Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The dangers of “normal”

Society projects an idea of what is “normal”; we reach for this ideal and in the process become predictable. The meaning of the ideal of “normal” is to ensure we engage with and contribute to that particular society’s survival. As part of this projection, we are assaulted on a daily basis by the empty images of advertising and feel the pressure to conform to the society we find ourselves in. In the process we are compelled to compare ourselves to others. In the case of advertisers, the “normal” life they project is deliberately unobtainable so we buy the product to make up for the perceived inadequacy in our own lives; somehow having the product makes us “normal”. Of course, the life they project is nonsense and the fulfilment of owning the product is short lived as fashion and the definition of “normal” moves on.

This is in direct conflict with the individual, varied and unique lives we lead. Therefore, any comparison with what is “normal” is comparing like with unlike and inevitably results in disappointment with yourself; this implicit inadequacy and disappointment is the nourishment of all religions and companies.

This is a particular problem for those who fall shorter of “normal” and are deemed disabled. For example, Parkinson’s sufferers can be drawn into comparing themselves to other people (and also to their past selves) and feel the loss imposed by the disease.

However, all notions of what is “normal” are relative and partial. We are free to choose our own “normality” and who we compare ourselves to. Of course, taking on this freedom shackles us with responsibility for the choices we make. Many of us follow, without question, society’s “normality” to avoid such a burden.

1 comment:

  1. Like, like, like! Normal is just a setting on a clothes dryer and not something I'm willing to expend energy or money achieving!