Sunday, March 24, 2013

Why Public School is Bad for Introverts

I am an introvert. That means I recharge my batteries my being alone. Crowds exhaust me and make me irritable (more than once I have told women I'm with in shopping malls, "We have to leave right now"), and it means I am imaginative (a "daydreamer").

And when I say right now I mean right now. I am overwhelmed by the lights and noise and motion of the people. It is physically painful for me.

So you can imagine how good of a fit I was in public school. The same bad fit applies to all introverts in public school.

I consider public schools to be a weird combination of minimum-security prison and daycare center. It's also about as close to the military as you will find outside the military. The march/sit/march structure bored me to the point I did little but daydream and do the minimum amount of homework.

I had a lot more fun, and learned a lot more, by wandering around alone on weekends and looking at tadpoles and then checking out books on frogs at the library. I remember what I learned on my own vividly but about the only thing I remember from public schools is learning readin', writin' and arithmetic. I could have dropped out in fourth grade for all the good school did me after that.

Being an introvert doesn't mean I'm unsociable or don't have friends or don't like to go out. I could have been a stand-up comedian or magician. But I have to be alone to charge my batteries. Extroverts gain energy from other people, which is why I refer to the dumb ones (which is most of them) as the Herd/Ants/Sheeple/Borg.

Introverts validate from within; extroverts from without. That's why introverts are the ones who came up with the words "freedom" and "liberty" and why so many extroverts don't really know what they mean and believe the government is Mommy and Daddy and is supposed to take care of their dumbass immature selves.

As weird as it sounds, I felt lonely and cut off in public schools. Now on the weekends and after school I didn't. So for those who say public schools are for "socialization," then why did it not work on me? Why does it not work on any introvert?

It's because we're not allowed to be what we are. School is ideally supposed to identify your talents and develop them. It doesn't do that bad of a job for low-IQ extroverts, i.e. athletes (because extroverts make up 80% of the population), but it does a horrible job on introverts.

To be happy you have to have meaning and community. To me school didn't have any meaning at all. It was without purpose to me. And the community was the ones I created with my friends. The fake community of "school spirit" didn't do anything for me, or my friends, for that matter.

For me school was close to solitary confinement. And that is why is some ways I acted out. In middle school, for example, I was a class clown. It alleviated the boredom and meaningless, as did the daydreaming. The partying and drugs and booze on the weekends was great help, too.

Were I in high school today I know exactly what I would be - a computer-programming, game-playing, pot-smoking, science-fiction-reading weekend-partying hippie-nerd. One with a streak of humor sometimes vicious and sometimes punny. In other words, the kind that created the computer revolution.

Extroverts do not understand introverts because of their low-to-moderate IQs and their lack of imagination (which means they lack empathy, i.e., the ability to put themselves in someone else's place). Introverts understand extroverts because they are smarter and more imaginative. I use a saying of a friend of mine: the smarter understand the stupid a lot more than the stupid understand the smart. Or: introverts understand extroverts a lot better than extroverts understand introverts.

What's probably the most dangerous thing of all is that extroverts, being 80% of the population and lacking smarts and empathy, unwittingly try to destroy introverts under the guise of "helping them."

Clearly, introverts and extroverts speak different languages. Sometimes I think they're almost different species.


dana said...

I think there is another aspect of intro/extro-version that is left out and more important than "recharging alone".

introverts tend to form their "self esteem" and self image almost wholly from within, basing it on accomplishment of tasks and skills they set for themselves, mastery of a subject or activity to a level they judge for themselves and autodidacticism. they tend not to be status whores or particularly ambitious for the sake of ambition. if introverts rise to the top of their field or hobby its usually a relic of the internally measured mastery they use to drive their self esteem, not an attempt to impress the group.

extroverts use the Other as a mirror, constantly gauging their status and value by what they see reflected back to them from the "group". they have no internal gauge for self worth or internal mechanism for generating self-esteem, nothing they do think or accomplish matters unless the group witnesses evidence of it AND approves.

because school socialization is a big giant extro status whoring, external achievemment reflecting, lowest common denominator for mastery clusterfuck, the intro tends to outstrip his clas sby leaps and bounds and ends up not only monumentally irritated by having to be immersed in social ritual alllll day, but indescribably unchallenged and bored as well.

Unknown said...

That is why I refer to extroverts as the Herd/Ants/Sheeple/Borg.

Gwen said...

I like to use the analogy of a car without an alternator to explain introversion.

In the past our culture was primarily formed by introverts, because we were the ones who made the entertainment. We were, and are, the writers, artists, and composers - the creative, but solitary arts. It is with the rise of movies and television that extroverts have started to play more of a role in shaping culture. Acting has always drawn extroverts. Creating a play, movie, or TV show is a group effort.

The shift in emphasis has brought about predictable and detrimental changes. This is not likely to change, sadly.

Unknown said...

Introverts - individual values.

Extroverts - group values.

So guess who are the creators and who are the destroyers?

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