Monday, March 23, 2020

Dr. V on introverts

From "The Introvert Advantage":

We introverts make up about a quarter of the population. No surprise, then, that we are poorly understood. We are not shy or anti-social. Extroverts abuse us, but there is no need to reply in kind since the present turn of events will do the job for us. They will suffer. We will have no trouble maintaining our social distance. We have rich inner lives and welcome the opportunity to have an excuse to withdraw from the idle talkers, the unserious, the spiritless, and the superficial. Call it the Introvert Advantage.
From "Are You an Introvert? Take this Test!":
A former colleague, a superficial extrovert, once described me as 'lone wolf.' 'Superficial extrovert' smacks of pleonasm. An extrovert is like a mirror: nothing in himself, he is only what reflects. Is that fair? Fair enough for a blog post. Or an extrovert is like an onion: peel away the last skin and arrive at -- precisely nothing. The extrovert manages to be surface all the way down. Or you could say that he is merely a node in a social network. He is constituted by his social relations, and nothing apart from them; hence no substance that enters into social relations.
I do think that extroverts define themselves by their relationships with others. Deprive them of social context, and they wither into nothing because, as Dr. V says above, they lack substance. Self-sufficiency and independence are high virtues by my reckoning. You can't be fully self-sufficient or independent when you're an extrovert. Granted, you can never be totally independent: you're part of a cosmic web of intercausation, so there is no such thing as "me, in and of myself." That said, needing people, while not shameful per se (you wouldn't be human if you needed absolutely no one), is shameful when what you really need is a crutch in human form. A crutch is an object, an aid, a means to an end. A crutch gets used. Keep in mind Kant's injunction not to use people as a means to an end: people are ends in themselves, and should be treated that way. Relationships rooted in notions of servitude and/or codependency are inherently inauthentic, even toxic. Don't be needy!


John Mac said...

It's odd. I'm certainly not a classic extrovert nor am I a big-time introvert. I think by the definition of "how do you recharge your energy, large groups or alone", I fall on the introvert side of the scale. I believe my beer drinking conundrum during this lockdown is an example. I do have beer available at home but I almost NEVER drink here. There is just something about sitting at the bar with other people around that makes it more enjoyable for me. Having said that, I often don't even interact with my fellow patrons (well, I will usually flirt with the bar staff) and when I do it is more of a one-on-one exchange. I don't enjoy the raucous group conversations.

I think what I'm going to need to do is learn how to use my smart TV for the duration of this quarantine. I can catch up on some of the movies you've reviewed (I have Amazon Prime) and perhaps I'll find that I enjoy a cold beer while doing so. We'll see.

Charles said...

Spoken like a true introvert, Kevin!