Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Breakthrough Foundation

The Breakthrough Foundation was a non-profit training and consulting organization established in 1980. Know today as Youth at Risk, its programs continue to demonstrate that individuals have the power to produce breakthroughs in their lives, their work, and their communities. Youth at Risk has been acclaimed as effective with young people aged 16 – 20 who either have a history of violence, drugs and crime or are clearly headed in that direction.

In the face of an atmosphere of resignation and hopelessness, a new reality is being created: extraordinary results are being produced and sustained in the lives of young people who had long ago decided, “Nothing matters, and my life doesn’t count.” Professionals in the Youth at Risk field are seeing that an endless cycle of destructive behavior and punishment is not inevitable and are seeing opportunities to take action personally and directly that make a difference in their communities.

The work of the Breakthrough Foundation was made possible through the contribution of thousands of individual sponsors who invested their time and money. The “10 day Course”, a core element of the Youth at Risk Program, was developed by Werner Erhard.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Presentations of Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller

The Werner Erhard Foundation sponsored "Conversations with R. Buckminster Fuller" (1976-77) and "Making the World Work for Everyone" (1979), seven presentations in seven cities in which Dr. Fuller, mathematician, comprehensive designer, architect, inventor, cartographer, philosopher, poet, and global citizen, presented information on how the individual can be effective in making the world work for everyone and exchanged views with Werner Erhard.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Werner Erhard and Buckminster Fuller

From The Graduate Review – January 1979

Seeing Who We Are

When Bucky and Werner first met, they recognized the beginning of a spacious, synergistic relationship. Their relationship expanded during subsequent meetings until several months later, in 1976, the Werner Erhard Foundation sponsored a series of events which brought Werner and Bucky together on stage in four cities for day-long conversations that were attended by 7300 people.

“I didn’t know what the est training was,” Bucky relates, “but we hit it off right away. What was really beautiful about Werner was the fact that he dared to be naïve – which is the only way you can really learn. In our events he became like a child. This endeared him to me very greatly.”

Bucky’s global vision and Werner’s intention are complementary, creating a dynamic whole through the constant interplay of energies.

Bucky’s vision of transformation on the planet comes from his experience that people change when they are provided with physical alternatives, i.e. artifacts, which create an environment harmonious with the principles of the universe.

Werner talks about transforming the “beingsphere,” and the est training is designed to create a space for transformation within the individual being. Individuals, then, serve to transform society and humanity by expanding their personal transformation to levels of relationship, organization, and society.

The point at which Bucky and Werner’s philosophies converge is the issue of individual responsibility. Neither of them is interested in creating movements or followings. Neither is interested in people who want to be told what to do, but rather in people who experience their wholeness and have the courage to ask “What needs to be done?” and “What can I do?”

Bucky is an example of what one committed individual can do. His monumental accomplishments as one individual are a challenge to what we can create as an alignment of thousands of committed individuals. He is the prototype for who we are. Bucky’s 50-year experiment has been a success because we are here now to carry on the work. Our work has just begun.

- Mary Earle, 1979

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Hunger Project

The Hunger Project was formed in 1977 as a grass roots organization to generate and build a consensus to bring about the end of chronic, persistent hunger. Today, ending hunger is no longer an obscure issue championed only by a compassionate few. It is now squarely on the global agenda, recieving the attention of leaders and citizens the world over. The Hunger Project recently honored it's 30th anniversary. Watch their moving tribute to the work and dedication of people all around the world.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

The Werner Erhard Foundation presented His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, the acknowledged "Pontiff of Tibetan Buddhism," to the public in 1979 in Boston, where he discussed Buddhist philosophy with Werner Erhard.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Werner Erhard Foundation and the USSR

The support of the Foundation made possible groundbreaking conversations between leaders, scholars and officials from virtually all parts of the world in the field of human achievement and transformation. As a result of this support, exchange programs were launched that provided new ground for international cooperation.

One such program was the US/USSR Project, launched in 1979 and designed as an educational exchange to explore the principles of communication, management, and creative thinking with the people of what was then the Soviet Union. After several delegate exchanges, Werner Erhard was invited to conduct the first of many courses and lectures in Moscow, under the auspices of the Znaniye (All Union Knowledge) Society—the prime vehicle for education in the (former) Soviet Union.

In 1988, the Znaniye Society took steps to extend the availability of these programs in the U.S.S.R. A brochure describing the project work stated:

“Radically new, non-traditional solutions will need to play a big role in the perestroika of our economic, social and political systems. Only solutions of this class will allow us to reach our goals. But solutions at this level demand that we break through the habitual contours of our thinking so that we can see new possibilities and new methods of addressing theses issues…

“In this regard, the technology offered by (The Werner Erhard Foundation) is of immediate and practical interest to a broad audience of Soviet people and it would be valuable to study and master its methodology and practice.”

To this end, independent of the Foundation, avenues for continuing this exchange between the people and organizations of the U.S. and the new Commonwealth of Soviet Republics were expanded. These included a series of videotapes designed to make this work widely available to the Soviet public, over a sustained period of time.