Normalization of deviance

The gradual process through which unacceptable practice or standards become acceptable. As the deviant behaviour is repeated without catastrophic results, it becomes the social norm for the organization.

In ethics class we deliberated the phenomenon ‘normalization of deviance’. The irrefutable conclusion — a malignant ethical cancer eating away at the human body of conscience, a transgression one develops a penchant for — and there exists no cure nor prevention.

I sat mum, reading and mimicking the gestures of those around me. I remember nodding, in full agreement. (My education - a condition I have been taught to embrace)

What if normalization of deviance isn’t a contemptible phenomenon.


Maybe it is simply the most efficient and lean thing to do, to wean ourselves off any excess.

Maybe it simply triggers an innate primal adrenaline rush when we nudge against the envelop that bounds us all. Like when we played “What is the time Mr. Wolf?” as kids. And hoped dinner time/dinner time would never come.

Maybe it simply seeks to protect the frail and yet promiscuous human heart that never seems to learn. Maybe that is why right now, I feel fine.