Archive for May, 2011

Happy 24th May!

If there is one thing that has long passed the point of being exceedingly tiresome and tedious, it is the message I feel bombarded with for a lifetime from educators, the media and other places that the natural “default” set of values for an intellectual is (or ought to be) the left-leaning, politically correct variety.

Above all, I’m tired of the constant barrage of deprecation of my country, mostly from “champagne socialist” types within its own borders.

So, rather than write a long essay, I’m going to simply post this:


They did the whole community spirit thing well, from what I can gather.

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Before reading my analysis of the sales blurb on this website, how many glaring booboos can YOU spot?


The most glaring mistake is that the author perpetuates the common (mis)assumption that shyness is the same as introversion. The two traits are NOT the same thing. Shyness is a psychological state that causes the person to be anxious in social settings, especially when it is pronounced enough to interfere with his or her enjoyment of social gatherings or cause him or her to avoid them where possible.

Carl Gustav Jung, who coined the terms introversion and extroversion, did not equate introversion to shyness, nor did he regard one trait as more desirable than the other. Rather, the two traits formed a continuum along which everyone could be placed somewhere or another. It all depended on how much of your personal energy you felt comfortable flowing outward or inward. Hence it is perfectly possible to be an extreme extrovert, yet be painfully shy.

Second, the author equates introversion with being anti-social. Some introverts might be anti-social, but so could a lot of extroverts. Anti-social behaviour could be having wild parties and playing the stereo very loudly in the middle of the night, ensuring the whole street gets no sleep. No prizes for guessing which type of personality is more likely to be doing that.

I’m certain you’ve been at a social event when ‘The Life of the Party’ walks in.

Everyone admires this person. They put everybody at ease. They quickly strike up engaging conversations. Their manners are impeccable. They talk about their recent promotion or successful business venture. They tell a funny tale about their latest exotic trip.

They’re immensely popular – and seem to just have everything under control.

They’re an Extrovert – confident, warm, fun and lively.

I’m sure I can’t be the only person to find all sorts of things wrong with the above claims. Yes, I’ve been at social events when the “Life of the Party” walks in. Typically, he/she is a showoff who can’t bear not to be the focus of attention. Other people listen, because no one else can get a word in edgeways. The fact that he/she is dominating the conversation of the gathering is understandably mistaken for popularity. The only thing they have under control is other people’s ears.

There’s No Doubt About It:
Extroverts Get the MOST Out of Life!

For a moment, think about the Extroverts you know and the amazing lives they lead

  • They make people laugh
  • Career-wise, they are the most successful
  • Members of the opposite sex find them extremely attractive
  • They are the first to help others in need
  • Their ‘total charisma’ is magnetic
  • They are friendly and a ‘friend to the friendless’
  • They appear to complete difficult tasks easily
  • They have a special ‘glow’ and radiance
  • They seem to be constantly ‘in the zone’


These are just a few of the words we associate with an Extrovert.

Extroverts get the most out of life? I must know personally just about all the happy, fulfilled introverts that exist, then.

They make people laugh…out of embarrassment. Career-wise, they are the most likely to bully their way into places ahead of quieter, but more deserving candidates. The opposite sex find them attractive, until their constant need for attention starts to get highly irritating. They help others in need when it will suit their public image. Their “magnetic total charisma” appears that way, until it is exposed for the superficial set of social mechanisms that they are unconsciously holding out in front of them. They are friendly towards others who follow the crowd – the friendless will more than likely be picked on by them. They can “PR” (public relations) their way through tasks and projects, giving glowing reports to the boss while their less vocal but more diligent colleagues do all the work. They “glow” and “radiate” all right – hot air. The only “zone” they’re always in is the one in their minds where they’re always the star of their own show.

Garrulous, clingy, needy, overbearing, tiresome, superficial, touchy, capricious. These are some of the words I can also think of that I would associate with an extrovert.

There follows a whole list of specious arguments regarding career success: the site even claims that by being an extrovert, you will end up being located where you want and work the hours you desire!  How about this:

Research shows that Extroverts move ahead in the professional world. Introverts shift toward staying rooted in a dead-end job.

And the studies to back this up are where exactly?

You’ll quickly begin to enjoy life 20 times more.

Again, where is the proof? As for “Get invited to more parties” – and that is a good and desirable use of my time how exactly?

And unsurprisingly, studies have shown that Extroverts are THE BEST when it comes to ‘selling’ anything.

On the contrary, introvert salespeople often have that extra factor of customer empathy, because they are less interested in “making an impression” and more interested in actually listening to what the customer needs and wants.  I bet we would have a very different country if the majority of politicians in Parliament were introverts.

Apparently, the basis of the program is NLP. NLP can be useful for changing the way a person behaves in certain situations, and anyone can learn to do that, for sure. If a person wants to be a better public speaker, or whatever, there’s nothing wrong with that.

What is wrong is using a set of misconceptions in order to sell a pop psychology CD and workbook.

I would never want to be an extrovert in a zillion years. People who are desperate to be popular never made any breakthroughs worth making.

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From today’s Metro: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/863041-half-of-graduates-out-of-work-or-in-poor-jobs

I could post all sorts of cynical comments following on from yesterday’s offering, but I’ll refrain from doing that. The point I wish to make is something else.

It is not only graduates who find themselves underemployed or in unsuitable menial jobs.

What about the self-educated person, whose autodidactic learning is purposely not recognised by vested interests?

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And this is the level of intelligence of students being admitted to Cambridge.

I bet if I were to apply, the university would either:

(a) tell me to take a hike;

(b) tell me to re-apply after taking this and that prerequisite course, pre-prerequisite course and pre-pre-prerequisite course before they would even read my application form.

There is something wrong here.

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In January, I was one of the members of the public selected to serve on a jury in one of the UK’s Crown Courts.

As jurors, the criteria we had to use when deliberating as to whether the accused was innocent or guilty were quite clear. We had to be convinced beyond all reasonable doubt by the evidence to find the defendant guilty. There was no “possibly” or “probably” about it. Unless we were so convinced, then the defendant was innocent.

A high IQ society membership committee is not the Crown Court; however, I am very unamused at the way a friend of mine is being treated, on the basis that someone has set up an anonymous blog purportedly showing “evidence” that he is a cheat. Terminating a member on the basis of anonymous “evidence” before he has had a chance to flush out the perpetrator(s) and disprove the claims is nothing short of guilty until proven innocent.

BM made a fool of himself on TV. I do not think it is just to tar this other individual with the same brush.

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This post follows on from some thoughts on polymathy that were being discussed on a forum I frequent.

One idea that was suggested was that in order to count a skill as part of a person’s polymathic portfolio, then the skill should be at least at a base level where the person would be able to make a living at it.

I had attempted to count how many professional or professional-level skills I have, but found that it was not terribly clear-cut in the absence of a definitive definition. I took the poster’s suggestion about being able to perform the skill to the level necessary to earn a living, but elaborated upon it to include the following:

  1. Positions held, whether paid or unpaid, where a legally-binding employment contract has been signed.
  2. Services which I have directly offered to a the public for financial payment or equivalent exchange.
  3. Official positions within a group to which I was formally elected by the membership, or had to be selected/approved by a panel further up the hierarchy.
  4. Performances (such as in the arts) which were judged and won major prizes.
  5. Other ad-hoc work where my expertise and results were specifically sought after.

For the further avoidance of confusion, I had to be clear what NOT to include. Hence the following things did not make it onto the list:

  1. Subjects where a course had been taken, but the information never translated into action or discernible products.  (So no, you’re not a polymath just because you took several subjects at school. You need something more tangible than A+ grades to demonstrate a base level of competence.)
  2. Subjects that had been studied outside of a formal school setting, but never translated into action or discernible products.
  3. Obviously, anything that got dropped before a minimal level of skill had been achieved.

This may need some further knocking into shape, but the purpose here was to get some kind of working outline set of criteria in progress.

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