Quiet Introvert

Do Introverts Commit Acts of Violence?

Here’s a question for you: “Do introverts commit acts of violence? The only way to try to answer this question is to acknowledge that at least one premise of the statement is probably faulty. It is unlikely that there are individuals who are introverts 100% of the time. It’s more likely that we are all live on the Introvert / Extrovert continuum and depending on the situation we are in; we slide to different points on the scale.

Introvert Continuum

But there clearly are people who spend more time to the left of the center-point (Ambiverts), and ones who spend more times to the right. So, for those people who live more to the left on this continuum (in the comfort zone of being an introvert), it seems likely that they would avoid violence. They would not be the people on the streets of America’s cities who are smashing windows, looting, and possibly even scuffling with law enforcement officers. In fact, they may be far less likely to even be on the street protesting.

To march, picket and protest, someone has to feel pretty confident about going into crowds and asserting oneself. My hunch is that most introverts would much rather watch what is happening through the digital pictures from their televisions, computers, or even phones. But that does not mean that introverts cannot, or do not, engage in actions promoting social change.

Many introverts are frequently in thought about how to change our society for the better. They often put their ideas to paper and provide us with clear purpose and direction as we work to help society clean up its ailments.

One could argue that societal change happens best when there is either formal or informal collaboration between those who are in a frequent state of reflection about what is happening in our world, and those who comfortably take to the streets and other public places to let the world know what they think and the intensity of their beliefs.

But this picture of the thoughtful non-violent introverts has the requisite exceptions to the rule. One of the quietest, most secluded and reclusive individuals in modern American history engaged in over twenty acts of horrendous violence. His name is Ted Kaczynski; also known as the Unabomber.  Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 also had many attributes of an introvert.

Maybe if we eliminate from our universe of introverts those who harbor extreme amounts of anger and hate, then we can more clearly state that introverts tend to be non-violent. But in all fairness, we could say the same about extroverts.

It’s all complicated and I certainly do not have clear answers. But, it’s something that I’m pondering now. Can those of us who spend considerable time functioning as introverts, be helpful voices for moderation when are streets are rioting? Can we also be leaders in promoting progressive solutions to problems that send so many others to the streets? As Donald Trump shows us every day, those of us who believe in rational thinking and embrace empathy must take whatever non-violent action we can to help solve America’s and the world’s problems.