A friend shared an article which made me say, enough is enough!

Nonconformity and Freethinking Now Considered Mental Illness

This data exemplifies the problem with a field that can only define what is normal by identifying what is abnormal. By definition, anything that doesn’t conform to norms (in any setting) will cause friction.  The source of the friction is always attacked and ordered to adjust but little is done to determine whether those imposing norms need to make adjustments themselves.  There is also little examination about rebellious reactions to inconsistency (often those establishing rules don’t exemplify the behavior they expect but nonetheless have the authority to sanction those who don’t conform to arbitrary rulemaking – imposed or witnessed).  Undoubtedly defiance seems irrational to those who are being defied but asserting that the person causing the disruption enjoys being disruptive avoids responsibility for being a source of friction.  A more in-depth explanation can be found in Is Defiance Real?

In business this “logic” would be the equivalent of saying we only know successful business by studying failed ones; hence, any model that doesn’t conform to what we have determined as normal success or failure must be stopped and is pathological. Using such obtuse reasoning, internet businesses would have never been recognized or propagated as successful models because (a) they did not fit any norms, and, (b) they did not meet the standard criteria for presence (eg many are not bricks and mortar) or standard criteria for revenue generation (eg balance sheets based on intangible assets had to be redefined as an acceptable norm see Reading a Balance Sheet: Tangible Versus Intangible Assets or 1999 article: The Impact of the Internet on Business for an historical perspective at the time the change was emerging). Business debates issues from the perspective of: what creates lasting business value? Bubble Blinders: The Untold Story of the Search Business Model 

I don’t see psychological debates on what creates lasting human value? Try Google search “psychology lasting human value” versus “business lasting corporate value

In the context of nonconformity, is the fact that I can’t paint like Michael Angelo a pathology on either of our parts or the manifestation of superior artistic value on his? If he manifests “non-normal” behavior is it because there is a problem or does he have difficulty adjusting because he is physically isolated from others like him and is struggling to find resemblance of self in environments where it does not exist?

I take heart in those who are using common sense to challenge the mass pathology approach

Wikipedia: Normality Behavior (highlights the dangers of norms)

Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders  (see subsection The holistic model – a biochemist is cured of schizophrenia by focusing on what is right in his body instead of what is wrong)

I really like this explanation(Normal Human Behavior) but I’m still left wondering: what are examples of when we humanize those who are different from us?  After reading the examples I feel despondent about humanity and then I think, what about random acts of kindness? Coca-Cola Ad Featuring Give a Little Bit by Roger Hodgson Who studies these non-heroic acts, and, are these a norm?

One can’t help wondering, where is the Manual of Mental Orders?

Ironically a Google search “psychology traits of good behavior” does not yield top results from formal authoritative sources in the field but at least there is some discussion.

About.com: The Psychology of Heroism

About.com: Characteristics of Resilience

Psychology Today: Who Are The “Keepers”? The Behaviors of Successful Long-Term Partners

Given the legal and medical insurance implications of psychological labels, the pathology bias is particularly concerning. Perhaps if the field were to experience the same level of outside heckling (orderly oppositional defiance) that business experiences the pathology bias in psychology & psychiatry will start to be corrected?

[Oh yes, business has a self-serving bias in this debate: creative thinkers (legal & ethical ones) make us money Recognizing the Value of Creativity and Innovation in Organizations also see Google search “the value of creativity in business” and The Age of Non-Conformity for Business and Marketing Success from Google search “the value of non conformity in business” and do pretty well for themselves as well Beyonce’s sneak attack on music industry resets the rules]

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