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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, 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.

When you look at making the world work, you are confronted by, and cannot pass over, the fact that each year 15 million of us die as a consequence of starvation. This unparalleled failure for humanity enables us to see that the world’s unworkability is located in the very condition in which we live our lives. Thus, it is not people “out there” who are starving; people are starving “here” – in the space in which you and I live. You and I are working to make our lives work in the same condition that results in hunger and starvation.

Starvation both maintains and dramatizes a world that does not work. Persisting throughout history, it has accounted for more deaths and suffering than all epidemics, wars, and natural disasters combined. During the past five years alone, more people have died as a consequence of starvation than from all the wars, revolutions, and murders of the past 150 years. As you read this, 28 people are dying in our world each minute as a consequence of hunger, three-quarters of them children.

The bare statistics are so shocking that we rarely examine the further impact of starvation on our own lives. Hunger, by its persistence, seems to invalidate that our lives could matter. It seems to prove that we are capable only of gestures. It suppresses the space in which each of us lives.

Yet, precisely because the impact of starvation on our lives is so great, its existence is actually an opportunity. It is an opportunity to get beyond merely defending what we have, beyond the futility of self-interest, beyond the hopelessness of clinging to opinions and making gestures.

In fact, in experiencing the truth underlying hunger, one comes to realize that the ordinarily unnoticed laws that determine the persistence of hunger on this planet are precisely the laws that keep the world from working. And the principles of the end of hunger and starvation in the world are the very principles necessary to make the world work.

So this paper is not an explanation, a solution, an opinion, or a point of view about the problem of hunger. It is an examination of what is so about the persistence of hunger, aimed at answering two questions:

1. What are the laws governing and determining the persistence of hunger on our planet? Not the reasons, however cogent; not the justifications, however comforting; not the systems of explanation, however consistent or clever. If we were merely looking for reasons to explain the persistence of hunger and starvation, we could logically deduce them from the facts.

Fundamental laws and principles, however, cannot be deduced. One knows them by creating them from nothing, out of one’s Self. One does not arrive at fundamental laws and principles as a function of what is already known. Such laws and principles do not merely explain; they illuminate. They do not merely add to what we know; they create a new space in which knowing can occur. The test of whether we are dealing with fundamental laws and principles, or with mere reasons and explanations, is whether there is a shift from controversy, frustration, and gesturing, to mastery, motion, and completion.

2. What are the principles of the end of hunger and starvation on the planet? Not new programs of solution, no matter how saleable or clever; not different or better opinions, no matter how arguable; not points of view, no matter how agreeable. This discussion is not about another good idea. It is about revealing the fundamental principles of the end of hunger and starvation on our planet.

Introduction to : The End of Starvation: Creating an Idea Whose Time Has Come by Werner Erhard, 1977

“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

“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.

“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


“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



“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

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

“When my integrity is lacking, I am clear that I just got to be a bit smaller as a person. That keeps me working on my integrity. And the thing about integrity is it’s a mountain with no top.”

Werner Erhard in The New York Times, November 29, 2015

“One can inquire into being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership from a number of perspectives, with each perspective providing insights not contributed by the others. …leader and leadership can also be examined from the science of ontology. Ontology examines leader and leadership from the perspective of the nature and function of being as it relates to being a leader and the impact of being on one’s effectiveness in the exercise of leadership. While providing its own insights and testable propositions, the ontological perspective is complementary to the findings and insights we are aware of provided by the other perspectives. While the ontological perspective is less familiar for most of us than these other perspectives and therefore perhaps at first uncomfortable, the ontological perspective is uniquely powerful in providing access to the being of being a leader and the actions of the effective exercise of leadership as one’s natural self-expression.”


Erhard, W., Jensen, M., and Zaffron, S. (2015). Introductory Reading for Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model. Harvard Business School Negotiation, Organizations, and Market Research Papers

“Harvard economist Michael Jensen, who is famous in financial circles for championing the concepts of shareholder value and executive stock options, “I became convinced we should work to get this kind of transformational material into the academies,” he said, adding that he considers Mr. Erhard “one of the great intellectuals of the century.”
Peter Haldeman – New York Times, November 29, 2015

Werner Erhard paced the aisle between rows of desks in a Toronto conference room. “If you’re going to be a leader, you’re going to have to have a very loose relationship with this thing you call ‘I’ or ‘me,’” he shouted. “Maybe that whole thing in me around which the universe revolves isn’t so central! Maybe life is not about the self but about self-transcendence! You got a problem with that?”
No one in the room had a problem with that. The desks were occupied by 27 name-tagged academics from around the world. And in the course of the day, a number of them would take the mike to pose what their instructor referred to as “yeah buts, how ‘bouts or what ifs” in response to his pronouncements – but no one had a problem with them.
Peter Haldeman – New York Times, November 29, 2015

“If you’re going to be a leader, you’re going to have to have a very loose relationship with this thing you call ‘I’ or ‘me’. Maybe that whole thing in me around which the universe revolves isn’t so central! Maybe life is not about the self but about self-transcendence.”

-Werner Erhard, The New York Times, November 28, 2015

New York Times 11-28-2015

werner22“Without being a man or woman of integrity you can forget about being a leader. And, being a person of integrity is a never‑ending endeavor. Being a person of integrity is a mountain with no top – you have to learn to love the climb.”.

-Werner Erhard

“The way it is,
is enough.
Who you are is enough.
The only thing you have to do
is be.”

-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.”
-Werner Erhard 1971



By Werner Erhard, March 21, 1983

“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

“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

Werner H. Erhard

“I could always tell when an organization was in good shape.  I could tell because the manager of the organization would always be talking about how great the people in the organization were.  If the manager was talking about anything other than how great people in the organization were, I knew that the organization was in bad shape.  The way to manage an organization successfully is to manage it in such a way that you can be proud of the people with whom you are working.  You have to find a way to interact with the people with whom you are working in a way that makes you proud of them.”

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