Break-down

There is a Power greater than the self.

A favourable relationship with this Power is discovered through "hitting bottom" and "surrender."

It is possible [...] that "bottom" is reached many times by any given individual; that "bottom" is a spell of panic which provides a favorable moment for change, but not a moment at which change is inevitable.

Friends and relatives and even therapists may pull the alcoholic out of his panic, either with drugs or reassurance, so that he "recovers" and goes back to his "pride" and alcoholism - only to hit a more disastrous "bottom" at some later time, when he will again be ripe for a change.

The attempt to change the alcoholic in a period between such moments of panic is unlikely to succeed.

The panic of the alcoholic who has hit bottom is the panic of the man who thought he had control over a vehicle but suddenly finds that the vehicle can run away with him. Suddenly, pressure on what he knows is the brake seems to make the vehicle go faster. It is the panic of discovering that it (the system, self plus vehicle) is bigger than he is.

The alcoholic works on the discomforts of sobriety to a threshold point at which he has bankrupted the epistemology of "self-control."

[There is a double bind] founded upon the alcoholic's dichotomous epistemology of mind versus body [[...] "the obsession of the mind that compels us to drink and the allergy of the body that condemns us to go mad or die."]. He is forced by these words back and back to point at which only an involuntary change in deep unconscious epistemology - a spiritual experience - will make the lethal description irrelevant.

If a man achieves or suffers change in premises which are deeply embedded in his mind, he will surely find that the results of that change will ramify throughout his whole universe. Such changes we may well call "epistemological."

[Gregory Bateson]
Steps to an Ecology of Mind ('The Cybernetics of "Self": A Theory of Alcoholism'), p.329-32, 336

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If it were works, springing from motives and deliberate intention, that led to the blissful state, then, however we may turn it, virtue would always be only a prudent, methodical, far-seeing egoism.

But the faith to which the Christian Church promises salvation is this: that as through the fall of the first man we all partake of sin, and are subject to death and perdition, we are also all saved through grace and by the divine mediator taking upon himself our awful guilt, and this indeed entirely without any merit of our own (of the person).

For what can result from the intentional (motive-determined) action of the person, namely works, can never justify us, by its very nature, just because it is intentional action brought about by motives, and hence opus operatum.

Thus in this faith it is implied first of all that our state is originally and essentially an incurable one, and that we need deliverance from it; then that we ourselves belong essentially to evil, and are so firmly bound to it that our works according to law and precept, i.e., according to motives, can never satisfy justice or save us, but salvation is to be gained only through faith, in other words, through a changed way of knowledge. This faith can come only through grace, and hence as from without.

This means that salvation is something quite foreign to our person, and points to a denial and surrender of this very person being necessary for salvation.


Works, the observance of the law as such, can never justify, because they are always an action from motives.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.407

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Max: I think you're having a breakdown, require treatment.

Howard: This is not a psychotic episode. This is a cleansing moment of clarity. I am imbued, Max. I am imbued with some special spirit. It's not a religious feeling at all. It is a shocking eruption of great electrical energy. I feel vivid and flashing as if suddenly I had been plugged into some great electro-magnetic field.

I feel connected to all living things, to flowers, birds, to all the animals of the world and even to some great unseen living force, what I think the Hindus call prana.

It is not a breakdown. I have never felt more orderly in my life! It is a shattering and beautiful sensation! It is the exalted flow of the space-time continuum, save that it is spaceless and timeless and of such loveliness! I feel on the verge of some great ultimate truth. And you will not take me off the air for now or for any other spaceless time!

Dialogue from the film "Network"

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Related posts:-
Do you have control (or does control have you)?
Incursions of the Unknown
Small Mind/Large Mind
Emptiness
A Way In
Soul Possession
The Inner Light
All ego?
Make Yourself Up

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