Blaise Pascal, Penseé 347: “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this. All our dignity consists, then, in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Susan Cain on Why It's OK to be Quiet--and Even Modest

Episode 1: Several years ago I walked into a Starbucks at the Sierra Vista Mall. The music was on especially loud, machines were grinding away, and then two young women walked in the door. Their eyes met the eyes of one of the women working behind the bar. They screamed. The woman behind the bar screamed. Then the two ran up to the bar and they all three screamed together for about two minutes. Then they settled into merely yelling. They were really happy, I think. This is not unusual behavior in California.

Episode 2: When my daughter was in junior high, I went with her as a sort of parent/helper/chaperone/camp councilor for the three or four days her school was at the camp. One of the girls in her class, who I knew from other activities as someone past "extroverted" by several turns of the nob, was in her element, because there was a sort of award at the end of camper with the most spirit. She was a megaphone on legs, and I never saw her inactive or non-vocal. Your could have given her a thousand decibel handicap, and she'd still have won the spirit award--which she did--with no close competitor. We encourage this stuff

Episode 3: Laura Ingraham, Rachel Madow, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, etc., etc., on any weeknight. Screaming. Interrupting other people who then scream louder.

If you are having trouble coping with the world of screamers, if it exhausts you, you might want to watch this amusing TED Talk by Susan Cain, who has just written a book on introversion entitled Quiet:

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