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This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Jon draws on 25 years of his journalism - including his book The Psychopath Test and documentary Stanley Kubrick's Boxes - to explore why we seem to love nothing more than to declare other people insane. We love to define people by their outermost edges, to the aspects of their personalities that might be labeled mental disorders. All this is creating a more conservative, conformist age. "Look," we're saying. "WE'RE normal. THIS is the average." We are defining the boundaries of normality by reducing to diagnostic labels those people on the outside of it. But the truth is there is no evidence that we have been placed on this planet to be especially happy or especially normal. And in fact it's our unhappiness and anxieties and compulsions - those least fashionable aspects of our personalities - that quite often lead us to do rather interesting things.
Jon Ronson’s books include the New York Times bestsellers The Psychopath Test and Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries and international bestsellers Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats. He also co-wrote the screenplay for Frank, now in theaters, starring Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Ronson is a regular contributor to This American Life and lives in London and New York City.
About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)