Normality: A biased perception based on prejudice that should be challenged
One of the paradoxes of life for all free-thinkers is that no matter how exotic your adopted locale, and no matter where you come from, you will find yourself living alongside NORMAL PEOPLE. These people tend to have a conventional approach to life involving conforming with societal norms, mechanically acquiring pointless material possessions and endlessly seeking social status.
Fortunately, what makes the world slightly more interesting and varied than it might otherwise be is the fact that the popular perception of what constitutes normality differs from country to country, region to region, and from town to town, and changes over time. In the country I come from, New Zealand, normality has traditionally consisted of a male-dominated culture focused on rugby, racing and beer. In the Iberian peninsula, to add a slightly different spin, the culture has been male-dominated and focused on soccer, bullfighting and wine. A normal New Zealander who ends up in Spain very quickly becomes aware that his yardstick for judging normality makes him an outsider.
So, perhaps paradoxically, even the most normal of people can, depending on the circumstances, both feel and be considered totally abnormal. Or is it just that the very concept of "normality" has no real foundation? What is normal? Who decides it? Where is it written down? Quite often there are no answers to such questions, or the answers make reference to ancient laws or religious texts written by primitives from centuries gone by whose definitions and prescriptions for ensuring normality are also open to question.
What all normal people share, regardless of their geographical origins, is a dread horror of not conforming, of not fitting in, of being singled out, or of being considered different. And with just reason. All human societies demonstrate a particularly nasty streak towards people who differ from what is perceived as being "normal". The treatment meted out to homosexuals and people from religious minorities constitute two obvious examples, but it goes beyond that, and can get very personal The personal hell experienced by a Masai male who happens to be 4 foot 6, is essentially no different from that experienced by a pygmy who happens to be 5 foot 6, an albino West African, or an African born in Moscow.
This Web page is an exploration of normality, and its shortcomings. As will be seen, the norm can in fact be totally abnormal, aberrant, and even downright weird.
Normality in Wanganui
Normality in Sydney
Normality in Paris
Normality in Italy
Normality in Russia
Web site © Wayne Stuart McCallum 2003-2013