It’s all in the brain

How to live with introvertsA lot of my friends have been sharing these how to live with introverts/extroverts posts lately. The idea is that certain people’s brains just work a certain way, and so you might as well try and get along with them. For example, introverts need alone-time, and extroverts who are jonesing for a conversation should be respectful of others’ needs for solitude.

This is good advice, but the ramifications are broader than presented. The logic that “people’s brains operate a certain way and so you have to work with them” actually applies to everyone, all the time – from the introverts in your life, to the assholes at work, to the criminals on the street. No matter who a person is, their thoughts and actions are a result of their brain at that particular moment.

The upshot is we need to not think that anger and indignation are the answer when people aren’t acting as we think they should. If you think introverts deserve extra consideration for having brains that “just work that way,” extend that consideration to everyone else. Because it’s true – everyone’s brain is doing what it does. We can’t change what people have done in the past, but we can work with them to create new possibilities for future actions.

2 Comments

Filed under Morality, Psychology

2 responses to “It’s all in the brain

  1. Neal Groothuis

    If only our criminal justice system reflected that simple observation.

    • Indeed. People sometimes have argued with me that our criminal justice system isn’t based on (untenable) notions of free will. But it certainly seems to be. And I’ve seen a number of references that support the claim.

      See this article in general, as well as this one (especially the 6th footnote).

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