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Professor Basil O'Leary of Notre Dame: Social imprinting/institutional coercion

  • Broadcast in Religion



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Brother Basil O'Leary questioned the integrity of the church as a place of core values.  In one of his articles he wrote in prison, in which he was serving time for burning draft files in Milwaukee, he talks about biological imprinting with animals and transfers that concerpt into traditional social instituions like marriage, commitment, the military and schools.  He discusses how our loyalty and integrity are intertwined with institutional teachings and social conditioning.  

Basil states: The source of all that makes for communion and creativity in the human social animal might be called eros.  Mythologized in Greek drama/philosophy as the Greek god Dionysus, eros destroys boundaries, produces ecstasy, delivers men from the yoke of custom & convention.  Basil believed by burning draft cards with 14 men of whom 7 were priests, he broke down religious institutional identity/social formation & obliviated convention.  But by doing that, they created a doctrinal universe of supporters attracted through peaceful solidarity while alienating traditional members of their Catholic community.  We discuss that and all aspects of war and the mindset of national goals and cultural identity.