2008-05-14

What is normal?

Everyone seems to know, for himself, what is and what isn’t normal. But when we stop and think seriously about it, we may find out that this is a tricky concept. When we see someone who’s completely out of his mind, we easily know that person is not normal. When we see a… normal guy, working, taking care of his kids, making love to his wife, playing tennis with his friends at night, we can say he’s exactly that: normal. But where do we locate the line that divides sanity and insanity? There’s no right answer.

Human beings, normal or crazy ones, are part of our society, but some of them are unacceptable. What’s life like for them? Is it comfortable to live at a psychiatric institution, isolated and drugged most of the time? Certainly not. It would be a lot better if we could find a place for those people to live with dignity and to cooperate with our society the way they can - after all, they’re part of it as much as we are.

People who’ve had the chance to deal with so-called crazy individuals usually bring a common impression: a crazy person is extremely sensitive. Not only because they can’t cope with social demands, but also because they realize things - or they’re able to tell what they see, giving up on the moral cover that us, normal people, are subjected to. That’s why, perhaps, we usually aim strange looks to artists - writers, painters, actors, musicians and such. They dare to say what we would never express - we haven’t even dared to think about some of their messages. We know, of course, that not all the artists are crazy. But would we deny that there might live an artist inside every human being, even the craziest ones? Mainly the craziest ones, I would say.

What if we considered that art could be a way to include and accept those people among us? Wouldn’t both of us, normal and crazy ones, have benefits? We would benefit for hearing what they have to say, what they see and think. Could they be right? Couldn’t we look at ourselves, at our society, and think our acts from another point of view? After all, aren’t we always complaining that this world is going in the wrong direction? How could we find the right one if we deny to look inside and look at the relations we’ve been having with each other? On the other hands, the so-called crazy would finally feel useful, would finally feel they have the right to be a person… a person they already are.

P.S. This is just a reflection. I didn’t mean we shouldn’t offer psychiatric treatment for the ones who need it. Art is not a cure itself, but it surely helps - for all it includes.

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