Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Discussion, debate, and controversy

One feature that makes AA so attractive is that the primary means by which information is conveyed is this: you see someone who has what you want, you ask them what they believed, thought, and did, and you imitate them, to see if you get the same results. And you by and large do.

There is no debate about what the 'right' way is, about what the 'right' interpretation or understanding of the AA programme is, although there ~is~ controversy.

There is certainly discussion, the purpose of which is to ask questions and have them answered.

In AA meetings, we do not debate, and we do not even discuss, in the sense of 'back-and-forth' discourse: we merely present. If there are fundamental disagreements about approach, people usually, and rightly, go and set up a new group.

In sponsorship, the approach is offered and explained, but not debated. Anyone who wants a debate can joint a debating society or find a sponsor whose views they largely agree with.

In AA publications, the scope for response or comment is either limited or non-existent.

This does not mean that dissent or disagreement is not itself encouraged: quite the reverse; the autonomy of groups and the lack of central organisation or control mechanism ensure that variety flourishes.

The one exception to this, in the world of AA, is the Internet forum.

Such forums can be used helpfully to present ideas or for questions to be answered and then responded to.

Largely, however, presentations or Q&A sessions descend (or rather plummet) into quarrels of negligible utility. The electronic medium is also ill-suited to a genuine exchange of ideas, as the human element is stripped out, most people do not have the time to expound ideas fully, and it is largely impossible to detect tone.

I'm not longer interested in debate: I do what works for me, and share that, in case it works for someone else too. If it doesn't, that's fine.

I've stopped trawling AA forums for things I disagree with just so I can express my disagreement. A while ago I stopped even looking at comments on what I myself post in the spirit of sharing. As page 67 of the Big Book says: 'We avoid retaliation or argument'.

What a relief!

1 comment:

Kesavan Chakravarthy said...

Yes. I do the same....

Thank You For Sharing....