Ron de Varona
I want to start off by saying that, personally, I think that the word ‘normal’ should have never come to fruition because there is really no such thing. We don’t have a word for when Pluto and the Earth collide because it just doesn’t happen (Hopefully.) However, even with how much I loathe the word, it exists and I have to deal with it. That doesn’t mean that I can’t say how detrimental the word is to an open-minded human being because at the end of the day, what is actually normal. Traditions? Attitudes? Lifestyles? To try and gather what is normal you have to look at perspectives: your own and others.
What you think is normal could be absolutely taboo to the next person and that is absolutely the case. This issue causes way more problems than are necessary; “my normal is not your normal” has started wars. It seems as if every religious war is started because groups disagree on what the normal belief and lifestyle should be. I find it best to try and understand what best defines the idea of normal and try to tell people to let go of it for a more welcoming worldview, ‘know thy enemy’ and all that jazz.
I am going to attempt to break down what normal is. Something that is ‘normal’ is probably a thing or idea that you have seen, heard or talked about more than once in your lifetime. Clothes are safe to call normal since you see and wear them every day and people know what you are talking about whenever you mention them. But if I roll up to class with three horns sticking out of my head, most would agree that such an abnormality has neither been seen nor talked about daily unless you talk about some very interesting topics.
You also have to think about ‘when’, since the current norms are already vastly different than the norms of twenty years ago – and that is only twenty freaking years. Humans have existed for roughly 200,000 years so there have been many different norms in which humans have existed. Most of them were honestly terrible, it seems as if no one had a good time almost ever. Except for rich people because sadly the norms of comfort have always gone to the filthy rich.
Honestly, it’s difficult to try and picture that life because of how spoiled we have become within the last 2,000 some years. Imagine waking to that giant glowing thing in the sky after sleeping in the woods and grunting at your mother to try and tell her that you are about to starve to death and also you have malaria. That is quite a stark difference from today’s “Mother, I hunger and have been bitten by a mosquito.” Because you know we learned how to effectively speak to one another.
We generally do not think about how everything that has ever existed has changed in some way. Change is inevitable and relentless because it comes with time. Time is a stone cold mistress and a finite resource that is impossible to master.
I mention all this because modernized humans within the last 50,000 years have gone through some amazingly terrible things; famine, prejudice, war, economic collapses and a lot more war has been the massive norm for the longest time. It is only within the last 500 years that this trend has started to slowly change.
The norm of working until you’re 35 and dying of dysentery is no longer something that is dealt with because the norm had changed. It became normal for everyone to get educated and learn about the world around you and realize that everyone else on this planet is your sibling and to not be an asshole to each other.
Yet not everyone was so on board with this which is why we still have issues with it today. There are people that do not want to let go of what once was. Sure, Grandma, it was socially acceptable for you to call people racial slurs when you were a girl but we are at a restaurant do you mind not talking about ol’ Dixie, please. Not saying all grandmothers are racist but there is a large demographic that will do everything they can to keep their ‘normal’ alive.
These are the people that say no to the progressive new legislature in countries because “t’aint normal” and boy, does that rustle my jimmies. All it really does is slow all of us down because progress is inevitable. The rest of us that are on board for a bright future are slowed by the ones that want to live in the old normal.
So the next time you are just being yourself and someone tells you to try and act normal, bite your thumb at them than challenge them to a pistol duel for their property for speaking such vile language at thee- Or marry their sister off to France to strengthen our alliance with them… your call really.