I continue reading “Infinite Jest” with pure sadomasochistic abandon!
And in this novel is an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter in Boston and its Wallace-ian cast of absurdist characters ground from the desiccated remnants of human dreamology.
It’s an acid trip.
David Foster Wallace, the mad scientist authorial genius, touches upon the concept of AA’s “higher power.”
Much controversy surrounds this phrase. People automatically assume it infers a deity, a god, and thus stated, elicits antagonism. Most people of the atheist variety (which seems to compose a plurality of drinkers) succumb to the instinctive reaction that an almighty god is somehow involved in this AA plot to sate wayward drinking habits.
One of the oldest battles (which Wallace touches upon) is exactly how atheists can possibly reconcile their drive to dryness with AA’s repeated castigation that “God” must be involved in the Cure.
However, by the same token, God is also inferred to involve a “higher power” and this is what it seems people lack the nuanced definition that would help them come to terms with such religious babble.
A higher power is misleading in that it implies a hierarchy, a ranking, a vertical relinquishment.
I don’t think of a “higher” in that respect.
“Higher” is merely a measure that gauges how close we are the the center concentric circle of self-awareness and personal evolution. The closer you get to the maelstrom of your own personal madness, the higher your power.
A higher power is relinquishment to control and absolute autonomy. Which implies surrender of control, and if there’s one unhealthy, pathological trait alcoholics share, it’s addiction to control, an ironic condition given than inebriation is typified by lack of anything approaching “control.”
Still, the alcoholic’s contrarian downfall is the inability to welcome raw existence, and thus seeking to overcome it, subsume it, instead seeks a distance and conscious disconnect which only booze can supply.