Mute’s Got It Made…

Nov 17th, 2014 | By | Category: Columns

Humans are social creatures, it’s nature, and explains how our prehistoric ancestors were able to survive the harsh conditions of their time. They banded together in loose social constructs and each person in that group was assigned a role to fulfill for the betterment of all. Should they have stood alone, or with just whomever they mated with, humanity would’ve made one tasty snack, and fizzled out eons ago, an even smaller blip on the cosmic scale than we already are. Thankfully, they learned otherwise, and we managed to claw our way to the top of the food chain, and have been able to build great societies because of our communal nature.

So then, naturally, it would stand to reason that those who fail to interact with their fellow man is broken in some way, that they’re slowing down progress by not participating and are nothing more than a drain on society itself. Not that long ago, these outliers were shunned, hidden away, and in some extreme cases, committed. They were spoken of in hushed tones in the neighborhood, and their families had to make excuses for them, claiming they had some neurological or physical limitation that prevented them from interacting like a “normal” person. Looking back with today’s understanding of the human psyche, and how mental development varies from person to person, we know more than likely that nothing was wrong with those people. And, looking at the situation from the perspective of these victims, we know why they were closed off from the world around: back then, everyone was a monumental dick.

Today, we label those who would’ve been lobotomized as ‘introverts: people who heavily internalize their thoughts, who find strength in being alone, while at the same time not shying away from the people they’ve formed bonds with.” You won’t find them in the center of a room, holding court as they convey a hilarious anecdote from their younger days, it’s not their place, and that’s perfectly fine. However that’s not to say they don’t try, because let’s be honest: feeling all alone sucks, they want to form relationships (it’s just more of a struggle). The introvert tries to open up and put themselves out there, but being socially inexperienced, they come off as awkward, or worse–creepy. Their legitimate attempt at coming out of their shell may end up isolating them even more, leaving them feeling more awkward and uncomfortable than they already were.

On the flip side, the introvert acceptance movement has given those who detest human interaction with an “out.” Instead of being viewed as an asshole, they’re simply seen as “quiet…suckers.” Using myself as an example, outside of a very tight-knit group of people who willingly put up with my bullshit, being around people is exhausting. Not from the traditional introverted POV of “straining to think of ways to be friendly” but more of “I’m trying really hard to not tell you to ‘fuck off’ as that’s not appropriate for work/school/church.” It’s not the result of being an introvert, or me having a problem with the person in front of me, it’s because people are, for the most part, extremely boring. The rest of the world isn’t like the people I care about, they don’t have conversations ranging from the support of alternate lifestyles to why Hungry Hungry Hippos is a top-tier board game. The rest of the world engages in idle small talk and gossip. Now, the musical rearrangement of “A Streetcar Named Desire” would welcome any interaction with the unwashed masses as “a stranger’s just a friend you haven’t met.” Even with the knowledge that every relationship has to start somewhere, I’m willing to bet that during at least 90% of the interactions you fine people have on any given day, your internal response to everything they uttered was “I don’t care.”

In today’s culture, it’s easy to see why a lot of people prefer to cut themselves off from the world. You turn on the television to see talking heads spewing nothing but nonsense and hate, how those words are repeated, and twisted to fit some skewed perception of their reality. Racism, sexism, and the phobias associated with them polluting everyday thought. If they aren’t making with the hate/fear mongering, then they’re slowly lowering the collective IQs the global population by shining a light on stories that serve no purpose other than ratings. Recently, the ESA launched a probe that landed on a comet that’s 300 million miles away and hurtling through space at speeds as high as 84k mph (no metric here, because, ‘Murica). To put it bluntly, that shit is incredible. Yet, in typical fashion, what got all the attention that week? A Kardashian. A feat that had never before been attempted outside of a Bruce Willis movie is accomplished, and it’s overshadowed by an ass (literally and metaphorically).

The circle of friends I’ve made for myself are probably some of the best I could hope for, they give me my space, only requesting my presence for special occasions or to ensure I get the bare minimum amount of sunlight required. They understand (or seem to) that my silence isn’t a sign of them having lost my friendship, it’s that I just prefer keeping to myself. But, when we do get together, we have meaningful conversations, often about meaningless things, but, none-the-less, there’s no lack of enthusiasm on anybody’s part. There’s no substance to everyday talk, adults no longer have conversations with opposing viewpoints maintaining civility and grace. There’s no compromise, no understanding, and as a result, no progress.

An introvert cutting themselves off from the world isn’t because they’re shy, or find communication exhausting, it’s that amazingly, not much has changed between “then” (the world before 2008) and now. Rampant dickishness, while still prevalent, isn’t the driving factor behind isolation, it’s because everyone is stupid and just too much of a dick to admit it.

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