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

Legacy II

Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, Napa, California, USA

May 23, 2018

"He stood in front of us - this tall, slender, immaculately dressed blue-eyed man - in full view, for sixteen hours each day, two successive days in a row. Not once did he leave the room for food or rest. Not once did his attention or concentration slack. He had virtually total recall of anything said to him by a trainee and would refer back to things said earlier with minute accuracy. He remembered why each of us had enrolled; and he knew what we thought our problems were. At midnight he seemed as clean and well pressed, and as fresh, as he had been at eight o'clock that morning. Like most things he did, this was also a kind of ... demonstration."
... Professor William Warren "Bill" Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, in his introduction to "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est"
"Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway."
... Mary Kay Ash
This essay, Legacy II, is the companion piece to It is also the thirty fifth in the complete group of Experiences Of A Friend (click here for the open group Experiences Of A Friend II):
  1. Stepping Back
  2. At Home As Self
  3. Empty Windows
  4. Futile Like A Freedom
  5. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  6. Werner As Intention
  7. Who He Is For Himself
  8. Source Quote
  9. Puzzle Solved, Mind Unraveled
  10. Eye To Eye
  11. Mystical Connection II
  12. Relentless
  13. Being Around Werner
  14. Being Always In Action
  15. Shaken Up And Teary
  16. On Being Sad
  17. The Complete Presentation
  18. Force Of Nature
  19. Everyone's In Love With Everyone
  20. I'm Old School
  21. Werner At The Speed Of Choice
  22. I Get Who You Are From What They Do
  23. The Significance - Not What Happened
  24. You Know I Love You - And I Know You Love Me
  25. Speaking To People's Relationship With Werner
  26. A Master At Being (And Having People Be)
  27. Werner As Source
  28. A Man Who's All There
  29. My Heart And You
  30. Mind Control
  31. Again And Again And Again And Again And Again And Again
  32. Unwavering
  33. The Leadership Course III: Pillar Of The Community
  34. American Genius
  35. Legacy II
so far, in that order.

I am indebted to Ron Browning who inspired this conversation.

These are remarkable  times in which we live. No kidding! The world has been remarkably and irrevocably altering, courtesy of the inexorable onset of transformation. It's started. "Really  Laurence?" you say skeptically, remote control in hand, finger pointing at both horrific and dumb images on the supersized plasma  TV screen. Yes, really. We're now nearing the fiftieth year of transformation on our planet. But here's the thing: you may not find evidence of transformation on the evening news or in the newspapers.

Now there's nothing wrong with either the evening news or the newspapers (granted, that assertion isn't an easy get, sometimes). And you may not find evidence of it in the northern hemisphere or in the southern hemisphere - no, you won't find evidence of it in any  hemi-sphere. Transformation doesn't show up there. Where transformation shows up, is in the being-sphere. The beingsphere is the being  of our lives. It's the being of your life. It's the being of my life. It's the being  of human  being.

I know how transformation got started on our planet. I know how its evolution began. It humbles me. It blows me away. When that fish walked up on land for the first time, it brought with it elephants and eagles like a possibility  - for everyone, with no one and nothing left out. And now, nearly fifty years later, it's not only its onset which blows me away: it's its exponentially expanding legacy  which continues to blow me away ongoingly.

From the Cambridge International Dictionary:


something that is a part of your history or that remains from an earlier time; something that is a result of events in the past

Perhaps (not surprisingly) transformation's legacy has altered our language. Its legacy has altered the fundamentals of the way we speak and the words we use. Ideas like transformation  itself and its derived verb "transform" proliferate in our conversations; ideas like possibility  and its derived adjective "possible" have clearly found their way into advertisers' lexicography, when fifty years ago no one  was talking transformation and / or possibility. Occasionally colloquial usage of transformational terms, miscasts them in an ill-fitting context. "Transformation" for example is sometimes used synonomously with "change" (worse, with political  change) - the two could not be more dissimilar. Yet there's still ample evidence in our conversations of the global impact the work of transformation has had and is having in our lives.

The impact of transformation in the business world is just as unmistakable and just as widespread (it's interesting to me: that cross-over  of transformation from the beingsphere into the business world ...). David Logan, New York Times  best-selling author, Associate Dean and Executive Director of Executive Development, and Associate Professor of Clinical Management at University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, says "Werner's thinking - I don't know any nice way of saying it - is just out there  in the world. You can't have a master's degree in organizational development or human resources without picking up some of it. And it's usually not credited back to him. His stuff is just out there.". What's extraordinary is David's words would echo just as resonantly in today's academic  world as well.

OK, so now you got me: you can tell that's the first time I've mentioned Werner in the body of this piece. And for some people, that's one time too many. How so? Well ... (nothing sinister about it) it's that transformation's legacy they'll say, doesn't belong to any one person. I concur with that wholeheartedly: of course  it doesn't. You'd have to be a complete idiot to not recognize that. And yet to not acknowledge Werner for sourcing transformation, is so fundamentally at odds with the reality and the facts and the truth of the matter as to be totally devoid of any and all integrity.

The idea of transformation as Werner's legacy, includes his impact on language, his impact in the personal realm ie the beingsphere (ie ourselves, our concerns, our relationships etc), his impact in the business world and in the academic world, his impact on our planet as we know it, his impact on Life itself, and on and on and on from there. It's more than totally awesome - in fact the breadth and scope of that one man's impact is staggering. As David points out, Werner's "... stuff is just out  there" for which he may never be fully acknowledged. Yet for me it doesn't end there. There's more. All of the aforementioned, as vast as it is, is merely Werner's interim  legacy. I assert there's also Werner's ultimate  legacy. And his ultimate legacy comes, I say, with the answer to this question: "Is it possible for human beings on a personal level, to live transformation 24 / 7 day after day after day week after week after week month after month after month year after year after year?".

Look: I want  it to be possible. But it's just not. I know it's not. I need to take a break from it from time to time. Everybody  does. From time to time I get into a mood funk  when it's best for me (and for everyone else  too - believe me) that I keep a low profile until it passes. Then of course there are other important  things I have to attend to from time to time - and while I attend to them, I have to leave transformation on the back-burner. So it's just not possible  to live transformation 24 / 7 day after day after day week after week after week month after month after month year after year after year. I know that.

Here's the bottom line of how this resolves for me: what I get being around Werner ie what I get clear about around him, is it's not possible, not because it's not possible, but because I know  it's not possible (gee! I hope you get that). More than that, what I get clear about around him, is if I didn't know it's not possible ie if I wasn't so god-damned certain  about it, it would be possible (gee! I hope you get that too).
Werner didn't explain  to me it's possible. He doesn't try to convince  me it's possible. He's never asked me to give up knowing it's not possible. What he does is he lives  transformation - 24 / 7 day after day after day week after week after week month after month after month year after year after year. It's ... a ... demonstration.

So therefore it's possible. And when Werner demonstrates living it, he brings with it "... elephants and eagles like a possibility". And if it's possible for one human being to live it, then it's possible for anyone to live it. QED ie Quad Erat Demonstrandum (Latin for "that which was to be demonstrated").

Man! That's the ultimate legacy.

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