Monday, January 20, 2014

Freedom for the Introverts

On the Myers-Briggs I consistently score as an INTJ - introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging. I'm not all that introverted (60% introverted, 40% extroverted) but I'm introverted enough that being around too many people drains me, and I have to be alone, and sometimes prefer it.

I also know the most destructive people in the world are stupid extroverts. I see them as the Blood-Thirsty Sheeple. I also know that smart introverts understand stupid extroverts far better than stupid extroverts understand smart introverts. Actually, I don't think extroverts have the ability to understand introverts.

On the Enneagram (far simpler than the Myers-Briggs) I score as a Type 5 - the Investigator (which has a lot of overlap with the INTJ). Not so incidentally, I once knew a woman who was bipolar, and when I looked up "bipolar" on the Enneagram I found it was the disintegrated form of the Entertainer, Type 7. She told me it was true and "didn't tell me something I didn't already know."

The disintegrated form of the Investigator is the Schizoid, who withdraws from everything and has got to the point they can't tolerate other people. In Japan these people are known as "Hikikomori," and it's got to the point they are a huge problem.

Hikikomori rarely leave the house and sometimes don't leave their rooms, sometimes for decades. "The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare defines hikikomori as people who refuse to leave their house and, thus, isolate themselves from society in their homes for a period exceeding six months," states Wikipedia.

It also states "Hikikomori is similar to the social withdrawal exhibited by some people with pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs), a group of disorders that include Asperger syndrome, PDD-NOS and 'classic' autism.'" Also stated is that they show signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Hmmm....introverted, "Aspergers" (whatever the hell that is), PTSD, independent thinking. Interesting, huh?

Michael Zielenziger's, in his book, Shutting out the Sun: How Japan Created its Own Lost Generation, who said the Hikikomori syndrome is closely related to PTSD, wrote the hikikomori he interviewed "had discovered independent thinking and a sense of self that the current Japanese environment could not accommodate."

I've noticed the same thing in the U.S. Our culture has a hard time assimilating intelligent introverts who don't fit in. Introverts especially don't fit in when younger and in public schools, which for many of them is a horror. Most specially in middle school, which for them is a kind of hell. Of course, when you're in hell, you end up with PTSD.

What we are dealing with consists of at least two problems: no meaningful rites of passage from child to adult, and no meaning, importance and community for the introverted (they have to make their own). If they don't, this can, at the worst, lead to some sort of anomie - ennui.

I've often thought the misfits should be identified, removed from their damaging environments and educated with their own. They'd flourish, which many of them are not doing now.

Schools, ideally, are supposed to identify a student's inborn talents and develop them. They do a good job is certain cases and in others they fail completely.

And it certainly doesn't help when the smart and the dumb are mixed together in schools. At 12 I was mystified as to why I was in school with some of the people I encountered. I gained nothing from knowing them.

I will predict that as the schools become more fascist/socialist we are going to lose more and more people. They'll range from being stupid violent crime-ridden extroverts (who won't want to work or can't word because there are no jobs for them) to smart introverts who say the hell with it, chuck it out the window, and withdraw.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I've been bemoaning this " introverts understand stupid extroverts far better than stupid extroverts understand smart introverts. Actually, I don't think extroverts have the ability to understand introverts." recently. You've said a lot of things in this post that I've been saying. Thank you very much!!!

Incidentally, I'm also an INTJ (high on all letters except the J) and libertarian. It's frustrating to live in a world where everything goes the extroverts' way. Their social demands and insistence on being joined-at-the-hip in the workplace is something that I've been trying to get people to question (as a telework advocate) in the world of work. Extroverts practically cry, "But we need face-to-face interaction! We'll be missing all the subtle contextual cues!"

Me: Oh really??? You need to see my face for all of 40-some hours per week? The thing is, when I'm focused and my face is buried in work, you're not going to see my face very much even when we're in the same room! Ok, how about this, how about we introverts work in a way that suits us best while you extroverts herd together as always and we don't impose our needs on each other... Too radical for them huh?