Big Book Study - Post #13
- Good Morning and welcome to all of you who have
just joined us-<br><br>Today we are at Chapter 4 - We
Agnostics, Page 44. We should start by defining some terms.
"Agnostic" is comprised of two parts - "Ag" which is the
Greek for "Without" and "nostic" which is "Knowledge".
With this in mind our definition of "Agnostic" is:
Without knowledge of God. Although used interchangeably,
agnostic and atheist mean two very different things. To be
Atheist is to claim that there is no God, as opposed to
no knowledge of God (agnostic). <br><br>How many
times have we seen lists of questions that will allow
you to diagnose your own alcoholism? Ten, twenty,
fifty question each? Starting at paragraph 1 on page 44
we find that there are 2 questions: "If, when you
honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely,
(Question 1) or "if when drinking, you have little control
over the amount you take, (Question 2) you are
probably alcoholic".<br><br>Reading through to the top of
page 45 several powerful statements are made: "Our
human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not
sufficient; they failed utterly." What does that mean? What
does that tell us about willpower? About Fellowship
(human resources) alone? About our ability to win the
hand to hand combat with our obsession? At the top of
paragraph 1 - "Lack of power, that was our dilemma
(Powerlessness). We had to find a power by which we could live,
and it had to be a POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES.
Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?"
Now we come to the purpose of the Big Book and the
desired result of the AA program:<br><br>"Well, that's
exactly what this book is about. Its main object [and the
object of the AA Program] is to enable you to find a
Power greater than yourself WHICH WILL SOLVE YOUR
PROBLEM (emphasis added)". Let's turn back for a second
to Roman numeral xiii - The Foreward to the first
edition. The second sentance says the following: "TO SHOW
OTHER ALCOHOLICS PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED IS THE
MAIN PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK" (This sentance was
capitalized in the first edition of the book). To become a
recovered alcoholic we need to find a Power greater than
ourselves which will solve our problem. This book has all
of the directions necessary to bring about permanent
recovery from alcoholism - our common problem. The answers
are within the text and throughout the coming weeks
we will continue to delve into the
solution.<br><br>One of the things I was thinking about regarding this
chapter is the name "We Agnostics", not "The Agnostics" -
I mean it's almost if they assumed that everyone
was an agnostic. Anyone care to explore why they
named this chapter the way they did?<br><br>On Monday
we will continue on Page 46. <br><br>Jim
- Good morning!
We can gain some insight into the writing of the book through an examination of the original text (pre-publication "Multilith") in conjunction with the text as printed in the first edition.
Keep in mind, there were more or less two camps within AA at the time Bill wrote the book. The Akron/Cleveland camp was Bible based and religious in nature; the New York bunch was more psychological using a mental approach to gain the confidence of the newcomer and then hitting him with the spiritual angle. Sounds like a difficult task to write a book that would satisfy both trains of thought.
Most of the changes involved inserting "we" for "you" and making the text more inclusive and less like a sermon. Other changes involved key words that were inserted to change the basic meaning of the phrases.
Today and in our next post, we will go through the first three pages of Chapter 5 to illustrate how the book was transformed by these changes. The words that were replaced will appear in [brackets] following the words or phrases by which they were replaced.
Paragraph 1 - "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path[directions].""They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living [way of life] which demands rigorous honesty."
Paragraph 2 - "If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps[follow directions]."
Paragraph 3 -"At some of these we balked [you may balk]. We thought [You may think] we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not [We doubt you can]."
Paragraph 4 - "Remember we deal [you are dealing] with alcohol - cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us [you]. But there is One who has all power - that One is God. May you [You must] find Him now!"
We'll continue with paragraph 1 on page 59 and into the original written text of the 12 Steps with our next post.Have a great day!
JimOur next retreat - "A Weekend with Jim & Paige - Letting Go of Old Ideas" - March 2015 at The Wilson House - email for details - jknyc@...It is better to be loved for what you have giventhan to be admired for what you have gained