Friday 7 October 2011

Why do people like weird things?

It depends on what you think are weird things! This is really the key to the question "why do people like weird things?" What are weird things? How do we decide what's weird? What I think is weird you might think is normal. There really is nothing in relation to mainstream human activity that can be called abnormal.

You can take any example of so called normal behavior and make a case that it is weird. Take one of my pet hates: declawing. I think it is weird that people can argue that it OK to declaw their cat when at the same time they consider their cat a family member - totally strange to me. Yet 20 million people or more will think it perfectly normal and good sense.

Take marriage. A totally normal and respected thing to do. Yet you could argue that it is a bit weird to expect two people to stay together for more than 50 years. We praise people for being married for 50 years yet probably on countless occasions the marriage is hopeless. That is not to say that many long marriages are not great. Human behavior is capable of almost anything. So nothing is weird.

And in fact we should respect everyone's behavior no matter how weird it seems to us provided it does no harm. Declawing incidentally does not fall into this category because it does harm unnecessarily.

Perhaps the best example of weird was made by a base jumper who was killed when base jumping. People thought that what he was doing was a bit weird. In response he said that he couldn't think of anything more weird than getting up and having a quick breakfast, driving to work through heavy traffic for one hour, coming home exhausted on the same traffic snarled route, eating a TV dinner before going to bed to start the whole thing again the next morning.

For him base jumping was perfect. He didn't like living on the planet so lived near the edge. This gave him a high and made him feel good before he died.

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