I enjoyed watching a five-floor building being constructed nearby. I enjoyed the sound as workmen started up the giant diesel engines in their bulldozers promptly at 7am every morning. I enjoyed watching men swarm up rickety-looking scaffolding to pour concrete columns and sway precariously on cherry picker platforms thirty feet up in the air welding rebar. Above all I enjoyed watching the diligence as the men on the site did not stop doing their heavy and often dangerous work for even a moment until they knocked off at 3pm. The building went up on time. Built by not quite a hundred men.
That’s right, all men. Shockingly. The statistical disparity was stark. Women constitute about 50% of the population and the population working on the construction site comprised 100% men. As intellectuals feel certain, statistical disparity is clear evidence of discrimination. All I want to know is how did the foremen on this construction site get away with their flagrant misogyny, refusing to hire women?
Another area of abhorrent discrimination is surely professional sports like football and basketball. In these games, black players are disproportionately represented. They make up about 70% of the players while constituting only about 13% of the population. That is about a 5X over representation! This troubling figure must mean that short, white, hasidic Jews are systemically discriminated against and denied their rightful place in the pantheon of American professional sports.
If 5 times over representation is problematic, then surely that Jews make up 13% of all doctors in the U.S. when they constitute a mere 1.5% of the country’s population is nothing short of revolting. That is an outrageous 8 times over representation. But wait, it gets better (worse).
Jews constitute no less than 30% of American psychiatrists. That is 20 times over representation! If that is not an unacceptable level of discrimination, then I don’t know what is. Let’s leave the problem of solving discrimination in professional sports and on the nation’s construction sites to more ardent crusaders than I. Meanwhile, we’ll tackle the question of what draws Jews to the medical specialty of psychiatry.
Since the start of the discipline, Jews predominated. About 90% of Sigmund Freud’s early study group was Jewish. Other than being of Jewish ancestry, what chiefly unites both early practitioners and currently practicing psychiatrists is that an overwhelming majority are secular ranging all the way to antireligious. Freud described himself as a “godless Jew, a most dangerous enemy of religion.” But it is not only Jewish psychiatrists who are mostly secularized. 42% of all psychiatrists interviewed, told researchers Neeleman & King (1993) that they believe that being religious can lead to mental illness.
As uncomfortable as it makes some people, the reality is that we do live in a largely binary world. A digital circuit is either on or off. It signifies either a 1 or a 0, and, yes, male/female is a binary.
Male/female? Read this simple, straightforward verse:
And he said to Moses, I, your father-in-law Yitro/Jethro, am coming to you, and your wife, and her two sons with her.
“…HER two sons with her”? Really? Surely, in an attempt to influence Moses to interrupt his work and come to greet the family, Yitro should have emphasized: “…YOUR two sons with her.”
Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that the most reliable way for a man to have a son, not just male offspring but a real son, is to be married to the boy’s mother. Only with the willful collaboration of his wife is a man likely to have a close relationship with his son.
This is partly because girls have an easier and more natural connection with their dads, while boys do so with their mothers. Very few long-term residents in the nation’s penitentiaries carry a tattoo with a heart and arrow and the word “Dad”.
Yitro knew that the phrase “her two sons” would jar with Moses and remind him that if he wanted to build a relationship with his sons, he needed to act now and restore his relationship with his wife. Building a family is something that can most easily be done by a husband and his wife in partnership. Boys and girls are a binary difference, as are moms and dads. The connections are complex and powerful, and depend upon that binary.
Perhaps the most important example of this “binary-ness” is the difference between a God-centric worldview and a secular-worldview. It is the difference between seeing people as comprising a body integrated with a soul or seeing people as nothing more than a specific arrangement of atoms and molecules.
The former recognize that we are holistic, both body and soul. A spiritual unease can often manifest in a physical way, and mistakes we make physically can easily manifest in spiritual ways. It is nearly always better to have as a doctor, a person who has some understanding of this internal duality.
Now, let me disclose a secret about the Hebrew people: we tend towards extremes when it comes to God. Unlike many other people who can be mildly indifferent, most Jews tend either to adore Him or to resent Him. For the most part, Jews are either religious and Bible-believing or on the spectrum of secular to atheistic.
Psychiatry is a field conceived in the secular materialistic worldview. It is the conviction that anything that could be wrong with a human being is only material, a chemical imbalance. There is not much that can’t be cured with a pharmacological solution. Take two tablets and call me in the morning. But morning never comes to those persuaded that humans are only bodies.
Neither religious Quakers nor devout Moslems are discriminated against by schools of psychiatry. Psychiatry is merely a field that appeals disproportionately to secularized Jews. And, now that I think of it, perhaps a similar dynamic, that different groups are drawn to different professions, explains professional sports and the construction trades.
This Thought Tool is dedicated in memory of Rotem Neumann, 25, who was murdered while attending the Supernova music festival on October 7, 2023.
And, at a time when news is circulating that many of the hostages were actually dead bodies kidnapped, we pray for the return of the bodies of those who are dead, and the safe return of those who are alive, and among them we note, Eviatar David, age 23, whose family saw him in a Hamas photo being taken hostage while alive.
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