Are you NORMAL?


I was always fascinated with what is considered to be ‘normal’ for us, human beings. As Dr. Eric R. Maisel points out, “This is not an idle question without real-world consequences. The “treatment” of every single “mental disorder” that mental health professionals “diagnose,” from “depression” and “attention deficit disorder” on through “schizophrenia,” flows from how society construes “normal” and “abnormal.” This matter affects tens of millions of people annually; and affects everyone, really, since a person’s mental model of “what is normal?” is tremendously influenced by how society and its institutions define “normal.”

From The Illusion of Normal

The matter of what is normal can’t be and must not be a mere statistical nicety. It can’t be and must not be “normal” to be a Christian just because 95% of your community is Christian. It can’t be and must not be “normal” to own slaves just because all the landowners in your state own slaves. “Normal” can’t mean and must not mean “what we see all the time” or “what we see the most of.” It must have a different meaning from that for it to mean anything of value to right-thinking people.


Nor can it mean “free of discomfort,” as if “normal” were the equivalent of oblivious and you were somehow “abnormal” when you were sentient, human, and real. This, however, is exactly the game played by the mental health industry: it makes this precise, illegitimate switch. It announces that when you feel a certain level of discomfort you are abnormal and you have a disorder. It equates abnormal with unwanted… In this view “normal” is living free of excessive discomfort; “abnormal” is feeling or acting significantly distressed. Normal, in this view, is destroying a village in wartime and not experiencing anything afterward; abnormal is experiencing something, and for a long time thereafter.

Nazi mass murderFrom

 The consequences of conscience, reason, and awareness are labeled abnormal and robotic allegiance to wearing a pasted-on smiley face is designated normal. Is that what we really mean? Is that what we really want?”

From What Do We Mean By ‘Normal’?


How would you define what is NORMAL
for us, human beings?

Are you NORMAL?


53 thoughts on “Are you NORMAL?

  1. mommyx4boys says:

    I am absolutely not normal, and i dont want to be, im better. 😉

  2. No I am not normal O.Never have been and I like that I am not what might be considered normal. Safe smacks of safety to me. Normal suggests not taking risks and never sticking your neck out. So no I am not normal in the sense that society might require me to be.

  3. bkpyett says:

    Trick question? 😀

  4. I’ve always found the most normal, conformist people to be real “nuts” when you get to know them. I don’t think there is such a thing as normal.

  5. satzie says:

    Usually, normal is often been associated with commonness. Talking in general, I think normal means balance, to stay in the middle of the extremities.

    Abnormal is often associated with ‘negative perspective’ of seeing not-common characteristics.The way society terms something as normal is with the basis which they are comfortable with.

    Am i normal ? I think i’m a mixed bag.

    Wearing a mask might be helpful and wise at certain places. However doing it all the time, isn’t a good choice. I wouldn’t prefer wearing a mask. However I would change myself for the people I love.
    And I love Captain Jack Sparrow 😀

    Good post Otrazhenie 🙂

  6. viewpacific says:

    Thanks for this well written and illustrated post.
    I can relate to the cow in the tree asking “define normal”. In fact, I’ve said that many times.
    I often add “why be normal?”
    The usual answer I get is that most of us want to fit in, to be included, and to feel loved. So, we’ll do all kinds of gymnastics and unnatural poses.
    I’ve been finding it’s more fun and fulfilling to be around people who are more often their true selves. It’s absolutely more interesting and fulfilling!

  7. JF says:

    Wonderful post! What is normal? This question discussed for thousands years. Today it became a major political question. Parties and leaders say that everyone who thinks differently than they are not normal, even dangerous to a country or a society.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Oh, the definition of ‘normal’ has been a ‘political’ question for a long time. Not surprisingly, under totalitarian regimes people, who think differently, often end up in prison or in a psychiatric hospital 😦

  8. katelon says:

    IMHO the mental health industry is helpful to a certain extent and very dangerous in many others. There are now diagnoses for being too happy…and a drug for it, and I’m not talking about bi-polar manic episodes. I feel that to attempt to push people into some kind of conformity is unhealthy. Meher Baba worked with schizophrenics believing they were in truth, holy people who had reached another plane quickly and were struggling to adjust.

    In a Tom Robbin’s novel, he had a character named “Nearly normal Jimmy”. I loved that name!

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Loved your comment, Katelon. Another interesting example – New Zealand famous writer Janet Frame, who spent years locked in psychiatric hospitals until her literary talent has been finally recognised and American-trained psychiatrist Alan Miller proposed that she had never suffered from schizophrenia.

  9. Val Boyko says:

    When we give any label we are stepping into the place of judgment. We create “them” and “us”
    “in” or “out”
    “good or bad”
    “normal” and “abnormal”

  10. sampatron says:

    I’m normal, I think, but I’m not average, which is what I suspect most people really mean when they use the term normal.

  11. hhhornblower says:

    But there’s also the element of one’s perceived reaction of society to their supposed ‘abnormalities’ might be slightly miscontrued. By that, whenever I muster the courage enough to say whatever it is that boggles my mind, the worst reaction I usually receive is being considered “out of the fray”, or some sort of gadfly. This doesn’t unnerve me anymore, neither does ‘abnormal.’ I find it amusing that these words have taken a slightly affectionate tone over time.

    Checkhov’s Ward #6 is a great example of your post!

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Checkhov’s Ward #6 is one of my favourite stories. You are write – this story does relate to my post very well. Thanks for your insightful comment 🙂

  12. There must be something in the air! 🙂 I was wondering the exact same thing in my last post. Definitions of normal and how mental health is defined can lead to a them and us situation when, in fact, everyone I know operates on what I’m now thinking of as a spectrum of behaviours that we are all on and we move upon it depending on many circumstances and conditions. I suspect that operating somewhere in the middle of the spectrum is how normal is viewed wirh regard to all behaviours. When we veer anywhere to either side it’s as if we’ve lost the plot when, in fact, all of us are capable, for varying reasons, of extremes. That’s my new theory anyway. 😉 Great to read your perspective on this and heartily agree that normal is ill-defined.

  13. Mélanie says:

    before seeing the cow in the tree, I was gonna ask:”what’s the definition of normality?”… 🙂 too vast topic to be approached and elaborated “lightly”…

  14. Huw Thomas says:

    I’m normal. It’s just the rest of the world that doesn’t always understand. (But then that would make life soooo boring!)

  15. kp says:

    Interesting article…it is distressing what we consider normal in our world indeed. Kim

  16. jasmineshei says:

    this is so true. I do not know what medical defines normal. I am sure I am not normal by their definition. I am OK with that. 🙂

  17. Ajaytao2010 says:

    very nice post dear 🙂

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Thanks, Ajay. 🙂

      • Ajaytao2010 says:

        🙂 🙂

      • Ajaytao2010 says:

        You are like a silent teacher
        do you know that???

        thank you 🙂

      • Otrazhenie says:

        Hm, I thought I left teaching behind a long time ago, but every now and then people tell me that I’m still a ‘teacher’ at heart 🙂 Hopefully, my blog is ‘teaching’/spreading good things 🙂

      • Ajaytao2010 says:

        yes yes a silent teacher slowly, gradually teaching us all about so much truth regarding our lives, definitely your core does not change dear 🙂 🙂

        Thank you dear 🙂

      • Otrazhenie says:

        Thanks to you, Ajay, for all your kind words. You always know how to make my day a bit brighter 🙂

      • Ajaytao2010 says:

        oh dear I know the truth about you although I dont know anything else but that truth is enough for me dear 🙂
        and you know I like you somewhat radical post s very much 🙂 ❤

        thanks dear 🙂

        God bless you 🙂

  18. hujanmutiara says:

    “But what is normal? Who can define it? If all weirdos gathered around and outnumbered the so called normal people, wouldn’t they be the normal ones?”. Just quoting my own writing :p

  19. I love coming across posts dealing with the discussion of human behavior. Abnormalities and the human definition of “normal” are a personal favorite 🙂 I actually just published a short piece today on this idea. Feel free to check it out!

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