Introvert Strengths: Acting From Principle

Many a person who has prided themselves on “social skills” and “empathy” has totally misinterpreted my moods and motives.

And when they can’t make sense of me tend to assume there is no logic to my actions.

They are confused because I make decisions on principle.

We can get rich, be liked by everyone, have lots of great sex but it all counts for nothing in a few short years.

There’s a question in my head every day: “What’s going to matter?”
It’s a clean razor that slices away the big mound of stuff every “well adjusted” person is supposed care about in one swift swipe.

The terror of social rejection that governs most people’s lives from their earliest memories to the grave suddenly seems like just an inconvenience.

The best thing about living life on principle: it’s far easier.

Let’s say you want to get rich.  The trouble is everyone would like to be rich.  You can predict every plan to get rich has been thought of and tried endlessly. Society just keeps building its defenses until there’s calluses about a mile thick.

To go out and get rich you’re leading a desperate charge up a hill against an implacable fortress.  All the forces in the universe are arrayed in an attempt to stop you from succeeding.
And should you succeed against all the odds, you’ll become the new keeper of the great fortress in charge of keeping your wealth from everyone who wants to take it…

Since I was teen I’ve had a personal saying:  “Most valuable is gold that only glitters for you.”

When you are an introvert outsider who can see the world as if soaring above, it’s easier to think like a strategist and avoid spending all one’s energy attacking where the enemy is strong.

Where I have striven for objectives I arrived at through philosophy, I have seized them with surprisingly little resistance.

Society is not designed to stop people motivated by principle from achieving their goals!
This alone tells me how few are out there on the same path.

Where the status climber is forever fighting against a tight-packed crowd, I, to my delight, find myself unopposed across a vast plains stretching beyond sight.

I cannot say more in public, but I have succeeded better than I could have possibly imagined and live every day knowing certain affairs are in order that will continue even should I die today.  To me, this is infinitely more valuable than sleeping with a supermodel or winning the lottery.

Though I have often been poor, I will not be surprised if eventually I came to control significant wealth.
I seek wealth, just like all the rest, but my motives and methods differ.

I yearn after wealth to provide the minimum I need for a reasonably comfortable independence and every penny beyond that to bend reality to my will.

The immune system of the Collective Tyrant is very strong against Loud climbers who want fancy cars and mansions.
But will it be able to stop someone who acts from purpose?

For someone who acts on principle, all wealth is just a budget to help achieve certain things and the very concepts of ‘rich’ or ‘poor’ mean little.
There is only ‘enough’ or ‘not enough.’

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Plato: Introverts Should Rule

Thousands of years ago, the Greek philosopher, Plato recognized that certain types of people were more prone to deep and objective reflection, more likely to be guided by reason and knowledge than by the passions.

Having made this observation, he wrote of a hypothetical society ruled by a carefully groomed group of thoughtful “philosopher kings” supported by a class of middle management officers in their rule over a vast majority of every day laborers, businessmen, and soldiers.

Today, our first reaction is to scoff at this “elitist” oligarchic vision.  After all, in a world ruled by capitalism it is precisely people of commerce who are enshrined as the rulers and exemplars of “excellence.”

And the result today is exactly the same as Plato observed in a thriving commercial superpower like Ancient Athens:
A society run by business owners for the sake of business becomes a tragic stampede, where all but the strongest are trampled underfoot.
A society run by the workers or by the soldiers, he observed around 400 BC, does no better.

Plato knew the shortcomings of living in an ivory tower and had a healthy respect for those who go out in the real world to conquer, accomplish, make their fortune, or simply produce goods everyone needs, but also understood that these people of action are ruled by the passions and are not the types of people who stop and think.

He understood the state ought to be steered by contemplative introverts who can understand the big picture, act on abstract principles that apply to society as a whole, be able to know and pursue goals larger than themselves, see beyond immediate emotional reactions when engaged in statecraft, negotiating with other powers, making decisions that could get thousands killed or lead to total ruination.

He knew that the bronze souls who know only competition with co-workers, the Joneses across the street, trying to attain what other people think they should have, could never have independence of mind and objectivity to lead the state to anything other than corruption, despotism, rampant poverty and disease, and conquest by neighboring powers under more competent rulers.

Nevertheless, Plato’s final and most challenging test for would-be philosopher kings is very telling…To go out in the world of ordinary people and carve out a place in their harsh environment, struggling to make money, pay the rent, competing for bare survival.
After all the years of special training and testing a philosopher king gets, the final and most important lesson is that high ideas don’t pay the bills, to learn the animal cunning of the natural socialite and the ways of commerce.

I suppose I’m in some place in life like that right now. 
I’ve reflected and studied long enough that I have a vision, now I’m at a point where I must act, go out and try to make what I want to see into reality.

 For the last year, I’ve lived in a major city managing to pay my way, dealing constantly with all types of people, strangers who owe me nothing, trying to get the best deal I can for myself, my wellbeing often hanging on the outcome.

I’ve been forced to learn social skills and street smarts I never developed while spending years in isolation reading books.
I’m at a crucial point, locked in battle and the tide may turn either way.

I may fall in battle—Plato implies the attrition rate of the final test is very high, but I think mostly of the rewards of coming out on the other side, when I have learned the ways of commerce and obtained the tools I need to begin working my will on the world.

At the end of a long road, Plato envisions a complete man possessing deep knowledge, ruled by a higher purpose, but also wise in the ways of the world…this is the person who is finally ready to assume the highest responsibilities and truly be able to change the world for the better.

The Millennial Introvert

Mass society is a tyrant. It is our duty in life to protect friends and family and to create a good quality of life in the immediate sphere that we can control. Human happiness occurs in spite of, in defiance of the whims of that great mindless hive.

If you are a Millennial like me, the elder generation will always tell you “Do what you want!”, “Follow your passions!” The baby boomers have long harbored a romantic belief that our role in the mass society actually matters to someone and that success is finding “careers” that are “fulfilling” and look cool to other people. Like an Icarian Gatsby, the whole purpose of life is to try to rise in class and impress…who?

For the introvert, this is just about the worst possible advice.
What really matters is to figure out how to have sources of income that won’t completely dry up after the first round of layoffs, to help out the allies who actually care about you. First when survival, then prosperity is secured, that’s when the way is open to “do what you want.”

The mass society doesn’t care about your talents and aspirations. It tells you very clearly what it wants through wages and social status. The mindless tyrant much prefers you be a pro football player or divorce lawyer than an artist or veterinarian.
Our ability and willingness to feed it what it wants determines what we get.

Our job as individuals stranded in this insanity then, is to maximize what we have to offer to gain enough autonomy to accomplish our own goals. Looking to the mass society and its institutions to grant our wishes is silliness.
I try to understand the old cult of the “fulfilling” career, but find myself at a loss. A job is a job.

Change happens fast now and is accelerating; there is no more “career” where you can keep your head down in some cubicle for a few decades like some meek, mediocre little dilbert whittling life away.

The millennial generation has been derided as a bunch of lazy Peter Pans but are they not the realists riding out the storm? If society offers no meaningful incentives why put in any effort beyond the bare minimum?

Though most people are suffering in this new world, it may prove to be a paradise for an odd assortment of introverts, outcasts, and outsiders who never had a chance when the established order was stable, sedate, smugly in place.

Extrovert Critic: “But Don’t You Want To Fall in Love?”

There’s one experience that is the greatest affirmation of humanity in the Loud ideology.
It is typically called “falling in love.”

The first thing apparent to the Subtle person is word choice. The word ‘falling.’ It implies ‘accidental’, ‘unintentional’, ‘helpless’, ‘overwhelmed’, ‘powerless.’ All this is precisely the point.
Falling in love in poetry, literature, cinema… is a celebration of helplessness and surrender. A ‘fall’ from the confines of a dull and daily self to someplace that happens to be better…for a little while. A brief period of liberation from the oppressive prison of a self that isn’t very fun to live with.

To one who is Subtle, it seems that the Loud routinely confuse love with sentimentality.
‘Falling’ in love is an oxymoron. True love cannot be an accident, because then it is just an accident, something that just happened to us while we were passively looking on. Where is the truth and where is the love?
If there were a Subtle language, I imagine one might say something like “place oneself in love”, “choose to love”, or “cultivate love in oneself.”
In the Subtle world view, there cannot be love without some sort of agency. Else, who loves?
If there is no who, we can’t be speaking of something that is human, but rather something animal or even mechanical. In Subtle-ese “Romeo fell in love with her” might be “Romeo was loved to her,” just as we might say the “the printer was attached to the power supply” in our common tongue. Actually… plugs are referred to as ‘male’ and ‘female.’ But I diverge—

Humanity in the Subtle understanding is not concerned with overwhelming surges of emotion as it is in appreciating the nuances.
Not in clamoring to ride oceanic tidal waves, but in feeling the play of ripples across a pond.

Someone who needs a cataclysmic fall, a tidal wave to really feel alive is someone who has moved away from their humanity. They are desensitized. Being Loud, they are very nearly deaf.

Introvert vs. Extrovert: What Does It Mean To Be Human?

Every philosophy or culture seems to have a different definition for ‘humanity.’ The definition of what we should be. The Confucian principle of humanity(ren) for instance has a very different meaning than the Western ‘equivalent.’

To those who are Loud and extroverted, it is our emotions and ability to empathize that constitute humanity.

Those who do not immediately appear to possess these faculties are flawed and lacking as humans.

Look at nearly every scientist, nerd, or thinker as portrayed in popular cinema. The verdict: people who have all the wrong priorities. People who have distanced themselves from their own humanity or only had a very weak sense of it in the first place.
In trying to be something non-human, the mad scientist commits the crime of hubris. Invariably, a mistake is made or a mess created. The powers of intellect without the guidance of a Correct social consciousness prove disastrously short sighted.

In Independence Day, a scientist is fascinated with studying alien life, but he lacks the humanity and moral vision to realize that his academic prying is trivial next to one overriding fact: The aliens are evil. Lacking human moral sense, he gets himself and his crew killed when they try to cut open a dangerous alien on an operating table.

In the Polar Express one bad kid stands out from all the others. He’s not evil, just Incorrect. He’s the brainiac kid who knows lots of facts but doesn’t understand people, what it means to be a person, the social role he’s supposed to play. All the other kids seem to barely tolerate his presence. He repeatedly brings forth rational or profit-making considerations while they’re all riding on a magic train. Sometimes everyone just stares at him in shock for a moment, realizing he still hasn’t clued in.

In the Loud world view, there is indeed an idea of the magical that removes us from the mechanical and makes us human. Most of us just ‘get it’ but there’s always a few who don’t or won’t. This is the magic of being able to relate to most other people. Popular entertainment sends us an important message: No matter how smart, talented, or accomplished one might be, one is fundamentally flawed, incomplete, inhuman without an emotional understanding with the group.

To one who is Subtle, the level of the emotional, the empathetic, the group conscious, is a lower plane. It is more animal than human, really. Most processes are carried out on the level of intuition or the subconscious. The conscious will, the human has very little to do with it.

What really makes us human beings, in the Subtle perspective, is curiosity, a sense of reverential wonder, a deep love of life itself. Not mere rote powers of reason as the Loud commonly seem to believe, but to delight in their use, to fuel the imagination.

When we’re seen reading yet another ‘useless’ book, searching for philosophical justifications of things taken for granted, or learning about the workings of distant stars, the Loud are bewildered. They do not see the social, emotional motive in our actions. Therefore no humanity. To them, we are lifeless machines ticking methodically through reams of data…

As a kid, I would beg my parents for field guides. In time I had a private collection. At one point I had memorized just about every order of insect and all the parts of a sea anemone. Just a couple of years ago, I met someone who had studied marine biology. He was a bit surprised that I knew off hand that a ‘radula’ was chitinous cephalopod mouthpart, whether the rasping ‘tongue’ of a snail or the ‘beak’ of an octopus or squid.
To many people, my childhood activities no doubt seemed obsessive, mechanical, and pathological.
To me, it was just fun stuff I did during childhood same as playing video games.
There was nothing lifeless about it. Reaching out and learning all those little things about the universe around me was an act of affirmation of the love of life.
If there is a God, I imagine it would have felt a similar love for all those small details during the act of creation.
And as a human, I was merely following in the footsteps of the creator.

The Ritual of Unity

The outsider has a special place in the cosmology of the Accepted.

Within any community, there are always tensions, a friction of association that threatens to tear apart the social order.

Of all social rituals among the most important are those that deal with defusing these tensions.

In this respect, an outsider is an important part of the community by not being a part of it. Simply being ‘outside’ implicitly puts others ‘inside.’
The simple existence of an outsider puts the whole social world in perspective.

The shunning and persecution of the outsider, the other is the most powerful of all Rituals of Unity.
To carry out this ritual is to place in that one person all of those amassed woes of society.
And once this living effigy is constructed to symbolically burn it upon the altar of unity.

But it can’t just be any source of otherness, it has to be something sufficiently foreign, hate-able, and threatening. One has to earn it and be worthy of it.

After all, what has become of the United States without a Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia to inspire fear, drive everyone together, and resolve internal disputes for the good of all? The substitute sacrifices that have been offered up since then have been rejected by the Gods.
Without a fitting sacrifice for the Ritual, the society cannot be properly purified of its ills. The people must drift apart and squabble.

If you have often been that one person who just can’t seem to fit in, it behooves you to understand just who you are.
You are a demon, Ahriman, Satan, St. George’s dragon, that snarling little dwarf permanently lodged beneath Shiva’s foot, Orwell’s Emmanuel Goldstein… the embodiment of everything that tempts people away from their proper social roles and undermines the Correct order.

It is in part for this reason that I identify all Subtle things with shadow, darkness, the night, the moon, the underworld, chaos…

Once you understand your place, just who you are in their universe, there is a certain delicious delight to be taken in it.
And many things in our lives that seemed mysterious stand suddenly explained.

The Hypocrisy of Being ‘Emotional’

People who feel at ease in the larger society tend to believe the world’s troubles are caused by all the “bad people” out there. They’ve never really met these bad people, except on television and in the movies, but in any case, it suffices to blame all these other people out there for social ills.

To some extent, it takes someone viewing from outside to see that pretty much all problems are the emergent result of millions of everyday people pursuing their self-interest.

Except we don’t directly tell ourselves: “I’m pursuing my interests today.” when we wake up in the morning. That’s what our emotions help us out with.
They steer us towards survival and reproduction without us having to think about it.

However, few people actually recognize these survival impulses for what they are.

Thus a group will quickly eject someone who doesn’t like the same bands or wear the same clothing. Something will just feel ‘off’ to them and they’ll invent some kind of excuse based on how they ‘feel’ to justify carrying out the will of their collective.

Problem: Someone who doesn’t fit in is a liability to the group:

-Opportunity cost. A human can handle 150 or so social relationships at once. It is not rational to spare a slot when better applicants are available.

-The person in the group who feels the least unity is the one most likely to sell everyone out.

-Or leave for a group that’s a better fit. All the time and energy invested in them has gone to waste.

Solution: Eject them.

But to think like this would be Machiavellian and calculating.

The solution: Don’t think. Just be emotional.

But people who don’t understand themselves as human beings or as human animals(most people) fail to recognize that “just going with emotions” will consistently guide them down exactly this path of Machiavellian self interest.

And so long as most people are unable to reflect on the true nature of their drives and actions, there can be no change in the overall nature of societies.

You can have a revolution, lock up lawbreakers, play with political reforms…

But there’s been thousands of years of this with no significant change in the basic function of your typical pyramidal agricultural society.

There’s something important in this for the lone introvert who’s struggling to survive.

Even if you lack social skills, you can predict what the people around you will do next.

Just figure out what is in their best survival/reproductive interest, then watch them actually do it. Each action will be accompanied by some sort of justification that puts them in the best possible light.

After this elaborate process, not one of them is the wiser about what actually happened or why they did it.