Are Introverts Inferior?

People who shy away from public gatherings, who by nature do not seek out the company of others, or who prefer their own company to that of others are often considered inferior to those who are more sociable.

The argument might even be made etymologically: the English word “idiot” is derived from the Greek word ἰδιώτης (idiōtēs). Liddell and Scott give this for the first entry of ἰδιώτης (idiōtēs): “a private person, one in a private station, an individual, opp. to stratēgos, a private soldier: also an individual, opp. to polis.” Therefore, so the argument goes, the “idiot” was the one who shied away from public life.

Furthermore, Aristotle argued that “Man, by nature, is a political animal.” “Political” in this sense means “the ordering and structuring of society—living in community.” The polis was the city, the community. Note that Liddell and Scott contrast idiōtēs with polis.

So, are introverts inferior? If only etymologies were arguments. Simply because the English word “idiot” derives from the Greek word that meant “a private person”—it does not follow that “a private person” is an “idiot.” So, I’ll continue to screen my calls and not answer the door simply because there is a ring or a knock.

Most people would balk at the idea that I’m an introvert. I don’t know myself. I think it really just depends on the day.

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Our Golden Calf

Our summum bonum is commodity, and the goddess we adore Dea moneta, Queen Money, to whom we daily offer sacrifice, which steers our hearts, hands, affections, all; that most powerful goddess, by whom we are reared, depressed, elevated, esteemed the sole commandress of our actions, for which we pray, run, ride, go, come, labour, and contend as fishes do for a crumb that falleth into the water.

Robert Burton (Anatomy of Melancholy)

Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation.

(October 3, 1863)

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Wendell Berry on Computers…

From “Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer” by Wendell Berry:

…My best reason for not owning a computer is that I do not wish to fool myself. I disbelieve, and therefore strongly resent, the assertion that I or anybody else could write better or more easily with a computer than with a pencil. I do not see why I should not be as scientific about this as the next fellow: when somebody has used a computer to write work that is demonstrably better than Dante’s, and when this better is demonstrably attributable to the use of a computer, then I will speak of computcr with a more respectful tone of voice, though I still will not buy one.

To make myself as plain as I can, I should give my standards for technological innovation in my own work. They are as follows:

1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.

 

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You can find the whole essay here.

Jerusalem, My Happy Home

When I meet together with others in worship, confessing our sin, receiving absolution, and partaking in the elements of grace, I am overcome with a sense of peace, rest, and joy. I know this is true, why then am I reluctant to worship? My first response is that I’m just plain stupid—but then I am reminded I am not stupid, I am sinful. I covet my sin and love the disorder it brings. This is our defect—we both love and hate the disorder and suffering our sin brings us. We hate it and long for release, and yet we desire it and fear its absence.

Lord, give me your rest.

 

Jerusalem, My Happy Home

Jerusalem, my happy home,
When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrow have an end?
Thy joys when shall I see?

O happy harbor of the saints,
O sweet and pleasant soil!
In thee no sorrow may be found,
No grief, no care, no toil.

Thy gardens and thy gallant walks
Continually are green;
There grow such sweet and pleasant flow’rs
As nowhere else are seen.

There trees forevermore bear fruit
And evermore do spring;
There evermore the angels dwell
And evermore do sing.

Apostles, martyrs, prophets, there
Around my Savior stand;
And soon my friends in Christ below
Will join the glorious band.

O Christ, do Thou my soul prepare
For that bright home of love
That I may see Thee and adore
With all Thy saints above.

(F.B.P., c. 1580)