Thursday, June 02, 2005

Am I... normal?

Individualism is innate. We're not a collective intelligence; we're not bees, we're not Borg. Free will and all that. Western culture tends to celebrate a contradictory brand of individualism, i.e. "I want to be different, just like you," but on a literal level, we are just a big ol' mess of separate and unique entities.

Normality, on the other hand, is contextual. For example, if I were to show up at work wearing nothing but a sarong and stompy combat boots, I would get some odd looks, and possibly a stern talking to about the office dress code. "Why is he dressed like that?" my co-workers would e-mail to one another. "It's just not normal." Now, were I to show up at a Radical Faerie campout wearing khaki slacks and a smart button-down shirt, I'd get some odd looks, and possibly a stern talking to about not being in touch with my anima. "Why is he dressed like that?" the Faeries would whisper to one another while putting the finishing touches on their hag-drag for the No Talent Show. "It's just not normal."

See? It's all relative. If, for instance, you're not familiar with the harmonic stylings of Kelly Clarkson, it doesn't mean you're a societal outcast. It means your musical tastes lie elsewhere. And there are gaggles and gaggles of other people out there who don't watch reality TV, and as such are also not aware of her rise to fame and subsequent album. Or does she have more than one now? I haven't really been paying attention.

Regardless, I don't have multiple heads, or superpowers, or even a third nipple. I am, for all practical purposes, normal. And yes, Virginia, so are you.

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