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


Our Say So:

An Open Secret

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

August 12, 2017



"There are certain things you can only know by creating them for yourself."  ...   quoted by Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize-winning physicist 
This essay, Our Say So: An Open Secret, is the companion piece to No, It's What You Say  About It.

It was written at the same time as Teasing Out The Truth.

I am indebted to Barbara Foerder who inspired this conversation.




I have a secret, a secret I'll let you in on. It's this:

The quality of everything that happens for us and becomes possible for us during the time we have with each other on the planet, is whatever way we say it is. It's an unfortunate error of epic proportions to assume quality is fixed  ie is inherent in things. We believe things "are" this way. We believe things "are" that  way. And we're also convinced that the way we believe things are, is "the Truth". That's both fundamentally and fatally flawed. What's probably closer to the truth, is this: whatever way we say  it is (ie our say so)  is the way it is - and even more than that, our say so not only says  the way it is: it also creates the quality  of the way it is.

When I suggest the quality of everything that happens for us and becomes possible for us during the time we have with each other on the planet, is created by our say so, there's a certain listening that holds this particular idea as promoting anarchy  ie as permitting doing whatever the heck we want (that's anything, as in: without morality, without ethics, without integrity). Since everyone knows  acting without morality, ethics, and integrity is a no-no, that particular listening doesn't let in  the possibility that our say so creates the quality of everything that happens for us and becomes possible for us during the time we have with each other on the planet.

Watch: I say "That sweater doesn't look good on you" or (to use a local example) "This wine isn't any good" - so they're that way. I say "That sweater looks great on you" or "This is a great wine" - so they're that  way. Our say so is both the initial and the final arbiter of our experience ie both its alpha  and its omega. Our say so secondarily describes and relays what happens in our experience. That much is obvious. Primarily (not so obvious) our say so creates the quality of our experience.

We're now at the point in this conversation where a note of caution is called for: is it really  true that our say so creates the quality of our experience? Be careful: as soon as you make it true  ie as soon as you believe  it, it's ruined (there are any number of references to this anomaly punctuating the greater body of Werner Erhard's work and this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays). Look: it may not be true at all. Rather, "My say so creates the quality of my experience" is a place to stand, a place (arguably the only  place) where there's real  power, authentic power, awesome power. And in this sense, this power doesn't equate to force.

That's my secret. Notice I haven't claimed my secret is true for you - it's not ... unless you say  it's true for you. Here's why: if it is  true that your say so creates the quality of your experience, I can't impose that on you. I can't impart it to you by telling you it's that way for you. I can't give you that experience. You, on the other hand, can create that experience for yourself. That's not unusual, by the way, for us human beings. Consider learning how to balance when riding a bicycle. I can't impose balance on you. I can't impart it to you by telling you about it or by telling you to balance. I can't give you the experience of balance. You, on the other hand, can create the experience of balance for yourself. Indeed, creating balance for yourself is required  ie it's exactly what's called for if you're ever going to ride a bicycle.

My secret that our say so  creates the quality of our experience, is worth next to nothing when it's touted as the truth (listen: it's worth even less  when it's touted as something to believe, a tenet to live by, or a conundrum to discuss). It is, however, something you can know by creating it for yourself. When you know it by creating it for yourself, that's the beginning of leveraging your say so, the start of marshalling your language, the onset of mastering your awesome transformative power.



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© Laurence Platt - 2017 Permission