Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Technical Problems And Random Thoughts

Petroglyph depicting the Sacred Heart at Puye ruins. Circa 1600 or so. Has nothing to do with following article, but everything to do with yesterday's.

Yesterday I wrote that I would be writing more on the notion of love as a quantum force. I will get to that, but today I spent some of the morning talking with my friendly Verizon broad band tech about the fact my Internet card was causing me no end of problems. Such as most of the time I couldn't connect as I was suddenly unauthorized, and if I did connect it was slower than dial up and kicked me off after eight or so minutes. One can't get much done under those circumstances. Since I needed to do some research, which I didn't get done, I will be writing on the love topic tomorrow. The good news is my Internet card now works like it is supposed to and I can get to the research tomorrow. Unfortunately it took too long and I have places to go and people to see the rest of this day.

For those of you who might still want a little brain food, I encourage you to check out the NCR article on the visitations being conducted for American women's religious communities. The commentary is very interesting. It seems love does not play a part in how people are perceiving these visitations. One can only hope the sisters themselves take the visitations in a better spirit than some of us laity.

My own personal take is that the Vatican is trying to shore up the authority of the USCCB by undercutting the authority and mission of women they see as competitors for the authentic voice of the church in the US. If that's the case, these visitations are probably way too late and will backfire badly. One can not regain lost credibility by needlessly attacking the credibility of others.

Bill Lyndsey also has article that is well worth reading on the uber right wing Catholic Eric Prince. Prince is the genius behind the security company Blackwater and made millions off the Iraq war before congress stepped in. The article is chilling in it's implications. It is not about the quantum power of love. It is all about the ego power of supremacy. Until tomorrow.


  1. These days I have no love for the men in the Vatican, but only sorrow and pity. There, you have it. Their judgment against women and desire to always silence women and enslave them accords them an unloving response, a door slammed shut in their face. If I were a nun I would not sign a loyalty oath to them, for my loyalty is not in the Vatican and never has been. The visitation is an insult to women and someone commented that the sisters have to pay for the travel expenses of the visitors and this is just adding salt to the wounds. I agree.

    The visitation is a political fundamentalist circus and just more inquisitional politics from the institutional Church, that I have come to loathe with all my heart and soul. Christ is not there in the institution of the Vatican State. He has been shut out. There is no love there, especially for women.

  2. Colleen, Part 1

    I want to personally thank you for all the research that you do. I don't know how you have time for everything, a profession and a family!

    I read your article yesterday and want to comment on your use of the word love. I too come from a particularly similar background as you. Although I began my carrier doing basic science research on the brain at a major university and was a Professor of Neuro Anesthesiology for many years, the NIH money dried up. It was a choice to work more for drug companies or change my carrier. Since I had no interest in Marketing drugs through the University banner, I studied further until I was able to enter a practice of Adult and Child Psychoanalysis in which I taught at two institutes until I got a rather severe disease and now am semiretired but still see a few patients. I do not generate any income just to make money anymore but see just enough patients to pay for my overhead.

    I want to comment on your use of the term absolute love or unconditional love. I don’t think it really exists. I think if we are lucky we get something akin to this when we are in the womb or for several months there after. As you know from being a mother and from the studies of Winnicott, most women have a type of near complete concentration on their babies that most good mother go through that intensifies throughout pregnancy and lasts for several months after birth. A good mother does everything for her infant, feeds it, keeps it warm, cleans up all its messes. That will never exist again in our lives thank God! It is in our struggle to be free seeking humans that we must make our own lives. If someone were to give us absolute or unconditional love, it would be accompanied by control and living through us. Not many humans can tolerate that and I see this as the idea that the Church calls authority but is really authoritarian. This is why I and others do not use the term AGAPE.

    The question is what of God. Does He/She give us unconditional love? What of free will if this is the case? Yet there is a great power, greater than us that gives us life, ensoument and personhood. Is it unconditional, is it absolute, and if so are we like ants or bees just needing to follow what He says. Are the traditionalists correct? Should we follow the revealed truth of the past. A truth revealed in an absolute sense that God and particularly Christ's spoke to MEN on earth. Yet I do believe that there is a power much greater than us. Is it Infinite? If so I guess it could chose how much to control us or love us. I thank that power for not being absolute or unconditional. To me that would not be the greatest love at all. The greatest love would be to cast us free and if we return then we do love Him/Her. Since my post was too long will continue on a separate post.

  3. Part 2

    To return to your concepts of love I am learning a great deal and you give me much to ponder. I do not know how acupuncture works, yet I am convinced it works better than the 33% iatrogenic cure that we see if a saline shot is used for several conditions. I do not understand the electromagnetic forces and other forces in the body that have not been well described by science, but I certainly think much more exists than we as humans will ever know. On the other hand, I think that the scientific method is the most useful tool for observing phenomena. I think this method was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    It is my inability to truthfully describe my work because of the interference of pharmaceutical companies largely taking control of the finances of University “researchers,” (I now believe that in most most basic science professors in the United States have become “Marketeers” to be able to survive in their current jobs) that keeps me away from this type of work. We must be careful of absolutes and unconditional if we wish to be free to do anything especially the scientific method of observation and discovery.

    I do not think that Christ is describing unconditional love in the Sermon On The Mount, but I think it is an evolution from Babylonian Law (if someone does something bad to you, do ten fold to him/her), The Tarot of the Old Testament (an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth that should be read as just an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth), to the sermon on the mount to love others much, much more than we think possible. For an example to a student, if another asked to borrow your notes and books the night before an important test, give them to that person. How impractical! Yet, maybe without acceding to that request, the student can still help the other person at such a late date. Yes, I see the reason for Christ’s crucifixion to be just that. He asks us to love more than we are prepared to do. I think Martin Luther King, although very finite and faltering, is my generations answer to the Sermon on the Mount. Are we prepared to give up more of our lives to love others?

    Peace and love,

    R. Dennis Porch, MD

  4. Dennis, when I use the term unconditional love I am using it in a very specific sense. It's love expressed without an ego agenda. One offers freely without being personally vested in the outcome, whether the offer is accepted, rejected, used wisely, whatever, it doesn't matter to the ego of the giver. What does matter is if the giver can see that the gift is a positive action for the givee and can share in that positive effect. This kind of love can never violate the other person' free choice. When one isn't personally invested in the outcome, one also doesn't bother much with judging the outcome.

    I think here about the parable of the wealthy young man. Jesus certainly offered the young man a choice, and didn't seem to be particularly offended that the young man chose to walk away. The choice wasn't Jesus's issue. He didn't see it as rejection of Him. The choice was a statement about where the young man was at, not about where Jesus was at. Should the young man make a different choice at a later time he would have been welcomed by Jesus with open arms.

    In my thinking, unconditional love means precisely not being vested in control. To be honest, I think the hardest relationship to practice this kind of unconditional love is the one we have with our children. Maybe that's why Jesus never had any! And I can't help but wonder how many times Mary might have wanted to shake some sense into Him.

    In any event it's all in the neuro chemisty. Something I suspect the drug companies are far more aware of than Benedict is.

  5. Butterfly, this investigation of American nuns in my mind is a product of certain American bishops and certain conservative members of the Vatican. They are afraid they are losing control. I'm just not too sure what they think they are losing control of, because if it's the Church, they lost control of that a long, long time ago. (About the time that Jesus introduced the apostles to the presence of the Holy Spirit.)

    In the end this will be a big coyote lesson for the hierarchy, the nuns will have the last laugh, and certain control freak clerics will learn a valuable lesson about real power. It doesn't exist in titles or male genitalia.

  6. Colleen,

    The idea of unconditional love is confusing to most people. They really believe to be in a good love relationship it should be unconditional in the sense that the other person will accept their behavior no matter what the consequences that they will love them no matter how bad the relationship. I tend to try to work through the misconceptions of this concept with my patients so that they can improve their relationships.

    Peace and high regards, dennis

  7. Dennis I've spent a lot of time in therapy sessions on the same confusion. There is a vast vast difference between enabling behavior and unconditional love.

    The unconditional part refers to the giver not the demands of the receiver. I wish I had a dollar for every client who told me unconditional love meant the other person had to love them no matter what they did.

    Part of it of course, is the confusion of the emotional experience with the reality of active love. People don't necessarily fall out of love, they stop producing the neurochemistry which generates the more intense aspects of feeling the emotional response we label love. That's a tough one to get across as well.

  8. Colleen,

    I do regard you and your board very highly but I must say that Unconditional would need to be understood by both sides. A giver of love can not take care of all of another persons needs, feed, keep warm and clean all the messes of another. This would be very controlling in the sense that it does not allow the other to progress. I will stop at that and I guess we will both need to disagree as our ego are in the way and I believe it to be a good thing in this case!

    Peace and understanding,
    R. Dennis Porch, MD

  9. You know Colleen, what you say here is apparently true that "love does not play a part in how people are perceiving these visitations." There is absolutely no love about the visitation. It's very conditional, on the condition that the Sisters are in obedience to the men, or what they prefer to call it, dogma.

    It does not seem that the men in the Vatican have connected to the Gospels at all. Juxtaposing Mary's Visitation, I am sure she did not have Elizabeth pay for her expenses to get there, as well, I am sure that Mary who was the visitator went their entirely out of love for Elizabeth, and she did not go there to be an imposition or inquisition or judge in any way, that is for sure. Not only was Elizabeth's acceptance of Mary of joy, but even the child within leapt inside of her. Some neuro chemistry going on there I suppose?

    Dennis, I am enjoying your writing too. Your thoughts get my mind thinking and going round. This brings me to another thought, that the disease Alzheimer's from the little I know of it can be caused by a lack of thinking? ... or maybe a certain neuro chemistry has shut down. My mother had Alzheimer's.

    I'm wondering. My mother was what one might call an obedient Catholic. Ever obedient she was. When I think of who she was obedient to and the identity that was ingrained into her by Church and by what she considered to be her free will, but by a free will that was captive to what was pre-determined for her by others and not from God, the source of all life. I think this is why I get so angry at the Vatican for their promulgating a lie that only they and the Magisterium have this unique relationship with God and the Holy Spirit and it is absolute. They have made themselves ever supreme, to the extent that individuals and entire peoples are forbidden to think, they are to only obey, but if they think it can only be so far and then they are a heretic or excommunicated from Church. They have created generations of people who can not think, are afraid to think. In essence, have they created a disease as well, such as Alzheimer's? ... or maybe even cancer?

    Just wondering aloud, the possible biological consequences of lies that forbid people to think and connect to God and the Holy Spirit and to express themselves freely, in order to garner power for the few in the hierarchy of the Church.

  10. The lie that I refer to is the one of infallibility.

  11. Dennis, I had an interesting experience tonight with a very very good friend who is also a therapist. We discussed unconditional love and what it really meant to each of us.

    She said to me that she had completely misunderstood this concept because she got trapped in the "you have to accept everything I do if you love me" idea. It was the first and formost strategy used by her very abusive father on his wife and children.

    I asked her what she now saw as unconditional love and she said it was when someone cared enough to give her truth without judgement, unafraid of the fact it might hurt her or ruffle her feathers.

    In this sense you are correct that unconditional love needs both partners somewhat on the same page to have any real effect.

    This has been a great conversation for me and I've had to do a lot of thinking. I appreciate very much the time you have spent responding.

    PS> I also met with 10 other spiritual/psychics today from Catholic, Native, and secular/psychoanalitic view points. They all got brain locked on this idea of unconditional love. We were able to agree that the giver had to give from non judgement and no ego justification, but after that it got very murky. Maybe this topic indicates how blind we all are to the whole concept. It was fun and 'enlightening' to find out most of us couldn't actually articulate what we meant, and some of us get paid to articulate it. That was the most fun.

  12. Colleen,

    One last comment at the expense of the use of my ego in what I consider a good way. I don't think unconditional love ever exists, but we as humans come closest to it when we are loved as tiny babies and in the womb. I do understand and agree with your concept of love, I just would not consider what you describe as unconditional love or we get into the mode of either indulging others or enabling them especially if it is in something that they are not growing through. I think that the challenge of the Sermon on the MOunt is to love others more than we were expecting to do. My theory is that at times a personal ego is actually good if it is coming from a good place. It might help us and those we are attempting to love to grow and develop. dennis

  13. butterfly,

    I think what you are describing is the difference between shame and guilt. Shame is a standard created by others for us to follow, and when this standard is questioned as all standards must, the "authorities attempt to shame us, but they say we should feel guilty.

    On the other hand guilt is when we deep down know that we hurt another and feel bad about it. This is the food for confession and centering prayer. Guilt is an excellent emotion because we can attempt to make some sort of personal payment for our own transgressions.

    Shame is NEVER a good emotion because it is not coming from a place that we understand ourselves as wrong. It is coming from a group who says we are wrong even if we do not know how we are wrong or believe we are wrong. There is no way for us to make reparation.

    I think that much of what many of us call catholic guilt is really catholic shame and we as humans really make a large growth step when we realize the difference between true guilt, which we can attempt to repair, and shame, something that others want of us.

    Perhaps your anger at the MEN in the Vatican can be tempered by understanding that you and I are not to be shamed, it will never help us and it particularly will not help any authority to be genuine.

    Peace and understanding,
    R. Dennis Porch, MD

  14. My anger is tempered by not giving in to their authority, by not enabling them, by telling the truth. My anger is tempered by walking away from them and by going to the true source of love for nourishment and growth. My anger is tempered by realizing that my identity does not come from the Vatican, their dogma, their rules, their acceptance or rejection of me. My identity is something that does not belong to them and they are trying to act like gods by trying to temper and tamper with what does not belong to them.... my identity, the one designed by God for me.

    The "Catholic" identity that the Vatican wants to impose on women is a false identity.

  15. This is dysfunction at its best... their disdain for the Feminine energy can no longer be hidden, its a desperate act on the vatican's part, no doubt.

    You know, I used to think on some level, I had failed God when I ditched my call to the Religious Life in my early 20s... not anymore. The systemic church and its patriarchal rule would have been cruel for a lesbian who would never be allowed to celebrate her life, celibate or otherwise...

  16. Dear thinking it through,

    I had similar feelings when I ditched the Jesuits after several years, but prior to ordination. I felt that celibacy was not a way to conduct a life looking for a close relationship to God. In my old age, I have the freedom to evaluate the Church without worrying about old age retirement. I think that the Church really is the laity, and the power of the curia is delusional. Let us not accept that delusion!