Every era has a relatively small number of original and influential persons, those who generate initiative, discoveries, achievements and insights which shape our own cultures and societies — and often those of future generations. If we know these people well, it is through their works: their campaigns and institutions, their books and inventions, their vaccines, their symphonies, their monuments and their firms.

The Saturday Satellite Series with Werner Erhard was a program designed to give us a new access to such people — a glimpse of the commitments and visions that inform such lives, and that serve as the source of their creations. The series was conducted as a dialogue between Werner Erhard and prominent guest speakers who are widely recognized for their achievements and expertise. These dialogues were designed not to present particular views, but to open an inquiry that elicits creative thinking and productive action from and for all participants.

Since we have been raised and educated in a you or me world, and since very few of us have noticed the shift to you and me, we are going to have to work out the rules for living on our own.  We won’t get much help.  Werner did share his own perceptions of some of the other new rules, or operating principles, for the you and me context.

1. Respect the other person’s point of view, whether or not you agree with it.  Recognize that if you had their history, their circumstances, and the forces that play on them, you would likely have their point of view.

2. Consider life a privilege – all of it, even the parts that are difficult or seem a waste of time.

3. Give up the islands that reinforce mediocrity, the safe places where we gossip and complain to one another, where we are petty.

4. Take a chance.  Be willing to put your reputation on the line; have something at stake.

5. Work for satisfaction rather than for credit.

6. Keep your word.  There will be times when the circumstances of life will make you forget who you are and what you’re about.  That is when you need to be committed to keeping your word, making what you say count.

 

From the Friends of Werner Erhard Website

“Contributing Transformation in the World” by Werner Erhard, as published in the est Graduate Review, March 1980

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.

“I am sometimes asked whether I ‘really’ mean that people are wholly responsible for their experience of life, as if I wished to blame people in poor circumstances. For example, I am asked whether accident victims are ‘responsible’ for having accidents. I hope it has become clear in the context I have developed above that such questions might involve an oversimplification. Responsibility, in my view, is simply the awareness that my universe of experience is my own including the experiences of those events in my life I call accidents.

Responsibility begins with the willingness to acknowledge that my self is the source of my experience of my circumstances. And yet, on occasion, some people think that I think accidents do not happen – or would not happen, if I were ‘really’ responsible. I am sure you will understand my occasional dismay when I am asked questions of this sort. On reflection, I usually recall that such questions derive from a well-intentioned (though perhaps limited) view of human dignity, an intention with which I can align myself, since my own intention is precisely to show that the experience of responsibility is enabling, not disabling.

I have no interest in the justification of circumstances or producing guilt in others by assigning obligation. I am interested in providing an opportunity for people to experience mastery in the matter of their own lives and the experience of satisfaction, fulfillment, and aliveness. These are a function of the self as context rather than thing, the self as space rather than location or position, the self as cause rather than self at effect.

I am not saying that you or anyone else is responsible. True responsibility cannot be assigned from outside the self by someone else or as a conclusion or belief derived from a system of concepts. I do not say that you or anyone is responsible. I do say – with me, you have the space to experience yourself as responsible – as cause in the matter of your own life. I will interact with you from my experience that you are responsible – that you are cause in your own life and you can count on me for respect and support as I am clear that I am fully responsible for my experience of you, that is to say, from my experience of the way you are.

Ultimately, one experiences oneself as the space in which one is and others are. I call this the transformation of experience. At the level of source – or context – or abstraction – I am you. That is beyond responsibility.”

From The est Standard Training, published in Biosciences Communication, 1977

Columbia University’s Center on Capitalism and Society recently announced its new issue of Capitalism & Society Journal  (May 2017), featuring the paper “Putting Integrity Into Financce: A Purely Positive Approach,” authored by Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen.

Unique among economics journals, Capitalism & Society focuses on what makes capitalism dynamic: innovation and entrepreneurship. Topics include ownership, corporate control, entry and venture capital, the discovery process, and commercial performance. While these topics have been studied from a micro-perspective, Capitalism & Society breaks new ground as the only mainstream forum that discusses how capitalism works from a broad social science perspective. Editors of this peer-reviewed journal include some of the best-known and most widely-published scholars in the fields of economics, business, law, and sociology, such as Jeffrey Sachs, Saskia Sassen, Richard Nelson, Robert Shiller, and Nobel Prize winning economists Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, and Edmund Phelps.

Click here to access the new issue of Capitalism & Society.

 

 

 

 

The Impact of Integrity As A Positive Phenomenon

We define integrity as the state of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, in perfect condition – clearly, the definition of a positive phenomenon. As is the case with any positive phenomenon – for example, gravity – there are effects caused by actions related to that phenomenon. The action of stepping off a cliff will, as a result of gravity being a positive phenomenon, cause an effect (whether one likes
the effect or not). Likewise, action that is consistent or inconsistent with integrity will, as a result of integrity being a positive phenomenon, also cause an effect (again, whether one likes the effect or not).

When integrity is revealed and dealt with as a positive phenomenon as it is in our model, the relation between integrity, workability and performance is as follows:

1. Maximum workability for an object, system, person, or other human entity (such as a partnership or corporation) is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for maximum performance,

2. Integrity as we distinguish and define it (the state of being whole, complete, unbroken, sound, in perfect condition) is a necessary (and sufficient) condition for maximum workability,

3. It follows that for an object, system, person, or other human entity integrity is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for maximum performance, and

4. It follows that as integrity declines, the opportunity for performance declines.

5. This leads to the empirically refutable proposition that, ceteris paribus, as integrity declines, performance declines.

From “Putting Integrity Into Finance, A Purely Positive Approach” by Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen; published in the Capitalism and Society Journal

 

The Center on Capitalism and Society published Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen’s paper, Putting Integrity Into Finance: A Purely Positive Approach in their May 2017 Journal, Capitalism and Society Volume 12, Issue 1.

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“Integrity as we define it (or the lack thereof) on the part of individuals or organizations has enormous economic implications for value, productivity, and quality of life. Indeed, integrity is a factor of production as important as labor, capital, and technology. Without a clear, concise, and most importantly, an actionable definition of integrity, economics, finance and management are far less powerful than they can be.”

“Putting Integrity Into Finance: A Purely Positive Approach” by Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen Ph.D. Published by Columbia University’s Center On Capitalism and Society in their Journal: Capitalism and Society, Volume 12, Issue 1.

http://capitalism.columbia.edu/journal/12/1

We live in interesting times. Each day brings us fresh news of breakthroughs, innovations, and discoveries, along with bold new models and paradigms for their comprehension. Humanity seems intent on articulating a new paradigm of human nature which will at long last render health and well being universally possible.

So earnest is this search for new paradigms of human well being that there are an abundance of them, whose very number have now become problematic. We seek not only new ways to be well, but new ways to seek new ways to be well.

Currently, for example, there is much interest in the paradigms of the East. These, it is hoped, when somehow combined with those of the West, will more deeply heal us. Many hope that a shift away from the Western paradigm, toward the Eastern paradigm, will at last put us on the road to lasting well-being.

There is, in addition, a growing enthusiasm that our current explorations will not merely combine new knowledge with old, but will occasion a paradigm shift in the definition of human health and well being.

The search is on for a profoundly new kind of inquiry, which will enable us this time to see not only where we have been, where we are, and where we are going, but more essentially, will empower us from now on to be who we are while we journey onward.

The authors gladly acknowledge their fraternity with those who seek to articulate a paradigm which no longer locates well being beyond our human reach. Precisely what is wanted is a paradigm which locates well being within our nature. Not only is a shift toward such a paradigm currently underway: what the shift reveals is clearly sound and fundamentally important.

Yet, paradigms have shifted before. In fact, it is their nature to shift, each eventually giving way to its successor as inevitably as the waves of the sea. So the issue in our time is not whether a paradigm shift is underway, but whether we can discover the principles underlying any paradigm shift which will enable us from now on to experience our full humanity during the shift not, as ever before, in the hope that true well being will come after the next shift has been accomplished.

What is wanted and needed during an era of multiple paradigm shifts is not yet another paradigm shift, but the ability to shift paradigms confidently, ably, powerfully, i.e., paradigm mastery. The purpose of this essay is precisely to articulate the principles by which such mastery is occasioned.

We will ourselves neither promote a new paradigm, nor defend those useful in the past, nor justify or rationalize current paradigm shifts. Our aim is to assist, enable, and empower all those participating in the shift of fundamental notions of human well being, so that their work may draw on a mastery of paradigm shifts.

Our purpose then is the articulation of the principles by which paradigms are generated—what might be called the “paradigm of paradigms”: that set of principles, access to which serves as the source of the power and the ability to cause a shift from one paradigm to another.   Read More

– Werner Erhard, Victor Gioscia, and Ken Anbender, Being Well

“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. 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.”

-Werner Erhard

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.”

  • Werner Erhard

 

“When you forgive yourself for something, you have to create the space for that thing to exist. For whatever you resist, and fail to make space for, will indeed manifest itself in you.”

-Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard 2010

 

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“Talking about transformation is no more than a representation, an image of the real thing.  It’s like eating the menu instead of the steak – neither nurturing nor profound.  It is in being transformed – in being authentically true to oneself – that one lives passionately free, unencumbered, fearless, committed.  It is in living life in a transformed way that the steak and its sizzle show up.”

-Werner Erhard

“Sometime around now – it may have happened five years ago or fifty years ago – but sometime around now, the rules for living successfully on this planet shifted.  We can no longer hope to live meaningful, purposeful lives using the rules of a you or me world.  It’s becoming clearer and clearer to those who will look that in order to live successfully on this planet, we must discover and live by the rules of you and me.” – Werner Erhard

“The moment when you really experience that you have created yourself being whatever way you are, at that same moment you will never have to be that way again.”

-Werner Erhard

 

Werner Erhard

“To take a stand for the future is to bring forth a new opportunity, not one derived from the past, but an opportunity created from a future to which we give ourselves.”

  • Werner Erhard

You and I want our lives to matter. We want our lives to make a real difference — to be of genuine consequence in the world. We know that there is no satisfaction in merely going through the motions in life, even if those motions make us successful or even if we have arranged to make those motions pleasant. We want to know we have had some impact on the world. In fact, you and I want to contribute to the quality of life. We want to make the world work.

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We can choose to be audacious enough to take responsibility for the entire human family. We can choose to make our love for the world what our lives are really about. Each of us has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us. It will require courage, audacity and heart. It is much more radical than a revolution – it is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet. What we create together is a relationship in which our work can show up as making a difference in people’s lives. I welcome the unprecedented opportunity for us to work globally on that which concerns us all as human beings. If not you, who? If not now, when? If not here, where?

  • Werner Erhard in The Graduate Review. 1980.

Werner Erhard in discussion with Professor Jonathan D. Moreno, April 2016 at the University of Pennsylvania.

“You’ve got to be with your self uninterruptedly for a long time. And that’s an experience which you and I don’t afford ourselves very often. You know, we stop for a cigarette, we stop to make conversation, we stop to divert our selves, to entertain ourselves. But, during this 60 hours [of the est Training], you really get to look deep down inside your self.”–Werner Erhard, 1976