Introverts: Creatures of the Night

“You’re looking tired.”
“You look like you just got up.”
“Why don’t you go to bed earlier.”

These are frequent comments an introvert hears in the morning at work/school/whatever place we must subject ourselves to.

Night time, especially the wee hours is the one time of day that is completely quiet and undisturbed. These hours are the most valuable temporal real estate by far.
They are the one time of day the introvert can live without inhibition, without the fear of unorthodox habits resulting in punishment.
In the darkness, any extroverts still wandering about cannot watch everything everyone else is doing and their copious energies are nearly spent.

Even this brief glorious window of time cannot be enjoyed without price. As if they can smell the dried juice of forbidden fruit on one’s shirt front, those social people are there in the morning asking suspicious questions. It as if if they sense one has dared live for a little while outside their jurisdiction.

Affronted, the introvert shrinks from them and from the daylight in which they bounce about and thrive.

Does this sound paranoid to you, reader? If so, you just don’t get it.
Seeing aggression in probably innocuous behavior is part of life as an introvert:
-They are a part of the social machine that is causing harm to the introvert. This is aggression. It is not deliberate or even individual aggression, but that of an immune system or that of a strangling vine(of which they are but one probing tendril).
-They may know not what they do but this just makes it more annoying.
-It makes it more annoying still that it is impossible to talk with them about their conduct. Every incident is a reminder of one’s Incorrectness and their Correctness.

Bah! I hate the morning long live the night!

Survival In The Void: Listening To the Body

In my last post about Survival in the Void, one of my pieces of advice was to work out regularly and learn to listen to one’s body, to become familiar with its intricacies.

Touch sickness, the yearning sensation one gets after months of tactile neglect can be lessened and even eliminated by knowing one’s body on an intimate level.
On some level, such a practice is more than just physical. It is a life-affirming ritual much like sitting down to have a meal. It is a self-recognition of one’s own humanity and human needs.

One of the hallmarks of low self-esteem and a negative self-concept is a divorce of mind from the body. When one does not like oneself, the mind shies away from one’s body and its needs. There is an inherent separation that allows unmet requirements to fester until they can no longer be ignored.

Regularly using and stimulating the body is essential to breaching that separation from the self.
As a distance runner, I learned to distinguish mental barriers from true exhaustion, how to distinguish tendon and ligament pain that warns of injury from mere muscle soreness and minor aches, how to have an approximate idea of how many miles my feet had covered, how to gauge how much energy and water was left in my body, and how to be constantly aware of my biomechanics.

From this background in running, I added weightlifting and yoga techniques into my routine. I became acquainted with every muscle in my body and how to stimulate it through exercise. I can only vaguely remember what my body felt like and looked like before I started to develop an awareness. When one grows up with negative reinforcement from society, one tends to go into retreat, even from one’s own limbs.

I finally conquered my touch sickness when I learned how to give myself massages. Even a simple scalp rub worked wonders in dispelling feelings of physical loneliness, but growing up, I would never have thought to reach out and acknowledge myself and my needs in such a way. It was almost as though I had been hiding from corporeal self. Indeed, my body had itself been just a final barrier to hide behind.

In time, I learned how to soothe every tiny point of tension in my feet, in my neck and upper back, in my hands. As I experimented, I figured out how to stretch every one of my vertebrae as I lay on an improvised decline.
I am now capable of living almost indefinitely without touch from others if need be. I know the tricks of my physiology. Since I am keenly aware, there is never any chance for a problem to reach the point where it starts to get out of control and threatens mental stability.

Learning how to make the body self-sustaining through awareness results in a whole new level of independence. One is no longer ruled by loneliness and cravings. The ability of society to blackmail through threat of witholding human affection is removed. The way to a life of self-honesty is opened.

The coping tactics one develops just to survive another day eventually become their own reward. In time necessity matures into virtue, barest subsistence grows into a fulfilling lifestyle.

Music Preference in Introverts and Extroverts

For the majority of people in the industrialized West, music is primarily a means of social identity and unity. Millions listen to the same top 25 songs that everyone else is listening to. Of those top twenty-five a few refuse to fade away each year and the eventual result is a handful of ‘oldies’ that provides a sense of commonality between members of a generation. Members of each respective ethnicity listen to the music associated with their community.
“What music do you listen to?” Is one of the most frequently used conversational ice breakers and one of the most dreaded questions for the introvert.
An introvert tends to listen to music for very different reasons than the socialite and any frank answer to this question must lead to misunderstanding.

The typical popular song is a very simple thing: There is a lead singer to whom any other instruments are subordinate. The song repeats indefinitely, constrained to an unchanging beat and tempo through a few verses. One has heard the entire song quite often in less than a minute.
The lyrics are thus the most important element, sending the message the music seeks to convey in a straightforward unmistakeable fashion.
The point is to create a particular social atmosphere, send a message of group allegiance, and to advertise one’s beliefs by a convenient proxy.

Conventionally, music is first and foremost a social tool. A successful song is short, snappy, and simple so it might concisely serve its function.
Asking someone about musical preference is such a popular conversation starter because in an instant it reveals one’s age, ethnicity, allegiances, preferences, and values. Ordinarily, it is a foolproof Commonality Audit. When the introvert is asked this question and gives a non-standard response, it is as though a scanner at the grocery store has just passed over an incomprehensible barcode. The resulting clash of world views can potentially result in social censure for the introvert; it is just another of the mechanisms that forces him or her beneath the Surface.

The introvert tends to listen to music within a private domain. Its purpose is to please the senses, excite the spirit, and invite contemplation.
The mission of the introvert is to find the sound that inspires before all else. Concerns of self-advertisement are secondary if present at all.
The most engaging music is complex, offering something new to listen to every time.
There is not necessarily a lead singer and if so, the human voice is just another instrument performing beside all the others.
The progression of tones is changing and difficult to predict, tones and silences do not always occur where they are expected, volume varies from thunderous heights to barely audible rainfall, the lead instrument(if any) yields to or joins with others, the pace quickens and slows, there are multiple layers each intricate in its own right.

The message of the introvert’s ideal music need not be stated in words: the sound itself contains the message and inspires a nuanced mood.

It is telling that a popular song never truly comes to an end: it usually just fades out, implying to the listener that they have just spent a few minutes in a world where the song loops forever. The invitation is thus open to return and start exactly where one left off.

A song of the social sphere is thus a single simple thought encased in glass.
The music of an introvert is a living thought process wrought in sound and silence, a shifting sculpture of time and vibration.

When the extrovert asks an introvert “What music do you listen to?” he or she ends up confused, perhaps even angry when not given Correct answers.
The introvert becomes cautious, closed, and annoyed. Going through his or her head is:
-How presumptious and rude to ask such an invasive question so soon!
-How arrogant and narrow-minded that by ‘music’ they mean just mean a handful of popular bands!
-How unpleasant and nervewracking that they have clumsily created conflict and subjected me to a Commonality Audit!

In music itself is the fundamental difference:
-For extroverts music is primarily a social force defining the self from without. It is inseparable from the public domain.

-For introverts music is deeply personal, its main purpose is to inspire, cultivate, and reveal what lies within. It is most potent in private where one can experience it beyond the judgments of others.

One Who Is Subtle

One who is Subtle understands that power resides in understatement. They understand that when all things are grand and exaggerated, they become meaningless, just white noise that the brain tunes out. They always leave plenty concealed, taking up as little space as possible. They watch for all things undervalued.
Their manner is reserved, their feelings closed to all but those who are found most important and trustworthy. They are courteous yet not cloying or pretentiously familiar with strangers to whom they have just been introduced.

One who is Subtle wants to like and be liked by certain people. They would rather be liked by one person whom they truly care about than have any number of friendly acquaintances. Friendly acquaintance is a pretense and waste of time when there is even one true friend.
They would rather completely change and nurture one life than perform small favors for thousands.
Even in purely material terms: it is tremendously more powerful to give $10,000 to one carefully chosen person than $1 each to 10,000 strangers. Time spent on those who do not show the proper potential is a waste of one’s wealth.
Addressing one underlying cause is effective, focusing upon 10,000 effects is futile.

One who is Subtle reduces to essentials and then progresses according to the guiding principles they have discovered. Every thing in life is judged and valued according to one’s foundations. Mass society’s judgment is just the fashion of the hour, its very existence an airy abstraction.

One who is Subtle is Incorrect, their life must be a constant struggle within a mass society; their very world view is a challenge to its legitimacy. Their avoidance of all that is Loud is interpreted as weakness, their position, when discovered inevitably comes under attack.
Perceptions are meaningless next to the underlying truth.

Symptoms of a Loud Society

A society that is Loud
-Attacks the superficial symptoms rather than the underlying illness.
-Favors quantity over quality
-Values the title and status that corresponds to a given human relationship above what the relationship actually contains.
-Values all things in life according to the fashions of the hour
-Espouses hypocritical virtues and ideologies which no one actually follows. It is all about group identity, not meaningful action.
-Holds that social life is an end in itself, a brutal competition that consumes wealth, energy, and life itself.
-Holds that individual needs are meant to be subordinate to the mass society. Holds that those born into the society owe their lives to its upkeep.
-Tacitly holds that the legitimacy of social customs comes from dominance, acceptance, and recognition. Correspondingly, the value of any given individual is based upon degree of social dominance, acceptance, and recognition.

As a Subtle civilization is formed from those traits the larger society selects against, its values are naturally in opposition to all things listed here.

One Who Is Loud

One who is Loud is more than just physically noisy. Everything they do is calculated to attract attention and take up maximum volume to an absolute minimum of substance. Everything from their mannerisms to their mode of dress is intolerably garrulous. Their smile always shows both rows of teeth; it is an expression so exaggerated that it squints and crinkles their eyes into black, crocodilian slits. Such a person acts familiar around people they’ve just met, slapping them on the back, throwing their arm around their shoulder for group photos as if they were best buddies.

One who is Loud constantly overstates and overreacts, guffawing, shouting, cooing, giggling, and/or making pronouncements of ‘best ever’ at the slightest instigation.

One who is Loud wants to be liked by everyone. They want to be liked by more people than the other guy or girl. Underneath the big grin is a constant struggle being fought against obscurity. Hell is where one sinks when one is no longer ‘being talked about,’ when one is yesterday’s fad, when one is a used up product. Their ‘friends’ are not the haven but the battlefield.

One who is Loud is Correct. They possess the world view and personal qualities that are most highly valued in Western society. One stays on the island by making the most superficial alliances. In schools, success is more akin to outcompeting rivals on a public court or field than attaining mastery over knowledge. Accomplishment is defined by the perception of accomplishment. Whether the deed was actually done is inconsequential. In fact, it is a virtue to surpass a more accomplished individual in perceived success simply by having a better publicity machine and better skills in overstatement and self-inflation.