Celebrating Your Relationships

In the ordinary course of events, in order to bring something about, you need to establish a process. In other words, in order for me to get from here to here, I can’t do it all at once. I have to do it one step at a time and by handling it one step at a time, I can, as a matter of fact, be from here to there. So all I need to do is to be willing to establish a process, to manufacture a process – to produce a process. And by a process I can, in fact, accomplish something. Now, that’s the ordinary space in which we live.

There is, however, an extraordinary space in which we also live. I didn’t say to you that there’s an extraordinary space which you can achieve. Let me be very clear that I did not say that there is an extraordinary space which you can achieve. I said that we live both in the ordinary space and we live in this extraordinary space. Well, it’s like having the keys to an automobile in your pocket. If you don’t ever go out and put it in the ignition, you don’t get to drive the automobile. It isn’t enough that the automobile is there. You actually have to know about it and use it. So I want to turn you on to a quality of the space in which you live which could be called the extraordinary quality. And that is, that at the base of it all, fundamentally what’s so, is so by your consideration alone.

A great deal of what exists in our life exists as a function of our considerations. If you consider it to be so, it’s so. If you consider that I love you, I love you. Now you may not be able to consider me down there on the floor standing next to you.  It may be that that’s the part of your life that works in the ordinary way, because that’s pretty ordinary, standing next to someone. To be loved is extraordinary, and it’s a function of the extraordinary space. And it happens as a function of your consideration alone. By merely considering that I love you, I love you.

So you’ve got this universe in which you can create by consideration alone. I call that the magic wand. And it is the instrument by which one creates this ecstatic quality in one’s relationships. You imbue the relationship with ecstasy. You create, in the relationship, ecstasy. Now I caution you that you cannot create in opposition to anything. So if there’s something in the relationship, which you would consider to be inconsistent with ecstasy, you can’t create ecstasy in opposition to that thing. You can’t say, “It’s horrible, but I’m going to make it ecstatic.” You can’t say, “I don’t trust them, but I’m going to pretend it’s ecstatic. I’m going to.” This is not act as if. This is not pretend.  This is not go through the motions. This is something far senior to that. So you can’t consider, you can’t create by consideration, you can’t create by magic wand in opposition to anything.  You can, however, include anything in that which you create. So to create ecstasy in your relationship doesn’t mean that any particular thing has to be in your relationship or not in your relationships. There can be any circumstance and any condition presently existing in your relationship and you can wave the magic wand of ecstasy, as long as you’re willing to include in the ecstasy, as long as you’re willing for that circumstance or that consideration to be a function of the ecstasy, to in fact manifest the ecstasy, to express the ecstasy. And your willingness to allow any condition or any circumstance of your relationship to express the ecstasy is a part of the creation of the ecstasy.

So one creates ecstasy by waving one’s magic wand. One does not create ecstasy by doing something. I am ecstatic because I am ecstatic. I love you because I love you. You are magnificent because I’ve waved the magic wand of magnificence. I am magnificent because I’ve waved the magic wand of magnificence and every one of my characteristics is an expression of that magnificence. So let’s get clear with respect to creating magnificence in your relationships, with respect to creating ecstasy in your relationships, with respect to being willing to have pleasure be an expression of your love, this is all a function of your magic wand. This is all a function of your willingness to create it so, to consider it so. It is so because you consider it to be so. The action follows. The feelings follow. Sometimes people say things like, “I’m terrible” and I ask them how they measure that. By what means do you measure that you’re terrible? Someone once answered me, “Well, I don’t feel good. I feel bad.” Well, I don’t know. Some poetry is about feeling bad and yet it was ecstatic. Your feelings, good or bad, are merely an expression of your ecstasy, merely an expression of your love. To master this space, to master the space of ecstasy, to master the space of love, one must be willing to create by consideration. You need to be willing to do that. You need to be willing to create a context around the existing circumstances. And as you’ve heard from the people who’ve expressed it, it often takes a lot of courage.

But what if it turns out that you were a fool? Well, fool is probably not down very far from where you are if you’re worried about it. I mean, what the hell, it’s probably worth taking the chance. Don’t you see that you’ve exchanged the quality of your life, just to be right in the eyes of the people around you? Don’t you see that you’ve exchanged the quality of your life in order to defend yourself, in order to handle the issues with people you love, that you’ve given up, you’ve sacrificed, you’ve been willing to give up the quality in your life in order to have the power, the force to handle the issues between you and the people in your life. I mean, what the hell are you going to lose? What could you lose? You’ve already given your life up. If you’re doing that, you’ve already given your life up. What the hell have you got to lose? Some crummy job? Some crummy marriage or relationship in which the issues are more important than the expression or experience of love? Not much to lose. If, in fact, it only exists in appearances, so what? And yet, to be loved is extraordinary, and it happens as a function of your consideration alone. – Werner Erhard

 

Excerpt from The Graduate Review, Sept. 1978, from a presentation by Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard is an original thinker whose ideas have transformed the effectiveness of and quality of life for millions of people and thousands of organizations around the world.  For more than 40 years he has been the creator of innovative ideas and models of individual, organizational, and social transformation.

His work has been the source of new perspectives for thinkers and practitioners in fields as diverse as business, education, philosophy, medicine, psychotherapy, developing and emerging countries, conflict resolution and community building.  Erhard has created new ways of seeing things in areas where progress has stalled or where breakthroughs would make a significant difference.  A majority of the Fortune 100 companies, and many foundations and governmental entities, have used his ideas and models.  Fortune magazine’s 40th anniversary issue (5/15/95), in examining the major contributions to management thinking, recognized Werner Erhard’s ideas about methods for empowering people as one of the major innovations in management thinking of the last few decades.

Purpose and Aliveness

The only two things in our lives are aliveness and patterns that block our aliveness. As patterns are experienced out, our lives become clearer. Things begin to make more sense. What we do makes more sense.

It’s funny, but when the alive you emerges from behind the smokescreen of all those patterns and begins to participate in life directly, life really does have purpose. It all somehow makes sense, in a fantastic way.

When you get rid of the blocks, what you have is aliveness, and when the blocks are gone, purpose emerges. There is no use searching externally for purpose, or trying to “pull it in.” It is already there. Just focus on clearing out what is between you and aliveness, so every time we create greater aliveness, the purpose is being served.Aliveness and purpose are practically the same thing. The purpose is greater aliveness, so every time we create greater aliveness, the purpose is being served.

As more and more of us get to see that the purpose is greater aliveness, it happens that all of us start to do the same thing – we start serving the purpose. Life comes on to us in our own terms, and so does the opportunity to serve.

That everyone is serving the purpose in a different way does not mean that everyone is doing something different. That’s the illusion. We do the same thing in different ways. As each of us makes our part of the whole really work, the purpose is being served.

The purpose is life and that it be, completely.
The commitment is: aliveness

– By Werner Erhard

Assessment of the Philosophical Significance of The est Training

by Hubert Dreyfus

“In the course of the training it became progressively clear to me that the experience underlying the training and the conceptualization of this experience have deep affinities with the phenomena presented and analyzed in Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time.”

“…It is directly manifest in the training that est embodies a powerful and coherent truth which transforms the quality of the lives of those who experience it. Moreover, this truth contains radically new insights into the nature of human beings.”

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Report on the est Training by Humberto Maturana

“The training is a set of interpersonal interactions that lead to emotional and intellectual experiences that provide a circumstance and an intrument for self awareness, self observation and reflection on the circumstances of the subject trainee, both in his individual life and as a social being.” – Humberto Maturana   Read more

J.L Moreno on Werner Erhard

From the book, Impromptu Man,  by Jonathan D. Moreno

“Erhard Seminars Training, known as est, epitomized the Great Crossover. In the 1970’s, as hundreds of troubled hospitalized patients were daily being released for their involuntary commitment in vast institutions, hundreds of “normal people” were voluntarily entering hotel ballrooms in the hope of transforming themselves. The attraction was a handsome and charismatic young man named Werner Erhard, who had undergone his own “transformation.” The word has a nearly technical significance for Erhard, who uses it to refer to his realization that what stood between him and his completeness as a human being was within his control. A critical part of “the training,” as practitioners refer to it, is freeing oneself from the past, accomplished by “experiencing” recurrent patterns and problems rather than repeating them, where “experience” again has a technical significance. To fully experience the pointless repetition of old, burdensome behaviors is to “experience them out.” An early biography of Erhard explains that:

“The Training provides a format in which siege is mounted on the Mind. It is intended to identify and bring under examination presuppositions and entrenched positionality. It aims to press one beyond one’s point of view, at least momentarily, into a perspective from which one observes one’s own positionality… The setting for the training is arduous and intrusive, …In the training ordinary ways to escape confronting one’s experience are- with the agreement of the participants-sealed off in advance. On the concrete level this means limited access to food, water toilets, bed. Alcohol and drugs are forbidden. There is limited movement, there are no clocks or watches by which to tell the time; one may not talk to others; nor may one sit beside friends. Internal crutches and barriers to experience – such as one’s own belief systems – are also challenged by means of philosophical lectures and exercises in imagination.”

Participants might have been surprised how both physically and emotionally challenging and how philosophical the training was…Erhard struck a chord among many, partly because it was simultaneously original and familiar. Erhard brought a uniquely American voice to the themes of the fading human potential movement, and est training was in the American tradition of Great Awakenings and motivational programs. He had a way with pithy, often spontaneous observations about life and living. Evan as the spirit of the 1960s lost steam, there was a powerful lingering desire among many for personal exploration and for more authentic connections to others. In many ways the training was the most important cultural event after the human potential movement itself seemed exhausted, with elements of theater, therapy, and social networking.

Somewhere along the line the clunky term “large group awareness training” had been coined in reference to experiences like est that were on a bigger scale than Lewin’s T-groups, but still aiming at Maslow’s peak experiences. Crucially, est workshops took place on a stage before dozens or even hundreds of people. That was a departure from the usual encounter group size of a dozen or so participants, and further still from the analyst’s couch. Erhard also confronted participants one-on-one, challenging them to be themselves rather than playing some role that had been imposed on them, a form of Socratic interrogation reminiscent of J.L.’s story about mounting the stage to confront the actor in the “legitimate” Vienna theater. Erhard was sensitive to the aspect of theater in the training; his biographer even calls it “a new form of participatory theater,… Like most drams, it has catharsis as one of its aims. Unlike most drama, it also aims to bring the participant to an experience of him or herself which is tantamount to transformation.” In the early years of est Erhard cited psychodrama as one way of “rehabilitating the imagination in the attempt to bring people to their potential.” And he plainly had enormous charisma and self-confidence, qualities that J.L. also didn’t lack. Erhard sold his company in 1991; it survives as Landmark Worldwide and its basic program is called the Landmark Forum. Erhard now travels and lectures on leadership education and integrity. Referring to a book he is completing with a friend, Erhard says that “I’d like to live long enough to get the ideas down.”

From Impromptu Man: J.L. Moreno and the Origins of Psychodrama, Encounter Culture, and the Social Network, by Jonathan D. Moreno

Jonathan D. Moreno is an American philosopher and historian who specializes in the intersection of bioethics, culture, science, and national security, and has published seminal works on the history, sociology and politics of biology and medicine.

Your power is a function of velocity

Your power is a function of velocity, that is to say, your power is a function of the rate at which you translate intention into reality. Most of us disempower ourselves by finding a way to slow, impede, or make more complex than necessary the process of translating intention into reality.

There are two factors worth examining in our impairing velocity, in our disempowering ourselves.

The first is the domain of reasonableness. When we deal with our intentions or act to realize our intentions from reasonableness, we are in the realm of slow, impede and complicate. When we are oriented around the story or the narrative, the explanations, the justifications, we are oriented around that in which there is no velocity, no power.

Results are black and white. In life, one either has results (one’s intentions realized) or one has the reason, story, explanations, and justifications. The person of power does not deal in explanations. This way of being might be termed management by results (not management for results but management by results). The person of power manages him or herself by results and creates a space or mood of results in which to interact with others.

The other factor to be addressed is time. Now never seems to be the right time to act. The right time is always in the future. Usually this appears in the guise of “after I (or we) do so and so, then it will be the right time to act”; or “after so and so occurs, then it will be the right time to act”; or “when so and so occurs, then it will be the right time to act.” The guise includes “gathering all the facts,” “getting the plan down,” “figuring out ‘X’,” “getting ready,” etc.

Since now is the only time you have in reality and now will never seem to be the right time to act, one may as well act now. Even though “it isn’t the right time,” given that the “right time” will never come, acting now is, at the least, powerful (even if you don’t get to be right). Most people wait for the decisive moment, whereas people of power are decisive in the moment. – Werner Erhard

By Werner Erhard, March 21, 1983

Werner Erhard Information

Werner H. Erhard is an internationally renowned figure of our time. He is the originator of the unique model of transformational learning that has helped shaped human consciousness in the last quarter of the 20th century. One of the great thinkers of the modern era, he has impacted, for decades, the areas of individual and organizational effectiveness throughout the world.

Time Magazine, March 7, 2011, said of Erhard: “The American obsession with Transformation isn’t new. It’s about as old as the nation. But it was Werner Erhard who created the first modern transformation when he founded est seminars in 1971. It’s a tribute to the power of his central concept that more than 20 years after he sold his ideas to a group of employees Landmark is still the natural first stop in any transformation tour.” [Excerpted from “Change We Can (Almost) Believe In” by Nathan Thornburgh.]

 

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Paradigm Thinking and Productivity

PARADIGM THINKING, properly applied, leads to tangible results.

JMW Consultants, a New York based management consulting consulting firm, helps companies boost productivity through paradigm shifts with an approach called “Productivity Breakthrough Technology.  They were called in by a major computer manufacturer to help deal with a crisis.

The manufacturer was trying to get an important product out in order to take advantage of a rapidly closing marketing window. If the team of software developers responsible for the project continued the development process at their current rate – a rate that was in line with industry standards – the product would not be ready on time. If the company hired more programmers to speed up the process, they would exceed their budget. Clearly, a breakthrough was needed.

After working with JMW, the software team began to double their previous productivity. The breakthrough enabled the company to get the product out in time – and save more than $100 million over the next three years.

JMW did not teach the team new techniques for developing software. Instead they helped them shift their paradigm. In their old paradigm, the rule was “X (the predictable) amount of work in X amount of time.” The new paradigm was stated as a possibility – “Y (the required) amount of work in X amount of time.”

“The shift was to create a future – the one they needed – as a possibility, not as a prediction,” says Werner Erhard, who founded a national affiliation of management consultants with which JMW is associated. “At that point, no one knew how to do it, but they could still create the possibility.

Because there was now a new paradigm in which to see the work, the team began seeing the job of developing software differently. They then were able to generate a commitment to that possibility.”

Erhard 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 beginnings of generating a new paradigm.” At some point in the process, he says, it will be evident that you have come up with the best paradigm for a breakthrough in that situation.

“Productivity 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,” he adds. “Breakthroughs come as a result of shifting your commitment from the predictable future to a possible future.”

 

Reprinted from the Fall 1989 issue of Benchmark Magazine, a publication of Xerox Corporation

est Outcome Study

In early 1974, an exhaustive survey “A Self-Report Survey: Preliminary study of Participants in Erhard Seminars Training” by R. Ornstein, C. Swencionis, A. Deikman, and R. Morris was completed by 10.5% of the est graduate population. The survey asked graduates to report their experience of health and well-being after the est training and their experience of health and well-being the year before the training…. Respondents reported strong positive health and well-being changes since taking the est Standard Training, especially in the areas of psychological health and well-being.

Est Outcome Study, by Ornstein, Swencionis, Deikman & Morris

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