Archive for the ‘1st hand Accounts’ Category

The Indescribable Experience

Eleanor Links Hoover, HUMAN BEHAVIOR, October 1978

One reason why the public seldom sees much deep, penetrating reporting and/or commentary about any contemporary psychological movement is that it is distinctly unfashionable for journalists to write anything that may be interpreted as favorable about such phenomena. Never mind whether it’s true or not. The silent rule is, “If you can’t be critical, don’t write it.”

Well, this is to serve notice to any potential head-lopper that I choose not to be intimidated. Sorry. I just can’t join the cynical press bandwagon. est is – and remains – one of the most fascinating movements, events, phenomena (take your pick, it still defies analysis) I have ever observed and reported on. The fact that it isn’t what it seems to be (what is?) and that it is as elusive as quicksilver to describe only enhances the fascination as far as I’m concerned. For me, it is, among other things, an excursion into High Philosophy – a miniseries of sorts into issues raised by Plato, Sartre, Wittgenstein. Bill Bartley, philosophy professor at California State University at Hayward once told me, “What est is doing is making available for the first time on a wide, popular basis, the key ideas and problems of philosophy.” Full Article

An Interview with Werner Erhard in 1976

The following is excerpted from a 1976 Interview with Werner Erhard in PSA Magazine by John Johns.

Johns: You say that people are dissatisfied because they think they have what they want but find that they’re not really experiencing it. What are the barriers to their experiencing it?

Werner Erhard: The simplified answer is that people seem to exist in three parts. We have the outer part, which is the thing we put together to survive in life – our persona, our ego. This best-foot-forward face.  Underneath that we’re trying to hide, particularly from ourselves, the persona we’re afraid we might be; small-thinking, frightened, concerned about our own survival, pretending, arrogant. So we put on the face, and underneath that is the thing we’re afraid we might be.   Some of us put on the face so successfully that we don’t even know this persona we’re afraid we are.  Underneath that is the self.  So the barrier to the experience of who we actually are is the unwillingness to confront who we are afraid we are, or dramatizing who we are afraid we are.

Johns:  So people come to est hiding behind their persona, wearing their “face.” Yet so many est graduates come away excited about a change or transformation.  How could you characterize this?

Werner Erhard: Let me try to back around to it.  The transformation is the shift of the principle which orients the person’s life, which is ordinarily the principle of gaining satisfaction. Essentially what organizes life for most of  us is an attempt to gratify our needs; our psychological needs, our material needs, our personal needs … Individuals transform when there’s a shift in the principle which orients their life from one of gaining satisfaction to one of expressing the satisfaction they’ve already got … The difference between a transformed being and a not-yet-aware-of-themselves being is that one is becoming something and expressing himself in the striving to become that and the other one is something, and is expressing that in moving through the world … What happens in the est training is that the predominant way you are is “being” rather than “becoming.”   –  from An Interview with Werner Erhard.

The Est Training

Werner Erhard created a program in 1971 named the est Training, which was offered to the public by Erhard Seminars Training, Inc. and after 1981 by Werner Erhard & Associates. The est Training, attended by approximately a million people, was enormously popular and became a household word. The combination of Erhard’s cutting edge ideas and his ruthless compassion, honesty and skill in leading seminars catapulted est into the mainstream of American culture. With this wide-spread popularity, Erhard and his programs became the subject of television, newspaper, magazine, and even movie attention.

The late Actor Raul Julia talks about the courses of Werner Erhard

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The late Golden Globe Award winning actor Raul Julia first did the Est Training in 1974. He attributed many aspects of his success as an actor to what he got out of the Est Training and other programs created by Werner Erhard.

John Denver Talks in an Interview About the Est Training

John Denver was a well known singer and songwriter in the 1970’s and 80’s and was a graduate of the Est Training. This video interview talks about his experience of the Est Training.

Among the other well known people who participated in the Est Training were, Cher, Yoko Ono Valerie Harper and Raul Julia.