Why do abnormal people get treated differently?
I’ll start off by saying that the way I would view this problem is one where I would tweak the way people thought of things and the way they behave. Probably these small tweaks are not possible just because of the nature of human beings but then again, it could also be that one does not think it possible because of the way we are trained to think due to existing societal rules. I would urge people to think of the possibility of going beyond existing societal rules, think of whether it would be possible by human nature in order for a society to function in the way I express it to function.
Usually, it is better to elaborate on the question at hand before setting up examples. But in this case, I would like to start off with an example as here it gives a very vivid picture to the question posed. Take the example of mentally challenged people. It is well known that the society disregards mentally challenged people in almost every aspect of life. These people are treated inferiorly and not just differently. ‘Normal’ people often ignore the existence of these people and don’t regard them useful to their lives or the society at large (other than the loved ones). Even the loved ones, after a certain breaking point, could possibly feel frustrated because they have to catch up to the societal norms and this person would just be some extra baggage to carry around. Having said this, I am quite sure, that absolutely nobody who is part of the ‘normal’ part of the society, understands what might be going on in the mind of the mentally challenged. The mentally challenged could possibly understand way more than normal people do. They could possibly understand what it is to have a life. They could possibly understand why the purpose of existence is. We will never know. It is also known that some mentally challenged people are more artistic than normal people. Given this, who are we to create a system that treats them inferiorly? Why should there exist a system where they are treated inferiorly? Isn’t the fabric of society created for symbiosis? I would love to believe that that is the purpose of societal rules and norms.
Let us now think beyond mentally challenged people. This problem exists in various facets of everyday life. This happens in every creative/artistic activity that man has ever undergone. Let us look at a very particular example in history — that of Alan Turing, the very famous person who was shunned away by the British research wings for a long time since he didn’t conform to the way things worked within the British system. It was he who came out with a break through. And in the end what was done to him? He was ‘treated’ for being homosexual. He was considered abnormal and was forced to undergo treatment that would make him ‘normal’. He had so much to give to society. Had he been leaked to the British government before the climax of the war, the Germans would have easily defeated the Allies and everything that we know today would be different. It was sheer luck that he didn’t get exposed early on in his life. This is not only about his personal abnormalities. His ideas and ways of thinking were also not the way others in the government worked. The world would have been a different place if it wasn’t for Alan Turing.
Another supreme example is Kurt Goedel but I will not go into the details of his life since it would take a very long description to understand the setting of his life.
One can keep giving such examples in various fields about people who stray away from the norm; people who don’t conform to societal rules. These are the people who are really creative. But all that the society does is to shun them from their lives. The social fabric does not allow them to bravely create these abstract thoughts which their creativity allows them to do. These people often look at the way things work (modus operandi) from a completely different perspective which allows them to create abstract entities which help in progression of societal goals. The common man usually does not have the capability to comprehend the thoughts of these abnormal people.
This is not to say that everybody who is abnormal is capable of abstract thought that produces creative output. There are various reasons for the contrary. But what I emphatically say is that these people should not be rejected by the society. Not only is this a digression from the goal of improvement of society but also is unfair since these are also people with the same feelings as ‘normal’ people. Everybody must have a place in this society. That is the very reason a ‘society’ exists. It is a man-made, structurally built, symbiosis. If man doesn’t help man, who will?
For the purpose of clarity, one can think of the following examples as well — eccentric people, introverts, artists of all forms, scientists, political theorists, economists, etc. The list could go on and on. As I said, these arguments could apply to people in various fields.
I’d like it if people really give this a thought, and not treat anybody inferior for any reason at all. Positive vibes would spread and this could let these ‘abnormal’ people be at an emotionally secure place. Empathize! Everybody thinks differently and that need not mean that anybody is inferior or superior to another. The change starts at the fundamental level where everybody gives this a thought.
I’d love it if people share opinions on this and I’d love to discuss this further. Since I wrote this spontaneously, I’m sure there would be some flaws in terms of my thought process. I’m open to criticism.