Thursday, August 9, 2012

A miscellanea of things

I debated all day about whether to comment on the arrest of Dr. Melvin Morse for the alleged abuse of his 11-year-old daughter.  Dr. Morse is well-known in metaphysical circles, appearing regularly on "Coast." I've listened to his interviews... I have a book or two of his. A pediatrician, his specialty has been the study of he near-death experiences of children.  He's done good work.  If in fact he is proven guilty of child abuse, does this invalidate his research in NDEs?  Not really, I don't think, but I have to wonder how it is possible that he same man who wrote:

I began my career in Critical Care Medicine. I cared for hundreds of critically ill children, while working for Air Lift Northwest. Most of these children died. My goal is nothing less than to change our current culture so when parents have visions or intuitions about their child who has died, they trust and believe their own spiritual experiences.

...could have "grabbed his 11-year-old daughter by the ankle, dragged her across their gravel driveway, brought her inside his home and began spanking her.... [The daughter] told police her father held her face under a running faucet, causing water to go up her nose and all over her face."

Now, it is possible that there's much more to this story than is sketched out in the mainstream press. Still, I can't conceive of any circumstance that would push a father to punish a child in this manner, except maybe one: alcohol.  My suspicion is reinforced by the behavior of the mother, Pauline, who witnessed the acts of abuse but stood back and did nothing--stereotypical enabling behavior.

This story--if factually reported--is not quite like that the priest caught abusing choirboys, or the televangelist consorting with floozies. There is nothing about the current "consciousness movement" that requires a person to behave in any particular way, except to follow one's highest ideal.  So I really don't think this invalidates Dr. Morse's research (although it does much to discredit it).

In my life, I've known such a man as Dr. Morse. He was highly intelligent, gifted, and spiritually sophisticated.  His children regarded him with a mixture of awe and terror. After he died, he appeared to me (and many others) in dreams, dropping bits of wisdom about the after-death state. He was a good man when sober, but he was an alcoholic, and when drunk, he viciously beat his daughters while their mother pretended not to see.  He was my grandfather.  I never worshipped him like my cousins did. Instead, as a teen, I was disgusted by him, and continued to condemn him until my own life experiences knocked some sense into me.

I now believe that my contempt of him then was a greater sin than his alcoholism.  I view him now with understanding and compassion.  He could not help his addiction, but I have since learned that we become what we detest in others. So I am mixed about the story of Dr. Morse.  I am reluctant to cast any stones, yet.  I will wait until the invariable "confession" of "troubles" and "personal failings" required by our culture, along with the requisite stint in rehab, with maybe a weekend of picking up of trash along the Interstate.  We'll roll our eyes, and Dr. Morse will move on.  His children, however, may not.

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious, what made you feel your contempt of your grandfather was a greater sin than his alcoholism? I think people can control their substance abuse. Was it something he said to you in OOB states? I understand what U mean about not casting stones, it's hard not to. I know the power compassion & forgiveness has certainly, but is doesn't take away responsibility for their actions either. I think what you R getting at here is that we can all get in that state so why judge? I can relate to that. But I still think there is much more to it.