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


Wonderings About Nothing In Particular

Somewhere At 34,000 Feet Over The United States Of America

September 23, 2011



This essay, Wonderings About Nothing In Particular, is the second in the sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. What Would I Ask You If I Could Ask You Anything?
  2. Wonderings About Nothing In Particular
  3. Tipping Point
in that order.
The first trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Prelude
  2. Ask Me Anything
  3. Coming Around Again
in that order.
The second trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Familiar Unfamiliar Territory
  2. Interview
  3. Straight Talk
in that order.
The third trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Dancing With My Mouth
  2. Cave Paintings
  3. Velvet Tsunami
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Creating Creating
  2. Tell Me Something About Nothing
  3. Lucid Disclosures
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Closer And Closer
  2. Tête À Tête
  3. Dancing With Life
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Beyond Breathing Underwater
  2. Bold Faced Truth
  3. What You Create For Yourself About Me
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Once In A Lifetime
  2. Fireside Chat
  3. Whole And Complete
in that order.



In a conversation with anyone but you, asking questions elicits answers. "Well?" you may say, "What's your point, Laurence? Isn't that what asking questions does?". Yes. That's exactly what asking questions does. And in a conversation with anyone but you, it's all  asking questions does.

In a conversation with you, asking questions elicits answers ... and  ... it's an access to nothing. That's not nothing as a something. That's nothing as the experience  of nothing you are - which is to say the experience of fullness you are, the experience of wholeness you are, the experience of completion you are.

Here are ten things I've been wondering about which I've written down to ask you. I'm interested in your answers. But in particular  I'm interested in the access to nothing you are. Said another way, I'm wondering about nothing in particular.



Ten Questions Asked For Asking's Sake



 1)  My already always listening for you is you're a speaker, even though that doesn't even come close to saying who you really are for people. You're not so much someone who speaks about  things, as you're someone who speaks things into existence  - transformation, possibility, and leadership, to name but a few.

The skill of the speaker in speaking and listening, and the skill of the writer in writing and reading, while related, are worlds apart. Yet you've embraced the latter with extraordinary success. I appreciate there's a connection (in a sense) between the one skill and the other. Nonetheless I wonder what it required from you to make the connection and be successful with both.

First question:

"Of the 170,000 Social Science Research Network authors, you are now the 17th most downloaded author over the past year, and the 62nd most downloaded author of all time. How did you re-invent yourself to be an extraordinary writer?"



 2)  Coming from a non-academic background as you have, yours is a very impressive feat to have won the ears of so many respected academic institutions. You've taken the low road  to academic respectability rather than the high road. Regardless of how you got there, you're there.

This new respectability in and of itself has the leverage to open ever newer doors which have been closed to your work, doors to academic institutions which haven't really listened  your work - that is, which haven't really listened your work until now.

Second question:

"As your current work with Leadership is being recognized, accepted, and lauded by respected academic institutions, what's opening up now for the future which wasn't possible before?"



 3)  In pioneering new territory, in driving through whatever we're up against, there are those breakthrough discoveries  which come on as if all by themselves. They're unexpected. They're discontiguous. Without them, progress is slow going. It would be great if they could be planned and built in to the scheme of things. But they aren't predictable. Mostly they seem to happen as a function of us powerfully pushing past what stops us, and as a function of us fearlessly and unflinchingly  giving up that which holds us back.

Third question:

"What's the most welcome unexpected discovery to show up in your work recently?"



 4)  What is transformation? This isn't a new question. However I'm asking  it newly. And I already have an answer - which is to say I have an already  answer. I'll listen your answer newly. What interests me is how you've fine tuned the distinction "transformation"  since you first spoke it in March 1971.

Fourth question:

"Since March 1971 you've become increasingly articulate saying what transformation is. If someone asked you today to distinguish "transformation", what would you say?"



 5)  Speaking about transformation, I've been wondering about its origin. I've been wondering where transformation comes from.

I keep bumping into a kind of "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?"  conundrum. I have it that you invented transformation. I also have it that transformation comes with the being of human being. And then I also have it that you invented that "transformation comes with the being of human being".

Fifth question:

"Now that it's here, transformation seems obvious. But did it come with the being of human being, or did you make it up?"



 6)  Memory, and comparing things to the way they were, and even photographs  are deadly distractions. In one way or another, for better or for worse, all three keep us stuck in the past. It's very human  to be stuck in the past. It's just as human to strive to extricate ourselves from being stuck in the past, the latter of which wasn't powerfully available until the advent of your work.

Even though it's now a matter of the past, given your current commitments with academia and business, you're less available publicly now than you once were.

And the truth is I miss you being around. I really miss you. No, that's not it: the truth is countless hundreds and hundreds of thousands and thousands of people  miss you being around.

Sixth question:

"I wish you were more accessible in person, leading open public seminars, speaking transformation, and just being You with people everywhere. I miss you being around. I miss being around you. We miss being around you. Do you miss us?"



 7)  We've all got our heroes: people we admire, people who inspire us, people we want to be like, people we want to be. You're a hero to many people. You're a hero to me. And what I've gotten from you is I want to authentically be like my Self  as much as if not more than I want to be like you.

Seventh question:

"If people are like you, then for me they're not really like you. If people are really like themselves, then for me they're like you. What is that magic quality you share with people which turns them on to their own inner strength to be like themselves?"



 8)  Although they sometimes seem to be at odds with one another, the scientific view of Life and the religious or biblical view of Life do have one thing in common: they both provide explanations  of how Life is and how Life came to be. It seems to me what's missing from both their explanations is the experience of Self. Both explain Life while tacitly overlooking ie while having nothing to say for the being, the Self, who's explaining.

Eighth question:

"In certain circles, there's a veritable abyss between the scientific view of Life and the religious or biblical view of Life. Does the presence of Self satisfactorily (in a pragmatic sense) bridge this abyss?"



 9)  Your productivity is astonishing. Looking through a catalog of the enterprises you've founded is a humbling experience. Looking through a catalog of the enterprises founded by others inspired by you  is so extensive it's almost impossible to grasp fully. As you source new endeavors, I speculate you're either continuously reinventing yourself, or you're grounded in a constant satisfied state, or you're drawing from a combination of both.

Ninth question:

"Do you continuously reinvent yourself, or are you in a place where you are satisfied with yourself the way you are?"



 10)  There are many ways to be in relationship. There are many ways to be  with people.

<aside>

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." ... Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet 43 

<un-aside>

It's been said of all the ways there are to be in relationship with you, of all the ways there are to be  with you, there's none which respects and honors the experience you provide, more than standing with  you. I can get that. I stand with you. I stand for  you. But it's more than that. For me, you're my friend. You're my best friend.

Tenth question:

"Who am I for you? Is it real for you when I say I stand with you? Is it true for you when I say I collaborate with you? Is it presumptuous of me to say you're my best friend?"



Apropos Of Nothing In Particular



The thing about nothing, the particular  thing about nothing, the thing about nothing in particular  is it's a domain in which all questions get answered.

That's not to say it's a domain in which questions aren't asked any more. Rather it's a domain of fullness, a domain of wholeness, a domain of completion in which questions inquiring into the possibility of fullness, in which questions inquiring into the possibility of wholeness, in which questions inquiring into the possibility of completion are asked in a context  of being full, are asked in a context  of being whole, are asked in a context  of being complete.

In this way, apropos of nothing in particular, these ten wonderings, these ten questions carry their own answers with them. They're not asked from need. They're not asked from being unclear. They're not asked from confusion. They're asked coming from  wonder. They're asked coming from  being full. They're asked coming from  being whole. They're asked coming from  being complete.

They're my relationship with you. Their asking is the expression of our friendship. I ask them to reach you. I ask them in celebration of the experience of nothing you are. I ask them in celebration of the experience of wonder you are. I ask them in celebration of the experience of fullness you are. I ask them in celebration of the experience of wholeness you are. I ask them in celebration of the experience of completion you are.

What comes from you being the way you are, is the experience of nothing we  are. What comes from you being the way you are, is the experience of wonder we  are. What comes from you being the way you are, is the experience of fullness we  are. What comes from you being the way you are, is the experience of wholeness we  are. What comes from you being the way you are, is the experience of completion we  are.

There's no greater gift a human being can give another. Nothing is greater. Really.



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