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Is this Normal?


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Is this Normal?

A Reflection on what we call Normal

The world system is like a stick to which an elephant is tethered, grazing in circles until the grass near the stick is completely eaten up and the elephant, unable to comprehend its great might and power because of the social conditioning it received when it was younger, remains quietly bound to the tiny twig, unwilling to do something to break free from its limitations and to seek fresh pasture elsewhere.

Conversations between people on social media, mainstream media or in person about life’s daily affairs or even work or business somehow end up with people wanting to compare what they have or what they are going through with others. “Is this normal?” They will ask, having laid out the issues playing out in their lives. “Their child’s skin has this thing happening to it.” “Their spouse did this to them last week.” “Their boss walked into the office the other day and said this.” “They were baking a cake today and this is how it came out.” “Is this normal?”

Normal: Usual, Standard, Regular, Ordinary, Typical. Meaning they are not strange or odd or weird or unusual or different. They fit in with what is generally acceptable in society around them.

This is the language of conformity that is a revealer of the outcome of socialization that has taken place over years. If you listen closely to the conversations and the answers that are shared, you will hear the globally interconnected world and mindset interacting with itself. The questions and answers will be based not only on local context but on international guidelines as well. Reference points for sources of information that supply the meat for interactions and bonding between people have increased – yet they have not. I will explain.

Most people around the world are reading from the same book, oddly enough without either realizing it or questioning it. When it comes to matters of nutrition, so-called experts around the world have agreed with one another on what the ‘standards’ of ‘good nutrition’ are. Between the World Health Organization and national ministries of health, government health authorities, nutritional practitioners, media and educators, the narrative is set about what ‘good nutrition’ is, what should be on the food pyramid etc. What this does is then provide a basis for the agricultural sector to lay down its plans for which foods to push as staple foods and so on. Everyone is in agreement without even taking the time to ask why. Particularly when it has been discovered that there are certain regions of the world, now known as Blue Zones, where the inhabitants typically live to be over 100 with no health problems, no memory issues, and with no need for prescription drugs. While those following the ‘normal’ diet and lifestyle are suddenly struggling with issues like increased dementia, diabetes, cancer, hypertension and so on. In fact, if you compare the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, which has components of social interaction and lifestyle incorporated into it, and you look at it against the conventional Food Pyramid, the differences are stark – as are the outcomes of each. So, in cases like these, how is ‘normal’ a useful thing?

Romanian born playwright, Eugène Ionesco, said “The supreme trick of mass insanity is that it persuades you that the only abnormal person is the one who refuses to join in the madness of others, the one who tries vainly to resist. We will never understand totalitarianism if we do not understand that people rarely have the strength to be uncommon.” Meaning that most people seek to conform to the ‘norm’ because they do not want to stand out. Why? Because those who tend toward uniqueness and daring often face the ‘wrath’ of the conformists who are incensed at their boldness expressed in their difference from everybody else. I don’t know why people get so annoyed at those who swim upstream and try new things, yet most of the accolades and trophies, later on, are given by these conformists to the people who braved new frontiers and won. Is it because it is a judgment is placed against them and their dull and mundane choices, or because they also once had the same desire to pioneer fields and areas of society that others would not? Is it because they faced the same pressure to conform and they gave in, while these are demonstrating that it is possible to shake off the pressure and keep going and they are saddened by the opportunities that they missed? I sincerely do not know. It is as if they forget that the mavericks who they love to celebrate actually had to go against convention again and again in order to attain greatness, while the conformers turn into their mindless persecutors again and again… before becoming the ones who celebrate them for their daring and enjoying the benefits of change that society is now reaping from the new life and fresh wind that has come their way because of the actions and courage of these unique few.

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I think that too many people are living ignorant of their purposes in life, and, having chosen to reject the greater heights to which they can rise, they are stuck with a reality that is worse than boring. It is hell and nothing less. So, because they do not want to live in hell by themselves, they drag others who are like them into this same life of torment to live alongside one another in agreement with the low, meaningless and useless standards that they have embraced. They gather together in broods, like chickens, and cluck and say, “My feathers look less shiny today, is this normal?” While the rest of the chickens respond with “Mine too, so we must be fine.”

But it is not normal to be mediocre. It is simply unacceptable to live anywhere below the highest standard available to mankind – that is living your God-given mandate each and every single day that you are alive! And let no one claim otherwise.

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