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November 1956

Across the Editor's Desk

THE DEFINITION IN WEBSTER'S of the word that concerns us this month doesn't exactly fit. . .that is, if you are going to be exact about it. It's like a lot of other words in AA. Apply mathematical exactness to them and. . .well, you at least have one of those arguments over semantics that can be a hurdle for a closed meeting.

Webster's says: TRADITION. Oral transmission of information, beliefs, customs etc., from ancestors to posterity without written memorials. . . .

You see what we mean. AA Traditions are a little bit different. They may be beliefs, customs, etc., and they have evolved. But they have become written memorials, taken down from the raw material of experience and our ancestors in these generations of alcoholics to come are still around to tell us what the experience was that gave them to us. And besides we are told to go ahead and test them ourselves against our own experience as we learn to live as part of a group again.

A little bit different and a little bit more than Webster could have dreamed of while he was doing his monumentally careful job of trying to put down the truth behind the words we use.

It seems to your reporter that here is just another piece of evidence that we AA's can be the luckiest of individuals. For our traditions, by our own definition, are still living traditions and not dead words handed down from another civilization we no longer understand and that, perhaps, would not understand us.

What the Twelve still express is a part of our daily experience as intimate as the air we breathe and as communal. In every meeting tonight they come alive again fresh as to-day's daisies. And if we take them, as seems inevitable, to our own single hearts how much a part of ourselves they become.

This view of the Twelve grew out of Earl M's "Whisper" which we have reprinted on page 2 and puts a glow and meaning into the printed words again. Lifts those words off the page and puts them in the blood stream.

Your reporter has one wish. . .that we shall never be fully happy about Webster's definition. . .and so make the Twelve live today.

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