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

Getting It - The Big "IT"

Walker Creek, California, USA

January 30, 2004

This essay, Getting It - The Big "IT", is the companion piece to

In an empty and meaningless universe in which it's empty and meaningless that it's empty and meaningless, Werner Erhard's intention isn't simply to create a game to play, in which people can participate with people inventing possibilities worthy of the miracle of Life. It's also that while playing this game inventing possibilities worthy of the miracle of Life, each of us reveal and fully live the experience of the Self we really are. And the Self each of us really is, is the same Self Werner really is. And  ... because each of us quite obviously already is the Self we are, there's nothing to get!

This is what I'm referring to as "it" in the phrase "getting it" ie the Big "IT". There's no point to Life. But if Life did have a point, then realizing this would be it.

Martin Luther King said "I have seen the promised land.". What he did with his vision is he made it real for other people. However, for me it isn't as pertinent to ask "Who else got it like Martin Luther King got it?" as it is to ask "Who else got it like Martin Luther King got it then enrolled others in its possibility?".

Getting it - the Big "IT" - is the experience of Self. But that's not "self" with a small "s". We are not talking about our scrappy, irritable little egos here. The Big "IT" is Self with a capital "S" - the Self you and I and we all really are. Getting Self is an unmistakable, dead on, magnetic experience which - even if never known before, even if not sought before, even if never languaged  before - is instantly recognizable, getable, and grounding. Not everyone has experienced getting it - the Big "IT". That's not a statement of exclusivity, elitism, or arrogance. The fact is if everyone had gotten it, the world would be transformed by now. Clearly this isn't the case.

Self is not an end. Werner says "If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place.". Taking it out into the world is the natural result (and proof, by the way) of you and I having gotten it. Why it's proof of you and I having gotten it, is because if you look, you'll see that's the nature of the Self:  once gotten, it calls on you and I to take it out into the world.

Now is a good time to get it. Earth's the right place for it. It's the love affair of eternity. The Zen master does good works. He also leaves a trail and clues. Werner creates not only a vast and awesome gift to the world, but also a maze at the end of which is who you really are, and the possibility of inventing and living a life you love - for yourself, for everyone, and for all living things with no one and nothing left out. At the end of the maze, the sharp distinction between who you really are and who Werner really is, starts to blur. Like the man said, "I used to be different, now I am the same.".


It could also be said "At the start  of the maze, the sharp distinction between who you really are and who Werner really is, starts to blur.".

But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.


I led a seminar for the United States Air Force at a top secret military base in Georgia. One afternoon when the work of the day was complete, my escort took me to a hanger to view a squadron of F15 Strike Eagle  fighter jets. I asked him to raise me up on a fork lift truck in front of one of them so I could look it "dead in the eye", so to speak. He raised me up until I was literally nose to nose with the F15 Strike Eagle. I stood there with the tip of my nose touching the tip of its nose, a human being face to face with one of the most sophisticated pieces of machinery ever invented.

It's not just that I was blown away. That's waaay  too mild. I was thunderstruck  by its beauty. I was enraptured by its absolutely perfectly aerodynamic lines. Just imagining the humongous thrust and power it's capable of mesmerized me. Its design, shape, and awesome smoothness seduced me. I had to reach over and touch it - which I did - as I would gently touch the face of a child or someone I love. It was very clear to me the absolute brilliant best of what we human beings can muster, was called on to create such sheer magnificence.

And the next thing I realized, turned my reverie to dismay. What I realized was the point of all that magnificence is only this: to kill wholesale. This is its raison d'etre. Tears welled up in my eyes. I asked myself where we would be by now had we learned, instead, to channel our awesome abilities toward benign ends.

In my own life, I've noticed I'm acknowledged for my work as a trainer, for my art as a writer, for my commitment as a family man and as a parent, and for my modest success in business. Indeed, these acknowledgements could also be heaped on many, many people because these are the things we're good at. But what I got clear about that day, standing nose to nose with the F15 Strike Eagle fighter jet, is what we human beings are really  good at is killing things off.

Getting it - the Big "IT" - doesn't shield me from the inexorability of this awful realization about our base machinery. Yet in the recognition of it and how I choose to bring my transformation to bear on it, I grow up and discover my true nature as a human being in the world.

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