Archive for the ‘influence’ Category

Breaking Out Of The Box

Social paradigms dictate our behavior and collective values. In the 1950s, the rule was “throw it anywhere, it will go away,” and smokestacks billowing black smoke were a proud symbol of productivity…

While we are in a paradigm, we take its rules and boundaries for granted. It is what we call “reality.” Like eyeglasses with colored lenses, our paradigm colors whatever we perceive. “Most of our notions about the world come from a set of assumptions which we take for granted, and which, for the most part, we don’t examine or question,” says Werner Erhard. “We bring these assumptions to the table with us as a given. They are so much a part of who we are that it is difficult for us to separate ourselves from them enough to be able to talk about them. We do not think these assumptions, we think from them.”

Expressions such as “that’s impossible,” or “that’s not the way we do it around here” speak to the existence of paradigms, or belief systems, that are operating, unseen, in the background. Like water to a fish, they are not recognized by us as our paradigms. Yet, they influence what we think – and even what we see.

Once we recognize that our paradigms are an invisible structure through which we think, the next step is to understand the degree to which they determine what we see and experience. Their influence is far more powerful than we may realize.

Thomas Khun, who in 1962 wrote a seminal book on scientific paradigms called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, points to an experiment that illustrates the paradigm effect. In the experiment, originally reported in 1949, people were briefly shown a deck of playing cards in which some cards had red spades instead of black. The subjects literally saw the red spades as black, because that’s what they expected. Once the anomaly was pointed out, the subjects had no trouble spotting the red spades. The experiment and others like it led Khun to the conviction that our paradigms act as filters on reality. We never see the world directly; we always see it through these paradigms filters. We never see the world in its entirety; we only see pieces. And our mental frameworks naturally bias us toward only seeing that part of the world that supports our paradigms.

“Our paradigms determine the way the world ‘shows up’ for us,” Says Erhard, “and that allows for only certain possibilities. Our paradigms determine our worldview, the way we perceive things, what we perceive, what we can see as possible, what we can’t see as possible and what we can’t see at all. Ultimately, they limit our strategies and our actions.”

The secret of paradigms is that, with them, we construct our own reality. As Thomas Khun said in 1962: “When paradigms change, the world itself changes with them.”

It’s a revolutionary thought, and it is the most important thing to know about paradigms.

How reality occurs – or “shows up” – for people is not determined by what’s there to be seen, but by how we are seeing it.

Erhard says that instead of waiting for a new paradigm to become apparent, we can create and invent futures that “were not going to happen anyway.”  He points out that when a breakthrough is needed, what is often called for is the development of a new paradigm.

“Changing the paradigm does not negate the need for realistic, hard-headed thinking,” he says. “In ‘business as usual,’ we get clear about the situation to determine what we can do and what we can’t. But to produce a breakthrough, you have to stand the usual approach on its head.”

The process begins with inventing a new possibility, without regard to whether you know what to do to realize it. You then look back at the situation from the standpoint of that new possibility.

“That is what gives you the new perspective and what allows you to see the situation in a way you haven’t seen it before,” says Erhard. “That is the beginning of generating a new paradigm. Breakthroughs are a product of seeing something in a new way, which enables you to see new opportunities and new openings for action that you couldn’t see before. Breakthroughs come as a result of shifting your commitment from the predictable future to a possible future.”

In so doing, we will – literally – change the world that there is for us to see.

The Erhard Jensen Ontological / Phenomenological Initiative

The Purpose of The Erhard Jensen Ontological / Phenomenological Initiative is to:

Stimulate and support research into the development and application of the ontological / phenomenological laws of human nature and human behavior to the lives of individuals and human entities to reliably and significantly elevate human performance and quality of life. This includes all areas of living across the entire spectrum of human activity, for example:

  • Individuals, families and groups
  • Public and private organizations such as partnerships, corporations, non-profit and educational entities
  • Public agencies and governmental entities
  • Bring the ontological / phenomenological model and methodology utilized in this leadership course to education — including research, course development, and teaching.

Stimulate and support research into the study and teaching of the ontological /phenomenological laws of human nature and human behavior, and the impact of these laws on life, living, and self.

For more information see http://www.erhardjensen.org

(Content Curated from the Werner Erhard Biography Website)

Werner Erhard – Taking A Stand for the Future

What the est Training was and was not

wernererhard0339“The fact is, no one needs the training. It is not medicine. If you are ill, you need medical attention. If you are mentally ill, you need therapy. The training is not medicine or therapy. If you are hungry, you need food. You need air. Actually you need someone to love and someone to love you. You need to feel some self-respect and the esteem of others. Without these, we do not function very well as human beings.

The training is none of these. It does not solve problems. It is true that some problems dissolve in the training, but not because it is the purpose of the training for people to work on their problems in the training. The training is not about people’s problems per se. What the training is about is related to those rare moments in life, which while rare, seem to come into everyone’s life at some time or another. They are moments in which one is absolutely complete, whole, fulfilled – that is to say, satisfied. (I limit the word gratification to mean the filling of a need or desire, or the achievement of a goal. I use the word satisfaction to mean the experience of being complete.)

Each of us has experienced moments in our lives when we are fully alive -when we know – without thinking – that life is exactly as it is in this moment. In such moments, we have no wish for it to be different, or better, or more. We have no disappointment, no comparison with ideals, no sense that it is not what we worked for. We feel no protective or defensive urge – and have no desire to hold on – to store up – or to save. Such moments are perfect in themselves. We experience them as being complete.

We do not need to experience completion. People function successfully without such moments. Like the training, such moments are not something we `should’ have. Like the training, such moments do not make us any better. We are not smarter or sexier or more successful or richer or any more clever. These moments, these experiences of being complete, are sufficient unto themselves. Like the training, such moments are not even ‘good’ for you – like vitamins or exercise or things of that sort.

In the training, one finds there is something beyond that – the opportunity to discover that space within yourself where such moments originate, actually where you and life originate. In the training, one experiences a transformation -a shift from being a character in the story of life to being the space in which the story occurs – the playwright creating the play, as it were, consciously, freely, and completely.”

The est Standard Training,  Werner Erhard and Victor Gioscia, San Francisco, Calif.

Published in Biosciences Communication 3:104-122, 1977

“Maybe life is not about the self but about self-transcendence! You got a problem with that?”

No one in the room had a problem with that. The desks were occupied by 27 name-tagged academics from around the world. And in the course of the day, a number of them would take the mike to pose what their instructor referred to as “yeah buts, how ’bouts or what ifs” in response to his pronouncements — but no one had a problem with them.

In some ways, the three-day workshop, “Creating Class Leaders,” recalled an EST training session. As with that cultural touchstone of the 1970s, there was “sharing” and applause. There were confrontations and hugs. Gnomic declarations hovered in the air like mist: “We need to distinguish distinction”; “There’s no seeing, there’s only the seer”; “There isn’t any is.”

But the event was much more civilized than EST. There were bathroom breaks. No one was called an expletive by the teacher.

This is significant because the teacher was none other than the creator of EST, Werner Erhard.

Roy Scheider

The star of The French Connection, Jaws, and All that Jazz, Roy Scheider talked about his est training: “You come to understand that within each of us is a tremendous beauty, passion, joy, and love for life; you realize that everyone is you… I’ve never had a better time in my life. I never laughed so much, I never cried so much. I was actually dazzled. I couldn’t believe that degree of intimacy could be achieved in a hotel room with 300 people… And I was one of the actors in the show. It was sensational.”

The Werner Erhard Foundation

The Werner Erhard Foundation, was established in a time of transformation and transition. Old values, ideals, and beliefs were being challenged; new ideas and insights, new ways of seeing old problems, and new solutions were coming into view. Historians will likely view this period as an era of profound change, a time when human beings discarded old limits, explored new visions, and embraced new realities. We are witnessing the emergence of a new and unexpected paradigm, a new model for humanity, characterized by a demand from individuals and communities for effective action, for translating the new insights into concrete results. For all of us there is the opportunity to redefine what it means to be a human being. http://www.wernererhardfoundation.org/history.html

Werner Erhard Interviews Robert Reich

Werner Erhard’s Work in Northern Ireland

Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and Israel: Werner Erhard developed the Ireland Initiative for the Mastery Foundation in 1999 in collaboration with Peter Block as a three-day conference to bring together a broad base of community leaders already working on peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. The Mastery Foundation continues to lead this course in places where religious differences are a source of conflict, including Northern Ireland and Israel.

The Mastery Foundation grew out of a series of conversations in the late 1970s and early 1980s among Christian and Jewish clergy who had experienced a personal transformation when they participated in The est Training. In 1984 Werner Erhard developed a program designed specifically for this constituency and their work continues to this day. Throughout its existence, Werner Erhard has continued to generously donate his expertise and services, at times developing new program material and leading courses. The distinctions and tools he created are at the heart of all the programs and courses of the Mastery Foundation.

Werner Erhard’s Influence

Werner Erhard’s  influence contributed to the development of the Werner Erhard Foundation which helped to fund research, scholarly endeavors, and voluntary action in many diverse areas of human endeavor and experience.  Through their work, the recipients of these grants made profound contributions to human thinking, growth, and achievement over the more than forty years since the start of the Werner Erhard Foundation.

Werner Erhard and Buckminster Fuller - The Werner Erhard Foundation