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'll Always Say I Love You

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

January 17, 2024

"The unexamined life is not worth living."
... Socrates

"An untransformed life is not worth living."
This essay, I'll Always Say I Love You, is the companion piece to Wonderful With People.

It is also the twenty first in a group of twenty one on Love:

Sometime in 1979 (it actually feels more like it was a bit earlier this morning, but nevertheless sometime in 1979), Werner and I were alone in the Franklin House, his home in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, at around about midnight. He was upstairs in his attic office, working on material for the latest physics conference. I was about to leave after a full eighteen hour day of assisting. An eighteen hour day of assisting, is not work. It's a privilege.

Fortuitously, we met in the kitchen. He offered me a midnight snack. That's not the kind of invitation to which you say "OK let me check my calendar to see if I'm available.". "Of course!" I said, without even the cursoriest pause. A conversation then ensued which inexorably started the process that brought his work to South Africa, and the transformation of that country. When it was time for me to go back home to my place in the Marina district of San Francisco where I lived at the time, I did pause, turned, and asked him "How may I better serve you?" (it's my essential question). He answered "Have a great life.".

Even now in 2024, it still feels more like it was a bit earlier this morning (nevertheless it was sometime in 1979). It wasn't an exchange that can or should  ever be explained. Who answers, if asked "What can I do for you?", with "Do something great for yourself."?  It hit me in the love. It wasn't so much flip or clever, as it was profound. It epitomized for me why people, when they're being around great masters, say they're struck by what great human beings the masters are, but when they're being around Werner, they say they're struck by what a great human being they  are. Werner hits you in the love. And when you're hit in the love, it's such an enormous missed opportunity if you don't say  it ie if you don't communicate being hit in the love - verbally, and out loud.

The three words "I Love You" comprise that communication. Get over it. Get over yourself. Say it. You're a human being, so in all likelihood it was the first communication you ever withheld. And now that you're transformed, let it arguably be your last. They say (ie whoever they  are) that "You are what you eat.". They also say "You are what you wear.". But what if "No, you are what you say."?  If so, there's a cost to not  saying I love you. Try that on for size.

I have never really known what it's like to not  say I love you. I'm not talking about only saying I love you when the circumstances merit it ie when the occasion warrants it. I'm talking about living coming from  "I Love You.". I've never known what that's  not like. Colloquially, "I Love You" is the expression of feelings we have when we like someone (or something) a lot ie a really  lot. Colloquially "I Love You" comes and goes. Colloquially "I Love You" happens.

The "I Love You" that comes and goes, the "I Love You" that happens (or doesn't happen) is not the "I Love You" I'm talking about. The "I Love You" I'm talking about is the expression of where we come from. It requires neither feelings nor does it require liking a really lot (those are just accoutrements  - like side salads). Rather, it's an expression of who we are. And to be clear, it's an expression of who we are about who we are. So when I'm not coming from "I Love You", I'm actually obfuscating / withholding my true nature. And Life itself has a way of throttling back on what's possible for us, when we withhold our true nature ie when we don't communicate it. That's the context in which I'll always say I love you. Living life any other way, is just plain not worth it.

Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2024 Permission