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 Love You Revisited

Marin County, California, USA

October 28, 2009



"Yes - you are OK with me exactly the way you are and the way you are not. And I respect your commitment to making a difference for others, and that makes it easy for me to communicate with you, and having respect for you and being able to communicate with you raises my affinity (love) for you."
...   answering the question "Do you love me? Do you really love me?" 
"Just by doing what you are doing and by contributing to make your life work."
...   answering the question "How may I best serve you?"
This essay, I Love You Revisited, is the sixth in a group of sixteen on Love: It was conceived at the same time as


I watched a movie recently. A couple get married. The best man toasts the groom and the bride at the reception. Holding a glass of champagne high, he says how fortunate the groom is to have the bride for his wife. He says "She completes  him.".

Actually it isn't necessary to watch a movie to get this particular sentiment, this particular way of regarding love and marriage. It, or something similar to it, is often spoken at weddings. It's a well intentioned compliment, a comment intended to pay respect to the new couple and to acknowledge why they've taken this step to be together in marriage. "She completes  him" - they complete  each other.

It's an unexpectedly provocative, attention grabbing scene for me. All directors want their movies to grab attention. This one does, although I doubt the director really intends to grab my attention, as he does in this way, simply with the comment "She completes  him.". Saying to myself "Wait  a minute ...", I pause the movie to reflect. By providing a perfect counterfoil, "She completes  him" points exactly to where my own ideas of love have transformed.

Implied in the statement "She completes  him" is the tacit assumption he's incomplete  without her. Implied in "She completes  him" is the assumption by himself  he's incomplete. The implication is by himself, he requires the love and presence of another in order to be complete. And what does one incomplete  person say to another person who "completes" him (as our best man may have said)? Why, "I love you"  of course, a situation which we then ominously refer to as "falling"  in love.

What, I ask myself, does love look like when each person in a relationship is already  complete? ie when each person comes into a relationship already  complete? What does love look like when completion is brought to  a relationship, rather than when a relationship is regarded as an oasis, a candy store  of completion for each incomplete  person in it?

What happens, for example, if a relationship is built on a mutual understanding  ie on a foundation of a couple completing each other, then one or both of them becomes complete by themselves  ie independent of the other? What happens to the foundation on which the relationship is built? What happens to the relationship which stands on the now defunct foundation?

I don't know. I don't have answers. This conversation is simply a place to stand and look. But I'll wager you a tall, cold one that something will shift in relationships like these, something as destabilizing as standing up in a canoe in mid-stream. They'll fall out  of this destabilized canoe just as surely as they'll fall out  of love. It's poignant. Relationships like these carry the seeds of their own destruction embedded in the very attractions which get them started in the first place. Ironically it's what the couple hope to get out of the relationship in the first place which ends up becoming the critical component of its demise.

In contradistinction, I postulate relationships predicated on a foundation of people already  complete not only rewrite the paradigm for relationship, but they also tease out  an entirely new possibility for love itself. Fundamentally, there's only one distinction newly present in such situations, yet this one distinction is powerful enough to shift everything  we once supposed was true about love and relationship. It's this:

When I'm complete, my relationships become spaces into which  I can express  and share  my completion. They're no longer places where I go to get complete. In other words, the other person is completely off the hook  when it comes to my completion and my satisfaction in the relationship. The other person no longer bears the onus of my completion and my satisfaction and is, in turn, free or free-er  to generate and manage their own completion and satisfaction.

In a conversation like this, pragmatism dictates we tell the truth about the elusiveness  of completion. Completion ie being complete  comes and goes. Now you see it, now you don't. Just when you think you got it, you realize you don't got it. Then just when you think you've lost it forever, you realize you got it  again. Here's how you manage the elusiveness  of completion in this new paradigm for relationship:

When you're complete, be complete. When you think you're not complete, be a stand  for the possibility of being complete. Being complete is your word  that you're complete. Being a stand for the possibility of being complete is your word  that you're complete. You have the choice to always be complete  as a matter of your word.

Playing at this level, the entire paradigm of love is rewritten. I love you because I love you. It's not because of anything you do, although I may admire many of the things you do. It's not because of the qualities you have, although I may respect the way you conduct yourself in the world. It's not because of something you say nor because of the way you speak, although I may feel very much at home  in your conversation. It's none of the above.

How interesting it's come to this! It used to be if I tell you "I love you", you might ask me "Why  do you love me?", and I would have to come up with reasons  for loving you. If I tell you "I love you because I love you", you might think I'm being evasive. But it's the truth. I do. I love you because I love you.

In the old paradigm of love, there has to be a reason  for being in love. If you can't give a reason for, that is to say if you can't justify  your being in love, that's proof positive  you aren't in love. If you look at this closely, you'll see there's no responsibility  when love is assigned to a reason. And that which carries all the responsibility, "I love you because I love you", is dismissed as without base, without foundation.

There's no proof required in, no reason for "I love you because I love you.". And just to be certain the emphasis is in the right place, "I love you because I love you"  is really "I love you because I love you because I say  you are OK with me exactly the way you are and the way you are not.". It's not dependent on so-called falling  in love, and it's free from the automaticity of falling out of  love. Love based on "I love you because I love you because I say  you are OK with me exactly the way you are and the way you are not" has the possibility of transcending circumstance, change, and time.

Once upon a time "I love you", coming from being incomplete, meant you complete  me. And thereby, as it's often said in fairy stories, hangs a tale. "I love you", coming from being incomplete, sows the seeds of it's own destruction by not being responsible for being complete. Now "I love you" revisited, coming from being complete, acknowledges I'm complete and I grant you being complete. It grants you being the way you are and the way you aren't. It acknowledges you're complete and you grant me being complete.

People and things are the way they are and the way they are not. That's obviously what's so. Stop pretending it's otherwise. "I love you" revisited acknowledges you are the way you are and the way you are not.

In other words, "I love you" revisited is simply what's so.



Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2009 through 2017 Permission