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What Is Normal?

“And the people in the houses all went to the university, And they all get put in boxes, little boxes all the same, And there’s doctors and there’s lawyers, And business executives, And they all get put in boxes, and they all come out the same”  Pete Seeger 

What is normal? I think it is assumed that somebody, such as myself who suffers from a mental illness is not normal. But is normal good? 

business man photoIn college, the fraternity I belonged to had a party called “Y B Normal.” Upon reflection, the fraternity consisted of a whole host of normal people. So what is normal?

Normal will, of course, vary with cultures. It is normal to be a Muslim in Jordan, while it is normal to be a Hindu in India. So out of necessity, we must limit the conversation to the United States. Even then the statements will be broad generalities, not reflecting the nuances of different cultures and such. Still, we can come to some conclusions.

People in the United States like making money. There is this whole concept of the ‘American Dream’. This entails somebody coming to this ‘great’ country of ours and working both smart and hard. In the end, they rise to the top economically, buy a great mansion, a sports car, marry a sexpot wife and live happily ever after. The only problem is that even if by some miracle you live this life, you won’t be happy or content. The underlying drive for material success is a character flaw, but that’s not a normal point of view.

I can prove my statement. Observe Wall Street, where the business executives promote all sorts of wickedness to achieve their financial goals. We hear of scandals from time to time where rich people do absurd things all to collect more loot. A recent ‘scam’ that comes to mind was when Wells Fargo set up 3.5 million fake accounts. It is one thing when a poor person steals so they aren’t hungry or destitute. It is another when rich people steal all so they can increase their luxury. Is it normal for somebody with more then they need to lust for more? Maybe if you’re a pig but not for a human being.

The laundry list of crimes against humanity in our society is quite long and extensive. There is a group of people called the ‘Rainbow Children’. They gather annually for a festival of music and fun in some remote location. They are very responsible and make sure that they clean up after themselves. Unfortunately, the Federal Government fears these people. In fact, the FBI will infiltrate these gatherings and if they see anybody selling stuff without collecting taxes they will arrest them.

Let’s face it we live in a sick and perverse society. Everything has been reduced to a dollar sign. People will ask “How are you?” not caring to hear a genuine answer. Cruelty and indifference are the norm while kindness and caring the exception.

It is, in fact, the abnormal people in the world that bring civilization to new heights. Those with vision who dare to dream of things in a different way. At one-time rock stars, exploding in creativity dreamed up worlds of imagination through their music. Furthermore, rock and roll was a rebellious institution which challenged the institution. But music, like so many other things, has been co-opted by the system. In the sixties, during the Vietnam War, there was a barrage of songs protesting the war. Now, society carries on as if the United States isn’t at war. In fact, the only reporting I see about the war is in human interest stories. Where it is the child’s birthday and they trick the child by having their ‘hero soldier’ daddy really being home. You see avoiding reality has become our normal.

“Live and let live.” But unfortunately, those in power are oppressive not allowing others to live.

The rampant destruction of the environment for profits is considered normal. The whole DAPL debacle illustrates this. DAPL or the Dakota Access Pipe Line is a pipeline that among other things runs through Native American property. It is an environmental disaster just one earthquake away from happening. Despite vehement opposition by those who would be most adversely affected the government allowed the pipeline to go through. This madness echoes the clear-cutting of the Amazon forest. Man is destroying planet Earth all for money.

We need people to break out of the conventional mold. We need people to reject the system and to propose an alternative method. History is full of people who aspired for peace and a kind and gentle society. Ironically those who dare to dream of a better day and have the courage and conviction to speak and act against the powers that be meet premature violent deaths. Yes indeed, these ‘normal’ people who run the world will kill you if you dare show that not only is the emperor naked but he is repulsive and ugly.

So if you are mentally ill, like me and people don’t think you’re normal, well then that’s a good thing.

Please check out ‘Poet To The Poor, Poems Of  Hope For The Bottom One Percent’. It is a book with some of my greatest and best poems in. It is a challenging book of poetry written beautiful language.

What Is Normal?

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). What Is Normal?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from


Last updated: 9 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Jul 2018
Published on All rights reserved.