The one thing I’m clear about is everyone is capable of being great. Not compared to someone else. I mean great for yourself. I’m committed to you realizing you’re great.

-Werner Erhard

werner erhard

By Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen
NBER Working Paper No. 19986
Issued in March 2014
NBER Program: Corporate Finance

Abstract: The seemingly never ending scandals in the world of finance with their damaging effects on value and human welfare (that continue unabated in spite of all the various efforts to curtail the behavior that results in those scandals) argues strongly for an addition to the current paradigm of financial economics. We summarize here our new theory of integrity that reveals integrity as a purely positive phenomenon with no normative aspects whatsoever. Adding integrity as a positive phenomenon to the paradigm of financial economics provides actionable access (rather than mere explanation with no access) to the source of the behavior that has resulted in those damaging effects on value and human welfare, thereby significantly reducing that behavior. More generally we argue that this addition to the paradigm of financial economics can create significant increases in economic efficiency and productivity.

Sands Leadership Lecture Series

“Professor Michael Jensen and Werner Erhard, two extraordinary thinkers, engage in a conversation that explores groundbreaking access to being a leader and to the effective exercise of leadership as one’s natural self-expression.” -Simon Business School, University of Rochester

“what est is about is transformation. est is about the self being self. And one of the things you uncover or discover or recover when you discover that you are your self is that absolutely everybody is themself, and that you can’t get transformed because in order to get transformed you’d have to be not transformed and if you’re not transformed you can never be transformed because transformation doesn’t have a beginning, middle or end.”  Werner Erhard 1976

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

- Werner Erhard, 1978

Werner Erhard

“Here’s my definition of a hero. A hero is an ordinary person given being and action by something bigger than themselves. One thing I’m sure about is I’m real ordinary. Yet I’ve had the chance to touch the lives of a lotta people.” From “Lunch with the FT: Werner Erhard“.

“It was in the event, “A World that Works for Everyone” that I realized I hadn’t answered the questions Werner was asking.  He asked us to look at the questions:  “Does my life really matter?”  Then he went on to suggest that, in the way we ordinarily live, the only possible answer to that question is, “I doubt it.”  That’s exactly where I was.  But then he went on to say that acknowledging that answer made a new domain possible – a domain in which things show up, in which the future could be created.  He said the purpose of the evening was to open up the question, “Does my life make a difference?  Do I really matter?  Do I make a difference?  Does anything make a difference?”  and to ask those questions in a way that would make a difference. Since I had been asking these questions since my mother’s death (and probably before) the evening had a tremendous impact on me.  He said that to be able to make a difference we must create a new context.  In that context I make a difference because everybody makes a difference.  The rule of that context is that everybody makes a difference or nobody makes a difference.  It is a world of “you and me” rather than “you or me.”  If my basic principle is that who I am makes a difference, life becomes an adventure.  He went on to say, “I wish I could take you back to your childhood, back to when you had visions, dreams, when you were naive, and I wish I could then move you forward to see when it was that you decided you didn’t make any difference.  You watched that early enthusiasm become blunted,  you learned not to care so much.” Listening to him I found myself in tears.  Those words were for me.  It was as if he had known about my childhood.  This is what I mean when I tell people, “He gave me my life.”

from Reading Under the Covers:  An Autobiography,  by Elizabeth Goodell Russell

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.

Living is really pretty simple. Living happens right now; it doesn’t happen back then, and it doesn’t happen out there. Living is not the story of your life. Living is the process of experiencing right now.

-Werner Erhard

You don’t have to go looking for love when it is where you come from.

-Werner Erhard

Happiness is almost not worth talking about because the instant you turn happiness into a goal it isn’t attainable any more. In other words, happiness isn’t something you can work towards. It isn’t something you can put someplace and overcome barriers to get to… It is something that happens in an instant. And the truth of the matter is that you can alter your state to a state of happiness, by simply choosing to be willing to have it be the way it is.

Werner Erhard

In manifesting your aliveness, you will want to follow a principle which was beautifully stated by Albert Schweitzer when he said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” Notice that Dr. Schweitzer says “sought and found how to serve.” He did not say “try to serve,” or “try something and drop it,” or “do the best you can.”

Happiness comes from having served successfully.

One continues to expand in one’s ability to serve by meeting the challenge of actually delivering the results.

Decide on a project for which you are willing to take complete responsibility. Complete the project successfully. Relate this achievement to others as an inspiration for them. Your willingness to express yourself may be just the trigger needed by someone else to do something for themselves. From now on, don’t wait for something to happen to you. Actually take responsibility for making something happen. Keep at it until you make it a successful experience for everyone. You can make the difference.

“One of the fundamental aspects of unworkability in the world is time. That’s the first lie. That’s the beginning of the end of the truth. Time. You need to master time to have any mastery in the world. People who are at the effect of time, people who can’t create time, people who can’t manage time, people who can’t move time around, people who can’t handle time, people who are overwhelmed by time, have no mastery and no basis for mastery. The basis for mastery in the world is being able to handle time. So what we have is an enormous opportunity to create a context in an environment of workability. And that environment is generated out of a mastery of time.”  Read More

- Werner Erhard

“Transformation is the context in which transformation can occur. The experience of that transformation is one of wholeness and completeness, of self as totally fulfilled and completely satisfied to be. Transformation is not a peak experience. Transformation is not the experience of self. Transformation is the self itself. If you listen carefully to what I just said, not with your understanding, but with your self, you will hear that what I just said is that transformation is completion. Transformation is being complete. What is the chair as chair? It’s complete. What is the room as room? It’s complete. What is the self as self? It’s complete. It is the complete self, simply being self.

The dictionary has a beautifully abstract definition of complete. It’s beautifully contextual. It says “complete implies the inclusion of all that is needed for the integrity, perfection or fulfillment” of something.

That captures my meaning exactly. When self is self, that is the experience of being complete. That is the experience of integrity, or being true to yourself.”

-Werner Erhard

“If you know you have the ability to transform the quality of your life, you are transformed.”

“When the context of your life shifts from becoming satisfied to being satisfied, an essential shift has occurred. You no longer seek satisfaction – you are satisfied. You no longer seek completion – you are complete. You shift from chasing satisfaction and completeness to expressing or manifesting satisfaction and completeness.

Life shifts from a process of becoming complete to a process of being complete. The process of life doesn’t stop, or end, or finish. Life goes on. And, from the space of completion, instead of life seeking itself, life begins to give of itself. It shares itself. It causes life. It brings satisfaction to life. It creates life and shares the “experience” of life.

In that sense, transformation reveals itself as a continuous beginning. Each experience is a fresh beginning and a complete ending, because it expresses satisfaction.”

-Werner Erhard

“Transformation is not an event. It doesn’t have the properties of things or experiences. It has no position, no location in time, no beginning, no middle, and no end. It doesn’t look like anything or feel like anything. You could say it’s a shift in the basis of experience from self as point of view or from self as direct experience to self as self, or self as simply being.

True transformation is the recovery by the self of the generating principles with which self creates the self. Transformation is self as self – the space in which being occurs, or to put it another way it is the being of abstraction or the context which the being of abstraction is.”

werner erhard on transformation - 1976

From Epistemological And Contextual Contributions of est to General Systems Theory, presented by Werner Erhard to the symposium on Evolving Trends in General Systems Theory and the Future of the Family,   Opatija, Yugoslavia, 5 October 1976

“Heroes are ordinary men and women who dare to see and meet the call of a possibility bigger than themselves. Breakthroughs are created by such heroes, by men and women who will stand for the result while it is only a possibility – people who will act to make possibility real.”

“The only two things in our lives are aliveness and patterns that block our aliveness.”

-Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard, the est training


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