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 Mastery Course II:

We've Got It All On Tape

East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, London, England

November 16, 2019

This essay, The Mastery Course II: We've Got It All On Tape, is the second in the trilogy The Mastery Course:
  1. The Mastery Course: Holding Myself Out Into The Nothing
  2. The Mastery Course II: We've Got It All On Tape
  3. The Mastery Course III: You Have To Discover It For Yourself
in that order.

The trilogy The Mastery Course is the sequel to
  1. Further Down The Road
  2. Gratitude III
in that order.

It is also the prequel to I Think, Therefore I Am?

Foreword To The Mastery Course Trilogy:

The three essays comprising this trilogy are not about  the Mastery Course per se. Neither do they intend to recreate the rich body of distinctions and the breakthrough in transformation the Mastery Course unerringly, powerfully, rigorously, inexorably  delivers. To get those, register yourself in the next Mastery Course. There's no investment more worthwhile. Really.

Rather, this trilogy comes from my experience with Werner and Dr Joseph DiMaggio and over five hundred other participants, staff, and people who assist, in the three-day Mastery Course in London in November of 2019.

Werner's leading this three-day course whose over five hundred participants who've traveled here for a total of hundreds of thousands of miles from countries around the world to be here with him, surround me. It's not just any  course he's leading with over five hundred participants. He's leading the Mastery  Course with over five hundred participants. More than that, he's already promised each of the over five hundred of us we'll leave this course having discovered for ourselves what it takes to be a master of life. Look: if that doesn't re-write all the measures in the recordbooks for you of what an extraordinary promise is, wait a bit: he's only getting started.

It suddenly dawns on me the way in which what Werner does in this milieu, is different than the way it's done in, say, a megachurch. No, I'm not referring to (nor am I assigning points for) the number of participants in each. Yes it's true megachurches routinely have audiences of many thousands of people. But even with that said, remember Werner has delivered this ie has delivered at least an earlier iteration of this, to an ecstatic standing-room-only crowd at the major league Oakland Coliseum stadium with a capacity of sixty thousand people in the San Francisco Bay Area, and everyone got it there too ie it worked equally well there too (just for the record).

The difference lies largely with the method with which the material is presented, and with the skill required to present it. In a megachurch the leader simply speaks to the audience who listens. Theirs is an already shared belief system. There's hardly any one-on-one interaction or exchange during the presentation. The leader doesn't offer it. The participants don't expect it. The presentation isn't based on the Socratic method of questioning / inquiry. It's based on one person doing all the talking and everyone else doing all the listening. Wait: there's nothing wrong with that. That's the genre. It's just what it is (and just what it isn't). Yet with that said, leading a course that deploys intimate interactions as its method of conveyance, in front of a monster crowd deploying the Socratic method of questioning / inquiry, requires a very specific skillset, an ability, a faculty, and a mastery which goes beyond that which it takes to deliver a homily to which people just listen, regardless of crowd size.

In the Socratic method, the leader facilitates exchanges with the participants one-on-one, but not simply to impart new material. In the Socratic method, that would be way too pedestrian. Rather the idea is for the participants to discover the nuances of the material for themselves so that they originate it for themselves, and claim it. In the megachurch model, the leader delivers the material for the participants who in turn get whatever they get of the material from the leader. Intimate one-on-one exchanges aren't built in to its design. Perhaps that's why, drawing from the Socratic tradition, Werner's milieu isn't characterized as a church but rather as a forum.

I've had my eyes and ears on Werner for forty one years. When I think he's peaked mastering his dazzling, self-taught unique skillset, he rocks my world by delivering yet another  level of power, insight, brilliance, and effectiveness in getting people to discover the fulcrum of mastery for themselves (and primarily they do  discover it for themselves - they only secondarily get it from what he says about it) with effortlessness and ease. His is no homily. It's an unerringly certain, confident creation of a complex cognitive space in which language has the power to alter (indeed to generate) reality. This isn't your typical beer-after-the-ballgame banter. It's an intricate, highly sophisticated, interactive participatory theatre  if you will, for which there are no how-to  books, and for which the manuals are yet still in the process of being compiled. Where did he get the gift? With his verve, Hollywood handsomeness, and disarmingly genuine, authentic humanity and humility, the mixture disconcerts me.

To be honest, I'd rather watch Werner do this every day on the morning news than watch all those rogues currently encamped there. I'm glad we've got it all on tape.

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