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

Using Laurence Platt

Kansas City, Missouri, USA

October 16, 2011

"It is ultimate ego to suppose that you can function without ego. I saw that I could let my ego be, and that when I did so, it would let me be. It would no longer impede me. Instead of my ego's running the show, I could run the show. It was a matter of my being willing to be at cause with my own ego, to hold it as something that belonged to me - not to resist or try to get rid of it, not to try to prove that I didn't have one, nor fall into it, submit to it, or let it run me. Now this was a matter, in part, of taking responsibility for Jack Rosenberg and for Werner Erhard. It was all over for Werner Erhard. And yet now, for the first time, I could use that particular personality, Werner Erhard, as a means of expression, as a way to express the Self."
sharing with Professor William Warren "Bill" Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, in the account titled "Three Tasks" in chapter nine called "True Identity" in part III, "Transformation", of "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est"
This essay, Using Laurence Platt, is the companion piece to
  1. Used By The Truth
  2. Throwaway
  3. It's All Over For Laurence Platt
  4. Scottie Dog
  5. Essays - Nineteen Years Later: On Being Used By Something Bigger Than Myself
in that order.

It was written at the same time as Integrity For Integrity's Sake.

Some time around now (it may actually have been closer to the last weekend of August 1978 but nonetheless some time around now)  the context for my life shifted.

Until now, the context for my life could have been called "getting it all together". I was getting my career together, and I was being diligent about it. I was learning the innermost abstracts of mainframe computer operating systems. I was convinced Life required that I work at a job or a business, advance in it, become successful at it, and retire comfortably as a result of it. I was also getting (for want of a better word) my head  together. There was a secret  to Life - of this I was certain. I didn't know what it was (yet) - but I was on the path  to finding out. I knew I would find it out ... sooner or later. I was getting my emotions  together. I was getting my attitude  together. I was getting my social skills and graces together - which is to say I was getting my act  together. If there was anything  about Laurence Platt which I could have gotten more together than it already wasn't (or appeared not to be), I was getting it together. Nothing was off the table.

So the context for my life called "getting it all together" quite firmly pre-supposed Life (and my life in particular) wasn't  already together, and I was somehow going to figure out how to get it all together. Not only that, but it's how I had it for everyone else too: everyone else was also figuring out how to get it all together. Figuring out how to get it all together, in the company of people who I had it were also figuring out how to get it all together, was a damper on my relationships - something I didn't fully realize at the time.

Also until now, the context for my life could have been called "making it". I wasn't exactly sure how  to make it. But one thing was  for sure: I would find out what it takes to make it, and then  I would make it ... whatever making it meant. I had vague notions of making it meaning having recognition, of making it meaning being successful (being financially  successful in particular), of making it meaning handling myself well in public - and in a way that was admired. I was also certain making it meant being thought of as a good guy  by all.

But to tell you the truth, I didn't really know  what making it was or what making it means. Whenever I talked about making it, my words rang in my ears with an inauthentic hollowness  because I was talking about that which I really knew nothing about. Maybe an indication that you've made it is having finally figured out what "making it" means  ... or so I theorized. But honestly? I didn't know. Laurence Platt didn't know. But oh boy!  was he ever  determined to find out ...

To make a long story short, to cut to the chase  as we say, here's what happened - eventually:

Laurence Platt, which is to say the identity "Laurence Platt"  never got it all together. The identity "Laurence Platt" never made it. The identity "Laurence Platt", it turns out, was kind of like a work in progress  for me which I ran with for a while - trying to get it together, trying to change it, trying to improve it (I suppose you could say I was tweaking  it) as I tried to make it - and then abandoned entirely when I realized it's already together  (so there's nothing about it which needs to be gotten together) and has already made it  by virtue of being born (so there's nothing it needs to make or prove).

Besides which (and this discovery was sudden and enlightening for me), if Laurence Platt is in the process of trying to get it all together, if Laurence Platt is in the process of trying to make it, then what (or more pertinently, who)  exactly is it which is getting Laurence Platt to try to get it all together? And what (or more pertinently, who)  exactly is it which is making Laurence Platt try to make it?

It was a pivotal, extraordinary "Eureka!"  moment which left me both agape and aghast. Not only is Laurence Platt who is busy getting it all together already together, not only has Laurence Platt who is trying to make it already made it, but Laurence Platt who is already together and who has already made it isn't who I really am anyway!

Said another way, Laurence Platt isn't really Laurence Platt  ... and the mind boggles and the mind boggles and the mind keeps on boggling, unable and even unwilling  to confront what it's just unequivocally, undeniably, in a flash of total crystal clarity, seen.

Laurence Platt who is getting it all together ie Laurence Platt who is already  together ie Laurence Platt who is trying to make it ie Laurence Platt who has already  made it, is an impostor. Laurence Platt is just an identity (by the way, that's why I wear a nametag). Laurence Platt is just a role. Laurence Platt is just an act. Laurence Platt just a story, a tragedy or a comedy or a drama or a mystery or a romance or a novel or simply pulp fiction  depending on how I sometimes unknowingly and sometimes knowingly write it or play it or personify it or tell it.

So now I, for the first time, am really using  Laurence Platt, now I'm really using that particular identity, now I'm really using that particular role, now I'm really using that particular act, now I'm really using that particular story to demonstrate and to share the context for my life - indeed, the context for Life itself.

It's a context which is truly, deeply, and authentically touching, moving, and inspiring, just as it's both magnificent and profound. It's the context of Self. I am this context. I am Self. I'm using Laurence Platt as a means to demonstrate and to express and to communicate and to share this context of Self.

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