What do irrational fears show about unconscious desires.

Quite possibly nothing. Stress can alter your brain if you’ve experienced long periods of it. The effect is that the gap between a thought and high anxiety is quickly crossed, and reason is much less able to bring good sense to the situation. This idea has been around for some time, but it’s been receiving more confirmation recently. See also this.

Though I can’t speak to the utility of such brain changes in battles, many of us who experienced ‘very difficult’ childhoods know it can be extremely important to detect early signs of adult induced doom, so you get advance notice that can send you in a ‘battle preparedness’ state. Recently on NPR the author Pat Conroy described the utility of such early warning. When his military father was going into a rage, Pat’s job was to get the children into hiding.

So suppose you survive but can get hyper anxious. Many young women do not want to get pregnant, but if you are extra worried, a therapist may well tell you that it shows you really want to get pregnant. Very worried you could fail as a parent? That shows you want to harm your child.

Little by little someone who can’t dampen down basic fears is taught that really her anxiety is due to her being out of touch with her real fears.

There are reasons to be worried that much in our culture permits the psychiatric assumption that others are more opaque to themselves than they are to us. I think we should stop thinking that way!

Adjunct Faculty and Gender

Every single one of us working in universities should be up in arms at the two-tier system currently operating in academia, whereby faculty is divided into those lucky enough to land a permanent position, and those who inhabit a shadowy underworld of precarious, part-time, poorly paid, temporary jobs. Unsurprisingly, there is a gendered dimension to this situation. To get anywhere in the academic world, one needs to work long, long hours. This is largely incompatible with responsibilities of care. Since women tend to take on more care responsibilities (for various reasons), they often end up in the academic underworld.

Academic life is predominantly a man’s world. Women remain on the periphery, and children are all but absent. American universities consistently publish glowing reports stating their commitment to diversity, often showing statistics of female hires as proof of success, but the facts remain: university women make up disproportionately large numbers of temporary (adjunct and non-tenure track) faculty, while the majority of permanent, tenure-track positions are granted to men… The disproportion between male and female university faculty, as in other work forces, is most striking among those who choose to be both professors and parents.

Things really need to change. You can read more here. Thanks to JP.