Posts

48

I’m a few days late posting this, but it’s taken me awhile to conjure up some words to reflect my latest orbit around the sun. Partly it’s because I thought of myself as 48 a few months back. Still, I think it’s good to take my mental/emotional temperature to see how I’m doing and sort things out in literary form. Enjoy (or not) as you see fit. Continue reading “48”

Losing Your Voice

So here’s the problem with paranoia about your fellow human beings: you end up losing your voice. First you learn not to be an jerk—probably a good idea, especially if you become aware that a lot of what you’re saying offends or hurts people. Then you start worrying about giving offense of any kind. You start refraining from giving your honest opinions about the important matters of the day because you are only too well aware that you are in a minority or that some of your opinions are unpopular with a large chunk of your associates. You can’t be seen as too much of a partisan one way or the other or you risk getting kicked in the wallet when someone decides you’re “too controversial.”

If you’re an introvert, you dislike being the center of attention, and almost nothing in the current hot-house petri dish of politics gets you put in the media crosshairs quite like an unpopular opinion.

And let’s say you were bullied as a kid, so you’re quite aware of how human beings act if they dislike you or want to get you to shut up. Thugs appear, sometimes one on one, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in small groups, sometimes in mobs. They come with fists and weapons and voices raised in hostility. They leave nasty or threatening messages or make crank calls that threaten the safety of yourself or people you care about. They follow you home and to places where you are known to frequent so that you never feel safe. On the worst occasions, they take action and beat the snot out of you, preferably in front of an audience so you are seen to be humiliated and beaten down by others.

That is becoming the real nature of human beings engaged in “political discourse.” And if you wonder why the “voices of reason” are silent or ignored, it’s often because they’ve decided the exercise of freedom is not worth attracting the attention of the mob. So, congratulations, Humanity: the best in us is often destroyed by the worst in us because no one enjoys being alone in the face of the mob.

Maybe any thoughts you have aren’t the best that humanity has to offer; but they’re still yours. The “obvious price of expressing your opinion” need not be violence. Disagreement, certainly. Criticism, of course. But disagreement and criticism are not enough anymore. Any opinion that doesn’t ring true with the prevailing cultural orthodoxy must be shouted down; the characters of those speaking them must be impugned; their livelihoods must be cut off; their words must be suppressed with force. That is not what I was brought up to believe, but that’s where we are heading, and the gentle-souled introvert has obvious reason for concern just as much as the outspoken firebrand. How did it come to this?

Introversion in the Age of Interactive Entertainment

Fair warning: this is a longer-than-usual entry. Feel free to read the short version and get on with your day. 

There’s no doubt about it: our forms of entertainment are becoming increasingly realistic and interactive. Video games, for example, have advanced at a tremendous rate, creating ever more detailed environments for humans to play. Theme parks, too, are not just creating environments but putting visitors in the middle of the action. This presents possibilities but also problems for the dedicated introvert. Continue reading “Introversion in the Age of Interactive Entertainment”

The Introvert’s Guide to Orlando: VIII Restaurants Designed for Extroverts

I try to have lunch with my dad once a week. Today we ended up at a restaurant that did not work for us because it was wired for extroverts. I thought we’d give the new place–Bartaco–a shot because Dad knew where it was, and what the heck, the name “Bartaco,” seemed like a big message that Bart Must Have Tacos. While the food was good, the setup was not good for a couple of introverts. There’s a lot of that around Orlando. Continue reading “The Introvert’s Guide to Orlando: VIII Restaurants Designed for Extroverts”

Working Through Depression

Life doesn’t always go the way we want. You might be going through emotional pain or upset. I’ve been there, and after multiple bouts with depression, I developed a set of habits that–if it doesn’t prevent The Suck from getting to me, at least shortens the amount of time I suffer through it. What follows is my approach; it might or might not work for you–and if you’re in serious trouble, I recommend a therapist. But for those times between visits to the shrink, you might find this helpful. Continue reading “Working Through Depression”

Leaving a Better World

I’ve restarted my habit of starting off my morning by scribbling in my “morning pages,” as suggested by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. The question I posed to myself today was, “If you have no intention of becoming someone’s partner or father, what do you plan to do for the good of yourself or your species?” I didn’t expect many answers from myself, but there are options available to the single and the childless to give themselves purpose. Below are a few suggestions. Continue reading “Leaving a Better World”