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


Tie The Brush To My Hand

Soda Canyon, Napa Valley, California, USA

March 19, 2017



"Miracles are to come. With you I leave a remembrance of miracles:they are by somebody who can love and who shall be continually reborn,a human being;somebody who said to those near him,when his fingers would not hold a brush 'tie it to my hand'--"
 ... e e cummings quoted by  
This essay, Tie The Brush To My Hand, is the second in the eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. A Context Worth Playing In
  2. Tie The Brush To My Hand
  3. Questions For A Friend XI III (working title)
in that order.
The first trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Prelude
  2. Ask Me Anything
  3. Coming Around Again
in that order.
The second trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Familiar Unfamiliar Territory
  2. Interview
  3. Straight Talk
in that order.
The third trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Dancing With My Mouth
  2. Cave Paintings
  3. Velvet Tsunami
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Creating Creating
  2. Tell Me Something About Nothing
  3. Lucid Disclosures
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Closer And Closer
  2. Tête À Tête
  3. Dancing With Life
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?
  2. Wonderings About Nothing In Particular
  3. Tipping Point
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Beyond Breathing Underwater
  2. Bold Faced Truth
  3. What You Create For Yourself About Me
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Once In A Lifetime
  2. Fireside Chat
  3. Whole And Complete
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Questions For A Friend
  2. Nothing Else I'd Rather Be Doing
  3. Free To Be And Free To Act
in that order.
The tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Attracted To Dance
  2. I Told A Friend I Love You
  3. Terse Transformed Communication
in that order.
I am indebted to Judy Golden and to Professor William Warren "Bill" Bartley III who contributed material for this conversation.



Usually when I ask questions, it's to get their answers. However in asking the following ten questions, my intention is only secondarily to get their answers. Primarily it's to get their answer-er.

In an ordinary situation, to get their answerer, almost any questions will do. But in this extraordinary situation, my intention is to ask only questions which are worthy of the privilege of the occasion and the opportunity, and which honor and respect the conversation in which they're exchanged.



Ten Questions Which Leave It All On The Court



 1)  Just when I think you can't be any clearer, you are. Just when I think you can't speak transformation any more explicitly, you do. Just when I think you can't imbue your work with any more raw power than it already has, I look again and I see you have.

First question:

"Speaking as a 39 year veteran of your work, it's clear to me that over the years, you've made its presentation simpler (never easier) and more direct as it accesses greater power in less time with fewer words. How do you do that? What's your linguistic plumb line (if you will) for becoming ever terser?"



 2)  After you experienced transformation for the first time, you said you saw you had to do three things: a) share what had happened to you with others; b) take responsibility for your own ego, so that your transformation would not turn into just another ego trip; and c) confront and clean up the things you had done from an untransformed space. I wonder if at that time you also saw how enduring your work would be (soon we'll be marking its fifth decade).

Second question:

"Your work today continues to demonstrate an ever-increasing momentum and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon, if ever. When you first got it on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1971, did you know then it would still be working as powerfully as it is for as long as it has, 46 years later?"



 3)  When I was younger and naïver  than I am today, I assessed every leader of every one of your senior programs in which I participated, making certain they met my  measures for leading your work. When I got clear every one of them did, I stopped assessing them. It had dawned on me if they weren't properly vetted by you, they wouldn't be leading your work in the first place.

Third question:

"The people you train to lead your most senior programs have to meet many rigorous measures over many stages. What is that one particular final measure they must meet, by which they give you the total certainty they're qualified to lead ie to re-create you?"



 4)  46 years ago there was no open listening for transformation worldwide. Earlier iterations of your work were confronting because (in my opinion) they had to break through not the language barrier  but rather the listening  barrier. As a result, there's now an accumulation of 46 years of open listening for transformation worldwide. So your work doesn't need to be as confrontational as it once did. In this space of open listening, something new is possible which earlier, wasn't.

Fourth question:

"Is there anything fundamental which differentiates what your work additionally makes available today, from what it made available when you began 46 years ago, especially given the now 46 years of experience building up to today?"



 5)  Some people characterize themselves as "seekers" ie as "searching for the answer". But there is no  "the answer" - as you've famously asserted. A powerful question isn't one which has the answer. A powerful question is one which has lots and lots and lots  of answers. With all that said, it seems likely the answer to the question "What makes a difference?" must be "Language.".

Fifth question:

"When I consider qualities which make a difference, intention and commitment etc come to mind. But can anything ever make any real, lasting difference if it's not spoken? So isn't language the paramount quality for making a difference?"



 6)  The heart wants what it wants (Emily Dickinson said that). When I love someone, I want to be around them. I want to be near them. I want to be close to them. Throughout my life I've indulged myself this way, even though it sets me up to lose when I can't be around them or near them or close to them. So I'm looking to see if I can recontextualize  (I love  that word) what's possible when I love someone, such that whether I'm around them or not, it's a win - for everyone.

Sixth question:

"A coach of mine I trust explicitly suggests I create a new connection with you: by being with you 'out of time and space'. Please speak to this. While I'm intrigued by its possibility, isn't there a risk it would leave me simply imagining things?"



 7)  Everyone sends you their love. And what everyone wants to know is what you're up to these days. The boldest of your current public profiles (at least, the boldest I'm aware of) is the Leadership Course. Given my guess (and projection) about the way you work, whatever you're working on now will emerge later and break barriers to transformation, as the sequel to the Leadership Course. Please say in which area(s) this will occur.

Seventh question:

"What projects are you working on now? What new work are you scheduled to develop in the future?"



 8)  The last time I asked you who you are for yourself, your answer was unchanged from the previous time I asked you the same question. On both occasions you said you are "a place where the truth can go to work". I could assume your answer will still be the same if I ask you the same question again for a third time. But it's also possible that in the interim (and especially given what you do) you've had a breakthrough and have re-generated who you are for yourself.

Eighth question:

"Six years ago when I was in Marrakech Morocco, you answered my question 'Who are you generating yourself to be for the future?' by including 'Make of myself a place where the truth can go to work.'. Is this who you're still generating yourself to be for the future? Or are you something new now?"



 9)  Since each of my three children graduated, the conversation for transformation (in one form or another) has been ongoing with us. We re-create the distinctions whenever it's pragmatic and useful to do so. And if they don't bring them to our conversations, then I do. That said, where the rubber really meets the road is in the way I be  with them. It's proved to make great things possible for us in our relationship. And the way I be with them is sourced by the way you be with me.

Ninth question:

"I have interactions with my children in difficult times when I'm at a total loss to know how to be with them. So I drop back, punt ... and be with them the way you be with me. It always works - brilliantly. What is it exactly about being present and simply listening that's so healing?"



 10)  You introduced me to e e cummings' poetry (I'm deeply grateful). One of what for me are his most compelling quotes, is one you've cited from his introduction to his classic compilation titled New Poems. The second sentence of the fifth paragraph culminates in the stunning "... a human being;somebody who said to those near him,when his fingers would not hold a brush 'tie it to my hand'--".

Tenth question:

"Have you accomplished what you set out to do? If not, what's left?"



Completion - Again And Again, Ongoingly



Please answer as few or as many of these questions as you want to answer. In fact, cherry-pick the ones which call you, and ignore the rest. I intentionally asked many questions to offer you freedom of choice in the matter of which ones you want to answer.

Out of your work, I've invented the possibility of living my life being whole and full and complete and satisfied regardless of any outcome(s). So I'm promising you the conversations generated by the questions I'm asking in this, the second essay in the eleventh Questions For A Friend trilogy, are guaranteed to unfold in a context of being already whole and full and complete and satisfied. The state of play with us will always stay the same: it's OK the way it is (and the way it isn't) and I love you.

There's just one last thing I'd like to add here (repeat, actually) and it's this: being in this conversation with you is a privilege. I respect you, and I thank you.



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© Laurence Platt - 2017 Permission