Monday, June 27, 2011

Shyness - The New Disorder?

Here's a link to an awesome article in The Times that takes a close look at shyness and the pharmaceutical industry's attempt to make even this, the most normal of personalities, into an illness that needs to be treated with drugs.

Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?
Published: June 25, 2011
The tendency to see shyness as an illness does society a disservice, because being shy has benefits.

I remember thinking about this many years ago. I am pretty outgoing with small groups of friends, but I used to really dread the thought of talking in front of large groups of people. I only got over that by actually doing it. But the more important point here is why did I have to ever do it in the first place? Because in our society we don't respect enough those people who are more introverted or just plain shy. Everyone, it seems, is supposed to be Reality Show material these days.

But have you seen the stadiums filled with screaming people trying out for American Idol? If you ask me, we have enough extroverts. As this excellent article points out, many of the greatest people who ever lived were shy and introverted. Now imagine a world where the brilliance of these people was never allowed to develop because their parents were told when they were young they had a disorder and had to be put on social anxiety medication? Now that's crazy.
And very scary.

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