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

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When You're Being Like Werner, You're Not Being Like Werner

Kapcsandy Family Winery, Yountville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

November 12, 2021



This essay, When You're Being Like Werner, You're Not Being Like Werner, is the companion piece to It is also the twentieth in the open second group of Experiences Of A Friend (click here for the complete first group of thirty five Experiences Of A Friend):
  1. Friend, Partner, And Ally
  2. Go To The Beach
  3. Proof Of Life
  4. Going Out Like A Supernova
  5. Relationships: They Start, They End
  6. Evidence Of Source
  7. On Knowing When To Be Ordinary
  8. Letting Be
  9. Transforming The Untransformable
  10. There's Always The Next Piece
  11. Plastic Chandelier II
  12. Yes You Really Are That Big
  13. A Way With Words
  14. The Quietest Mind
  15. Approaching Integrity
  16. Dancing With Life II
  17. Staying In Integrity
  18. Ordinary People Star, Extraordinary People Recreate Themselves
  19. Committed Existence
  20. When You're Being Like Werner, You're Not Being Like Werner
in that order.

I am indebted to Mark Spirtos who inspired this conversation.




For the most part, when you have a face-to-face experience of Werner for the first time, it's not like any other first-time face-to-face experience of any other person.

In any other first-time face-to-face experience of any other person, there's that sense of familiarity, that sense of ordinariness  even, the sense that although it's a new person, it's just another  new person - with their own unique traits, their own unique accent, their own unique story (yes, story), and their own unique characteristic ways of being. In other words, "new" isn't new. Look: couldn't that be said about all your first-time face-to-face experiences of all new people? In a real sense, aren't all first-time face-to-face experiences of other people ordinarily familiar, even though they're experiences of new people / even though they're first-time experiences?

A first-time face-to-face experience of Werner is never like that. It's the exception. It's never familiar. It's never ordinary. "There's something else  going on here ..." you may curiously surmise, something not familiar, something out of the ordinary, something which should  be familiar, something which should be ordinary (it is, after all, just another experience of just another person) and yet is neither. You may not be able to put your finger on exactly what it is - at least, not immediately. But whatever it is, stands out, begging the question "Who is  this guy?" or even "What  is this guy?" and more ... until the inevitable "Whatever he's got, I want it.".

People with whom he resonates, are thrown to surmise that way. The enrollment of his being  is an awesome power to confront - one about which you may ask yourself "Why didn't I know about this sooner?" and / or "What took me so long?" following which it's totally natural to be thrown (once you get the full promise of the possibility of it) to try out ways of being like Werner for yourself. The trouble is when you're being like Werner, you're not being like Werner. Allow me to explain.

The almost subliminal "Whatever he's got, I want it" and its corollary "If I could have whatever he has, then I'll be the way he be's"  inspires people who want so much to be the way Werner be's, that they'll go as far as duplicating his wardrobe. If it's not that then perhaps they'll copy his hairstyle. If it's not that then perhaps they'll try on his accent, vocal inflection, and timbre. If it's not that then perhaps they'll get a dog like Polo, his erstwhile Great Dane. "If I could have  some or all of the above that Werner has, then I'd be being the way Werner be's, the way I want to be.". This goes way beyond "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" (flattery's got nothing to do with it) and the inevitably futile "If I imitate you, I'll be being the way you be.".

The almost subliminal "Whatever he's got, I want it" and its corollary "If I could do whatever he does, then I'll be the way he be's" inspires people who want so much to be the way Werner be's, that they'll go as far as developing workshops which purport to deliver what Werner's deliver. They'll go as far as writing papers which purport to deliver what Werner's deliver. They'll maintain unwavering eye contact when they communicate - another way of doing what Werner does. "If I could do  some or all of the above that Werner does, then I'd be being the way Werner be's, the way I want to be.".

I'm sorry but being like Werner ie being the way Werner be's, calls for none of the above. It's when you're being the way you  be ie when you're being like yourself, that you're being like Werner be's. It's that simple: people who are being like Werner, are being like themselves. So when you're being like Werner, you're not being like Werner. When you're being like yourself (ie when you're fully being who you really  are, when you're being the way you be), you're being like Werner.



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