Werner Erhard

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At all times and under all circumstances, we have the power to transform the quality of our lives.

Werner Erhard (born John Paul Rosenberg on September 5, 1935) is the founder of Erhard Seminars Training ("EST") and The Forum. He also co-founded The Hunger Project.

Quotes[edit]

To take a stand for the future is to bring forth an opportunity not borne of the path we've taken in the past, but borne of a vision which we would create for ourselves.
Inherent in human beings are possibilities which we now can't even entertain. Before the space launch, space travel to many of us was the stuff of fantasy, of science fiction.
Arranged in ascending chronological order
  • 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.
  • At all times and under all circumstances, we have the power to transform the quality of our lives.
  • To take a stand for the future is to bring forth an opportunity not borne of the path we've taken in the past, but borne of a vision which we would create for ourselves.
    • Interview with USA Today, "Mankind Must Find a New Self Awareness", Dan Neuharth and Miles White, December 14, 1982
  • [Alan] Watts did two main things for me. He opened up the connections between what I was doing and the traditional Oriental philosophies. And he pointed me toward the distinction between Self and Mind.
  • 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.
  • Does it really work for us to go through our lives as though there were no realizations beyond the grasp of our system-of-concepts, the awareness of which would transform the quality of our lives?
  • Of all the disciplines that I studied, practiced, learned, Zen was the essential one. It was not so much an influence on me, rather it created space. It allowed those things that were there to be there. It gave some form to my experience. And it built up in me the critical mass from which was kindled the experience that produced est.
  • I got a lot of benefit from auditing. It was the fastest and deepest way to handle situations that I had yet encountered. I immediately wanted to learn to do it. ... With Scientology, I was able to characterize the Mind more accurately, and to cease justifying it. This greatly clarified what I was doing. ... After my experience with Scientology, I saw what it means to see the Mind as a machine. I can now operate my Mind accordingly, with exactitude. I can do the familiar mind over matter experiments - the control of pain and bleeding, telepathy, those things.
  • I am a sort of revolutionary. I have a strange ambition, though. I don’t want any statues. What I want is for the world to work. I want to create a context in which government, education, and families are nurturing. I want to en­able, to empower, the institutions of man. Social transformation doesn’t argue against social change. Radicalism and resistance produce obvious values. But after a while, social change chases its own tail. Social change just produces social change. After most ordinary revolutions, after most social change, the world still doesn’t work. For the world to work you must have social transformation, which creates the space for effective social change.
  • The essential difference between est and Scientology is two-fold. The first has to do with Scientology’s emphasis on survival and its idea that the purpose of life is survival. est sees the purpose of life as wholeness or completion – truth – not survival...The other main difference between est and Scientology lies in the treatment of knowing. Ron Hubbard seems to have no difficulty in codifying the truth and in urging people to believe it. But I suspect all codifications, particularly my own. In presenting my own ideas, I emphasize their epistemological context. I hold them as pointers to the truth, not as the truth itself. I don’t think anyone ought to believe the ideas that we use in est. The est philosophy is not a belief system and most certainly ought not to be believed. In any case, even the truth, when believed, is a lie. You must experience the truth, not believe it.
  • Inherent in human beings are possibilities which we now can't even entertain. Before the space launch, space travel to many of us was the stuff of fantasy, of science fiction. We know what it is to explore the limits of what we consider to be a human being, but if we were to transform our understanding of ourselves, if we were to transform what we knew a human being to be, new possibilities of expression would open. We could function in a more creative way. In a more humane way. In the past we were transformed by the thrust of evolution or by accidental forces. This time we should transform ourselves with a conscious, committed degree of self-awareness.
    • Interview with USA Today, "Mankind Must Find a New Self Awareness", Dan Neuharth and Miles White, December 14, 1982
  • You and I possess within ourselves, at every moment of our lives and under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives.
  • Until what is significant is created by you, you aren’t living your life, you are living some inherited life.
  • 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.

Attributed[edit]

Arranged in ascending chronological order
  • Here is where it is. Now is when it is. You are what it is.
    • Adelaide Bry (1976). est, 60 Hours that Transform Your Life. New York: Avon. p. 216. 
  • Here is where it is. You are what it is.
    • Adelaide Bry (1976). est, 60 Hours that Transform Your Life. New York: Avon. p. 218. 
  • Man keeps looking for a truth to fit his reality. Given our reality, the truth doesn't fit.
    • Adelaide Bry (1976). est, 60 Hours that Transform Your Life. New York: Avon. p. 17. 
  • You are God in your own universe. There is no God unless it is self.
    • Richard L. Ganz (1993). Psychobabble: The Failure of Modern Psychology - and the Biblical Alternative. Crossway Books. p. 39. ISBN 0891077340. 
  • Something experienced is true; the same thing believed is a lie.
    • Richard L. Ganz (1993). Psychobabble: The Failure of Modern Psychology - and the Biblical Alternative. Crossway Books. p. 39. ISBN 0891077340. 
  • I have a lot of respect for L. Ron Hubbard and I consider him to be a genius and perhaps less acknowledged than he ought to be.
  • You and I possess within ourselves, at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives.
    • Jerry Jerome (February 1, 2003). Instant Inspiration: Using Quotes to Guide You to Your Goals. Instant Wisdom Publishing. p. 65. ISBN 097261690X. 
  • Mastering life is the process of moving from where you are to where you want to be.
    • Jerry Jerome (February 1, 2003). Instant Inspiration: Using Quotes to Guide You to Your Goals. Instant Wisdom Publishing. p. 62. ISBN 097261690X. 
  • Miracles occur in direct proportion to our willingness to have them.
    • Jerry Jerome (February 1, 2003). Instant Inspiration: Using Quotes to Guide You to Your Goals. Instant Wisdom Publishing. p. 35. ISBN 097261690X. 
  • Transformation does not negate what has gone before; rather, it fulfills it. Creating the context of a world that works for everyone is not just another step forward in human history; it is the context out of which our history will begin to make sense.
    • Lynne Twist (2003). The Soul of Money: Transforming your Relationship with Money and Life. New York, New York: W.W. Norton.. p. 252. ISBN 039305097. 
  • There are only two things in the world — nothing and semantics.
  • Belief in God is the single greatest barrier to God in the Universe. It is almost a total barrier to the experience of God. When you think you have experienced God, you haven't. Experiencing God is experiencing God, and that is true religion.
    • Ruth Tucker (2004). Another Gospel: Cults, Alternative Religions, and the New Age Movement. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan. p. 369. ISBN 0310259371. 
  • What I recognized is that you can't put it together. It's already together, and what you have to do is experience it being together.
    • Ruth Tucker (2004). Another Gospel: Cults, Alternative Religions, and the New Age Movement. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan. p. 367. ISBN 0310259371. 
  • What I recognized is that you can't put it together. It already is together and what there is to do is to experience it being together.
    • Larry Chang (April 28, 2006). Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing. Gnosophia Publishers. p. 527. ISBN 0977339106. 
  • Happiness is a function of accepting what is.
    • Alan Aldridge (2007). Religion in the Contemporary World: A Sociological Introduction. Cambridge, England: Polity. p. 53. ISBN 0745634044. 

Quotes about Erhard[edit]

Alphabetized by author
  • Werner Erhard is at once a thoughtful student of, and contributor to, the continuing philosophical dialogue that has cradled the world civilization in which we all dwell today. Unlike many philosophers and students of philosophy, he not only originates and develops ideas, but also profoundly touches people with them- thereby transforming people’s experience of what is possible for human beings and their ability to act on that possibility. William Warren Bartley, III. Bartley, William Warren (1978). Werner Erhard: the Transformation of a Man: the Founding of est. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.. ISBN 0-517-53502-5. 
  • Without Carl Rogers and Werner Erhard coaching would not exist.
    • Leni Wildflower, The Hidden History of Coaching (2013)
  • Werner Erhard is virtually the only consciousness leader, and the only person of distinction in American society to have stepped outside this childish quarrel between Scientology and society and to have acknowledged both his indebtedness to Hubbard and his emphatic differences with him.
  • California est guru Werner Erhard ... would find himself the subject of a 60 Minutes investigation ... during which some of his children and former est associates made public charges about physical and mental cruelty ... he continues to live outside the country.
    • Michael Downing (2002). Shoes Outside the Door. Counterpoint. p. 341. ISBN 1582432546. 
  • Erhard’s exact whereabouts have been somewhat vague these past 20 years, since he was hounded out of the US after some of the worst publicity a man can have, involving allegations of incest, tax fraud and abuse. Even though these were all dropped, he tells me he left the country on his solicitor’s advice and has been based in the Caribbean ever since.
  • Werner Erhard, a former used-car salesman, made millions with EST, but it turned out to be just another moneymaking scam disguised as a form of therapy.
    • John Bassett MacCleary (2004). The Hippie Dictionary: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the 1960s and 1970s. Ten Speed Press. p. 165. ISBN 1580085474. 
  • Est came to an end in the early nineties when critical stories began appearing in the Bay Area. These newspaper reports detailed Erhard's violent temper and included charges that he beat his wife and molested his children. The low point was a March 3, 1991, segment on the CBS program 60 Minutes that interviewed three of his daughters about the alleged abuse. (Erhard denied it.) After an hour of 60 Minutes, Erhard was as dead as Audi. One might have thought that Werner Erhard, the company, was beyond saving. Not true. The name was destroyed, but not the company. Before the CBS program ran, but with knowledge of what it would likely say, Erhard sold the assets of Werner Erhard & Associates to his former employees and moved to Costa Rica. The new name: Landmark Education Corporation.
Image of money movements quoted by Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, from a United States Tax Court filing.
  • In the first place, est-Forum was primarily a business, efficiently directed by its founder and head Werner Erhard for the purpose of making a profit. Indeed, the internal discipline of the organization was so strong that its style of operation has been labeled as fascist.
    • Paul C. Vitz (1994). Psychology As Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 26. ISBN 0802807259. 

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