by Corneilius Crowley
Published previously: The Irish Times, Nov 28, 2009
2 Jan. 2010
Another report from the slow snail of Justice and Governance in Ireland regarding the vast swathe of crimes against children perpetrated by the people within the Institutions set up by State and Church for the ‘care’ of children has just been published. The BBC reported this here.
I left a comment which formed the basis for this piece.
I spent my childhood in Irish Catholic Boarding Schools, from age five and a half to seventeen, and as a ward of court, was in custody of my relatives. Who were less than empathetic. Let it be know that abuse occurred in peoples homes too, and that much of that activity has been covered up. Thus as a child there was no-one for me to turn to talk to about my experiences.
I grew up believing those experiences, and my shame, were normal. I believed my low self-esteem was my own fault, that I was evil, a sinner and at heart a disgusting, filthy and ugly person, even though I could pass myself off as reasonably affable.
My life has been pretty much ruled and dominated by those experiences and how I ‘adapted’ to them, how I internalised the values of those who abused me, and took on the image they projected on to me as my own identity.
Years and years of unhappiness, dysfunction, insecurity and a nameless rage (for which, for a long I time no target – and that meant I turned the rage upon myself and those close to me) have dogged my life.
I have struggled as best I can to heal, this for myself, and to understand, to fully comprehend the dynamics of abuse operating at such a huge scale, such that it might be classed a societal problem, because the problem is tractable, because the cycles can be broken, and because this should never happen to any child, and because the resolution of which is essential to the future of all human beings.
There is no higher calling on Earth today.
It is the FACT of the intentional and systematic ‘climate pollution’ of our children’s psyches through conditioning processes that is a taboo subject for mainstream society and the ‘greens’ and other movements for change must now address this issue, openly. Vigorously.
Failure to do so will be catastrophic for all of us.
Because abuse is always about POWER. Abuse is always about control. Abusers ‘condition’ those they abuse to accept the abuse as ‘normal’. To maintain that control.
There is a long historical record in writing, of the processes of conditioning, under the guise of education, or child-rearing, or training, that go back millennia, writings that informed the philosophies of dominance that are the basis of this society. The cycles of abuse go deep.
I am encouraged that the issue is being looked at, today, and in my own lifetime, and not least by the victims and their families, and empathetic researchers. Much research in these areas has been undertaken, and much is known, far more than is in practice through state sponsored projects, such as education, health , culture and ‘spreading democracy’.
I am less encouraged by Government action on these issues. Slow, unwilling to respond to victims with the speed with which they responded to the abusers, in this case, The Christian Churches. That they defend the likes of leaders who start wars should come as no surprise. That our Government opposes fiercely any attempts by ordinary folk to arraign war criminals is typical.
There are more incidents beyond the abuse of children, that litter our society, that are tied up in how a society treats children.
The philosophy a society has in this regard must be examined for any false or corrosive assumptions. Conditioning must be acknowledged as a corrosive force. And ceased.
And that is the only path which I as a survivor deem plausible if we as a society are to honour all children, for all time. It is time, well past time actually, to clean up our collective and centralised acts.
Expectations of every child
The expectations of the natural child are to be loved, to be recognised as a unique being, to be seen as a valid being with feelings and sensings that no one need fear or challenge. The natural child expects to meet competent adults who know what they are doing, who are integrated in harmony with the environment, who have mastered their own being and who behave with a deep respect. The natural child expects to explore freely and to learn about the world he/she is born into. The natural child expects to be able to learn from his oe her own experiences,and from older children, as much as the adults. To the extent that these inherent expectations are met or not, and to the extent that the natural child is coerced or not, these factors will determine the psychological balance of the child and of course the adult the child grows into. And an adult world that does not meet those expectations is the result of those adults having not met with their inherent natural expectations. For most this process is unconscious, and thus the cycles are repeated and as the saying goes ‘ we do not learn from history’…. Well then, enough is already far too much. Start now. You can explore the nature of adverse systemic conditioning with these resources : Alice Miller www. alice-miller.com David Smail http://www.davidsmail.freeuk.com John Taylor Gatto http://www.johntaylorgatto.com John Holt http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ John_Holt_(educator) Paulo Freire http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Paulo_Freire You can explore these themes with your heart, with a ruthless self honesty and by talking to and really listening to very young children …. ideology is of no use here, and neither is religion. Break the cycles, see through your conditioning, only you can do the work that must be done for free your mind and your heart.
I have this to say: empathy energes from WITHIN the Natural Human being. No religion or ideology or philosophy can lay claim to empathy. What the Christ character represents is empathy in action.
There are many such examples. Kahlil Gibran. Rumi. Carl Rogers. Alice Miller. David Chamberlain. Joseph Chilton Pearce.
Joseph Ratzinger cannot claim this distinction. The Church as a whole cannot lay claim to the empathic actions of many good people.
The unwillingness of The Vatican to act swiftly in cases of abuse, to hand the perpetrators over to civil authorities for trial and punishment is ignoble at best, evil at worst.
The willingness of the Vatican to MOVE abusive priests, again and again, whilst those priests abused again in each location demosntrates two things; a lack of empathy that is sociopathic and a desire to protect the Institution of The Vatican and it’s reputation or ‘status’ over the safety of the children. That IS evil.
The express directive that any breach of secrecy from within the Vatican would draw a penalty of ex-communication further incriminates the Vatican.
And yet, the Vatican is not the sole culprit in this sorry tale.
Governments and their agencies have also dragged their heels on this issue.
For the simple truth is that this Dominant Culture is founded on the abuse of children. A wide spectrum of behaviour that is abusive, from the subtle to the gross, permeates the Dominant Culture.
This emerges from the biblical judaic story of Original Sin.
It is a FUNDAMENTAL abuse to suggest, let alone impose by force, the concept of original sin on a small defenceless child.
It is a fundamental flaw of perception that has profound implications with regard to the consequences emerging from millions of people being conditioned into FEAR.
one may dispute that Christ was who he said he was , but cannot as G.K.Chesterton said ”deny the reality of the indisputable dirt”. and that is sin .
original sin is a reality , but so is as Pope Innocent the 3rd told st. francis is ”original innocence”.
so ..how do we square away original sin with original innocence ? the paradox must be understood in Aristoltelan Metaphysics adopted by Aquanis in his ”Summa Theologia ”.
1. original innocence –a child is born in ”the actual ”sinless.
2.original sin — the child grows up and like everyone else sins against a perfect holy God . therefore in ”the potential ” the child is sinful at birth .
the trick here is to raise a child in the balance of the fear of God and the love of God . and that takes real work , and real love…and most parents are not willing to walk that razors edge , and it shows.
Love & Fear are mutually exclusive, incompatible.
A compassionate god would never require adherence to ruthless extremes, fear of damnation vs. eternal approval.
This dichotomy appears purely human in origin, & based in biology, not some intelligent divinity.
One would do well to investigate the opposing impulses of Compassion vs. Fear/dominance/control/abuse/selfishness/cruelty as evolutionary adaptations.
Most reptiles, whose barines we retain in our limbic centers, exhibit primarily the latter, while the former is a distinctly human adaptation required by cooperation; survival through intelligent society, a recent innovation evclusively developed by us.
Our fundamental conflict is likely the result of a life & death struggle across billions of generations, and most certainly was not decreed by a divinity.
Certainly the appeal of scripture is profound but science (if not history & logic) irrevocably nullifies the old myths.
Scripture simplifies existence & morality, but makes simpletons of its devotees. Pablum for primitive people.
mmmm. oh , i suppose that all of the rabbinic sages , and the great theologians thru history like Augustine and many others are just simpletons . cmon , get real.
once the issue of the ex hypothesi ( the existence of God ) is answered for an individual , 1000 more questions arise. one for example is the questions of theodocy ( ifa loving God exists why so much evil in the world ) . the non believer can just say ”well ..there is no God ”. simpleton answer. but the believer has to grapple with the answer and does not have the luxury of punting the question .
as far as fear and love. once again , this is paradoxical thinking . it is not fear of damnation . for christ death covered that. it is awe , reverence , and the kind of noble fear that that instills in a person not to mar the image and likeness of God in humans . hence , the one who truly fears God learns how to love in the way God loves .
”the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom ”. if that be so ..then the perfection of love is end of that wisdom .
Theologians are certainly not simpletons, thinkers are thoughtfully grappling with the issues, that’s hard work & passion.
It’s the flock, the followers, the mindless hoards filling the stadiums, speaking in tongues, voting for Palin.
I’ve not read all these people, but certainly before science, Augustine had a lot of thinking & reconciling, if scripture was all one had. Scripture no longer jives, it’s futile to try to reconcile the Word with the knew knowledge.
Certainly Rocket is working hard reconciling and researching, hardly a simpleton!
Awe & Reverence, the living God is not what Christians are about, you and the few who find in God Love & Awe, or who find the vast force of Love & compassion Divine are inspiring & profound, but you are more of a hippie cult within the tyrannical traditions of christendom.
The Sufi (Rumi, per Cornelius) also found a profound love in Islam, but love is not what Islam is about either.
Any vehicle that carries us out of the darma of destruction & sublimates love over the society of diseased desperation that quasi-christian capitalists have created is wonderful, commendable, and inspirational. I would never dissent nor deprive any believer of that!
If God is Love, I don’t dare discount God…
But sadly the compassionate teaching of Jesus, who like Buddha sought a way through the suffering of earthly misery of trivial attachments, is not what Scripture is about.
To be true followers of Christ, Christians would need to take the new testament with a boatload of salt… Far too much focus on blood, dying for our sins, hell, damnation, ideation & idolatry of death, resurrections, retribution, judgment.
This is likely not Christ, these are human constructions invented after Christ, he’d be horrified.
Remember that Rocket writes not for belief Vs. non-belief, nor ‘theodocy’ …
(got us googling god again! But it would stand to reason that God created evil too, a dirty trick. The only conclusion notwithstanding Leibniz & obsessions of theocratic thinkers who try to reconcile the construct of the scriptural god with biological reality of evolutionary psychology, is that god is f***ing with us! Not very nice…)
Rocket seems to promote a doctrine of scriptural literalism so specific that not even the vast hoards of christians are ‘saved’ but condemned to eternal damnation for believing badly no matter how often they go to church.
‘Ex hypothesi’ or assumptions based on a hypothesis is characteristic of Christians and atheists alike.
The problem with blind belief either way is the relentless march of knowledge & discovery which biblical literalists are forever fighting. Wisdom is based in knowledge, and no amount of belief can ignore discovery.
A true theologian would scrupulously incorporate discovery into their sermon, such people do exist, and they are not scriptural literalists.
It is not necessary to discount all other ‘belief’ (I seem to recall a long rant against Pagans from your pen…).
If the argument is for belief over anti-belief, that’s one hypothesis, but insisting your particular take on the New Testament as the only way to salvation or enlightenment sounds to me like arrogance & intolerance, itself a hideous hallmark of all abrahamic.
Scriptural smugness is a trap, and likely leads none to enlightenment only corruption, i.e. child abuse by pretentious authority squirming under suffocation in the oppressive Catholic church.
Be careful with Christianity, it has a vast propensity for abuse, bringing out the evil in people, it is not a safe faith, it is dangerous, and must be handled responsibly, not flaunted by blind-believers preaching indoctrination.
That is not love, it all too often leads to disaster.
Buddhism is far safer for society and requires no retribution nor fear, only pure love, compassion & enlightenment (albeit far less compelling than worshiping the horror-story of the bleeding man nailed to the cross…).
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i am sorry you had to go thru this. one thing we must all remember as human beings is that the real jesus christ said that he came to heal the broken hearted.
the less we try and heal ourselves the more the grace of God can infuse us with healing .
That’s more like it, a useful, compassionate god, the embodiment of our better impulses.
The problem is investing god with the power of damnation, nothing could be more heartbreaking than that! Life is hell enough.
Let us hope for love, strength in the face of unforgivable abuse & inevitable adversity.
Let us drop the idea of retrubution from an externalized divine judge. Justice is up to us, not god.