Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

Saturday Auditorium Series Speaker: Susan Cain

Saturday Auditorium Series Speaker: Susan Cain (Photo credit: ALA – The American Library Association)

If you’ve ever wanted an insight into my mind – the how and why of it’s inner workings – I’ve got a book for you.   It’s called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  It was loaned to me, probably with the assumption that I would find something relevant in it’s pages.  I certainly have.  I’m constantly amazed at how in tune with my own mind the author seems to be.  I loved this passage early on in the introduction:

Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas.  They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family.  They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation.  They tend to dislike conflict.  Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.

I had a friend when I was young who was determined to teach me the art of conversation.  Apparently “Fine” was not a satisfactory answer to “How are you doing today?” no matter how sincerely I meant it.   She was very patient, and persevered until I could actually give and take a little bit.  I still run through that basic script when faced with small talk.

But after I finish it, I’m ready to go.

I’m surprised at how deeply this book has resonated with me.  I’ve known for a long time that I was an introvert, and I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone that’s spent more than five minutes with me, especially after a first meeting.  But this book has validated something I didn’t realize needed validating.  I suspect that most introverts harbor some deep paranoia that there’s something wrong with them and envy the extroverts.  It’s nice for someone to say that it’s not only normal, but can be a powerful asset.



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I’m reading an interesting book right now, Why Would Anyone Believe in God? by Justin L. Barrett.  Dr. Barrett is an experimental psychologist, and this book is all about the psychology of belief, particularly how natural it is to believe in a God or gods.   I’m not really going to talk about the whole book at the moment, – partly because I haven’t actually finished it yet – but I did come across one particular analogy he makes that made me pause.

He’s trying to explain how natural it is to believe in a God or gods, and he likens it to belief in human minds.  Now that doesn’t mean the physical brain, obviously.  It means the consciousness within; that awareness that makes you who you are and looks out through your eyes experiencing all of the thoughts, desires, and feelings that go along with being human.  Why do we believe in the existence of the mind?  Not just in ourselves (for which we have direct experience), but in others.  Dr. Barrett points out that there is no empirical evidence for the human mind.  Furthermore, there is no way to gather empirical evidence.  There are no scientific tests or experiments that can be done to prove the existence, or nonexistence, of the human mind.  And yet, Dr. Barrett says, we all believe in them, from small children all the way through the elderly, educated and ignorant, in all four corners of the world.

Much like a belief in some higher power.

So.  Fair comparison?

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