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Post 20

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 8:12pmSanction this postReply
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Joe wrote:"I now know that trying to become a club hopping socialite is not in the cards."

The problem with this discussion of introversion and extroversion is that "club hopping socialite" is assumed, by many posters, to be in the nature of extroversion. There seems to be a widespread belief here that introversion means a concern with ideas and extroversion means an empty-headed concern with parties -- therefore that the former is good and the latter bad. If you will look again at the definition I posted, (Post #6), you will see that there is no validity to such a concept of extroversion. It is true that SOME apparent extroverts are social-metaphysician types; it is also true that SOME apparent introverts have their heads and their ideas in Platonic clouds.

Post 21

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 9:31pmSanction this postReply
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My greetings,
 
"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."
 
Mme. Branden, thank you for this wonderful and poetic statement.  You capture preciously what my life once felt like and it was wonderfully, wonderfully liberating to learn both the strength and the agility to exist out in the open.
 
I grew up an extreme introvert; my personal song was Simon and Garfunkel's "I am a Rock"; tied with Rand for philosophical inspiration was Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
 
What changed things for me was transitioning; suddenly, as a girl, I found everything from my inner sensations to my movements to my appearance to (unfortunately) the sexist dynamics of our society allowing me to enjoy being social... and I was astonished to find the experience was anything but mindless and I found my self-esteem filling out with the exploration of what I realized was an ability, not an insecurity.  I realized I'd always wanted to enjoy a social existence, but never had the fortune, knowledge, or courage to do so.  I'm now about 50/50 according to the tests; I still retain the bookish intellectual I used to be (if little else of my former life), but I absolutely love going out and showing myself around; of course in my situation this is partially a matter of earning my living.

I think a great deal of the question of introversion and extroversion seems to be how much one trusts the world.  I really don't trust the world much, which would position me as a guarded extrovert, not wanting to expose myself for fear of being hurt in a cruel social universe.  But I've learned that if one shows different aspects of oneself in the lights that shows them best, for such audiences as will appreciate a particular level and aspect of greatness, one can warm in the greater sunlight of extroversion without suffering from the cold one risks when one leaves the warm but immovable fire of self-sufficiency.
 
But extroversion is risky, and I do agree with my former introverted self that the moment one pegs oneself irrevocably to a self-esteem based on sociality one does risk very serious immersion in social metaphysics.  But the key danger is when forgets that others are not the source of value qua others but because of their ability to share in one's own real excellences and theirs.

I guess the point is that while introversion as a specialization is honorable, introversion as an ideology is a senseless asceticism from real social joys.  And while extroversion as a specialization is honorable, extroversion as an ideology forges the cause of social joy is individual value;  that 'other people' as such are not of value.  (I immediately hasten to add that like Rand, I think a general human goodwill is possible, in that everyone who still desires happiness participates in the common value of all men and women).

I think what one needs is an extroversion in kind and degree to where one can be seen; the choice of whether this is worth risking before or after one has judged other seems a judgement call in context.  When one is a scholar in love with rare theories few understand, introversion makes sense; when one is an actor whose thespian excellence can be appreciated by a far wider range of people than those capable of that art themselves, extroversion makes sense.
 
Perhaps we need to dialectically synthesize the concepts of introversion and extroversion; perhaps this is a case for the house expert.

my regards,

Jeanine Ring 

 


Post 22

Friday, October 22, 2004 - 10:01pmSanction this postReply
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Hmmm...

Having just posted my dialectical bit, it occurred to me that the dialectical answer to the introversion/extroversion question is... well... dialectics.

Strictly by classical senses,

Logic,
           unfolding truth from truth, of the individual mind alone,
           is the art of introversion
Rhetoric,
           social in essence, drawing opinion from others' opinion,
           in the art of extroversion
Dialectic,
           which discovers truth through the relation of opinions,
           is their synthesis.

sorry, this stuff is important to courtesans.

Jeanine Ring 


Post 23

Saturday, October 23, 2004 - 12:22amSanction this postReply
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Jeanine, I Am a Rock has been my theme song at times too. The great thing about being introverted is that the inside is a safe place for those who don't function well around others. People's irrational choices can be terribly baffling. Some handle that better than others.

I'm very good with most people (doggone it, people like me!) but it's hard work for me. I'm not at ease around strangers but I think Miss Branden made an enlightened point regarding this in the anti-misanthrope thread. I'll respond to that there...  


Post 24

Saturday, October 23, 2004 - 8:08amSanction this postReply
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Barbara, club hopping socialite was an exaggeration, the extreme example was the worst case scenario for myself personally. I had friends who used to FORCE me (they laid out traps and dragged me off) to night clubs, with hundreds of people smushed together and screaming to each other because the music was so loud...
I can personally tolerate small get togethers where I at least know the people...

Post 25

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 8:41amSanction this postReply
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Barbara, hello.

you wrote: "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."

thank you for this.

John

Post 26

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 2:54pmSanction this postReply
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If one reads the posts here carefully -- and on other threads dealing with the same issue -- it is apparent that *fear* is the source of much of peoples' clinging stubbornly to their comfortable and secure introversion, rather than braving the dangers and potential rejection involved in dealing with others. I feel I have the right to say this, without being presumptuous, because it once was true of me; thus I know it when I see it.. And that same fear can cause people to denigrate and look down on those who take pleasure in some amount of social intercourse, as if it cannot coexist with intellectuality, love of reading, music, and one's own company. But much of this attitude appears to be more rationalization than fact.

The same attitude in reverse probably characterizes the social butterfly or the "life of the party" type who flees from introspection and the realm of ideas because they feel to him like dark unknowns with which he is inadequate to cope.

Barbara

Post 27

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 5:07pmSanction this postReply
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That same fear can cause people to denigrate and look down on those who take pleasure in some amount of social intercourse, as if it cannot coexist with intellectuality, love of reading, music, and one's own company.
Thank you, Barbara, for so many reasons.  This is a hot button for me, and I'm frankly tired of hearing how being socially adept implies that one is necessarily "idiotic" or too concerned with what others think.  I'm not specifically referring to this thread, but I have heard it enough in Objectivist circles that it makes me want to scream.  It is somehow assumed that acting hospitably towards others and socializing means you are showering them with false flattery, or pandering to the lowest common denominator of mankind.

One can be both introverted and extroverted.  One can cultivate a healthy balance between being alone and spending time in the company of others.  One can flirt, or one can share in a profound philosophical discourse.  These things are not diametrically opposed.


Post 28

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 6:00pmSanction this postReply
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Barbara and Jennifer, I know that both of you are correct. However, this is similar to what I was getting at with the Jung interpretation of this topicóbecause I interpret introversion and extoversion as more of a way of forming ones concepts and their relationship to the object and not as the typical socialite or bookworm. While those may be tendencies for the types the ultimate goal is to know where your tendencies are and to ultimately learn from them. Therefore, an introvert can be perfectly social and well read it is just how they interpret new data and their relationship to the object that exist. Anyway, my point is that you are exactly correct but I do have a question for you as well if you would like to answer. If this relationship to the object does exist and you were introverted at one point [or shy, or fearful] do you think that Objectivism was a guide that assisted you out of this and more towards a balanced personality. This is one of the things that I have noticed in myself and I was just curious. My introverted tendencies are no longer my enemy causing internal conflicts it is a natural and beautiful part of myself that allows me to think on my own, spend time interpretting new data coming in, and at the same time gives me a great way of bringing that into words so that I can socialize about my findings.

Just some thoughts,

Thanks,
JML

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Post 29

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 8:09pmSanction this postReply
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In the end, Jeffrey, I think that Objectivism did assist me in creating a balanced personality.  It compelled me to look deeply within myself to understand what made me tick, how I would choose to deal with the world at large, and what I would and would not compromise in the name of success.  It helped me to define success itself: living on my terms, and being comfortable in my skin.  Everything else is inconsequential in relation to that. 

(Edited by Jennifer Iannolo on 10/28, 5:30am)


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Post 30

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 9:11pmSanction this postReply
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Ms. Branden,

You said this:
it is apparent that *fear* is the source of much of peoples' clinging stubbornly to their comfortable and secure introversion, rather than braving the dangers and potential rejection involved in dealing with others.


I agree with you that fear is the source; of course it is.... and rightly so.  But not necessarily for the reasons you suggest, which is that the loner automatically has to feel inferior to the world and hides because of it.  It is actually possible that a person could come to judge society as inferior, and beyond that, even dangerous... and hence their fear -- their legitimate fear.  (Guess where I get this identification of perspective from.) 

And rejection?  Who should fear rejection, except those who do not know what they really stand for, and how they actually exude that without knowing it?  For it is precisely those sorts of people who can feel "rejected"...

Let me use an example:  an optimist who actually knows that he or she is an optimist and that such an attitude radiates like sunshine from him- or herself at all times, would never feel "rejected" by a group that he or she could easily identify as a klan of pessimists.   That person would know that the group did not desire him or her as a member, because the sort of person that he or she really is, is easily obvious to the members of that group.   

In such a case, such a person would automatically interpret their not clique-ing with that group as a blessed and welcome incompatibility or immiscibility, but never a "rejection", in the sense that it is a valid indictment of some universal inferiority of their character.  Only someone who lacks the training to see the big pictures in life, could feel "rejection".

My introversion is not desired; I suppose I am actually an extrovert who is weary of not having enough peers to associate with, and I avoid the tar baby-dotted minefield that I see as most of the human race... I suppose you could call me a voluntary or precautious introvert.   

This is in sharp contrast to what I'll call involuntary or exiled introverts, who are really extroverts filled with a scornful rage that they have seemingly been judged not good enough for some social group.  These are the shunned members of society, who have no choice but to be alone.

The exiled introvert is typically the one you hear about who ends up taking his/her revenge on society through "going postal".  What's interesting is that those people frequently get described by the popular press as being dangerous merely because they are "loners".... but they aren't, really.  They are actually stifled extroverts, but extroverts who long to be worthy of fitting in, and who lash out, out of frustration and/or "payback".  This incomplete and misconceived view of loners gives voluntary loners a bad name, untruthfully.

To me, these people are so inverted and tragic... I honestly feel profound pity for anyone who can look at mainstream society and actually appraise him- or herself as inferior to it, and wants to get in!  

I mean, admittedly, very often these people are rather goofy-looking or acting, I suppose.  But when you put aside the foolishly weighty dimension of the purely superficial... for Rand's sake, how can you actually envy the members of mainstream society... people whose every micro-decision is not based on the want to achieve a life of objective self-pride and comfort, but is instead based on the categorical imperative to not significantly deviate from the mean in any way!!!

Now, that -- to me -- is the tenth circle of Hell.  Thus, I am a voluntary introvert.   


(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 10/27, 9:32pm)


Post 31

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 10:48pmSanction this postReply
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If one reads the posts here carefully -- and on other threads dealing with the same issue -- it is apparent that *fear* is the source of much of peoples' clinging stubbornly to their comfortable and secure introversion, rather than braving the dangers and potential rejection involved in dealing with others. I feel I have the right to say this, without being presumptuous, because it once was true of me; thus I know it when I see it.. And that same fear can cause people to denigrate and look down on those who take pleasure in some amount of social intercourse, as if it cannot coexist with intellectuality, love of reading, music, and one's own company. But much of this attitude appears to be more rationalization than fact.


What was it that one of the great philosophers of the 20th century said?

Oh, yes.



Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

óJedi Master Yoda



Post 32

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 11:30pmSanction this postReply
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I don't believe that fear is the motivation behind my introversion. Again, I am differentiating between chosen introversion due to a misanthropic worldview and introversion as a biological disposition. I just find myself more energized alone and worn out by crowds and too much social stimulation.
That's why I recommended the book, to those who want to learn more about the differences, and as an alternative to THE LONER'S MANIFESTO.

Post 33

Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 1:30amSanction this postReply
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Joe,

Let me make it clear that the book I posted:  Party of One:  A Loner's Manifesto, is not about misanthropy being a motivation for being an introvert.  In the book, introversion is basically presented as an innate disposition, as you yourself have advocated.

In contrast, even what I myself advocate as my reason for being an introvert, has nothing to do with misanthropy, but everything to do with a profound respect for myself, and an unwillingness to poison my life by indiscriminately maintaining contact with just anybody, for the sake of maintaining some pretense of "balance".

Rather, I believe in only socializing with people who are capable of a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with me.  And in my quest for these sorts of people, I have honestly come to the conclusion that most people in the world are largely unsuitable to meet these needs of mine, and by my standards, most of them erode my sense of general ease and security.  So I assume a moral imperative to avoid them as much as possible, so long as they would exert an erosive effect on my well-being.

That means that I usually choose to relegate myself to the reluctant role of being an introvert, although when I do encounter that refreshingly rare person that has an energizing effect on me, I am more than eager to cut loose with my true nature... that of a completely happy extrovert.  

I guess you could say that I am a completely unashamed, ethical elitist.  And as far as being a misanthrope goes, well, since I do not hate all people... only the erosive ones, then I don't see that I'm a true misanthrope... perhaps I am merely selectively misanthropic.  But then again, I am selectively philanthropic.

Is my glass half empty or half full?  You be the judge.

(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 10/28, 1:34am)


Post 34

Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 5:12amSanction this postReply
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Joe, there may well be a biological element behind some kinds of introversion. I don't think that fear is the only possible source of introversion, but it is a very common source; nor do I think that there is something wrong -- anything but -- with enjoying one's own company. I have always needed a great deal of time alone, and my finding greater enjoyment in social encounters did not change that.

Barbara

Post 35

Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 9:50amSanction this postReply
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Orion, fair enough. I haven't read THE LONER'S MANIFESTO, it was a nice way of saying I was offering an alternative to the misanthropy surrounding your discussion of the book. (So much for diplomacy.) Not that the book ignores such misanthropy, but I think that the scientific explanations are useful in separating the biological need for isolation versus wanting alienation because of philosophical views. Scalpel or sledgehammer?
Barbara: "
"I don't think that fear is the only possible source of introversion, but it is a very common source..."
I agree, see above.
"[N]or do I think that there is something wrong -- anything but -- with enjoying one's own company. I have always needed a great deal of time alone, and my finding greater enjoyment in social encounters did not change that."
Again, that's why I recommended the book, because if one understands the difference between being biologically introverted, as opposed to shy or antisocial, one can understand that their is no need to avoid social situations, and friends can understand that the introvert is not avoiding them because of any perceived superiority issues. (As opposed to a chosen introvert who really does think he is better (or worse) than everybody else.


Post 36

Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 10:01amSanction this postReply
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Joe,

There is -- or was -- a professor emeritus at Harvard who used to be head of their psychology program, named Jerome Kagan.

Kagan's focus of research was on neonatal temperaments in infants -- pre-existing demeanors that seem to be already in place before any societal conditioning could be responsible for them.  In other words, his work was an attempt to address the "nature versus nurture" debate.

Kagan was particularly interested in the phenomenon of innate shyness in infants, and how it was linked to innate hyperarousal and too-easy overstimulation.  He also addressed positive and negative consequences that unchecked shyness could have on a developing infant's life, and how certain harmful aspects of it might be untrained.

If you have access to a college library -- or perhaps even a dogpile.com search would help -- you could locate some of his writings.    


Post 37

Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 10:11amSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Orion. I have heard his name, and work in a college bookstore; will add that to the reading list!

Post 38

Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 5:00amSanction this postReply
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Orion, You said: "And rejection? Who should fear rejection, except those who do not know what they really stand for,"
Right on!

There still seems to be a somewhat negative interpretation of Introvert going on here. Even by stating that it is out of fear there seems to be some inferiority to it. Fear of society to me would represent a stopping of living.

Meanwhile as Joe puts it "I just find myself more energized alone..."

This is where my true introversion is based. While I do enjoy the company of my friends and have no issues opening up to them, they must go through my rigorous judgement [not to be cofused with judging] filter first.

Anyway, I think that what we are all getting at here is that Introversion is not a negative personality trait but rather a difference way of focusing ones energy.

Thanks,
JML

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Post 39

Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 10:16amSanction this postReply
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O, Again thank you. I am quite frustrated because I am still under moderation so my posts take a while to hit the page. However, I have now three children and that is exactly what I studied in each of them [free lance science, nothing more liberating] and there are definately some innate differences in regarding Introversion and extroversion again seems to be a relationship to objects not a personality trait.

I will have to wait to see my kids grow up in order to verify my little study but I will definately do the reading on this Kagan in the meantime.

Thanks again,
JML


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