Two Davids vs Two Goliaths on Rebellion Dogs Radio 17 

“The dogma of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present and future. As our circumstances are new, we must think anew, and act anew.” Abraham Lincoln

A PDF transcript is now available for this show HERE.

To push through the dogma of our past pits the rebel David against the Goliath of status quo. In Episode 17 of Rebellion Dogs Radio we get to know two rebels.

Marc Lewis is a neuroscientist and a professor. His new book, The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is not a Disease challenges a well worn groove in addiction language about the disease of addiction.

Gretta Vosper may not be the only Christian minister that doesn’t treat the Bible as a literal history book but as an out-of-the-closet atheist her West Hill United Church ministry is under fire from the powers that be. Both the medical/psychiatric infrastructure and the Christian church have very Goliathesque qualities and we may fear seeing our rebellious heroes crushed. Of course, Abraham Lincoln has your back, Marc and Gretta. He knows today’s story can’t be told in yesterday’s language.  

I am reading a Malcolm Gladwell book called David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. Gladwell offers two insights or a new way of looking at seemingly overwhelming odds.

“The first is that much of what we consider valuable in our world arises out of these kinds of lopsided conflicts because the act of facing overwhelming odds creates greatness and beauty. And second, that we get these kinds of conflicts wrong; we misread them, we misinterpret them. Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the source of great weakness. And the fact of being an underdog can change people in a way that we fail to appreciate. It can open doors and create opportunities and educate and enlighten and make possible what might otherwise have seemed unthinkable.”

On this show you will get to know Marc Lewis; he chats with us about why he wrote a new book. In the interests of understanding addiction better, we discuss what neuroscientists might want to focus some of their attention on, now that the disease-model is showing signs of weakness. Even if you have no investment in how doctors and researchers are labeling addiction and recovery, you may find Marc’s research fascinating. He introduces us to an alcoholic, a meth-head, heroin addict, a woman with an eating disorder and a prescription pill addict who were part of Marc Lewis’s research. These stories are hair-raising.
Gretta Vosper, atheist, author and minister has two books. With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important than What We Believe was a 2008 best-seller. Her follow up book in 2012 was Amen: What Prayer Can Mean in a World Beyond Belief. We bring you an updates on the United Church of Canada’s conundrum. They find themselves in the 21st century reenactment of a 2000 year old drama. In the role of Pontius Pilate, is the church" damned if they do and damned if they don’t" excommunicate  Gretta Vosper? We’ll look at what the buzz is in Canada’s leading newspapers and what Gretta and Mary Hynes are chatting about on CBC’s Tapestry radio show.
Do you remember when Tapestry devoted a show to AA's "God of our own understanding"? Mary Hynes had a regular AA member on, a recovery rabbi and three members of Beyond Belief Agnostics Group on the show, shortly after the rogue Toronto Intergroup said they would take the secular groups out of the local meeting list and nolonger give these rights-bearing groups a voice on the Intergroup floor. Mary Hynes notes that Gretta Vosper is “irritating the United Church into the 21st century.” This is a drama that is currently unfolding. We will link you to both of these CBC shows if you care to listen.

 
View or download the Episode XVII transcript PDF if you’d like to review it yourself or pass it around. Hear the 52 minutes of Rebellious Radio on the Pod-0-matic link or download it to your phone or computer from our link below. Again, feel free to re-post or link to the show.


As always, we welcome your comments, criticisms, concerns or questions. Consider yourself, part of the community. To close, here’s one more quote, a final word from Oscar Wilde about why we have to rally behind our rebels:

“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made.”

Links:

Marc Lewis, author of Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is not a Disease.

Gretta Vosper, Progressive Christianity

CBC Tapestry Letting Go with Gretta Vosper and Miriam Katin

CBC Tapestry AA, God of your understanding a Recovery Rabi and three from Toronto's Beyond Belief Agnostics & Freethinkers Group

Malcolm Gladwell, author of David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants

2 comments

  • Christopher

    Christopher

    Once yet again, an insightful listen to the meaning within our language. The most remarkable take-away for me was in connection with the "recovering/recovered" debate and partisanship I sometimes hear in the rooms. My experience is that I hear most refer to themselves as recovering, but AA's core literature, the first 164 pages of the big book and the 12 and 12, show a converse attitude by using recovered 10 times as often as recovering! The alternate idea that the human condition is driven by desire, not pleasure, and that these qualities are more dissimilar than not is enlightening. The desire to return to normalcy or status quo seems hardly like the desire to grow. As a friend once said, "How could I be rehabilitated when I was never habilitated in the first place?!" I have had to ask myself on occasion, "Am I recovering from something or rather to something?"

    Once yet again, an insightful listen to the meaning within our language. The most remarkable take-away for me was in connection with the "recovering/recovered" debate and partisanship I sometimes hear in the rooms. My experience is that I hear most refer to themselves as recovering, but AA's core literature, the first 164 pages of the big book and the 12 and 12, show a converse attitude by using recovered 10 times as often as recovering! The alternate idea that the human condition is driven by desire, not pleasure, and that these qualities are more dissimilar than not is enlightening. The desire to return to normalcy or status quo seems hardly like the desire to grow. As a friend once said, "How could I be rehabilitated when I was never habilitated in the first place?!" I have had to ask myself on occasion, "Am I recovering from something or rather to something?"

  • Rebellion Dogs Publishing

    Rebellion Dogs Publishing

    I've been thinking about this a lot now and some words or phrases are part of tribalism, like acronyms we use 'buzz' words to identify with each other and sometimes as short-hand to convey complex processes in a word or two. Your comments got me to thinking. In our world, addiction, disease, recovery, spirituality, program, working the program, stinking-thinking - these are a few term that have profound meaning on one hand but have been reduced to bumper-sticker cliches on the other hand. Like any habit, I imagine, what do you gain/what do you lose? One down-side is that we aren't having a moment of communication that we think we are having or that we crave. Once meaningful words don't have meaning any more. If "spiritual" means something different to everyone it isn't a good word, anymore, to communicate an idea. I, for one, will be trying to be less lazy and try to convey ideas with words and phrases that aren't so tired.

    I've been thinking about this a lot now and some words or phrases are part of tribalism, like acronyms we use 'buzz' words to identify with each other and sometimes as short-hand to convey complex processes in a word or two. Your comments got me to thinking. In our world, addiction, disease, recovery, spirituality, program, working the program, stinking-thinking - these are a few term that have profound meaning on one hand but have been reduced to bumper-sticker cliches on the other hand. Like any habit, I imagine, what do you gain/what do you lose? One down-side is that we aren't having a moment of communication that we think we are having or that we crave. Once meaningful words don't have meaning any more. If "spiritual" means something different to everyone it isn't a good word, anymore, to communicate an idea. I, for one, will be trying to be less lazy and try to convey ideas with words and phrases that aren't so tired.

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