Physiological Normalcy?

When I was a child, I thought everyone (except those with an obvious physical handicap or health condition) was “normal.” Now that I’m older, I realize that almost everyone has something wrong with her physically, and the only norm is having some form of physical “abnormality.”

I look at my friends (in their mid-twenties to early thirties), and I see people who have diabetes, Leukemia, receding gum lines, hormone deficiencies, severe food allergies, premature hair graying, and any number of other conditions.

I feel as if this is something that young children should be taught more often, not that “handicapped” people are just like “us,” but that almost everybody is going to encounter some kind of health problem sooner or later, and probably sooner. You’ll find out you have an eye infection, a blood clotting problem, a cancer diagnosis, an incurable venereal disease, or lactose intolerance. Why not be prepared for that? Why not realize early on that others won’t judge you for these things, because they too have physical ailments and conditions?

1 comment

  1. I think xenophobia as many facets and may be a basic aspect of primeval psychology which forms a set of instinctive emotional responses which are somehow stored in the DNA and hence neurology.

    In early human societies (and I’m talking very early, possibly prior to specification as homo sapiens) any deviation from the norm could not only mean death to the individual, but to the entire group. Humans and Prehumans organized in small groups and this is true until today, only that these small groups are now merged into hypergroups like nation states or Web 2.0 phenomenons.

    So the trait to adhere or reflect a functional norm in an individual, or even a group pressing the individual to fulfill these norms survived to the extend of being a Status Quo of social networks all the way to 2007.

    Groups also have a tendency to ignore unpleasurable facts, so the fact that not one single person actually represents the ideal is ignored or even actively repressed. Imperfections are an omen of death, this old evolutionary-knowledge-turned-delusion is the condensed essence of xenophobia.

    While I fully appreciate the backlit intelligence of your observation, what you’re asking parents on a psychological level is to recognize something which has been repressed and feared for a couple of million years:-)

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