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longlongago

NORMALITY - The Ever elusive word

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Is there such a thing as ' Normal '

Or is it merely a Substitute for ' Socially acceptable ' behavior ..

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Is there such a thing as ' Normal '

Or is it merely a Substitute for ' Socially acceptable ' behavior ..

I don't think it's even that specific... there's plenty of socially acceptable behavior that you'd struggle to classify as 'normal'.

Particularly when it comes to mental health, there's no default setting that we all start from. It's just part of the trend to treat mental health in the same way as physical health, something which you can cure. But the difference is that the body has a normal heart rate, a normal blood pressure etc., so there's something to use as a guideline. There's no such thing as average mental health. Some people might seem more obviously 'unusual' at first, but I've never understood the point of trying to nudge them towards this obscure concept of 'Normal'.

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normal :rolleyes::lol: haha in my opinion, normal is just a group of people all thinking that acting / behaving, living etc one way / the same way as themselves is perhaps the right way, and so the 'normal' way... if thats any use :D lol probably isn't..

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When it comes to abnormality in psychology, I think the key issue is ones own ability to function in society, survive, and not harm him/herself or others in the process.

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Posted (edited)

I don't think it's even that specific... there's plenty of socially acceptable behavior that you'd struggle to classify as 'normal'.

Particularly when it comes to mental health, there's no default setting that we all start from. It's just part of the trend to treat mental health in the same way as physical health, something which you can cure. But the difference is that the body has a normal heart rate, a normal blood pressure etc., so there's something to use as a guideline. There's no such thing as average mental health. Some people might seem more obviously 'unusual' at first, but I've never understood the point of trying to nudge them towards this obscure concept of 'Normal'.

Thanks .

Isn't there some sort of ' Fear ' about opening the box of ' what's the meaning of my life '

Suppose we DON'T find any!

So isn't it better to push the whole thing aside and say there is nothing to find .

Edited by longlongago

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Thanks .

Isn't there some sort of ' Fear ' about opening the box of ' what's the meaning of my life '

Suppose we DON'T find any!

So isn't it better to push the whole thing aside and say there is nothing to find .

I guess so... I'm not really sure how that relates to concepts of normality though?

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When it comes to abnormality in psychology, I think the key issue is ones own ability to function in society, survive, and not harm him/herself or others in the process.

and not harm him/herself or others in the process ..

Do you really think it is possible ?

It takes all sorts to make a society .

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I guess so... I'm not really sure how that relates to concepts of normality though?

Haven't you seen Blinkered horses ?

Guess that's ' Normal ' .

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Haven't you seen Blinkered horses ?

Guess that's ' Normal ' .

You mean people think they're normal because they only see a limited view of the world?

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You mean people think they're normal because they only see a limited view of the world?

I guess people think they're normal because they do not see the unlimited view

of the world .

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I guess people think they're normal because they do not see the unlimited view

of the world .

I suppose so. I'm not sure that 'normal' is a concept that many people give much thought to, except possibly as insecure teenagers. Personally I should hate to be normal!

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Posted (edited)

Do you really think it is possible ?

It takes all sorts to make a society .

Do I really think what is possible? I'm not sure what you're asking or saying.

Do I think it's really possible that we not harm ourselves or others in the process of sustaining ourselves? Obviously "harm" is a term that can vary in severity. I mean... not a murderer and not on suicide watch, basically. If an individual cannot function within society and does not try to meet his or her own basic needs, then you have an issue of abnormality on your hands. When I say function I mean able to hold a job, and various other basic things. I don't mean total assimilation.

Sure, a lot of great inventions and great changes have come from, dare I say the freaks of the world :), but I think what's most important is an individual's ability to live and adapt enough for the sake of survival. The inability to do these things is what I would consider "abnormal". Everything else, to me, would just be variation in perspectives and preferences.

Edited by icile_xele

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I suppose so. I'm not sure that 'normal' is a concept that many people give much thought to, except possibly as insecure teenagers. Personally I should hate to be normal!

There is a Dark side of human nature , very little known to us .

Instincts that do not meet the general approval .. and play a role throughout in

our lives .

Isn't that where one begins to wonder ?

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There is a Dark side of human nature , very little known to us .

Instincts that do not meet the general approval .. and play a role throughout in

our lives .

Isn't that where one begins to wonder ?

When you speak of the dark side, would the cause need to be considered first? I think there are some things which are inherent, and other things which are learned behaviors or develop out of life experiences. I think it has more to do with how one processes information and experiences, than some dark cloud that looms over human nature. Not to say that there isn't a dark side at all, but when we're looking at normality, I think the origin of this would need to be considered. (What it is, not merely what it looks like to the varying perspectives of observers.)

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When you speak of the dark side, would the cause need to be considered first? I think there are some things which are inherent, and other things which are learned behaviors or develop out of life experiences. I think it has more to do with how one processes information and experiences, than some dark cloud that looms over human nature. Not to say that there isn't a dark side at all, but when we're looking at normality, I think the origin of this would need to be considered. (What it is, not merely what it looks like to the varying perspectives of observers.)

Why one feels what one feels ..

Can the root of this be ever determined ?

When you look at the unknown factor in the human brain ,

' Learned behavior ' appears to be just the tip of an Iceberg .

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Why one feels what one feels ..

Can the root of this be ever determined ?

When you look at the unknown factor in the human brain ,

' Learned behavior ' appears to be just the tip of an Iceberg .

While I agree that personality types vary (as it's part of the reason we react and understand various situations in different ways), I'm a little hard pressed to believe that there is some dark nature which is more responsible for our actions than experience and understanding. Can the roots of feelings ever be determined? I believe so, and I say that from experience. It's not easy, and it can be rather complex as some conclusions are drawn in layers. I haven't seen anything in my personal observations thus far that would suggest that there is some other mysterious cause behind the feelings and choices of people.

No, I'm not a psychologist :). So, of course, whatever I say will naturally be taken with a grain of salt. However, it seems to me that most of these things are connected to past events and how they were interpreted. There's the self and one's perception of the self. Most of what I see coming out of people has something to do with the defense of self-perception when the emotions are involved. Emotions, to me, are very intense and super fast thoughts. This is why when we acknowledge our feelings and the causes of them, those feelings may be subdued. It turns these emotions into thoughts that we can actually reason with. The choice to do so, or to refuse to do so, still has much to do with this perception of self and personal security.

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Posted (edited)

IMO there are at least two forms of normal.

There is the mathematical norm or central position

While there may be significant variations from that norm, a behavioural norm can be established similarly.

Then there are logical norms or normal behaviour. So behaviour with an evolved positive survival value, or even a neutral survival value, may be considered normal, while behaviour which is not may be considered abberant or non conforming. Thus a self destructive behaviour, or a behaviour which is socially destructive rather than constructive, could be seen as not normal behviour.

Im am sure this is not an accepted psychological viewpoint, but it is a logical and commonsense one. It is not normal(in the second sense of normality) for evolved animals, and particularly self aware and sapient ones, to be self destructive, or to be destructive of the society which nurtures, supports, and facilitates their survival.

If that were normal, then such species would struggle to survive and prosper.

Violence to other members of society may be normal behaviour, if it does not threaten, and especially if it promotes, either self survival, or the strengthening of the society in which a being is embedded.

Thus for an ape to kill the young of a rival male and "rape" all available females is normal. For a human being it is not, becuase our self awareness, and the structure of our societies based on our sapience, is significantly different to that of those apes.

We ensure our own, and our species, genetic survival and diversity through different means.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Then there are logical norms or normal behaviour. So behaviour with an evolved positive survival value, or even a neutral survival value, may be considered normal, while behaviour which is not may be considered abberant or non conforming. Thus a self destructive behaviour, or a behaviour which is socially destructive rather than constructive, could be seen as not normal behviour.

Im am sure this is not an accepted psychological viewpoint, but it is a logical and commonsense one. It is not normal(in the second sense of normality) for evolved animals, and particularly self aware and sapient ones, to be self destructive, or to be destructive of the society which nurtures, supports, and facilitates their survival.

If that were normal, then such species would struggle to survive and prosper.

However, we seem to have turned this on its head. Self destructive behaviour such as drinking, eating badly, not exercising etc. are seen as the norm while those on a 'health kick' are seen as not normal. Similarly, the destruction of our environment has become the norm, and environmental awareness has, at least until recently, been abnormal behaviour.

I think our survival patterns are so complex and varied now that it would be impossible to draw a norm anywhere. We can establish what's 'normal' for certain definable factors like height and weight, but it terms of psychology there is no normal.

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Normal is a dirty four letter expletive.

There really is no such thing. All it really is is a bunch of unthinking robots where everybody's the same because being different is just oh so scary and life threatening.

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IMO there are at least two forms of normal.

There is the mathematical norm or central position

While there may be significant variations from that norm, a behavioural norm can be established similarly.

Then there are logical norms or normal behaviour. So behaviour with an evolved positive survival value, or even a neutral survival value, may be considered normal, while behaviour which is not may be considered abberant or non conforming. Thus a self destructive behaviour, or a behaviour which is socially destructive rather than constructive, could be seen as not normal behviour.

Im am sure this is not an accepted psychological viewpoint, but it is a logical and commonsense one. It is not normal(in the second sense of normality) for evolved animals, and particularly self aware and sapient ones, to be self destructive, or to be destructive of the society which nurtures, supports, and facilitates their survival.

If that were normal, then such species would struggle to survive and prosper.

Violence to other members of society may be normal behaviour, if it does not threaten, and especially if it promotes, either self survival, or the strengthening of the society in which a being is embedded.

The CRUX of your argument seems to be the word ' Sapience ' .

Aren't you taking it for granted .. and isn't it true that the word more belongs to

an Anthropocentric world view ?

Thus for an ape to kill the young of a rival male and "rape" all available females is normal. For a human being it is not, because our self awareness, and the structure of our societies based on our sapience, is significantly different to that of those apes.

May be you choose to see only the ' Order ' in a society ,

And not the ' Chaos ' within ..

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I do love this section, sooo much."Normal" is one of those "non-sense" words. It seems one has to compare something to it in order to define it.So what is "normal", is Charles Manson "normal"? and if so, how come and if not, why not? It seems the majority defines what is "normal" in any society, at any given time,until proven wrong by a shift in the number of those that think the majority, now the minority, is wrong and now they make the rules.

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I do love this section, sooo much."Normal" is one of those "non-sense" words. It seems one has to compare something to it in order to define it.So what is "normal", is Charles Manson "normal"? and if so, how come and if not, why not? It seems the majority defines what is "normal" in any society, at any given time,until proven wrong by a shift in the number of those that think the majority, now the minority, is wrong and now they make the rules.

Ah, but that would be too simple. If there was a majority of people with similar characteristics and personality traits, they would automatically become the norm. But people are too different. So how do you reach a majority decision on what the 'norm' is when you all have completely different perceptions of it.

It's a nonsense word in this context - doesn't mean anything.

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However, we seem to have turned this on its head. Self destructive behaviour such as drinking, eating badly, not exercising etc. are seen as the norm while those on a 'health kick' are seen as not normal. Similarly, the destruction of our environment has become the norm, and environmental awareness has, at least until recently, been abnormal behaviour.

I think our survival patterns are so complex and varied now that it would be impossible to draw a norm anywhere. We can establish what's 'normal' for certain definable factors like height and weight, but it terms of psychology there is no normal.

This is true in part. Self destructive behaviour may become the social norm, but it may remain non normal behaviour in terms of evolved norms which promote survival and constructive behaviour.

I dont think its beyond the ability of either mathematicians or psychologists to establish norm referenced behaviours, or to establish what behaviours are not normal.

To claim any behaviour may be normal is statistically incorrect and also tends to be a copout. On the other hand establishing statistical parameters for what is normal, and what is not, is not a justification (in itself) to make judgements about the worth or value of one behaviour vis a vis another. Behaviours need to be judged on their outcomes rather than on their "normality"

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name='longlongago' date='23 April 2010 - 03:06 AM' timestamp='1271957819' post='3387049']

The CRUX of your argument seems to be the word ' Sapience ' .

Aren't you taking it for granted .. and isn't it true that the word more belongs to

an Anthropocentric world view ?

In a non sapient world normal is easy to define mathematically and statistically. There are programmes which do it. However once an entity develops sapience, not only does self aware choice come into it, but so to do the complexes of sapience eg fetishes, phobias, psychological normality and abberance. Once we symbolise and categorise, via language, tha t has to be taken into account in our understandings and definitions of normality.

Mathematics clearly defines norms and thus normality so, in that sense, it is not anthropomorhic but certainly within human culture and society we determine norms and normality by many non mathematical and quite overtly anthropomorphic methods.

May be you choose to see only the ' Order ' in a society ,

And not the ' Chaos ' within ..

While order and chaos exist in both the natural and the sapient world, the difference is, that for its own survival, sapience always attempts to make or create order out of chaos Sapient beings survive not by innate strenght but by the application of sapience One evolved principle to understand, better survive and also adapt the worl around us is the process of identification, categorization, comparison, evaluation etc etc

One of the most basic processes within this is establishing patterns and predictability, and thus what is expected or normal and what is unexpected or non normal. Such identifications not only promote sapient survival but also play a part in the evolution of sapience itself

So, while a sapient being sees order and chaos, its natural evolved "instinct" is to make sense of the chaos and to shape it into order. The establishment of normal behaviour is critical in this process.

There is very little chaos, and a great deal of order, in any human activity. That is due to our evolved natures and learned responses to our environments.

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Is there such a thing as ' Normal '

Or is it merely a Substitute for ' Socially acceptable ' behavior ..

Aded, as determined by the majority of the particular society, whose created the standards all are judged by. As a famous t-shirt once said,"I'm Normal but I'm Not sure About the Rest of You".

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