Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Introvert Posts: Bloggiest of the Blogspot, or Do We Have a Book Proposal?

Readership of my Blogspot recently surged as people from a site I wouldn't normally read came over to read more about the life of a fully self-accepting, if not "militant," introvert. My guess is that they're about half lurkers and half haters from the U.S., and, I don't know if the mix would be similar, from Russia.

Based on what they're reading and bookmarking, here's a short list of the posts that say most about Embracing My Introversion.

First of all, here's my best effort so far to explain my ground rules for expressing dissent not hate:


Attempts to confuse healthy introversion with any disease condition seem dishonest and immoral to me. (In fact, brain scans show that healthy introvert brains show more activity and development in different places than "autistic spectrum disorder" brains, which hypertrophy in dysfunctional ways. Some autistic patients, like Temple Grandin, also happen to be HSP introverts. Others, like Donna Williams, are actually extroverts with a disability that keeps their natural temperament from developing.)


Being an introvert does not mean being a hermit, either, although that's one of the frugal choices I've often made as a penniless widow. In fact, embracing my introversion and working it has sometimes functioned as a social asset.


The key was to give up any attempt to be like, or be liked by, the bullies who harass introverts. That doesn't mean hating them; it means letting them spew hate if they want to disgrace themselves, and celebrating ourselves and one another.


It's always important to emphasize that introversion is a healthy natural trait (or a mix of more than one such trait), a positive desire to spend time doing things we do alone, rather than having anything to do with fear:


Introverts may seem to do some of the same things extroverts do when they're sick, when we're healthy. In fact I note with some amusement that I feel much "more outgoing" when I'm ill.


"Not liking people" is a symptom of overcrowding, or deprivation of solitude...I suspect that's also true for extroverts, just another thing their brains aren't completely wired enough to notice.


But, although introverts naturally enjoy being alone sometimes and being with friends sometimes, and naturally have a solid sense of morality, being around hateful extroverts can corrupt these qualities. The stereotype of the "crusty" senior who turns out to be very kind to some juniors, not others, has a solid base in reality.


The base for introvert social etiquette is respect. Love and intimacy build up gradually over a period of time when people accept the fact that they've not built up love and intimacy. Introverts bond by sharing interests in doing something for which our skills and talents are complementary enough that we work in synergy. When we do bond, we tend to be loyal and committed. (Some introverts are partial to the old words "kith and kin." Your kin are the other descendants of your known physical ancestors, toward whom, as an introvert with a well developed conscience, you feel loyalty. Your kith are the people who aren't your kin but think and feel as you do, toward whom you feel loyalty and, sometimes, passionate love.)


As Jim Babka and friends have discussed at downsizedc.org, respect is also the basis for Libertarian politics. However, although introverts have probably felt some attraction to Ayn Rand's ideas, even Nathaniel Branden came to criticize those ideas...


Embracing my introversion did eventually steer me away from regular churchgoing, though not away from being a Christian. (I considered linking, here, a reference to a book in which Joyce Sequichie Hifler mentions sometimes going to church services and sometimes spending her days of rest experiencing "the personal spirituality of the Indian." I self-identify as Irish-American, because a slight majority of my ancestors came from Ireland--mostly in the eighteenth century, as Protestants--and because I inherited a specifically Irish problem gene. Most of my non-Irish ancestors came from England, Scotland, France, or Germany, but at least two belonged to the Cherokee Clan of the Swamp Vegetables, the Ani Godagewi, which explains the name of our Message Squirrel's e-mail account. Godagewi didn't mean "carrot," nor did it mean "reed," although a Scottish ancestor's being called Reid prompted my ancestors to "translate" it into "Reed." It actually referred to plants with edible or medicinal roots. So my roots in the soil around an old Cherokee border settlement run deep. My father's black-haired, either gray- or brown-eyed, either ruddy- or coppery-skinned relatives have been active "Bible Christians," for whom churchgoing was optional, for almost three hundred years. Cherokee culture, like most traditional cultures, encouraged introvert behavior in this and many other ways.)


The social manners of self-accepting introverts can sometimes be confused with the social manners of aristocrats from more "conservative," feudal or semi-feudal countries.


Actually, the hereditary trait that most defines introversion is the long brain stem (LBS) that allows introverts to process thoughts at some length before those thoughts arouse any noticeable emotional reaction.


(Although Barbara Ehrenreich has claimed to test positive for extroversion, and although I suspect that's still based on learned behavior more than the true nature of any really good writer...here's her analysis of what's wrong with emotional filtering:

http://priscillaking.blogspot.com/2014/10/book-review-bright-sided.html )

A question that's been asked, to which Google has presented this web site as an answer, was "Are introverts more right-wing?" Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism contains documentation that introverts should distrust a "progressive" left wing that first tried to "liberate" extroverts from the repression all viable traditional societies had imposed on them, normalize extrovert manners, and reshape introverts...keep in mind that these were the same teachers who believe that if they hit the left hand with the ruler, or tied it to the desk, all children would learn the "right" way to write, with the right hand. Anyway, here's a rumination on how my introversion shaped my choice of candidates at this stage of National Election 2016.


I think all introverts should be able to find some political common ground on issues like privacy:


Over and above other issues, I think all introverts should become conscious of ourselves as introverts and of discrimination against us as introverts. (For example, editors should recognize that things like "It's nice to smile and act friendly even toward strangers" are bigoted: precise counterparts to "I wash my hands each morning, so very clean and white." I'm not particularly attracted to "victim culture," useful though that seems to be for some people faced with such blatantly judgmental stereotypes. Let's just say that, if you want my respect, you can learn to correct the hatespeech. Try "It's regrettable that some people feel a need to demand attention from strangers, but I do, so very very much, please, oh please.")


Essential reading:

Arons, Elaine. The Highly Sensitive Person et seq.: www.hsperson.com

Laney, Marti Olsen. The Introvert Advantage. http://hiddengiftsoftheintrovertedchild.com

Sowell, Thomas. Late-Talking Boys. www.tsowell.com

Cain, Susan. Quiet. www.quietrev.com