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


Exploring Who I Am Newly

Napa, California, USA

November 13, 2020

"If God had meant man to fly, he would have given him wings." ... 

In preparing for this conversation ie in looking at what there is to share about my own evolution of who I experience myself to be as a human being, I knew that if I did it well, it would also say something about who we, each and all of us, really are. I considered starting this conversation with the opener "On this journey  I've been on, there's been an evolution ..." which I then rejected for being too grandiose, too pretentious, not down to Earth  enough. Look: if who we really are, were assigned just one descriptor, it could be "down to Earth". Really. No, what fits better as an opening statement for this conversation, is "In my life, there's been an evolution ...".

In the beginning (that is to say, well before I started inquiring into things of this nature myself), if you'd asked me the question "Who are you?", I would've responded with "I'm Laurence" - in other words, who I held myself to be for myself and for others, was my name. And if you'd shown me a group photograph and asked "Which one are you?", I would've pointed at it and said "I'm that  one" or "That's me" - in other words, who I also held myself to be, was my body ie I was my name / body.

Later I got smarter ie a lot  smarter. And when I was then asked "Who are you?", I'd generally identify with my opinions, my beliefs, my aspirations, my politics, my religion, my thoughts, my feelings etc. And even after citing specific  opinions, beliefs, aspirations, political views, religious tenets, thoughts, and / or feelings etc with which I identified, I'd explored enough by then to be able to distinguish who I am as the opiner  (not my opinions) as the believer (not my beliefs), as the aspirer, as the voter, as the devotee, as the one doing the thinking  (which I later conceded was just erroneous), as the one doing the feeling (which was just as erroneous) etc.

And the big thing about the latter phase, was that in it I'd learned to make a certain distinction  which brought who I am to the foreground. This represented some progress over my admittedly naïve "Who I am is my name / body", yet still left the question of who I really am, open to debate, conjecture, discussion, and even to argument. But my answers to the question "Who are you?" were covertly clever: they all served to mask the fact that I didn't have one single answer  that was true.
Werner Erhard's work, coaching, and friendship finally, brilliantly, inexorably  brought something else into the light shed by my inquiry: the possibility that who I am, is the space  ie the experiential context  in which all of the above show up ie are presenced. I'm not my name: I'm the context in which my name shows up ie occurs; I'm not my body: I'm the context in which my body occurs; I'm not my opinions: I'm the context in which my opinions occur ... etc etc. That was the breakthrough.

Once I got clear about being the context in which my entire life and my life experience (and all its components) occur, I began to experiment with expressing who I really am authentically ie while coming from that context. When I did that, what slowly came into focus was a new answer to the question "Who are you?". So now, as a human being coming from my own contextual experience in conversation ie coming from who I know mySelf to be, yes I am the context in which my life and my life experience (and all its components) occur. Then, looking at your  experience of who I am (in other words, looking at who you know me to be), I assert that who I am is my speaking. I am my conversation. I am my word ... and that's who you know me to be. Moreover, when you know me to be my speaking (that is to say when you and I engage in conversation) and you speak, then who I am for you is my listening  - in other words, who I am for both you and I, is my speaking  / listening.

And that, in the terseness this conversation affords, is the evolution of who I am / who we are: from name / body, to who I am / who we are, as speaking / listening.

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