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


My Word In The Matter

The Hess Collection, Mount Veeder, California, USA

July 1, 2014



"Transformation shows up in my mouth."  ... 
This essay, My Word In The Matter, is the twelfth in an open group on Language:
  1. Last Word
  2. Speaking Of Freedom
  3. The Transformation Of The World
  4. Constituted In Language
  5. Zen Bland
  6. Source Of Zen Bland: Hand Grasps Itself?
  7. Linguistic Acts
  8. Language: The Scalpel Of Experience
  9. Wordsmith
  10. Source Quote
  11. Being And Acting Out-Here: Presence Of Self Revisited
  12. My Word In The Matter
  13. You Are What You Speak
  14. Residue Of Meaning
  15. The Effortless Breakthrough
  16. The World's Conversation
  17. Read To Us
  18. Everything You Say
  19. Breakfast With The Master IV: Language As Music
  20. Leading With My Word
  21. Language And Results
in that order.

I am indebted to amanda "blue" leigh who inspired this conversation.




It's a classic process, a staple, a work horse  of many retreats. It's the inquiry "Who are you?". You sit opposite a partner who asks "Who are  you?". You answer, perhaps saying your name: "I'm Laurence.". Your partner says "Thank you Laurence. Who are  you?". You answer again, this time saying what you do for a living: "I'm a winery tour driver. I drive winery tours.". Your partner says "Thank you. Who are  you?". This time you answer, maybe saying what you create:  "I'm a writer. I write Conversations For Transformation.". Your partner says "Thank you Laurence. Who are  you?". You answer, hesitant, perhaps saying what you feel (who you consider yourself to be, may be what you feel  ie you may consider yourself to be your feelings):  "I feel like I don't belong.". Your partner says "Thank you. Who are  you?".

And so it goes, on and on - relentlessly, deeper and deeper - until something fundamental, something profound  is realized.

Then the roles are reversed. You ask your partner "Who are you?". Your partner answers. You say "Thank you. "Who are  you?" ... and so it goes, on and on - for hours and hours and hours.

Who am I? I mean really?  If I answer this question (especially with you listening), should I first issue a spoiler alert? No. Here's why: spoiler alerts are for situations when knowing in advance how it's going to turn out, diminishes the experience - if I reveal a thriller movie's plot's twists and turns before you see it, for example.

This isn't that. At worst, knowing in advance how I answered the question "Who are you?" before you  answer the question "Who are you?" may add a few concepts to your lexicography. But there's no spoiler powerful enough to get in the way of your own experience  of the "Who are you?" inquiry as you get close to its inexorable, inevitable  conclusion, hence no spoiler alert is needed.

So: as for who I really am (I mean who I really  am) - not my name, not what I do for a living, not what I create, not my feelings, not my internal states, not my body, not my sex, not my beliefs, not that with which I identify (which necessitates first distinguishing "that with which I identify", a subject for another conversation on another occasion) - I assert who I really am is my word in the matter.

Not confronting ie avoiding the possibility of who you really are as your word in the matter, leads down a slippery slope. To use the analogy of a certain belief system, it leads to many, many, many  reincarnated lifetimes (at very least this  lifetime) lived not knowing who you really are.

Sharing any expression of who I consider myself to be, whether I say my name is who I consider myself to be, whether I say what I do for a living is who I consider myself to be, whether I say what I create is who I consider myself to be, whether I say my feelings are who I consider myself to be, whether I say my internal states are who I consider myself to be, whether I say my body is who I consider myself to be, whether I say my sex is who I consider myself to be, whether I say my beliefs are who I consider myself to be, whether I say that with which I identify is who I consider myself to be, in fact saying ie sharing any  expression of who I consider myself to be, requires me to say / speak / language my expression of who I consider myself to be.

In other words, no matter who (or what) I consider myself to be, ultimately it is I who says / speaks / languages  my expression of who I consider myself to be. That is to say who I really am is my word in the matter - or (deploying a vintage Erhard  distinction) who I really am shows up in my mouth.



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