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




Worthy Of The Company

Alston Park, Napa Valley, California, USA

August 25, 2018



This essay, Worthy Of The Company, is the first in the thirteenth trilogy Questions For A Friend:
  1. Worthy Of The Company
  2. Creating Them For Myself
  3. Questions For A Friend XIII III (working title)
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 sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  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 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.
The ninth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Questions For A Friend
  2. Nothing Else I'd Rather Be Doing
  3. Free To Be And Free To Act
in that order.
The tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. Attracted To Dance
  2. I Told A Friend I Love You
  3. Terse Transformed Communication
in that order.
The eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. A Context Worth Playing In
  2. Tie The Brush To My Hand
  3. Unimaginably Terse
in that order.
The twelfth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:
  1. What Will I Do When You Die?
  2. Access
  3. The Newest Piece Of Work
in that order.



If you ever have the good fortune of being granted a private meeting with Werner, just he and you, one on one, make sure you prepare for it thoroughly. Take the time to compile lists of topics which are appropriate to speak ie lists of topics which are worthy of the company. I once made the mistake ie the cardinal error of going into such a meeting unprepared. Certainly my love and affinity were prepared and on high alert. My anticipation was off the charts. But believe me: that's not enough, given what's at stake. We were mere minutes into the meeting when I realized I was rambling ie I was simply filling the space with noise (this is not  a good time for chit-chat). I stood up, apologized for wasting his time, and left, got a cab to the airport, and flew three thousand miles home. I'll never make the same mistake again.

I'm preparing for my next exchange with Werner. It will be an exchange I'll flesh out as the thirteenth group of essays in the collection I call Questions For A Friend. I've scheduled two weeks, to come up with ten worthy questions. There are hundreds of questions I could ask, if not thousands. Typically I'll discard almost all of them. The discarded ones won't even end up on the so-called cutting-room  floor. They won't make it that far. There's a razor-sharp filter I impose on all questions I come up with (which is why it takes two weeks to ratify ten questions). That filter is: "Is this question worthy of the company?". By "company" I obviously mean Werner: is this question worthy of Werner? But listen: I also mean you. You're listening me creating the exchange. So: is this question worthy of you? Well ... is it?

That's the filter (more like the scalpel really) I deploy to distinguish whether a particular question is worth asking, or not. And if it is, it makes the cut (pun intended).

There's something else to get clear about if you ever have the good fortune of being granted an exchange like this: it's your already always  relationship with the answer  or answers. Let me say what I mean by that. Usually when we ask a question, we're naturally wanting an answer or answers. But in this  context, I've discovered I'm guaranteed to miss 90% of the available value, if I come into a meeting like this, to get the answers. At best, coming in to get the answers (like he has them ... and I don't) limits if not severely curtails what's possible in our relationship. At worst, it trivializes and insults who we both are. No, the purpose of questions, in this environment, is to allow a particular type of investigatory  conversation to ensue. And the most valuable result from such an investigation, is not the answers.

This isn't ordinary. It's extra-ordinary. It's not your "business as usual" relationship with someone you're asking questions of. In this situation, the answers (which ordinarily are the whole point) provide about 10% of the value. It's in fully grokking  Werner (as Robert Heinlein may have said) where the real value is to be found. It's in where he comes from as he speaks. It's in who he's being as he speaks. Ultimately it's in what's now newly possible in my life as a result of our conversations.

That's why thorough preparation is essential. This is not just another common or garden variety, vanilla "Q & A" session. This is a priceless opportunity to come away with something that prior to the meeting, was never going to happen by itself. That's why I commit to getting clear ahead of time, about whether anything I intend to ask, say, or raise, is worthy of the company, or not. Being thoroughly prepared is the paydirt. It's why I'm willing to invest two weeks coming up with ten questions.



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