I’ve been seeing so much recently on the ‘webs and in society in general about “usual” people “most people” the idea that there’s one standard that people should live up to or that there’s some cosmic totem pole we’re all arranged on from best to worst. That the “Norm” is inherently better, that the “outliers” are inherently better.
All of these rely on the idea of the holy “norm”. The “norm” is defined as the people or things that are one standard deviation away from the average. On a graph that’s generally a bell curve. The outliers are the ones that are out on the edges of said bell curve. Now the mathematics that go along with this are complicated and hella fun (if you like complex math :P). But what’s in the norm is directly dependent on what you’re comparing it TO. It’s not inherent.
Now I’m a staunch advocate of diversity, but to be diverse you need DIFFERENCE! No one person or type of people is inherently diverse within themselves. The norm needs the outliers, not only to continue to exist, but to be the norm in comparison. Same with the outliers. In ecosystems you need the norm to go about the vital everyday tasks of capturing energy, photosynthesizing, symbiosis, eating and being eaten. The Norm needs the outliers, the extremophiles, to break new ground, inhabit “hostile” environments, fill fringe niches, capture and make available to others rare minerals, etc. Same with humans, we need people who are good at working with people, but we also need, farmers, mathematicians, architects, people who see the world in the same way we do, people who see the world opposite of how we do. And we all need all of them.
Diversity is necessary for sustainability. We are all interconnected and we all need each other.
The “Norm” in our society wears a halo, and I want to do nothing more than to rip off that halo and let the norm be what it is – a useful piece of statistics. (In my angrier moments I want to rip it off and trample it in the mud, hard.) This idea that simply because someone else is doing something you should be doing it is not useful. You don’t like to have sex the way that the person next to you does. Fine. Whether you like it more kinky or more vanilla than they do, with guys or girls or someone in between. That’s cool. If you learn differently from the person next to you, or are good at different things. Once again – fine! We NEED you.
The halo should belong on all of us.
POSTSCRIPT: Another Idea I’ve been thinking about is: everybody has a “center” and the farther away from you your center is, the more energy and resources you lose. (I’m not talking here about being self – centered.) For instance if you’re a woman and the center of your world is a theoretical man, then you get less resources, and not only that, but you waste more energy because everything is taught in a way to be easy for a man to do it, but with a different body construction, center of gravity etc. it’s not so efficient for you. One of the reasons that southwestern cities are using so much water, is that eastern cities are taken to be the model. So everything is done to get rid of water. Sidewalks that slope INTO the street for better drainage, non-native plants, swathes of grass. All these things were thought until recently to be beautiful and the way a city SHOULD be.