Re: understanding neuroscience
Sun, 5 Sep 1999 21:34:54 EDT

In a message dated 99-09-05 20:57:39 EDT, (J. R. Molloy) wrote:

> Greg Burch wrote,
> >The same sort of thing will happen to me from my own Catholic upbringing,
> >especially if I encounter the full blown "Magic Show" (as I used to call
> the
> >Mass when I was an altar boy); it's almost like some kind of weird drug
> rush.
> Reading this leaves me with the impression that in some ways a Catholic
> upbringing must feel similar to a childhood experience of intense psychic
> abuse. Would you think it disparaging if someone called you a "recovering
> Catholic"?

Actually, I don't think about it like this at all and I have many more fond memories of my Catholic upbringing than unhappy ones. For one thing, I know I got a MUCH better basic primary education going to parochial schools than my peers who went to public schools. When I transferred into public schools in the 9th grade, I was at least two years ahead in every subject and in many areas the public school curriculum never caught up even by the end of high school. Second, I was primarily educated by hip, post-Vatican II nuns, who were actually amazingly cool people, by and large. After my father, my 5th grade teacher (good old Sister Thomas Marie) certainly did more than anyone else to kindle an interest in natural science in me. I used to go up to the convent in the summer after that school year and work with her cataloguing a huge collection of exotic seashells that a parishioner had bequeathed to the school. While we poured over the shells and looked through books to identify them we talked a lot about Darwin and evolution in an open way, something I wonder whether many lay teachers would have taken the time to do. The priest who dealt with the school kids during those years was also a pretty cool guy: He drove an old MG that he worked on behind the school a lot in a greasy old cassock.

Beyond this, I was never "compelled to believe" in any oppressive way. As a result, I never had to have a "crisis of faith" like so many people who were raised in religious surroundings. Instead, I just naturally came to doubt the underlying ideas more and more, but in fact never lost an appreciation for the ceremony of the Roman practice. Far from a "childhood of psychic abuse", I recall those times fondly as one in which I was educated in an ancient tradition that seemed more like something out of Hesse's "Glass Bead Game" than anything else . . .

     Greg Burch     <>----<>
     Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
                         "Civilization is protest against nature; 
                  progress requires us to take control of evolution."
                                      -- Thomas Huxley