A view from 1987 …
Written in 1987 by Anne Wilson Schaef in “When Society Becomes an Addict”.
“Our society is deteriorating at an alarming rate. As we watch the news and read the newspapers, we are increasingly made aware of corruption in high places, financial collapse, and a lack of morality in settings ranging from preschools to meat packing plants. We fear that our children will be stolen by child pornography rings, and we hear of our “healers” taking sexual advantage of their clients. Our planet is being destroyed by acid rain and pollution, and nuclear holocaust is a very real possibility. Hunger and wars rage over the planet.
…. Those few individuals who notice and draw attention to these growing problems are met with massive denial.
…. Much of what we know about our society can be compared to what the blind persons knew about the elephant. As that old story teaches us, an elephant is more than just ears, a tail, or a trunk, it is more, even, than just an animal. It is also a process within a context. It is born, it lives, and it dies. This is a process.
The context of our elephant – our society – is the fact that the system in which we live is an addictive system. It has all the characteristics and exhibits all the processes of the individual alcoholic or addict. It functions in precisely the same ways.
…. This awareness that society has an addictive disease is what is missing from other explanations and treatments of the problems we are having today.
…. In addition, most people who look at the system are too close to it and too involved in it to see it clearly.
…. In order to perceive the Addictive System for what it is, one must be in it but not of it. In other words, must be recovering from its effects. There are people who fit this criterion. Historically, however, the main curing agent for addictions has been anonymous – Alcoholics Anonymous, Al Anon, Overeaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and so on. As a result, the people who have the most accurate perceptions of our system have often hidden this knowledge in anonymity….”