June 29, 2016

"We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well."

"In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: 'And how are you crazy?'"

33 comments:

cubanbob said...

An entire article on basically is the glass half empty or half full?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So if this is the case for everyone, then isn't that, by definition, normal?

tim in vermont said...

I wish I seemed normal to strangers.

Matthew Sablan said...

Isn't a question like that insulting to people who actually HAVE mental problems? Like implying someone who needs you to call frequently, doesn't get along well with your friends, or has some other hang up or marriage disqualifying quirk is "crazy"?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well.

Apparently The Doors disagree:

People are strange, when you're a stranger.

Unknown said...

damikesc never seems quite normal to me.

traditionalguy said...

We are all special. Ones of a kind. DNA and fingerprints tell us so.

The key is to organize us by some method...by race, by gender, by having no gender, by hair color, by speech patterns, by our relation to the god Money, and by 10,000 other quirks of appearance and persona.

The Greeks playwrights nailed us 2500 years ago, you lazy categorizers.

F said...

I really spent five minutes of my life reading that? Sad.

William said...

I'm extremely banal. That passes for normal in most situations.

Laslo Spatula said...

Call yourself Crazy if you want but stay the fuck away from my Meds.

I am Laslo.

tim maguire said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
So if this is the case for everyone, then isn't that, by definition, normal?


But each of us is normal in our own unique way. I'm not reading the article, but it's a useful question--it's a huge red flag when someone doesn't know their own eccentricities.

damikesc said...

What they label "crazy" here seems like "personality".

n.n said...

Projection has become a fixation of crazy.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The claim preposterous on its face, I shot down to the bottom to see that the writer's only salient credential is that he wrote a work of fiction so I didn't bother to read it.

raf said...

damikesc: What they label "crazy" here seems like "personality"

Your "personality" microagresses others.
All personality is transgressive and must be eliminated.

traditionalguy said...

Speaking of DJT, he is famous for saying that he had to learn how to react with his superficial impressions and not overthink things.

It seems that a lifetime of learning social and business interactions imparts a good understanding of things to our subconscious mind, and he had to learn to trust it. Perfection is for cleaning up details later

Ann Althouse said...

It's the people who are too heavily invested in being perceived as normal that you ought to watch out for.

I think de Botton's question smokes out that kind of person. I'd like to see how that would play out.

Anybody who doesn't laugh, on getting that question on a first date, is telling you a lot. Laugh or say, yeah, I read that NYT op-ed too.

damikesc said...

My wife can provide a laundry list of ways I'm "crazy". As I can with her. We discuss it with each other since its nobody else's business, but if everybody was the same and believed the same stuff, we'd be as dull as a meeting of college faculty.

The Cracker Unknown said...

I know normal when I see it and I define it pretty broadly. But as I move through adulthood I'm amazed at the number of high-functioning nutters I come across. Not just eccentrics, but folks with deep strains of well-defined mental illnesses, just doing their thing, going to work, walking the dog, all with maybe just one foot in reality. I'm no longer surprised by them and have actually worked with at least three or four.

Paco Wové said...

"people who are too heavily invested in being perceived as normal "

??? I'm not sure I've ever met such a person.

coupe said...

I keep reading about these abnormal people, and I'm sure glad I haven't met one.

Ahem... cough...

Fernandinande said...

At The State Home For The Unpleasant we were assured that everyone else was crazy. Pleasant, but crazy.

damikesc said...

??? I'm not sure I've ever met such a person.

Kerry, John.
Clinton, Hillary Rodham

You know two now.

Fernandinande said...

I want to be an UNSUB when I grow up!

Ann Althouse said...

"??? I'm not sure I've ever met such a person."

How would you know? The point would be for you not to notice.

Think about all the post-murder interviews with neighbors who say he seemed like a normal guy.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am thinking about our household here in espnse to this. Most would probably think us quite weird and maybe a bit crazy. Just got back from a walk, and I asked my partner if maybe some of her physical anomalies might have been because she (supposedly) is descended from Charlamaign the Great, and there are stories that he may have been descended from Mary Magadelene, and, yes, Jesus (remembering the plot from The DeVinci Code). And we talked about the horrible code dumped as part of ClimateGate,band how incompetent programmers may have played a significant role is the squandering of maybe trillions of dollars in pushing an agenda based on the incorrect results from their temperature interpolation software. And, yes,not be political, that we don't have sufficient Zika virus finding because the Obama Administration squandered half the Zika money that they had been given on a UN climate group, and the Republicans aren't giving them more money until they can account for what they already had, and then squandered. So, no Dmocrats here, or Global Warming fanatics.

Are we crazy? Probably. Using only about half this house, but building one that is half again as big. Two of three bathrooms remain unused since we got back up here a month r so ago, as well as the kitchen sink, air conditioner, washer, and dryer (last three unused since she bought the place most of a decade ago). The list could go on for quite some time. She has her rules, and most probably think that they are weird. And I live by them. But, then, she lets me drone on for an hour about the intricacies of the problems with the pseudo science behind the Global Warming panic. Or, yesterday, Benghazi. But, then, my last girlfriend, almost 20 years ago, had an almost 3,000 sq ft house in Austin, that she lived in alone, that she refused to air condition or heat. So, we wore long underwear to bed in the winter, and you can guess what we did in the summer. And we would have to capture the gray water in her shower when bringing up the hot water for her household plants. No TV, but a $20k sound system. Oh, and two sports cars in the garage - she would spend money on gas for them, but not for heat.

The older I get, the more weird seems normal. I don't really know any normal people in my generation, or in my parents' generation. And, the longer two people are together, the weirder they seem to be to the outside. I think, every time I see some old guy in a one piece outfit, or people wearing sweats or PJs in public (if the aren't doing it because they are too fat to fit into anything else), I figure that their definition of normal is different than most others. Are they crazy though? I don't think so. Rather, their definition of normality differs from the norm.

buwaya puti said...

Marriages based on "reason" (actually reasons, misused word), as also arranged marriages, dont seem to have been less successful than modern western marriages. There certainly arent any worthwhile statistics on happiness to back this idea. What they were was more productive of children. That is an excellent objective metric I think.
Much of this was the modern attitude excusing selfishness and ignoring duty. Back in the day people did what they had to do, played their roles, made the best of things and were satisfied. Now people assume they live for, well, some state that pleases them, only most arent sure what that is, and fewer can find it. The only duty is to be happy, which is a rather empty, goal-less sort of thing.

Sebastian said...

"Anybody who doesn't laugh, on getting that question on a first date, is telling you a lot. Laugh or say, yeah, I read that NYT op-ed too." Nah. You'd say something like, "failed the Turing test, bro/girl," get up, and leave. Crazy, I know.

traditionalguy said...

Normal is a social construct. Acting friendly. George Washington learned his normal schtck out of a book of rules for a Gentle-man.

Lucien said...

What made the first few seasons of Dexter so funny was the depiction of a serial killer trying to act like a normal person, while everyone around him was acting crazier than he was. That and the fact that we all suspect (well, maybe not Laslo)that if people knew what we were thinking they see us as monsters.

Roughcoat said...

Thoughts aren't facts. Basic ACT theory.

Smilin' Jack said...

"In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: 'And how are you crazy?'"

Stupid question, since part of being crazy is not knowing that you're crazy. Same thing for stupid, as exemplified by the author.

Harold said...

"What they were was more productive of children. That is an excellent objective metric I think."

If you ever do any real productive ancestry research, you'd be surprised how many premature first births there were amongst our prim and proper ancestors. But, if you're on the frontier, need kids to survive old age- if you get there- it makes a lot of sense to make sure reproduction can actually take place between a couple.