Saturday, August 21, 2010

Normal in America?

What is normal: In behavior, normal refers to a lack of significant deviation from the average. Conforming with or constituting a norm or standard or level or type of social norm. Being approximately average or within certain limits.

The interesting thing about “normal” is that normal changes. What was abnormal in one period of time becomes quite normal in another….or more, what is seen as abnormal and sick in one time is very likely seen as good and natural in another. It is growth, and change; it is the flex and draw of a person and a society of people who have a collective understanding of should and what should not be. And as natural as it seems to be, it is what is generally average for the society. Yes folks, “normality” is determined by those with a 100 IQ and roughly “C” student. That sort of changes the lofty status of things, huh? The stifling of innovators, the pushing down of those who live outside the average or think differently or act differently is a simple product of our nature as people. We are comfortable in what we find normal - or meeting expectations. No surprises and all is well. It is also not what this country is about. People risked life and limb, literally, to come to this country and create a life different from that which they left in England, France, Spain, etc. Motives aside, this country is about change. There is little tradition here but that; we celebrate: - The New Year: a new beginning. - Independence Day: freedom from tyranny. - Veterans Day: Sacrifice and giving everything so others can be free. - Thanksgiving: appreciation for the good things in life and abundance - Christmas: a time of giving and loving. So, while we will loft up such grand ideas in the one hand, we are still subject to the baser natures of our frightened little selves in the other. And, while pushing the normality of things is risky, it is also necessary. Not everyone is a C student, and not everyone has a 100 IQ, 2.5 kids and a mortgage….ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. The writers of the constitution were very learned men. Powerful and intelligent in their own right, they talked about ideas, philosophies, and perhaps more important - realities. Dreamers all, they fought the biggest bully on the block to have their own piece of the pie. But, being learned men and conversant in topics of philosophy, the phrase “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is one taken from that day’s philosophic debate. Looking this up, I find some back and forth on it but it seems to center on not the property issues, which Locke was attributed, but on a social interaction in which promotes the freedom and enjoyment of one’s neighbor in order to procure the freedom and enjoyment in one’s own life. So, for those who call themselves “Constitutionalists” and want to “go back to the way it used to be”, how about looking at the way it was supposed to be: Securing the freedom of my neighbor to secure my own freedom, because, as noted by the philosophers of the day, the opposite is also quite true.

Photo by Chuck Espinoza, found in Milkboys Jan 18.


Sammy B said...

Hello Randy
A very interesting post, particularly, from my perspective, in your comments about 'normality' varying across time and dependant upon place. My predilections would have been considered perfectly 'normal' in, for example, Ancient Greece, but in the modern UK, are seen as 'abnormal and sick'.
Definitions of normal often seem to boil down to some banal 'lowest common denominator', but it's difficult to try to operate outside what passes for 'normality', because you immediately set yourself up as a target for the (usually self-appointed) arbiters of that normality. Putting your head above the parapet, especially if, as I do, you have family responsibilities, takes more courage than I possess, even though I find living in 'hiding' really hard to bear at times.

Love & best wishes
Sammy B

randy said...

Hi Sammy B;

You bring up a great deal of thought in your comment. I didn't really talk about how things are different in different places, but that's true also. I can't help but to wonder what the ever expanding influence of internet will have.
I sorely wish I had some words to give you comfort. I do understand you; you are not alone.
Be strong and remember your priorities.
Hugs to you- -randy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Randy, I like this post. I am headed over to the Toy Box to give this post a shout out. Everyone should hear the words you have written.

Hugs and loves,