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Saturday, September 27, 2014


MIRROR NEURONS and imitation learning as the driving force behind "the great leap forward" in human evolution.
By V.S. Ramachandran (2000)
The discovery of mirror neurons in the frontal lobes of monkeys, and their potential relevance to human brain evolution - which I speculate on in this essay - is the single most important "unreported" (or at least, unpublicized) story of the decade. I predict that mirror neurons will do for psychology what DNA did for biology: they will provide a unifying framework and help explain a host of mental abilities that have hitherto remained mysterious and inaccessible to experiments.
There are many puzzling questions about the evolution of the human mind and brain:
1) The hominid brain reached almost its present size — and perhaps even its present intellectual capacity about 250,000 years ago . Yet many of the attributes we regard as uniquely human appeared only much later. Why? What was the brain doing during the long "incubation "period? Why did it have all this latent potential for tool use, fire, art music and perhaps even language- that blossomed only considerably later? How did these latent abilities emerge, given that natural selection can only select expressed abilities, not latent ones? I shall call this "Wallace's problem", after the Victorian naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace who first proposed it.
2) Crude "Oldawan" tools - made by just a few blows to a core stone to create an irregular edge — emerged 2.4 million ago and were probably made by Homo Habilis whose brain size was half way (700cc) between modern humans (1300) and chimps (400). After another million years of evolutionary stasis aesthetically pleasing "symmetrical" tools began to appear associated with a standardization of production technique and artifact form. These required switching from a hard hammer to a soft (wooden?) hammer while the tool was being made, in order to ensure a smooth rather than jagged, irregular edge. And lastly, the invention of stereotyped "assembly line" tools (sophisticated symmetrical bifacial tools) that were hafted to a handle, took place only 200,000 years ago. Why was the evolution of the human mind "punctuated" by these relatively sudden upheavals of technological change?
3) Why the sudden explosion (often called the "great leap" ) in technological sophistication, widespread cave art, clothes, stereotyped dwellings, etc. around 40 thousand years ago, even though the brain had achieved its present "modern" size almost a million years earlier?
4) Did language appear completely out of the blue as suggested by Chomsky? Or did it evolve from a more primitive gestural language that was already in place?
5) Humans are often called the "Machiavellian Primate" referring to our ability to "read minds" in order to predict other peoples' behavior and outsmart them. Why are apes and humans so good at reading other individuals' intentions? Do higher primates have a specialized brain center or module for generating a "theory of other minds" as proposed by Nick Humphrey and Simon Baron-Cohen? If so, where is this circuit and how and when did it evolve?
The solution to many of these riddles comes from an unlikely source.. the study of single neurons in the brains of monkeys. I suggest that the questions become less puzzling when you consider Giaccamo Rizzollati's recent discovery of "mirror neurons' in the ventral premotor area of monkeys. This cluster of neurons, I argue, holds the key to understanding many enigmatic aspects of human evolution. Rizzollati and Arbib have already pointed out the relevance of their discovery to language evolution . But I believe the significance of their findings for understanding other equally important aspects of human evolution has been largely overlooked. This, in my view, is the most important unreported "story" in the last decade.
THE EMERGENCE OF LANGUAGE Unlike many other human traits such as humor, art, dancing or music the survival value of language is obvious — it helps us communicate our thoughts and intentions. But the question of how such an extraordinary ability might have actually evolved has puzzled biologists, psychologists and philosophers at least since the time of Charles Darwin. The problem is that the human vocal apparatus is vastly more sophisticated than that of any ape but without the correspondingly sophisticated language areas in the brain the vocal equipment alone would be useless. So how did these two mechanisms with so many sophisticated interlocking parts evolve in tandem? Following Darwin's lead I suggest that our vocal equipment and our remarkable ability to modulate voice evolved mainly for producing emotional calls and musical sounds during courtship ("croonin a toon."). Once that evolved then the brain — especially the left hemisphere — could evolve language.
But a bigger puzzle remains. Is language mediated by a sophisticated and highly specialized "language organ" that is unique to humans and emerged completely out of the blue as suggested by Chomsky? Or was there a more primitive gestural communication system already in place that provided a scaffolding for the emergence of vocal language?
Rizzolatti's discovery can help us solve this age-old puzzle. He recorded from the ventral premotor area of the frontal lobes of monkeys and found that certain cells will fire when a monkey performs a single, highly specific action with its hand: pulling, pushing, tugging, grasping, picking up and putting a peanut in the mouth etc. different neurons fire in response to different actions. One might be tempted to think that these are motor "command" neurons, making muscles do certain things; however, the astonishing truth is that any given mirror neuron will also fire when the monkey in question observes another monkey (or even the experimenter) performing the same action, e.g. tasting a peanut! With knowledge of these neurons, you have the basis for understanding a host of very enigmatic aspects of the human mind: "mind reading" empathy, imitation learning, and even the evolution of language. Anytime you watch someone else doing something (or even starting to do something), the corresponding mirror neuron might fire in your brain, thereby allowing you to "read" and understand another's intentions, and thus to develop a sophisticated "theory of other minds." (I suggest, also, that a loss of these mirror neurons may explain autism — a cruel disease that afflicts children. Without these neurons the child can no longer understand or empathize with other people emotionally and therefore completely withdraws from the world socially.)


I know it is an interesting piece I saw it already a week ago. I also read another one written in an Indian online magazine which was very critical about Indian system of mere rote education and in that article also there was lot of appreciation about the education system in Finland.

But all these apart, many great scholars , scientists, saints , philosophers, politicians, social workers , artists, writers, even film stars have said many wonderful things about education. I am not passing judgments on any of them but making some very generalized observations out of those scholarly outpourings.

They start from one extreme of seeing and viewing it only as a passport for an entry into a job market [inevitable in the materialistic world wherein post, position, power, pelf are the ultimate image/individual evaluating factors] to education enhances understanding of  others human beings, other living beings, environment of this planet and knowledge about other planets etc to education that helps one to grasp mystical and supposedly great truths about the self, reality, spiritual dimensions of life and things etc beyond even logical reasoning and normal knowledge and understanding. Other views which see education getting into territories with emphasis on imparting skills necessary to enhance understanding of many things to explore scientifically many possibilities to improve living conditions and improve life and to develop technologies that can help us understand as well as approach knowledge in much deeper dimensions and make life more comfortable and connected or at least to understand how everything and everyone is interdependent, interconnected, inter-related and therefor must learn to interact effectively with everyone and everything in a contextually relevant manner which will design our reciprocation and define our relationship with everyone and everything else.
First we must clearly understand therefore, that there are many things or methods  which the knowledge industries across the world [ we cannot call then educational institutions] try to incorporate in the curriculum as well as the testing methods that are adopted to test and verify ones capabilities in those areas.

  to  difference between certain things which are normally confused with education mainly academic qualification. Academics is what you are offered, exposed and expected to acquire while education is what acquire through experience, learning, observations, creativity, original thinking and reasoning, what you learn out of passion and imagination etc.
A Leo Da Vinci, a Kalidasa, a Shakespeare never had any academic qualification nor did Dr. Samuel Johnson but no one has surpassed anyone of these giants.
One thing that we must appreciate in all these various views, definitions, methods of education, is that are all attempts to help us to learn, experience and explore life in different ways in different situations and contexts. They were done with a good intention to make life better for every individual each according to his own frequency and the social context.
The processes and methods of learning may differ from place to place , from one goal to another, from one objective to another, from one context to another, but all learning other than extreme form of original creativity or chance discoveries require fundamentally some methodical preparations and being conversant with the existing data of knowledge in relevant subject instead of redoing what has already been discovered, experimented, applied and explained over the centuries for our convenience like for example a readymade mathematical formula to find out the area of a circle , instead of taking the trouble and spending several months or years on trying to discover originally deriving a formula with all our efforts.

At the same time, spending too much of time only on collecting existing data, memorizing it etc without applying it and also thinking new areas wherein such existing data of knowledge can be applied or thinking of coming out with a newer/modified/improved version of the some of the existing data etc will be suppressing thinking, creativity, imagination, inquisitiveness, original understanding and experience etc which are the aspects that are going to contribute predominantly to newer discoveries, inventions, enhance the process learning by leaps and bounds.
A good system of education must therefore balance acquiring enough existing knowledge, encourage original thinking or at least original interpretation and application, creativity, experimenting etc.
There must be a balanced blending of quality and quantity.
Acquiring knowledge and wisdom, enjoying learning, experiencing the subject of study in terms of its relevance to individual life, social living or spiritual understanding etc must be part of any educational system.
At too young an age too many conflicting opinions about the methods, goals, intentions etc of education will confuse young minds. So young minds must be motivated to enjoy learning and enhance understanding irrespective of the ultimate utility of what they learn to themselves or society or bothering about what type or quantum of outcome of ability or capacity that such a learning may confer on the individual etc
For example there are more than thousands of educational methodologies and thousands of educational psychological approaches etc.
Unfortunately no system of education in any place in the world can be tailor made to suit everyone. However, in most cases after adolescence every individual is aware of his/her potential[unmanifested/unexplored abilities]/interests/attributes/obligations/life's inevitability etc and also the awareness and realization of what they want to prioritize [potential/interests/obligations etc]. It is left to the individual.
But mostly each society adopts the system best suited for it like how each child naturally starts the process of its learning through inquisitiveness and imitation and adopts and selects what it likes, what it is more comfortable with, what is available around it etc based on its natural instincts and impulses. Sometimes some situations/contexts create a very competitive and conducive atmosphere for certain areas of knowledge acquisition over the rest and certain areas of knowledge predominate even globally at such times, broadly viewed, for example philosophical inquiry and study of astronomy and elements in the 17th century; art, drama and literature in the 18th century; scientific discoveries, invention of machines, manufacturing, commerce and trade in 19th century and electronic and sophisticated technology in 20th century etc

A child is born without any culture, any knowledge of any language but if we take a child born in India to two illiterate parents in Bihar and make it to be adopted by two great Japanese research scientist couple, it will not only pick up Japanese language soon, it will adopt well to Japanese culture, it will also show interest in science because natural learning process initially is through inquisitiveness and imitation. So any type of learning method or education must instigate inquisitiveness and create a conducive atmosphere where the child can imitate worthy things and not Bollyhood stars.
Having said briefly all these, some people are born with a natural intelligence which enable them to understand, learn anything anywhere. Similarly if parents encourage the children to express themselves freely, intelligently analyze things and help them understand things and people around them in life without imposing any social or religious or ideological bias such children can manage anything in life and handle any situation in life with equanimity, patience, tolerance etc.
All these are based on manipulating different aspects of the attributes of the child. But life moves ahead with another important factor called attitude towards education. Attributes are natural and the different process of education offers an opportunity to manipulate them. Attitudes are nurtured.
Certain activities that the children are motivated to adopt as a part of their natural being help them to become more intelligent, more expressive, and more broad minded in their early life itself and become wiser as they grow. The most important among them is the development of habit of encouraging the thirst to learn, habit of reading, instigating the hunger to know more about anything , playing with others, socializing etc. The worst among them are making them passively watch television, cinema etc for mere time passing or entertainment etc as these have been found by leading psychologists to blunt the process of thinking, reasoning and becoming responsible etc
So parents play a huge role in a child's education. They need not necessarily teach him or her complicated trigonometry or grammar. Parenting is the joy of watching, observing, participating and enjoying the process of growth and development of a child's strengths, passions, reasoning through several methods including provoking and instigating arguments to scan the depth and width of the child's intelligent approach. It plays it part in everything staring from potty training to facing the tantrums thrown around when its cravings are unfulfilled, to trying to understand and adjust ourselves its adolescent hormonal changes influencing its attitudes and actions etc.
Parenting is watching the child grow from its birth to as long as you live, even if your child is 60 years old because it is still your child, may be now he or she is a parent himself/herself. But we must participate with him/her, always relating with the a huge amount of love and affection and also allowing freedom at all times with calculated concern towards his/her safety and welfare, involving without interfering, motivating without bothering about the results, always interested in the child's happiness.

Research In Science

Research in science

I have already read many books depicting the dirty politics in the domain of science surprisingly from the so called scientific community itself hand in glove with the power centers be they kings, politically elected leaders, institutes of science etc which have done great damage to the advancement of science as well as delayed, distorted and in some cases given a death blow to scientific temperament.
It has been done in several ways through giving credit for discoveries to wrong persons, suppressing discoveries for a long time, omitting ideas and discoveries which went against certain existing or predetermined theories or hypotheses or established facts. Despite all these scientific discoveries have survived the test of times and resurfaced through some sources or at different places.
This attachment reveals in detail how the dirty politics department of sabotaging scientific advancement works even in areas and institutes which we would never suspect doing such things.
Justin Pollard’s book titled BOFINOLOGY which reveals the ugly ‘the real stories behind our greatest scientific discoveries’ like for example ‘”Archimedes never said ‘Eureka’ and hated baths anyway”, Thales “credited as ‘the father of science’, whose only real claim to fame is that he often fell into ditches” and this book reveals how eleven people have claimed to have invented the stream engine etc
However, beyond all these dirty politics and polluting trends and catastrophic cultures ,still , if there is any field of activity that has helped humanity’s advance more tangibly meaningful and life in general more comfortable and brought people out of their caves of blind beliefs and trite traditions and helped them to see and savor the world with ease and in better ways than all the rest the credit must go and still goes to scientific inventions, discoveries and the multiple technologies that they have given to the world. In short it is a supra religion, along with bold philosophical inquiries, which has pushed aside the many useless diatribes of centuries of religious edicts, narrow ethnocentric pronouncements and bluffs of history which were irrelevant to life.
So, with all the hindrances, still, one may pursue research as a hobby or at least munch it in mind and mindfully follow it up whenever one can afford it. I wish all of you read the wonderful book by Thomas Crump ‘A brief history of science as seen through the development of scientific instruments’ to get an idea as to how these inventions have shaped our lives in many ways.
Unless one is rich like Michio Kaku doing serious research is out of the reach of many well meaning middle class students for many of whom research will remain either a journey of many failed attempts to succeed or a frustrating dream, but that need not necessarily discourage anyone because researches, discoveries and inventions are always useful sometimes they result in fruitful and satisfactory outcomes to those involved and other times the credit goes to someone else or the fruits or benefits of research come out through some other source from somewhere else, it benefits humanity all the same.
So criticism of all the ugly aspects of research is not to discourage researchers and research works but either do away with these ugly aspects or proceed with researches ignoring these ugly aspects and politics.
Life is an unmapped atlas which gets its maps based on our choices, beliefs, actions, reactions, thoughts, attitudes etc and it is our hands to make each one of these continents as great and as good as possible.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


                                                        + Abnormal-

1.     The unique word called ‘abnormal’[+ and –] owes its life to context and evaluation.

2.     Most words pose a semantic problem only in their connotation and not that much in the denotation. But the word abnormal is an exception as in the denotation itself it is a very problematic word whether used in literal or figurative sense.

3.     I have decided to explore the entire gamut of meanings of this word in all its nakedness, nicety, nastiness and nuances but non-technically [ as I am not qualified to analyze abnormality in terms of /on the basis of any subject  as psychiatry, psychology, abnormal psychology, politics, religions, social contexts etc] . However, I am in all earnestness going to explore its usages in a very general way which by itself throws up a lot of valuable literature to unearth and understand the mysteries of life.

4.     Etymologically it is from Latin. Abnormis meaning "deviating from a rule," wherein ab- means as a prefix “off, away from and also merely from " + norma "rule".

5.     Semantically it throws a wide range of meaning from extreme negative to extreme positive attributes and attitudes striding over two of the most vital and comprehensive human emotions namely Fear and Love [because  many of the other emotions and feelings can be defined as manifestations of varying degrees or intensities of these two emotions].

6.     In simple definitions the word abnormal means primarily deviating and away from the ‘Normal’ and therefore could mean all these following and many more:- “not normal, average, typical, or unusual; deviating from a standard; extremely or excessively large; anomalous, incongruous, aberrant etc deviating from the usual or typical; extraordinary; odd in behaviour or appearance; strange or weird [ it is used in this sense in most psychological studies],unnatural and unexpected fears/phobias/paranoia/ delusions etc and extreme and above normal love of/for certain things /persons/imaginary devotion to or love of something/someone as many manias/cults are. The manifestations of two extremes of the pendulum called abnormality. Certain behaviors that are perceived to breach the rule or custom or morality. So one can imagine the gamut of  things/emotions/psychological conditions that can be brought under this which I reckon would be almost more than 90%  all human feelings that are within the realm of Time /Space and even beyond it. Of course, we are not including the paranormal and extremely subnormal activities and attributes, which will make the topic abnormality  even more expansive.

7.     So Abnormal can mean either below normal or above normal; so, either better or worse than normal.

8.     These things obviously raise certain questions as to what is normal or standard ? Who or what determines it? On what basis such standard or yardstick or measurement is determined?

9.     Whatever they are, mostly abnormalities are the products of and/or influenced by measurements/yardsticks/tools of evaluation. Obviously they must also vary from context to context as well as levels of perception/frames of reference, scales of observation etc besides those subjected to be scanned by socio-religio-cultural and ideological conditionings etc. Thus what to be considered as abnormal and what is not abnormal is not that easy to determine. Very often socio-cultural prejudice inspired biases and taboos are considered as abnormalities. In some societies using a left hand for most of things is abnormal as if it is an organ not to be used at all.[ David Wolman, himself (but of course) a lefty, sets out to investigate in A Left-Hand Turn Around the World: Chasing the Mystery and Meaning of All Things Southpaw, he writes : “In the Western world, left-handedness has long been associated with the worst of the worst: sin, devil worship, Satan himself, and just an all-around bad position with God. Catholic schoolteachers used to tell students that left-handedness was “the mark of the Beast,” the Scots say a person with terrible luck must have been baptized by a left-handed priest, and orthodox Jews wrap their left arms in the leather strap of tefillin as if to say, in the words of Rabbi Lawrence Kushner: “Here I am, standing with my dangerous side bridled, ready to pray ” The Bible is full of references to hands, and usually they are about God doing something benevolent and holy with his right hand. I’ll spare you the run-through and stick to a token example, like this one from Psalms 118: “The right hand of the Lord is exalted. The right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.”
Wolman points out that the association has much deeper roots, including the very etymology of the word “left”:
The Anglo-Saxon lyft means weak or broken, and even modern dictionaries include such meanings for left as “defective,” “crippled,” “awkward,” “clumsy,” “inept,” and “maladroit,” the latter one borrowed from French, translated literally as “bad right.” Most definitions of left reduce to an image of doubtful sincerity and clumsiness, and the Latin word for left, sinister, is a well-known beauty. From this version springs my favorite term for left-handedness, “the bend sinister,” which Vladimir Nabokov used for the title of a book that has nothing to do with handedness.

10.  Tangible and physical abnormalities, of course, can be defined with certain scientific standards and measures.

11.  But in psychological and social contexts abnormality can be defined as something perceived very often, not always, as a factor subject to relative judgmental evaluations, sometimes very logical and sometimes biased.

12.  After all these we encounter the problem of whether abnormality is the cause or the effect/result of something. Whether it is the result of some impact or it impacts to produce something good, great or ugly.

13.  However we try to analyze the meaning of the word abnormal, with reference to any subject, we cannot fail to observe that it gets its life out of two important factors as indicated earlier, namely, context and standard/measurement /yardstick of evaluation.

14.  Let us not get distracted by judgmental mode of analyzing whether abnormality is right or wrong. It is both; it depends on the context, evaluation and impact. Abnormality is a phenomenon tossed up predominantly between these factors namely Contexts, evaluation[or to be more precise tools of evaluation], Judgments and perceptions.

15.  The paradox or bipolar aspect is what decorates as well as demeans this word abnormality itself. Any evolution/growth in any sphere is the result of ‘moving away from the existing norm/rule’ but social life requires that we necessarily ‘set forth and follow some norms and rules’.

16.  So on the face of it the word ‘abnormal is not only ambiguous [both in terms of denotation and connotation] but it also evokes ambivalent responses and reactions in most contexts.[ Ambivalent means "having mixed feelings about something." A Swiss psychologist named Eugen Bleuler coined the German word Ambivalenz in the early twentieth century, and it was soon imported into English. Bleuler combined the Latin prefix ambi-, meaning "both," with valentia, "strength."]

17.  If we get into an expedition of this word especially through its many synonyms we may realize that this word represents all great strides in creativity, growth and evolution but when we encounter the impacts of some of its manifestations at certain times then we may categorize it as a word referring to the most negative, intolerable and decadent traits possible.

18.  Again let me reiterate that this is not any technical or specialist analysis of any aspect of abnormality but a mere journey into the meanings of the word abnormality but in the course of the journey we shall come across the broad spectrum of abnormality.

19.  Even in pure clinical psychology to what an extent context and standard/measurement /yardstick of evaluation can pose difficulties and influence both reference of abnormality and seeking remedial measures. This has been very nicely brought out by  Jerome Kagan  Ph.D in his article ‘ The  Meaning of  Psychological Abnormality’ written in 2008 link  wherein he rather deplores thus, “As reports of childhood behavioral problems increase, Dr. Jerome Kagan raises concern about the reliability of these diagnoses. The rapid rise may stem from children’s experiences and pressures on parents and physicians, he argues.
Widespread diagnoses of childhood disorders trouble scientists such as Dr. Jerome Kagan, who argues here that social conditions, not biology, are often to blame. Kagan elucidates possible reasons for the increase, citing, among other explanations, pressures on parents to raise flawless children. He concludes by proposing ways to avoid misdiagnoses in the future.
The recent increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism, bipolar illness, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), widely reported in the media, has created worry both among the public and among health officials. It is important, therefore, to ask whether this troubling trend reflects a true rise in mental illness or is the result of changes in the definition of childhood psychiatric disorders. The latter explanation is likely because the concept of psychopathology is ambiguous, and physicians have considerable latitude when they classify a child as mentally ill. Because a diagnosis of ADHD, bipolar disorder, or autism allows parents to obtain special educational and therapeutic resources that would not be forthcoming if the child is called mentally retarded, incorrigible, or uninterested in academic progress, doctors are motivated to please the distraught parents who want to help their child.”

20.  Limitation  associated with attempts to define abnormality as explained here, which are mostly influenced by social, cultural, ideological and religious biases, “Statistical infrequency: most people suffer psychological problems at some time in their lives hence psychological problems are statistically normal. Many psychological attributes are assumed to be normally distributed, e.g. IQ scores. However, very high IQs, which are statistically rare, are not likely to be considered abnormal whereas very low scores are.
Deviation from social norms: Szasz (1972) suggested that psychopathology is manufactured in order to label people who do not conform to social norms or rules of morality. The American Psychiatric Society, for example, classified homosexuality as a mental disorder until 1973. Social norms are specific to cultures, for example, British psychiatrists (being mainly male, white and middle class) may not be well prepared to understand the behaviour, emotions and motivations of individuals from different cultural and social backgrounds. This could account for why Afro-Caribbean immigrants havebeen up to seven times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia (Cochrane 1977)” from [ you may go through this link for many further interesting insights] 

“Oftentimes in a society when people of a certain type, whether individual or a group, are subconsciously portrayed by the media as       abnormal, they also slowly, subconsciously become enemies of that society due to feelings of cultural guilt. Ultimately by this the inflated media is an enemy of its very own cause.” 
 Cross Jami

21.  For further clear definition of abnormal psychology and other explanations read and further explanations of psychological abnormalities you may find here

22.  For very broad clinically defined Psychiatric Disorders see this site :-

23.  For very precise classifications of abnormality refer to this link : -

24.  Predominantly the field of psychology studies only the abnormalities that are perceived as negative. Even in a very scholarly research works like the one by Isaac M. Marks the very title itself suggest that explicitly, ‘Fears, phobias, and rituals: Panic, anxiety, and their disorders’.

25.  But I for one would like to include the entire spectrum including what is considered as positive in terms of desired outcomes/results etc because very often that is also part of obsessive-compulsive disorders but admired and adulated by the society.  Psychologically the fact is ‘Einstein had an abnormal IQ while an ignorant person also has an abnormal IQ.’

26.  Both mad people and geniuses are abnormal manifesting extraordinary attributes and qualities as great abilities or grave disabilities. In fact there are volumes and volumes of  great writings available on this subject.

27.  In addition to these we may also include the paranormal, subnormal, mysterious, mythological etc too under the broad classification of abnormal states/depicting things beyond the normal.

28.    A look at the synonyms of the word abnormality will throw more subjects under this label like imaginary, illusionary, eccentric attributes and attitudes and tangential behaviors etc.

29.    Most great geniuses, artists, writers, exceptional scholars, scientists, philosophers etc were found to be eccentric. Eccentricity is contrasted with "normal" behavior. Here are some links

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

30.    ‘Normality,’ says Howe, ‘is the paradise of escapologists, for it is a fixation concept, pure and simple.’ ‘It is better, if we can,’ he asserts, ‘to stand alone and to feel quite normal about our abnormality, doing nothing whatever about it, except what needs to be done in order to be oneself.’

It is just this ability to stand alone, and not feel guilty or harassed about it, of which the average person is incapable. The desire for a lasting external security is uppermost, revealing itself in the endless pursuit of health, happiness, possessions and so on, defense of what has been acquired being the obsessive idea, and yet no real defense being possible, because one cannot defend what is undefendable. All that can be defended are imaginary, illusory, protective devices.
31.    Among the myriads of connotations that the word ‘abnormal’ has acquired or the many meanings that this words alludes to or the  extremely complicated polysemy  that  has budded off this word  we can ,if at all we can, simplify  some very glaring general  deductions they are that the word ‘abnormal ‘  predominantly refers to one things, persons, attributes ,dimensions that  are not ‘normal’ or a s per the expected or accepted standards  of measurement  or  deemed to be deviating from the expected standards or being  tangential or moving away from the beaten track which includes lateral thinking and all forms of creativity and two depending on the extent of deviation/aberration from  the standards  it reflects  extremities , in fact , it  very often  refers  to extremes .
32.    Similarly the consequences of abnormality also can be broadly outlined as manifesting destruction of the status quo /preferred status or development and/or enhanced beyond the expected status. It  includes all the things, sentiments, perceptions, feelings ,attributes etc between the two most predominant  emotions which appear  as different emotions/feelings/attributes with varying degrees of intensity of  their  manifestation at the positive end of the pendulum  fueling the fire of  passion leading to  various  kinds  of   Love or liking and at the negative end of the spectrum  manifesting  Fear  of  different types /Feeling of deprivation or lack of something leading to  destruction of  all hopes and dealing in dread and deliriums.
33.    So abnormality refers to and includes all manias and phobias, extreme pains and excessive pleasures etc. Extreme or excessive Fear or feeling of lacking something is expressed with the suffix ‘ phobia’ from the Greek "phobos" which means fear. [for an exhaustive list refer to the following sites,,,]
34.     Extreme or excessive or obsessive liking or love is expressed with the suffixes ‘mania’ from Greek ‘mainesthai ‘be mad’ or literally ‘madness’ or ‘philia’ from Greek philia ‘fondness’ or ‘abnormal attraction towards’ { though among the four distinct words the Ancient Greek had for loveagápeérosphilía, and storgē. Philía referred to actually ‘affectionate regard or loyalty} [for an exhaustive list refer to the following sites,,,,].
Funnily there is even a word  ‘extremophiles’ which refers to creatures or organisms that inhabit extreme environmental conditions like excessive heat, depths, pressures etc-]

35.    Many words that have the Greek prefixes
a] ‘dys ‘meaning ‘difficulty or disorderliness that causes abnormality indicating either lack of something or excess of something ’ and this has contributed a huge list of words. Here are some interesting ones
Dystrophy=malnutrition;dystocia=difficult child birth;dyspnoea=difficult breathing;dysphoria=feeling of  being ill or depressed; dysphonia=inability to  pronounce sounds du eto physical  abnormality;dysphasia=impairement of understanding of words  due to brain abnormality;dysphagia=difficulty of swallowing;dyspepsia=difficult digestion;dysidrosis=abnormal perspiration  and
b] ‘para’ with the precise meaning of ‘departure from normal’ though it has mostly other meanings like ‘beside, alongside, beyond, protection against ‘.This prefix also has given some interesting words like
paragoge=abnormal addition of sound at the end of a word;paragraphia= writing more than normal or unintended words or letters;paralalia=abnormality of  speech sounds; paramour=socio morally abnormal or unapproved lover; paraphrase =restate in different or unexpected words etc.
36.    In medical terminology words with ‘osis ‘  indicating ‘abnormal increase of something causing a disease’ for example :abnormal functioning of the thyroid gland =thyrosis
37.  Then there is a word which is omitted often by linguists when they talk about ‘abnormal’ and that word is ‘preternatural’ and I found some interesting write ups in this blog about that word

a] Preternatural is a wonderful word, one that's been saved from being overused only by the fact that no one seems to know what it means.
It means "apparently inexplicable by natural means". You might say, "Yo Yo Ma is apraeternaturally skillful cellist" (bonus points for the olde-timey spelling), meaning only that he is really, really ridiculously good. You aren't claiming that he's actually, non-metaphorically magical or ghostly. Yo Yo Ma does exist. (I know for sure: I saw him once, at a CostCo of all places. I was going to talk to him, but all I could think of to say was "Hey, is it true you once left a Stradivarius on the plane? FAIL!")
Supernatural is pretty much of a dumb word. People use it for ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night -- i.e., things that, unlike Yo Yo Ma, do not exist. Why people feel the need to divide non-existent entities into subcategories I don't know.
To use one of James Randi's old examples: if in fact Uri Geller's claim ability to bend spoons with his mind actually existed, that would be supernatural; in reality, his ability to bullshit people is preternatural.”

b] “Websters (1959) has preternatural as 'beyond or surpassing nature', and lists Preternatural as a synonym of Supernatural, with almost the exact distinction
c] I have seen preternatural used in religious contexts - for example, to describe miracles.    The words supernatural or paranormal can sound more spooky than holy, making the reader think of vampires and ESP.

38.  For  the present generation here is an easy example to note more people would  like to watch movies like the ones made  by James Cameron or Steven Spielberg who think big, think differently ,  shoot mega budget movies but that rock the world  rather than  mediocre  movies. Oscar Wilde said this long ago , “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” Or as François de la Rochefoucauld  said, “Every great action is extreme.” Or as Arthur C.Clarke said, “The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”
39.   Why extremes carry sway over the normal and appeal is because in every field the story of human evolution is nothing but the history of impacts either positive or negative made by people who refused to take the beaten track and no wonder that George Bernard Shaw wrote, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. All progress depends upon the unreasonable man”.
                                So can we sum up ABNORMALITY as
            Any activity above
Below, beyond and besides the
Regular, routine, rules that are
Allowed, and approved
 Legally and socially.

40.   Very few relevant quotes on extremes given here :-

“I would rather a romantic relationship turn into contempt than turn into apathy. The passion in the extremities make it appear as though it once meant something. We grow from hot or cold, but lukewarm is the biggest insult.” ― Criss Jami
Extremes, though contrary, have the like effects. Extreme heat kills, and so extreme cold: extreme love breeds satiety, and so extreme hatred; and too violent rigor tempts chastity, as does too much license.-George Chapman
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me also remind you that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.-Barry M. Goldwater
The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm-.Charles Caleb Colton
Our age knows nothing but reaction, and leaps from one extreme to another.-Reinhold Niebuhr
Only by pursuing the extremes in one's nature, with all its contradictions, appetites, aversions, rages, can one hope to understand a little ... oh, I admit only a very little ... of what life is about. (Quote by - Francoise Sagan)

41.  abnormal calm in a patient when he should be showing emotion= belle indifference

               abnormal closing or absence of a tube in the body=atresia, clausura, imperforation
   echopraxia =abnormal repetition of actions of another person
   ec·to·pi·a =An abnormal location or position of an organ or a body part, occurring
    congenentally or due to some defect.
   parageusia /dysgeusia= abnormal sense of taste especially a bad taste in the mouth.

 paraesthesia or (US) paresthesia= (pathology) an abnormal or  inappropriate sensation in an organ, part, or area of the skin, as of burning, prickling, tingling, etc

abnormal crackling sound of the lungs detected by auscultation with a stethoscope= rale, crepitation, crepitus, crackle

abnormal constriction of the bronchial tubes= bronchostenosis
abnormal connection between two body surfaces= adhesion, clinging
abnormal condition causing imbalance of the constituents of the blood=blood dyscrasia, cacochymia, dyscrasia, bad temper
abnormal development and growth of cells or body organs=dysplasia, defect
abnormal duct that discharges bile from the liver or bladder onto the surface of the skin=
            abnormal forward inclination of the uterus=anteversion, anteflexion
abnormal frequent urination urge=frequent urination urge, pollakiuria, thamuria
abnormally short finger or toes =brachydactylia
abnormal conduction of  nerve impulses in a direction opposite to normal=antidromia
abnormally stop or interrupt something = abort
abnormal liar= mythomaniac
 abnormal heartbeat, something that causes abnormal heart beat = arrhythmogenic

abnormal inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable=
anhedonia=[from Greek an-, "without" and  hēdonē, "pleasure"]

42.  There is a vast literature involving volumes and volumes of very scientific and scholarly studies on abnormality. But what an ordinary person can infer from these is the defining of abnormalities based on what factors cause them? What are the consequences /effects of the abnormalities? What parameters are adopted to classify something as abnormal?
43.  Ankylosis or anchylosis (from Greek, bent, crooked) is a stiffness of a joint due to abnormal adhesion and rigidity of the bones of the joint
44.  Hyperostosis=abnormal bone thickening

45.  Scotoma, blind spot= abnormal blind spot on the retina

46.  Judder, trepidation, tremor, wobbling= abnormal vibration

47.  Hydrocephalus-pictures=abnormal accumulation of fluids in the brain

48.  Acites=abdominal dropsy  fluid acculumulation in the abdominal cavity or peritoneal cavity

49.  Hemagglutination=abnormal agglutination or clustering of red blood cells caused by certain viruses 

50.  Carotenemia =abnormal amount of carotene in blood

51. Gonicampsis=abnormal curvature of the knee