Monday, January 21, 2008

Not Okay To Be Normal?

It has become almost instinctual for everyone (depending on the context) to recoil from the idea of being "normal". Nowadays, it's no longer considered okay to be "normal". We must be different. We must "go against the flow"--we must all be different, as though being different or individually unique is an act that requires conscious effort as opposed to something that's simply innate or natural. But, the truth is, is this the thing that people should be worried about more than anything else? Should this be the primary objective in our life? The answer seems obvious, yet there are still many people out there who have made "being different just for the sake of it" the center of their universe (sometimes even at the expense of others).

There is nothing wrong being normal. There is nothing wrong with being average. And there is nothing wrong with being just a face in the crowd.

We, as human beings, seek out significance, as though it was something that must be "earned" as opposed to something that is inherent in being human. The fact is, though one can gain "significance" in certain contexts--such as being a significant contributor to a project or a company--significance in terms of inherent value comes with the territory of being created in God's image.

Every human being, "different" or "ordinary", exceptional or average is unique within the grand scheme of things as man is the only creature in existence created in the image of the Creator. Not even the angels themselves were given that gift--that high honor. Until human beings begin to see that more and more and recognize the Creator and our place with Him--then the search for significance in the wrong places will always remain an issue for man.


Jesse said...

Well, I'll give you my own reasons for avoidance of the normal. As far back as I can remember, I had lots of other people telling me I was "weird." Not so much family, but kids at school, and some teachers wouldn't quite say it, but they expressed it in other ways. The implication was that who I was was somehow wrong because it wasn't normal. Given that, I eventually started to wear my lack of normalcy as a badge of pride, and looked down on those who fit into the norm, which for me meant conformity, mediocrity, and a fear of that which was different. Perhaps that's a bit unfair, but I'd personally rather be myself than some standardized definition of what or who people are supposed to be.

Of course what you're talking about is not exactly that. You're referring to people being exceptional in terms of accomplishments rather than achieving as much as everyone else. I think it's okay to attempt to push ourselves to be better, since that's the only way we grow, but I think it's unhealthy to make it a race with other people. The smart thing is to just do the best we can as individuals and not worry where we rank with the rest of the world.

David Yuen said...

Thanks again, Jesse, for your input. Basically, there's nothing wrong with being different, just like there's nothing wrong with being considered "normal". The thing that I was trying to get at was that some people put too much emphasis on making themselves appear different (or "normal", it can cut either way), rather than focusing on the more important things in life, like knowing one's place with God or simply just being a good person. In some extreme cases people even begin to actually assign a person's "significance" or value solely on their outside image as opposed to their innate value as a human being.

For the person against the mainstream, they may judge a mainstreamer with less value simply because they consider them to be conformist tools. For the person in the mainstream, they may judge outsiders with less value simply because they seem them as "freaks".

Either way, mainstream or not, people have innate value and we shouldn't be concentrating and wasting time on making a morality system based upon whether it's not "okay" to be different or, as in my post, not "okay" to be normal.


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