Reading for April 15
"A lot of people in the academic world think, 'No sacred cows.' We shouldn't sacralize
anything. But they sacralize reason itself, as though reason is this noble attribute,
reason is our highest nature. And if we could just reason, we will solve our problems.
All right, that sounds good on paper. But given all the stuff psychologists have
discovered about reason, reasoning is not good at finding the truth. Conscious verbal
reasoning is really good at confirming." Jonathan Haidt (Born 1963)
Haidt, a political and positive psychologist, wrote The Righteous Mind: Why Good People
Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Reason has its shortcomings as a prospector for
truth. Confirmation bias is a trap we fall into when nursing pet theories. We claim
Openmindedness but dwell on facts that favor our biases. The political left gets its
information about the right from other leftist members and vice versa. Each side sees
themselves as logical and reasonable while the other side is demonized and considered
insane. Our side has the one truth and we are virtuous. We decry their position and
behavior as dangerous, corrupt and a force that must be stopped by any means. When this
polarization happens, our reason will betray us, directing us toward justification,
instead of truth and cooperation.
Bill Wilson wrote essays as he formulated the Traditions in the 1940s. They can be found
in the pamphlet, "AA Tradition, How it Developed." He writes about the Pharisee, noted
for strict observance of ceremony and rules, self-righteous and with a tendency to be
hypocritical. On the other side, the Recalcitrant is resistant to authority, disobedient
and hard to manage. In "Concept XII," Bill states that AA will never govern members or
groups (Warranty Six) and that, "No penalties are to be inflicted for nonconformity, no
member can be expelled... each A.A. group shall conduct its internal affairs as it
wishes... care will be observed to respect and protect all minorities..."
Do I make villains out of others inside or outside of my fellowship? Do I see my way as
righteous and others' ways as depraved? Should I walk a mile in another's shoes and try
to understand them?
C., Joe. Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life: Finally, a daily reflection
book for nonbelievers, freethinkers and everyone!
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