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The "Hidden Norms" Theory -- How Eccentricity Has Its Own Norms

Updated: May 15

An old man on a reading table

Based on my personal experiences as someone on the spectrum, I have found out that there are two types of norms in existence: Norms that "everyone" recognizes and norms that only one or a few truly recognize.

The first type is obvious. Because when you're in society or a community, there must be some guidelines to accept or at least be aware of, from the law to unwritten social codes. Although not "everyone" will be aware of them, the majority of people are well aware of them as if it's something that exists within them.

The second type of norm, however, must exist under one condition. That the eccentric person or group be so embedded within them, they won't be aware that they are different. This is why I will call them, the hidden norms. Norms that the individual is aware of in his or her own life but others, due to lack of exposure, may not.

Now, allow me to use myself as an example once more, not to glorify myself by any means, but to just present the point at hand and no further. For me, leading a solitary life is something I consider to be absolutely normal, as well as sacrificing my life for writing philosophy and little else.

In other cases, like in the story "Insanity on America's Beach", the two protagonists are interrogated at a beach by two cops, merely for being dressed differently. For them, however, it is completely normal to walk in such a place in camouflage attire and boots. However, the rest of the visitors saw them as suspicious, the cops included.

They, however, had no regard for the norms because they followed their own, eccentric norms. It may sound oxymoronic, but norms can simply be regarded as codes of conduct. In general, norms can be regarded as a part of ethics, and of course, ethics is a part of philosophy as the field asks how we should live and behave. Norms are, therefore, a field that not asks but tells us how we should behave in a society. The eccentric individual or people have their own norms, consistent or flawed as the norms of the majority of people.

Obviously, if we are to take the "eagle's eye" and look at my life from afar, then surely, this is not normal orthodoxically. It is not normal to be almost without friends; it is not normal to live like a hermit, or own a massive philosophy blog in your mid 20's. However, because these habits are so embedded within myself, I find it completely normal to lead the life I'm currently leading, even though, from a general viewpoint, that is not the case at all.

The point of this article is to show you the impact of "hidden norms". When you are so embedded within your own "autism" (not the condition, but within your own "bubble"), a distance will be created, between the eccentric and those who view this eccentric fellow or fellows. As I have witnessed, the distant eccentric man or woman can become unaware of how eccentric they are, to the point where they consider themselves to be, more or less, "normal".

Like with others, the eccentric may also take things for granted, and that includes their own eccentricity. That's how people normalize things, including the flaws of human reality.

What leads to the acceptance of norms is socialization, the lifelong process that adjusts the individual to their respective society or community. However, the thing that stays underrated is the fact that when one is in solitude, this process resumes in their own mind, based on the things they do for fun, for work, or for whatever. In other words, socialization is not only between the self and others but also between the self and themselves.

That is because we do not live in a vacuum and the influence of human interaction remains in our minds, as it resumes to shape it even in solitude. That is especially true when your memory is good as mine, because we are very much influenced by memories as well, and in a way, define us. Hence why memory is "sacred".

This is why, when my neighbors' guests are amused to find out about my solitude, they wonder whether or not I'm truly happy and content, living in my own hermitage. That is because a split has been created, between the socialization of the local culture, and the socialization one has between themselves!

Because of that, the rarer case of "hidden norms" is created. Because the first embraces them naturally, while the rest are not even aware of said norms, as they are not within the eccentric's company, so they can't witness this "split" happening and unfolding.

I've detached myself from my local society on purpose, so I could focus on my work on Philosocom. It reached to a point where I am not familiar with my own country's geographic locations within, as well as its local culture and politics. I have no use for such local details because I am writing for the international world, and not to my local countrymen and countrywomen.

As a result of the "split effect", you see, a large gap has been created between my own perception and others' perception of me. In my own eyes, I'm just a philosophical writer who wants to serve the world and fulfill the void I feel within me.

I've been called a "Master-Philosopher", a "Professor", and even a "Doctor" once, even though I have only a minor academic education. One of this site's readers, who is a numerologist, is using me for their mystical research. A shrink I once met told me I'm a "genius," and so on.

But the thing is, I don't really know if I'm any of these things. I'm not as arrogant as some people may think. I'm just a solitary, neurodivergent fellow who is looking for purposefulness in this seemingly hollow existence. This is why I made this site, and this is why I'm writing so much. The "glory" is just something I carry along the way, not the goal.

As a result of my own "autistic bubble", and my "hidden norms," I have distanced myself from fully understanding how I look in the eyes of others. That is the drawback of being so embedded within developing and refining your own work, to the point you're becoming less and less connected to others.

I don't know how many of you can relate, because a life of solitude is not something people usually seek intentionally, let alone, love it. But, I at least hope I've revealed how the world looks in my eyes -- a hollow, noisy place where I don't necessarily have anything in common with. It isn't because I want to be special, but because I am an outsider due to disabilities and eccentricity.

Perhaps you have a person like that in your life. A person so secluded within them that you don't know what's going on with them. I wager, at least, that they are having their own "socialization", due to the "split effect" between them and the rest of the world. That was the case with my late grandfather, Mr. Zwi Drucker.

Unawareness is the root of this article's idea. It might not be as solvable as one might think.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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