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>Normalcy, Beauty and Ideals

2 Feb

>Define normal. If they gave me an apple pie every time someone said that, I would weigh 200 pounds by now. Normalcy is a concept that preoccupies all of us. After all, we all want to fit in. We all fear being outsiders – strange, unusual. Pariahs. But what is normal? If you think about it, normal is that which is deemed acceptable or desirable by the majority of society.

Say what?

By the majority of society. You think only in politics the majority has the power? Think again. All through life people are struggling to belong – to be normal. What that really means is that they try to be like everyone else. No one wants to be part of a minority – that makes you weak. Safety in numbers. Example: Homophobes complain about homosexuality being unnatural. Why do they have to fight to be heard? Because most people disagree. Yes, that’s right. The majority.

The majority also decides what is beautiful. You open a magazine and they give you a uniform message: to be beautiful, you need to be tall and skinny. What do you think would happen if the whole media conspired to put chubby girls on their covers? Our concept of beauty would change. Hell, if everyone put two-headed men in their magazines, that would become the norm(al). We’d be queueing around the block to have an additional head sown on. That’s a very sad side of the normalcy discussion. It is in our power to change what is normal and what isn’t but we regularly miss the mark.

Women have achieved a lot the last two centuries. We attained the right to vote, we started wearing trousers and became career-driven and promiscuous. To understand this movement, you only need to understand the same basic principle of normalcy. Women campaigned for the majority to get these things done. They protested till they were blue in the face to get the vote. And one woman found out that although the first to wear trousers walks a lonely path, others are sure to follow. Yet where are we headed now? We are no longer promiscuous. It has become popular to dress provocatively, to the point of looking like a harlot. How did this come about? Jep. It has become normal.

Let us take the word normal back and return it to its proper meaning. We need values to become normal again. We need elegance and sophistication. The world is becoming completely demoralised, filled with shallow drunks obsessed with vanity. Nowadays, it is a compliment to be abnormal. The pariahs have personality, taste and class.

All hail to the freaks. We should overtake our more glamorous rivals. The world would be the better for it.

>The Audition of Life

8 Jan


                                              Auditions in TV-show Glee

Do you think auditions are only held in showbiz? Think again. To quote a very wise man: “All the world is a stage and the men and women are merely players. There are exits and entrances and a man plays many parts.” That’s your daily dose of Shakespeare right there. And how right he is. Let us contemplate this concept for a moment. What events might warrant the label audition? A date, where there is but one judge and a picky one at that. The tiniest error can be rewarded with the real life version of being voted off. Something stuck between your teeth? Your laugh gets scary when you’re nervous? It can all be the last straw. But at least a date is a mutual audition. The power is divided 50/50. That’s not too bad.

Other auditions might let you be judged by several people. There’s round one, two or even three. It’s Working Girl Idol without the catchy theme song. In a way, it resembles a pageant. You’re asked questions and the answers you so nervously and tremulously provide might not be the ones they’re looking for. A job hunt is a merciless process. The job market is a dangerous jungle where evil predators lurk in every corner. Sometimes you mistake a tiger for a squirrel and end up being stomped on and bossed around for weeks on end. And that is assuming you get the job you thought you wanted. The interview itself is mostly a reminder of how many candidates out there are better than you, more experienced than you, prettier than you or more confident than you.

So what’s worse than a job interview? That question inevitably leads us back to where we started; in showbiz. Dancers, actors, singers. They’ve all been there. There’s a room full of people, making notes (or drawing stick figures more like…) and looking important. In films these scenes always contain different kind of ”judges”:

* The nerdy judge with glasses who must’ve accidentally wandered into the audition room since he’s either a math professor or computer wiz.
* The friendly looking female, young, pretty and with a huge smile plastered on her face.
* The grumpy old man looking forward to his retirement or Ibiza holiday.

In films, the audition scene is the conclusion of years of struggle and training. Will he/she make it? In real life, the audition is only the beginning. What happens when a date goes well? Is the relationship any easier? Is it not too a test? And if you get that job, how will you get on with your colleagues? Every relationship is an audition. Sometimes we reach round two and sometimes we don’t even make it to the start button on the stereo, indicating it has begun. Judges are always around. Sometimes they reward us with a raise at work. Other times we get a plate thrown at us like a faulty boomerang. A compliment will help us fit in. And we know how certain behaviour will make us popular. How? Secondary school never ends. The audition for popularity continues.

Picture the cafeteria. All those tables. All those social classes. Geeks, preps, stoners, class clowns, jocks, intellectuals, gangsters, etc. We think that the social class system ends on graduation. But does it? Is the workplace really that different? Just think back to lunch hour. A man walks in and instantly he is beckoned to join several others. Why? Status, reputation. Whatever you prefer to call it. Some people are likable. And those inferior to him would like to surround themselves with such people, hoping it will rub off on them. But what even makes them inferior? In my experience, they mostly lack the sense of humour a truly popular employee needs to maintain his position. They are the preps of the workplace. Talkative, loud, chuckling men who don’t shy away from R-rated humour. And those men/women more reserved and silent who’d rather read than chat…they could be called the adult equivalent of geeks. Shy individuals with a lot on their mind. Not friendless, but not the centre of attention. And to them, that’s just fine.