On mutants and the new normal - Weekend

On mutants and the new normal

By Calvin O. Cempron


AS it has been said in the X-men movies, “Mankind has always feared what it doesn’t understand.” And Nightcrawler of X-Men goes further: “You know, outside the circus, most people were afraid of me. But I didn’t hate them. I pitied them. Do you know why? Because most people will never know anything beyond what they see with their own two eyes.”

This superhero film represents some of the means that people come to understand genetics. It shows how the representation of genetic mutation, as an error in a bio-chemical code, can be a boon or a bane. But it’s more than that.

Crossline“Being a mutant in the X-Men film is a metaphor for being an outcast of society,” said the 74-year-old English actor who played Magneto. And so we ask: Is being a mutant an illness, or impairment?

Mutation, though, isn’t as uncommon as we think. Consider that mutation has been the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism to the dominant species on the planet. Human beings have yet to achieve their potential (physical weakness, illness, and impairment are proof). We can be so much more if we let mutation do its job.

Yet there is something uncertain or disturbing about genetic science, in particular DNA and genetic restructuring. But who would rather not be geneticallymutated or modified organism with superabilities? If yes, then is it fine to look like Beast or Nightcrawler? And wouldn’t you care about what people say? Being a mutant in this context deviates from a norm and separates him from the rest of society.

To compound this separation is the anxiety that extra-ordinary abilities bring. Those who are “too normal” fear they’d be left behind. This is they join the crowd that labels those who are different as outcasts.

Ever since, you’ve been told to fit in and be like everybody else. After all, kids who fit in don’t get picked on. Those who don’t, sometimes live a life of hell in their youth. Do you remember those who excel intellectually? They read hundreds of books. They always win contests. They always get perfect scores. We perceive them as nerds, brainiacs, weirdos. Are they mutants? Maybe.

In the past, being different or weird would be perceived as something of an embarrassment, if not as a threat. But now weird is the new normal, the nerds and geeks the new role models. Normalcy is absolutely necessary, but “mutation” has now been deemed important, too. And those who have mutated, the “mutants,” they’re the ones who push things forward, test the limits. Only our carefully tunneled mental construction of the world prevents our passage there.

If you’re not different yet, how do you want to be different? What do you possess that makes you stand out from the crowd? A trajectory away from a straight line can bring you to places you’ve never imagined. Never be normal. Embrace your difference.

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