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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Is the abnormal becoming the ‘norm’(al)?

When Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tensing scaled Mount Everest in 1953, it was glorious moment in the history of mankind. Human abilities were pitted against nature, in a test of strength, determination and grit. In their success we rejoiced and applauded them and transformed them into heroes overnight. Over the past few decades human values, customs, traditions and perceptions have changed. In my youth, riding a bicycle meant going round the country side and enjoying the beautiful scenic views, the fields, the mountains, meadows, waterfalls, and lakes. We came home refreshed and ready to take on the next day. Ask any child today, what bicycle he wants and he will reply- one which can go up a mountain terrain or down the stairs, kerbs, planks and more. Simple old fashioned fun has been replaced by adventure’? To design a vehicle or device that will go up or down a mountain is ‘normal behaviour’, but to take a bicycle, motorbike or car and attempt this task is insane and abnormal even if it is disguised as an ‘adventure sport’! Abnormal venture promoters must be discouraged but the spirit of adventure must prevail within normal limits.

In the old days, pets were kept for fun- the pets had fun, the keeper enjoyed it and the people around admired the pets. This was supposed to be the principle and norm. Pets then were cats, dogs or birds that were safe and adorable. Visit any pet shop today and you will feel like you are on a safari- snakes, spiders, garials and others that will frighten you and make sure that you will never visit your friend who has one of them. Today’s TV programs on wild animals, show men playing with crocodiles, elephants, komodo dragons and snakes- we who encourage them and cheer them are responsible for their mishaps and deaths.

The Guinness world records have slowly turned from the normal to abnormal. For why should a man walk on his hands when he has legs or why should a man lie distressed in a tub of snakes when he can lie peacefully in bed? We have started to be abnormal to create records and society has started to promote these records- or abnormal events.

In the Roman era gladiators killed each other in an arena where spectators cheered. It took us some time to do away with this inhuman and abnormal sport. In present times we still have remnant of this sport – Boxing – where boxers attempt to bring their opponents down by hitting them. We stand around and enjoy this barbaric bloody sport, little realising the pain and suffering they go through and the brain injury which they suffer that will last a life time.

When Steve Irving died from the barb of a sting ray in Australia, it was a signal that the world ignored. We watched, shocked, petrified and guilty. Wild animals are supposed to live in the wild. We are part of their food chain. To take a tiger, a lion, a snake or any wild animals and try to live in harmony with it is wrong and ‘abnormal’ and can be likened to taking a guest to KFC and asking him not to eat the chicken!

For those who believe in religion, God made Adam and Eve to care, love, support and procreate. God did not make two Adams or two Eves. For the atheist, science confirms that men and women were made to be with each other, the anatomy supports this fact and if it were not so, man would have become extinct.

In 1993, when bill Clinton tried to lift the ban on homosexuals serving in the army through his ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy, he was attempting to legalise and normalise the ‘abnormal’. Since the evolution of mankind the ‘abnormal’ has always survived on the periphery. Our forefathers knew it but ignored and often turned a blind eye to it, but never accepted it as normal. Hitler used his mental abilities to wipe out a part of the human race but with the same Einstein solved the mysteries of the universe and unified the many branches of science with his ‘theory of relativity’. When rulers and nations join this band of accepting the ‘abnormal’ as ‘normal’ the end result can be catastrophic.

The use of alcohol in medicine, as an appetizer or accompaniment to food, or at a party can be considered normal but to get drunk everyday, loose ones senses and end up doing all sorts of things that one does not remember in the morning- has become the ‘norm’. Simple old fashioned partying has been replaced by drink, drugs and sex.

Promiscuity, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, gambling, homosexuality and more- we are promoting as the ‘norm’ and our children have begun to accept them as the normal. Artist paint with blood and body fluids and promote them as ‘art’. We have legalised prostitution in the hope of protecting our women. But did we really achieve what we aimed for? Perhaps we pushed more of them into this arena.

Cloning has been a dream for many scientists. Cloning of cell, tissue and organs is beneficial. Many diseases that cannot be treated successfully can be cured by replacing the cells, tissues or organs themselves. Dolly proved that cloning an animal was possible but showed the world that we understood very little of the many abnormalities- physiological and anatomical that would occur in this process.

Our scientists are attempting to clone human beings- they did not perfect this technique in animals?

Do we want to create abnormal babies and then decide whether they should live or die? Who gives us the right to play the terminator?

Creating ‘scientific wonders’ and ‘medical first’ has been a craze among our learned scientists. But to let a woman deliver at the age of 63 years and face the possibility of her dying at anytime in the near future leaving behind a motherless child, borders on the absurd. Besides we are nowhere with our creams, lotions, capsules and elixirs in our quest for living eternally.

As scientists, we sometimes plagiarise, copy research work, and put ourselves in papers we never contributed to: did we stop for a moment and think- what are we doing?

Scientists should be scientific and follow normal and accepted scientific methods. Their work and research must culminate into something that is not only scientifically accurate but also socially and morally acceptable.

As businessmen prosper and their businesses flourish, their principles change from normal to abnormal- for the men who make 5%, 50%, 500% or a 5000% profit on the same item they sell, all strongly believe that they are doing legitimate business.

Where do we draw the line which separates business and cheating?

Can we apply the same standards to the medical profession? We would definitely be charged with fraud and cheating!

A child is born innocent, but as he grows up, he observes that the evil and corrupt prosper, they become powerful, suppress the meek and appear successful. He begins to think that this is the ‘normal’ way of life. His thought processes and actions function is this direction. Unless he is made to realise the truth and learn to filter the right from the wrong, the normal from the abnormal, he will end up being part of the cesspool of corruption. In our fast life results and goals are stressed upon, the path is ignored. We need to teach our children that along the way we need to support and encourage our colleagues rather that to put them down. The path we take is as important as achieving the goal.

For what did Ben Johnson achieve? Though he won the race, he lost everything that he appeared to have gained.

For what did Saddam, the dictator of Iraq, gain when he plundered his nation and massacred his opponents? Cornered in a rat hole, he was hung like a criminal.

When bill Clinton became the president of the United States of America, he achieved the ultimate goal that few people could dream off. As he sat in power in the white house, he indulged in an ‘abnormal affair’ that destroyed his career and reputation and put him to indescribable shame.

Our forefathers lived in the wild; they were lawless but realized that normal values had to be set up if they and their future generations had to survive. They established a society based on these values, the normal was separated from the abnormal, so that every individual in the society knew when something seemed wrong. We are reversing the cycle, going downhill, from civilised to uncivilised, from culture to cultureless, from normal to abnormal; in vain did our forefathers struggle!

This trend has to be changed and the responsibility lies on the rulers of this nation, on the teachers, on the parents and on each one of us; to turn around tell our folks and children- let us do the normal, if not for us, for our future generations to whom we are accountable. We are living in an era which has the best of everything: from the first invention- the wheel to the best invention-electricity. We have travelled afar from the Stone Age to the Space Age, from unknown to the known, from darkness to light.

Let us not destroy what we have gathered so far in our journey through time. If we start discouraging the abnormal, the idea will sink into our kids; though it will take time, the results will be acquired, slowly but surely. Let our conscience be our judge.

We must act now!
Good must overcome the evil,
Right must replace the wrong,
Normal must replace the abnormal.

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