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

Transforming Life Itself:

A Completely Started Inquiry

Exertec Health and Fitness Center, Napa, California, USA

March 17, 2014

"When you find yourself in the thick of it, help yourself to a bit of what is all around you, silly girl!" ... The Beatles, Martha My Dear

This essay, Transforming Life Itself: A Completely Started Inquiry, is the fourth in a group of fourteen written Out-Here:
  1. Out Here
  2. Out Here II: Out-Here
  3. Out-Here III
  4. Transforming Life Itself: A Completely Started Inquiry
  5. Being And Acting Out-Here: Presence Of Self Revisited
  6. Hiking In A Painting
  7. Out-Here IV: Clearing For Life
  8. Something Bigger Than Oneself II
  9. To A Fault
  10. Where The Action Is
  11. Step Outside Your Head: A Call To Action
  12. More Than Being With The World
  13. It's Never Over There
  14. Life Is What's Happening
so far, in that order.

It is also the ninth in an open group on Transformation:
  1. Transformation
  2. Nelson Mandela And Transformation
  3. The Way Of Transformation
  4. Transformation: The Life And Legacy Of Werner Erhard
  5. Moment Of Truth
  6. Transformation II
  7. No Line
  8. Transformation Is Timeless
  9. Transforming Life Itself: A Completely Started Inquiry
  10. Transformation Is Accountability Plus Committed Speaking
  11. Not One Size Fits All
  12. Transforming Disciplines
  13. What It Also Comes Down To
  14. Transforming The Untransformable
  15. Who You Might Be Really
so far, in that order.

It is also the fourth in an octology on Completion: It is also the sequel to The Next Best Thing.

I am indebted to Gopal Rao, a Landmark Forum Leader and the Operations Manager for Landmark in India, who makes the transformation of a billion  people his personal business, a big  player, who inspired this conversation.

This is my inquiry: it's "What does 'transforming Life itself'  imply?".

Before I zeroed in on it, I'd often heard the phrase "transforming Life itself" spoken in the conversation for transformation we all are. It lives, to be sure, out on the periphery  of my listening - which is to say it has a place in this conversation ie it belongs  in this conversation, it's often referred to in this conversation, it's acceptable and appropriate in the context of this conversation, yet when I tell the truth about it, I'm not completely facile with it.

How do I know this? Here's how: there are features / experiences / distinctions which are spoken in the conversation for transformation which I recognize from my own experience  even sooner than I can clearly articulate that to which they refer - which is to say, they jibe  with my experience  of transformation until I open my mouth  to say something intelligent about them ... and that's when I realize my mastery of them is inadequate. This is how it is for me, for example, with the phrase "transforming Life itself". What is it  to "transform Life itself" exactly?

It's a pretty ostentatious, outrageous claim I would say, the possibility of "transforming Life  itself" - don't you think? What does "transforming Life  itself" even mean?  OK, asking what something means, is the common English usage way to phrase the question. But "mean" / "meaning" isn't the most powerful language tool in the conversation for transformation toolbox. I'd rather ask "What does 'transforming Life itself' imply?".

That, in a nutshell, is how I began this inquiry. I'll complete it intentionally now (which is to say I'll completely start it  now) in the space of approximately one computer screen. "Wait!" you say, "An inquiry with the heft of 'What does transforming Life itself imply?' can't possibly be done justice to, in the space of approximately one computer screen!?".

Maybe you're right. Maybe it can't be - and maybe it can. Whichever it is, this is my challenge writing these Conversations For Transformation: saying something terse  and useful then getting out of the way so its impact is felt and its difference is made. Here goes:

Transformation, in enlivening the space of who we really are, lays waste to the tired old concept / the unexamined yet widely held cherished belief, that where I really am  is in here, and where Life really is, is out there. Listen: ... there's  ... nothing  ... in ... here  ... nothing at all except hamburger  and machinery. That's a hard sell, I know, given how much we've invested in this concept ie how strongly we hold the belief that we're in here and Life is out there. However this conversation isn't just any  conversation. This conversation is a conversation for transformation. In this  conversation, the starting point for my inquiry is: there's nothing in here except hamburger and machinery ... and  ... (be careful) there's nothing out there either  (again, it's a conversation for transformation so this too is a given).

These are my questions: "Where are you - I mean really  - if not 'in here'?" and "Where is Life - I mean really  - if not 'out there'?" and "What does 'transforming Life itself' imply? - I mean really.". My answer to the first question is "Out-here". My answer to the second question is "Out-here". My answer to the third question is "Being with Life out-here.".

Did you get all that? OK, let's review:

As an item of clarification, yes I do mean "out-here"  and not "out there"  (it's not a typo). "Out-here"  is a blunt implement of language, and it'll probably do more harm than good to explain it. However, you can try it on for size for yourself to see how it handles. This is how you do that: watch our experience as you say "Out-here", and then watch your experience as you say "Out there". As you try on each of these distinctions for size, notice what gets called up into play with each one. This way, you'll experience the distinction "out-here" (differentiated from the distinction "out there") as a way of being with Life itself, rather than merely getting some new understanding (which in this context would be almost next to useless) ie the booby prize.


The distinction "out there", on the other hand, rather than being a way of being with Life itself, simply reinforces and entrenches the concept / belief "in here"  with all its hamburger and machinery.

But that's another conversation for another occasion.


Here's the bottom line: it's when I'm being out-here with Life itself, that Life itself transforms. Being out-here with Life itself, is what transforms Life itself. What 'transforming Life itself' implies, is being out-here with Life itself.

Try it on for size: it works (don't say I didn't warn you).

This, my inquiry "What does 'transforming Life itself' imply?", is now complete (which is to say it's now completely started) - with my thanks to Werner.

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