Introverts, Social Loyalty, and Social Immunity

A Subtle person often grows up an outsider and never really bonds with their birth society.   Not only do we lack commonality with the whole, we might very well also have feelings of resentment after years of complications arising from basic incompatibility.  Such a Subtle person might wonder why on earth they should put their efforts into working hard for the sake of a collective for which they have no affinity.  They see the daily grind and the question is ‘why?’  All that hard work to just to keep it going!  Most people out there seem miserable and drained from the effort.  Should we keep it going?

I’ve written my last posts about the Subtle perspective of social containment zones and coercion throughout the life cycle.  Someone who fits in and is successfully socialized during youth is not going to think in this way.  One who sees themself as a part of  the larger society does not feel they are being coerced.  Because of their group affinity, they are willing to participate in whatever is expected of them.  Because of their deep bond to their group, they could hardly imagine deviating from everything that has defined them since birth.  When a bond is that deep, there is no ‘why?’ to be asked.  One might actually be incapable of conceiving of another social system and perhaps has never encountered one.  When there’s just one way, what else could one do?  Belonging could make them miserable or even get them killed but there quite simply is no other option.  The birth society holds a monopoly on their social loyalty by default.  Good or ill is just a roll of the dice.

For those who have never belonged, involvement with the orthodoxy continues because they have no choice.  They feel helpless, confined, and coerced through all of life.    Worse still, they must suffer silently while surrounded by people who can never understand them.  Everyone has a basic human need to belong somewhere and those who are Incorrect must somehow find ways to live without.  Someone Incorrect must live with the knowledge that they would be crushed beneath social censure if their true nature were discovered.  The necessity of self-concealment makes for a life of loneliness and insecurity.  The nonsensical and irrational aspects of a society that everyone else accepts without question seem glaring errors to one who has never belonged…

Beyond coercion, why should one be loyal to a social organization that has yielded alienation and suffering?

Why should one hesitate to leave it if there were ever a better option?

When one grows up receiving mostly negative reinforcement from social institutions, from authority figures, from one’s parents and peers why be loyal to their ‘reality’?

Why continue a tradition that only brought misery into one’s life?

Why would one ‘contribute to society’ if they weren’t forced to?  Isn’t perpetuating a hostile society against one’s interests?

Although the practical and economic reasons are obvious one might ask on the philosophical level:  On what grounds is a society one is born into by mere accident entitled to one’s labor and loyalty?  Angsty teenagers everywhere have a point when they say “I didn’t choose to be born”  We didn’t choose to be born and yet every one of us is treated as though we signed some kind of contract before we entered the world.  We all get the responsibility without any of the power.

It is important to consider to consider this philosophical level because of the implications.  Since birth is an accident in which we had no part, then our birth society can have no special or legitimate claim on our lives.  Many people rationalize, “I couldn’t have survived without this society, so now I(you) owe it.”  The angsty teenager points out however “I did not ask to exist, I can’t help that I’ve been existed in a form that requires other people for survival, so how can I be held responsible for all the costs my existence has incurred?”  If one must actively choose to take out a loan or use a credit card to be held accountable for a debt, on what does a birth society base its demands for obedience and loyalty?

What it boils down to:  Without the successful acquisition of deep social affinity in one’s early years, only naked coercion remains to enforce one’s compliance and loyalty to a society.  Under such circumstances, it is not only desirable to secede, but ethical.  To continue to bow to tyranny dooms the next generation of Incorrect persons to the same fate.

How does one secede then from a body that is all encompassing?

One does it by using a given society’s resources in one’s own anti-social interests.  To ironically use money, the material substance of social approval and influence to escape the demands of the society.

To carve out a personal domain by achieving Social Immunity is the first step in bringing about a new ‘reality’ that could ultimately incorporate more than one person.  Otherwise, one remains stuck on the same treadmill that seems to define the lives of everyone else.  A treadmill that seems there to keep people occupied and too busy to really think about life until it’s too late.  For a true introvert it seems there must be a better way to live, but the demands of survival leave limited time to think about it.  For an Incorrect person, no treasure is so precious as time to stop and think.  Never until Social Immunity has been achieved can this treasure be harvested without constant interruption and interference.

Zygmunt blogs at Kingdom of Introversion (and elsewhere).

Introverts, Social Loyalty, and Social Immunity appears here by permission.

[image is from no-longer available footage used to create a fan video for Jonathan Coulton’s brilliant, funny-sad meditation on social loyalty, “Space Doggity” (whose subject achieves social immunity of a sort); it may or may not be an actual picture of the doomed Russian space pioneer Laika]

related:  Introvert Survival: Reducing Your Profile

related:  Social Immunity

related:  Jonathan Coulton “Space Doggity” live performance

on 09/5/11 in featured, Society | 1 Comment | Read More

Comments (1)


  1. John says:

    Really enjoyed your article. I am a moderately extroverted person deeply committed to my semi extreme introvert? Until I met this wonderful person it seems as though I most likely never really got too close too introverts. Once I realized this wonderful personality is just that “wonderful”. I realized that the love of my life viewed the world much differently than I. It has been liberating and sometimes scary for me. Because of my love for her. I began to do some research about this personality type. It has enlightened me, as well as made me a more sensible extrovert. Thanks again!

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