I know of no surveys which have been done regarding the average intelligence of the average 12 step group or therapy group. But through my observations, and the observations of many others, the consensus seems to be that the average person in recovery is above average in intelligence. I know of an old timer in AA who has been in that program for almost 30 years. He concurs that those who get into the AA recovery program are more intelligent than average. He also says that we don’t ever have to worry about there never being a need for AA, “Because they’re makin’ ‘em faster than we can fix ‘em.” I don’t agree that we can, or should, try to fix anyone, but his point is clear. The rate of addiction and dysfunctional behavior is increasing.
So what’s the point? It means that at this time, more people are getting into abuse than are getting into recovery. You can expect to see more violence and more abuse on TV, both in the news and in the programming, as well as in your daily life as time goes on. You can be less surprised every day to hear of someone you know abusing or being abused. Violence may strike closer to home.
This can be discouraging, or even depressing, especially if you are raising children.
Dysfunctional people are everywhere of course, and this includes the government. I believe that many politicians were raised in dysfunctional homes, and this is why they are in politics. Being in politics lets them be somebody if they were told they’d be nobody. It lets them feel accepted and wanted when they give out grants and administer programs.
And whether they are elected or not, being in charge of public money, and able to make regulations lets politicians and bureaucrats feel purposeful and powerful. Both of these elements may have been lacking in their childhoods. And in their early lives they may have been caretakers, or fixers, and these habits carry over easily into government life.
If they were powerless to say no at home, they may be powerless to say no at work. This can mean saying yes to everyone who comes to them asking for money. This is not the way to financial responsibility. Financial irresponsibility is a common trait of dysfunctional people until they get into recovery. The enormous debts that governments at all levels have incurred are the result of people who were unable to say no, when fiscal responsibility said it was best to do so.
These people have a strong desire to please, to be accepted, and to win approval. As long as these people are in power, the debt and mismanagement will continue, until a crisis develops.
So I believe that for my own personal happiness, it is best for me not to spend much time trying to decide which dysfunctional politician to vote for. Let me see some of them get into recovery, and then I will get more interested in politics.
We do not help the world by imposing our views on others, or making others do our wishes. (These are control issues left over from our childhood.) We truly help the world by helping ourselves.
Remember, I wrote this in 1995.
Note, November 25, 2015. Does it matter if the collective IQ of the planet drops 2 or 3 points? Yes, and it has a bigger effect than most people would think. Think about global warming of only 2 or 3 degrees. Over a long period of time it will make ocean levels rise 20 feet. Similarly, a
slightly less intelligent population will have big consequences in the world. (This is assuming democracy continues in the world, which is far from certain.)
PS: You can read the whole book for 99 cents, here.