Mike Wallace (May 9, 1918 – April 7, 2012) was an American journalist, game show host, actor and media personality. He interviewed a wide range of prominent newsmakers during his sixty-year career. He was one of the original correspondents for CBS’ 60 Minutes which debuted in 1968.
One of the rare times that Wallace was interviewed rather than interviewing, this interview took place on March 3, 1988.
Al Neuharth (1924-2013) was the founder and senior advisory chairman of the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan foundation that champions the First Amendment as a cornerstone of democracy. The Freedom Forum funds and operates the Newseum, the First Amendment Center and the Newseum Institute.
Neuharth was chairman of the Freedom Forum from 1986 to 1997, and was a trustee of the foundation and its predecessor, the Gannett Foundation, from 1965 to 1999.
He was founder of the nation’s most widely read newspaper, USA TODAY, and former chairman and chief executive officer of Gannett Co.
This interview with Werner Erhard took place on July 11, 1987 and was broadcast via satellite as part of the Saturday Satellite Seminar Series on the Business of Money.
“I took the est training in December of 1980. It was an amazing experience. I had a powerful breakthrough and insight. I got it, as they say in the jargon. And what I got was that I was an openness, a clearing. This is so powerful in part because I was a student of Heidegger, in the sense that I read his books and had written a book about him and so on. I saw that this was so consistent with Heidegger’s idea of what it means to be human, that I was totally amazed. In addition to that I find this transformational workshop that is able to generate a first person experience of my being this nothingness, this openness. It was astounding to me.
In January or February of 1982 I was introduced to Werner Erhard by Hubert Dreyfus, at the University of California. Werner was taking part in a seminar he had founded with this Chilean philosopher, Umberto Maturana, and I was invited to participate in it. It was a marvelous experience. There I discovered Werner’s ability to ask incisive questions, to really get at the heart of the matter and to understand everything. This man, I realized was very, very smart. He had no particular formal training in anything, but he understood things as well as anyone I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around a lot of smart people in academia. This is an extraordinary intellect I saw at work. I was there having a wonderful time, because I was really inspired by the est training which I had taken a year earlier, which I thought was a very powerful experience, kind of like an American Zen training, and I wanted to meet the man who had been involved in inventing this. So it was quite an exciting time to meet with Werner and to discover some of his own philosophical underpinnings. During that time, in the spring of 1982, Werner invited me and Burt Dreyfus, two philosophy professors, to help him reinvent the training, informing it with principles drawn from Heidegger and other thinkers to make it more rigorous and effective in bringing people into another way of thinking about what it is to be human.
Werner Erhard, like a number of other important thinkers, and I think Werner Erhard is a very powerful thinker, an authentic American genius, if you will, has drawn on a vast array of traditions and thinkers to put together his approach to transformation. This is not unusual among famous European and American intellectuals. Heidegger, for example, Martin Heidegger, the philosopher, someone I teach a lot, was influenced by Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Kierkegaard, Niche and a host of other thinkers. And when I teach Heidegger, I go through in the first section of the class, I explain some of these influences and I add, it was Heidegger who put a new spin on all of this. That’s why Heidegger is Heidegger. What is important to see here is that Werner Erhard put a spin on all of this that was original, that was impactful, that transformed peoples experience of their lives in many ways. So Werner, I think, needs to be conceived in that way. He’s a kind of artist, a thinker, an inventor, who has big debts to others, who borrowed from others, but then put the whole thing together in a way no one else had ever done. An in addition to this ability to bring together many different patterns of thinking, and types of activities and learning processes, Werner has a kind of incredible sharp mind, which enables him to discern patterns, and opportunities that are not seen by others. That’s Werner’s ability.” – Michael Zimmerman
Michael E. Zimmerman is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Humanities and the Arts at Colorado University, Boulder.
Warren Bennis is an American scholar, organizational consultant and author, widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership studies.
Warren Bennis on Werner Erhard’ work and ideas
“I was at a point where I had been working very hard as a university president and had a coronary event in London while I was staying with friends.
Another friend of mine from the US came over at that time said OK, Warren you got to do it now you’ve got to understand what been going on in your life. And I thought it was an incredible experience and in a way that it now would be hard more than twenty five years later to really recount exactly what it was.
It was not so much the openness to myself as much as it was to my admiration of the collective beings who were with me and their generosity. The generosity, the ocean of affinities that opened up as a result, when you see people with so many different backgrounds so many different languages, and I fell in love with the ocean of wonder that opened up and the collectivity of people.
Second thing was that I was very impressed with the structure of it, with the technology of it. I love the very structure and the foundation for learning in the carpeted characterless hotel room on Piccadilly in London. That impressed me.
The biggest idea or distinction that hit home was a thing that in high faluting academic circles they call agency theory. Do you know that word? It’s a very American word, agent, agency. It has something to do with being alive.
It has something with taking responsibility. You actually create your wonder. You are the author of your life and it you want a life, you better start writing one. That’s the fist thing. Because you are the author, the word author is the root of the word authority. You have to be the author of your own life.
I am impressed and in admiration of so much that Werner’s teachings have done for so many thousands of people to give them that nudge to write their own stories.
To me the single part of the technology has to do with goosing them into making the changes that they always wanted to make but never did. And the other things is to let them see that they are not lonely that there are other people who are on the same path that are searching for more understanding of what they can do with their life other than just die, or live a life dying on the installment plan day by day by day..
I use the word jolt or shock or unfreeze because habit is a great deadener and most people are chained by habit and too often a less successful habit.
I think where the work of Werner really comes in handy is by getting people to understand we are not trapped in our silos and we do not have to conceal and play games we are in this because the reason we are together is to achieve a goal and I think what the transformative essence of Erhard’s work as applied to corporations is to make people more capable of taking risks and dealing with and opening up all those blinkered shutters that make up most of or organizational life.
The substrate of all of est’s and Erhard’s work has to do with opening up boundaries within silos, opening up boundaries within oneself, with other individuals. That’s what its all about
Where Werner’s genius is to me is with the technology that makes the change from abstraction into behavior.
Werner has a philosophical mind that I can’t fully comprehend. Werner, while he may not agree with this has created a technology not uniquely American, but certainly has its roots here that has unleashed the possibilities of being human. That’s the legacy.”
William F. Buckley Jr. was a journalist whose rigorous and spirited commentary was a vibrant force on the political scene. His conservative journal, The National Review, founded in 1955, is quoted throughout the world. And his television show, The Firing Line, provided stimulating political and social debate for more than two decades. He hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999.
This interview took place on October 25, 1986 as part of the Saturday Satellite Seminar Series presented by Werner Erhard & Associates.
Werner Erhard along with Peter Block, author, consultant and speaker in the areas of organization development, community building, and civic engagement, developed a three-day conference to bring together a broad base of community leaders already working on peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. The participants engage in a very open, intense, and interactive dialogue throughout the three days.
The gatherings are a unique and intensive process carefully designed to provoke new thinking and new conversations that leave participants with more access to their power to make a difference. Entrance is by invitation only and at no cost to those who have demonstrated their commitment to building inclusive communities.
During the three days, in a safe, hospitable environment, participants engage each other in a new conversation around these questions:
How can we deal with the identities we have inherited from our histories in a way that it is possible for us to create an authentic alternative to the future we have been handed by the past?
How can we bring others in our communities together in a way that supports us in collectively creating this new kind of future?
These are not academic questions, and the conversations designed around them are often challenging and sometimes heated. The purpose is to produce a breakthrough for the participants in their relationship to the past, to the future, and to what is possible for themselves and their communities.