being afraid and acting anyway is courage. Said another way, courage is knowing who you are in the face of fear. It's choosing to be who you are in the face of fear and acting anyway, regardless of fear, unstopped by fear.

It's not easy walking on slippery ice. It's not easy crossing a stream on wobbly stepping stones. Similarly it's not easy being confident without a firm foundation of Self on which to be grounded. Having an in depth experience of Self, having an in depth experience of who you really are (and being able to tell the difference between who you think  you are and who you really  are), grokking  the enormity of it (as Robert Heinlein may have said), and realizing it's available 24 / 7 / 365, is the bedrock of confidence. Confidence isn't a matter of psyching yourself up  for living. Confidence is a function of the certainty which comes from being who you really  are. Participants in Werner's work have an opportunity to realize this, and to step into this way of being.

Freedom is freedom to create. Freedom is freedom to choose. Freedom is freedom to invent possibility. Freedom ie real  freedom is a function of being unfettered by who I think I am and it's self-imposed  significance. It's the significance I impose on Life which in turn imposes on my freedom. Once I'm clear I'm the source of the significance in my life, then I'm free.


Notice in this case the "significance  in my life" equates to the "meaning  in my life". One of the last vestiges of an untransformed life, one of the last hold outs  to be disempowered before Life transforms is ascribing significance and meaning to Life itself. Life itself has no intrinsic significance and meaning other than that which you and I ascribe to it.

But that's the topic of another conversation for another occasion.


I'm free when I grant space to the significance I ascribe to Life. Why? Freedom isn't a function of eliminating  ascribing significance to Life: given our nature as significance making machines, that's not an option. Instead, I can give space to the significance I ascribe to Life, to be what it is. Therein lies my freedom to be and to express my Self.

It's comes as no surprise to me when people who have participated in Werner's work over the last forty years report freedom to be one of its magnificent seven results.

With a subtlety so sublime it can be completely missed at first, Werner's work paves the way for enduring peace of mind not by taming the mind, not by silencing the mind, not by reprogramming the mind, and not by finding ways to avoid its tyranny. The secret to peace of mind is simply to distinguish the mind, then let it be without interfering with it, without getting your fingers in the machinery. Man! Do we have a temptation to mess with the machinery, or what?!

Once distinguished and allowed to be  (as opposed to being fixed, trained, treated, deprogrammed etc), it still chatters. But it isn't as distracting any more, given the emergence of the authentic Self. The radio playing in the background isn't as distracting any more, now that Life itself has spontaneously come forth and presenced itself and is extraordinarily  attractive.

To be able to say "I Love You" when I do, is an awesome  freedom. "I Love You" is a statement of truth and acknowledgment. In it's pure expression it's not an indication of dependence. To be able "to allow people to be the way they are and the way they aren't, so they can change if they want to - and they don't have  to" is what love really is. To be able to fully express love this way as an acknowledgement of peoples' beings is one of the most remarkable and heartfelt results Werner's work produces for people - regardless of age, sex, culture, country, creed, and social standing.

For me, just this one result is worth ten times the registration fee alone. How often have you made a decision, and then immediately doubted it was a good decision? How often have you wanted to be able to make a decision with no doubt  it's a good decision? When realized, this one result returns the registration fee tenfold, a hundredfold, and more. It's this particular result Werner's work produces for people (or if you prefer, you could say it's this particular result people produce for themselves  in Werner's work) which leaves people clear to choose freely and confidently without doubting themselves later. You're clear about who you are in the matter of what you decide. There's no doubt.

As trite as it may sound (the greatest truths for human beings always appear trite at first ... then later they appear profound after their enormity is fully grasped), things are only and always the way they are and the way they aren't. Aren't they? Tell the truth about it. A thing is never the way it isn't. Nothing is ever the way it isn't. Things are only the way they are and the way they aren't. Yes?

Accepting things the way they are and the way they aren't (which is the only way things ever are anyway) is the access to happiness. Acceptance is a created  state. It's an act of will. It's an act of intention. This is key in realizing happiness itself is a created state. It's an act of will. It's an act of intention.

People who participate in Werner's work have the real opportunity to test this idea and try it on for size. There's an occasion to claim back the source of happiness from haphazardly balanced hormones, from the good  side of bipolar disorder, and from the blind luck  of getting out of bed on the right side  in the morning. True, authentic, thrilling, real, alive  happiness is way simpler than that. It's far more deliberate than that.

I have an idea that all human beings already know  what transformation is. Even though transformation doesn't yet live in all our conversations, I assert we already know it well enough in our genes  (if you will) so that when it shows up, it's never a surprise, it's never strange to us. The magnificent seven results of transformation discussed in this essay should further clarify this. Each one of these results is, I assert, a result all human beings can relate to, regardless of the conditions and circumstances we live in. In these results transformation can be seen. It's looking at these holes in the sand which gives us an idea what the stick with which you make these holes in the sand, looks like.

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