As I grew up, I slowly began to realize that my perceived normality was not always the same as other people’s perceived normality. My minority normality seemed to differ from their majority normality in many different ways, and I often had difficulty understanding why they so often seemed interested in uninteresting things, and often totally indifferent to interesting things. Nor could I understand why my minority normality often clashed socially with their majority normality. People seemed to be upset by the strangest things and they often seemed unable to understand my lack of indifference to many things. To survive in their world, I eventually learned to accept that my minority normality was both different to, and subservient to, their majority normality. Because there were plenty of them and only one of me, they automatically got to define both normal acceptability and normal unacceptability. If I was going to be accepted by these often strange people, and live in their majority normal world, I soon learned that I had to accommodate their differences as best I could, because they showed little or no interest in accommodating my differences. Consequently I spent my childhood and most of my adult life hiding behind a phony façade erected to give some semblance of majority normality.
Until quite recently, I had no real idea why my minority normality was so different to their majority normality. My interests were often different and my assessment of social situations was often at odds with their assessments. In a nutshell I was prone to committing social blunders, and all too often, I did so unknowingly. None of this endeared me to normal people and it didn’t make for a happy childhood and it certainly didn’t do me any favours post puberty. My adolescence is best described as an unmitigated disaster, and my self esteem & self confidence has never fully recovered.
Today I’m a lot older and a little wiser, and I now better understand the origins of these differences in perceived normality. I also now realize there’s probably no such thing as a normal brain and normal reality. There’s the majority normality experienced by the many and then there are numerous forms of minority normality experienced by different minorities. None of us has any say in the normality we end up with. Nature deals the hand and we have to accept it. Most appear normal or approximate to normal. The unlucky ones are noticeably different, either physically, intellectually or both.
My first realization of the extent of these potential differences was my realization some decades ago, that other people have what I can only describe as “visual memories”. They seem able to recall past memories either as simple mental pictures or, in certain cases, as mental videos they can mentally rewind and replay as and when required. I still remember the difficulties I had absorbing this remarkable revelation. I still don’t know/understand how I personally recall my memories, but I do know it doesn’t involve any pictures or any other form of mental visualization. Apparently a minority of people do have zero visual memory. It’s called aphantasia, and prior to this awareness I was totally unaware that many others were different.
The second transforming revelation came even later, when I realized some people see words in color and yet others actually taste words, and all because of a little bit of non standard cross wiring in their brains. This non standard cross wiring simply triggers non standard responses. It’s called synesthesia. For example for a minority of people, a simple audio prompt triggers both the normal audio response and an attenuated visual or taste response. Even more recently, I’ve become aware that our own temporal lobe wiring dictates the extent of our religiosity. Some people seem biologically wired to need religion in their lives, and in extreme cases, their need to believe subjugates all rational thought and causes them to automatically reject anything & everything perceived as a threat to their belief. Others, me included, seem totally impervious to all religious influences and exhibit no signs of religiosity. I’ve already blogged on this religiosity topic [see Religiosity-Biology or Brain Washing?]
To survive in the majority normal world and to gain its acceptance, I spent my life hiding behind my façade of apparent normality and I learned to accommodate majority normality as best I could, although not always successfully. Today I’m less inclined to try. I still appreciate the existence of majority and minority normality’s and to some extent I now better understand why they exist, but increasingly I find myself thinking, even saying in extreme situations:
“I try to understand and accommodate you’re differences, but you make no attempt to reciprocate, so just fuck off and be normal. Go live in your largely brain dead normal world & just continue to lie back and be spoon fed with the banal crap spewed out 24/7 by social media platforms. And continue to soak up the misinformation spewed out 24/7 by traditional mainstream media. Maybe one day, when you’re a lot older and hopefully a little wiser, maybe then the penny will drop, and you’ll finally appreciate what I’m now trying to tell you. Not that I really care that much. I’ll be dead, and long forgotten, well before then……..”