Abstract / Synopsis
Conversion of strangers, or proselytizing, is a feature of a range of groups for religious, organizational and other aims. In twelve-step recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, belief in a higher power is a requirement for working the steps to recovery. People are encouraged to find a higher power of their own understanding. This paper presents a model for using mathematics as a higher power, and shows how recovery works with mathematics in that role instead of a more traditional higher power such as God. A contemplative definition of math is given along with a description of a three-categoried epistemology: mathematics, science, and the personal. This epistemology is shown to be sufficient to work the Twelve Steps, with mathematics as a higher power. Proselytizing is not required.
Daniel S. Helman, "Mathematics for the Masses: Door-to-Door Missionaries of Math and Twelve-Step Recovery Programs," Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 12 Issue 1 (January 2022), pages 428-442. DOI: 10.5642/jhummath.202201.33. Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol12/iss1/33