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  1. #1
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Default Is really integrating/engaging with larger society a requirement in life?

    Two people I know once said they thought so. They said that anything not conducive to that was negative. Basically, they thought that having good social skills, being a major part of things, and coming across well to people in general was the main point of life. They implied that people who can't be sensitive to style and context (and tend to notice content/detail instead) are basically screwed up, and have no place in society until they learn to conceal this by undergoing psychological treatment.

    I personally disagree with that. Can you really get by being completely anti-social and withdrawn all of the time? Okay, probably not. But can you be satisfied by having maybe a job, a smaller circle of friends, and still spend most of your time involved in less demanding activities/arenas, where such things aren't expected to a significant degree? I don't see why not.

    What annoyed me most was the implication that this was "the right way" and that everything else was "the wrong way." They didn't even try to explain it, just stated it as if it were undeniable.

    What was also interesting to me was that these two people said such similar things.

    So, does anyone else feel this way, that this is the only "right way" to be? Or are there other ways of living reasonable for human beings?

  2. #2
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    You just have to be at peace with yourself, regardless of whether you focus more on yourself or the outside world. Either direction of focus, if taken to extremes, can be bad if you're not finding a healthy balance. For your friends to say things like that, it seems to indicate that they haven't found the healthy balance yet. They must not have very much true internal peace and confidence, so they're trying to make up for it by controlling their external circumstances.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    So, does anyone else feel this way, that this is the only "right way" to be? Or are there other ways of living reasonable for human beings?
    It's however you as an individual choose to live. If you aren't harming other people or aren't a danger to yourself (though, really, who decides that or at what point? Tricky.), then you could hole yourself in a cave and it'd still be fine as it's your choice and your right to choose to do so. I find it silly when people try to claim any one way is the *right way*. There have been all kinds of societies across all cultures throughout recorded history. They all functioned similarily and differently. What's considered a 'normal/right' way of living during one generation sometimes becomes entirely replaced by the next. And even then, just because society is accepting of being a predominately chosen way of lifestyle/s (whether being more "extroverted" or "introverted" or even a balance of the two generally) doesn't mean there can't be people who choose not to adopt such ways.

    They said that anything not conducive to that was negative. Basically, they thought that having good social skills, being a major part of things, and coming across well to people in general was the main point of life.
    You can have excellent social skills and still choose not to engage with a lot of people.

  4. #4
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    There's a multitude of value systems.. one value system doesn't become the "only" true one by having rigid adherents.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Basically, they thought that having good social skills, being a major part of things, and coming across well to people in general was the main point of life.
    Yeah, perhaps for them, and Willy Loman.
    `
    'Cause you can't handle me...

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    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

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  6. #6
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    There is a difference between being on your own wave length, being more naturally retiring and not needing a lot of social stimulation -- and being a paranoid delusional recluse. It's all about gradations.

    I don't think your goal in life has to be to be a mover and shaker in the traditional sense, to have a fabu glamorous social life, to fill up your date book and MySpace page with as many 'friends' as possible and pretend you live in a music video. I think especially when you are very young these are the standards given to you to reach. But everyone has to find their own groove. And this is coming from someone who is more extroverted and needs a lot of external stimulation to be happy.

    Humans are social animals. Everyone needs human comfort and understanding and feel a part of something larger then themselves. Even the loners. Society, community, etc. I think most people who isolate themselve aren't necessarily doing it for happiness -- a lot of people joke about 'being a hermit' but it's cyclical and way to achieve balance. Some people need more down-time than others. And total isolation? It's not what will make them the happiest in the long run. Isolation and separation from society is considered a form of punishment in society.

    (Except for the survivalists, but refer to first paragraph)

    Everyone has to figure out for themselves how to live, but the process is the same. It is about finding a balance. But for most people this means pushing testing their boundaries, questioning their motives, and facing their fears. For some people facing a fear is being with other people, for others, it's truly being alone with themselves.

    BTW, I think the title to your post is a little misleading. I agree with you -- there is no one right way to live. But I also think absolutely integration and engaging with larger society is what healthy people aspire towards and what most non-dictatorships want for you as well. That doesn't mean you have to be a cog in the machine, but if we had a nation comprised solely of the sociopathic, paranoid, criminally violent, and otherwise 'unintegrateable' elements of society -- damn, that would not be pretty.
    Last edited by CzeCze; 03-12-2008 at 03:14 AM. Reason: Further explanation
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  7. #7
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LucrativeSid View Post
    You just have to be at peace with yourself, regardless of whether you focus more on yourself or the outside world. Either direction of focus, if taken to extremes, can be bad if you're not finding a healthy balance. For your friends to say things like that, it seems to indicate that they haven't found the healthy balance yet. They must not have very much true internal peace and confidence, so they're trying to make up for it by controlling their external circumstances.
    That seems very insightful. One of the people in question tested as Exxx -- 100% E, and near 50% on every other dichotomy, although they were vaguely ESTP. That could indicate a lack of inner piece... especially since someone around them said that he couldn't stand to be alone, or leave anything the same... something always had to be happening, or they weren't happy.

    What both of these people seem to be missing is the fact that social involvement is a dial, not an "on/off" switch.

    For instance, here:

    0. Total isolation like on a desert island. Too lonely.

    1. Just having and maintaining a job/home. Still a bit lonely.

    2. Having a job and a rather small group of friends that you contact regularly in addition to your more introverted activities. This is comfortable.

    3. Working, having a larger group of friends, and trying to keep up with all of them. A bit hectic, but I could manage for a while.

    4. Working, trying to be liked by most people, and constantly trying to be involved/concerned with all of them. I couldn't deal with this for long.

    5. Working, volunteering, going to every party you're invited to, hosting some of your own, and doing it all perfectly. I'd welcome death.

  8. #8
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    I like that you've started this thread because it's almost like a sign to me. (Or at least a reminder to stay on track.) I have been planning on spending my late night hours alone tonight writing about potential methods that one could implement in order to find the proper balance in any area of their life. In this case, extraversion and introversion. Another one that interests me a lot is the balance between work and play.

    It's like a dial, like you said. I believe that most people are not operating on the level that best suits them for some reason or another. More later...

  9. #9
    a white iris elfinchilde's Avatar
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    LucrativeSid has a point, actually. They could be extremely insecure of themselves, and are perhaps consciously or unconsciously jealous of others who are comfortable being alone, and do not see the need to adhere to the crowd. Hence the rather totalitarian response of "that is not the right way", and the insistence upon their way as being "right". Especially significant since one already said he couldn't stand being alone.

    There's no one 'right' way to live, really. Just do what makes you happy, and comfortable, and yourself. Rather odd to insist on being an extrovert, when in reality, crowds tire you out and sap your energy. It'd only make one feel worse. Vice versa holds true for extroverts forced into an introvert's role in society.

    The precise fact that there are such things as the MBTI around, shows that personalities differ, and if so, how can a one-system-fits-all rule apply to life?
    You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
    They called me the hyacinth girl.
    Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
    Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
    Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
    Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
    Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

    --T.S Eliot, The Wasteland

  10. #10
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Because a lot of people think that way you have to keep up a certain level of appearances so they don't persecute you because they mistake not being average for being abnormal. Beyond that it's absolutely silly to me to follow someone else's prescription for happiness when it clearly isn't your own.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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