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

Speaking Of Freedom

Russian River, Forestville, California, USA

January 9, 2005

This essay, Speaking Of Freedom, is the second 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
  22. No, It's What You Say  About It
  23. Located Inside Language
  24. Be A Good Day
  25. Words Are Like Numbers
  26. Law In The Universe II: An Inquiry Into Inquiring
in that order.

I am indebted to Elizabeth Russell who inspired this conversation.

As a matter of distinction, my integrity is not merely that I can be counted on to keep my promise. Yes I can be, but if in fact I keep every promise I make, in all likelihood I am playing too small. No, my integrity is that I honor my word as myself. And in this sense my word is not necessarily my promise. In this sense, my word is quite literally what I say ie my spoken word, the word which has creative power, the word as in "In the Beginning was The Word", as in "Logos".

Being in integrity, who I really am is what I say ie my spoken word. I am not my body. I have a body but I am not my body. If you cut my body open you won't find me. If you cut my body open you'll only find hamburger. But you will find me in what I say. I speak, therefore I am (as René Descartes may have said).

Regarding health it is said that I am what I eat. Regarding wealth it is said that I am what I wear (bling bling!). I would like to propose, instead - for today and for the future - that I am what I speak. Honor the word I speak as who I really am is integrity.

As far as I can tell, integrity as a platform is an indispensable essential requirement for living transformation, for inventing possibility, for making a difference. Indeed, integrity is an essential requirement for any worthwhile undertaking in any worthwhile enterprise. Arguably, without integrity nothing really works. And yet integrity as a position or as a belief is next to worthless and could in fact be counterproductive, even damaging. You generate integrity as a stand not as a soap box oration. You generate integrity just for the sake of generating integrity. Generating integrity for any other reason or with an ulterior motive only seems to ruin it. So-called integrity without honoring your word as who you really are is truly deadly to being in integrity.

This is, really, only the start of a great adventure. Consider this: if I say that who I really am is my word and that I honor my word as who I really am, then how do I account for those times in my life when I say that I am not free or when I say that I am being constrained or when I imply that I am a victim of some circumstance or other? I look, and I notice (sometimes to my own chagrin) that oftentimes my conversations are shot through with descriptions of me being a victim of someone or other or of some circumstance or other.

I have space for that. I am, after all, a human being and so things like that are going to occur from time to time. But I am not willing for them to remain unexamined for too long. My commitment is that once I become aware that I am waxing lyrical about being the victim of circumstance ie that I have lost a degree of freedom, I will immediately look and see where I am being that in my spoken word. My language, I assert, is where what shows up shows up. I have integrity. I own that I language what shows up. Not to be right: no, simply as an expression of bravery and power as a place to stand to try on new ways of looking at things.

I shared with a friend of mine how I was done to. I relayed how a woman I know did something to me.

Yet after examining the incident I got that she didn't do anything at all to me. I got that it only occurred  to me that she did something to me. Yes, she did do something: the truth is she did whatever she did, whatever that was. It only occurred to me that she did something to me  because in my speaking about what she did, I added the phrase "to me". That's why it showed up for me that way.

Me being the victim did not show up in what she did. It showed up in my language. Me being the victim did not show up in the world of what happened. It showed up showed up in my mouth.

It's that simple.

If this is freedom and you say it's not, who is going to shift that for you? If this is not freedom, where else is freedom going to be?

Life and the universe do not promise and are under no obligation to be benign or to be hospitable to us so don't count on that and don't expect that. Rather than being justifiable victims, our freedom is that we can choose to have our lives be about making a difference in the world in the face of no promise that we will get anything in return.

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