Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eragon and the 12 Steps

That's right - dragon riding magicians and alcoholics anonymous have something in common - at least in the head of a budding psychiatrist.

I enjoyed reading the Eragon series.  (I know it's officially entitled "The Inheritance Cycle" but no one is going to recognize it by that name)

One intriguing part of the book is the importance of one's "True Name."  It is often said that your true name is a word or series of words that truly represents you.  The knowledge of one's true name is a source of great power. 
Throughout the series it's hinted at - but until the final book we never discover what is included in a true name.

At one point Eragon asks an old sage-like Dragon Rider if he can teach Eragon his true name.  The sage tells him he probably could, but "a person must earn enlightenment."

Eventually Eragon spends days out on his own, analyzing himself.  He reviews his history, his life, his motives, his actions.  He analyzes his character, his strengths and weaknesses, his faults and follies.  He fearlessly delves into his own life, to figure out who he really is, who he has become.  He knows his name will not be completely positive, nor completely negative.  It will be absolutely true and reflective of him.  If he is rigorously honest  with himself - he will understand himself and gain great power over himself, and thus his future.

Last week while reading the AA big book I came upon step 4: "We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

That's Eragon - that's finding your true name!

The AA book goes on: We want to uncover the truth about ourselves. We want to discover the attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, fears, actions, behaviors, and the behavior patterns - that have been blocking us, causing us problems and causing our failure.
We want to learn the exact nature our "character defects" and what causes us to do the unacceptable things we do - so that once they are removed - we can acquire and live with new attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, actions and behaviors for our highest good, and for the highest good of those with whom we come in contact.

AA gives specific areas to look at during step 4:

  • Self Esteem – How I Think of Myself
  • Pride – How I Think Others View Me
  • Pocketbook – Basic Desire for Money,Property, Possessions, Financial Security
  • Emotional Security – General Sense of Personal Well Being
  • Ambitions – Our Plans – Our Wants – Our Desires
  • Personal Relations – Our Relationships With Other People
  • Sex Relations – Basic Drive For Sexual Intimacy

  • I'm guessing I could go back and read the entire Eragon series again and I could point out where he completed each of the 12 steps.  But that would take a ton of work, and it would be forced - I'd have to make things fit.  This example to me was obvious and was not forced in the least. 
    When Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon he realized a great truth - that to have true power one must fully understand one's self.
    Bill Wilson realized the same thing when he wrote the 12 steps.

    1 comment:

    Rajeev said...

    I was thinking of the exact same thing..and your point was fascinating, true power comes with knowledge of self.