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


Tipping Point

Exertec, Napa, California, USA

September 8, 2012

This essay, Tipping Point, is the third in the sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  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 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 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.
The eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  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.
I am indebted to Michael Jensen who contributed material for this conversation.


Disclosure:

This essay showcases answers to the sixth ongoing Questions For A Friend series generated as Wonderings About Nothing In Particular on September 23, 2011.

Around about that time, another extraordinary project started which required total immersion. In deference to that project, I postponed asking these questions.

Now that this project is complete, I've asked them. Here are their answers.


It's my privilege to share this exchange with you.

If you're creative (and really, aren't we all?), in particular if you're a gardener, you'll appreciate the Zen art of topiary. Topiary gardeners make simple shapes and frames from wire which are secured in flower pots or tubs in which ivy is planted, the resulting growth of which takes the shape of and then expands on the frame's basic form.

As I participated in this exchange, the value it produced became immediately and imminently clear to me. But it wasn't until later when I re-read the notes I took as I prepared for writing this essay, that I realized the exchange itself is just a frame. It's the experiences, the insights, and the inquiry this frame gives form to which are totally extraordinary.

That said, I'll now get myself out of the way (as much as that's humanly possible to do) so you can fully appreciate its extraordinariness for yourself.



The First Question



"Of the 170,000 Social Science Research Network authors, you are now the 17th most downloaded author over the past year, and the 62nd most downloaded author of all time. How did you re-invent yourself to be an extraordinary writer?"

<aside>

When I first presented this question on September 23, 2011, of the 170,000 Social Science Research Network authors, you were the 17th most downloaded author over the past year, and the 62nd most downloaded author of all time.

Today, exactly two weeks less than one year later, there are over 205,000 Social Science Research Network authors, of whom you are the 10th most downloaded author over the past year, and the 47th most downloaded author of all time.

<un-aside>

Given the context, given the laboratory  (if you will) in which you work, expanding and re-inventing yourself from transformational speaker, to embrace and become a widely read academic, scholarly writer seems to me to be quite remarkable. Actually it may work better to say "... re-inventing yourself from languager  (rather than from transformational speaker), to embrace and become a widely read academic, scholarly writer", "languager" being as distinct from "speaker" as "speaker" is from "talker". But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.

Whichever way it's articulated, this transition, your segue  to academic, scholarly writer is inarguably extraordinarily great. How do you do it?


<quote>

THERE IS NOTHING GREAT ABOUT MY WRITING. RATHER, THERE IS A LOT OF INTEREST IN WHAT I WRITE ABOUT. AND, I HAVE A BUILT IN AUDIENCE OF GRADUATES OF THE EST TRAINING AND THE FORUM.

<unquote>


In this, your unexpected answer, unlike a best-selling author on a publicity tour, you don't give yourself, the extraordinary academic, scholarly writer, the spotlight. Rather, in it you give me my interest in your ideas. Ergo it gives me my listening. Indeed it gives all  of us our listenings.

Very  great. Thank you.



The Second Question



"As your current work with Leadership is being recognized, accepted, and lauded by respected academic institutions, what's opening up now for the future which wasn't possible before?"

For hundreds of years, the procedure of transfusing blood was misunderstood, considered evil, and banned. Once the procedure was understood and mastered, it forever altered what's possible for medicine, to the point where today I can't envision the range of medical treatment options available without it.

In the same way, the ontology  ie the beingsphere  of your work, when understood and mastered, will alter what's possible for all human endeavors - academic, artistic, athletic, humanitarian, scientific, et al. And "understood" is, of course, not the best word to use in the context of your work in which (famously) understanding is the booby prize.

Werner Erhard with Michael Jensen
Even so, articulating a future in which the ontology of your work is "understood" and mastered (or, better, is lived  and mastered) is good enough for jazz. Has this happened yet?


<quote>

AT THIS POINT ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED IS THE BEGINNING OF SOME RECOGNITION IN ACADEMIA THAT MY IDEAS MIGHT BE INTERESTING. THERE IS STILL A GOOD WAY TO GO BEFORE THIS REACHES A TIPPING POINT WHERE THERE ARE POSSIBILITIES FOR ACCEPTANCE IN ACADEMIA OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE IDEAS. SO AT THIS POINT THERE IS NO FUTURE THAT WASN'T POSSIBLE BEFORE. BUT WE ARE WORKING ON IT. MIKE JENSEN HAS BEEN COURAGEOUS AND EXTRAORDINARILY GENEROUS IN HIS SUPPORT OF ME IN THE ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT.

<unquote>


In this regard, the tipping point for the scale is reached when the weight of interest in your ideas outweighs them being not known, and / or any ignorance and skepticism there may be about them.

I've made it my personal business and my personal commitment that this tipping point is reached conclusively and soon. I also want to say I know who you really are. Man! I really  know who you really are. So however this turns out, knowing you and what you make available in the world, and setting it up so I / we can participate with you in this grand adventure, is already the big win for me.

By the way, I'm speaking not only for myself but also for many, many people when I say this: simply put, Michael Jensen is a hero.



The Third Question



"What's the most welcome unexpected discovery to show up in your work recently?"

Your current work on integrity, leadership, mastery, and performance comes from a discontiguous ie from an unexpected  discovery, as all your work does - I've been around long enough to know. I also know that each iteration of your work, when practiced, generates a critical mass of experience which then in turn causes breakthroughs of its own, giving way to the next generation of that iteration, or even to an entirely new welcome expression of transformation altogether which, until then, wasn't even possible. What's the latest discovery you've made? That is to say, what's the last breakthrough you had?


<quote>

THE LAST BREAKTHROUGH WAS THE REALIZATION THAT PEOPLE GENERALLY ARE UNAWARE THAT THE COST OF THEIR OUT-OF-INTEGRITY BEHAVIOR IS A DIMINUTION OF THEMSELVES IE THAT THEIR OUT‑OF-INTEGRITY BEHAVIOR LEAVES THEM A SMALLER PERSON (LEAVES THEM WITH LESS POWER, AND THEREFORE WITH THE NEED FOR MORE FORCE). THE PROBLEM WITH THIS FACT IS THAT THIS DIMINUTION IS NOT IMMEDIATELY APPARENT, AND EVEN OVER TIME IT JUST LOOKS LIKE THE UPS AND DOWNS OF LIFE. CONSEQUENTLY WHAT MOST PEOPLE LOOK AT IS THE COST BENEFIT OF OUT‑OF‑INTEGRITY IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES THEY CONFRONT, AND THE OUT-OF-INTEGRITY BEHAVIOR OFTEN LOOKS LIKE IT IS IN THEIR SELF-INTEREST. FOR EXAMPLE, "ALL I HAVE TO DO IS LIE IN ORDER TO NOT GET IN TROUBLE, AND I DON'T SEE ANY PROBLEM FOR MYSELF IN LYING AS LONG AS I DON'T GET CAUGHT, AND BESIDES I TELL THE TRUTH MOST OF THE TIME SO THIS ONE TIME CAN'T HURT".

<unquote>


Once I get beyond the confounding recognition that you could be describing me personally here, and have read my mind  (so to speak), I then realize you're referring to everyone who's alive on our planet today, and all people who've gone before, and all people yet to come.

What you're speaking is nothing less (and nothing more) than the possibility of the transformation of Life itself.



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