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"Contempt Prior To Investigation"



"'There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.'" - Herbert Spencer-  Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Appendice II, Spiritual Experience, pg. 568~


There is a lot being said in that quote, but we must focus our attentions to the idea of contempt prior to investigation being a principle. First of all we must understand what contempt is. Contempt is defined as: The feeling or attitude of regarding someone or something as inferior, base, or worthless; scorn.


I can think of nothing better that defines contempt prior to investigation than prejudice. As I have written many times before, the word prejudice brings on the idea of racial situations, where people of one race judge another. The reality is that racial prejudice is only a very small part of this ignorance we use as a principle.


The whole idea of using this quote at the end of “Spiritual Experience” is to bring one’s attention to the fact of using contempt prior to investigation on spiritual matters. What they are saying is we tend to already have our minds made up on certain matters and refuse to give any other possibilities any thought. This is prejudice of fact!!!


Spirituality is of course a private issue to most of us, and we all have our own ideas of what spirit means to each of us, but some of us have made up our minds that material possessions are more important than recognition of spirit. This is, we believe that all that exists is what we can see and believe it to be true. Yet there are those who have become conscious of the incorporeal and have made major strides in their life. This while those who are struggling through life with major problems refuse to believe that something so easy to believe could work for them.


When someone uses the word “God” people immediately relate the word to religion. Even though religions use the word God as the name of the entity they have chosen to worship, they all have different concepts of what that entity actually is.


The pioneers that wrote the words in the steps carefully chose the phrase “God as we understood Him”. This opens up all possibilities of spiritual enlightenment to each and every one of us, without prejudice. Yet we refuse to recognize the possibilities and remain in the vicious cycle of ignorance. This even after the fact that we see people who were impossibly addicted to certain vices that have used a God they understood to recover from the same thing we are suffering from.


It is pretty plain and simple where this answer lays, but we refuse to follow the path because we are afraid of what others might think of us. This where the problem is in the alcoholic type, it is in the mind. We have been conditioned to paint pretty pictures to other people in hopes that they will accept us. We have stood behind this façade to the point that our own lives are now in jeopardy. All of this training in ignorance has pretty much made our lives unmanageable. So much so that we made it a principle to act this way, and expect our actions to produce different results.


All it takes is a small shift in our thinking to change this loop of insanity. That shift is willingness, honesty, and open mindedness. These are the keys to open up the door to a new found freedom. All it takes is picking up the text of Alcoholics Anonymous doing a little bit of investigation.    


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