Nothing is so Powerful as an Idea Whose Time Has Come

Hunger is not something impersonal, something “out there.” It exists in each of us, in all that is incomplete and unfulfilled in our own lives, in all that we have disowned in the world.

Fifteen million dead of starvation each year. Perhaps a billion hungry. The fading, failing cry of a child every moment day and night, undeniable testament to human failure. We try to place that sound on some dusty plot of ground far away – Asia, Africa, South America – anywhere but here and now. We succeed at the cost of some portion of our aliveness, our ability to marvel at the miracle of birth, to hear the hidden depths of love in a son’s or daughter’s voice.

There is land enough, and food to feed all who live on the earth. There is no shortage of practical, well-thought-out ways to end the suffering and dying. But in the refusing to make the condition of starvation our own, we allow it to continue.

We allow it to continue by taking positions that prevent us from acting: the cynicism that alleges starvation to be inevitable, the guilt and shame that go along with powerlessness. We allow it to continue by supporting doctrines that create their own opposition and solutions that produce their own new problems. We take refuge in the belief that relieving the world from hunger is impossible.

The time has come for a different approach. It has come in an age of awakening, when history and technology meet to prepare the way fro transformation. Electronic nerve fibers join once-distant continents. A famine on the Asian steppes affects the destiny of American presidents. The cry of a single hungry child reverberates around the globe at the speed of light. Every day it becomes more difficult to pretend we stand alone and unmoved while millions starve.

The urgent global messages now beating at our conscience offer external evidence of a deeper connectedness: We are in the world. The world is also n us. Each of us is a self, a whole, a context, holding all that was and is and can be. In this light, each of us has the power to create our own universe, our own heaven or hell.

We begin by taking responsibility for the hunger and starvation that exist in the world. And then we take responsibility for the end of hunger and starvation within 20 years.

A simple thing. yet nothing under the sun could be more profound. For when context changes, all that happens within that context takes on a new and different life. Not is this a private, passive matter. True personal responsibility always involves action in the world –

Action that hews to no single doctrine.
Action that does not strive to make itself right and others wrong.
Action that claims no credit for its successes.
Action that is flexible and effective and sure.

We need only open our eyes to see a path of action: contributing time aned money, fasting, influencing public policy, working with organizations, supporting those who are directly involved, offering our own skills and knowledge to starving people. The possibilities are endless. Whatever our own path toward hunger’s end, we move with the power of personal responsibility. Each of us, in our own way, is the end of starvation, each complete and fully responsible. Whether thousands of us or hundreds of thousands or millions, we act as wholes in alignment, not parts of a movement.

But no need to wait for the thousands and the millions. A moment exists for each of us in which context suddenly shifts and what has seemed impossible becomes possible, and instant in and out of time when we take responsibility for the world and what it could be.

In that instant, the end of hunger and starvation begins.

Introduction written by George Leonard to Nothing Is So Powerful As An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Werner Erhard Interviewed by Charlie Rose

The Four Foundations of A Great Personal Life, Great Leadership, and Great Organizations

“We argue here that the four factors we identify as constituting the foundation for being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership can also be seen as the foundations not only for great leadership, but also for a high quality personal life and an extraordinary organization. One can see this as a “value free” approach to values because, 1) integrity as we define it (being whole and complete) is a purely positive proposition, 2) authenticity is also a purely positive proposition (being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others and who you hold yourself to be for yourself), and 3) being committed to something bigger than oneself is also a purely positive proposition (that says nothing about what that commitment should be other than it be bigger than oneself). ”

1. Authenticity:

Being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others, and who you hold yourself out to be for yourself.  When leading, being authentic leaves yuo grounded, and able to be straight without using force.

2. Being Cause In the Matter of Everything In Your Life: 

Being Cause in the Matter is a stand you take for yourself and life – and acting from that stand.  It leaves yuo wil power.  You are never a victim.

3. Being Committed to Something Bigger than Oneself: 

Source of the serene passion (charisma) required to lead and to develop others as leaders, and the source of persistence (joy in the labor of) when the path gets tough.

4. Integrity (in our model a positive phenomenon): 

Being whole and complete – achieved by “honoring one’s word” (creates workability, develops trust).

from The Four Foundations of a Great Personal Life, Great Leadership and a Great Organization, by Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen, May 3, 2012; posted at SSRN

You Don’t Alter What You Know, You Alter The Way You Know It

A CONVERSATION WITH WERNER ERHARD about The est Training, philosophy, “enlightenment,” authoritarianism and legitimate authority, arrogance, leadership, and vision.

The Network Review, Volume 1 Number 4, September 1983

From their base at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, members of the Center for the Study of New Religious Movements have been exploring ways to evaluate the confusing array of activities they define as spiritual, self development, or consciousness oriented. A continuing seminar at the Center has worked on criteria which lay people and professionals can use to discriminate between harmful and helpful conditions in groups pursuing such activities.

Werner Erhard and 17 members of the seminar met in April 1981 to discuss some of the distinctions between authoritarianism and legitimate authority. The conversation covered other topics as well, and the seminar leader, Dick Anthony, later commented that it was “one of the important turning points in our meetings.” An edited transcript of the interview is scheduled to appear in a book, Spiritual Standards for New Age Groups and Therapies, due to be published next spring. While The est Training is not a therapy or a religion, the conversation between Werner Erhard and members of the seminar clearly applies to the issues raised by the book, and to everyday living.

Read the rest of this entry

Handbook For Teaching Leadership

The Editors of the “Handbook for Teaching Leadership” say the following in their introductory chapter:

“How does one teach leadership in a way that not only informs [students] about leadership but also transforms them into actually being leaders?” (p. XXIV)

The sole objective of our ontological/phenomenological approach to creating leaders is to leave students actually being leaders and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression. By “natural self-expression” we mean a way of being and acting in any leadership situation that is a spontaneous and intuitive effective response to what one is dealing with.

In creating leaders we employ the ontological discipline (from the Latin ontologia “science of being”, see Heidegger (1927)). The ontological model of leader and leadership opens up and reveals the actual nature of being when one is being a leader and opens up and reveals the source of one’s actions when exercising leadership. And ontology’s associated phenomenological methodology (explained in (2) below) provides actionable access to what has been opened up.

The being of being a leader and the actions of the effective exercise of leadership can be accessed, researched, and taught either:

1) as being and action are observed and commented on “from the stands”, specifically as these are observed by someone, and then described, interpreted and explained (third-person theory of), or

2) as being and action are actually experienced “on the court”, specifically as these are actually lived (real-time first-person experience of). As a formal discipline, the “on the court” method of accessing being and action (that is, as being and action are actually lived) is named phenomenology.

In short, an epistemological mastery of a subject leaves one knowing. An ontological mastery of a subject leaves one being.

Of course the students themselves do not need to study ontology; they only require the access to being and the source of action that is provided by the ontological perspective. And, they don’t need to study phenomenology; they only need to be provided with the actionable pathway to the being of being a leader and the actions of effective leadership made available by the phenomenological methodology.

THE HANDBOOK FOR TEACHING LEADERSHIP, Chapter 16, Scott Snook, Nitin Nohria, Rakesh Khurana, eds., Sage Publications, 2011
Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper 11-037
Barbados Group Working Paper No. 10-10
Simon School Working Paper Series No. FR 10-30

 

 

 

Werner Erhard Foundation

The Werner Erhard Foundation was established in 1973 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 granted approximately $4 million 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. The work of transformation and personal responsibility was brought to the former Soviet Union and the Werner Erhard Foundation launched projects such as The Hunger Project, The Mastery Foundation, and the Youth at Risk Program, which continue to be vital and active today.

 

Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard is a critical thinker who has influenced the academic community worldwide with his revolutionary ideas first expressed in The est Training. He introduced the 20th Century notion of transformation and has had an enormous impact as a thought leader, humanitarian and business man. Currently retired from business, Werner Erhard devotes his time to speaking, publishing his ideas in academic papers and developing courses and other materials for Universities such as Harvard, Dartmouth, and Erasmus.

Curriculum Vitae

Werner Erhard 2009Werner H. Erhard is recognized world-wide as a business, management, and humanitarian leader, with an esteemed record of accomplishment and achievement at the highest levels of U.S. national policy, international peace, reconciliation and development efforts, and leadership and management theory and practice. His creation of innovative ideas and models of individual, organizational and social transformation have impacted such diverse fields as business, education, philosophy, medicine, psychotherapy, developing countries, conflict resolution, and community building. Erhard is a recipient of the 1988 Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian Award in honor of his “notable effort to end the starvation and hunger suffered by millions throughout the world” and is a Knight in the Sovereign Order of the Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem for his lifelong dedication to helping those in need. Werner Erhard’s international accomplishments include peace and reconciliation efforts in Northern Ireland, business leader training as part of the U.S State Department’s Russia / U.S. Project, and a life history of contributions to impoverished regions of the world, to include Bangladesh, India, Ethiopia, Mexico, Cambodia, Mozambique and many others.

-from wernererhard.net/cv.html

 

Creating Leaders: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model

Abstract of Creating Leaders: An Ontological Model

The Editors of the “Handbook for Teaching Leadership” say the following in their introductory chapter: “How does one teach leadership in a way that not only informs [students] about leadership but also transforms them into actually being leaders?” (p. XXIV)

The sole objective of our ontological/phenomenological approach to creating leaders is to leave students actually being leaders and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression. By “natural self-expression” we mean a way of being and acting in any leadership situation that is a spontaneous and intuitive effective response to what one is dealing with.

In creating leaders we employ the ontological discipline (from the Latin ontologia “science of being”, see Heidegger (1927)). The ontological model of leader and leadership opens up and reveals the actual nature of being when one is being a leader and opens up and reveals the source of one’s actions when exercising leadership. And ontology’s associated phenomenological methodology (explained in (2) below) provides actionable access to what has been opened up.

The being of being a leader and the actions of the effective exercise of leadership can be accessed, researched, and taught either:

1) as being and action are observed and commented on “from the stands”, specifically as these are observed by someone, and then described, interpreted and explained (third-person theory of), or

2) as being and action are actually experienced “on the court”, specifically as these are actually lived (real-time first-person experience of). As a formal discipline, the “on the court” method of accessing being and action (that is, as being and action are actually lived) is named phenomenology.

In short, an epistemological mastery of a subject leaves one knowing.
An ontological mastery of a subject leaves one being.

– Werner Erhard, Independent
– Michael C. Jensen, Harvard Business School; Social Science Electronic Publishing (SSEP), Inc.; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
– Kari L. Granger, Sunergos, LLC; Center For Character and Leadership Development

Making A Difference

 

What does it mean to make a difference in the world?  Most people think it means to leave behind a city with your name on it or some great organization.  What makes a difference is to make a difference in people’s lives. We don’t allow ourselves to think that the world could work for all of us. That’s a radical kind of thinking.  It’s been my experience that you can make a difference and in fact that you do make a difference.  And we are always choosing.

Lunch With The FT: Werner Erhard

Excerpts from: Lunch With The FT: Werner Erhard

“Erhard is the man who more or less invented the personal growth movement in California in the early 1970s and who coined the phrase, ‘Thank you for sharing’.”

“Erhard’s influence extends far beyond the couple of million people who have done his courses: there is hardly a self-help book or a management training programme that does not borrow some of his principles.”

“I’m not the first person to struggle to grasp his ideas. Erhard tells me that paramilitaries in Northern Ireland had a bit of trouble too, but when they did get it they disarmed as a result. He also worked with members of the first Russian parliament in 1993, who were apparently even slower getting the point than me.”

“Erhard is an autodidact. Jensen is an emeritus professor at Harvard Business School. Together they are writing academic articles and touring the world’s best universities.”

“What got the two started on this [integrity] was not the usual stuff about corporate scandals. It was reflecting on how their own “out-of-integrity behaviour” had stunted their own performance and damaged themselves and others around them. After seven years of research the upshot is a (somewhat impenetrable) model that links integrity, morality, ethics and legality into a single system that promises great benefits for everyone.”

Lucy Kellaway is the FT’s management columnist

Read the full article in the Financial Times

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