Normality and Too Many Parenthetical Remarks
So I found this great article in Psychology Today…
(Do we have to discuss again my taste in magazines? Fine. Glamour, Wired, Real Simple, Psychology Today and Architectural Digest. I know. This is me.)
Anyway… in “What Is Normal?” psychiatrist Peter Kramer says, “[If] difference confers some degree of vulnerability to dysfunction, then we will find that we are all defective in one fashion or another.” I like that. And to back it up, he quotes the mid-20th-century Cornell Midtown Manhattan Study…
(although I fault the logic of anyone claiming that midtown Manhattan is the picture of normal citizenry)
(and yes, that was a pot shot…)
Anyway, the study found that ” [o]Only 18.5 percent of those investigated were ‘free enough of emotional symptoms to be considered well’.”
Let’s think about that. Even if midtown Manhattan were unusually full of oddballs (and I don’t think it is) the point stands: the vast majority of people aren’t normal. Normal is not normal. What’s normal is being abnormal.
But wait. Then that means… that we all trying so hard… to be more like 18.5 percent of the population. Why? Especially because I guess that the 18.5 percent are the people who can’t hold a conversation. The ones who don’t draw the obscure connections. The ones who don’t make the random callback jokes. The ones who don’t have the great ideas. The ones who don’t get the giggles, who don’t break down into tears, who don’t see the absurdity and joy in every minute of every day, who don’t make the world better by being in it.
Yeah, that’s probably “normal”.