The April 3 Bucket Course Dr. JR Paulson’s topic “Zombies and Mind Control or . . . ‘Is there a fungus among us?’”


The April 3 Bucket Course will feature Dr. JR Paulson discussing the topic “Zombies and Mind Control or . . . ‘Is there a fungus among us?’”  The course will take place at the Drake Community Library from 10 to 11:30 am.  All are invited, and there is no charge to attend, although donations are accepted toward coffee and cookies.

Dr. Paulson cites his longstanding interest in how a person can, or could, influence the minds of others.  He points out that history is filled with individuals and groups attempting to mold the minds of others to do their bidding. According to him, “We are all intimately familiar with the influence certain individuals can have on others, from Jesus, Gandhi, Stalin, and Jim Jones to Putin and Trump. Social, political, and religious movements are basically studies in mind-manipulation.”

In this course, Dr. Paulson will explore questions related to mind control: can one really control the mind of another, enough to make them do what is biologically or morally against their best interests?  Can humans be turned into Zombie-like beings that would prey on one another? Are there any precedents among other species that have acquired this power? Dr. Paulson says “This course will seek to determine if a Zombie apocalypse is in our future. . . Not that we don’t have enough other things to worry about!”

Dr. J.R. Paulson, a longtime family practitioner in Grinnell until his retirement in 2023, majored in philosophy as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan and went on to earn a master’s degree there in science and education.  After working as a public-school teacher for four years, he turned to medicine, receiving his M.D. from Michigan State.

As a family practice physician and longtime director of hospice in the community, his view of medicine is holistic and integrative, focusing not just on the physical but also on all the elements that affect peoples’ health.  Paulson is also a philanthropist, tennis player, and amateur astronomer.  He enjoys giving Bucket Classes because, he says, “It keeps me out of trouble.”

Members of the sponsoring Community Education Cooperative include Unity Point Health Grinnell, Grinnell College, Drake Community Library, Grinnell-Newburg School District, Grinnell Area Arts Council, Mayflower Community, Grinnell Education Partnership, Read to Lead, Grinnell Historical Museum, Grinnell School of Music, LINK, and Iowa Valley Community College.  Videos of previous Bucket Courses are available on the YouTube channel Grinnell Community Education Cooperative.