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


I Am My Parents

Bel Aire Plaza, Napa, California, USA

January 28, 2010



"How can someone who is Dorothy escape from Dorothy? You cannot do that by traveling in space and time."  ... 
"When I don't know who I am, I serve you. When I know who I am, I am you." ... Hanuman speaking with Ram in the Sanskrit epic Ramayana
This essay, I Am My Parents, is the sixth in a group of twelve on Parents: I am indebted to my father Asher Manfred Platt and to my mother Andee Platt who inspired this conversation, and to Eliezer Sobel who contributed material.




Who I am is Self. Self is all there is. Or it can be said Self ie who I am is the context  in which all there is  shows up.

When I know who I am, Self, all there is, then I also know who you are, Self, all there is. Ergo I am You, I am my parents. This is the first way in which I am my parents.

When I get that, it's an obvious, stoopid  fantastic, awesome, gob-smacking  realization: Self ie one Being  is expressing itself as ie is differentiating itself as  many human beings.

The tree leaves. The ocean waves. The universe peoples. The Being selves. Those are italicized verbs, by the way.

But it's also one of those realizations which, while they may be cosmically correct  if you will, may not provide any pragmatic application here in the real world  in which most of us human beings commonly reside.

So ... I ask myself: in what other sense, in what other domain  can the realization I am You, I am my parents be applied so it's pragmatically useful  in real life?

For starters, who my parents are for me is all too often simply my interpretation, my judgement  of who my parents are. Of course, that's not  who my parents really  are. That's just my interpretation, that's just my judgement  of who my parents are. Without the distinction interpretation  of who my parents are as different than who my parents really  are, without the distinction judgement  of who my parents are as different than who my parents really  are, for all intents and purposes my judgement of who my parents are, my interpretation of who my parents are IS  who my parents are for me.

Sometime around now (it may have happened today or it may have happened ten years ago or it may have happened during the last weekend of August 1978, but nonetheless sometime around NOW)  I gave up interpreting, I gave up judging my parents. To be quite explicit  about exactly  what I'm saying here, the truth is it's damn near impossible  for my human machinery to give up interpreting everything. The truth is it's damn near impossible  for my human machinery to give up judging everything. So when I say I gave up interpreting my parents, when I say I gave up judging my parents, what I'm saying is I gave up ascribing significance  to my own already interpreting, to my own already judging  my parents. I started to notice I have interpretations and judgements of my parents ... and so what?!"

I gave up the job I seemed to have taken on at some point in my life (although I can't say exactly when I took it on or even why)  of evaluating the success or failure of my parents' performance  as parents and (worse) as people. It suddenly became crystal clear to me God hadn't ever formally cast me in the role of being my parents' judge, a role I seemed to have taken on anyway. And so, like nicotine and alcohol, I dropped it.

How my parents are is simply how my parents are, however  they are. Once this distinction is lost and my parents instead become for me how I judge them to be, how I interpret them to instead become for me how I judge them to be, how I interpret them to be, what's also lost is this: the people I'm judging, the people I'm interpreting aren't my parents. Rather, the people I'm judging, the people I'm interpreting are simply my own projections of whatever I've made up about my parents. In this sense, I am my parents. This is the second way in which I am my parents.
Werner Erhard asserts until you complete your relationship with your parents, transforming your life is a near impossible row to hoe. Plain and simple. In this regard, it's often said it became possible for Werner's work to really take off only once he'd completed his relationship with his mother Dorothy. When this happens, when you transform your relationship with your parents, only then is the sublime possibility available in which "Rocks are hard, water is wet, and Mother is Mother.".

<aside>

"Oh no she's not!"  I can almost hear, with wry compassion, someone who's not yet gotten these Conversations For Transformation howling earnestly in protest ...

<un-aside>

Here's the third way in which I am my parents: I am the source of my own life. Allow me to elaborate.

I was born. That was my parents gift to me, a huge  gift without which none of this  would have been possible. Then I was born again. This term is appropriate even though I intend no already  religious overtones. By saying I was born again  I'm simply isolating the moment in my life when I realized a much bigger  presence than I'd realized before. Later when it became eminently clear I am the source of this much bigger presence ie I'm the space  in which it shows up, in that instant I was born again again.

Born again again. In transformation I'm not twice born  - I'm thrice  born. In this sense, being the source of my own life, being the one who births  my own life, I am my own parents.

Having given up the job of interpreting my parents, having ceded the onus of judging my parents, I've ceased pretending I'm any different than my parents. I've stopped imagining I don't have similar traits  to my parents. I've ended not confronting I inherited characteristics  and mannerisms from my parents. I've given up resisting my parents. I got it: how can I, someone who is my parents, escape from my parents? 

Guess what? Werner's right. It can't be done by traveling in space and time.



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