The Symptoms of Normalism

Distribution, Normal, StatisticsNot easy, but I’m trying, for a moment, to look at my tribe – the people who regard themselves as ‘normal’ or ‘neuro-typical’ – from the outside.  I’m trying to see us from the perspective of those Version 2.0 people who are wired differently.  (I’ve reverted to my ‘Version 2.0’ label because not all of them are on the autistic spectrum as it is normally described.  Many are – but there are others, variously called ‘sensitives’, or ’empaths’ or those with various diagnoses or descriptions of differentness, and I wish to include them all.)

Disclaimer:  I use the term ‘Normal’ throughout this article in a somewhat ironic sense.  I personally consider terms like ‘normal’ and ‘disordered’ to be chauvinistic and symptomatic of what is wrong with common assumptions in our society.  Also, I am a person with ‘Normalism’ and I love words.  I can’t imagine life without their richness and beauty.  This post is just a thought experiment, okay?


Probably the most difficult aspect of Normals to comprehend is the disparity between what they say and what they actually feel or think.

“No, it looks great on you, honestly.”

(‘It would actually suit someone twenty years younger much better, but I understand you’re going through a bit of a mid-life crisis and if it makes you feel good to wear it, that’s fine by me.’)

“Oh it’s nothing.  Really not worth reading – just something I scribbled off last night.”

(‘I poured my heart and soul into these words, but I’m terrified you won’t understand and will dismiss them as trivial or stupid, so I’m pretending it’s not important to me in order to shield myself in advance from any critical comments you may make.  Anything hurtful you say will still upset me deeply, though.’)

“Well who’s the teacher’s pet, then?”

(‘I feel envious of the praise you received for that assignment and my inability to produce anything that good.  I am therefore attempting to make you feel uncomfortable.  It is my hope that my negative reaction to your success will encourage you to try less hard in the future, thus letting me gain more approval from the teacher.’)

Professor, Mathematician, Scientists“It’s important for you to get an expert opinion.”

(‘You are inferior.  You are incapable of reaching a satisfactory answer, due to the prejudices and fixed ideas lodged in your brain.  There are far better individuals than you whose prejudices and fixed ideas come for other individuals with letters after their names.  These people know what is best for you, despite not knowing a great deal about you.  I know this because I learned it from experts.’)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I’m aware as I write this that I live in southern England, an area particularly renowned for this kind of double-speak.  Northern Brits, Americans and Australians, for example, would readily assert that they are far more inclined towards plain speaking, calling-a-spade-a-spade and otherwise using spoken language to express what they feel.  Really?  Try, for just one conversation, to avoid any sarcasm, any ironic aside, any well-meant but artificial compliment, any indication that you sort-of agree, despite the fact that you don’t, or any self-depreciating statements that are not in total resonance with what you feel.

Silver Leaf, Lunaria, SilberlingYou’ll argue, perhaps – you Normals – that without such social niceties, speech would be brutal, hard and cold.  People would be offended.  They might take against you.  They might (this is the greatest fear) not flatter and praise you in return.  Normals require an almost constant drip-feed of approval.  Without this, paranoia sets in.  That’s why Normals struggle in their contact with the other tribes.  The Asperger guy is not going to tell you that you look good, that it’s great to see you, that he’s glad you came.  You’re there; he’s there.  No more to be said.  Normals are needy, though.  They want that stuff.  They’ll cheerfully relinquish honesty to get it.

In a previous post I mentioned the 7 year-old Version 2.0 child who came to me distraught after a quarrel with his friend.  “She told me she was sorry,” he said, “but I can see into her heart and that isn’t the feeling that’s there.”
It wasn’t the quarrel that had upset him, but the fact that his friend didn’t respect him enough to share her heartfelt feelings. She insulted him by feigning an apology.

If the Version 2.0 people can ‘see into someone’s heart’ (all this is explained far better in the previous post, written by The Snacking Sage and in Suzy Miller’s important book ‘Awesomism’), nothing but honesty will do.

The small child who asks, “Why are you sad, Mummy?” and is told, “I’m not sad, dear.  I’m fine,” by a mother who attempts to conceal the truth because she doesn’t want to worry him will – obviously – worry all the more if he knows he’s being lied to.

Looking Up, Hope, Black White, PortraitThere are more of these Others – these Non-Normals – than might be imagined.   They are way-showers.  They can teach Normals – if we’ll truly stop chattering and listen to their silence – to discard the fake conversation and to return to the openness that is a natural by-product of telepathic communication.

Yes, I can see that there would be difficulties and challenges, but ultimately, aren’t we all yearning for greater transparency?  Aren’t we, after all, sick to death of being lied to and cheated by those in authority, by multi-nationals who mislead us for their own profits, by those who claim to be acting in our ‘best interests’?  It’s worth considering that there are many individuals who are similarly sick of the lack of honesty in ‘Normal’ social interaction.

This is only a personal viewpoint, but I suspect the ‘shift’ that occurred around 2012 involved a fundamental change of mindset amongst humanity – a desire to move beyond ‘them and us’ towards a fairness and openness based on personal responsibility, not the imposition of rules by a corrupt leadership.  That could work, if only we could communicate heart to heart.


13 comments on “The Symptoms of Normalism

  1. Reading this is like a breath of fresh air. You should have seen the grin on my face when I saw the title. Oh, how you hit the nail on the head. The thing you have to remember is that we are not cold ‘per se’. It is only your perception. The truth does not have to be harsh or unkind. the truth can be the kindest thing you ever give to someone. like anything, it is about how you do it.
    I’m getting the hang of that with my writing. Deliberately didn’t to write the one on telepathy though. I was cold on purpose. I’m not really like that. honest!

    I can look at someone I have just met and ‘know’ what they are like. Most people feel awful though. my “intuition” as people call it just tells me who these insincere people are.
    As for the ones that actually dont’ feel “off”? They are amazing people.

    • Well your response has put a big grin on MY face! Great to know I’m getting it, gradually.
      And yes, I do understand that you’re not cold people. I absolutely understand that. It’s just that you have a quite different way of being and it takes us ‘Normals’ (I’m really gagging each time I write that!) a very long time to understand it.

  2. The more I read, the more I think I’m on the spectrum. Yet I don’t think that’s it. I think that as I’ve aged and progressed, I’m more empathic and more connected to my environment. I can tell when I’m lied too, which is all the time in some environments. And I’m not as good at feigning interest when it just isn’t there. I’m becoming more authentic as I go along, but that doesn’t translate into being polite.

    • This is beautifully expressed and I feel much the same.
      Just about everything I’ve read, written by people on the spectrum, suggests that they believe they have something to teach the rest of us, and that’s why they’ve shown up on the blue planet in such numbers at this time. Surely authenticity – being what one of them calls ‘less fake’ – is what they are showing us.
      If politeness has to take a back seat, it’s not such a huge price to pay, is it?

  3. Love, love, love this!! Yes! One of the ways these heart connected individuals are so far ahead of the normals is their complete alignment with their hearts. They are authentic, and being forced to live unauthentically kills their spirit. At least I know it did for my son.

  4. I am an ‘outlier.’ As a student of physics, with as much probability and statistics education and experience to qualify for a degree in that, as well, I often relate to doctors using terms like standard deviation, anomaly, mean, median, …and, outlier.. Plotted on a graph, I fall off the page, medically. For example, I am ultra sensitive to medications and medication changes. I have also lived most of my life bipolar. I have been healed of that but now find myself with a (very) young female internal medicine doctor from India who responds to my queries with, “This is America; We follow guidelines, here.” Great. I could program an app to do that.

    I know first hand the truth of having a “killed spirit.” But, I am here to tell you, killed spirits can be restored and even raised from the dead. My spirit is reborn. I have been. I don’t recommend following my path but can tell you it is possible. If enough of us persevere and teach others, I have faith that a critical mass can be reached and things can change.

    But I will add something I often remind myself and others: this is not heaven; this is the life before the afterlife; this is where battles are fought, where injuries are inflicted, and where healing begins.

    I know very little about autism and intend to learn more here. Thank you for being my teacher.

    • Hi Kitsy.

      Delighted that you’ve found this blog, and thank you for your fascinating comments.

      The thing I love most about blogging is the amazing people you ‘meet’ and the new ideas they expose you to.

      I hope you will find some posts of interest on the subject of autism. It’s rather a passion of mine. I also hope I will learn more from you and the very unique perspective you appear to have on life.

      I agree completely with your belief that a critical mass can be reached and can create change. I suspect we’re coming close to that tipping point.

      Thanks again for contributing to the discussion – Jan

    • So glad you can ‘see’ it, Carly.
      It’s one thing to say it, but to have others understand and see the truth I’ve tried to express means a great deal to me, so thank you.

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