By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
Today I heard about a theory of human personality which teaches that at the time of birth a child is given a false identity. This new person has a name that it did not choose. It has a family with which it is constantly compared as to relationship of age or of comparison of talent or wit. It lives in a world that it did not create.
In due time, according to these folks, the child begins to express unique and individualistic traits. First of all, it wants a name or nickname which means something to it and its circle of inner friends. Then the child has opinions of its own worth and of the value of external objects and of other persons. This time of becoming an unique and authentic human begins in many children the age of ten or eleven.
What I want to add now to this study [at the age of 88] is that the process never ends. What begins as a small revolution against the powers that be in the world of a child continues until the day one abdicates to the reality of a cruel and harsh and UN=understanding universe.
These particular thoughts are heightened within me as I have just broken the 66th [88th] milestone in my life’s journey. I reckon that I started being an individual character at the age of 10 or so. I had learned to read at a tender age and naturally turned to books for recreation during the hot Texas summers.
The Tyler Carnegie library had a rule that a person could only check out four books at a time, so my brother and I would each check out four books apiece and then take turns reading all of them. We delighted in science fiction and adventure stories and mysteries. Dr. Doolittle, and his animal friends, was one of our frequent hosts .
It was just a short step from reading to imagining and from imagining to acting out. Thousands (an exaggeration) of fantastic (an exaggeration) scientific experiments were carried out by myself under the low ceilings of the former goat shed that was attached to our garage.
My imagination managed to get me through high school and college and post-graduate work. I always believed in the saying of Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge!” This attitude helped a bunch during essay tests!
And, at 66 , I am still in the process of retooling my personality. There are many rough edges still to be smoothed out. There are dark recesses of the soul to be illuminated!
And I have miles to go before I sleep…..
Editor’s note: This column first appeared in The Texas Catholic in October 2000. Father Gollob recently revisited the column, 22 years later, reflecting on what he had written.