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High Thoughts: The Phenomenon of Normalization

Normalization is when you become so used to something that you no longer think twice about it. It becomes natural so it just passes over your mind as if it’s something minuscule or uninteresting.

For example, how we easily forget that the world is spinning over a thousand mph, while orbiting around the sun, while flying through the cosmos in a seemingly ever-expanding and infinite universe.

Or, the fact that even the largest of trees started off as just tiny little seeds. Over time, with the help of sunlight, soil and water they grew to the size of skyscrapers removing carbon from the air, releasing oxygen setting the foundation for life. We walk past trees constantly so their impact and complexity becomes normalized.

Smartphones – a chocolate bar sized hunk of metal and minerals that has the ability to connect with other chocolate bar sized hunks of metals and minerals from all around the world using invisible waves of energy. You can ask it any question and it’ll do a pretty good job of answering you. It can direct you places, sing you a song, wake you up in the morning and light the path for you.

Normalization can also be dangerous because there are many negatives that we’ve become so used to that we started thinking of them as normal.

For example, depression and other mental health problems have become so common that we’ve stopped asking why are people so unhappy? Are we living true to our human nature? Happy people with high energy have become so rare that it shocks people to see. Why are so many people, including children, heavily medicated in such an advanced, scientific, society? That’s not normal, so why have we started to think of it as normal? Because normalization!

It’s like the first few times when you smoke and you get ridiculously smacked and can’t stop laughing or feeling euphoric. But as you experience it more and more, it becomes normalized and you don’t get as high.

Normalization is very powerful and like anything else, has its ups and downs. A great mental exercise is to put aside 10 minutes a day to practice looking through the phenomenon of normalization. Sit outside, stare at a tree and just observe the complexity and how amazing it is. Thousands of leaves, none that look identical. Look at all the branches that extend out like arms, creating homes and playgrounds for squirrels, birds and bugs. Try to visualize the sap flowing through it like a highway system. Imagine how incredible the roots must be to dig so deep into the ground to support the massive trunk weighing in at thousands of pounds, all from a teeny, tiny, seed!

Look at that thing!
Look at that thing!

Or the fact that you have eyes to read this. It’s easy to take for granted and forget there are many who don’t have that gift. If your fridge is packed with food, appreciate that because it’s not a normal occurrence in many parts of the world.

When we become too engraved in routine, doing the same things over and over, normalization occurs. So, our brains begin to focus on the negatives in life because it’s new. We get addicted to mayhem because it’s new and exciting until that too becomes normalized and then we’re left with regret.

Learn to break through normalization and see the world for how beautiful and fantastical it truly is.

Danke schoen.

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