What is Normal?

What is Normal?


Before I can start talking about this subject, I need to define the word and see the accuracy of the definition:

Wikipedia defined the word on 03/03/2010 as:

In behavior, normal refers to a lack of significant deviation from the average. The phrase “not normal” is often applied in a negative sense (asserting that someone or some situation is improper, sick, etc.) Abnormality varies greatly in how pleasant or unpleasant this is for other people.

Let’s take a look at that definition, “normal refers to a lack of significant deviation from the average”. In this definition the key word is “average“, using the same source to define the word average we find that:

In mathematics, an average, central tendency of a data set is a measure of the “middle” or “expected” value of the data set.

With that said, have we really narrowed down what normal is? According to those definitions what is normal to your small group of friends can differ than you family, for example lets take an apartment in New York, what is normal to a person can differ than what is normal to his/her roommate, and if we up the scale we find that what is normal to an apartment can differ than what is normal in the neighboring apartment… etc. But for cities like New York, Toronto, Houston, Vancouver…etc.

How can we judge the norm when it is so culturally diverse, in Muslim countries, a man can marry his cousin and it would be perfectly normal, where in the western civilization it is considered Incest. In China [the most populated country in the world], people eat insects, even as candy, where again in the west, it is considered gross and very disgusting. Even among people in the same country cultural clashes occur. In Saudi Arabia, women the western cities don’t necessarily cover the face, where in the rest of the country they tend to cover everything.

So who has the right to choose what is right and wrong, what is normal and what is abnormal, because it sure is not people. Could it be religion? If we say yes, then what religion should we take? Lets start with the three major religions in the world now: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Christians would say the perfect judge of normality is the Bible, the Jews would say the Torah, The Muslims would disagree, arguing that those book has been tampered with by humans and it is not %100, and would judge normal by the Quran and the Prophet Mohammad teaching, sayings, and actions. And if we search in those religions we would find that each religions trees out to different faiths or sub-religions.

So, we can safely say that there is little to no agreements in between the those three religions. So we can’t use Religion to determine the norm either. We can also rule out governments because they are influenced by either people or religion.

The ONLY correct definition to normal is: “There is no such thing as normal, it is an illusion, it is a word that was made up to give you a sense of belonging to friends, family, country,…etc”. Therefore; consider the next time you say the word normal in a sentence, and believe that you are just saying that “I belong to a set of people that usually do/say/look that way” That’s it.



Hamad S. Al-Jibreen, Assoc. CIPD, is currently working in an international organization as a Talent Acquisition Specialist. Also, he have been employed in different sectors including Petrochemical, Oil/Gas and manufacturing. He has about 4 years of experience in various Human Resources disciplines. He is currently holding 2 Associate Degree Diplomas in Human Resources Practice from CIPD and Computer Science (Programming) from King Saud University. He have been assigned as a Facilitator for different courses. In addition, he has delivered Training courses on Competency and Front Line Supervisory Training in various countries in the GCC Region.

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