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


Nobody's Doing It To You Except Yourself:

A Study In Truth

Duckhorn Vineyards, Napa Valley, California, USA

March 21, 2010



 "The truth believed is a lie."  ... 
This essay, Nobody's Doing It To You Except Yourself: A Study In Truth, is the fourth in the sextology Truth:
  1. Used By The Truth
  2. Not Truth / Truth
  3. Moment Of Truth
  4. Nobody's Doing It To You Except Yourself: A Study In Truth
  5. Tell Me The Truth
  6. Authentic Truth: The Coca Cola Animals  Incident, And More
in that order.




It's interesting - and very subtle.

When something is true, which is to say when what you're speaking is true, it creates space in peoples' listening for openness, communication, honesty, and sharing. Yet if you tell people something is "the truth"  without being responsible for how it lands in their listening, there's a strong likelihood it will have just the opposite effect even if it's true. There's a strong likelihood if you tell people something is "the truth"  without being responsible for how it lands in their listening, you'll shut down the space of openness, communication, honesty, and sharing ... even if it's true ... which is clearly ironic.

"Man In The Mirror" - Sculpture by James Croak - Photograph courtesy Bernice Steinbaum Gallery - Cast dirt, resin, wood, and mirror - 74" x 48" x 36" - 2005
Nobody's Doing It To You Except Yourself
Take for example the often touted "Nobody's doing it to you except yourself.". Is this true?  Is this "the truth"?

Whether it's the one or the other is all in the way you speak it. More importantly, whether it's useful  or not is all in the way you speak it. When I inquire into if it's "useful" or not, I'm asking whether or not it's spoken in a way which can be heard  ie whether or not it can be listened  in a way which opens new possibilities for being.

Before we flesh out whether "Nobody's doing it to you except yourself" is true  or whether it's "the truth", here are four possible implications for "Nobody's doing it to you except yourself":


  1. Knowingly or unknowingly (most likely unknowingly) causing an emotion which doesn't work for you

    eg you learned an emotion from your family when transformation wasn't present. It didn't work for you then and it doesn't work for you now, yet you continue replicating it honoring your family  without distinguishing it still doesn't work for you now.

  2. Knowingly or unknowingly (most likely unknowingly) placing yourself in a situation in which you become the victim, which doesn't work for you

    eg taking a short cut through a dark alley on the bad side of the train tracks at night alone.

  3. Knowingly or unknowingly (most likely unknowingly) attracting a consequence which doesn't work for you

    otherwise known as karma. While I don't require the concept of or the dogma of or the doctrine of or even the excuse  of karma as an axiom, as a building brick for Conversations For Transformation, to refer to attracting a consequence as karma is good enough for jazz.

  4. Knowingly or unknowingly (most likely unknowingly) not taking responsibility for an experience, which doesn't work for you

    and you're always  responsible for your experiences like a possibility.

If you say to someone "Nobody's doing it to you except yourself" like an armchair pundit  or like a Monday morning quarterback  or even like a coach when your coaching hasn't been explicitly requested, while it may be true, when it's spoken as if it's "the truth"  it almost always lands as blame or shame with no created space in which anything new can be heard or gotten like a possibility. It can land as a condemnation  rather than as a clearing. It's almost impossible to get it when you're blamed, shamed, or condemned. It's very easy to get it when you're clear.

When something is spoken as blame or shame it invariably shuts down  the space. However ... it's not the message  which requires attention. It's how it's spoken  ie it's its delivery  which warrants transforming. When spoken as a possibility  "Nobody's doing it to you except yourself" is enormously valuable. In fact it's a profound, awesome, liberating platform on which to stand and look. And please notice it's only  valuable as a platform on which to stand and look - with no blame and no shame and no condemnation cluttering up the space getting in the way. It's never  valuable as blame or shame or condemnation. It's never valuable as "the truth".

So is "Nobody's doing it to you except yourself" true? The answer is yes - if you speak it that way ie if you speak it in a way which can be heard as true. It's true if you speak it in a way which, when people listen, invites space in their listening for openness, communication, honesty, and sharing. Spoken this way, there's safety and freedom to stand and look, when listened. There's room to move into new possibilities of being, grounded in it's true.

And is "Nobody's doing it to you except yourself" "the truth"?  The answer is yes - if you say it that way  ... and notice saying it that way is likely to shut down the space in peoples' listening for openness, communication, honesty, and sharing.

Ironically there's no possibility in "the truth"  ... even if it's true. There is no "is".
Werner Erhard saying ""The truth believed is a lie" keenly illustrates this pitfall  when speaking something which is true, as "the truth".



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