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Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 3:40pmSanction this postReply
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I have this hunch that the "mindless mob man" is an extrovert. Interestingly enough, in the story "Gulf," Robert A. Heinlein implicitly recommended cultivating an extrovert side in order to blend into the crowd.  



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Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 8:00pmSanction this postReply
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Well, stories are one thing, and real life is another, and I have a hunch that extroverts are as much victims of the introvert's inability to understand the need for large crowds and constant conversation (like when I am trying to read, and people insist on interrupting, ARGGGG!) I have a suspicion that Rand was an introvert, one major characteristic is the lack of interest, or the inability, to engage in "small talk."

What I liked about this book is that it explained introversion in a rational way, and I realized that I did not need to go out and exert myself socially, that I am fine the way I am; at the same time, it made me realize that extroverts physically need the opposite to function effectively, that quietude and aloneness wears them out. So instead of vilifying extroverts as herd animals, and introverts as misanthropes, we can simply recognize the differences. And hopefully, I can get back to my reading uninterrupted...



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Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 9:28pmSanction this postReply
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Well, as I see it, much of what extroversion is really all about, is how the extrovert arrives at a sense of truth. 

The extrovert seems to go beyond merely wanting a second opinion from others to validate or invalidate his/her sense of truth... Many of the extroverts that I've known, actually seem to believe that truth is only that which is arrived at by social consensus. 

They tend to believe that if enough people get together and proclaim some arbitrary whim as "truth", then it is somehow truth.

On the other hand, there may be something in seeking out others for validation... because after all, the introvert can err, but in the opposite direction.

The introvert may tend to rely so heavily on the sense of truth which they achieve through isolation from the outside world, that they also sacrifice objectivity by ignoring reality. 

I would call this the "logic junkie" personality, as exemplified by the noted introvert John Nash. 

(and no, the movie is a total falsehood... only Sylvia Nasar's biography of him is truth.)  




Post 3

Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 9:49pmSanction this postReply
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I think we need to differentiate between extrovert and "social metaphysician." Extraversion as a need for more physical contact and interaction as opposed to a need to validate one's ideas and thoughts. For many, it's not about the thoughts an ideas as much as it is about simply being around others physically...for example, that's why they can engage in small talk easily...it's not what's said, it's the mere fact of interacting. Hard for us introverts to grasp, I know...I can't make small talk myself.



Post 4

Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 9:49pmSanction this postReply
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Yes - Introverts do get a hard time....

How many times I have heard things like:

"Why don't you like to have fun?"
"You should get out and enjoy yourself"
"You should enjoy life more"
etc. etc. etc.

I was having fun. I was enjoying life. I don't need to go out and try to mimic the rest of the drones in the city in order to do this.

The idea that there is only one sort of "fun' (the extrovert kind) - and that if you do not indluge in this fun you are somehow socially/mentally maladjusted is something I had to contend with throughout my highschool (and to a lesser extent) university years. To my surprise it started again when I started working in an office.

Fortunatly by this time I had come to a better understanding of myself and other people than I had at highschool. It did not mean that people liked me, or understood me anymore than before - but it did mean I could just relax and enjoy my sort of fun without all of the pressure of the extrovert masses.

One of the features I find common in extroverts is that they always want to "help" me enjoy life more. They will come and talk loudly to me at parties, try to introduce me to people, try to force me to dance; drink; sing - all the while thinking they are doing me a tremendous favour. But not just at parties... all the time! It never occurs to them that maybe what they enjoy is not what I enjoy... I don't think i have ever tried to force someone to sit down and read a book alone at home, go for a solitary bush walk, or sit quitley with a friend - saying little - just enjoying their company.




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Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 10:00pmSanction this postReply
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Martin,

Frankly, I've gotten the same thing, too, growing up.

Only now do I look back and wish I had the awareness and verbal skills to say to them:  "You seek safety in people... I seek safety from people."

Big difference.

(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 10/20, 10:01pm)




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Post 6

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 12:22amSanction this postReply
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We need some definitions here, because "introvert" and "extrovert" are being used with different meanings in different posts. The American College Dictionary defines "introvert" as: a person concerned chiefly with his own thoughts; to direct the mind inward or upon the self. It defines "extrovert" as: a person concerned chiefly with what is external or objective; to direct the mind outward or to things outside the self.

There probably are better definitions, but these carry the connotation being discussed: the loner vs the more gregarious person.

The review states that a person cannot change from one category to the other, that they are "a matter of innate brain structure." I don't think this is correct. I've been told by psychologists -- and I think it's true -- that I am a mixture of introvert and extrovert. I began my life as very much an introvert; my chief pleasure was in being alone with my books and my imagination, and I felt helpless and alien when I was with people. But in later years I began to enjoy people and to feel comfortable with them. I still needed -- and need -- great amounts of time alone; and sometimes, after a social evening that was not satisfying, I'll think that I would have had a better time staying home and talking to my cat. On the other hand, although I am anything but a compulsive party-goer,I've been to parties and other social occasions that I've enjoyed enormously.I suppose that, on balance, the scales are tipped somewhat on the side of introversion.

My own inner experience -- and I'd be interested in how other people see their own extroversion, to the extent that it exists -- is that I was able to combine my original inward-directedness with a new outward-directedness precisely as I grew more confident. It was, for me, a matter of self-esteem. I began to feel at home, not only in the realm of ideas, of books and music and only a few very special people, but in the wider world that once had seemed closed to me. And I found that I wanted to share my inner world, and not keep it, as I once had done, locked tight inside me like some fragile flower that exposure to other gazes might destroy.

Barbara



Post 7

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 12:39amSanction this postReply
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Well, I don't want to say too much, because the book does endeavor to define introversion and extroversion in-depth scientifically, as well as dispel some of the myths and misunderstanding surrounding the terms (like the idea that introversion means shy or antisocial.)
I understand your point, Barbara, about not being totally one or the other, and the concern about the unchangability. I leave the defense or criticism of the science in the book to those better qualified, but I think the author goes along with the Myers Briggs idea that we are a mixture of traits, and that no one is either-or. Nor is free will denied. But I will say that many of my own traits that I did not understand before were explained by the book, and has given me a more realistic idea of my own abilities and limitations in dealing with social situations. I now know that trying to become a club hopping socialite is not in the cards, but since I know what I can achieve personally, I can put myself in social situations that I can handle without too much stress.
And now, when my friends are baffled at my insistence on staying home reading or working on my projects, instead of saying no, leaving them alienated, I can say that there is this whole brain process which enables me to spend lots of time alone without being lonely, but instead productive, and when I start talking about seratonin uptake, they have already said whatever, rolled their eyes, and left me to my own devices.



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Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 12:50amSanction this postReply
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BTW, I consider myself an introvert, but my extrovert side appears when music is concerned...though I haven't played live in years, the happiest summer of my life was when I was playing with a band, back in the summer of '69...I mean, um...'94...but on stage I had a buffer between me and the crowd, and after the show I would usually retreat from the party by packing up my gear or other busy work, leaving the schmoozing to the singer, who was always the life of the party.
Anyway, I am usually introverted, but I do have a certain tendency to come alive when needed, and when I do, it's usually with the overbearing air of a Leo...it seems for me their is no middle ground, either withdrawn or overblown...Especially with music, I tend to take over, which is why I went solo...the home studio has been this introvert's greatest boon.



Post 9

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 5:17amSanction this postReply
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Martin,

This is strange isnt it, the extroverts insistence that we introverts change our behavior? I've been told that until they get to know me, people find me intimidating because I always seem to be analysing, judging quietly. Perhaps they are a little intimidated by introverts?

John



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Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 12:04pmSanction this postReply
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They do insist, it seems, that we change. Matter of fact, over on the board at theintrovertadvantage.com there's a thread for snappy comebacks to the attempts of extroverts to "help.
"But we don't have to assume it's coming from a bad place. My roomate and friends at work are naturally more outgoing, and when I turn down constantly their invitations to go out, the first thing they thought was that I thought I was too good for them, (which is not the case.) Then they thought I was upset or depressed, (which was not the case.) After they finally realized it was that I just need a lot of time to myself, they accepted it, even if they didn't understand it. But when I do get the itch to go out, they don't question it, they say great! It's a major event, the hermit's leaving the house!And they welcome me with open arms.
Just recognize that they care about you, and if they try to sway you, it's because they think they are helping...which may be misguided, but certainly not malevolent.



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Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 2:39pmSanction this postReply
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Well, i haven't read the book, but in reading your posts I read many traits in me. My best time is when I am reading my books alone or reading articles on the web. No other activity would bring me joy.
But doesn't being an introvert mean that he is more intrigued about reality than an extrovert; doesn't he think more about abstract things? I think that's one reason for introverts being attracted to philosophy.



Post 12

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 4:36pmSanction this postReply
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Well, I don't want to speak for all introverts, but we do seem to be more inward focused and abstract thinking oriented, which leaves our weak points to be less attuned to the practical day to day details...Again, it's a matter of degrees.



Post 13

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 7:13pmSanction this postReply
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Barbara,

 

As you say, you may have always been a mixture of introvert and extrovert; that is, possibly sitting closer to the 50/50 point than near either of the extremes.  Hence, it may have, in fact, been easier for you to promote your extrovert tendencies.

 

I haven't read the book Joe discusses, but I have taken various courses and read other material, and a point that is often stressed is that there is a continuum involved.  Someone close to the mid-point may be comfortable in both realms.

 

Also, none of this suggests that an introvert can't --- through work and practice --- be very good at social interactions, small talk, etc., but it will be another matter whether they find it exhausting or energizing.

 

Regards,

Kernon




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Post 14

Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 11:45pmSanction this postReply
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I used to be an introvert when I was a kid. Now, I'm just an asshole. :)

Adam



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Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 11:46pmSanction this postReply
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Kernon, you wrote:

"You may have always been a mixture of introvert and extrovert; that is, possibly sitting closer to the 50/50 point than near either of the extremes. Hence, it may have, in fact, been easier for you to promote your extrovert tendencies."

I suspect that's correct, and it was simply shyness that, when I was young, repressed the extrovert part of me. And that never felt natural; a part of me always wanted to be more outgoing and overtly emotional.

Barbara



Post 16

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 7:05amSanction this postReply
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I always take these with a grain of salt. I don't believe personally in intro or extrovert. In the end we'll all be guided by what we hold as painful and pleasurable to us, however irrational or rational we've linked those up to be in our nervous systems. I believe it's our values and our beliefs that will ultimately guide us. The reason an introvert isn't an extrovert is because he/she doesn't have it in their self concept, or they don't want to be, they find other things more valuable or they've associated in their nervous system that it's painful.

When I look at these kind of books I always ask myself... is it the introvert's thinking that creates the brain chemistry, or the brain chemistry that creates the thinking? We frequently hypnotize ourselves with our own or other peoples generalizations. Like" I'm an introvert...I'm an extrovert, I suck at math, I can't do this, I'm good at this. All of these are based on past experience. But past experience is based on beliefs, values, what's we've associated pain/pleasure to...what things mean to us. It's funny when people talk about hypnosis actually, because in my opinion we are in a trance all the time...we create it with our generalizations and distortions. And to create a new more profound "trance" we need to question our past generalizations.

Possibly hypnosis is an illusion, maybe it's taking us out of trance, and we can also do it by asking ourselves very effective questions.

Under hypnosis you can have a strong individual not be able to pick up a pencil, this is amazing, because  no matter how much he has the capacity, with the suggestion of the hypnotist he is taking a direct command that bypasses his conscious awareness. I think of this as an embedded command, and we do it all the time.

Everything matters...how we speak, how we move, how we look at things, how we talk to ourselves, how we picture things to ourselves. The body and mind are one.



 The power of visualization to me is amazing. Our minds respond  to our visualizations, what we picture and how we picture it, what we say to ourselves and how we say it and how we move our bodies... it's all connected. When we do something we suck at...we are visualizing sucking at it, we already use visualization...just not right! I believe too, we often have to listen to our language.

Self concept is kind of like the picture we have of ourselves in our mind. If we lay down for 20 minutes a day for a month and visualize ourselves in an area that we may lack confidence in, or want to get better at...it changes us.. The physical follows the mental, and what we are doing is rehearsing. Studies have shown our minds can't tell the difference, it's still experience. Often it can be tuff to change with will power alone, anything... smoking, eating. As evident the strong guy trying to pick up the pencil with all his will. The only way willpower works is if we link enough pain to the old habit and enough pleasure to the new one, and reinforce it continually by focusing on it. The best way I've found for this is to keep my eye on what really matters, control your focus, you control your behavior.

But...it also must be something we want, it must flow from our values, discipline sucks, it breaks down. If we don't want it we're going against what we've linked pain/pleasure to, or what things mean to us. Possibly  an introvert is such because they  don't find many people around them appealing. 

Here's  what I've found.... go into other peoples worlds in conversation...talk what others want to talk about...pace them, and then bring them in your world.(You actually may begin to actually enjoy talking with others...mere mortals!) If you try this over and over and you have no success...chances are you're not hanging around the right people. You shouldn't have to hide what is important to you and what interests you. Get around people that interest you.


I guess in  the end all this all comes back to the genetics, environment and the consciousness thing. Often doctors only concentrate on the first two...leaving out the most important one..the third.

As I'm getting older I'm becoming more and more skeptical, not cynical...just skeptical. In our fast moving division of labour society we rarely have individuals anymore with a true liberal education. Many specialize, so we have to  "generalize" on what sounds reasonable to us. Often this is all we can do...but it's also dangerous, because many people specializing could be neglecting crucial information. For instance... the historian that studies history without economics or philosophy. Or the stock trader who studies trading principles without economics and reason. I see this everywhere.




Post 17

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 12:35pmSanction this postReply
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I just had to jump in on this thread. I am in just about the same boat as Barbara mentioned. I have gone in and out of what is typcially considered Introversion and extroversion and it was all based on self esteem. This is because I was more towards the middle, a little of both were in me. However, the end result of many hours of reflection leads me to believe that I am more introverted and I relate with many of the posts here.
Eitherway, both do not understand each other very well and for all the reasons that were mentioned above. Introverts cannot see why people have to be so outward with all of their thoughts and talking and extraverts think there is something wrong with the person that wants to be alone with their thoughts. And this book I am definately going to check into so thank you Joe.
However, if you are into some extremely dry reading, and oh no, I may get shunned for this one, but so be it, try C.G. Jungs Personality Types. He takes a very experienced and objective approach to these types and it gave me a greater understanding of my tendencies so that I can be the best person that I can. It also gave me a greater understanding of an extroverted type. However, He takes it as more of a way that the individual looks at an object. One takes it inwardly and abstracts it [theres your abstract thinking Joe] and the other "acts and actually lives in a way that is directly correlated with the objective conditions and their demands"... externally. ontop of this he breaks them into four categories under each one Thinking, Feeling, Sensing and Intuitive.
Thanks, JML



Post 18

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 2:23pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks for the post, Jeff. I'm a fan of Jung myself...



Post 19

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 3:04pmSanction this postReply
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I'm a fan of Jung with regard to his extensions into human life of the principle of opposites (the anima, the animus, the shadow side), but I just don't agree with his whole "collective unconscious" notion).
(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 10/22, 3:05pm)




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