What is “normal” for the spider is chaos for the fly

After an unusual number of cancelled flights, hotel reservations, concerts, events, parties and dinners, I gradually started hoping someone was going to cancel 2020 altogether. But nobody did so far! It looks like we will have to accept 2020 as the year in which a few things changed drastically. And “a few” is a serious understatement.

Despite my usual enthusiasm and optimism, even I am
– tired of having been forced out of my comfort zone,
– tired of cold human interaction – no hugs, no kisses, no handshakes, lots of masks and gloves – and
– tired of missing all the things I used to do in the past without worrying or being preoccupied.
In short, just like anyone else, I am tired of missing whatever we call “normal.”

But what is normal?

Looking at the definition of normal in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one can only get more confused.

1a. “Conforming to a type, standard or regular pattern”
eg. normal working hours, a normal childhood, the effect of normal ageing
1b. “According with, constituting or not deviating form “a” norm, rule or principle”
eg. the normal way to…


From these definitions, we can deduct that normal is something pretty vague, something “average”. Normal is not really tangible or concrete. So, who then is capable of determining what is “normal”?

Normal is different for everyone. Everyone’s normal is unique.
Consequently, there simply is no “normal” for all of us to go to or to return to.

Normal is an illusion

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.”

– Addams

We all have different perceptions of the same reality, we make assumptions and we have different frames of reference to relate to. We see situations and things exactly the way we want to see them. In other words, “normal” is a mere illusion. Instead of keeping on wondering what “the new normal” could or would be like, it is more effective to forget about normal, to accept the current situation, to get organised, to work smarter – not harder ! – and to build a more responsible and sustainable way of living than ever before.

“Normality is an invention of those without imagination”

– Alda Merini

Because after all, what we are doing now, is not substantially new: teleworking, shopping on the internet, online bookings and reservations of virtually anything, online banking, videoconferencing, chatting, etc… We have been doing it for years. We know it works. It often is very efficient. So, whether this is “old normal” or “new normal” is not even at stake. It is more important to combine the positive experiences we have had so far with imagination and fantasy in order to find even better ways of organising ourselves and the world around is.

Let’s imagine the future and go for it !

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