NORMALCY AS THREAT TO WORLD PEACE by Sally Clay
For every crazed ex-mental patient who commits a bizarre crime, there are probably several dozen normal persons sitting on a board or task force somewhere talking about how to prevent crime, how to form a committee against poverty, or how to plan a Christmas party. At the same time as our theoretical person with a history of mental illness contemplates hijacking the Statue of Liberty, there are in Washington another several dozen normal people discussing how best to increase U.S. defense spending and how to fund illegal wars in Central America without admitting it.
It is my contention that normalcy is the greatest single threat to world peace. This threat is a silent one; "normals" do not make headlines the way ex-mental patients do. Let's face it - normals are dull. By definition, a normal person represents the status quo; he or she represents the way average people are, or the way most people do things. His or her prime function in life is to perpetuate the mediocre common denominator.
The following are a few characteristics of normalcy:
1) Meaningless chatter - Normals love to talk. However, since any reference to personal feelings or important social issues might threaten the narrow limits of what is "appropriate" (i.e. normal), normal talk is virtually devoid of content.
2) Selective deafness - Normals do not like to listen. In general, they hear only enough of what another person says to suggest to them the next topic of their own monologue. A conversation between normals is like a badminton tournament; all that really matters is whose turn it is to hit the birdie.
3) General busywork - Normals love to be busy. In this way they further avoid actually paying attention to what is happening around them. Included in this category are assorted appointments, telephone calls, and most housework. Normal activity often entails meeting with other normal people for meaningless chatter.
4) Tunnel vision - Normals are remarkably naive. They are unable to perceive that things could be accomplished any more effectively or differently than they "always have been done." This goes a long way toward explaining how our present society and its economy operate. Although to those of us who are "ex-mental patients" or otherwise considered "abnormal," it seems obvious that social programs should be for people and not the other way around, this view is clearly not " "normal." I have spent hours sitting on boards and committees wondering if I am somehow missing something. Indeed, what I miss is the whole human dimension; normals seem constitutionally unable to operate except as collective cogs in some cosmic calculating machine.
5) Do-nothingism - Finally, it must be noted that beyond meaningless chatter and general busywork, normals basically do not get anything done beyond creating their own jobs. A board to prevent crime, for example, generally succeeds only in forming numerous committees and writing voluminous reports. In the meantime, our ex-mental patient friend, for example, has become so frustrated with his lack of meaningful human contact that he begins to consider another bizarre act, perhaps "streaking" at the Board Meeting. At least bizarre acts are noticed - some direct message gets across.
I am constantly horrified and astonished to watch the cold and vacant eyes of all the normals on the evening news, all the government officials and the businessmen and the doctors who are their cronies. The other night I timed the litany of weapons and wars and international intrigue on the news - it went on for twenty of the thirty minutes, and it was all presented as if it was perfectly normal - which indeed it was.
Our industrial-military-medical complex is the epitome of cold-blooded mechanism, of busyness and empty chatter and tunnel vision institutionalized to something coolly commonplace. The worst of it is that there is no way to argue with such a mentality. After all, it is normal!
Maybe bizarre is better.
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