“People are often unwilling to be empowered”

wernererhard-1

Bracing interview from the earlier career of Werner Erhard, the man who developed the material which later became the Landmark Forum. It appeared in Scene magazine in September/October, 1982 and contains some pearlers such as these (italics mine):

What do you mean when you say, “People don’t know they make a difference?”

I mean literally that people think the choices they make in life don’t make any difference. They feel as if the decisions they make don’t matter much. In fact, we live in a kind of unseen agreement that nobody really makes any difference. When you do make a difference you are empowered. People are often unwilling to be empowered.

Why would people be unwilling to be empowered?

If you are empowered, you suddenly have a lot of work to do because you have the power to do it. If you are unempowered, you are less dominated by the opportunities in front of you. In other words, you have an excuse to not do the work. You have a way out. You have the security of being able to do what you have always done and get away. If you are empowered, suddenly you must step out, innovate and create. The cost, however, of being unempowered is people’s self-expression. They always have the feeling that they have something in them that they never really gave, never really expressed. By simply revealing the payoffs and costs of being unempowered, people have a choice. They can begin to see that it is possible to make the choice to be empowered rather than to function without awareness. Empowerment requires a breakthrough and in part that breakthrough is a kind of shift from looking for a leader to a sense of personal responsibility …

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2 thoughts on ““People are often unwilling to be empowered”

  1. This is a bit off topic, but I recently saw an interview with a woman who was a cancer survivor. She said that she had realized that every decision we make is either made from fear or from love. A decision to take a job may be made out of fear of not having enough money or out of a passion for the work. This has stayed with me and I think about it every day, as I make decisions large and small.

    I made this comment last night, but it has disappeared. I probably didn’t submit it. :(

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