The Normalcy Bias

I just spent two days without power due to our lovely Halloween-flavored blizzard. No electricity, no heat, no running water, no fridge access…and you know what?

Honestly, I could have cared less.

I wrapped up in my Snuggie, formed a piss pot out of the upstairs toilet, enjoyed the silence, ate a granola bar, and wrote in my notebook.

I actually enjoy when society fails to function normally. I’m not sure I can fully explain it myself but times of crisis (hurricanes, economic meltdowns, ridiculously out of season blizzards), times when most people are panicky or scrambling to restore the status quo, provide me with an odd sense of serenity. I enjoy being knocked off my heels. It makes me think that maybe in a previous life I lived in a time when people actually struggled to survive instead of the pussified world we currently inhabit where survival is a matter of simply breathing. There’s something very Thoreauvian about being thrust into a world void of electricity and running water and all the modern conveniences we’ve come to depend on. I tend to do my best writing during these episodes, too.

I was watching this economic guru speak on the web the other day and he claimed that America was no longer the premier country in the world and the only people who were unaware of this fact were Americans because of what he called the “normalcy bias.” The normalcy bias claims that people refuse to accept anything that upsets their normal perception of the world. It’s why so many Jews remained in Germany after Hitler began his anti-Jew campaign – they refused to accept the fact that they were in danger because then they would have had to accept that their normal, everyday lives no longer existed. I buy it. People resist change with all their being.

I suppose that’s why I do well in times of crisis. I’m more than willing to abandon what most people consider normal because, in my opinion, there’s nothing normal about the modern world. The perfect example of this is paperwork. Paperwork serves no purpose in the natural world; it’s simply something humans invented to waste their time and give boring people something to do, but people act like it’s the most important thing in the world. “Fill out this paperwork or all hell will break loose!” It doesn’t make any sense to me. I suppose that’s why I’ll do all right when society eventually caves in on itself. When it finally does, I’ll be more than willing to accept whatever is to come with open arms while everyone else is wondering what happened to the world that was nothing more than a castle built on the sand.

Oh well. See you at the next crisis.

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~ by themoderntranscendentalist on October 31, 2011.

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