Thursday, December 04, 2008


Director Robyn Simon has produced a film Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard well worth watching and also a source of additional background on what this blog is about, to the extent one can say that this blog is about something. Readers who recognize the name know that Erhard is the man behind the EST Training that was quite the thing during the 1970s. Erhard's technology is probably the most powerful ever developed for completing the past and gaining more powerful relationships with the traumas that shape one's view of reality.

The est training really put the hook into Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard, who obviously considered Erhard's success a profound threat. Hubbard went positively nuts and all but threatened Erhard's life, devoting substantial Scientology resources into destroying the man's reputation with some degree of success that culminated in a 60 Minutes program now known to have forwarded allegations that were entirely false.

Erhard developed est during the human potential movement that arose in the turbulence of the 1960s that questioned all established convictions and authority. Expanding consciousness and awareness actually became a cool thing to do (the antithesis of the anti-intellectual anti-awareness outlook of buffoon Bush and six pack Palin), and est emerged as a front runner for the masses. Erhard was not so much the originator of the ideas as he was the ingenious packager of ideas already expressed but inaccessible to the average person. Heidegger and Schopenhauer mixed with a good dose of Einstein's relatively opens a rich harvest of ideas and distinctions Erhard captured brilliantly. The distinction "distinction" is itself a rich conversation worthy of a few hours.

Watching the film was a real treat, and seeing the nametag tables took me back fifteen years to the day I first approached such a table. The film featured Sandy Robbins (I know Sandy from the Magma Copper days) and Laurel Sheaf. Seeing people one knows in a film is an interesting experience. As I discussed in "Something Else," people "thingify" concepts or ideas in ways that do not correspond to reality. I used the example of mental models (from Senge's classic Fifth Discipline) about a thermostat, where we conceptualize it as a valve, setting a freezing house at 90 degrees as if that will warm it more quickly than a setting at 70.

In 1991, following the 60 Minutes character assassination Erhard left the country and turned the transformational programs over to est employees who formed a new corporation, Landmark Education. The est training evolved into The Landmark Forum, in which your humble blogger participated in June of 1993 after learning of the program only days after speaking "growth" while illuminated in a chamber somewhere near a border. If one truly grasped the power of speaking one would speak carefully.

The film does not mention Magma Copper, but it does talk about BHP in New Zealand. I all but crucified my psyche to gain certification to lead the kind of programs associated with this work, but unfortunately BHP torched Magma unable (more likely unwilling) to acknowledge that of course copper prices would climb to well over a couple bucks a pound and remain there indefinitely. San Manuel could produce cathode for about 80 cents a pound. Millions of pounds. Oh well.

I recommend the film to those interested in ideas that press envelopes and boundaries. Those truly interested in growth and transformation should take the real plunge and drink deeply by actually participating in The Forum itself. For some, the event is a terrific experience just watching a for real, no kidding course leader truly lead a course. One gets to indeed step outside the box that contains the notion of teaching.


Blogger Nobody said...

Look at that... I'm going to be your only comment on this one. But you also know that I'm into this stuff. New Rules of Power and all that.

Watched the video. Though it was interesting, I found it a bit sparse. More simple history (the Scientology battle, though mentioned, was almost glossed over).

Enjoyed. But if you find a documentary like this that's even more pithy, let me know.

12/09/2008 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you're an ESTie? Well, that explains a lot about this blog

12/11/2008 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, There is a very interesting new website about the est training.

2/18/2009 12:03 PM  

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