FREE YOUR MIND
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
“Contempt prior to investigation is as much a symptom of alcoholism as cirrhosis of the liver. So says https://www.thefix.com/content/contempt-prior-to-investigation-AA-Herbert-Spencer8042 .
But not always. If an alcoholic in recovery opens his mind, he then has twice the ability to help open the mind of those who are suffering from closed-mindedness. Why? He can relate to what its like having a mind shut tight as the locks on the gates of hell. Which shuts out the light of the Spirit. He is familiar with the mechanics of a mind suddenly opening experiencing the epiphanies and spiritual awakenings of a free thinker. He can share the method by which the blind can see.
Apparently Herbert Spencer did not originally coin the contempt investigation phrase after all according to the article found at this link (THE FIX “CONTEMPT PHRASE”).
But one thing Spencer did not write is the immortal words about contempt and investigation, according to Michael St. George, who searched the digitized library of papers that Spencer left after his death and who detailed his findings in the essay “The Survival of a Fitting Quotation.”
“Contempt before investigation” was penned almost a century earlier by another British philosopher, William Paley, whose book Evidences of Christianity contains the following sentence: “Contempt prior to examination is an intellectual vice, from which the greatest faculties of mind are not free.” Paley was writing about Romans who scoffed at early Christianity.
WHAT DOES RECOVERY REALLY LOOK LIKE?
Step Four & Five’s primary result is the sudden awareness of character patterns of manipulation and dysfunction. Starting the day from the platform of humility means we are aware of our personality flaws and can adjust behaviors and ask for God’s help throughout the day. We don’t sit in meetings advertising how sick we are after years of step work and therapy (false humility).
We don’t take hostages or use the cliches as weapons to punish newcomers. We don’t tear down the newcomer to build them back up they are already torn down. Encouragement it not poison. Sarcasm is dishonest and should be a thing of the past. We say what we mean and mean what we say. We ask for help by choice.
Our 12 step work is by choice therefore we reap the self-esteem by doing the next right thing. Having an opinion on any issue outside or otherwise is part of self-confidence not a tradition ten breach. We do not speak for the whole of AA and seldom does anyone have that official power.
Facebook groups are not CNN or the Tampa Times. I vote and engage in National politics as my freedom and right. I make opinions on vital outside issues. I discuss important topics and learn to show respect for others and their opinions. I don’t shut anyone down or invalidate their feelings which are a part of them. Sometimes anger is the appropriate reaction to life’s circumstances. I get resentments but I know how to relieve them. I don’t’ rewrite the English language to suite my views.
I don’t whitewash AA and its members. In any large group of humans there is always error and mistakes. Quality sobriety sometimes looks like a boatload of tears and cries. Happy joyous and free is not constant. There is more to getting sober than just getting sober. If I don’t discover the reason for my attempts to numb my feelings, then I have more exploring to do. It’s not a sin to ask “why”. By exploring reasons and asking why empires have been built and humans have been saved.
There is no wrong feeling only wrong actions. To say my feelings are bad and wrong is to condemn myself as bad and wrong. No but instead I learn what to do with the feelings that I have for so long feared. Stuffed feelings will come out sideways usually at those we love most so I write, I cry, I share, I find the fear behind the emotion and ask God to remove it. I admit when I am afraid. I walk through the fear.