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


Who Said That? Who Really  Said That?

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

July 12, 2011



This essay, Who Said That? Who Really  Said That?, is the sequel to the seventh trilogy Visits With A Friend:
  1. Meetings With A Remarkable Man
  2. Being Directed By The Unanswered Question
  3. Out Here
in that order.

It is also the third in an open group Visits With A Friend Sequels:
  1. Mint Condition
  2. Tempered Tornado
  3. Who Said That? Who Really  Said That?
  4. Creating For Creation's Sake
  5. Reinventing The Game
in that order.




It takes real courage to look unflinchingly at who you're being at any moment in time, and to say whether the way you're being is an authentic expression of who you really are right here  and right now, or whether the way you're being is a correction  ie is a defensive response to a situation or circumstance of the past which upset you back then.

Consider this (not like it's "the truth"  but rather like it's something to try on for size):  there are no upsets in the present except those which reactivate earlier upsets of the past. The first upset in a chain of upsets starting in the past, is called the originating incident.

Whenever anyone comments on my handwriting, I'm instantly  back in the first grade. My teacher is telling me my handwriting is untidy. She makes me practice writing a series of words over and over and over  again in an attempt to force me to write neatly. But there's not enough time for me to master neat cursive. The school years come and go before I can. Out of that incident I seldom write in cursive. Instead I print, eschewing cursive for everything except signing my name.

My first grade teacher said "Laurence your handwriting is untidy.". As soon as I recalled it ie as soon as I distinguished  it was my first grade teacher who said that, I stopped reacting automatically, defensively to all comments about my handwriting. Until then, any comments about my handwriting upset me ... and I didn't know why. My first grade teacher saying "Laurence your handwriting is untidy" was the originating incident of being upset when people commented on my handwriting.

Until I recalled it, until I distinguished a girl I liked in high school said "Laurence you're not listening", I reacted automatically, defensively to all comments about my listening. Any comments about my listening upset me. Again, I didn't know why. As soon as anyone told me I wasn't listening, I was instantly back in high school with that girl, hearing it as ridicule and criticism - as if there's a right  way to listen and a wrong  way to listen, and I'm listening the wrong  way. The girl I liked in high school saying "Laurence you're not listening" was the originating incident of being upset when people commented on my listening.

As soon as I asked myself the question "Who said that? Who said my handwriting is untidy?", as soon as I asked myself the question "Who said that? Who said I'm not listening", it started the inexorable process of taking my power back.

But after I asked myself the question "Who said that?" when I discovered an epistemology  in which someone is saying "Laurence I'm disappointed  in you" and "Laurence I don't approve  of what you're doing", try as I might, I couldn't recall who said that to me, or when, or under what circumstances. When I looked at who said that (it was during a time when being disapproved of was running my life ie was stopping  me to one extent or another), all I came up with was my own perplexity.

What perplexed me was I couldn't locate anyone  in my past who said "Laurence I'm disappointed in you" and "Laurence I disapprove of what you're doing.". It vexed me. If I discovered who said that, I could begin the process of becoming free of it. And yet I couldn't locate who said that. It wasn't the girl in high school. It wasn't my first grade teacher. It wasn't my mother. It wasn't my father. Or my sister. Or my brother.

So if it wasn't any of them, then who said that? Who said that which had now become an originating incident all of its own, the first upset in a chain of upsets starting in the past. Who said that?

In a breakthrough moment I saw it was me. I  said that. I  said "Laurence I'm disappointed in you" about myself. I  said "Laurence I disapprove of what you're doing" about myself. There wasn't anyone else involved.

This is the process of really being free: the answer to the question "Who said that?" is "I  said that.". And if the answer to the question "Who said that?" is "So and so  said that", it's only interimly true. Ultimately the answer to the question "Who said that?" is "I said  so and so said that.".

I  said that. This is who said that. This is who really  said that. This is taking my power back.



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