Or from a different perspective, we are all abnormal. We all have our different traits and characteristics that make us unique.
Absolutely! That’s what this entire debate comes down to!
To be honest, I hate this argument. I’m doing it at school as part of my English curriculum at the moment, and I can’t stand it.
To me, there is nothing strange here, nothing deep or philosophical – in fact, we all inevitably come to the same conclusion, and most of our reasoning occurs on a sub-conscious level.
The matter really is very simple when it comes down to it:
Normal is just a word used to describe those similar to yourself, and likewise, abnormal is just a word used to describe those different to yourself.
So, if I were to say, for example, that all lesbians on this forum were abnormal (from a personal perspective), I would be completely justified, because I am not a lesbian. The word abnormal is neither a compliment nor an insult, and the statement is nothing but truth.
Then, of course, I could generalise further and say that lesbians are abnormal to all gay males (indeed, to all males), and again this would be justified – because it is nothing but the truth. I could then do the same thing several more times until I’m no longer even describing humanity.
As I see it, normal is just numerous sets of concentric circles expanding outward from a single individual, where each set of circles represents one personal trait, and each consecutive circle represents one generalisation.
So for me, one set of circles would be like this (this has to be in words, but imagine a diagram is there to help):
First circle: Me, and where I currently am.
Second circle: I am a gay man (as opposed to a lesbian).
Third: I am gay (as opposed to straight).
Fourth: I am human (as opposed to an animal).
Fifth: I am an animal (as opposed to a plant, bacteria, etc.).
Sixth: I am a living organism (as opposed to, say, a rock).
See? If I choose to focus on the third circle, then that is what normal is. If I focus on the fourth, then that is what normal is, and so on. Of course there are many other sets of circles that define who I am – my Christianity, for example, in which I would include things like my denomination, or my liberal/conservative inclinations.
In turn then, abnormal just becomes whatever I am not – whatever the circles do not cover.
This debate is nothing mysterious – normal is just subjective, that’s all.