“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal…Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” ~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited
This quote kind of blows my mind. If I understand it correctly, Huxley is saying that those who are normal, or well-adjusted to life, are actually the abnormal ones, and those of us (myself included) who are “neurotic” or according the psychoanalytical theory have a:
“poor ability to adapt to one’s environment, an inability to change one’s life patterns, and the inability to develop a richer, more complex, more satisfying personality” as evident by mental illnesses such as depression, acute or chronic anxiety, obsessive–compulsive tendencies, specific phobias, such as social phobia, arachnophobia or any number of other phobias, and some personality disorders: paranoid, schizotypal, borderline, histrionic, avoidant, dependent and obsessive–compulsive
are the normal ones.
What do you think about this? Do you agree with this view of what is normal versus abnormal? Do you think that those of us with mental illness are more sensitive to the tragedies and injustices of the world? If so, why are those who aren’t as sensitive considered to be “normal” in the sense that they are mentally healthier than those of us with mental illness? Who are really the sick ones here?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Any type of discussion this quote may spark is appreciated.