Sunday, April 4, 2010

Normal?

What is normal? A seemingly superficial question.....but on second thought, what is normal? It ultimately comes down to how normal is defined. And depending on how it is defined can engender different, even contradictory assessments as to what is normal. Suppose one considered normal as either:

1. a behavior or belief which the majority of people follow irrespective of its perceived sanity
-OR-
2. a behavior or belief which is perceived to be sane regardless of how many or few follow it


An example to substantiate this:

Suppose in an alternate reality, 98.7% of the population jumped off a cliff to their deaths as soon as they turned 20 years of age, for whatever superstitious reason or not. Further suppose that your greatest aim in life is to preserve it.

What would be the normal thing to do? Well, if one defines normal according to #1, then clearly the answer would be jumping to your death like most of the others. But if normal is defined with the latter definition, #2, then the normal thing to do would obviously be to avoid the insanity of jumping to your death! You would be in the minority but be one of the few sane.

Next time you find yourself referring to something as normal, ask yourself, "normal in that most people do or believe it or normal in that the action or thought is perceived to be sane"?

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