“A picture of me”: A post by a social recluse about his worldview | INFJ Forum

“A picture of me”: A post by a social recluse about his worldview

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by uuu, Jun 26, 2022.

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  1. uuu

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    Those who are prone to existential dread may want to sit this one out.

    Here is the source: https://caspercloudwalker.bearblog.dev/a-picture-of-me/



    Do you relate to this post? Although this author's case is clearly an extreme one, I think it is just a more concentrated version of a broader kind of malaise that many people in this generation can empathize with.

    I found the part about people being preoccupied with very narrow matters of cultural propriety and missing the big issues especially persuasive. But I also think that this man's very accurate criticism of society is also mixed in with some self-image and mental-health issues that make it hard to endorse his take entirely.
     
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  2. Roses In The Vineyard

    Roses In The Vineyard Well-known member

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    With modern society fragmenting into what it is today this issue is only going to get worse where before it was only small numbers of individuals but eventually it will be whole demographics.
     
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  3. dZpADTLrPmX4c

    dZpADTLrPmX4c Impermanent Fixture

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    Yes, I relate with it. If he can manage a little longer and find his way, he'll be in a good spot.

    What are your thoughts on it @ultrauber ?



    (edit: added question)
     
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  4. Wyote

    Wyote Meka Istaqa
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  5. OP
    uuu

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    I share the sense of a broad mismatch between the issues that I consider important and worthy of discussion, and those that people IRL seem to care about.

    I think it comes from having lived overseas for 4 years. By learning, as an outsider, how to function here, I gained an appreciation for which aspects of the culture serve a particular goal (such as promoting efficient decision-making or conveying information about social status and experience) and which ones are "just like that" and don't have a precise purpose (other than general social cohesion). And I have learned to scrutinize my native country, the US, in the same way.

    My American friends, nowadays, seem endlessly preoccupied with using the "correct" language. I'm not just talking about gendered pronouns and avoiding racial slurs and stuff—these are issues I actually do think are important. What bugs me is that people have bought into this law of attraction–adjacent notion that to introduce any kind of negativity into a conversation or challenge someone's attitude is a grave offense, because you are interfering with their ability to "live their truth."

    When I was a kid, I was taught to engage without ego in free debate about ethical, political, and social issues, and people often would deliver arguments for a side they disagreed with for the purpose of sharpening their critical-thinking skills and learning to understand one another. Nowadays, the idea of a "devil's advocate" has been thoroughly problematized; if you claim to be explaining a belief, people will assume you are actually espousing it but are too cowardly to admit so.

    In other words—and as someone who loves reading and writing, it sucks to admit this, but—modern Americans greatly overestimate the power of words to change you. I think that words can be powerful and influential, but only if we make ourselves receptive to them. I'm not going to turn into a eugenicist just because I watched one Jordan Peterson video or whatever.

    At the same time, unlike the author of the "Picture of me" essay, I am not a social recluse. I have found a few precious friends who share my love of conversation, and I feel that I have been able to convince a couple of people of the importance of free inquiry. And although I think that many people have the wrong ideas about the world, this doesn't make me want to check out of reality and ignore everyone. It makes me want to get out their and debate them. If my ideas are as correct as I think they are, then it is urgent that I win other people over to my side, no? Or else they might keep being wrong, and impose their wrongness on others!
     
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  6. aeon

    aeon Amoureux des Chatons
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    Thankfully, this ’murican doesn’t know anyone like that, and I have not experienced that kind of expressed sentiment, ever.

    And were I to experience it, I’d say “you do you, Boo,” and go about my business. :)

    Such Narcissistic Sense of Entitlement—Yikes!,
    Ian
     
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  7. OP
    uuu

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    Well, I hope you live in the corner of "Amercia" that I will be moving to in the fall (spoiler: it's not the North...). :laughing:

    I'm holding out hope, though. Rejoining this community has convinced me that there are people in the English-speaking world I can vibe with, and I think that as long as I put myself out there instead of succumbing to self-defeating assumptions about others, I will be fine.
     
  8. Wyote

    Wyote Meka Istaqa
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    It's tougher at times, but yeah definitely
     
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  9. Vict

    Vict mechanical and habitual agent
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    I don't know that this is specific to this generation. It's a sentiment I'm sure I've read before from accounts going back centuries (though with no specific example to cite, I may just be projecting). It's just that we can write it out and shared it much more easily now.

    That said, I feel what he wrote to some degree. I am pretty self-isolated. So when he writes that he barely talks to anyone, well, same here. But it's a personal choice for personal reasons.

    Where I ultimately don't feel this as a negative is that, as he points out, the world is still very familiar to me. I walk outside and there's roads, joggers, cars zipping about. I know I can walk into any store, any bar, and library, and I'll find someone with whom I can have a brief interaction. And for whatever reason, that's often enough. I don't feel alone because it's pretty apparent that I am not alone. And I also have family and friends who, though I see them rarely, I know are still a part of my life. I'd say I feel bad for them when they want more from me and I won't give it. And beyond that, I strive to cultivate an inner world that is not dependent on jobs or relationships. I look ahead and I see a time when those things are no longer here, so I need to have an appreciation of life that is independent of all that. Imagination, hobbies, whatever we can call it. Otherwise, yeah, I will lose the will to live. Or go insane.

    When I ponder the idea from the start of this story, of being in a foreign environment where I can't communicate, then I feel the existential dread. It's to the point that I don't think I even want to travel someplace unless I have some degree of familiarity with the language. When you can't have the simplest interaction with someone in which you both understand each other, that's terrifying.
     
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  10. OP
    uuu

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    This line actually surprises me. I live in a very densely populated city and there is no shortage of people, but it's difficult for me to say that I could just go "interact" with someone on the street if I wanted to. I could have a transaction, as in, I could say some minimal hellos to the cashier at the convenience store, but I honestly don't think the modern urban landscape is conducive to just striking up a conversation with someone.
     
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  11. Matty

    Matty Permanent Fixture

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    Sort of an interesting op.

    The sentiment of belonging to a tribe is something I occasionally think about: a group that has a shared sense of origin, values, and destiny.

    Some people seem to experience the sentiment of belonging to a "tribe" easily, centred on a single element of group identity. For example, nationality or race (history), a principal moral/value like animal protection or the environment or law reform, or a simplistic sense of shared destiny like sports fans hoping victory for their team.

    Other people seem to have more complex thresholds for experiencing tribal identity, to the point that so many elements are essential to their group identification, that they essentially reduce the possible number of people they can identify with down to a fraction of a percentage of the total population.

    I guess there are factors which make it easier for some to integrate into groups. Perhaps the need for belonging is stronger than the sense of identity, resulting in an external sense of identity for some. On the other hand, fidelity to their own identity is so strong in some, that they cannot integrate a group identity even over trivial matters, such as a favourite musical artist.
     
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  12. OP
    uuu

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    Maybe this is the kernel of truth at the heart of his writing that made it so relatable for lots of people, even though they can't literally identify with his reclusive lifestyle. I have plenty of friends, but I also have a certain allergy to "groupthinky" activities such as sports, chanting, music fandom, etc. I take pride in being the captain of my ship, making choices because they are the right choices for me and not because they accord with my group's script. But to know this pride is also to experience a sense of shame whenever I do start to feel attachment to a group—it's like I'm giving up a part of myself for cheap approval. Probably everyone sits at a different place on this spectrum, but our society has moved to a place that seems to promote strongly defined group identities around media consumption, demographics, age, and occupation, and it's those of us who are still soul-searching to feel a bit lost and tired.
     
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