What is your take on this? | 12 Step Meetings and Anonymous Groups - Part 5

What is your take on this?



This topic contains 17 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  zeldachan 8 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #4834977

    Anonymous

    Ok, Now I quote from The Original Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous:
    1. “(We, correction inserted) Admitted we were powerless over alcohol – – that our lives had become unmanageable.” Note that two dashes are used. So I guess the intent was enclosure. Somehow the printer mistook it for separation or emphasis. Or something.

    What does this matter? Why are we turning a 12 step forum into lesson in English Grammar? I’m powerless over alcohol. My life is unmanageable. The reason my life is unmanageable is that I’m powerless over alcohol.

    I can play word games all I want with the wording of this step, but it doesn’t change that requirement that I have to accept the facts of powerlessness and unmanageability before I can move on. Let’s keep it simple, shall we?

    And Brother, I fail to follow your line of thinking with regard to “powerless over others” and steps 8, 9, and 10.



    #4834978

    Anonymous

    And Nacona, when I said “you” in my post, I was referring to the author, not to you.



    #4834972

    Anonymous

    @joedris 2877946 wrote:

    Ok, Now I quote from The Original Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous:
    1. “(We, correction inserted) Admitted we were powerless over alcohol – – that our lives had become unmanageable.” Note that two dashes are used. So I guess the intent was enclosure. Somehow the printer mistook it for separation or emphasis. Or something.

    What does this matter? Why are we turning a 12 step forum into lesson in English Grammar? I’m powerless over alcohol. My life is unmanageable. The reason my life is unmanageable is that I’m powerless over alcohol.

    First off, Joe, the 2 dashes as related to enclosure refers to one dash at the beginning of a phrase or clause and one dash at the end, so that the clause or phrase is “enclosed” between the dashes and, thus, set off almost parenthetically, but with more emphasis than parentheses can provide. For example: Freya – totally ignorant though she was about technology – found it very helpful when it came to managing her time.

    The “two dash” usage to which you are referring in your post is simply an attempt to more obviously distinguish between the hyphen and the the dash. For example, with new type-faces, printers, computers etc…it is becoming increasingly common and more acceptable — even in final published drafts — to find a sentence like the one I used for my example above typed like this: Freya — totally ignorant though she was about technology — found it very helpful when it came to managing her time.

    Again, the one dash immediately following another with no words “enclosed” between the two (usually referred to as a “double-dash”) actually emphasizes the fact that it is a dash that is very deliberately being used, rather than a hyphen. So, in the case of the original manuscript, this would indicate, especially since this particular usage was relatively rare at that time, that the writers wanted to make it very, very clear that they intended the mark to be a dash.

    Secondly, if you believe that the writers of the BB took their work seriously and tried to be as careful as they could that their writing actually conveyed as well as possible their actual intended meaning, then the decisions they made about words and in punctuation do become important, because these things can influence meaning a lot, as per the well-known example:

    He eats leaves and shoots.

    vs.

    He eats, leaves, and shoots.

    Personally, I tend to have a pretty high level of respect — admiration really — for the writers of the BB, so it’s hard for me to imagine, especially when it comes to the Steps themselves, that they would have been so careless as to have written:

    We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

    if what they really had meant to say was:

    We admitted that the reason our lives had become unmanageable was that we were powerless over alcohol. (I took the wording for this line directly from your post, changing it only from first-person-singular to first-person-plural and from present to past tense, since those are the “person” and tense in which the Steps are written.)

    The above are 2 quite different statements.

    Finally, I’ve got to say that I find it quite intriguing that someone who espouses the belief that how something is written has little bearing on its meaning somehow ends up interested in the original manuscript of the BB — or any other original manuscript for that matter. What’s up with that? Inquiring minds want to know!

    freya



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