TED Conversations

Fran Ontanaya

Editor - Multilingual Publishing, Freelance

TEDCRED 100+

This conversation is closed.

Introversion: is it regarded as normal in your country/culture?

History offers a rather positive view of introverts: the lone explorers, the poets, the genius scientists, the artists, the philosophers, are often portraited as powered by the particular qualities of introspection. But the day to day social reality within their local tribe may be rather different. Introverts may be admired from afar, but depending on the culture, not so much in their neighborhood.

This is not a big deal except when new generations are raised with only one role model in mind, and this role being a good marketer or short term social achiever, while the value of reflection and self examination is underestimated --note: not of 'thinking' per se, as that's not equivalent to 'introversion'.

My question is, does your country and culture have a model of introverted behaviour that is perceived as a normal social identity? If that's the case, what do you think that differentiates how young people is raised in your country/culture, as opposed to those in which introversion is not considered a normal behaviour? And the most important question, what parts of that education and enviroment do you think that could be exported elsewhere?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jan 7 2013: I've never heard that certain lone explorers, poets, genius scientists, etc. are perceived as heavily introspective. What particular people are you thinking of?
    • thumb
      Jan 7 2013: An example would be Gustave Flaubert, who spent five years writing Madame Bovary, most of the time largely in solitude.

      Nikola Tesla is quoted as saying: “The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

      J. M. Coetzee, Cormac McCarthy, Harper Lee, J.D Salinger, Thomas Pynchon are known for avoiding dinners and interviews. Emily Dickinson didn't even set a foot outside their family home in the last 20 years of her life.

      Famous recent entrepeneurs like Larry Page, Sergei Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozniak, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates are introverts and that is part of their success stories.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.