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

You Say Stop:

About Resisting Transformation

Santa Barbara, California, USA

August 27, 2011

"You say stop, and I say go, go, GO!" ... The Beatles, Hello Goodbye

This essay, You Say Stop: About Resisting Transformation, is the companion piece to Orchid Leaves.

It is also the sixth in a group of twenty written in Santa Barbara:
  1. Santa Barbara
  2. Unbelievable
  3. Give Me Money (That's What I Want?)
  4. True Gold
  5. Getting Into Your World
  6. You Say Stop: About Resisting Transformation
  7. The Cavalry's Not Coming
  8. On This Team Everyone's The Leader
  9. Fireside Chat
  10. The Next Best Thing
  11. Full Circle, Full Spiral
  12. Truth, And What's True
  13. Snowflakes In A Furnace
  14. Something In The Air
  15. Vocal Prowess
  16. Flames In My Rearview Mirror
  17. Back Nine
  18. Chess II
  19. But And And II
  20. My Baby Girl, Now A Bride
in that order.

I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt and to my son Christian Laurence Platt and to Jubal Raffety who inspired this conversation.

If you speak one on one, face to face  with each of the millions and millions and millions of people who've participated in Werner's work in all its various iterations, and ask them what they get from it, you'd get millions and millions and millions of individual responses. Surveys and research show, however, there's one response people give over and over and over again. It's that participating in Werner's work is the single most powerful, the single most valuable, the single most transformational  experience of their lives. This includes people who weren't expecting anything when they registered. It also includes people who were outright skeptics when they registered - and who registered anyway.

Many graduates of Werner's work didn't register for years after first hearing about it. If you speak one on one, face to face with them and ask them why they waited so long, why they didn't register sooner than they did, I speculate they'd say, in one form or another, they resisted  it - which is to say they resisted whatever they considered it to be.


Without experiencing something directly, you're not qualified to say what it is. This isn't rocket science. Without experiencing something directly, anything you say about it doesn't reflect what it really is. Rather, anything you say about it simply reflects whatever you consider it to be.

Graduates who resisted what they considered Werner's work to be at first, paradoxically discover it's Werner's work which differentiates experiencing something directly, from what we consider it to be.


Furthermore many graduates, now knowing what's available, now knowing what's possible, will also say they only wish they'd registered sooner.

When I look at what becomes possible with transformation which simply wasn't possible before, it's hard to imagine anyone  would resist it. Yet we do. The intentionality  of resisting transformation fascinates me. That said, I say when we resist transformation, especially when we resist transformation in speaking transformation in Conversations For Transformation, it only seems  intentional. We're reasonable about it, we're clever about it, we're real know-it-alls  about it, all of which lends credence to our seeming intentionality resisting it. But underneath it all, I assert resisting transformation is automatic. It's just machinery.


Be careful. Be very  careful. The only basis on which I (or anyone else, for that matter) can authentically say resisting transformation is automatic, is by looking at my own experience of how I am when I resist transformation. There's no finger pointing  here. It took me a while before I could unflinchingly tell the difference between what looks like  my intentional resistance to transformation (ie as if  I have a choice in the matter), and what's really just automaticity. The machine I am, the machine we are, is thrown  to resist transformation. That's its job.


Even though it's clear to me I resist transformation, even though it's clear to me we  resist transformation, it doesn't work to point a finger and say "You're  resisting transformation!" That's not a listen-able communication. It's not getable. Enrollment doesn't work this way. The only person to whom I can authentically point a finger at and say "You're resisting transformation!" is myself. So when I enumerate these scenarios in which I notice we resist transformation, they're only useful in two ways:

1)  To recognize our automatic resistance to transformation, and thereby allow for this resistance and create space for it, in others and in ourselves, without blame or judgement.


Ordinarily we deal  with our resistance and pay scant attention to who we really are. Instead, deal with who we really are and pay scant attention to our resistance (as Werner Erhard may have said).


2)  To recognize some of the ways you and I resist transformation automatically - so they become apparent, and a choice to freely get off it  emerges.

Resisting transformation occurs all the time. You wouldn't be human if you didn't resist transformation now and again - in fact it's more now  than again, yes? Resisting transformation is the nature of the machine you and I are. Just remember, "resisting transformation" as a distinction  isn't useful if you say it's over there  with the other guy. That's just more judgement, more inauthenticity. But it's really  powerful when we recognize it over here with ourselves.

We resist transformation in some or all (or more)  of the following ways:


I can't hear anything newly  like transformation through a closed listening which compares everything I hear, to that which I already know. When it comes to listening transformation newly, saying "I already know this" is tantamount to saying "I'm not listening at all.". It's tantamount to saying "I'm resisting hearing this.".

Neither statement, by the way, is worse or better than the other. The second one, however, especially when listening transformation through "I already know this", is at least more truthful.

Listening transformation through "It's all about ME!" ("... and therefore I'm rightfully the center of attention") is a possibility killer. Life isn't about me. Life is about everyone and everything, with no one and nothing left out. So when I have Life as "It's all about me", that's not Life. That's resisting Life. That's a subset  of Life, a way of being called surviving. Surviving is the way of the ego rather than the way of the being. If it can be said transformation is the contradistinction  of anything, then it's the contradistinction of survival.


Saying transformation is the contradistinction of survival doesn't mean it's better  than survival or better than surviving. What it means is transformation can't be listened  through survival - at least, not easily. And if transformation is  listened through survival and is heard, that's what we call a breakthrough.


In this sense, transformation could be said to be intrusive  to the position "It's all about ME!". When anything  is believed to be intrusive, a survival reflex  resists it. Survival will always  resist transformation. That's it's nature. If it were easier than that, the whole world would be transformed by now.

Transformation is prior to  survival. It's the context  for survival. It takes an act of generosity to give up  survival in the face of transformation. It requires boldness and verve to relinquish "It's all about ME!" in the face of transformation.

There's a certain resistance, a fixed way of listening  which shows up around speaking transformation which assumes  Conversations For Transformation are a con, a slick trick to render a sucker  out of the gullible. And the way this particular fixed way of listening shows up is disguised as an intelligent protection:  "I'm intelligent, so I'll protect  myself from being conned. I'll out-smart  the con-ner. You can't make a sucker out of me!".

The trouble is you've already been conned  ... You're already  not being who you really are. You've already learned. Man!  Have you already learned ... and it's already ground into you  that you can't get along simply by being who you really are. You've already learned how to survive by not  being who you really are.

In this way, we've all  already been conned. We've all already been conned into not being who we really are. In this way, we're all impostors  - every one of us.

Transformation is the UN-con. Yet we resist it anyway - which is to say the machinery  resists it anyway. But that's the machinery's job!  And the moment you get it's the machinery's job to resist transformation, a clearing to be who we really are becomes available, often for the first time ever.

Stepping boldly out into this clearing starts the process of being un-conned.

Life itself is continuously transforming. One of the great paradoxes of being human is our tendency to stay stuck, our tendency to brake, our tendency to survive our already established positions, our tendency to resist transformation, our tendency to say "Stop!" when Life says "Go!". It completely overshadows our true nature. It kills possibility. It kills what's possible. And it's unexamined to the point where we're not even aware we're doing it ... AND  ... we resist becoming aware of it, we resist inquiring into it, we resist examining it.

Look: it's alright to stop. And it's alright to go. Neither is better than the other. It's purely a personal choice. But one thing's for sure: so much more is possible with go than with stop. Way  more is possible with go than with stop. That's not rocket science either.

I say go, go, GO!  This is who I am.

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