Unity Does Not Mean Uniformity

Society and social interaction are helpful tools for the introvert.  Society does not just happen for its own sake in our point of view.  It requires justification, for from proper justification comes its legitimacy.
Thus, a key value of any society of introverts would be to minimize friction of association.
In other words each individual in an introvert society helps every other to be free to be their best selves without hindrance and to pursue their most sacred aims without having to conceal them.

Such an idea sounds nice, but many, many theoretical systems fall down abjectly in implementation.  Skepticism is the natural response to any claims made on a theoretical level.

I would contest however that such an introvert society is quite viable.

I would examine the case of Switzerland as an example:

This modern nation began as nothing more than a confederation of disparate city states of several different ethnicities speaking several different languages.  To begin with, these minor territories were just tiny arbitrary shards of an irreparably shattered Holy Roman Empire.  They had nothing in common except a desire to be able to preserve their autonomy against their more powerful neighbors.  Through mutual defense, each of these city states gained and retained their independence.  As these individual entities sacrificed to a whole, their individual freedoms were both preserved and increased.  The tool of a larger society they formed served its purpose of defense while successfully minimizing their friction of association.
Each of these city states(known as cantons) had their own, often radically different governments.  Indeed, the administrations of these statelets ranged from democratically elected councils, to oligarchies of noblemen, to theocracies.

Even to this day the cantons remain autonomous and Swiss national identity is extremely strong despite huge disparities that have existed throughout the nation’s history.  The bond shared by the cantons is predicated not upon shared language, but on shared purpose.

So I would say that events in real life, in real history tell us:

Unity does not mean uniformity

If the cantons were able to exist for centuries in a cohesive alliance that improved all the cantons’ freedoms, why couldn’t there be a similar association of individual persons, each functioning as their own autonomous statelet?

I would even contest that a genuine alliance forged from shared goals and interests is a far stronger foundation than that which can be produced from the mere pressure of social expectations – that which characterizes the banal and oppressive social environments that surround us.

History has shown us how mass societies can put millions of troops on the battlefield at a time and pressure them into killing one another en masse.  These mass states in conjunction with mass societies have amply demonstrated that they can lead a man to a foxhole, but can they make him think?
Throwing an overwhelming quantity of warm bodies at the problem only works to a point.

Surely, an alliance of human beings is far more powerful if it enjoys the unmitigated loyalty of its members not out of ignorance or pressure, but from the imperative of mutually assured freedoms.  A million troops can amount to no more than the net potential energy stored in their bodies and in their weapons.  It is the very most that can be extracted from these soldiers.  It is all that is wanted from them. In truth, a vast collection of coerced people will contribute far less than even their full physical potential.  Each soldier is but an expendable token with a fixed value to be traded in whenever it best suits his arbitrarily elevated social superiors.

One truly free person in a group that they truly care about amounts to far more than the net force of their bodies.  Their minds, their ideas, their being are devoted to the interests of their social entity.  They choose to contribute everything they possibly could in their own best interests of their own free will.  Such a person is far more powerful than a soldier/laborer whose limbs are moved by the will of others.

So with all these things considered:

- Hasn’t every introvert wondered how much less irrelevant input they would have to deal with if extroverts didn’t dominate every aspect of their immediate society?

- Politically correct people maintain that the ‘world needs both introverts and extroverts.’  But if extroverts disappeared, what essential component would be missing for an introvert (and vice versa)?  Especially if all society was designed to accommodate the introvert remainder.

- Keep in mind, that in the present situation, the extrovert majority already discourages introvert participation in their society. Extroverts and introverts already live in separate worlds ruled by different priorities and values.

- The very most sought after job skills are talking with people, ‘managing’ people, and ‘being a team player.’  In other words, one of the main tasks of the entire workforce is simply dealing with high maintenance extroverts.

- Imagine what a unified yet mutually independent organization of Subtle persons could accomplish.  With more focus on goals and genuine accomplishment and less energy spent on rote socialization, there would be great potential.

- A union of strong, self sufficient people comfortable with themselves united in a common purpose would implicitly require a bare fraction of the maintenance and management customary in a typical organization governed by Loud principles.  Most introverts prefer to function as independent agents.  A constant and firm hand of authority governing every action and process would be neither necessary nor desirable.

Zygmunt blogs at Kingdom of Introversion (and elsewhere).

Unity Does Not Mean Uniformity appears here by permission.

on 07/18/11 in featured, Society | No Comments | Read More

Leave a Reply