If you’re anything like me (and H[ocus] P[ocus] save you if you are), you’ll be both shocked & amazed to know that ‘The Grapevine’ (The International Journal of Alcoholics Anonymous) gave me the official “thanks, but no thanks” on my  submission for publication, “12 Rights For AA New-Comers” (12 Rights For New-Comers To AA/12 Step):

Thank you for your e-mail submission to the AA Grapevine.  While I don’t think we’ll be using it, we are grateful for your interest in the magazine and hope you’ll feel free to send us more material in the future.  As you can imagine, we receive hundreds of manuscripts every month and many good manuscripts must be turned down because of space limitations. For more information about the Grapevine, its related items, including subscription information, guidelines for submitting articles, and current Calls for Articles, please see our Website: www.aagrapevine.org.

Best wishes,

The Editors 
The AA Grapevine magazine

If you’re wondering what the smell coming off the ‘shock & amazement’ expressed earlier is, that’s sarcasm.  I really was under no illusion that The Grapevine had any interest in publishing anything that might actually empower individual AA members.  Still, a man’s gotta do … etcetera, etcetera.

I am curious as to why “The Editors” used the singular ‘I’ followed by the royal ‘we’ in offering up ‘their’ rejection of the material.  There go my dreams of conquering the publishing world starting with a by-line from The Grapevine.

In other news …

I went last night to hear author Eric Maisel speak on his new book, “The Atheist’s Way: Living Well Without The Gods”.  The talk was sponsored by the local Center For Inquiry chapter and — while a little too top-heavy on the snarkiness toward theism & religion in general for my personal tastes — it was still two hours well spent.  You can listen to Maisel talk about his work here: www.pointofinquiry.org.

My ears perked up when Maisel talked about the linguistics of ‘belief’ and how as early as the 19th century academics had identified that it wasn’t the content of the language that was important so much as its ability to be memorable & easily repeated.  After all, what does, “God is good” really say about the probability of the existence of [g]od or an objective understanding of ‘goodness’?  It’s just a good catch-phrase — kind of like, “Utilize, don’t analyze.”  Language and its malleability within the 12-Step experience has long been a hobbyhorse of mine.

One very interesting part of Maisel’s presentation was his suggestion that atheists (existentialists, secular-humanists, non-believers, [fill-in-the-blank]ers) purposefully re-cast mystical language when they are confronted with it.  Specifically, he challenged his audience to ask of someone who claims to have had a ‘spiritual experience’, “What made that experience meaningful for you?”

The substitution is subtle but does, I think, greatly shift the terms of the discussion.

So I offer an open question to steppers, non-steppers, and all those somewhere in between: Is meaningful experience a fair substitution for spiritual experience?  If so, why, and if not, why not?

All input is welcome.

ADDENDUM: All input may indeed be welcome but irrational input will be ridiculed relentlessly for exactly what it is.  Now back to our regularly scheduled trolling … .

ADDENDUM II: Thanks so much for all the effluvia, kids.  It really was terribly invigorating reading all the commentary on this post … that never actually addressed anything in the post (yes, Cuda, I’m thinking of you).  But playtime’s over.  Go troll YouTube or ‘help’ people out in Colorado (again, Cuda, it’s all about you).  This post is officially closed for business.