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

Transformed Conversations

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

April 17, 2020

"Man gave names to all the animals in the beginning, long time ago." ... Robert Allen Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan, Man Gave Names To All The Animals

This essay, Transformed Conversations, is the prequel to The Quietest Mind.

It follows from who we are, being constituted in language (which is a vintage Erhard  distinction by the way, not my original) that with the onset of transformation, there'll be an inexorable shift in the kinds of conversations we have. When I refer to a "... shift in the kinds of conversations we have ...", I'm not necessarily referring to a change in the content  of our conversations ie a change in what we talk about  (and there may be some of that too). Rather I'm referring to a shift in the context  we bring forth in which whatever  we talk about, gets talked about.

We live in interesting times. And although that may qualify as the understatement of the century, any times in which we live, are always  interesting, yes? The thing is transformation doesn't only happen in interesting times, or within any particular set of circumstances - in fact it doesn't come from anything that's happening in the world. When transformation happens, it happens out of  time - which means it happens not as a function of time (the notion that to become transformed "takes time" is patently misguided) but rather in a space of timelessness. Said another way, transformation doesn't come from circumstances. Rather it's the precursor to any and all circumstances. - which means it's prior to ie the forebearer of any and all circumstances. Transformation doesn't come from what's happening. It's not sourced there. Rather it allows  anything and everything that's happening (I'm deploying "allows" in the sense of "grants being to" not in the sense of "permits").

With transformation comes the possibility of transformed conversations  - no surprise really, given who we are (as Werner distinguishes) is constituted in language. When I inquire into what the characteristics of transformed conversations are (as distinct from ordinary conversations in which transformation isn't present as an enlivened context), I notice there are many, one of which stands out above all others. It's this:

Unlike ordinary conversations, transformed conversations don't so much leave people with new knowing, new understanding, and new comprehension of facts, figures, and data, as much as they leave people empowered in the face of whatever  there is to know, understand, comprehend, and manage. In transformed conversations, the power is in the speaking  rather than in the speaking about. And to participate in transformed conversations, we're called to bring to them a listening  that's an appropriate match for the speaking. So the power in transformed conversations is a function of both speaking and  listening. In transformed conversations, listening is a powerful act of recreating (in transformed conversations, "I listen you" is an intentional act ... rather than "I listen to  you" which is a passive, by default  act).


The difference between "I listen you" as an intentional act, and "I listen to  you" as a passive, by default act, is a distinction which has been exhaustively covered in various places elsewhere in this collection of essays.

Basically "I listen you" says "I'm intentionally recreating  you" (transformed conversations) whereas "I listen to  you" only says that the machinery of my ears, is working (ordinary conversations).

Werner also distinguishes a certain being present  in transformed conversations, epitomized by the latter of two possible relationships our speaking has with the world (when being present is not found in ordinary conversations, it's epitomized by the former of the two possible relationships our speaking has with the world):

1)  When the words I speak fit the world in which I already live (description, commentary, opinion, gossip  etc) it's a "word to world"  fit. When my speaking is a word to world to fit ie when my words fit the world in which I already live, then basically I'm a machine, untransformed, simply reacting to what's going on. Really.

2)  When a world shows up  to fit the words I speak (assertion, bringing forth, promising, committing, linguistic acts  like "I love you", "I declare ..." etc), it's a "a world to word"  fit. When my speaking is a world to word fit ie when a world shows up to fit my words, then I'm source ie then I'm god in (responsible for) my universe.


Legend has it that the Vedic pundits of India of five thousand years ago noted when the naming word for an object was uttered in the Sanskrit  language by a saint, that object would manifest and materialize out of nothing.

It's a legend ... which means it may not be true, and it may be.


My speaking in transformed conversations has got less to do with describing  my world, as it has with sharing  my world as a connection to being with you in yours.

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