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


Smaller As A Person

Bilco's Billiards And Darts, Napa, California, USA

January 4, 2016



1) "When my integrity is lacking, I am clear that I just got to be a bit smaller as a person. That keeps me working on my integrity. And the thing about integrity is it's a mountain with no top."
 ... 
2) "People generally are unaware that the cost of their out-of-integrity behavior is a diminution of themselves ie that their out-of-integrity behavior leaves them a smaller person (leaves them with less power, and therefore with the need for more force)."
 ... 
3) "And, by the way, you can forget about having integrity until any 'out-of-integrity' occurs for you as a diminution of yourself."
 ... 
This essay, Smaller As A Person, is the fourteenth in a group of sixteen on Integrity:


Interacting with any  of Werner's assertions (in this case, interacting with "When my integrity is lacking, I am clear that I just got to be a bit smaller as a person")  as the entry point into a valuable inquiry ie as the diving board  into a valuable pool of original thought, is always a good idea. On the other hand, relating to any of them as "The Truth"  (or even relating to any of them as not  "The Truth") is never a good idea, and is almost certain to ruin them entirely.

That said, what follows is a shared personal inquiry of mine, and is not intended to be "The Truth" about integrity, or (worse) as something to believe.



Two Aspects Of Being Diminuted



I began looking at what it is to be smaller as a person when my integrity is lacking. I'm clear it's a powerful place on which to stand and from which to look ie it's a powerful place to stand period. There's a marked diminution in who I am when I'm out of integrity. But I hadn't ever examined exactly what this diminution is ie what its characteristics are, the way it shows up  etc. Then as I began looking, I noticed there seem to be two aspects of being diminuted when I'm out of integrity ie there seem to be two possible ways in which I can relate to his assertion (to be sure, there may be more than two: if I distinguish others, I'll share them with you).

The first is the way in which I regard my own actions (and in all likelihood, the way others regard my actions)  when I'm out of integrity. And remember, being out of integrity is almost always knowingly chosen ie it's almost always willful ie it's almost always deliberate. Now even if I try to deny this and try to hide from it, and instead say being out of integrity is not  chosen ie it's not willful ie it's not deliberate ie that being out of integrity is unconscious, then I can't deny that staying  out of integrity and not restoring integrity as soon as I realize I'm out of integrity, is always  willful ie is always deliberate and is never unconscious.

The way in which I know that my own actions (and, in all likelihood, the way others know that my actions) make me a smaller person when I'm out of integrity, is by recognizing that being in integrity is the bigger  choice - in fact it's the required  choice if I'm going to play a bigger game. If I tell the truth about it, I almost always  know when I'm out of integrity. And when I know I'm out of integrity, I always know I have the choice to drop that particular out-of-integrity behavior. And others  always know I have the choice to drop that particular behavior also. It's eminently obvious to me (and sometimes it's eminently obvious to everyone else as well) when I'm out of integrity and whether or not I choose to stay out of integrity. There's no avoiding it. There's no place to hide!

The second is the way in which I experience who I am  as smaller as a person - that is to say the way I experience my own being  as smaller as a person (or, if you prefer, the way I feel my own presence  as diminuted) when I'm out of integrity. When I'm out of integrity, and particularly when I'm out of integrity and I know  I'm out of integrity (in a moment I'll give an example of how you can be out of integrity and not  know you're out of integrity), my attention is constantly distracted by it as if I'm inseparably attached to it by a rubber band: no matter how the drift of my life always goes out-here, it keeps yanking me back in-here  (if you will) resulting in an almost physical sensation of being constricted, fettered and not free which (try as I might) I can't shake till I've restored whatever integrity needs to be restored.



Out of Integrity And Not Knowing It



During my tenure as a technical trainer with Laurence Platt and Associates, I presented week long seminars for the mainframe computer programming staff of many of the Fortune 500  group of companies, and for others like the IRS ie the Internal Revenue Service in particular. It was there that I learned some interesting facts about the United States tax code. For example, remember the time you gleefully picked up that dollar bill you found on the sidewalk and put it in your wallet? According to the United States tax code, that dollar you picked up was taxable income. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself, or ask your accountant.

Did you declare that dollar on your tax return? Probably not. Yet when you didn't do so, you were in violation of the United States tax code and therefore also out of integrity.

Even if you weren't aware  of that particular stipulation in the United States tax code, you were still out of integrity if you didn't declare that dollar as taxable income on your tax return. Yes, you can be out of integrity and consequently smaller as a person, even if you don't know  you're out of integrity.



Learning To Love The Climb



I've taken on restoring my integrity whenever and wherever it becomes obvious to me I'm out of integrity - for no other reason other than being out of integrity leaves me smaller as a person ie being out of integrity leaves me diminuted as a human being. Being in integrity is an ongoing, never-ending process, and (to quote Werner) integrity is a mountain with no top. So being in integrity is like climbing a mountain with no top.

No, it's more than that actually. It's being in integrity is like climbing a mountain which keeps growing taller  as I climb it (really  it is) so I'll never  reach the top.

The only way I can make this state of affairs even remotely workable for me in my day to day life is by learning to love the climb.



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