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


Killing Me Softly

Rutherford Hill, Rutherford, California, USA

July 17, 2007

"... killing me softly with his song telling my whole life with his words ..." ... Roberta Flack, Killing Me Softly 
This essay, Killing Me Softly, is the fourth in a group of seventeen with titles borrowed from Songs: 1971 saw "Killing Me Softly With His Song" sung by Roberta Flack become an instant classic. Penned by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, it was inspired by a poem by Lori Lieberman which she wrote after seeing the then unknown Don McLean ("Bye Bye Miss American Pie") perform his song "Empty Chairs" live. From the book "The Fifty Minute Hour", Norman Gimbel lifted the line "Killing Me Softly With His Blues" which morphed  into its eventual title.

1971 is also the year the possibility of the power and magic of transformation first became real in our world.
I am indebted to Victoria Hamilton-Rivers and to Gwynn Barton who inspired this conversation, and to Josh Cohen who contributed material.




Life is a series of miracles strung together like beads in the necklace of my time on Earth.

Each bead is a time I'm being  who I am. They're the times life itself validates who I am rather than diminishing who I am. As far as I can tell, that's the only definition of "miracle" worth anything.

From time to time, to my chagrin yet being human, I forget who I am. They're the times between beads when life drags, is simple drudgery, requires effort, and is often accompanied by a soundtrack  of frustration and, occasionally, sadness.

I'm between beads  for only as long as I'm between beads. When I realize I'm between beads, I'm again at source. Realizing I'm not  being is all it takes to realize I am being. Then I'm again who I am. The miracle repeats itself as if I've not known it before, like a virgin  all over again.

All the libraries filled with so many books say so many things about this, the miracle of transformation, even if that's not the word they use to refer to it. All the fabulously intelligent honorable people who, from all walks of life (sociology, religion, psychology, to name but a few), speak volumes  of erudite words describing it.

The one thing they all have in common is this: in describing the miracle (which by my reckoning is exactly three feet  from me at any one particular moment in time), they can only tell me how to traverse the first two feet eleven and three quarter inches  towards it.

The one thing you  don't have in common with any  of them is this: when you speak, the miracle itself comes alive. You don't have to say anything specific, really, and yet you often do. You could, if you wanted to, read the telephone directory or recite the dictionary, all to the same effect. When I'm with you I'm dying in ecstasy. You're killing me softly and I'm alive again. I'm really  alive. Around you I cross the final quarter inch. It's the  miracle, and my life is, once again, a bead.

When you're speaking, my entire horizon fills with two things:

1)  what you say;
2)  who you're being when you say what you say.

I'm no longer flushed with fever. I'm not embarrassed by the crowd any more. You're reading my letters out loud, and yet I've never shared them with you. How did you find them? It's not necessary to ask that question. You don't get  a miracle by having it explained. If you did, by definition it wouldn't be a miracle. The way you get  a miracle is by getting it.

You're telling my whole life with your words. You're killing me softly and I thank you. I love to die to whom I'm not  when I'm with you. It's a privilege.

I know who you are. If everyone had you, life as we know it would be over. There'd be nothing left to defend. There'd be nothing left to make war for. Nothing would be worth lying about again. There'd be no more scarcity for anyone, strangely, in the midst of abundance. No more necklace. Just one bead.

It's your song, the music of your words and your being, to which I'm humming along as I end, again and again and again.



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