By Jim Selman | Bio0 false 18 pt 18 pt 0 0 false false false
By Jim Selman | BioI have been making the case that our country is trapped in a vicious cycle, analogous to alcoholism or any addictive spiral that inevitably leads to ‘hitting bottom’, and that we need a rigorous ‘recovery’ program. Our Constitutional Democracy cannot work if our founding principles, the Constitution itself , and the institutions responsible for sustaining it are not aligned and functioning as a whole. In the ‘recovery’ literature and all 12-Step programs, the first and primary question to resolve is “Where is the bottom?” Have we had enough of having enough? Are we ready to acknowledge that the system is broken and we are powerless to fix it? If we are, then we can begin the real journey to recovery.
Many would agree that we are ‘out of control’ (Step 1 of the 12-Step Recovery Program for America). And I propose that we—the people—are the ‘higher power’ that can see what is happening and begin to restore us to sanity (Step 2). The
By Jim Selman | BioAnyone familiar with 12 Step programs knows that the literature generally characterizes the ‘ism’ or addiction as a disease of ‘self-centeredness’. This is basically a way of saying that the behavior (that is, the alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, etc.) are symptoms—not causes. The nature of the problem is that people become trapped in a ‘self-referential’ relationship with the world, live in various states of denial, and pursue increasingly self-destructive behaviors until they ‘hit bottom’. At that moment, they can begin the process of recovery—assuming they will take the first step—to acknowledge that they are out of control and powerless and that their life is ‘unmanageable’.
I suggest that the relationship between the ego and the individual (the self-centeredness) is similar to the relationship between culture and an organization or society. They are both manifestations of a paradigm that creates self-referentiality. Self-referentiality, in itself, can be useful: it is what allows us to learn from our past experiences and allows us to choose what is meaningful to us. But it can become dangerous—even fatal—when reality changes and we find that