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


It's Not Just You (The Trap Of Moi)

Wild Horse Valley Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

February 25, 2024

"Oh how lonely man has been, without a trace of the Traceless Friend." ... Seals and Crofts, The Euphrates

This essay, It's Not Just You (The Trap Of Moi), is a component of the supergroup Friend:

If I speak or write that someone has become friend, it's not slight or patronizing. Nor is it a slip of the tongue. Nor is it a typo (I don't mean "a"  friend). A line's crossed when someone I know, an associate, a colleague, becomes friend. And he did cross a line. There was the specific moment when it registered with me that he was friend. One day he wasn't (which is to say one day I didn't know I would know him as friend). The next day he was (and I did). What made him friend more than just associate or colleague is he got what I do and supported me doing it. Then he declared  himself friend which left no doubt.

He recognized that I provide a certain kind of speaking / conversation which calls for a certain kind of listening that can test its mettle. I can go to him and speak or read something I'm working on, then ask him "How did that land for you?". He listens from the listening of hundreds if not thousands of people  ie he listens me from the listening I'll be speaking it into. You've heard of that expression "Take it out on the track for a test drive", yes? He became my track.

In my world, support like his is extraordinary, a remarkable gift, a contribution for which I'm profoundly grateful. It resonates deeply with me, showing me that what I assume is personal is rarely unique, never as personal as it seems ie as I make it out to be. The things that occur for me as personal, all those things which seem to be mine and mine alone to deal with, are often not as personal nor as private as I might think they are. If I'm dealing with something that occurs as unique to my situation in life (ie unique for moi), the odds are quite good that not just a few people are dealing with the same thing but that thousands if not millions  are. And with what I do, the latter is always in play in and as Conversations For Transformation. When I deal with what I have to deal with, not as something personal moi  alone is dealing with but as something human all people deal with, I can observe it true* the context  of my life.

That's the way he listens me. He listens me so that I deal with what I'm dealing with as if it's a human  thing and not as if it's only a Laurence  thing. When I run my concerns by him, the first thing he'll do is remind me (with laser-like accuracy ie unerringly) "But it's not just you  Laurence.". With him, that's not uttered as a criticism. It's never as a put down. On the contrary, it's a reminder of my / our humanity, the bigger picture of the condition in which all people live. And since that's the space I'm speaking into, it alters my perspective, giving me far greater access to deploying this material authentically, masterfully. Arguably the bottom rung on the ladder to authenticity and mastery is to recognize none of this is personal, that this is not about moi, that it's not just you.

But it's more than that, it's a whole lot more. Recognizing (if you listen friend's reminder) that it's not just you, is freedom from the trap of living life as just moi. In the trap of living life as just moi, there's no wiggle room for being any other way like a possibility. Hasn't the universe been cranking out people for millennia, each with their own life, each with their own moi?  Somewhere along the way, we allowed ourselves to get distracted by what we're dealing with personally, as if it's somehow unique, somehow special. But look: either everyone is unique / everyone is special, or none of us are, yes? The universe isn't focused on moi. Mastery is living aligned with what the universe does - and it does what it does anyway, whether moi  is aligned with it, or not. What friend does is tease out the possibility of living life aligned with what the universe does anyway. So it's not just you after all. It's not about moi. Oh, what a relief!

*   Merriam-Webster's dictionary allows "true" as a transitive verb: to make level, square, balanced, or concentric; bring or restore to a desired mechanical accuracy or form.

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