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The term "extravertocracy" (or "extrovertocracy", following more recent, less sensible spelling conventions), which I hereby coin, refers to any society, like our own, that is ruled by its extraverted members, while the introverted minority takes a secondary role, begrudgingly tolerated by the extraverted as unworthy little beings one just has to deal with in life. In an extravertocracy like our own, one expects introverts to be disparaged as antisocial shut-ins or aspersed as self-absorbed eccentrics. Other terms by which an extravert might label introverts in an attempt to marginalized them are "too serious", "depressed", "odd", "morose", or "shy". Needless to say, introverts are, in the general case, none of these things. ("Sensitive" and "deep thinker" are also obliquely used to refer to introverts, but I feel they come closer to being generically true).

Partly this aspersion is in place because extraverts tend to misunderstand the way introverts relate to the world: mainly, introverts' -- to an extravert inexplicable -- desire and ability to restrain themselves from subjugating every aspect of their environment to their will, and instead their tendency to observe, internalize, and appreciate the beauty of the world around them as it is. Partly, though, it is because of willing misperception and a deliberate campaign by the powers that be in the extraverted hegemony to malign and derogate the introverted underclass in order to further opress them. Unfortunately there are also these turncoat introverts who have sold out to the extravertocracy and have decided to partake in their campaign. Take for example the MTV book The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which from the title seemed like it would be a book that finally succeeds in explaining to the extraverted masses the workings of the introverted mind, but turned out to be one of the worst books I've ever picked up and read. (Listen to me. I sound like the UHB from Metropolitan who was horribly disappointed when he saw The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie because he thought it was going to be flattering to the bourgeois.) I won't belabor my hatred for this book here (go read the book's node for more disappreciation for the book), but I will say that the troubles of the protagonist in the book have nothing to do with him being intorverted; they have everything to do with him being a clueless idiot, albeit a sensitive, introverted clueless idiot.

The plight of the introverted underclass, which I will term "the introvertariat" for convenience, is non-trivial. It is not trivial for an introvert to suffer through these long, mostly-content-free small-talk conversations with extraverts which many introverts are forced to indulge or else appear "rude". Rude, or course, by the social rules drafted by the extravertocracy. Nor is it trivial for introverts to endure situations of prolonged social exprosure, denied of the precious time alone they need in order to recover their energy. Try to put an extravert in a situation where they are alone for a similar period of time and they will probably not know what to do with themselves. Some do not even know what torment they put introverts through every day. But most of all, to have your natural orientation, which you share with a significant portion of the population, so regularly and systematically marginalized and maligned is not a trivial offense to suffer. A lot of introverts, faced with this brutal intolerance, try to shed off their introversion. Some are successful to various degrees, adopting the behavior patterns of the extravert in a manner that fools most extraverts. Some still stick in privacy to their introversion, making time each day to spend alone, inside one's head, but some deny their introverted nature even to themselves. Though they are sometimes fully embraced by the extravertocracy, they are the members of the introvertariat who suffer the most, since they deny their true selves.

An introvertariat uprising is the fantasy of many introverts and the subject of more than one song -- a revolution in which society will be reorganized in a manner that values the lives of introverts as highly as extraverts'. In some fantasies, this takes the form of a bloody class war wherein heads roll and lined up agaist the wall are all authors of etiquette books, anyone who ever carelessly used the word "misanthropic" (!!!), and just any extravert who made the mistake of trying to engage in conversation an introvert in deep thought. Some fantasies are not as violent and stop at imaginaning an introverts' rights movemement that pushes for a world in which introverts are understood and respected.

In the mean time, however, introverts have the benefit of other introverts and a puny minority of sympathetic extraverts to draw comfort from. Fortunately and courageously, most introverts remain positively engaged and not withdrawn from society, they remain open-hearted and receptive to all that is beautiful in the world and that is suppressed by the extravertocracy, and they remain vigilant in belying to one extravert at a time all the filth and misrepresentation they have been intdoctrinated with about introverts their entire life.

Further reading: Caring for Your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch, http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch

 

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