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

Where You Want To Be

Coombsville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

April 22, 2013

Most of the material for this essay, Where You Want To Be, was derived during conversations with Werner Erhard.

While the format, style, structure, embellishment, and execution of the finished work are all my own creation, the base ideas presented in it are entirely originated, formulated, articulated, and owned by Werner.

This essay was written at the same time as

There are some questions which call forth answers which are very different and which will fluctuate wildly the more people you ask. For example "How would your perfect day unfold?". In all likelihood there's a different answer for every human being on the planet. Then there are other questions which may sound  like they'll evoke very different, wildly fluctuating answers, but which actually evoke a very similar answer - no matter how many people you ask.

Consider the question "Where do you want to be?".

If you already have an answer, if an answer has already sprung to mind, chances are you've taken the question too lightly, too superficially. I'm not asking where you want to be  like on Bora Bora exploring azure waters and vivid sunsets. I'm not asking where you want to be, like a financial  place where you can stop working and retire. If either of these (or some other answer like them) is it  for you, then you haven't definitively answered my question.

Look: if you're already on Bora Bora, "Where do you want to be?" points to the next  place you want to be. Paul Gaugin's Tahiti perhaps? If you're already monetarily stable and retired, "Where do you want to be?" points to the next financial  place you want to be. Investing successfully, providing each of your grandchildren with a college fund?

No, the question isn't where do you want to be next?  It's where do you really  want to be?  See, it's an ontological  question. It's neither a geographical question nor a financial one.

The answer I'm proposing is you want to be  (ontologically) whole and complete, fulfilled and satisfied, at peace with yourself, creatively inspired by Life, and comfortable in your own skin  (as Sean Connery may have said) wherever you are  (geographically).


Yes I am  proposing what your  answer really is - that is to say I'm really proposing what your profoundest  answer would be.

Man!  That's ego-mania for you: assuming to speak for you ...


This  (or something very similar to it) I say is your underlying answer to the question "Where do you want to be?". This is where you want to be - like a foundation for the rest of your life, like a platform of stability, security, and generosity from which to interact with your life, from which to interact with the people in your life and with the world, and from which to interact with Life itself.

The access to being here ie the access to being where you want to be (in this way) is transformation. And the instruments, the blunt implements  (if you will) for transforming life, the scalpels, the chisels, the mallets  with which to carve this space out of the marble so to speak, are accessible to everyone all the time under any circumstances. They're words. That's all. Yes words. The toolset of language. But there's one proviso though if words through language are going to carve out the space where you want to be, and it's this: they have to tell the truth - the unflinching, courageous, unwavering truth.

Now, whenever I hear anyone (including myself ie especially  myself) talk about "the truth", I want to shout out "And exactly whose  truth are we talking about?". That's not to deride, undermine, or negate what's being said. It is, however, a valid question. Listen: there's nothing grandiose, arrogant, or righteous about telling the truth  in the way I'm talking here about telling the truth, especially since I'm not talking about echoing or rewriting those bibles or writing a new religion.

The truth I'm talking about telling, is just the plain, simple truth. And telling the plain, simple truth is really just a matter of no longer lying to yourself. And it's no longer lying to yourself about where you've been lying to yourself. It means telling the truth about where you've been lying. This is the Jiminy Cricket  to your Pinocchio. It's your father and / or your mother to your child - that is to say, to your inner  child (not a great distinction actually, but it's good enough for jazz). It's whichever mentor(s)  taught it to you way back when.

There's one more piece to this, and here it is: "where you want to be"  doesn't translate to "where you want to stay". It translates to "where you want to come from". The difference is both subtle and profound. Transformation, unexpressed, unshared, dies quickly on the vine.


The word "transformation", if not deployed to designate the source from which new possibilities  spring, isn't really designating transformation at all. Then it's just designating feel-good optimistic change  - which not only clouds real transformation thereby killing off the possibility of possibility itself, but also naïvely, mischievously jargonizes  the word "transformation", effectively making authentic transformation unavailable.

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