Normal

What do academic philosophers think about nowadays? Are there topics and questions you and I can discuss at the dinner table? Here’s an example. The latest issue of one of their journals was devoted to the topic of ‘normality’: what is normal; what is abnormal; can there be normal without abnormal; what’s wrong with abnormal; is it just relative what we consider as normal or abnormal? Questions like that. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Come and join the philosophers in their enquiries.

An example: most of the people I know eat soup with a spoon. So I can say: it is normal to eat your soup with a spoon. But by saying that, do I mean that all should eat soup with a spoon, and that it is better to eat soup with a spoon, and that if you don’t eat soup with a spoon you’re abnormal?

But, isn’t this obvious/ Soup eating with a fork doesn’t work.

I can reply: that’s pretty evident, I agree. But at my home we could have the habit of drinking soup from mugs, or putting chunks of bread in the soup and slobber it. So?

A friend of mine used to pronounce ‘abnormal’ as ‘A.B. Normal’. And that’s the role he loved to play: mr AB Normal. But don’t we all like to play that role, at least now and then? This is an opportunity to explore both sides.

Explore some of the habits at home, of which you teach or are taught that to do so is ‘just normal’. A few suggestions:

  • brushing your teeth before you go to bed
  • don’t put clean cups in the dishwasher
  • when somebody knocks on the door, you go and open it
  • it doesn’t help crying over spilled milk
  • phoning grandma once a week
  • putting your bike inside before it gets dark
  • checking whether your socks smell
  • no coffee until you’re sixteen.

 

[Pieter Mostert, 7 April 2020]

Posted by Kim Down on 7th April 2020 at 12:00am

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