Norm is an interesting character in that he has multiple identities.
I really do love the Norm that I know, and most of you also love him… although to you he will be slightly different. I would suggest that most (stress most) people in the industrialized world love their Norm, unlike in the “third world” countries where they probably wish he would make some serious adjustments!
Norm, through no fault of his own is very powerful. Unless we consciously fight against him, he dictates our lifestyle. Until we can understand how and why he exists and do something to change him, he will continue to be the cause of so much grief in our world.
So who is Norm? He is the standard of living that influenced our personal development. He is what we are used to, and what we endeavor to maintain or improve upon. We will, in general, defend our standard (our Norm) quite vigorously. We will vote for the politician that clearly understands our desire to maintain our love affair with our Norm!
But perhaps we should question dear Norm, especially as politicians use him unscrupulously. Perhaps we should consider not only our Norm, but compare him with other peoples Norms?
I am fighting Norm on many fronts, but I have a long way to go! For example, I have been successful in that my Norm says that I should buy a large house, just to stay in tune with local trends. Why would I want additional square footage and all the additional upkeep that goes with it? Norm has to be satisfied with my small cottage home. Norm is really pushing me to borrow a huge amount of money, using my home as collateral, and “fulfill my dreams”! In the same context, Norm’s idea of fulfilling dreams seems to be limited to total self indulgence. He really does not know me very well. I have borrowed a lot of money over the years (some regrettably), but I am now in a debt-free situation. Dream on Norm! Also, I am financially committed to a number of local charities and, if I had a lot of money, I would be considering their organizations first.
The thing with Norm is that if we all acknowledged him for who he is, then we can make some changes. We (most of us) live in a quite extravagant life style when compared to the rest of the world. We are a rather wasteful society, and we are typically a very self indulgent society. As I mentioned in an earlier Post, our TV ads for the big lottery wins always show a couple sailing their new yacht around the world, or trying out their new ATV’s or exotic sports cars, or vacationing in faraway places. I have never seen a single ad that suggests giving it towards a new hospital wing, or into medical research, or to an animal welfare organization! In fact, with some of the prize values, one could do all three of those things and still self indulge just a little.
So what is my point? It is that the standard of living around the world is as far from consistent as one could imagine. While we are complaining about the price and quality of our latest food purchase, there are people who are scavenging for anything that remotely resembles food. While we are planning on having the driveway refinished, or contemplating trading in the car for a new one, there are people who do not have a stable home… and cannot see any chance of ever owning a car of any age!
Perhaps we should think about our Norm in this context. If our Norm was the same as everybody else’s Norm; If we all had a roof over our heads; If we all had a healthcare system; If we all had a minimum wage, and if we were all able to eat 3 meals a day, can you possibly imagine how the culture of greed and envy, and all the associated negative connotations would be reduced?
Dreaming? Of course, but all it really takes is for each of us to acknowledge that we do have a standard of living which is dictating our lifestyle. If we were prepared to make a small sacrifice in that area, we could make our personal statement of assisting less fortunate people to improve their standard of living.
Who is Norm? He is a problem which must be, and should be resolved. We may never reach a world-wide standard of living, but we can certainly get a lot closer than we are at this time.