I often get the impression that society uses the government, the mainstream media, priests, and psychologists to enforce the concept of normality. They claim, without any real authority, the power to define what is normal. They use surveys, statistics and selective historical trends to create the illusion of a “typical” man or woman. They preach that normal is inherently good and that all of us should strive to fit our bodies, hearts and minds into the mold that they dictate. Everyone who is willing to forge a new path or question the conventional is discouraged, punished or rejected. This perspective is supported by an article suggesting the new DSMV IV (the manual used to diagnose mental illness) now classifies above average creativity as a mental disorder. (See Non Conformity and Free Thinking as Mental Illnesses).
he rationale for the sudden explosion in mental disorders isn’t hard to understand. It is easier to make money from people who have mental problems than people with independent personalities. Patients can be medicated, sent to therapy and studied for years without results. Free thinkers are not a profit center.
At the other end of the spectrum artists, dreamers and hedonists resist this process. We reject what is normal and forge paths that are often bizarre, disturbing and completely fascinating. They are often misunderstood or unappreciated but the power of their voice is undeniable. For better or worse, artists fight against the tide of normal in an attempt to forge new paths and create a new reality.
Society changes and grows because individuals reject the current order and forge their own direction. The mainstream often follows because they are fascinated, inspired and motivated to think and dream. I’m glad I’m too old to have someone crush my creativity to sell a few pills. The potential artists who come after me might not be so lucky.