Monday, February 18, 2008

Are You Normal?

Last night I found myself engaged in a discussion about normalcy in regards homosexuality, but it ended up spreading into the larger idea of normalcy itself. Normal is by definition confining to social norms; living up to social expectations set by the society in which we lived. (A redundant statement but one which I found myself repeating) It might have been normal in the 1500 or 1600's to wear tights and a large brimmed hat but would not be considered by today's standards unacceptable. It might be normal during the Roman era to partake of homosexual relationships with young boys, but again would be condemned by today. This is not a praise of one set of standards over the other or not saying that the world should exist without morals. Just that viewing one thing as normal and another thing as abnormal can plunge us into a different sort of immorality. Especially when morality, in and of itself, is such an arguable thing.

To bring it back to more modern ideas, normalcy still exist in America in nuclear families, while the western civilization is changing to include a large variety of mixed familial types not bound by blood. Normalcy still dictates that women over a certain age should be married. I'm just getting started and am not quite ready to go into full rant mode, but once we begin to examine our lives we realize the ways in which we might all fall outside of normalcy's radar. I think of my own current affairs, which have not subsided to "normal" coupledom, but which have, at least for the time being, tried to find a way to work beyond the current ideology of the status quo relationship. It may not work but at least we pushed the envelop. And this is only looking at one way of thinking. I feel that once we begin to entrench ourselves in the idea of normalcy we lose the motivation to find and/or try something new.

Let the fundamentalist hold fast to their views of normalcy. the saying goes, "I am human and therefore nothing is foreign to me."

it might be a better argument were it not four am, but I'm sure you get the idea.

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At 11:12 PM, Blogger dqerwin said...

The fact that we can have this conversation (and that most people relate to it) means that we have a broader space for what could be normal than 2000 years ago. The Romans - as any culture before around 1800 - had one costume for everybody. In more heirarchical societies, there were different costumes for different social statuses, but still nobody even THOUGHT to have a significant variance. Today, there are still limitations on what can be worn (or, more importantly, left off) but there are thousands and thousands of different ways to dress that nobody would notice as abnormal. I think that in other ways, too, we have become more able to deal with a range of states that are normal, rather than having a specific conception.


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