Friday, April 26, 2013

Relating To Loners

Years ago, I came across the book Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto, and I fell in love with it immediately. I responded strongly to it, especially to the introduction. Whenever I reread the introduction, I feel my heart leap and my eyes well up.

But I wonder if my response is helped out by my tendency to transpose concepts. Although the book is written for loners, I find it easy to replace the word "loner" with the word "introvert" in my mind's eye, and the feelings described in the book still pertain to me. They are still incredibly accurate. They describe how I've felt for most of my life in a way that I could never have said better. All it takes is to transpose "introvert" for "loner", two concepts that are not equivalent. Granted, the book is also incredibly wrong-headed about many things; yet, it still manages to get to the core.

I wish everyone would read the introduction to this book. It's powerful. Here are some quotes that I like from it; when necessary, I've transposed the aforementioned words:

The premise, the presumption implicit in any crowd, from concert hall to kaffee klatsch to office party, that shared experiences are the only ones that count. The only experiences toward which everyone aspires. The only real ones... proved -- what? That anything worth doing is not done alone.

This way to be, this way we are, gets us into trouble. We are a minority, the community that is anticommunity. The culture that will not on principle join hands. Remote on principle from one another -- this is our charter and we would not have it any other way -- each of us swims alone through a sea of social types. Talkers. Lunchers. Touchers.

We form a chorus, but the oddest chorus in the world, a willful antichorus. In saying entirely different things, usually not saying them aloud to anyone at all, we are saying a lot.

Does it matter how I got this way? Not if I am happy. I am. [Introverts] need no more to be cured, nor can be cured -- the word is gross in this usage -- than gays and lesbians. Or people who love golf.

I find myself nodding in agreement when I reread the introduction. Society doesn't always get introverts, but we will thrive in our own ways. We'll figure out that it's worth being ourselves, even if it takes a bit more work to get there.


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