Darwinism, Neurosis, and the [Ashkenazi, at Least] Jews

Let me begin with a few important points, folks:

  1. I have no meaningful background in science or genetics, and am therefore completely unqualified to write this article. But it’s 2020 and expertise is no longer apparently required. For anything: Government, Public Health advice, and certainly, religion.
  2. If the reader thinks this idea has value, then it was written seriously. If the reader thinks it’s nonsense, then it was written as attempted comedy.

Here goes:

It has been hypothesized that there is a higher rate of neurosis among Jews, particularly Ashkenazi Jews. Actual data is conflicting, however, it does appear that Jews are more likely than others to be in treatment for mental health concerns (hey, a Jew invented psychoanalysis) and we Jews seem oddly proud of our neuroses, publicly joking about it, writing novels about it, making movies about it. So, I’m just going to own the stereotype. For purposes of this post, I’m going to take a leap of faith and propose that there is some truth to Jewish people tending to the neurotic, with tendencies toward anxiety disorders and depression. The question is: Why?

With only a high schooler’s level of knowledge of Darwin and natural selection, here’s my hypothesis.

Eastern Europe was rough. VERY rough. Like crusades, pogroms, and worse kind of rough. My ancestors in Yarun, Ukraine, presumably had to stay one step ahead of the next disaster [for them, Bolshevism sent them over the edge and onto the boat to America]. The problem about staying a step ahead is: How many Jewish track and field stars do you know? OK, there’s Beatie Deutsch. But she’s the exception that proves the rule. Let’s face it: We Jews developed our own track and field (and sports) competitions world-wide. Partially to develop healthy Jews. And maybe just a little to change the perception that, well, we just weren’t athletic.

So, if you can’t outrun the enemy, the only way to stay one step ahead of him [and for some reason, it seems to be mostly “hims”, males] is to sense danger way ahead of time. Now, you ask, who senses danger way ahead of time? Obviously the most neurotic and/or paranoid person, who perceives danger even before it exists, or even whether it exists. Everyone once in a while that individual gets it right and gets out of town before the next tragedy occurs. S/he survives intact because of his anxiety. And guess who he finds as a marriage partner? Another person from the next town over, who has also gotten out of town, because s/he was also perceiving danger before it was even there. They marry and procreate. Two wonderfully neurotic Jewish individuals. Now whether nature or nurture kick in, the next generation either inherits or is raised into the same anxious survival mechanism that will keep the Jews intact. And guess who the children marry? That’s right, partners with the anxious survival mechanism. Survival of the fittest, or most sensitive to potential danger.

And here we are. Rodney Dangerfield (Jacob Cohen), Woody Allen (Allen Konigsberg), Phillip Roth, Albert Brooks (Albert Einstein), Sarah Silverman, all wearing their mishigas proudly in their work. Oh, and me. Obviously.

So think about this, comment on my blog post. But don’t tell the Gentiles. We need to hide the secret of our survival.

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