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Introversion: "one of the biggest crimes in the world"

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by InkBlott, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. InkBlott

    InkBlott Guest

    +0
    Thank you for your input. Much of it is encouraging.

    I might add, however, that I am not shy. I'm quite self-confident in interacting with the public. I just don't find it natural, and have to create a rather exhausting persona in order to do so. It's an effective persona, but an inwardly costly one.

    Here is a somewhat more challenging task: give an account of celebrated female introverts. :)

    Of course the public does not make the direct connection of introvert = psychotic killer. It is a rather more subtle thing. I find that I am as likely to be described as 'weird' as I am 'quiet.' Am I weird? No. I work, obey the law, maintain a neat home, support my favorite charities, speak sensibly, have no odd tics, dress normally and have never had more than two cats at a time. ^_^ But to many people 'quiet' and 'weird' feel very much the same in practice. This is why when neighbors find out that old Fred next door was actually cooking and eating the neighborhood pets and making their bones into mobiles, the fact that he was 'quiet' immediately connects in their minds, as if that fact alone should have clued them in that he was 'weird.'
     
  2. Danhalen

    Danhalen Healing

    +437
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    As the paradigm extrovert I don't think there is anything wrong with the introvert. My only problem with introverts is a lack of understanding. When I am in pain my first wish is to find someone, or a group of people, and vomit my woes all over them. I think better when I am with people. When I am alone I become lost in my mind and either become frightened by what resides within or depressed that I am a nobody unless I am with other people. With this train of thought I encounter the introvert. This person thrives under conditions that would kill me and runs from my attempts to treat that person as I would want to be treated. It takes me a while to understand I am being egocentric before I give the introvert what she is telling me she needs. The mindset of the introvert is confounding to me because it blossoms where I whither. I think I know better now, we [extroverts] just need to listen to others more carefully.

    As far as the American perception of introverts goes, I have to agree with your assessment completely. It's not a direct correlation, but solitude is related to oddity. We think of people like the unabomber, or even groups of reclusive people, and the commonality is that those people withdrew from society. So we associate quietness with a propensity toward fringe behavior at best and maniacal plotting at worst. Then you have the celebrities which, by nature of being celebrities, are always pushed into our faces through the media. These are the people our young emulate, and so extroversion becomes the norm. It's skewed and unfair, but that's how it is.
     
  3. InkBlott

    InkBlott Guest

    +0
    We introverts find our extroverted friends to be quite dazzlingly beautiful to behold. It can be difficult to determine how closely we can safely approach. It can be the study of a lifetime...
     
  4. BobW188

    BobW188 Growling Maverick

    +132
    Protestant
    Married
    And the contrary is also true. Reread Danhalen's first paragraph. The flipside of "wierd" is "facsinating" or "mysterious;" and you're as well advised to play into your weirdness as away from it. (For Exhibit A, take a closer look at my current picture. If you wish to know more about how it came to be taken, I'll tell you in a PM.)

    As to "celebrated female introverts," that's a hard pitch to hit, since people who are celebrated are usually perceived as extraverts. Nonetheless, a few come to mind.

    1. The Delphic Oracle(s), whose most frequent conversational companion seems to have been Apollo. Certainly qualifies as wierd, even if you believe in Apollo. Her pronouncements were usually ambiguous enough to be interpreted at least three ways, one of which was bound to be right.

    2. From the Christian Bible, Mary of Bethany. While sister Martha scuttled about being A Good Hostess, fixing food no one had asked for, Mary simply sat, listened to Jesus and, in his words, had "the better part." In the days before his crucifixion, she at one point broke a container of perfume, perhaps worth the equivalent on $1,000 today, over his feet and massaged them, proving yet again that the deed often carrries more meaning than the word. Her weirdness was remarked on by one Judas Iscariot.

    3. Emily Dickinson, whom many would call America's greatest poet. Acheived wierdness by remaining in her room for the decade or two before her death; but the poems she wrote there show she saw thousands of miles past its horizons. If you're unfamiliar with her work, I'm sure you can find plenty online.

    4. Queen Victoria, who may forever be in a nose-to-nose tie with Elizabeth I not just as England's greatest queen but as England's greatest monarch. Almost a recluse after the death of Albert, we know more about her from her letters to her daughters than from her few public pronouncements. Of all the Prime Ministers who served her, she seems to have been really friendly only with Disraeli, whom she allowed to sit in her presence. As Jung was known to say, "Thank God I'm Jung and not a Jungian," she might well have said "Thank God I'm Victoria and not a Victorian." She rather clearly did not enjoy being Queen - probably wished often she was anything else - but her people came to love her.

    5. Eleanor Roosevelt. Both by her own admission and the con6temporary reports of her family, a shy, awkward girl who in later years would say, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Her marriage to Franklin seems to have been an essentially loveless one but, realizing that after his paralysis he needed to have a reason for living, she became his real campaign manager as he acheived the governorship of New York and the presidency. Her commitment to the poor and to civil rights is now seen as far more sincere than his. From the White House years until her death she wrote a daily newspaper column, which expanded into a radio spot. She served as ambassador to the United Nations; and it may have been her endorsement that guaranteed John Kennedy would get the nomination in 1960.

    Greta Garbo. Told the reporters "I vant to be alone;" then drove off to her Hollywood mansion and was.

    Who knows how many others! Amelia Earhart made her reputation with stick'n'rudder, not her mouth; but we'll never know how many "celebrated" people were essentially introverted.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2009
  5. Penumbra

    Penumbra Traveler

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    I don't think being introverted is a weakness compared to extroversion. Some of the greatest minds in history have been introverted.

    I think being controlled by introversion is a weakness, but it's equally a weakness to be controlled by extroversion (always needing to be around people). It's best to be somewhere in the moderate area of the spectrum, and I am satisfied with my introversion.

    -Lyn
     
  6. A Rhys

    A Rhys Member

    80
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    >>> What do we introverts owe to this world, to ourselves, to our families, our communities?

    We owe the world, our families, and our community our clarity of thoughts, ideas, perceptions, reason, and rationality.

    Being an introvert, I know that I get little out of interpersonal discussions (especially participating in group discussions) with others, and that I get more out of hearing a range of opinions and facts and drawing my own private conclusions. Some confuse this for arrogance and/or a 'need to be right' mentality but this method lends itself to objectivity, dispassion, and 'processing' of the topic at hand. The world greatly benefits from our non-conformity, as many scientists, authors, artists, and intellectuals are introverted - as such, we have an obligation to contribute what and when we can.

    Judging from my own experience introverts also tend to be shy as something of a side effect; perhaps, somewhat paradoxically, we owe the world a bit of extroversion to further the goal of external contribution of our internal processes.


    >>> If you are an introvert, how do you balance being in solitude and being with others?

    Precariously. My social relationships suffer due to my preference of solitude. Nevertheless, when an opportunity comes up to go on a date or see a film with friends or just hang out - I take it. If too many of these opportunities come up, I'll avoid them depending on my mood.

    >>> Is introversion one of the biggest crimes in the world?

    Enough people are introverted that it can't be classified as an abnormality - it falls within the category of 'normal' - but it can be considered borderline antisocial depending on how it manifests. Perhaps some introverts are suffering from undiagnosed mood disorders. But 'tain't no crime.
     
  7. InkBlott

    InkBlott Guest

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    How does one put oneself into the moderate area of the spectrum?
     
  8. Penumbra

    Penumbra Traveler

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    I'm probably not the best person to ask, because I tend to be a little bit too introverted. :)

    Though, if it was something you really wanted to work on, I guess you'd improve it just like you'd try to improve any other personality trait. For instance, you could make a deal with yourself that you'll chat with at least one stranger every day, whether in class, work, on the bus, to a cashier, and so forth.

    -Lyn
     
  9. InkBlott

    InkBlott Guest

    +0
    The problem I find is that interacting with others requires a tremendous expenditure of energy. I can do it, but it takes a toll, and an increasing toll as I grow older and (presumably) my energies are lower overall. I can increase the amount of time I behave like an introvert if necessary. What I can't seem to do is increase the overall pool of personal energies from which the wherewithal to do that comes. After a day of working with the public, stopping to talk to someone I run into in the grocery store can present an intolerable drain on my limited inner resources as I have probably let the persona that carries me through the workday drop and cannot summon it up on a dime when I am tired. Should I stop at the store and risk a social encounter or should I go on home? It can sometimes be hard to know. If I get too slap-happy acting like an extrovert, there will be a price to pay down the road and it usually involves a downward spiral of depression and decreasing self-esteem. Allowing my resources to be drained too far also puts me into a vulnerable position should an emergency requiring a sudden uptick in my socialization occur (such as my father's recent death).

    I don't want complete solitude. I do like people. I want friends. I want to be a caring person who takes an active role in making her community a compassionate one. It frustrates me that I can't find the balance, that my job takes nearly everything I have, so that friendships and socializing are almost impossible. I don't fantasize about being utterly isolated and alone, but I do fantasize about having more freedom to find my balance. I wonder sometimes what kind of person I could be if that were possible.
     
  10. InkBlott

    InkBlott Guest

    +0
    I do apologize for making this topic too much about me. I seem to have a deep need right now to norm my experiences. If that is possible.
     
  11. Penumbra

    Penumbra Traveler

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    Well it sounds like you are somewhat moderate, then.

    Your situation sounds like mine. I am quite capable of social interaction, and often take leadership roles at work or at school, but it takes a lot of energy for me to keep that up, and I need a lot of alone time. A lot of time I turn down requests by friends to go to parties or to go out to dinner because I just don't feel that I'll have any fun and that it'll be a chore. I prefer small groups, not large ones. That doesn't bother me, though. I just view it as personal preference, because like I said, I don't view introversion as a weakness compared to extroversion. I only view it as a weakness if someone is afraid of social situations, not good at interacting, and so forth. To simply prefer time alone, and to draw energy from solitude, is not a weakness.

    -Lyn
     
  12. BobW188

    BobW188 Growling Maverick

    +132
    Protestant
    Married
    In fact, it is an important source of strength.

    Jung somewhere writes that up to about age forty we learn to live with the world; afterwards we learn to live with ourselves. I don't know that the number 40 is all that important. I would hardly make this a blanket statement, but I believe you'll find psychological support for the observation that many extraverts simply cannot cope with being alone with themselves for any length of time.
    Also, and based on my experience, your statement that work "takes nearly everything I have" is all too true and all too common. Dealing with the public does involve being "always on," adopting a special persona, playing a role. And any actor will tell you that playing a role -even one you know well - is hard work; even when it doesn't involve physical exertion. (In fact, I'm sure you've noticed that the tired feeling you get from physical labor is qualitatively different than that tiredness you get from dealing with people. Short of utter exhaustion, it can even be a pleasant feeling.)
    It really seems to me that your desire, after a workday, to go home and cocoon is essentially psychic compensation. You both need it and deserve it, it is in no way pathological and it is not, except perhaps in a technical statistical sense, "abnormal."
    You have a great deal of company, including Lyn, including me, including others who've put up posts here. If you want to make some changes, that's one thing. If you feel you must change, that you owe it to others to change, I quite simply disagree.
    I was lucky in my working years because almost every job I had involved "serving the community," so I didn't feel the need to do so after hours; but two things helped me to broaden those hours out some. First, physical exercise. Not necessarily all that strenuous. A physical reserve can help a lot in those grocery store situations. The other was to find one activity that had a measure of challenge, was among people who did not make demands on each other, which took an average two hours on each of one evening and one weekend day. Met a lot of good people, who really stood by me when my first wife died. Earlier in my life I took sailplane lessons, which again was low on time-demand and put me among a small group with whom I had a common interest. You might consider something on this order, some interest you already have or would like to try.
    But the bottom line is: I don't think you are anyone like the person you described in your initial post. You are, if you will, a normal introvert functioning well in the world. Like all normal people there are parts of you with which you are dissatisfied and wish to change. You have had and will have your successes and failiures. That, too, is normal.
    My condolences on the loss of your father. It is not an easy passage for those of us who survive to navigate.
     
  13. InkBlott

    InkBlott Guest

    +0

    Thank you for this beautiful post.
     
  14. fated

    fated The White Hart

    +460
    Catholic
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    In some ways, the introverts are the strong ones. You have to use your gifts to help others, and helping others, can often make you uncomfortable. But, don't mistake reasonably solitude for something sinful.
     
  15. Neochristian

    Neochristian Active Member

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    Intros are better suited for leadership rolls. Read Susan Cain.
     
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