Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Life As A Three Act Play

“I  was working with Father Basil Pennington, a Cistercian priest and monk. I was doing a program with him designed for people from various faiths who minister to others. In those discussions, what came up for a Baptist minister was that he felt that sometimes his emotions got in the way of his being able to be authentic and being able to act with some wisdom when he was working with people.

This made me think about the question of emotions. I have emotions, but at least at that time, I thought I did not have much to say about my emotions. They just happened to me, without being something I caused. So I got very interested in that. And I thought, actors get up on the stage, and if they are acting on the stage they are no good as actors. They have got to be not acting, when they are on the stage.

I have a friend, Sandy Robbins, who heads a highly respected school of theater in the United States. So I said, “Sandy, let’s get some actors together and find out what it is with these people that they can choose to be this or choose to be that.” Because somehow when they are really good at their craft, they really be it, they don’t just pretend it or act it. So Sandy and I worked together with some professional actors and acting coaches for three years, and I really learned something. The idiom is fabulous, as a metaphor for life.

John van Praag and the other classicists here tell us that the ancient Greeks started this all the way back in their time, not as an entertainment but as an access to self in life. One of the things that we do in the program Sandy and I developed is ask people for three days, rather than being themselves, to be someone else.

So if I were in the program, I would not be Werner, I would be an actor playing this character called Werner in a three-act play called “Werner’s Life.” Some very interesting things then happen. Each of us plays the script perfectly. We never make a mistake, not one moment. I played my past absolutely as the script was written. I was the best Werner you could possibly be; people even thought I was Werner. So, in this three-act play, the first act is one’s past. The second act is the current era of my life – we will talk more about that in a minute – and the third act is the future.

Now, we all agree that the script for the first act is over. You can’t change the script for the first act. There are lots of things you can do with the past, but you cannot change the script, nor can you change who you were in the past. You might do some analysis that gives you some insight into the script of the first act that you weren’t aware of while you were playing it. You might come up with some different interpretations, but you cannot change who you were.

Now let us talk about the script for the second act, the current era of my life. I like to think that I am writing the script as I go along. Some of it is automatic, but I can really decide who I am in the current era of my life, and I can decide how my life is going to go.

But I would like you to look at something with me. In a three-act play, the script for the second act absolutely must bridge between the first act and the third act. The script for the current year of my life cannot violate what happened in the first act of my life. It does not mean it has to be the same. There can be a transformation in the second act. But whatever happens in the current era of my life has to be a bridge between the first act and the third act.

I would like you to consider the possibility that, at least to some degree, the script for the current era of your life is already written, and it is already written in the sense that it has to get you to the third act. It has to make sense when the third act opens and unfolds. We’ll talk about the third act in a moment. I want to stay with the second act now. If you think about it, the second act is already written. That is, the current era of my life, the kind of life I lead, is already even more determined than simply having to be a bridge. It has got to make sense when the third act unfolds.

Think about it for yourself. If your third act is one of world recognition as an artist, there are certain things that are going to have to happen in the second act for that third act to be able to be played. The second act has to be consistent with that third act. I’ll give you the extreme example. If in the third act you are a world famous ballerina, there cannot be an accident in the second act in which you lose your legs. Whatever happens in the second act has to have made sense, given the third act, even if the third act is discontinuous. Remember the script for the first act is already written. The third act is the future into which you are living.” – Werner Erhard

 

Excerpted from

A Presentation By Werner Erhard At The Eranos Conference
Ascona, Switzerland
18 June 2006

Werner Erhard and John Denver – The Tonight Show – 1973

A You AND Me World

San Francisco – 1980

There’s been a shift in the rules for successful living, according to Werner Erhard.

Speaking to a crowd of some 8,500 at San Francisco’s Cow Palace in January 1980, the founder of “est” told them to look at the world from a “you AND me” perspective, instead of a “you OR me” standpoint.

Departing from philosophies emphasized by self-centered “self-help” publications, Erhard said, “We need a whole new set of rules to live successfully in a ‘you and me’ world. We are still trying to make it with ‘you or me’ rules.”

He said, “In the past, the way I had a glass of water was to hold on to it. Now, the way to assure you have a glass of water is to assure everyone has one.”

The new type of thinking, which Erhard says people have no training for, could breed what might be called failure. Erhard wards that this is not truly failure. People can expect to “fail,” he said, but failure in the context that “the world works for everyone” is an opportunity for a breakthrough.

Erhard says, “Each person’s life is shaped by a basic principle” which “thereafter unconsciously determines the shape and scope of their lives.” People, he says, need to develop the basic principle, “The world can work for everyone.” He emphasizes that the individual does make a difference in the world.

When they adopt these attitudes, he says, they will see a shift in the way they experience life.

He said he believes what people want to do is make a difference in the world. The “be careful, get everything you can” kind of thinking tends to dictate not only how people live and act, but how they look at the world.

What a person now needs to do, he says, is to “look at life, see what is wanted and needed, and start producing it.”

Erhard says each person must choose, for himself, the way he will make a difference in the world. – Richard Guarino – San Francisco

‘Me generation’ – a thing of the past

 

‘Me generation’ – a thing of the past

San Francisco  – 1980

There’s been a shift in the rules for successful living, according to Werner Erhard.

Speaking to a crowd of some 8,500 at San Francisco’s Cow Palace in January 1980, the founder of “est” told them to look at the world from a “you AND me” perspective, instead of a “you OR me” standpoint.

Departing from philosophies emphasized by self-centered “self-help” publications, Erhard said, “We need a whole new set of rules to live successfully in a ‘you and me’ world.  We are still trying to make it with ‘you or me’ rules.”

He said, “In the past, the way I had a glass of water was to hold on to it.  Now, the way to assure you have a glass of water is to assure everyone has one.”

The new type of thinking, which Erhard says people have no training for, could breed what might be called failure.  Erhard wards that this is not truly failure.  People can expect to “fail,” he said, but failure in the context that “the world works for everyone” is an opportunity for a breakthrough.

Erhard says, “Each person’s life is shaped by a basic principle” which “thereafter unconsciously determines the shape and scope of their lives.”  People, he says, need to develop the basic principle, “The world can work for everyone.” He emphasizes that the individual does make a difference in the world.

When they adopt these attitudes, he says, they will see a shift in the way they experience life.

He said he believes what people want to do is make a difference in the world.  The “be careful, get everything you can” kind of thinking tends to dictate not only how people live and act, but how they look at the world.

What a person now needs to do, he says, is to “look at life, see what is wanted and needed, and start producing it.”

Erhard says each person must choose, for himself, the way he will make a difference in the world.

– Richard Guarino – San Francisco

Werner Erhard in the USSR

In 1979 the est Foundation launched the US/USSR Project, designed as an educational exchange to explore the principles of communication, management, and creative thinking with the people of what was then the Soviet Union. Werner Erhard was invited to conduct the first of many courses and lectures in Moscow, under the auspices of the Znaniye (All Union Knowledge) Society—the prime vehicle for education in the (former) Soviet Union.

Werner Erhard Delivers transformational training in the Soviet Union

Werner Erhard delivers Transformational Training in the Soviet Union

The Werner Erhard Foundation

The Werner Erhard Foundation was established in 1973 by Werner Erhard to provide an opportunity for individuals to express their commitment to significantly altering what is possible for humanity. Its mission was to foster and support catalytic projects that would provide far-reaching breakthroughs in fields related to both personal and social development. The foundation brought together individuals from around the world to contribute to and participate in ground-breaking work in the area of human achievement and transformation.

In the nearly 20 years of its operation, the Werner Erhard Foundation provided funds for research, scholarly endeavors, and voluntary action. It was the foundation’s privilege to support more than 300 outstanding individuals and organizations from a variety of disciplines. Working in many diverse fields and surroundings, these recipients made a profound contribution to human thinking, growth, and achievement.

Visit http://www.wernererhardfoundation.org for more information about the history of the Werner Erhard Foundation.

Celebrating Your Relationships (Part 1)

werner-erhard-youngfrom the September 1978 Graduate Review

During a day-long conversation with graduates in 1978, Werner Erhard said: “In Making Relationships Work I, II, and III, people had to really work. The processes, for in­stance, were quite long and required a lot of con­centration and intention.

“There is not much work to be done here,” Werner said. “This is about celebrating the miraculous, the magical, the unreasonable, things about which you can’t do anything anyway.

“This is not about doing. It is about being. This is not about the world in which explanation occurs. It is about the world in which creation occurs.

“This course is not, strictly speaking, what we’ve come to call in est an ‘experience.’ What we’re up to here is contextual rather than experiential. It is about that from which experience comes. It is about lighting the fire, not about warming yourself at it.”

Pleasure as an expression of love

…… Ordinarily I would prefer to keep myself as a persona out of this, to deliver the material and stay out of the way. For this course, I want to shift that. I want to make something available to you out of my experience. So I want this course to be about you and me as much as we can make it that way…. You and I are going to be lovers.

“Being lovers has nothing to do with one’s mas­culinity or femininity. It’s much more fundamental than that. What we’re talking about is not the lover as man or woman, it’s the lover that is the basis of man and woman.”

For this course, Werner said, leave behind what­ever ideas about your relationships you brought with you. You might have some relationships that are not working, or you might have some you con­sider perfect; you might want to fix some up and keep others as they are. Let all of that go. Open yourself to the unknown.

“When you allow yourself to let go completely, as if you’re falling back freely into what I call a great blue void—it could be something else for you—and you surrender into the experience, you might won­der where you’re going to land. It’s frightening to let go, to fall out of this reality and fall back into the mysterious.

“I want to tell you that when you stop holding on, when you allow yourself to be in the experience now, when you stop checking it all out, when you surrender and fall back, where you always land is right here. But suddenly, when you’ve arrived here by letting go into your experience, ‘here’ is a brand-new, sparkling, and brilliant place….

“This is about the realization of ecstasy, of joy, of pleasure—but not pleasure in the way we ordi­narily hold it, in which we find we’re a little reluc­tant and a little bit guilty about the expression of pleasure. We’re talking not about pleasure as a measure of gratification but pleasure as an ex­pression of love, pleasure as ecstasy. An incom­parable pleasure.

“Ecstasy isn’t what we often think it is, either. The ecstasy I’m talking about is a loss of persona, a loss of personality, in which you realize some­thing more profound, more magnificent, than that which you’ve been calling your self.

“One falls back into and realizes one’s true self. That ecstatic experience is the loss of one’s self as a position.”

(excerpt courtesy of http://www.erhardseminarstraining.com)

Werner Erhard Leading a seminar

Thinking for Yourself

From the May 1979 Graduate Review

(Excerpted from a talk by Werner during “Making the World Work for Everyone”)

Thinking for yourself isn’t easy. It takes real courage. You need courage to break through the cultural set, or paradigm, that you’ve been given – courage to go along with your personal experience instead of the attitudes and opinions that other people have given you.Thinking for yourself requires the courage to make mistakes, sometimes to make a fool of yourself. It takes work, too – hard work. And it won’t make life any easier for you, or make you popular. If what you want is for people to build monuments to your memory, don’t talk outside the cultural set you’ve been given. Go for agreement instead. You won’t get any statues if what you want is to make a difference. You’ll get workability. If you want a real monument to your Self, don’t accept anything less than a world that works for everybody, with nobody left out.Einstein worked to discover the great principles on which the universe works, but he didn’t win a Nobel Prize for it. He got the 1921 Nobel Prize officially for his work on the photoelectric effect – the thing that opens the doors to supermarkets before you push on them.

If you want to make a difference, to have some impact on life, if you want to commit your life to making the world work for all of us, with nobody and nothing left out, then you must be willing to get the truth for yourself. That means you must be willing to do your own thinking.

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