Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


A Request Asked Harder

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

December 15, 2016



"A coward verely neuer obteyned the loue of a faire lady." ... Desiderius Erasmus, Proverbs, circa 1545, originating the saying "Faint heart never won fair lady."

This essay, A Request Asked Harder, is the prequel to the ninth trilogy Visits With A Friend:
  1. Intimacy In A Crowded Place
  2. What Goes On Internally
  3. Riding The Horse Revisited
in that order.

It is also the twelfth in an open group Visits With A Friend Prequels:
  1. Anticipation: Accounting For An American Love Affair
  2. Eye Of The Needle
  3. Secret Service
  4. Everyone Loves You
  5. Close Up, Face To Face, Larger Than Life, And Twice As Natural
  6. View From A Fallow Wheatfield
  7. Flying
  8. Three Stairs At A Time
  9. Something Fierce, Something Wonderful
  10. Serving High
  11. Simple But Not Easy
  12. A Request Asked Harder
in that order.




There are actually three  answers to a yes / no question. When I ask you for a meeting ie when I request a meeting, you can accept my request (yes), you can decline my request (no), or you can not answer at all (po  - as Edward de Bono may have said). Typically I (the asker ie the requester) should evenly accommodate all three.

Asking ie requesting is a linguistic act. I'm OK when my requests are declined - except when I'm not. There's a certain presence  required when articulating a request if neither no  nor po  are OK. Unless it's accepted I'll ask it again, and it's a request asked harder  the second time (no disrespect: there must  be respect). I'll expand my stake ie I'll up the ante (my risk) if necessary. For example, if my request for a meeting "some place"  is declined, I'll ask again harder: for a meeting anywhere on the planet. Clearly the second iteration is the heightened level of intentionality (it's riveting) and I'll wager you give intentionality a sway in declining or accepting requests.

I'm patient. I'm willing to wait for some requests to be accepted - a long time, if I have to. Then there are other requests when awaiting acceptance confronts me with the finiteness of life. In such cases I have a sense of fighting the clock  (so to speak). Time moves at various speeds, and in various currents. In one particular current, Life is almost over! There's nothing in my physical well-being which causes concern or heralds an emergency. But it's still almost over. Life should be spent as close as possible to the people I'm committed to, for as long as possible, as a life can possibly be spent. Thus my requests for your time while we have time, are irrepressible.

In this regard it's useful to differentiate between relating to people as their identity, as distinct from relating to them as their space. Of course, it's (ie we're) both. The point is if deployed without rigor, both "identity" and "space" can dichotomize (it means to make things "either / or"). Instead I prefer the all-encompassing "person" ie "human being" which (last time I looked) comes with a certain degree of physicality. Being in close proximity ie being close physically, isn't needed to experience being close to someone. Yet it's an order of things which can transform a relationship into a privilege. Here's the thing: relating to people as their identity (or as their space), doesn't require a request. Being in close proximity however, requires a request (consider: the linguistic act requesting, is the precursor to being present as a privilege).

We are happiest when we're in close proximity to the people we love. It's a quiet, grown up, satisfied happy. In this regard, what works is keeping in place all promises and insights etc which worked during previous meetings. Workability leaves clues. Mostly, if something worked before, it'll work again. Yet workability, left unexamined, can (and invariably will) cease being workable if it's not ongoingly distinguished. And what works being in close proximity, is confidentiality. But it's a razor's edge: one violation of confidence is worth about eight of the proverbial cat's nine lives. And my request has integrity, which means I knowingly walk the razor's edge unflinching.

Here's what I know about confidentiality: it ain't what you and I traditionally think it is (sorry, but it just ain't). Traditionally, confidence is earned  - as in: you earn my confidence / I earn your confidence. But for it to be worth anything, confidence must be assigned  - as in: I assign my confidence to you / you assign your confidence to me. The former is confidentiality as a payoff, the latter is confidentiality as a gift. And the people who assign their confidence to me as a gift, are those I'm happiest being in close proximity to, while bearing in mind when it comes to keeping their confidence, that cat has only one life left and that razor has a finely sharpened edge.

You answered po. I surrendered. Later (on an urge), I intently asked harder (how could I not?). You said yes. Thank You for training me. Thank You for this privilege.



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© Laurence Platt - 2016 Permission