Why did it take so long?
The following two facts are obvious NOW, and are stated often NOW in various literal and metaphorical ways:
1. For introverts, solitude is a vitamin and human interaction is exhausting.
2. For extroverts, solitude is tiring or scary, and interaction is energizing.
These facts were NOT part of conventional wisdom when I was growing up. I didn't see them in print until 2000. The two types were certainly known, but the basic NEEDS of the two types were never discussed.
If I had known these facts when I was young, I could have pursued a more appropriate career path (maybe architecture?) instead of wasting 10 years on preparing to teach and then teaching. After 4 years of actual teaching, I was permanently exhausted and DIDN'T UNDERSTAND WHY. In retrospect, knowing these two modern facts, it's perfectly obvious.
Just for fun I used googlebooks to explore the conventional wisdom of earlier decades. Were these facts widespread? Was I just out of the loop? The latter is highly unlikely since my father taught psychology among other subjects, and had lots of psych books around the house. Googlebooks doesn't do the '50s because of Steamboat Willie, but a VERY FEW books from the '20s mentioned the two terms. Their discussion was just plain weird,
totally removed from reality. Clearly the authors had never encountered an actual human of either type.
Before 1920 the words weren't used for human types at all; introvert
appears solely in the peculiar context of a mollusc proboscis.
The condition usually spoken of as a "proboscis" appears to be derived from the condition of a simple rostrum (having the mouth at its extremity) by the process of incomplete introversion of that simple rostrum.
For such a basic and universal aspect of all life (rovers and sitters) it's hard to see why accurate understanding came so late.
Labels: Grand Blueprint, TMI