The Creation of Normal
“The concept of “mental health” in our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs of the system and does so without showing signs of stress.”
– Ted Kaczyinski. Industrial Society and Its Future
Our subjective reality is shaped by the information we gather. If ones store of knowledge consists only of information that has been given to them by others then ones subjective reality has been shaped for them by someone else. It then follows that if ones only sources of information are authorized outlets then the authority giving the information has shaped ones subjective reality.
Where does your information come from?
Normal means conforming to the standard or common type. Whatever is most common is what is considered normal. It then follows that ones stored information determines what one believes is normal. Therefore, if ones information is passively received only from authorized outlets of information then ones conception of normal will be formed by the authority giving the information.
1. There are at least two types of reality.
1.1. Objective reality.
1.1A. Objective reality is concrete, a set of facts outside of any one persons perception, that encompasses all data.
1.1B. Objective reality is absolute truth.
1.2. Subjective reality.
1.2A. Subjective reality is an individuals interpretation, or perception, of this set of facts that exists outside the mind, and is filtered through the mind, senses and cultural conditioning.
1.2B. Subjective reality is individual perception of the absolute truth.
1.3. It is impossible to have a complete knowledge of objective reality.
1.4. In order to do so one would have to know everything.
1.5. One can only have a subjective view of reality.
1.5A. This is shaped by the bits and pieces of objective reality one has gathered.
2. Culture is the behavior and beliefs characteristic of a certain group.
2.1. This is a common illusion of objective reality or a common set of myths (mythos).
2.2. It is a force that works to shape a common subjective interpretation of objective reality amongst its members.
2.3. This mythos determines what a group of people consider to be normal.
2.4. The mythos is constantly evolving.
2.5. The mythos is created by the most widely known information present within the culture.
2.5A. Those with the ability to disseminate information en masse determine the current mythos.
2.5B. Therefore, those who disseminate information en masse determine what is considered normal.
3. There exist at least two types of sources of information and two types of recipients of information.
3.1A. Active sources of information include media that actively relay information, e.g. television, cinema, radio, etc, as well as schools and other organizations which actively relay information.
3.1B. Passive sources of information include media that passively relay information, e.g. books, magazines, artwork, etc.
3.1C. Both passive and active sources can fall into a sub-category.
3.1C.1. Authorized sources.
3.1C.1A. Authorized sources are sources with the ability to disseminate information en masse and official approval to do so.
3.1C.2. Unauthorized sources.
3.1C.1B. Unauthorized sources do not have the ability to disseminate information en masse, and if they somehow acquire that ability it is not with official approval
3.2A. Active recipients seek out information and filter information through critical thought processes and fact checking in an attempt to verify the accuracy of the information.
3.2B. Passive recipients are supplied with information and do not use a process to validate the accuracy of the information they receive.
3A. Information enters the mind in two fashions. (1)
3A.1A. This requires a passive source and active recipient, or an active source and active recipient.
3A.1B. This often involves critical thinking as a way to determine validity of information.
3A.2A. This requires an active source and a passive recipient or a passive source and passive recipient.
3A.2B. This often does little to determine the validity of the information.
3A.3. Both fashions are susceptible to invalid information.
3A.3A. An active recipient may be better able to determine the validity of the information than a passive recipient.
4. Passive recipients of information within a given culture have had their subjective reality determined for them.
4.1. This has been accepted as objective reality.
4.2. Although objective reality cannot be known, passive recipients of information can be led to believe that the subjective reality culture has created for them is actually
4.2A. This can be accomplished by regulating the information which is given to the passive recipients.
4.2B. The passive recipients do not understand this concept, it is not present among the information given to them.
4.2C. Their subjective reality matches that of most other passive recipients.
4.2D. This becomes normal, regardless of validity, because it is most common.
4.3. Passive recipients receive information almost exclusively from authorized sources.
4.3A. Those in charge of these sources may have a motive unknown to the passive recipient.
4.4. Subjective reality amongst passive recipients can easily be manipulated by those with the ability to disseminate and regulate information en masse.
5. Active recipients of information may be able to interpret a subjective reality of their own which may be closer to objective reality than the common subjective reality of passive recipients. 5.1. This can be accomplished in multiple fashions.
5.1A. Independent study of bits of objective reality (e.g. replicable scientific experiments).
5.1B. Independent study of a multitude of others’ subjective realities (e.g. investigative reports, book, etc.)
5.1C. Ones own observations.
5.1D. All of the above used in conjunction with critical thinking.
5.2. Active recipients often gather information from a variety of sources, sometimes excluding authorized sources.
5.3. Subjective reality amongst active recipients is much harder to manipulate.
Are you active or passive recipient of information?
(1) John Dewey. How We Think. Chapter 1.