I have decided that not only short stories and poetry will appear, but also essays which encourage Imagination and empathy.
Introversion Demoted in Society
Defined under psychology in the Collins English Dictionary, ‘introversion’ is, “the directing of interest inwards towards one’s own thoughts and feelings rather than towards the external world or making social contacts.” Defined in the Merriam Webster English Dictionary, ‘introversion’ is, “the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life.” These definitions are incorrect, as well as many others which deviate from the true definition of ‘introversion’: someone who is in the state of ‘introversion’ is “…someone who gains energy by turning inward and loses energy in stimulating environments” (Chung). If a person is more introverted than extroverted on the personality scale, their introversion does not indicate that they are shy or withdrawn, or selfish and narcissistic, being only interested in what they alone are thinking and feeling (Hidden, 9). People of Western Society can consistently misunderstand and have misconceptions about who an introverted person is; this can cause negative effects on the person, and their environment, when their significance is negatively judged; once their significance is negatively judged, the introversion in a person’s brain can cause the person to attempt to change their brain to obey society’s accepted standards.
Why don’t some people seem to engage in ‘small talk’? Why do they seem to be distracted, or not to care about the conversation? Why do they make several pauses when they speak, or are taciturn, seeming to reserve their ideas only for themselves? Why do they seem aloof—sometimes almost arrogant? What are they keeping secret? Do they not want to speak because of their ineptness at conversation, or timidness? Why do they seem rude? More extroverted people may experience the feeling of frustration when they are in the presence of an introverted person. More extroverted people may perceive an introverted person to be an obscurity, because they have difficulty with understanding why the introverted person seems ‘quiet.’ Because extroverted people think by speaking, it is difficult to understand that introverted people must think before they speak (Rauch). Introverted people have a separate, longer, and slower thought process circuit in their brains from extroverted people, which they must use to retrieve the words to speak (Introvert, 69, 74-75). Any length of silence while an introverted person’s brain is working seems to be deemed inadequate by society. “Westerners value boldness and verbal skill” (Cain, 189). It is because of Sigmund Freud that Western Society has accepted his negative connotations of ‘introversion’: ‘narcissistic,’ and ‘being too preoccupied with the self’ (Hidden, 9).
Western Society has created a social paradox for the introverted person. An introverted person needs solitude for concentration, time to be diligent with their work, to be asked in an undemanding way to share their ideas, and to not have to multi-task or be interrupted. Introverted people need something called ‘alone time,’ in which they may use the circuit that their brain favours to feel good (by thinking and feeling), and to regain their energy (Introvert, 193, 19, 67). Yet, if to withdraw from an overstimulating environment because of this need to regain energy is equivalent to rudeness, they are weak. And then, if an introverted person is made to stay in this environment, because of society’s standards, they may be seen to look tired and be quiet, which is also equivalent to rudeness: they are still weak (Chung, 30-31). Many introverted people are denied ‘alone time’ by brick and mortar school, and many other overstimulating environments (Burruss). People with the whim of an extroverted ideal deny everything introverted people need to socially function, and then condemn them to unhappiness when they see that they cannot (Chung, 6-7).
In Western society, everyone is expected to be the extroverted ideal: They should become friends with everyone that they meet. They should spend all of their time committing themselves to socializing. They should never be quiet, or this indicates a strain in being social. And, they should appreciate that the more noise that there is in an environment, the better, as it indicates more activity. Western society’s sharp edges which limit what is socially accepted can cause an introverted person to have mental pain, in the form of anxiety. When people who judge a person with the extroverted ideal recoil at the thought of introversion—when they wrinkle their noses in distaste—when they have perceived ‘introversion’ in a person as a weakness, the introverted person may feel rather like a bad smell when these people who judge with the extroverted ideal exclude them from a conversation, or draw attention to their ‘faults’ (Chung, 3-6). Most introverted people are sensitive: they can be sensitive to other peoples’ needs and feelings, and being treated as if they are socially incorrect only magnifies a feeling of inadequacy, or guilt. If an introverted person feels that they are being disapproved of, their self-esteem can lower significantly, causing them to become shy, withdrawn, and quiet (Introvert, 54).
If a person is ‘introverted,’ this definition does not merely indicate their personality, or behaviour: it means that their brain is introverted, as the way in which their brain works requires that they use introverted thought processes. “Brain research has uncovered that the brain has separate pathways for different neurotransmitters.” These biochemicals which communicate with nerve cells incline one’s behaviour. Each neurotransmitter that the blood carries in the introverted brain takes its course in separate, more intricate circuits from extroverted processes. The main communicator chemical of the shorter extroverted circuit of thoughts is Dopamine: “…a powerful neurotransmitter most closely identified with movement, attention, alert states, and learning.” Introverted people must not be exposed to too much Dopamine, and extroverted people must not be exposed to too little, or they will feel imbalanced, and lacking in energy. Because more blood takes its course through the introverted brain than the extroverted brain, the introverted brain is susceptible to an increased amount of internal stimulation. In any area of the body, the more blood that there is, the more sensitive that the area is: the introverted brain is susceptible to being more sensitive than the extroverted brain. Because of this sensitivity, introverted people may become overstimulated with the neurotransmitter Dopamine, if they are excessively exposed to an environment in which there are loud noises, and conversation in which they must engage. Instead of Dopamine’s route, the introverted brain predominantly favours Acetylcholine’s longer route, which communicates perceptual learning, and calmness, and is connected to memory storage and dream processes. The introversion in a person’s brain cannot, and should not be attempted to be corrected. Introverted traits are in one’s genes. If the introversion in a person’s brain was somehow changed to make them mainly use an extrovert’s circuit, the person would no longer be who they were. Introverted people do not need help to become more sociable: they only need for others to understand them (Introvert, 66-75).
Society should respect and acknowledge introverted peoples’ needs, so that they do not suffer the negative effects of physical stress, mental anxiety, and depression. They should not be denied solitude, and be expected to be more extroverted than who they are. Dr. Seuss has said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Introverted people should never expect themselves or be expected to change.
Burruss, Jill D., and Lisa Kaenzig. “Introversion: The Often Forgotten Factor Impacting the Gifted.” SENG, SENG, 12 Oct. 2016, sengifted.org/introversion-the-often-forgotten-factor-impacting-the-gifted/. Accessed 24 Feb. 2017.
Cain, Susan. Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. New York, Broadway Paperbacks, 2013.
Chung, Michaela. The Irresistible Introvert: Harness the Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World. New York, NY, Skyhorse Publishing, 2016.
“Introversion.” Collins English Dictionary, Collins, http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/introversion. Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.
“Introversion.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/introversion. Accessed 7 Mar. 2017.
Laney, Marti Olsen. The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child: Helping Your Child Thrive in an Extroverted World. New York, Workman Pub., 2005.
Laney, Marti Olsen. The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. New York, Workman Pub., 2002.
Rauch, Jonathan. “Caring for Your Introvert.” The Atlantic Online, Mar. 2003, pp. 1–3. firstname.lastname@example.org/Introvert/Caring%20for%20Your%20Introvert.pdf. Accessed 24 Feb. 2017.
Geisel, Theodore Seuss. “37 Dr. Seuss Quotes That Can Change the World.” Bright Drops, Bright Drops.Com, 21 May 2016, brightdrops.com/dr-seuss-quotes. Accessed 24 Mar. 2017.
I become very zealous when I feel that Imagination is being oppressed. I am rather an introverted person. Sometimes I feel Imagination running around inside of my head, snatching away into a bag and taking all of my thoughts safely to the unconscious part of my mind, when life coldly demands of it a quick, thoughtless response, and when there is none tries to retribute it with scorn. I understand that it must run off like that to protect me–to keep my spirit from turning into a robot–but I wish that it would not leave me hopeless in the dark at the sign of danger. Lately modern society has been scorning me for overthinking, which sends my imagination fleeing. This is my zealous response.