It has been a long time since my last article and this is due to the observation and elaboration that is required for the main current matters to be extracted. As always, my writing is fueled by personal experiences and processing and by the broader observations of the collective consciousness.
Today's issue is a huge one and concerns many other sub-issues. I will endeavour to present it intelligibly, and I wish it to be of some benefit to you who devote the time and attention in reading it.
Speaking of normality...
The state that was so aggressively and unexpectedly overturned with the appearance and consequences of the coronavirus that seem to have no end. Whether it was caused by mistake, or intentionally for other purposes, the result is the same, that humanity as a whole to a greater or lesser extent shared a common experience, the same threat and had to adapt to face it in order to survive.
Governments, organisations and individuals have taken emergency measures of restrictions, border closures, vaccinations, personal protection and so much more for the sole purpose of keeping themselves and others around them alive.
We have experienced an extreme situation that in principle is not far from what we need to do or are called to do in our lives daily, that is, to remain alive. We work to make money, we feed ourselves, we use homes, energy and means of transport for security and expansion of activities, we have created entire systems in order to increase our chances of survival, for example in the past a disease could have killed people on a large scale and now with the evolution of medicine and research it can be cured or managed well.
Survival is a constant and arduous effort and sometimes with our daily strives we forget how much we have already achieved and the comforts and conveniences we already enjoy. For example, if the weather conditions do not allow it, then for a season we may not eat our favourite fruit e.g. something we generally take for granted. This is namely our normality. The granted structure, demands, behaviour that through this certainty we can build both ourselves and our lives. If every morning we woke up and wouldn't know if we could find something to eat, then we would wake up more anxious and our survival would be more precarious as it once was.
As I have written before, however, man, precisely because he managed to create the conditions that would allow him to guarantee or significantly increase his chances of survival, he was able to evolve mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This development also concerns how we perceive ourselves, that is, that we have feelings, we have spiritual needs, etc. but also how we create the world around us based on these, we express our feelings in our relationships, we create temples, for example, in order to fulfil a spiritual need, etc. We try, therefore, to satisfy the totality of our needs and to live on the basis of the totality of our nature to the extent that we are conscious of it.
All these constitute, consciously or not, the totality of what we consider normal and everyone can define for themselves how it looks like. For a man born blind, normality is not seeing and possibly needing some special help to participate in the organization of life as it has been done by people who are able to see. A blind person experiences the world differently than a person who can see. But how significant is that difference in terms of the worthiness of the person? Does the person who can see have got "higher" value, than the person who can not? And who sets the criteria for this?
Mankind has given various answers over the centuries to such worthy and rightful questions, for example, the fact that in many countries women were given the right to vote quite recently, shows that they were not considered worthy by a large portion of men, if not all, to have this right.
The debate, obviously, about who has the power historically to decide on these rights is longstanding and I have no intention to elaborate on it here. I think it may be more useful to consider the same issue from a slightly different perspective.
To begin with, by recognising (see the above examples) that just because we were all born on this earth does not mean that we all have the same experiences, either physically, mentally, or spiritually. Two people may have experienced exactly the same thing, but have been affected differently for many reasons, due to temperament, previous experiences, support network, etc. So it probably doesn't help to make constant generalizations, that we're so used to making in a mass culture, if and when we're trying to get to know someone. Open-ended questions ("How are you?" instead of" Are you well?") are more helpful than judgments or conclusions to get to understand the other, if we really want to do so.
When we make arbitrary judgments and draw conclusions about the other, what we really do is we reveal our own normality in relation to the expectations, values and interests that we have consciously or unconsciously chosen for our lives. For example, when we decry homosexuality as something abnormal, then we expose our own conception of normality alone, not God's or the absolute truth's of the world, which may simply contradict what a homosexual considers normal for himself. That is, an adult homosexual person does not need our permission to live her life as she wants it to be, including the use of her body, but also its wider expression.
The problem arises for this person not because of her self-definition per se, but due to childhood experiences, if she has grown up in a family and in a wider society that has been dismissive of her self-determination and sexuality. Simply put, she was told directly and indirectly that what she is and wants is wrong based on the criteria of (hetero) normality that was at play in the society at that time.
In ancient Greece, of which we modern Greeks are so proud, it was permissible for women not to have political rights and, at the same time, men could be sexual with each other under the guise of transmitting knowledge and wisdom. That was the normality then and I can imagine that even then there would be men who would not want to have sex with other men and women who would like to be active in the political life of their place, but they were not allowed to.
For those who consciously or unconsciously ignore it, let me inform you/ remind you that this kind of homogenized normality has not still disappeared nowadays. Still women are beaten and killed because they dare to speak their mind and oppose a man, another woman or the entire patriarchal system, still young people are persecuted and rejected by the' womb', the people who gave birth to them, because they have a different sexual preference from themselves or they define their gender different to their birth one, still trans people cannot find' normal 'jobs because they are not 'normal'.
We see that the issue of normality governs all aspects of our lives, either externally from what society expects of us, but also internally from what we have incorporated as 'right', 'normal', healthy, etc.
But the story and the conversation don't end here, the narrative we all pretty much know about, feed off and pretend to be surprised every time we hear it again. The subject (not to say drama) in its essence evolves and becomes complicated when this rejection of non-normality continues to live. If the person overcomes suicidal ideations in order to end the pain of rejection he is experiencing, then he is looking for ways to remain mentally and psychologically alive. He hides his sexuality and preferences to the point that they become poison and toxic behaviours with the face of alcoholism, drugs, unaccountable and dangerous sexual practices that lead to self-destruction. At the same time, he embodies as part of his identity that something is lacking in him. Since his own parents do not love and appreciate him anyway, who will? So rejection can take the form of a double life.
It is striking how many bisexual married people with children can be found on gay dating apps that almost no one in their environment knows about this hidden, 'abnormal,' 'kinky' double life that often takes the form of abusive sexual practices (spanking, etc.). So in the dating apps, in the cruising areas , in the dark alleys, in the intervals between work and home, it finds space to exist the diversity that society so denies.
Just think how much rejection a man who confesses to being attracted to both sexes would have to deal with! Clearly, deception and lies as a strategy do guarantee an easier life, because society enjoys its normality like a cat that is constantly licks himself and the person finds a way to satisfy even secretly all his desires.
The price to be paid of course is anxiety to hide the lies, but also fear of being discovered and hurting the legitimate partner.
Worse than rejection and condemnation is the perpetuation of hypocrisy and the creation of false lives. Generations upon generations have lived in lies, justifying it primarily to themselves, that nothing happened because they cheated on their partners, that this is life with compromises and unhappy marriages, that no one can really be free in a relationship, etc. All of these conclusions/ beliefs are the normative remnants of older generations. This is what they knew, of and so they chose to live. And yet why should they be followed blindly by current generations?
Another striking example is childbearing.
For every member of society (my reference is mainly the Greek society) from the moment of their birth there is the expectation of childbearing. What else does a person can do in his life than become a parent? What else makes sense in the eyes of normality than this?
So generations upon generations have children because this will fill their time, give them existential meaning and continue their acceptance by society, without ever asking themselves if they really want them, what children mean to them and, most importantly, without deeply wondering if the way their children are raised differs enough from any form of rejection they may have experienced to a greater or lesser extent from their own parents. In (hetero) normality there is no time for reflection, for self-knowledge, for processing experiences, for healing wounds and so we end up again and again having parents people who are still psychologically children themselves and in an effort to cope mentally with the demands of caring for a child traumatize their children with rejection, indifference, lack of love and meaningful interest in them in the name of simply acceptance by the other 'normals'.
Thus, the homosexual child in the above example not only feels that there is something "wrong" in him, but lacks the guidance, support and love that every person is entitled to in order to create a happy life, because there is no one around him who can give it to him and appreciate him for who he really is. All around him there are mainly guys imitating one another in stupidity that provides security and acceptance. Of course, it takes courage to recognize and support one's own diversity, whatever that may be, as it also takes courage for a parent to consider whether they really love their child (and shows it to them) for who they are unconditionally or not.
Obviously, there are exceptions to this and people who have dared to ask deep questions to themselves or have chosen to live other normal lives. But did we really ask them with open ears and hearts about the cost they paid for this choice (loneliness, etc.)? Not more, but in the same way and interest that we would ask a parent what they sacrificed or how difficult it was for them to raise their children they chose to have.
The example of sexuality was only one of those characteristics that I encounter in the therapeutic context for which a person in the context of a (hetero) normality can be rejected. Even in normality there may be rejections, when a man, for example, is more sensitive or a woman more dynamic than what is expected, that is, when the "role model" does not agree with the "real" for the collective accepting standards.
Moreover these models are constantly incarnated and not by chance, by the celebrities. this sexy blonde presenter, the 'good boy' actor, the impressive director who, not quite by chance, advertise products that suggest you buy them to become a little like them, normal, recognizable, important.
While I am used to closing the articles with motivational questions, today's topic inspires me so much that I will prefer to close with affirmations; of those that hardly in such regularity find the light and the equal recognition they deserve.
Behind every rejected child there is always a rejected parent who has not learned to love and take care of themselves. Even the ones we call narcissists, they are these people who no one saw or really loved them for their weaknesses, insecurities and mistakes, and they unconsciously decided to shut themselves in a room along with their mirror to stay safe by constantly seeing their reflection in it.
The true unconditional love that we assume parents experience for their children is not unconditional at all, if they have not loved or are not trying to love themselves deeply. When one loves deeply, one sees that there is no other person who does not deserve love for exactly who they are beyond prejudices and judgements.
I guess it's time, along with so much else, to rethink our relationship with normality. What nature creates is normal, it doesn't ask for our permission to create it, it creates man and worms and butterflies and trees and fish. Everything deserves love and whether we give it to it depends on how much we truly and unconditionally connect with it and the rest of existence.
It's probably also time to rethink our relationship with our spirituality through normality. With the "death of God" and the fear we had against breaking his rules, we are simply uncontrollable instincts that found our new God in materialism, eating, drinking, overusing the resources of our "home", earth, to satisfy a need that can not be satisfied through material goods and concerns our souls. I do not claim that matter does not have its own value, but ask anyone around you who you consider successful, wise and happy how they define them and I imagine that their answers will converge in the tranquility of the soul, in love, in the acceptance of what is, because any war on the outside also means a war on the inside, of one part of us against another as humanity and as a collective soul.