Monday, November 21, 2016


Hysteria is a defense mechanism whereby a person or group exhibits exaggerated emotional and/or physical responses out of proportion to a stress factor. The swoon of Victorian women of a certain class is a good example. Another current example is the exaggerated reaction of some to the Presidential election in the U.S.. 

Hysteria is a rather primitive defense. It is a defense of a person whose personality has not matured in response to routine stress of daily life. In other words, it is symptomatic of stunted emotional development. It is common in adolescents. It is uncommon in adults who have separated from their parents emotionally and financially. The formation of a healthy adult identity entails developing other defenses, like reacting to stress with hard work or forms of artistic expression. Whining, ranting and throwing things are regressive (infantile) behaviors. 

I am embarrassed for many of the young adults I see participating in demonstrations today. They have adopted a belief that acting like a regressed child will get them what they want. Dressing up clownishly, mutilating themselves with tattoos and piercings, screaming as though assaulted when nothing traumatic has actually happened to them. This is symptomatic of childhoods which were never properly transitioned to adulthood by the normal demands of maturing, such as having to work for food and shelter. These are adults who are still being babied by family or by some social system, like a university or indulgent workplace.

Hysteria is an inefficient defense over time. The attractive young adult who may be babied in hope of reciprocal emotional or sexual response by peer or elder will not benefit from those responses with aging. Like puppies who develop into badly behaved adult dogs, hysterical middle aged adults are cast off into isolation by divorce or simple avoidance. Without adequate emotional defenses, these isolated hysterics often become depressed and self-destructive, They are prone to addiction and other forms of socially unrewarded behaviors. 

Rather than guiding hysterics on college campuses to forms of therapy, today's academics are indulging them. This is anti-scientific and against all traditions of sensible child-rearing. It is not compassionate. It is damaging. I can only assume these academics have some agenda in enabling these immature young adults. I suspect decades from now there will be endless stories of sexual manipulation and exploitation of these students by academics. Perhaps some of this is already surfacing indirectly in the obsession with rape many of these hysterics display. Time will tell.

Being hysterical is not political action. Manipulating your superficial physical characteristics to any degree is not political action. The current exaltation of sexually altered individuals by these hysterical young adults appears to be a sad symptom of the misunderstanding of what it means to effect social change through being the change. "Being the change" does not mean taking hormones or dying your hair blue. A child may think this way, because children are very simplistic and superficial in their understanding of abstract concepts. An adult works with ideas and translation of ideas into articulate words, objects (media) and, especially, exemplary mature behavior. 

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