You’ll more quickly find an earthly thing kept from the earth than you will a person cut off from other human beings.
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.9.3
As the book notes, Marcus Aurelius and his fellow philosophers did not yet know about Newtonian physics, but it is still an apt analogy: the human need to be with other humans is more powerful than the law of gravity.
We are social creatures, for better or worse. As an introvert it took me many years to come to grips with this fact. Oh how tempting it is to cut out all others and just live a life of the mind! All day focused on solving your problems, reading, writing, and so on. And yet, as someone who has done this, I can say it does eventually wear on you and cause problems. You simply cannot overcome millions of years of evolution and your very own biology. I myself realized after many years that I’m not nearly as introverted as I thought, and I became much happier when I found a better balance between “me” time and “we” time.
Some parting thoughts on this concept:
- The greatest things ever built were made by teams of people, not individuals. If you want to achieve great things, you must strive to work and learn from great people.
- Invite that weird guy or girl you work with to lunch. It will be good for both of you.
- It is not easy to care for someone else, but it is also not easy to be cared for.
- As a general rule, be pro-people and pro-inclusion. Our society seems to have lost this concept along the way, but it is the only way we will survive.