Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reading Double Meanings: Ideas of Reference or Immaturity

I was terminated from my job as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld days after I lodged a harassment complaint against firm personnel.  I had told two of the firm's senior managers that I believed a sexual meaning could be read into the communications of my supervisor and coworkers, and that firm personnel were harassing me thereby.  The firm concluded, after consulting a psychiatrist about me, that my harassment charge indicated I suffered from a psychiatric disorder, "ideas of reference" that caused me to attribute a negative meaning to trivial events.   With that psychiatric opinion in hand, I qualified for disability benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration, and I will probably collect about $500,000 in disability, Medicare and Medicaid benefits by the time I "retire" at age 65.

But am I necessarily mentally ill because I see a sexual meaning in the communications of others?  Perhaps I am simply immature and perfectly sane.

I recently came across the following observations in an article titled: Shrinking Texts: Against Hermeneutics Under Freudian Auspices.   "Every schoolboy knows how easy it is to foist sexual overtones onto almost every sentence one hears in normal conversation, asexual  though those sentences might actually be.  If we put our minds to it, we can transform countless words and notions into sexual innuendo.  When a young wit exercises his ingenuity in this way, and is brash enough (or disrespectful enough) to voice his indiscretions publicly, he usually succeeds only in embarrassing those around him and discrediting himself.  We who hear him know that his perverse projections are merely that -- projections.  They have no real bearing on the original speaker or on that speaker's language, character, or motivations.  We hear such indiscreet interjections and dismiss them, (if our standards of morality and of social decorum are not too severely offended) as the immaturity of youth.  When he is older, we hope, he will put away childish things."

Simply because, perhaps, I have the mind and maturity of a fifth grader, should I qualify for a half-million dollars in public monies?


Gary Freedman said...

The author of the quoted text is Dr. Michael Bauman.

Dr. Bauman is Professor of Theology and Culture at Hillsdale College, in Hillsdale, Michigan, where he also is Director of Christian Studies. He also is the Scholar in Residence for Summit Semester. He holds a B.A. from Trinity College (1977), an M.A. from McCormick Seminary (1979), and a Ph.D. from Fordham University (1983).

A member of the faculty of Summit Ministries, Dr. Bauman is a former president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and was a member of the editorial department of Newsweek magazine. He is a three-time Amy Foundation national writing award winner and the recipient of two national teaching awards.

Dr. Bauman has published numerous books, articles and political editorials. His books include God and Man in the Twentieth Century, Man and Creation, Morality and the Marketplace, Pilgrim Theology, Roundtable, and Are You Politically Correct? (with Francis J. Beckwith). He was a contributing editor for Ultra Cycling magazine and is co-editor of The Schwarz Report. His latest books are Pilgrim Theology (revised editon, 2007) and A Summit Reader (with Francis J. Beckwith, 2007), both published by Summit Press. They can be seen at

Dr. Bauman holds two national and four state cycling records and has won cycling championships in races from 3 to 221 miles.

Gary Freedman said...

I think Dr. Bauman heads up the Organization, "Christians Against Freud." Now why do so many Christians have a problem with Freudian thinking, I wonder?

Was Dennis Race promoting a Christian agenda by denying my Freudian interpretations. Is that a Title VII violation?