The New Abnormal.
“In time we will be given the opportunity to either contract around the old version of ourselves and our world—insular, self-interested and tribalistic—or understand the connectedness and commonality of all humans, everywhere.
In isolation, we will be presented with our essence—of what we are personally and what we are as a society. We will be asked to decide what we want to preserve about our world and ourselves, and what we want to discard.”
- Nick Cave
We specialize in the “Great Midlife Edit” at MEA, but as musician Nick Cave suggests, it’s time for the “Great Society Edit.” For so long, we’ve lived in an era of social disintegration. Now it’s time to integrate, even if we no longer have gathering places to do so. As our global production systems and social institutions (healthcare, education, government, etc.) are suddenly overwhelmed, a thin veil is lifting. The question remains: How can we direct this theater of life and transform it into our own abnormal masterpiece?
“Deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying,” as in "the illness is recognizable from the patient's abnormal behavior."
But what if the patient’s behavior (and illness) are based upon underlying, “normal” causes that are not desirable? Maybe it’s time to reimagine “normal?”
Remember the “Young Frankenstein” scene when Gene Wilder learned that Marty Feldman had selected the brain of Abby Normal for their hulking creature? “I will not be angry,” Gene says before he learns the bad news. It’s a funny scene, and good advice for all of us in these days when our lives are full of abnormalities that don’t conform to our expectations or hopes.
Every day starts off like we’re predictably trapped in Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day” - sleeping, showering, grooming, and Zooming (well, two out of four ain’t bad!) Personally, I’m reveling in my abnormal days, whether that means turning myself upside down and offering you five existential questions in my recent video blog, or spending 30-minutes quietly following a single butterfly, or reaching out to friends from high school who I haven’t talked to in decades (you should hear our sophomoric jokes, or maybe you shouldn’t...LOL).
I know I’m not alone. Composer Igor Stravinsky stood on his head 15 minutes every morning. Nikola Tesla would curl his toes 100 times per foot before going to bed as he reportedly believed it boosted his brain cells. Einstein virtually never went to the barber and didn’t wear socks. And then there’s you! Yeah, you’re not fooling anybody!
What does your new abnormal look like?
“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we popularized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”
- Sonya Renee Taylor