Tuesday, September 17, 2019

What is Normal?

These days we hear a lot about the word, Normal. Over the past couple of years we have heard conservatives complain that the left is trying to normalize pedophilia because they published articles by men admitting they have sexual desires for children, but would never act on those desires. Many men like the one in this Vice article end up killing themselves because of their guilt for having these desires. I don't understand how labeling something a psychological disorder is normalizing that problem. I find it odd that so many people don't want to prevent men from acting on pedophilia desires by having them feel safe in seeking out mental counseling. I often wonder why just the mention of such topics as pedophilia and LGBT sends some into a panic. Maybe it's because of some deep seated guilt.

There is one thing of which we can be sure, sex with small children will never become accepted by modern society, or seen as normal. In most of human history, sex with post pubescent girls has been considered normal. Until about 75 years ago, it was common for older men to marry girls as young as 13. This happened because boys were seen as an asset on the farm, or they could even work in factories. Daughters were seen as a burden so they were married off as soon as they passed puberty. Normal is always set by society, which means anything that's considered acceptable.

I was just reading about a belief that pushing homosexuality is a plan to reduce the global population. But the article also suggested that homosexuality might be nature's way of slowing population growth. It's also suggested that because cities are so crowded, that might trigger the homosexual gene. If true, that would make homosexuality a part of nature—making it normal. Even though no specific gene can be attributed to homosexuality, there could be several genes that contribute. One scientist seems to have been able to remove a gene from a mouse, making it seek out the same sex.

We hear daily from some conservatives saying that being LGBT isn't normal. I would say for most of the western culture, being gay wasn't considered normal, but there were exceptions. It was common for Roman soldiers to have sex, and maybe even relations, with each other because they were so isolated.

It's said that some native American tribes also accepted homosexuality and transgenders. It is said that's where the native tern, Two-Spirits, came from. The Spanish conquerors were horrified to discover sodomy openly practiced among native peoples and attempted to crush it out by subjecting the berdaches (as the Spanish called them) to severe penalties, including public execution, burning, and being torn to pieces by dogs. This is an example of two different cultures clashing.

Homosexuality in Japan, variously known as shudo or nanshoku, has been documented for over one thousand years and had some connections to the Buddhist monastic life and the samurai tradition. This same-sex love culture gave rise to strong traditions of paintings and literature documenting and celebrating such relationships.

Similarly, in Thailand, kathoey, or ladyboys, have been a feature of Thai society for many centuries, and Thai kings had male, as well as female lovers. While kathoey may encompass simple effeminacy or transvestism, it most commonly is treated in Thai culture as a third gender. They are generally accepted by society, and Thailand has never had legal prohibitions against homosexuality or homosexual behavior.

Throughout history, recreational drug use has been accepted, specially, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, which are used by normal people in today's society. The mushroom Amanita muscaria, commonly known as fly agaric, has been at the center of religious rituals in Central Asia for at least 4000 years. The Amanita Muscaria (Magic Mushrooms) has often shown up in children's fairy tales and even Christmas cards. Using these drugs were considered normal. We have all heard about peyote in the native American culture.

In very recent history it was considered normal for small children to walk to school or a friend's house along busy roads and highways. Now, it's becoming normal for parents to forbid their children from leaving the yard, and sometimes, even playing alone in the yard.

We must be careful when we say something isn't normal. Societies are forever changing and evolving, and that means what's considered normal today, might not have been a decade before. What was normal 100 years ago, might not be so today, that's because the needs of society has shifted. Daughters are no longer married off at puberty because parents can afford their children and little girls can grow to have full and productive lives in the labor market.

Even in the 21st century, there are societies where woman aren't allowed to work, drive a car, or divorce their husbands. These woman are forced to cover their hair and face because in these societies it's considered normal. You might think that would never be seen as normal in the western world, but it's becoming more so everyday. Even in the United States of today, there are still arranged marriages. There are marriages, even if not legal, where a man has multiple wives. In some communities that's considered normal. 

Some will tell you a man can't become a woman. They are correct if you look only at genetics. Until the 1960's, no one had ever hard of a sex change operation until the name Christine Jorgensen's appeared in the news. 50 years later there have been thousands of these operations and there will be thousands more. There are those who say it's not normal, yet it's becoming more normal every day. Who knows, in the future, science might be able to make people genetically the opposite sex.

I'm often reminded that mental illness is common within humans. It is normal and we accept and love people with mental illnesses, and as long as mentally ill people don't harm themselves or others, we often offer no treatment. No one tells a narcissist he/she can't marry or hold certain jobs just because of their personality disorder. If we did, there would be very few politicians. Autism is seen as a mental disorder, and yet those people turn out to be great scientists and creators. Being LGBT might turn out to be a mental disorder(there is no evidence that it is), but as long as they do no harm to others, let them live life as they wish. Society in large will decide if it's normal. As it stands, most people in America are accepting of LGBT.

When you hear someone say that two men can't be in love because it's not normal because they can't have babies, remind them these types of relationships have been happening since the dawn of modern humans. I suspect within a couple of decades, two men or women will be able to have babies where it has both of heir genes. Science is always changing what is considered normal. Thirty years ago someone would have said it's not normal for a robot to perform surgery on a human—today, it's normal.

.There are many people in this world who are proud to say they aren't normal. The odd characters are often the great inventors. Albert Einstein was one of the oddest humans to ever live. He would often have to ask for help finding his hotel room because he forgot the room number. Even if something never becomes normal, we should look to see what good that person is doing for the world—if nothing else, look to see they are doing no harm.

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