What is normal?
People often question what is good and what is bad. However, the question “What is normal?” is rarely given more than cursory attention. “The normal”, as Somerset Maugham wrote, “is what you find but rarely. The normal is the picture that one fabricates of the average characteristics of men, and to find them all in one single man is hardly to be expected.” If the normal doesn’t exist, why is it such a pervasive concept in contemporary societies?
Today, fabricated images of normality are the central driving force of consumerism. Selling people an unattainable image of the normal ensures ongoing revenue from a customer who continually sees himself as imperfect. This talk took a look at the history of normalcy and unpacks how normality is a false image worshipped by capitalism and accepted blindly by the masses.
PS : This talk has no video.
Paul Mason, Dr
Dr Paul Mason is a neuroanthropologist based at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. His fieldwork experience spans Southeast Asia, South America, and Europe. Presently, he teaches anthropology students aboutglobalisation, psychological anthropology, world music, and human evolution. A truly interdisciplinary scholar, Dr Mason has published his research in neuroscience and anthropology journals in French, Indonesian, Malaysian and English. In 2011, Macquarie University awarded him theGlobal Leadership Award. He has hosted and directed conferences and intercultural centres in Australia and France; spoken at international events in Singapore, The Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, France and Portugal; and featured in the media in Australia, France and Indonesia.