School As Introvert Prison Sentence

Leads To: Knowledge Monopolies: The University

I got pretty good grades in school.  Homework was easier for me than for most kids.  Yet as an adult it’s easy to look back and realize that none of that was important.  Once one gets into college it doesn’t matter.  Once one decides not to go to college it doesn’t matter.  We were told grades were important by all the authority figures, but it was a lie just to try keep us all in line for another day and to justify the system in which every one of us was trapped.

I look back on twelve years of schooling and can’t think of much beyond basic literacy that was truly important in the long run.  Even with literacy, my first reading lessons took place at home, not in school.  Classes at school did teach me useful things.  A lot of the classwork that was boring for other kids was pure fun for me.  Yet did it really need to consume 12 years of my life?  By the time we’re 18, the better part of our youth is irremediably spent on years of school.  Yes, humans have higher life expectancies now but the fact is we start our slide into aging soon after we hit biological adulthood.  With schooling, we get barely a decade to be active in the world at our peak.  People in past generations generally had begun adult-level activities by their early teens or even younger.  Now a college graduate at age 21 is only beginning to be functional in the adult world.  Is our increased life expectancy nearly as great when we have nearly a decade less in which to do things?

What is it all for?  One obvious purpose is the simple containment of youth who would otherwise be roaming around the streets all day.  With child labor laws, there’s nothing better to do than lock them up.   The result is a strange combination of minimum security prison and daycare.  It just doesn’t make much sense to the Subtle understanding.  To really ‘get’ the spirit of school it is most illuminating to examine the extroverted view and justification.

Every well-adjusted person I’ve talked to gives me the same message when I dare criticize compulsory education and public schooling.  “But it’s for socialization!”  Having tipped my ideological hand more than was wise, I end up with an earful of reminiscences about fun extra-curricular activities.  This always confounds me.  Whatever happened to the 7 hours a day sitting at a desk doing nothing?  That wasn’t fun!  It wasn’t particularly social either.

When I express desire for there to be some alternative from regular schooling, I get a blank stare for a second or two followed by “Your kid wouldn’t be able to develop properly.  He/she would be lonely and cut off.”  Every time I hear this ubiquitous answer, I pause for a few seconds before finding a way to just change the subject.

As an introvert in the system, I felt lonely and cut off.  I didn’t fit into the school society at all.  I was non-socialized in school.  I can pass as mostly normal now, but when I first graduated high school, I still had the social skills of a small child.  I’ve spent the last several years learning everything from scratch and I’m finally feeling as though I’m somewhat caught up.  I’ve been through several halfway houses, but I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m establishing a life for the first time after a long prison sentence.  I spent a good portion of that time, especially the later years in something akin to solitary confinement.

It took me a long time to figure out why extroverts assign such importance to collective schooling.  Every well-adjusted person seems to understand the reasons on some intuitive level but lack the ability to analyze their beliefs and articulate them.  I will do my best to translate the idea of ‘Socialization’ into Subtle-ese.

I gather that extroverts value schooling primarily for its ability to imbue millions of children with a common formative experience so that they may smoothly interrelate as adults.

This ability to relate to others is like being able to speak the same language.  It is one of the most critical things we’re supposed to learn.  It’s the base of belonging we need to be able to establish romantic relationships and find careers.  In Subtle terms, I suppose we could consider compulsory schools as a massive network of commonality factories.  In the Surface world, these factories are not idle or pointless, they are busily producing vitally important social commodities.

I think the idea of social adjustment helps explain why nerds are portrayed in popular culture as morally stunted, silly, contemptible, short-sighted, petty people who have missed everything that is really important in life.  The nerds were focusing on all the wrong things in school and they serve as  symbols of everything one should not become.  They are representative of defective units that were never properly calibrated despite the best efforts of the factory workers.  In the movies, nerds are rather unsympathetic characters because they usually rudely reject the efforts of well-adjusted people to save them.  The overall thesis:  social adjustment is open to everyone, but there will always be a few who insist on being self-destructive.

The truth that they never realize is that most people don’t ask for a clash with the system.  Some people are going to have the wrong configuration as they roll down the assembly line.  The standardized parts that seem to fit with most other people just don’t apply.  The true introvert frame reaches the end of the assembly line not only bare of all the necessary components, but dented and bent from going through a long series of incompatible processes.

When I tell a regular person that “School was awful.”  I am often met with agreement.  If the conversation goes on, it becomes clear that most of the perceived awfulness for the Surface person stemmed from completely different problems.  They don’t complain about homework or classes usually.  They talk about all their human relationships and ultimately how it was a time for social learning and tough lessons in human interaction.  From the way they talk about it, it doesn’t sound like it was awful at all.  Most of the time it seems they were having fun, but it got bad for awhile whenever  some conflict arose.  When I realized that this is their definition of  ‘awful’ it was clear there could be no bridging the gap.  In moments like that, it becomes clear we don’t even speak mutually intelligible languages and that we’ve lived our lives in separate universes.  I have difficulty explaining my experience precisely because I was never properly adjusted.

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Extrovert Critic: “You Read Too Much”

Builds Upon: Rulers of Celephais,
Introverts vs. Extroverts: Learning

We’ve all heard this criticism.  We read too much.  When we’re seen reading, especially some subject material that seems uninteresting, we seem ‘out of touch,’ ‘with our head in the clouds,’ ‘on another planet.’

In general an introvert submerged in reading is perceived as trading the vibrant world around them for the dusty and colorless world of books.  The experience within books seems like a faded and flat flower pressing compared to the three dimensional, colorful, living flower.

To the extrovert, a book is a pale abstraction that crumbles away against the vitality of actual experience.  By extension, someone who spends considerable time reading is dry, abstract, lacking in personality, vigor, and practical knowledge.

To an introvert, however, there is nothing abstract, cold, or distant about habitual reading.  Rather than distracting from the surrounding world, it sheds light upon it and makes it richer.  For a Subtle person, the information found in books makes the experience of our world immeasurably more beautiful.  It allows us to reach back into time and through the wisdom of ages so that we may put our world into perspective.

Books allow us to perceive the wonders of our world through countless other people scattered across time, place, and circumstance.  To a subtle person, an extrovert lives in a very small pond indeed.  They understand their universe almost exclusively through a random handful of contemporaries.  That they see introverts as deprived is just a symptom of their ignorance.

A Loud person tends to perceive dead words on a page that yield a pale impression and nothing more.  Someone who focuses on all things on the Surface remains on the surface of things.    A Subtle person seamlessly moves beneath the dead words and into the pure meaning they represent.

To a Loud person, the content of books is dead, dry, fossilized information.  You get a can opener and open it up when you need it.

To the Subtle person, books are living streams of consciousness from other human beings in which we can actively participate.  It can be almost like becoming someone else for awhile, a way of freeing ourselves from our own lonely perspective and mental patterns. We are often accused of being selfish, yet we perhaps spend far less time living in the desires and thoughts of the self than do our extrovert critics.

An extrovert could respond that TV and film perform the function of allowing one to step into another’s shoes.  Surely these are more tangible, visceral mediums and therefore far more effective than a book.   After all, we empathize with the characters we see on screen and are drawn into a director’s vision.

However, books operate on another level because they demand active participation and voluntary shedding of our own perceptions.  Visual entertainment gives us the vision and all we have to do is sit back and watch.  There is not much participation, mostly just passive dictation to the viewer.  TV and film can be excellent ways of escaping our own world.  They offer a complete vision to replace our own.

The importance of books that extroverts tend to miss is that one must create the vision.  We must actively concentrate on adopting the thought patterns of another and seeing clearly through their eyes.  In books, we must actively bring our perspective in synchrony with another.  Thus we expand our own perspective rather than replacing it temporarily with someone else’s.   When reading a work of fiction, for instance, we must draw from our own experiences to bring alive the blueprint the author has set before us.   In trying to make the plan come to life, we are reshaping our own mind until we have a key that fits in the door to another mind.   The more we practice, the better we become at falling into the mental rhythm of another human being and escaping the confines of our own solitary vision of the world.  The fluid, multi-faceted understanding that results from reading is a source of incredible euphoria the equal of any of life’s greatest pleasures.

That an extrovert would consider us dead, absent, and isolated from the living world because of reading reveals their inability to see that the dry words on the page are merely a blueprint, an invitation to build something.  A something that never turns out the same for any two people who try it, or even for one person who builds from the same blueprint twice.

Extroverts and the Concept of ‘Deserval’

We turn on the TV and encountering the concept is inevitable:

“I deserve it.” says a waifish, urban thirty-something woman as she justifies buying that expensive dress or that decadent slice of raspberry chocolate cheesecake in the store window.

“Why pay more? We’ll give you the low price you deserve!” says the affable fortyish car salesman with a silver buckle and cowboy hat during the commercial break.

When we turn off the TV encountering the concept is inevitable:

Most extroverts seem to have a concept that there are things they ‘deserve:’

Lower prices, a raise, free health care, flexible mortgage rates, a pension, a secure retirement, a facial, a new set of power tools, disposable income, a stable career, honest politicians……….

How do they decide what they deserve?  Why do they deserve it?  Isn’t the whole idea of deserving completely subjective and fluid?  Another TV cliche comes to mind:

Henchman: Master, I brought you the power crystal as you commanded!  (hands it over)

Cardboard Cutout Villain:  Ah, finally!  I have it now.  Now I will give you exactly what you deserve!

*Henchman greedily anticipates goodies right up to the moment Villain pointlessly kills him with the power crystal*

As an introvert I looked to history and to the people around me without finding any sensical answer.  I was confused.  Surely the concept of deserving was entirely meaningless.  No one gets what they want just because they decide they deserve it!  Why would anyone actually be swayed or flattered by a sycophant assuring you that you ‘deserve’ more?  Why would someone justify their actions with ‘deserval.’  What do they see in the whole empty idea of deserving something?

I got an inkling when I for a time interacted with kids in a classroom setting.  The people I was working for insisted I give the kids points for answering questions in class and taking away points when they misbehaved or didn’t turn in homework.  There was an entire elaborate system on the board for everyone to see with a tally of total points for every kid who passed through the room in the course of a day.  The kids had created an entire system of social prestige around these point rankings that they took very seriously.

Children have a very strong sense of a primal, tribal level sense of social justice.  They would be horrified if they thought one of the students deserved a point and I hadn’t given it.

When given an extra point on accident, even the beneficiary would instantly come forth and tell me to take away the undeserved point.

The kids always screamed for the worst possible punishment for anyone they saw breaking the rules.  When punished themselves, they accepted it glumly but without question.  As much as they hated punishment, they seemed to concede that they deserved it.

I realized that most of these children, especially the extroverted ones carry some semblance of this tribal level concept of social justice into adult life.

I began to realize I was rather strange for not having an intuitive grasp of ‘deserve.’  Upon further reflection I realize that the whole idea ceased to have meaning for me long ago during my own childhood.  Living as an outsider from the outset, I took plenty of punishment just by virtue of being insufficiently protected from the pent up malice of others.   It was clear I hadn’t done anything bad to anger those who gave me difficulty.  There was no reason for any of it.  Whether I deserved or didn’t deserve had no meaning at all.

As an introvert, I was never truly part of the tacitly understood justice system that governed most of the other children.  Partly because of my fundamental personality and predispositions, partly because of the isolation created by my predispositions, I never fully acquired the concept of ‘deserval.’  In absence of this tribal justice, I viewed the school world around me in terms of power relationships.  Bullies didn’t deserve to have power.  They had power because they were able to take power.  Really quite simple.  I also had an inkling at an early age that bullies would never treat insiders the same way as outsiders.  They would even be quite deferent to someone higher ranking.  Was there any reason the people the bullies respected deserved respect?  Not really.  They just had more power.

A group of kids who knew each other in a structured classroom environment functioned well using their inborn senses of deserval.   The point system I had to use made abundantly clear how every kid in the classroom was aware of the exact prestige level of every other kid.  Each kid had an astoundingly precise mental tally of what every other kid deserved or didn’t deserve in class.  Their feelings of justice and injustice were visceral and resulted in emotional protest whenever there was the slightest breach.

Now let’s look at these kids as adults.  Most of adult life takes place outside of a structured classroom and they live in a society full of millions of strangers.  The tribal level deserval impulse runs amok in this environment.  When most people they meet have outsider status, they are not subject to tribal ethics.  Furthermore everyone needs to compete to get ahead.  Even people who aren’t strangers are often competitors.  As pressure increases, everyone has to work hard for survival and for prestige.  When people work hard just to make it, the deserval meter goes right off the charts.  However, they’re hard pressed to find anyone who will acknowledge the fullness of what they think they deserve. There’s no impartial chief or arbitrator keeping track of points on the board.  Most adults get cheated out of what they deserve.  The daily flouting of their intuitive systems of justice makes them increasingly sure that they deserve compensation while others deserve punishment.  Thus getting what they deserve by any means becomes justified on the most deeply visceral level.  Since others do not even seem to acknowledge the intuitive justice system, they are outsiders who do not need to accommodated or given consideration anyway.

This ‘justice gap’ attitude seeps into all of life until a Surface person sincerely believes they deserve to eat raspberry chocolate cheese cake without paying the consequences of eating it.  On the most primal level, deserving is about compensation for the crushing pressure and wrongs inflicted by an unjust life.  When ‘compensation’ is inevitably canceled out by consequences, the Surface person has been cheated yet again of getting any closer to a measure of tribal justice.

The deep and unobtainable nature of this compensation fantasy makes it ideal content for advertising.  What better way to reach people than to promise to soothe their battered egos, to promise to scratch that itch they can never quite seem to reach, to relieve the hurt that nothing seems to cure?

Introversion and Schizoid Traits

Leads To: Introverts, Asberger’s, Autism

Not so long ago, I was dropped a link by a reader to wikipedia’s entry on schizoid personality disorder.  I was shocked as I read it over.

I read through the descriptions and lists on this page and found that to some degree  I could be seen as exhibiting every single characteristic.

Like narcissism, this schizoid assessment can be kind of tricky.  Obviously, everyone is narcissistic to some degree.  It’s the inevitable result of living as ourselves and no one else.  Where then does normality end and disorder begin?

The same problem with a schizoid personality disorder.  A schizoid personality type shares many traits with introversion(or introversion is considered part of being schizoid) and is considered to usually be within the spectrum of normally functional individuals.  Disorder is diagnosed at the extreme ends of this schizoid spectrum.

Since there’s so much misunderstanding of introverts, I have to wonder if defining schizoids can end up pathologizing introverted traits that are merely incongruent with the mass society.

Here is one of the lists of ‘symptoms’ from the article with my comments on each:

-Emotional coldness, detachment or reduced affection.

(Defensive behaviors against a hostile society force one to emotionally detach in order to cope and survive.  It’s hard to be bright and cheerful while being defensive.)

-Limited capacity to express either positive or negative emotions towards others.

(Defensive habits make it difficult to really open up to others.  Without regular uninhibited social interaction one really gets out of practice.  If one grew up under such circumstances, it’s possible one never learned certain basic social conventions during critical formative stages.)

-Consistent preference for solitary activities.

(If others don’t share your interests, what else are you going to do?  Worse, they’ll probably criticize and ridicule if they find out.  Solitary becomes necessary!)

-Very few, if any, close friends or relationships, and a lack of desire for such.

(So little in common with others that it can be hard to find anyone who’s compatible.)

-Indifference to either praise or criticism.

(Does so many things outside of regular society that one stops caring whether others approve or disapprove.  One has to stop caring to stay sane!)

Taking pleasure in few, if any, activities.

(If one is forced to pursue one’s favorite activities solitarily and secretly then it seems as though one takes pleasure in nothing by the light of day.  Could perhaps be rewritten as: Taking pleasure in few if any socially approved activities.)

-Indifference to social norms and conventions.

(Social norms cause pain and inconvenience.  They stand against one’s personality and preferences.  If permitted to rule over one’s life, the result could only be a denial of one’s deepest self.  They are ignored when possible.)

-Preoccupation with fantasy and introspection.

(It’s a great way of compartmentalizing life and getting through all the rough parts without an excess of pain.  It’s another defense.  Who doesn’t daydream in unpleasant and boring situations?  Furthermore, the inner life is where the outer life is interpreted.  It is in the inner realm where patterns are seen and truth is discovered.  If dreams are a way for our minds to interpret, store, and clean up a day worth of overwhelming inputs, a fantasy life while awake can serve much the same function.)

-Lack of desire for sexual experiences with another person.

(Sexual experiences require lots of social skill and status.  Most importantly, it requires revealing oneself to someone who probably adheres to the conventional society.  Only criticism and censure could ensue.)

While a true excess of any of these traits could be construed as a disorder, I see many ways that a fairly normal introverted person could receive a disorder diagnosis.  Rather than truly being emotionally cold or lacking desire to be with other human beings, such an individual could be easily misunderstood, their actions misinterpreted.  I can’t help but notice that solitary activities are a criteria for disorder without any concern for

why the activities are being pursued solitarily or

why there are few friends or sexual relationships.

why there is an unusual reliance on defense mechanisms, emotional detachment, or fantasy just to get through a day

Upon examination it starts seeming less like a mental problem and more like a way of singling out social misfits.

In fact, the social history of an introvert can often be characterized as a long history of misdiagnosis and being singled out.  Many people I’ve encountered in life have assumed the worst about me at every turn.  So much so that I expect it out of people and have to go out of my way to be extra polite and carefully avoid conflict.  I find the schizoid definitions to be an organized list of ways extroverts have misunderstood and then reacted.

Life After Mass Society?

Leads to: True and False Pleasures of Life
Builds Upon: The Worlds of Sun and Moon

I received this comment from a reader:

Hey this is Adi. I have been reading a lot of your posts and like this blog a lot and I am posting for the first time.

I have a question that has been bugging me since I first started reading some of your posts. Before that let me clarify that I am your fellow intorvert as well. What I want to ask is, I still don’t understand a purpose of life that doesn’t involve social success and achieving a position in society. Because, the way I have been growing up, a lot of things that you have mentioned are extrovert traits are, the ones I have possessed too in spite of being an introvert. And yes, the way you have stated earlier, I too have wished that I was a person who is sought after by people, can make social bonds easily. But it hasn’t happened and then after realizing my true selves, I have started accepting myself. But still, I do not understand the purpose of life if you remain completely detached and aloof from society. Can you explain what are you living this life for? One example could be living for a very crazy passion if you do possess one. But what if you don’t?

Someone gets all the certificates and learns a skill.
Then the skill abruptly goes obsolete or gets outsourced.  All that effort for nothing.

Someone works for a lifetime and then retires.
They ask themselves, “Why am I still here.”

Someone comes up with a great idea or does the majority of the work on a project.
Their manager takes all the credit and moves up yet another notch on the ladder.

Does all that social stuff really give us purpose or does it merely distract us from questions of purpose?
You can get rewards and praise for doing what the society values, but is it all just noise that distracts from asking whether society values the right things, or whether the society is good and just?
What kind of person makes it to the top of society?  Are these the people who should be on top?  Are they good and just?
Does society care about you to the degree you care about it?  Can a mass society care about you?  If it can’t care, are you just another insignificant worker bee?  How then does society provide us with purpose or meaning?

Does it matter how many gold stars society puts on your forehead if you’ve not learned to be happy with who you are?  If somebody took away those gold stars tomorrow, what would remain?  If you lived for the gold stars and they’re gone now, who are you?

If one doesn’t have any ‘very crazy’ passions, perhaps they should explore and find some.

You’ve brought up excellent questions.  Questions that open up more questions.  Questions that can be scary to confront.  But there is a much deeper sense of peace and identity when we begin to figure out the answers.

When you don’t let the sum of all people(society) dictate who you are, the result is immense freedom.  This freedom has nothing to do with going off to a mountain monastery or living as a hermit.  It’s a state of mind that allows you to perceive the world around you differently:
Think of it this way:

Imagine someone living in a fabulously wealthy society where everyone is expected to have a palace.
This person feels stressed out, unhappy, and ‘poor’ because they can only afford a sumptuous Victorian mansion(butler included).  So long as social expectations define their world view, they will remain unhappy no matter what fantastic luxuries they might have.  Circumstances might change but the big questions are constant.  “How will I get what they have?”, “What will they think?”, What will they say?”

As soon as the person begins to derive expectations from within,  they see the mansion through new eyes.   The person is free to perceive its beauty for the very first time.  It is no longer a disgusting source of social shame, it is a house.  An enormous house abundantly equipped to fulfill every possible human need.  A house far bigger than anyone could possibly need.   Suddenly, it seems ludicrous that one’s life purpose could have been chasing after a still bigger house.  Surely it was never a purpose at all, just a way to pass the time until death.

Extrovert Success and the Introvert

What kind of life in society is considered a success?  In obituaries we see ‘was a great person/parent’ and all kinds of statements, but never do we see ‘This person was successful.  In their time alive, they accomplished all the most important things in life.”

How are we to be successful anyway according to the mass society all around us?  Upon examination it seems nearly impossible.

Even if one has a happy marriage and great relations with all their family members, maybe they have difficulty getting along with their boss at work because of all the time spent with loved ones instead of work.

Even if one does great at work and is the boss’s favorite, maybe they’re workaholics distant from their spouse and family.  They’ve done well at the office because they put in those necessary extra hours.

One area of excellence excludes another in a competitive environment and yet extrovert ‘success’ requires excelling in every one of them.

The result is a society of illusion where everyone strives to appear to have the best of everything in their lives.  One’s most publicly visible assets, a house and car are naturally the most important means of deception.

Though extroverts try to wake introverts up to ‘reality,’ they in fact live in a fairy tale land of their own making where every family has its own castle and magic carpet.  The price of illusion is a lifetime of servitude to the image they wish to project.  Never having known anything else, they are driven by vague notions of ‘success’ that they thrust on everyone around them in turn.  They devote themselves entirely and without question, but do they ever really reach ‘success?’

Many introverts out of desperation go looking for ways to become more extroverted, but would ‘success’ in converting necessarily be salvation.  Even if one got more resources and recognition by becoming extroverted would one have eliminated the ability to experience happiness from these gains?  Would one end up lost in the maze of social comparisons, only happy or sad as others seem worse or better off?

To feel anything other than unfulfillment as an extrovert, one must hurry to have(or the appearance of having) a steady and loving marriage/relationship, a steady, highly paid, emotionally fulfilling job, a house, cars, an active social life, a fulfilling family life, a solid benefits and retirement package, above average, well-behaved children.

These criteria might even sound fairly ordinary but most people never come close to actually achieving them, even if they appear to do so.  It’s difficult to maintain marriage, family, friends, children when working a job that actually pays and provides benefits.  Even if one gets benefits, not many people can spend long enough in a single job to really benefit from them.  Even if one actually has the qualifications and social contacts to get one of these salary jobs, it’s still not enough to really pay for a house and cars, just for the appearance of being able to pay for them.  Even in the best of worlds where someone manages to somehow have all the bases covered, it’s an exhausting, stressful, demanding, noisy life to live.  Even in this best case scenario, this is the bare minimum one must do in the mass Western society before one has permission to be even moderately happy or successful.

In the current social climate, it takes an introvert to step back and realize that real life is by nature messy and imperfect.  That one can’t ‘have it all.’  That succeeding in one thing usually means sacrifice in another.

Once one starts asking questions, the whole idea of extrovert ‘success’ is sadly delusional.  Happiness or sadness is all about expectations.

If one has unrealistic expectations, one can never really end up happy.  Success ends up being a theoretical ideal to which one tries to mold themselves.  Happiness is distant and intangible.

If one has realistic expectations, happiness is fairly easy to come by.  Success lies in making one’s peace with an imperfect, chaotic, transitory life.  Happiness is immediate and obtainable in our everyday lives.

The extrovert path to happiness and success is long, complicated, and comes with no guarantees.

The introverted path allows the possibility of happiness so long as one has clothes to wear, food to eat, and people to bond with.

It all goes back to a fundamental difference.

Loud things are grandiose, convoluted, and bloated

Subtle things are elegant, simple, and minimalistic

Introvert Males and the Girl Conundrum

Men with strongly Subtle tendencies typically have acute difficulties in relating to the opposite sex.

Women tend to be  more socially oriented than men and this can be a huge obstacle for the least social of men who are also the least social human beings.

Relating to women is difficult because the highly social ‘girly girl’ is the polar opposite of a Subtle man.  She is a creature of brightness, daylight, and fleeting passions while the Subtle man loves the safety of shadow, anonymity, and long term devotion.

If we envision a visible human spectrum, we could suppose we could find extremes in the infrared and ultraviolet.   The most socially grounded females in the ultraviolet range, the least socially grounded men in the infrared.   Ultraviolet females are a challenging personality for even the most social men when it comes to sustaining relationships, but their tendencies often seem to actually facilitate finding relationships in the first place.  While there is most definitely intense competition amongst females, getting cut out of the gene pool entirely by competitors isn’t a huge concern like it is for men.  An infrared male on the other hand has a huge disadvantage without any section of the female population to match his temperament.  He lacks an asset, an edge possessed by all other males.

It is thus easy for an introvert man to come to the conclusion that he hasn’t the slightest thing in common with women and has very little place for them in his life.

On the other hand, a Subtle man is still a man.  One of his strongest instincts is to desire a woman in his life.  A life without sex and physical affection is difficult and lonely.

When it comes to girls, he is torn between the anger seeping from his lifetime of emotional scar tissue and his annoyingly unkillable hope for intimacy, love, and acceptance.

Thus we have the Girl Conundrum that is the torment of introverted guys everywhere.

Solution #1 – PUA

Many introvert men notice that they have never had success with women and they decide they need to change.  Who do they need to become?  The pickup artists who can seduce girls whenever they want, of course.  The PUA community promises access to what was inaccessible, power instead of helplessness, and even vengeance intead of being trampled underfoot.  All these together form an irresistible formula and indeed many gurus of pickup claim to have once been average frustrated guys with no ‘game.’   Indeed, many outcasts find a home in this place.  This community has lots of philosophy and insight about human nature.  It’s an exciting, stimulating place to be for bright, outcast men.  There’s nothing to lose and no reason not to take as much from women as possible.  After all, every introvert man has seen numerous times from his low ranking position how awfully, how truly condescendingly girls treat anyone they consider beneath them.  He has no reason to offer any mercy or concessions.  He would rather just be himself, but her unfortunately outdated packet of instincts precludes honesty.   Against a lifetime of isolation and struggling for survival at the very bottom, the realpolitik philosophy of pickup makes sense.

Unfortunately it still doesn’t resolve the Girl Conundrum.  Provided someone gets somewhere with PUA tactics, that’s definitely an improvement over isolation, but all the same issues remain.   Reducing women down to a packet of instincts hardly fosters respect for them and yet he still has that desire for love and acceptance with a woman he respects and trusts.  His desires remain in contradiction.  Some introverted guys understandably relegate ‘loving relationships’ to the trash heap of other outright lies and unhelpful advice they’ve been given all their lives.  Their anger is strong, but they would love nothing better than to learn that they’re mistaken.  They remain torn between hate and hope.

I never got into the pickup community, but I definitely read some PUA works and benefited from them.   For some people it takes the almost mechanical pragmatism of these books to awake from the reigning politically correct gender feminist garbage.  It’s potentially a step in the right direction.   Two out of four stars.

Solution #2 – MRA

I didn’t know these guys existed until I looked for them on the internet.  A few years ago, I’d just returned from a foreign country where the girls had been much nicer and I was experiencing severe reverse culture shock in my home country.  Surely someone had noticed that girls here were impossible!  I entered search terms into google, probing for anyone out there who might have had the same thoughts.  To my surprise there was a lively community of men who are tired of the contempt and disrespect that men regularly receive from women and the feminist establishment.  Unsurprisingly, a good portion of these men seem to be introverts, who have seen mostly the very worst of the opposite sex.

For me, MRA writings have done more than any other source to get rid of cultural baggage and put maleness in its proper perspective.  They have a broad focus and explain methodically with statistics how gender relations work in aggregate across entire societies.  The system revealed by their analysis is one of stark injustice that stems from both the facts of biology and social expectations.  MRA writers like to patiently and systematically point out all the ways that women are in fact privileged.  One comes away from such reading with higher confidence and with lesser need to put women on a pedestal.  However, this literature doesn’t endear women to the reader or bring one much closer to a loving relationship.  Girl conundrum unsolved.  Yet it is vital in teaching men how not to be exploited by the opposite sex.  MRA writers provide a plan for independence from women, an end result they persuasively argue will benefit both sexes.  This is not the solution to the problem, but it is most definitely a gateway and enabler.  Four out of four stars.

Solution #3 – Use A Prostitute

Continued in the next post