State Of Normality - Season 3 Bonus
A term we hear too often these days, in career discussions with family, in political discussions with peers or in cultural discussions online. We have become accustomed to accepting things that are “normal”. However, any individual with a sense of self greater than an animal knows how
insulting it is to be called “normal” in the modern context.
During a casual chat at an anniversary, one brings up the topic of marriage. People often give in to that kind of pressure, accepting that it is normal to marry, get settled in a house and have a couple of kids. It is ironic to say that a sacred institution has been defiled by tradition. The very values that uphold the bonds between people cannot be decided by pre-conceived notions of
normality (the bond of true love cannot be “arranged”). In the same way, one does not choose a
partner in any field without first understanding what their bond holds.
Personal bonds are unique and sensitive, and it is rare to find people that click immediately. These valuable people know and understand one’s needs. The ability to think from another’s perspective is, after all, not very common. Someone who gives up the family business to pursue their dreams may be called selfish and ungrateful. Another who makes the sacrifice and accepts the flow of the tide may be called the better person. If that is the case, then are all successful entrepreneurs selfish? Then people who worked hard to reach the metaphorical top in their field of choice are martyrs to a cause that undermines the human spirit.
When a country gets taken over by a terrorist group, it takes a few months for the new situation to become normal. When the world gets closed due to a pandemic, we label it a “new normal”. We accept it when oceans get filled with plastic, and when millions of animals are killed in forest fires. This habit of assuming things as they are is dangerous because it undermines our ability to think.
People who think cannot be conquered by any means, which is what makes society afraid of accepting them. These people are made of “abnormal” values, for anything that does not conform to the norms of society is alien and will be treated as such. It will be treated as such until most people acknowledge this value, at which point it becomes normal. The greats of today did not make it because they “dropped out of college”. It was because they had the vision to strive towards what they knew society would oppose.
The fickle person believes in the herd, the vox populi. Their perception of the world is created by living vicariously. They won’t bat an eyelid at events without getting a second-hand opinion. It is a safe way to live, an easy way that garners acceptance. It is much harder to understand where one stands by themselves when there is no one else to fall back on.
What happens when a group of people is riled into hate by some vile divisive tactic? It is common in India, where groups of people would resort to violence against each other in the name of God. To think that an almighty, all-powerful God would need the help of men is a foolish thought and should be regarded as such. Yet, it is common today to hear of racial violence and discrimination in the country built upon ages of stigmatisation. It has been pumped deep into the social systems,
propagated by those who like to divide the masses and hoard power. Even a cricket match between India and Pakistan is treated as a battle between Hindus and Muslims. The sportsmanship of cricket is lost in that battle, and a new struggle to survive emerges.
We have heard of the “crab mentality”. It is a metaphor for the behaviour of crabs when put in a bucket. As a crab tries to get out of the bucket, it gets pulled down by those below. In the social context, it can be observed in people who believe that if they cannot have something, then no one else should have it either. In a larger social context, the “tall poppy syndrome” comes to mind – people who rise through talent quickly are often shot down by hoarders of power.
It is a sad state of affairs, where every new thought is opposed vehemently and the same old grovel is accepted without question. Even upon acceptance, a new idea needs to be watered down with aged tradition, or people just cannot accept it. We have all heard “There’s nothing more you can do,” or “This is how it has always been done.” Every time these phrases are heard, an inventor cringes at the fact that complacency takes over the brain faster than the body.
When the mind slows, the body soon follows, and a vicious cycle of degradation is created. Therefore, we must urge ourselves to pull back the curtains and think for ourselves, questioning the nature of things as they truly are, before assuming anything. We need to remember that non- acceptance is also an option, and there is always a choice. Where cornered, even the feeblest animal bares its primal instinct. It is a vital act to stand up for oneself, and it takes courage to face the oppressor on one’s terms.