Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On Hermits: Random Amusement

I'm gonna buy a bunch of hermit crabs and make 'em live together. People will say, "Are those hermit crabs?" I'll say, "Not anymore. They're mingling crabs."

by Demetri Martin


Friday, July 16, 2010

On Not Regretting Isolation

I was watching an old Nova show about Einstein this evening -- a recent Netflix shipment -- and the actor portraying him spoke a butchered version of something actually written by Einstein. I looked it up later and I'm copying it here. I like the part about not regretting the isolation that is a consequence of withdrawing into oneself. There's an upside to being an introvert; in fact, there are many.

The quote:

My passionate interest in social justice and social responsibility has always stood in curious contrast to a marked lack of desire for direct association with men and women. I am a horse for single harness, not cut out for tandem or teamwork. I have never belonged wholeheartedly to any country or state, to my circle of friends, or even to my own family. These ties have always been accompanied by a vague aloofness, and the wish to withdraw into myself increases with the years.

Such isolation is sometimes bitter, but I do not regret being cut off from the understanding and sympathy of other men. I lose something by it, to be sure, but I am compensated for it in being rendered independent of the customs, opinions, and prejudices of others, and am not tempted to rest my peace of mind upon such shifting foundations.

written by Einstein, 1930


Monday, July 12, 2010

Everyone Else Knows What's Best

Earlier, I was having a conversation that reminded me of some things that I've dealt with as an introvert (though these things are applicable to other areas of my life, as well). We were talking about work, about how her boss wanted to "promote" her. Though promotion was against her wishes, the boss was sure that it was the best route for her "growth" within the company. She disagreed; she wanted to grow, but not in that direction. The boss always knows what's best, though.

Why is it that everyone else always knows what's best for us?

It just reminds me so vividly of my younger days, and of how often I was preached to -- by friends and family and even strangers -- about growing out of my quietness. It was prescribed as the best thing for me, despite my arguments. I was perfectly happy staying just as I was, except for the fact that it seemed to bother everyone else. If they weren't bothered, then why would they be trying to change me? And if being quiet was good, then why would it make everyone uncomfortable? Of course there must be something questionable in it!

"I like being quiet," I'd say.

"Yeah, but you'll grow out of that. You'll see. And here's what you need to do to get started ..."

I didn't want to grow out of it. But I felt like I was the only one who didn't see my introversion as a problem, like I was the only one who didn't feel like I needed help.

How could anyone know what's best for me, though? I didn't even know what was best for myself. I'm sure no one else knew what was good for themselves, either; yet, we're all so quick to prescribe.

Most of the time -- though maybe not always -- I think we're the only ones who know best. I think we have a better idea than anyone else. Then again, maybe growing up as an introvert has simply made me suspicious of everyone else's opinions.

Who knows?


Shyness Is Not Introversion

I never meant to make it an issue when I began writing this blog, but apparently it's something I feel strongly about. Going through my old blog entries, I've found that I repeat myself a lot on this topic. I often make a point of stating that I'm not shy, and that being introverted does not mean being shy. They're two different things.

Realizing that I keep repeating myself, I try to avoid the subject. But recently I came across an article that illustrates why it bothers me so much.


The article, which is supposedly reporting science, does so in such a non-scientific way as to make everything in it suspect. It not only lumps introversion and shyness together, but it also places all people into just two categories (as if there are only two). I quote:

"Biologists are beginning to agree that within one species there can be two equally successful "personalities."

Really? Is that what biologists agree on? There can only be two successful personalities?


While there might be something to gain from the study itself (also from similar books, such as The Highly Sensitive Person book from a few years back), articles like this are best ignored. Shyness is not introversion, and people who are "sensitive" do not have only one of two successful personalities.

But you decide for yourself.