The other day, I divulged something to some RL daily acquaintances. I divulged a personal trinket of behavior only ever shared on the pages of this blog. I confided to them that I avoid the elevator whenever possible because I hate sharing it with people; more precisely, I simply hate people, and elevators are one of the more common mundane extensions and “aggravators” of my humanly disgust.
In that post, I wrote:
People are sufficiently annoying without having to be cooped up into rectangular coffins suspended stories in the sky with them.
I alluded to my practice of avoiding the elevator at all costs. One of my acquaintances looked stunned and befuddled. She is an egregious extrovert, so the concept of avoiding people probably sounded very kooky to her. The other acquaintance, who is on the quiet, cerebral side, played along cooperatively but behind those beady spectacles, I can’t really guess what she thought of my revelation. Yes, there are times when, sufficiently comfortable with the vibe and tone of a particular interaction, I am prone to “open up” with strangers. It’s not the most unexpected thing really, considering that I’ve reached a point in my getting-older life where I truly can’t bring myself to care less, and less, of what people think of me.
Since self-acceptance has liberated me, the flip side is that it has also afforded me honest self-appraisal which allows me to accept the cold, hard reality of my being: I will never fit in. I will never be part of the “crowd,” and this is fine. But the unsavory aspect of this realization is that I will never garner favor that the more social people will receive which results in camaraderie and auspicious fortune. All breaks I get are due to my own hard work and sacrifice, for my asocial immersion in society surely doesn’t do it. I would be lying if I said I was not bothered by the undeserved benefits many invoke simply by virtue of their social skills, especially in the absence of apparent intellectual power. In fact, most socially brilliant people I’ve known seem to lack the acuity required of higher, analytical thinking. But it smarts in that this does not hamper their success; their bullshit and social prowess is greatly rewarded in our backwards human-ape society.
For instance, the egregious extrovert in the conversation is the epitome of dumb-as-rocks socially-brilliant specimen. She works it. She works the scene, and her last vestiges of cerebral matter are spent cultivating social alliances while eliciting maximum emotional cohesion with the purpose of currying favors. Her intellect does not accomplish this, so she compensates with awe-inspiring interpersonal skills and manipulations. And it works splendidly for her.
The thing is that society and human culture is innately not intellectual nor particularly cerebral. It is emotive and sensual. Human culture is resoundingly dense and its hierarchy is structured around feelings, subjectivity and social positioning. Nothing new here, not for people who have lived and participated in society for at least a day of their lives.
But I thought of a novel concept when considering the relative positions of my egregious acquaintance versus myself.
We are antithetical specimens, she and I. She is everything I am not, and vice versa. She, the extreme extrovert, lives a life completely different than me, the extreme introvert. The way she eats, works, shits, cleans, emotes, reasons, relates, moves, relaxes, is painted by the extroverted blueprint, and none of it is how I, living my life according to this introverted blueprint, live my own. It’s amazing to witness that defining oneself as introvert or extrovert also denotes a vast kit of associated behaviors by proxy. You are not just an extrovert but everything that having such a personality entails. Because of collective human nature’s bland, very undiscerning scope, extroverts are adept at generating a “mystique” in closed communities. This is very true in the workplace which is not only closed, but very culturally self-contained. Conversely, the introvert is hampered for he creates little mystique, and perhaps in extreme examples (such as with myself), creates an “anti-mystique” which is doubly self-destructive. Not only do people like me fail to lull prey in to our frame; we repel through enormous measures of evoked disinterest. Mystique is not necessarily a positive or negative value. Mystique can extend to all reaches of the “good/bad spectrum” depending on how it is harnessed. Mystique just is. My extroverted acquaintance has created an enveloping mystique which swallows people into its negative aura. Her mystique is manipulative and hinges its power on the negative expression of human expression. She has created a negatively charged mystique which draws people in when they are frustrated and unhappy (in the work context, of course) and when they seek to vent cathartic plumes of smoke. Her mystique works like this: she draws in the unhappy, then once snagged, she exudes a phony sense of knowledge and authoritative skill which she implies can fix all the problems just unearthed (which are not truly problems but merely expressions of response to said problems). Thus purged of their frustrations, and further, enervated by its promised resolution, the subjects in her aura of mystique feel…satisfied, emotionally drugged. My acquaintance’s mystique rewarded their doubts without lifting a finger, further expanding her shallow appeal. People, rarely discerning and easily dissatisfied, flock to this, and those at work are no exception.
Ultimately, the moral value of her mystique doesn’t matter insofar as its results. A mystique draws and entices, it creates a frame which welcomes visitors and lends them the perception that there is reward (though they may fail to articulate why this would be). A skillful architect of mystique intuitively understands that a mystique is a “fulsome void” that, like a neutron star, invisibly attracts human matter into its gravitational claws.
I have never created a mystique. In fact, I have unknowingly harbored that dreaded “anti-mystique” all my life, a repulsion, a “denatured mass” that repels human contact and commiseration, also invisibly.
And if I had it all to do over?
I would still have no mystique.