Thursday, March 18, 2010

"The Abnormality of Being Normal" (Only A Trillion)

According to Isaac Asimov's Essays, (a site that lists them and what books they are collected in, and reviews them, but doesn't go in-depth as ths blog does), "The Abnormality of Being Normal" first appeared in the May, 1956 issue of Astounding, and anthologized for the first and only time in 1957 in Only A Trillion.

The Quotable Asimov
None in this essay.

First Paragraph
A common catch-phrase is the one that goes, "There is no such thing as a normal person."

The question, though, is this: Why is there no such thing as a normal person?

Another essay, like most of the ones in this anthology, that deal strictly with Asimov's fascination with numbers. In this instance, he discusses the types of atoms found in the human body.

Final Paragraph
In fact, any statistical abstraction involving something as complex as the human being is suspect. However handy such may be in computing actuarial tables and predicting elections, it can give rise to great and unneccesary greif through misconstruction by ordinary people in the ordinary business of life.

Still, as long as psychologists use the words "normal" and "abnormal" in the way that they do, we will always be able to make statements like: "It is normal to be a little abnormal" and "It is highly abnormal to be completely normal."

And after all, such statements, while confusing, are also comforting.

No note included for this article.

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