Today I've been complimented by an ESFP. He said, you're not that introverted anymore. He said that as if being introverted were some sort of social inconvenience that prevents you from enjoying and creating meaningful relationships. It was a compliment. And what he implied, I believe explicitly.
What does this compliment mean for me? It's growth... It's part of going from INTP to xxxx. Becoming strong in all facets of life, with time, by overcoming my weaknesses and fears.
It is also a fact that an extremely involved and painful 1 year relationship featuring pretty much anything man has ever put on a theatrical stage, including betrayal, fear, anger, passion, escapes, fights, manipulation, neighbors calling the cops, with no less than a bipolar ISFP with attachment disorders, has left a deep impression on me that I am still trying to fully rationalize and turn into knowledge and preparedness for the future. I can say I've had a kamikaze crash course in emotions, relationships and social dynamics that I was lucky to survive. I've got minor scratch scars on my shoulder and much deeper wounds in my soul, but I can already see the intellect mending them and turning them into strength.
The world of ideas, for an INTP, is an intricate network of interdependent concepts. I see a box of cereals at the supermarket, but its colors and design bring back concepts of photoshop layout, marketing, evolutionary psychology based emotional triggers, the power structure, distribution chains, nutrition, the corruption of politicians who create the food pyramid based on lobbyists' contributions. And that all comes in a fraction of a second. So, it's pretty easy to be dismissive if you're INTP. You've got the terminator visual with all the bars on the left and the pie charts and the automatic scene segmentation using wavelets and markov chain montecarlo methods. Others don't. They just see the liiittle pretty monkeys coming out of the choco bowl and following gay green faeries and they GO for the wallet and feed their children preservatives and iron filings.
Everything YOU, intps, see is an augmented reality with all possible concepts and cause-effect chains highlighted in front of you. And for them... it's just a picture.
The great revelation is that our terminator visor does not have a sensor for one important kind of network that is out there. A network upon which most humans base their survival. A network that has been the key to evolution and survival of our species (and I say that with no triumphant overtones, as I'm deeply aware of the suffering implicit in this ironic "ticket to existence" and the infinite horror of those other species who were exterminated systematically by us and by each other).
This network is the network of human interdependency. Of give and take, of reliance and suspicion, of rivalry and kinship. It is a complex, fluid network where nodes are attached and detached very quickly, billions of nodes form and are severed each day as in a gigantic brain.
We INTPs do not interact within this network very well. We're operating at the IP level whereas most other people are exchanging HTML and rich content. Some of us barely know what their IP address is. Sometimes content is blocked for us.
As you enter this network, slowly, you begin to realize you've lived the hard way all along. It is so easy to get things in life if you have a good network of acquaintances that you can almost do without your NT. Weeks and weeks of searching for a job, for apartments, for a doctor, for a tool, for whatever - endless net searches, interviews, and more when you could have just picked up the phone, greeted someone and gotten what you need for free.
The greatest losses I see in my life from not having emoted, not having interacted are solitude, pessimism, and just plain inconvenience (working hard for stuff). I think that understanding the convenience of having a social network (real one not the facebook crap) is a first necessary step for INTPs to enter it.
Let's face it. At some level, all human interaction is intrinsically exploitative. We tend to make friends with people who:
- have sufficient social status to have the assets with which to help
- are similar to us, therefore understand our needs and we can pool resources
- are willing to emote, a process by which we establish the give and take connection
- are kind, i.e. they respect a 50% or more "give" proportion (seeders, not leechers)
And even "giving" relationships where we seek out the downtrodden and miser are just ways to gratify our superego.
I have experimented a bit. I asked myself, what if. What if I cultivated a network with no apparent reason. I started talking with people I couldn't care less about. Guy at the gym with iron tooth. Broke dude with acne scars who talks like a total geek and spits food back on the plate when eating because he never learned to close his mouth before he starts chewing.
In less than 72 hours I was already in need of something. I had no hope of anyone being able to help so I was determined to do it myself as usual, but, I called these people just as an experiment. Turned out one had a friend that... And the other one had similar needs to mine.
They didn't REALLY help but they went pretty damn close to being able to, that's within 72 hours with minimal investment and with only 2 people in this new experimental network.
Not only that, but I enjoyed talking to them a lot more than looking on the internet for the things I needed.
This is only the beginning. Through them I will meet others. I will dig the network. 2 friends will become 4, then 8, then in a few exponential steps the whole planet. One thing I always failed to realize as I disregarded people based on my poor evaluation of their potential, is who they knew and where they worked. Especially ESFPs, who seem to be total clowns with hardly any seriousness or diligence in their character, know the whole world. They sometimes can introduce you to politicians, people in show business, government, radio hosts and more (not to mention they're funny and goofy and when you really want to just have fun they're a lot better to have around than another intp).
The other incredible thing, is that I'm not a fish outside the water with this social stuff. I am more like a fish that's been put inside the water for the first time. I have dormant parts of my brain that I've masturbated with classical music and poetry and they are the ones that are supposed to do all this "people" work for me at a hardware level rather than in painfully inefficient software emulation.
So... I'm not bad at it. I've just been historically very very uninterested. After all the chief sign a man has any nobility in his character is the little pleasure one takes in interacting with others right? I used to love quotes by Schopenhauer that justify and celebrate my pessimism. Damn I'm growing. Please lord or whatever transtimeline beings created this crap... don't make me outgrow Schopenhauer ok? I know I've got that type of mind, plus I have infinite access to information which Plato, Aristotle and Arthur didn't have, but please don't project me into completely unchartered territory just when I think I can kind of find a little niche for myself and be happy? I hope I'm mad and I'm not outgrowing the only role models I've ever had, especially emotionally. Hope I'm ranting, hope I'm delusional, hope I'm overinflating. I want a real life and a real relationship not more hyperspatial bullshit. And perhaps outgrowing schopenhauer emotionally is trivial, he was an intuitive and thinking genius and probably an emotional lightweight. WHO KNOWS. This is too complex. Anyway I hope I'm becoming more normal and not some sort of wacky sysop mind assimilating the whole universe.
To come back to the main point, I saw not the value of human connections, whereas now I do.
Aside from being fundamental in making any kind of real progress in life (try to own a building or a bank with just your technical skills ), they also give life that ineffable quality, that calm or lack of anxiety, that alone you will always have no matter how many gold bars you have buried in your garden.
With this as the starting point I've begun to relate to people a lot more than before. Before I was judging them on their IQ, nothing else. Tell me something abstract. Ah-ah, you have no definition for abstraction, you don't equate it to intelligence. Minus 100 points. Now tell me your definition of good and evil. Ah! Caught again. You are now below zero. So you're ignorant and miser in your morality. You suck. Holy crap I prefer a rock. All wars were fought by idiots like you against similar idiots. I am going to sit here and talk to the thermal vibrations inside the rock which have higher complexity than your CNS. What's the CNS? Moravec says instantiation is irrelevant, there are actual beings inside the rock. Who's Moravec? Next!!!! Scheiße!!!
Sometimes I even told people openly I was trying to find out how intelligent they were, thought at least it would be a fair test to let them know that, you know, they had one B2 pencil and one eraser and warn them to completely fill the dot for their answer (didn't make many friends that way!). But yeah, they don't know about the society of mind, can't explain evolution by natural selection (far from), don't know their introns from their exons, Think okazaki fragments are pieces of a sumo wrestler, J.F.Christ they are insanely, insanely ignorant, they are in the middle ages, if you take off their clothes and give them a spear they will start eating each other and join an ass worship cult and spit paint on their hands in the cave LOL OMFG !!!
Ok I had a brief flashback sorry, back to us.
Now, the wise guy I've become, I see the similarities in the way we suffer. Suffering is what really brings us together. Kings and beggars, women and men, movie stars and factory workers with 2 missing fingers that got stuck in the machine. All will love the wrong person once. All will be disappointed with their friends. All will feel difficulty breathing when they're trying to forget someone and they're plagued by irrelevant episodic memories suddenly being blown out of proportion like mystical events of companionship... "the good times" so to speak. This is the human condition. No one's exempted, not even a dictator. Quantum chromodynamics does not provide comic relief when your mom gets alzheimer's and can't remember wtf you are. We are feeling beings first, knowing beings second.
So, in suffering, I found a tentative way to relate to other human beings. I'm still sad that my knowledge cannot be of help more often. I can diagnose people with extreme skin conditions and offer a sure cure at first sight, diagnose people with particular psychological disorders and recommend a therapy, make a financial plan for people - but I can not make them follow through. Never. I can never give a drop of my courage or objectivity or drive to anyone. I wish I could, because I don't see myself as a protector but as an arms dealer. You have a problem - I'm not going to fix it for you, but I'm going to lay out all the tools, the arsenal, give you the instruction manual, and watch you go for it, that's my style.
If I lived in a tribe, I'd be a shaman and my fellow tribesmen would give great weight to my wisdom and potions. But we live in a world that has been trivialized by comfort, marketing and instant gratification, and nobody wants the bitter medicine. They want the Peking White Tea or to heal themselves with the Magical Power of Flowers and Crystal (swear my mom has that book and more like it). There's no sense of sacrifice and satisfaction, the power process as precisely described by the unabomber.
Everything is still changing. The only constant is growth, and increasing complexity. I think I am becoming more mental in completely orthogonal ways. I am becoming higher dimensional. In doing so, I have partially escaped the loneliness of the rare native dimensions I inhabited. I seek to get people excited and armed and militant against all that holds back our species.
I am now going to talk to anyone and everyone, the flower vendor on the street, the stewardess (I talk to stewardesses anyway lol), anyone as long as they've got a mouth to move. Real progress is not more of the same, it's not a 6th language or some new theory or another symphonic instrument. It's right there in the vulgar and mundane and chaotic world of flesh, filth and betrayal.
I'm leaving the science museum and heading for the zoo. Hope ya do the same and we can report our findings on this very screen.