Perhaps mankind feels a need, is drawn toward, and levitates to, limitations. Why? Man so often has a very difficult time setting his own boundaries and welcomes, with open arms, boundaries set by others. As such, joining a group dealing specifically with alcoholism, incest, eating disorders, etc. allows the person to focus on just one area of defect while maintaining a wall to avoid seeking other issues within one’s Self. It may very well be that, through the organizational structure of the self-help groups, churches and other such entities that man is able to become healthier in society while continuing to exist in his denial.
Boundaries are set by the self-help program in order to maintain its existence. Without such boundaries and limitations, the topic of discussion would then fluctuate to a point in which control would be impossible to maintain. When control of the group dissipates, the opportunity for fluctuation and violence can permeate. Since these programs are intended as a safe haven to discuss specific issues, boundaries help to ensure that there will not be difficult situation. Otherwise, safety would be gone. When the meetings are no longer safe, membership would dwindle to the point where the program would no longer exist.
The organizational structure of the twelve-step programs allow for some fluctuation in topic discussion, while maintaining the rigidity of membership requirements. The groups have worked diligently to maintain a semblance of openness while expressing the primary purpose of limitation for the membership.
This is how the church has been able to continue, survive, and indeed expand for the last 2000 years. Specifically by enforcing the rigidity of its membership and the appropriate topics of discussion, control has been enforced, reinforced and in fact welcomed. It is by this rigidity of format that organizations of most any sort can survive.
Without an organizational format and limited topic discussions, the primary purpose would soon be lost. Each different denomination has prescribed acceptable topic discussion and belief systems. Should one question any rites, rituals or beliefs of the denominational system, the boundaries set down by the tenet of the church or twelve-step program, or others, will be broken. Since the group will not be able to survive without the tenets, the questioner is stilled. As such, further exploration is denied. Yet, without these boundaries the group cannot exist for the seeker.
As such, the church or program or any other such organization must limit itself to the primary needs of the seeker. Te more fully developed believer, seeking beyond initiation, must turn within himself in order to explore options, which cannot be discussed on the ‘open market.’
The purpose of the twelve-step programs and the church is to provide man with more options in life. So herein lies the paradox: these organizations can provide a beginning, yet often are unable to maintain themselves if they allow further exploration within their creed. It is similar to finding a key to open a door, yet being told never to enter.
Without this paradox we would to be able to function together, and society would then fail. It is because of the limitations that some people remain confined within the boundaries set by the outward organization in order to maintain and continue in the society as it is known at that moment.
However, it is also directly a result of this paradox that we have seen inventors, poets, philosophers, technological advances, and an increase of people seeking greater spiritual experiences. It provides the catalyst for one to look more within for answers when they are not provided through the organizational structure since they feel they must do something with what they have learned or created. The organizational structure is required in society in order to show others the newfound insight.
This inward search can be too overwhelming and non-constricting. At this point man will turn back to the external organizational structure and decide to discontinue his exploration, or take the risk of finding more within him than he knew existed. The paradox is a necessity which can bind or propel a person to an entirely new dimension of essence.
To label a person as a Christian can be interpreted by another as belonging to a certain sect or denomination when in fact, it does not reflect their actual beliefs and practices. When a person says, “I am an alcoholic,” they immediately limit the discussion o topics to the disease itself. Yet the disease is so rampantly intertwined with other issues that the boundaries eventually become almost non-existent. At that point the person must look outside of the organization for any additional exploration.
Should the person neglect to revisit the original place of meeting, or worship on a regular basis, he can very easily lose sight of the original purpose. At this point, all exploration will become unmanageable and unorganized. As with the organizational structures themselves, he will no longer be able to survive within society. It is as though man has a propensity for putting himself in a box of some sort every once in a while to redirect attention to the primary purpose. Perhaps the organizational structure of the meetings, the churches, etc. is a projection of the organizational structure required by man himself, in order to explore.
It is entirely possible that the confines or the organizational structure are inherently required. Perhaps it is an inbred need to confine one’s self in order to break free from the control that the structure thrusts upon man, or man thrusts upon him and others. The conformity and constriction or the organizational structure may actually precipitate the creativity within man’s mind. Yet this creativity itself can destroy the man without some for or organizational structure.
It is both a paradox and a parody in action. Man confines himself in order to break free to control, never minding, nor noticing, that the controlling structure was built and has been maintained by him. The manner in which man so very often confines himself is through the process of applying labels to the things he does not understand yet can no longer deny. Man tends to struggle to beak free of the labels, which he himself has applied. Labels have been made by man in order that people and things can fit within the very limits of the precepts and mind of man. Without the labels the organizational structure will not survive.