Inventory of Normality

By Paulo Coelho
For The Bali Times

I decided to conduct a survey among my friends about what society considers to be normal behavior. What follows is a list I have made of some of the absurd situations we face in day-to-day life, just because society sees them as normal:

1] Anything that makes us forget our true identity and our dreams and makes us only work to produce and reproduce.

2] Making rules for a war (the Geneva Convention).

3] Spending years at university and then not being able to find a job.

4] Working from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon at something that does not give us the least pleasure, so that we can retire after 30 years.

5] Retiring only to discover that we have no more energy to enjoy life, and then dying of boredom after a few years.

6] Using Botox.

7] Trying to be financially successful instead of seeking happiness.

8] Ridiculing those who seek happiness instead of money by calling them “people with no ambition.”

9] Comparing objects like cars, houses and clothes, and defining life according to these comparisons instead of really trying to find out the true reason for being alive.

10] Not talking to strangers. Saying nasty things about our neighbors.

11] Thinking that parents are always right.

12] Getting married, having children and staying together even though the love has gone, claiming that it’s for the sake of the children (who do not seem to be listening to the constant arguments).

13] Criticizing everybody who tries to be different.

14] Waking up with a hysterical alarm-clock at the bedside.

15] Believing absolutely everything that is printed.

16] Wearing a piece of colored cloth wrapped around the neck for no apparent reason and known by the pompous name “necktie.”

17] Never asking direct questions, even though the other person understands what you want to know.

18] Keeping a smile on your face when you really want to cry. And feeling sorry for those who show their own feelings.

19] Thinking that art is worth a fortune, or else that it is worth absolutely nothing.

20] Always despising what was easily gained, because the “necessary sacrifice” – and therefore also the required qualities – are missing.

21] Following fashion, even though it all looks ridiculous and uncomfortable.

22] Being convinced that all the famous people have tons of money saved up.

23] Investing a lot in exterior beauty and paying little attention to interior beauty.

24] Using all possible means to show that even though you are a normal person, you are infinitely superior to other human beings.

(continues next week)

© Translated by James Mulholland

Filed under: Paulo Coelho

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