Within the human mind, for all of the understanding that we have of it, there still are areas which are unexplained; while the brain of an average person would look virtually identical to that of one who is “gifted” or “developmentally advanced”, the latter are vastly different from the average person in their ability to deviate from normal thought and action to actually enhance the world in which we live, thereby giving a positive nuance to the term “deviance”.
Based on research of the appropriate literature and the development of educated conclusions based on same, in this paper, the assertion that the gifted or developmentally advanced can be viewed as positive deviants will be discussed in detail. Classic View of Positive Deviance
Ironically, when researching the general topic of developmental deviance, there is found within the relevant literature a great deal of study of the condition known as schizophrenia; in its manifestation, the condition is found in some cases to have a detrimental effect on thought processes, attention spans and the like; yet in others, the schizophrenic could be viewed as a positive deviant for their ability to have a superior ability to express creativity, higher reasoning skills, and advanced problem solving (Csernansky, 2002).
For the schizophrenic, however, the ability to harness these enhanced abilities and channel them into a beneficial output is not always consistent; therefore, while they could be considered positive deviants because of their developmental advances, their thought processes are akin to a raging river, which can be used for many beneficial uses, but ultimately, is uncontrollable. The literal view of positive deviance is also important; in other words, one should not judge a book by its cover, or a deviant by their outward appearance.
Eccentric individuals who are gifted have been shown to have been thought to be criminals based on their physical appearance (Saladin, et al, 1988), yet in reality, they are positive members of the intellectual community. Positive Deviants Gone Bad Positive deviants, for all of their intellectual gifts and developmental advancements, have also been shown to be uncontrollable, as was alluded to earlier in the paper, often going from positive to negative with the change of other factors.
A classic example of this is Adolf Hitler and his minions; studies of the psyche of Hitler have found that he was intellectually gifted and surrounded himself with similar individuals (Zillmer, et al, 1995) under the premise of freeing the German people from the poverty, unemployment, and starvation that they faced after World War I.
Their “giftedness” so to speak did in fact revamp the German economy and improve infrastructure, but ultimately, this mental brilliance turned to pure evil as they air of superiority gave rise to Hitler’s “Final Solution” which had as one of its main premises the mass extermination of those races of people he felt were inferior. Far from a justification for Nazism, this example serves to make an important point about the complexity of the human mind. Conclusion
This paper has shown how positive deviants can enhance society, given the ability of society to control these mentally superior, yet ironically flawed individuals. In conclusion, perhaps the most important point to be taken from this research is that for all that we know about intellect and the human psyche, there is still a great deal to learn, and in that murky unknown, could lie an unknown, fantastic new direction for the human experience. References Csernansky, J. G.
(Ed. ). (2002). Schizophrenia: A New Guide for Clinicians. New York: Marcel Dekker. Saladin, M. , Saper, Z. , & Breen, L. (1988). Perceived Attractiveness and Attributions of Criminality: What is Beautiful is Not Criminal. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 30(3), 251-259. Zillmer, E. A. , Harrower, M. , Ritzler, B. A. , & Archer, R. P. (1995). The Quest for the Nazi Personality: A Psychological Investigation of Nazi War Criminals. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.