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

Voice? What Voice?

Preservation Park, Oakland, California, USA

February 6, 2006

This essay, Voice? What Voice?, is the companion piece to
  1. Already Always Listening
  2. Watching The Wall
  3. Me And The Voice In My Head
in that order.

It was written at the same time as Mindblower.

I was watching a concert. The singer moved around the stage singing one of my favorite songs. Suddenly she tripped, and in gathering her composure she stopped singing. Yet, bizarrely, the song went on ...

That was the first time I found out about "lip synching". When she was singing, I assumed she really was  singing. It certainly looked like  she was singing. But she wasn't. Her song was a recording to which she mimed. The song, it turned out, was on automatic.

When I first distinguished the voice, it was like that. I was talking something over with myself. I was thinking about it. I was coming up with opinions, comparing people and situations. I was evaluating my options based on what I knew.

The phone rang.

I picked it up and began speaking. In a sudden epiphany I noticed something very  interesting. Even as I was speaking on the telephone, the conversation in my head - the voice - didn't stop. Even while I was engaged in speaking out loud, that voice continued talking by itself. Somewhat bemused, I noticed I had nothing to do with it. The voice was on automatic.

Voice? What voice? If you listen, you'll hear it ... and you won't have to listen very hard or very long.

It's not that you haven't heard it before. You have. Daily. Many times daily. Continuously in fact. It's on automatic. But until you've distinguished it as on automatic, it's likely you've misidentified it as you. It's likely you've heard it as you  speaking to yourself. It's likely you've described it as you  thinking something over with yourself. But if you tell the truth about it, you'll notice it's not you who's thinking it. If anything, it's it  who's thinking you.

Like the automatic song being lip-synched to, the voice goes on all by itself even when you're not speaking. If you listen to it unflinchingly, you'll notice you have as much conscious control over it as you have over your heart beating. You have as much conscious control over it as you have over your fingernails growing. You have as much conscious control over it as you have over your digestion once you've finished your meal.

True maturity as a human being isn't defined by whether or not a person has qualified for a driver's license, is of voting age, or has turned twenty one. True maturity as a human being, it could be said, is defined by whether a person has distinguished the voice, or not.

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