Real Life Lessons: Is It Better To Be An Introvert Than An Extrovert?

A child should be seen and not heard. Introverts are rarely the first to get culled in times of group conflict.

Today’s real life lessons for little children: You know when the teacher asks the class a question and you don’t put your hand up to volunteer an answer? That’s instinct and it is what ensured the survival of many a species over the course of history. ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ eliminates the most visible first not those who keep their heads down and who keep their personal agendas to themselves. You can still excel past your peers but you will not be as recognised as others in your lifetime. It has happened many a time in the sciences most notably between Thomas Edison, the extrovert showman of science, and Nikola Tesla who has now become semi-mythologised.

But where in real life history did this apply? Stalin’s purges of course! When he got rid of the best and brightest in Russian society because he considered them a threat to him! Some intelligentsia survived through the sheer instinctive ability to lay low and not promote themselves in such a way that attracted his attention such as the curators at the Hermitage. They protected it’s abstract art collection, which was of course in storage, by citing that none other than Lenin himself had commended the pieces as examples of exemplary art (and thus it was beyond question to consider destroying them in line with the social realism expected of Soviet artwork as Lenin’s opinions were a quasi-deified ‘law’ in the early Soviet society). An extrovert would be unable to do this and ultimately would have ‘disappeared’ under their own power to foreign lands in exile or through government agencies’ enforcement for a sojourn in a Siberian gulag they would never return from.

“But I didn’t come here for lazy generalisation about the Soviet Union” I hear you cry!

Of course not, but it demonstrates a situation where behaviour associated with introversion aided survival albeit via ‘blat’ i.e. blackmarket dealing and knowing the right people in positions of authority (which you could argue required charisma usually associated with the extrovert of society). Ultimately knowing who to trust and not betraying others intentionally, or by having a big mouth, was key to many affiliations. Also it should be said Russians, and perhaps Slavs in general, are not all stony faced xenophobes but, due to their histories, need their trust gained first but then will stick with you through thick and thin. Tough exteriors with a soft centre. Like a particularly luxuriant caramel chocolate bar. Or an egg… yes, they’re good eggs.

Time to do the bullet points as you probably skipped reading the paragraphs…

Introverts will put up with you shit and laugh at your crap jokes – just what everyone wants in a partner though they only ask for world travelling adventurers on dating sites.
• An introvert is not distracted by petty things and can focus on a task. Like a trained army sniper. Like a hypnotised chicken.
They will value interaction. ’SOMEONE’S ACTUALLY SPEAKING TO ME! I DO ACTUALLY EXIST’ they will think.
• Incredibly naïve due to not learning the unwritten, unspoken, ‘rules of society’ at the school of hard knocks/life. Want to borrow something? Sure, of course, no questions asked! Then you need never return the item. Start little by borrowing pens and eventually you will be borrowing cars and squatting in their house, rent free, eating them out of house and home like a loveable little farting gremlin.
People love an underdog. Introverts are underdogs by nature. Eyore is the icon of such in children’s literature. People like Tigger in short bursts but often consider him to be an annoyance. Everything ‘a tigger does best’ turns out to be done badly. People adore Eyore and the house at Pooh Corner was built for him by the others as he was so loved by them despite being a sarcastic and bitter old soul.
If raising an introvert child they will likely not run off and become the subject of news regarding their disappearance. In fact they probably won’t leave your side once their spirit is properly broken and of course due to this they will always fail to have successful relationships as people aspire to partners who improve their station in life which first and foremost requires confidence i.e. extrovert tendencies. Therefore with an introvert child you will have an on hand servant for all occasions for the rest of your life.
They don’t need to be supervised constantly. Stick them in a cupboard for nine months to work and you won’t hear a word of complaint and all the work will be completed anyway without you contacting them once during that entire period. Matilda, Harry Potter, there are many examples of such noble figures in children’s literature they should aspire to be like.
• An introvert, not actively seeking to have their existence validated by others every single moment of the day, will be able to learn new skills quicker if taught properly in a formal situation. If you say jump they don’t ask how high because they already overheard you say what height you desired in a conversation you had earlier in their presence.
• ‘Good Communication Skills’ means that people don’t ignore what you say because you say so little there must some value to it. Except if you say the building is capable of turning into a giant kaiju fighting robot. Then they will either be unsure if you are telling the truth, as you are not one to make general joking banter, or if you are quietly insane and hence there is a reason why people do not speak to you. No the building does transform. It’s the only explaination for it’s design…
An introvert thinks first then speaks. They usually make more constructive points compared to extroverts who adopt a ‘throw everything and see what sticks’ mentality because they ‘work the numbers’. However they will also probably say the boring common sense answers too which an extrovert will have not said as it is obvious and thus admonish them for even wasting their time stating.
An introvert will listen to your problems but there is no onus on you to reciprocate this. Their lives are mostly fantasy in their head, not doing anything actually interesting in the real world as they are so used to sitting in a room alone, so it would be hard to communicate anyway as its all theory. They’re a sounding board for all life’s griefs.
Ultimate team players. Will listen and co-operate with others. Unquestioning cannon-fodder. Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir! Like dunking a hobnob biscuit they just keep going absorbing more and more and want more still without breaking! Challenges are welcomed not moaned about. More, more, more! Masochists to the end!
• Spend so much time imagining all the variables they are over prepared for many things. Introverts are the real world equivalent of Batman!
Easily fade into the crowd. Super spies are not like James Bond but that person who face and name you can’t remember but you know was there for a long time in the place you used to work at but made absolutely no impression on you. Like Harry Palmer played by Michael Caine in the Ipcress File.
As leaders they are the type to bring out the best in individuals as they consider others views, even if they do not agree, as they want the best outcome… but then they are so poor at self-promotion they will not be a leader without a senior staff member noticing, while the extrovert is vocally announcing each minute task they have completed in order to be praised, or by being the founder of the organisation.
To introverts the happiness of others takes precedent over their own desires. They will not be able to communicate this. It is traditionally the Celtic/Gaulish notion of love i.e. if you truly love something let it go / their happiness makes you happy, even if it is with another/ love is free not something to be locked away / etc. Hence the annoyance from locals when all those padlocks were placed on the Pont de Arts Bridge in Paris by foreign visitors. To the locals it was as if the people who did this completely misunderstood the notion of love. Obviously this means introverts are very lonely people who will wind up caring for their parents in their old age as carers while their peers have gone off having families. End of a blood line but then the world is over populated as it is.
• Introverts will suffer multiple small failures rather than single big failures like extroverts leaping in before they look. Easier to cover up and more forewarning before everything goes to hell.
You can push and push an introvert but be aware: they may be a ticking time bomb and you don’t want to be there when they explode! But most introverts internalise their anger and so will suffer depression long before expressing their anger outwardly. So you probably shouldn’t worry at all. In fact if you hate them just start the snowball rolling and the rest of it will take care of itself. Win/win situation.
Very often the heroes in popular stories are introverts with poor communication skills e.g. Mr Darcy of Pride and Prejudice, many of Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti western roles, protagonists in computer games (although in this case they are supposed to be a ‘blank slate’ the player imprints themselves on) and most other action hero roles. Men of action not empty words.
• Ironically though in real life there is a contrast due to the cliché of ‘he was a quiet man, kept to himself…’ regarding murderers in media reports usually the truth is that the person involved was very socially skilled and highly active in their community thereby gaining peoples’ unquestioning trust which they go on to later betray. The most famous and, in a dark way, ‘successful’ serial killers like Ed Gein or Ted Bundy were highly socially skilled sociopaths not introverts at all but dangerous outsiders in society will always be portrayed as introverts as it goes against the basic nature of Homo Sapiens as a social animal living in co-operative communities.
• They will be prone to sarcasm or constant attempts at humour to express disagreement before stating it bluntly and offending others like an extrovert would.
• More often than not they are likely to have taken the moral lessons learned in childhood and maintained them into adulthood. Stupid things others grow out of like telling the truth, being honest, putting others before yourself or superstitions like not screwing others over otherwise it will come back to you three fold.
Will work to the best of their ability and take personal responsibility for their actions. In fact to such an extent they will be hyper sensitive to any minor criticism and likely offer to commit seppuku (also known as hara-kiri) at a moment’s notice to retain the team’s honour. Paranoia and an ever present dread of criticism will likely only aid in motivating they to provide only the highest level of service.
Will work with anyone. Even the most antisocial and aggressive people without uttering a word of complaint. Again may lead them to internalising and self-destructive behaviour but then there are plenty of other people you can employ to replace them aren’t there?
‘Hell is other people’ – Introverts can and probably will prefer working alone for the most part but having people to speak to will remind them they are disposable and ensure their compliance. You may be lucky and they actually get on with the people they work with. Anyway you play it it’s a win/win situation with introverts.

If your child is extrovert and you would prefer an introvert child then you need to do a few things. First break their will. Sit them in silence at meals. Isolate them from other children to ensure their social skills are those of an adult and so they have a hard time acclimatising with people of their own age and generation for the rest of their lives. If they rebel use excess force. You only have to do it once as it will be like a nuclear deterrent. Everyone saw what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and so the atom bomb only ever had to be used once to make sure everyone knew their place despite and the gesturing nuclear powered nations make towards one another. Occupy the child’s time. Get them after school lessons that ensure not only are they indoctrinated into measuring their live via achievement but also during this time you have a bit of peace and quiet for yourself as they are being baby sat. Don’t do anything deemed ‘child friendly’. They are there to serve you. Go to places that don’t cater to children. Insist on sitting around for long periods of time with no activities for them to do. The boredom will make them use their imagination more and more until it overtakes their social skills and they are like a little pack mule you have trundle along after you though of course, like many mules, if you chose to use your introvert child this way they will likely be for all intent and purposes infertile as they will be unable to form successful relationships so do not expect any grandchildren.

This is a satirical companion piece to my previous ‘be extrovert rather than introvert’ entry.

Both have their benefits and their problems. Most people exist somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between the two extremes. Isuppose the stereotype is that extrovert are living life to the full while introverts leads a somewhat tragic existance not achieving their potential.

Regarding the ongoing ear ache saga: Keeping a hot water bottle on my ear for hour upon hour until my ear was bright red has done wonders. Not fully overcome the ailment but leaps and bounds beyond where I was yesterday. At least I can sit vertically and use a laptop this evening.

7 Things You Didn’t know About Me: I am Javert apparently…

I have seen a few people do these ‘7 things you don’t know about me’ challenges on Facebook. Of course no one would ask me as I have a pessimistic mind. I would likely just make up fantastical things to joke it off and reveal nothing of myself or things I consider arbitrary like the fact I carried both a brass statue of Ganesha and some lucky coal from my grandmother in my pocket when doing many sixth form exams. That statue however has been lost somewhere. Nonetheless without Facebook’s restrictions here are some matters to state. Are they totally honest or a bit fabricated? You’ll never know and thus it’s just another layer of mystery about who it is running this on going concern.

1) Empathy over sympathy. I try to be happy. It’s just the natural ebb and flow of life. People who appear forever happy are in someway trying to avoid tackling certain hard matters in their life and potentially setting themselves up for a greater fall in the long run sadly. Prehaps it is because I too easily identify with peoples’ issues when they voice them to me and in some part ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ yet, all too frequently in my case, this means I take the burden of that person’s issues upon myself whether I can help or not. Sometimes people just want someone to listen and I would like to think I am good at this though I am not the person they wish they were speaking to.

2) I am very weary of people who immediately, upon a first encounter, use terms of familiarity if I do not know them personally. For example terms like ‘mate’, ‘butt’ or ‘buddy’. These overly familiar terms are used to make you lower your defenses by suggesting the speaker has an openness and lack of judgemental opinions. However, to me, it is a red flag telling me to be weary as the use of this bluntly ued social skill is intended to achieve something detrimental to myself – namely to make the recipient ‘off guard’ which means you don’t practise cautioun with someone whose intentions may not be that good. Often the people who casually use these terms of address are amongst the most judgemental people I have ever met.

3) ‘Una Furtiva Lagrima’ is my leifmotif. The first time I heard it was on an anime VHS ‘Giant Robo: The Day The Earth Stood Still: Volume 1’ which I bought at a car boot sale many years ago. It was performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and an unnamed tenor. However it originally comes from the comic opera L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti.

It plays during a character’s recollection of how the world wronged his father and deemed him a monster. His father, Von Folgen a senior member of a research facility, was deemed a monster for causing the destruction of a large mass of land during an experiment involving a new power source, the Shizuma Drive, claiming it was flawed and unsafe to be used. He set off a reaction killing him and many of the people involved at the location. At the end of the anime, after the villains, Big Fire composed of the Magnificent Ten and their henchmen, have killed many of the heroes, the International Police Organisation, and have themselves fallen in battle, it is revealed that the Shizuma Drive, which had revolutionised the world and was a universally used power source to the point fossil fuels and nuclear power were obsolete, is in fact truly faulty and dangerous of a world scale. Von Folgen had seen that it would cause a chain reaction within the atmosphere eliminating the ozone within seconds and all life on the planet would be wiped out within minutes at a certain point in the new power source’s use. The villains all along had actually been saving the world the entire time and their methods, while damaging to government facilities as no one believed what they were saying, had been for the greater good compared to the heroes defence of these locations. In the end it was a pyrrhic victory. Giant Robo, the title robot, is revealed to be powered by nuclear energy hence why it and it alone could continue to fight Big Fire during the power black outs. Ultimately in order to stop Von Folgen’s ambition they had to ironically rely on the power sources which they had abandoned. By the end of the series the world has survived but is devastated as their over reliance as left them in a true dark ages while all Von Folgen had desired was for people to embrace this ‘beautiful night’ and find alternative means of power without the risk of annihilation due to greed for success.

In the context of the original aria it is a man in love with a girl who buys an elixir of love, in truth just some wine bought from a conman, and while watching the girl laments that if only she could understand him “Una furtiva lagrima” (A furtive tear) is the romanza from act 2, scene 8 of the Italian opera L’elisir d’amore by Gaetano Donizetti. It is sung by Nemorino (tenor) when he finds that the love potion he bought (in fact a bottle of wine from a conman) to win the heart of his dream lady, Adina, works. Nemorino is in love with Adina, but she is not interested in a relationship with an innocent, rustic man. To win her heart, Nemorino buys a love potion with all the money he has in his pocket. That love potion is actually a cheap red wine sold by a traveling quack doctor, but when he sees Adina weeping, he knows that she has fallen in love with him, and he is sure that the “elixir” has worked.

Eventually it turns out the elixir is not required but in reality it would be a tragedy not a comedy. Nemorino seems to suffer from limerence at this point leading to…

4) I excel in formal situations rather than informal ones but that isn’t a valuable ability in society if you don’t have ‘soft skills’. I prefer one to one communication or better yet small groups. I work well in formal situations more so than informal ones. So ironically in the modern day work enviroment, where everyone refers to each other by first name, I feel a bit uneasy knowing the truth of the matter is that this is a social facade and the underlying authority and division between roles still exists.

I was for a time in charge of mentoring a group of people on interview skills. Most of them were successful in finding jobs within weeks of my mentoring which far exceeded that of the more senior experienced staff. Of course at the end of the probationary period I was let go as I did not follow the rules which made it more of a babysitting job than actually helping people get jobs. If people got jobs quickly I suppose it would somehow negatively affect the organisations profits so ironically doing the correct thing was ‘wrong’ and so I found myself ironically joining the people on this course being held back from achieving what I could. In the end I found employment by myself and so this entire process was pointless. They just let me do my own job search because I didn’t need them. I could tell stories of those who were evil and manipulated this position of power but what is the point. The abusive will always gain power in society but disguise it with token gestures of altruism they make sure people witness and will hold testimony to.

Society idolises the self promoting individual as part of a group. If you even have a passing knowledge of a sport you can identify the main figures in a sports team who are noted as excelling past their comrades however the individual who does not belong is demonised if they act in a manner which flies in the face of cohesive teamwork. A sportsman who was an excellent player decades after their career has ended will still find themselves the centre of societal events even if they treat all those they deem unworthy of their company like dirt. It is only natural such people are valued though they are everything you are told when growing up to detest. Humans are a social animal and any animal which excels is valuable as a ‘good’ example while those that do not otherwise conform are a liability to the group and must be cast out to ensure the group’s security.

Yet ironically modern life has allowed the outsider to survive though not to thrive and thus natural selection has led to many issues. Boo Radley of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ needed to be cared for by his brother yet the modern age could allow him to survive by himself as communication is less and less done face to face. Such figures are left to imagine interaction or to facilitate it only in passing and so ultimately the mind-set is forged that there is no need to invest in others as all things are fleeting. Of course people understand this in some sense but to such people that moment of loss is all the more immediate and so when it comes to pass it is a matter of fact not of loss as it is just the way things are meant to be. It may be due to people finding me a good listener.

As long as you have the right look and good communication skills it doesn’t matter if you are under qualified and shameless in your self promotion because you’re ‘the right sort’ no matter what situation you’re in.

5) I empathise with characters that have high moral standards but are ultimately flawed individuals often leading to their downfall by the end of the story. In a brief way I have always preferred characters with a staunch set of values, be they hero or villain, and willing to die for them though often these figures are presented as isolated people and not people to be viewed in any positive manner. The most well-known example would be Javert from Les Miserables. In the book he is introduced far later than in the musical but in both his view is that the law, as a set marker of morality, is unquestionable and this is reflected in his songs and ultimately his fate as he commits suicide when, depending on your perspective, he either kills himself unable to accept Jean Valjean is a morally good man though in the eyes of the law he is a criminal or, as I prefer to interpret it in line with the novel, he commits suicide because it is the logical end to the matter. In order to capture Valjean would mean prosecuting a man who is noble and doing the right thing but at the same time he is duty bound to uphold the word of the law and the simplest answer is to remove himself from the equation. He is not a villain as the musical audience wish to pigeon hole him. He is one of ‘the retched’ although instead of living in poverty as many of the characters do he is instead retched as he is restrained from doing moral right due to being so steadfastly insistent on maintaining the letter of the law even when presented with situations he knows to be ‘good’ despite not being legal.

He knows Valjean stole bread to feed starving family, he sees the benefits the factory has given to people who Valjean assumes a new identity and he sees the mercy Valjean has during the revolution even being willing to finally allow Javert to take him in so he is not in trouble. For Javert to finally find his creed to be wrong and that upholding the law is morally wrong but letting Valjean go is legally wrong so in order to resolve the matter he removes himself form the equation as stated previously.

This sentiment of upholding a creed no matter what is also present I the film ‘In Bruge’ where Ralph Fiennes as Harry Waters states killing children is something even he, a career criminal, deemed inexcuseable and in fact sparks the events of the film in motion.

At the end of the film he kills a racist midget and believing he is a child keeps to his word and shoots himself in the head stating ‘Got to stick to your principles’.

I notice in a lot of films, especially super hero ones, the hero is excused killing as long as they do not do it directly or are shown to show some partial remorse about doing it. For example in the recent Superman film he snaps General Zodd’s neck. He cries but there were alternatives on how to resolve this matter which the film makers could have taken rather than this route and justify it with ‘…and Supes decided never to kill again’. In Spider-man he leaps out of the way of the Green Goblin’s jet platform allowing the villain (who is clearly mentally ill due to the side effects of an experimental serum), to be impaled on the device while he leaps out of the way. In Batman Begins the hero manipulates the situation so Ra’s Al Ghul is stranded on a train heading into an explosion and doesn’t save him. This is a gritty reboot but nonetheless though Batmasn hasnt dirtied his hands with the actual act he did create the situation in which to kill his adversary. In these cases the hero created the lethal situation, or allowed it to occur, and we are meant to view this as the villain being hoist by their own petard. I find that the media is endorsing some very disturbing hypocrasies in morality in such films which becomes ingrained in the mindset of children. Further examples involve V of ‘V for Vendetta’ who is a vigilante and in the original graphic novel a villainous anti-hero terrorist figure fighting a totalitarian state as the greater evil yet in the film this is dumbed down to him fighting for freedom without any civilian casualties and Evie’s torture/training being presented in a far more sympathetic tone than the original story. It is no surprise that Rorschach from Watchmen is the most liked character though his morality is clearly in the mould of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism which Steve Ditko, one of the founding figures in modern American comic books fully endorsed which led to the creation of Mr A after he and Stan Lee found they had very conflicting views on how the heroes should act.

I think it should be noted that Javert mentions that he was born inside a jail and holds himself to a higher cause having been raised amongst the worst of society (which gives him a jaded perspective). Yet we are to identify with Jean Valjean who has been on the run for years. I suppose Hugo, viewing society at large, and Doestoevsky, viewing the individual’s sense in ‘Crime and Punishment’ conflict here. To Raskalnikov ultimately it is his own sense of righteousness killing the money lender, mistaking it for a morally justifiable action, which results in his personally enforced sense of guilt for the grevious act once he sees how little consequence it has had to the order of wider society. It is no doubt ironic that Raskolnikov compares himself to Napoleon in his belief of justified actions. It was a period of human history where the letter of the law and morality was being challenged and not assumed to be one and the same as it had been for centuries previously.

Porfiry Petrovich, who is the head of the Investigation Department in charge of solving the murders of Lizaveta and Alyona Ivanovna, who, along with Sonya, moves Raskolnikov towards confession operates under very different methods to Javert however. It is interesting to think that Javert, who is authoritarian, is considered a villainous figure or at best an anti-villain so we have figures like 2000AD’s Judge Dredd (based on Javert saying ‘I am the law and the law is not mocked’ and Sylvester Stallone’s role as Dredd infamously repeating the phrase ‘I am the law’) when adapted. However Petrovich, who is more open to using coercion and manipulation to persuade Raskolnikov to confess though he has no actual evidence, is adapted into friendly, almost comical, Columbo who rambles about things for a while before saying ‘…eh, and one more thing…’ before nailing the guilty with a single question about how things do not add up in regards to people’s account of the events.

6) I have not met anyone I was friendly with in school face to face in over ten years. More just by coincidence than anything as many moved to England for their jobs or even as far as Australia or Germany making themselves a life in these other countries. Even then I am not sure what the word ‘friend’ means to people nowadays when they use it. Certainly Facebook and social media with their use of ‘friend’ instead of ‘contact’ or ‘acquaintance’ have changed the context of the word’ common usage. Prehaps it could be said it has even led to misinterpretation by simplifying the language we use day to day causing us to use the word ‘friend’ when we mean an association far less intimate than the common dicitionary definition of friendship which leads to misunderstandings.

7) I find people are more prone to immediately think the worse of others than give them the benefit of the doubt. I find if you are quiet people reveal their true personality as they will assume things about you thus demonstrating their own personal prejudices. It is surprising what you discover about people this way. The extrovert with many friends, in not being able to gauge you, can become hostile as you are, to them, an unknowable element which they rarely encounter thus precieve you immediately as a threat for keeping ‘secrets’ from them when others would merely respect your sense of privacy. Some people may expect to just get their own way and as society has appeared to become more informal with people addressing their superiors by first name, rather than Mr/Mrs/Miss ____, it appears everything is more relaxed when in fact things are perhaps even more formalised in the sense of interaction where people will be forced to do certain things as a favour’ when really it is an instruction. Being in absolute control of the situation is a major hangup for many people it seems. ‘An easy life’ is the mantra I often hear stated. People want an easy life and yet this easy life comes at the expense of worsening the situations or others with ambiguity of where they stand in a group.

‘Good People’ get to do what they wish while adhering to the morality we are told to value in society leads to ostracism for making things difficult for others.

Don’t ‘stand up’ for anything just ‘go with the flow’ is deemed far better despite what we keep telling each other and holding as a virtue in our morality tales through out human history. Let those who wronged you walk away happy because, you know, they haven’t given a second thought to what they did afterwards. They owe you no apology because doing so serves no purpose for them. They’re ‘Good people’. Good people get to use violence. Good people get to demand others adhere to their morality no matter how self serving it is. There is only light and dark in their world. Good and evil. Me and them. ‘Shut up and be happy because you are bringing me down’ they might say at any point in their life from the cradle to the grave. They have a right to demand it. You don’t have a right to challenge them. They have the right to condemn you to others later even if they put on the facade of agreement. Because they’re Good People while you are an outsider even in your own community.

This is nothing but a wolf howling at the moon…