This brings up one of my long cherished armchair beliefs that cultural and political power leans a certain way because of certain types of personalities and how society rewards those types – The Power of Introverts: A Manifesto for Quiet Brilliance
Do you enjoy having time to yourself, but always feel a little guilty about it? Then Susan Cain’s “Quiet : The Power of Introverts” is for you. It’s part book, part manifesto. We live in a nation that values its extroverts – the outgoing, the lovers of crowds – but not the quiet types who change the world. She recently answered questions from Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.
[ ]…Cook: How does this cultural inclination affect introverts?
Cain: Many introverts feel there’s something wrong with them, and try to pass as extroverts. But whenever you try to pass as something you’re not, you lose a part of yourself along the way. You especially lose a sense of how to spend your time. Introverts are constantly going to parties and such when they’d really prefer to be home reading, studying, inventing, meditating, designing, thinking, cooking…or any number of other quiet and worthwhile activities.
According to the latest research, one third to one half of us are introverts – that’s one out of every two or three people you know. But you’d never guess that, right? That’s because introverts learn from an early age to act like pretend-extroverts.
Cook: Is this just a problem for introverts, or do you feel it hurts the country as a whole?
Cain: It’s never a good idea to organize society in a way that depletes the energy of half the population. We discovered this with women decades ago, and now it’s time to realize it with introverts.
This also leads to a lot of wrongheaded notions that affect introverts and extroverts alike. Here’s just one example: Most schools and workplaces now organize workers and students into groups, believing that creativity and productivity comes from a gregarious place. This is nonsense, of course. From Darwin to Picasso to Dr. Seuss, our greatest thinkers have often worked in solitude, and in my book I examine lots of research on the pitfalls of groupwork.
Generally when we think about history and great upheavals, revolutions, great shifts in culture we blame fascism, anarchism, monarchical rule, communism, some political theory. Let’s pretend for a moment those political labels do not exist. We get down to the human capacity behind them. All those movements and their iterations were generally driven by personalities. They had to have some support at crucial stages to succeed even if temporarily. That support has been, in modern times especially, called the cult of personality. What did the personalities that lead the movements, swayed so many people, generally cause considerable loss of life and economic calamity have in common. They were all narcissistic extroverts ( to be fair to extroverts, obviously not all extroverted personalities become zealots). I’m most familiar with politics in the U.S. so U.S. politicians make the best example for me. Very few are introverts ( being an introvert does not automatically equal virtuous just as extroverted personalities are always bad) are in U.S. politics. Off the top of my head the only example I can think of by name is Bernie Sanders(I-VT). I’ve seen some Congressional representatives that seem somewhere in the middle. Maybe not our culture so much because so many writers – novelists, script writers for movies and television, artists, poets, song writers, but our politics seem lacking in the front line participation of introverts. In the article they make a distinction between shy and introverted, though acknowledge they are frequently related. So other than voting, now do we get more introverts – the thoughtful creative, insightful, outside the box minds to participate in how public policy is directed. I do have this perhaps over sunny view that there are Darwins, Dr. Seusses, David Foster Wallaces, Mary Shelleys and Barbara McClintocks out there that want nothing to do with the circus that is American politics. All the examples seemed to have participated as average citizens do. I doubt any of them could be elected to public office in the U.S. Not so much because of what they stood for, but because if they could have been convinced to run they would have run on their ideas not how folksy they could be on TV. While many introverts are more than capable of the memorable quip, that is different from selling yourself with bumper sticker style soundbites. As I am writing I am thinking that there are many introverts behind the scenes in campaigns – some political consultants and speech writers tends towards introversion. So my coffee-house theory admittedly has lots of holes. Though I am thinking not just about front line leadership, introverts would be good for the nation in terms of backing away from the dominance of the loud and angry narrative perpetuated by Hate pundits on AM radio and Fox. I get the impression from talking to and reading introverts they have lots of good ideas but those ideas get drowned out in a political culture where he who yells the loudest wins.
the power of introverts. will anyone get the visual irony.
Good example in the latest science news of what I was talking about in trying to see over hills at the future of physics – Physicists Squeeze X-Ray Laser Light Out of Atoms
The new atomic x-ray laser won’t replace the LCLS and other accelerator-based systems. In fact, to make the atomic laser work, researchers blasted neon atoms with x-rays from the LCLS itself. Still, the results mark a conceptual triumph, fulfilling a 45-year-old prediction that such an atomic x-ray laser is possible. “Nobody had done this before, and everybody knew that somebody had to go out and do this,” says Philip Bucksbaum, director of SLAC’s PULSE Institute for Ultrafast Energy Science in Menlo Park, California, who was not involved in the work. “So this is great.”
@SteveMartinToGo Steve Martin
Rescue Etiquette from Mark Twain
In assisting at a fire in a boarding house, the true gentleman will always save the young ladies first—making no distinction in favor of personal attractions, or social eminence, or pecuniary predominance—but taking them as they come, and firing them out with as much celerity as shall be consistent with decorum. There are exceptions, of course, to all rules; the exceptions to this one are:
Partiality, in the matter of rescue, to be shown to:
2. Persons toward whom the operator feels a tender sentiment, but has not yet declared himself.
6. First cousins.
8. Second cousins.
10. Young-lady relations by marriage.
11. Third cousins, and young-lady friends of the family.
12. The Unclassified.
There is a second half entitled Other material in boarding house is to be rescued in the following order: which you’ll have to click over for so I don’t steal all that blogger’s thunder. If you don’t appreciate dark or ironic humor just skip it.
Whether or not you liked the books or movie version this title sequence is astounding: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Done by this special video effects company called Blur.