Quiet. Introvert. Solitary.
All words which have long since borne negative connotations. In 21st century life, where sharing our every movement and every meal online has become the accepted way of behaving, social media has become the extroverts dream paradise, the introverts hell. Underestimated as a way of being, introvertism is neither prized nor offered as a path to tread, shunned in favour of over-confidence, extrovertism and ubiquitous over-sharing.
But a world in which every one is a Donald Trump or a Boris Johnson would not succeed – thankfully! Our species needs it’s philosophers, it’s artists, scientists and geeks. It needs it’s witnesses as well as the witnessed. They are the ones who step back to view the bigger picture or delve deeply to see the oft missed yet crucial detail. Introspection provides the opportunity to practice, to cultivate and examine from every angle before we hit the share button. It is the first necessary step in the consummation of a new idea, the space in which to sow, till, nurture and reap until the young sapling is strong enough to face the limelight.
It prepares us for the conversation, tentatively invited when we finally stick our head above the parapet: it will buffet us in the maelstrom of social media, straining against our every grain and fibre of being, our private world exposed in the harsh glare of publicity. Carried as the wind in the trees our inner souls are transported across countries and continents, to shores so distant our physical being will never set foot upon them. As the shock of the first tectonic impact settles, we begin to find a new way of being and to join in the conversation. Our vulnerability becomes more robust as we emerge from our inner world and engage with the tumultuous, shifting noise of the online world.
As an artist I have reluctantly had to embrace the world of social media, the list is growing – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Artfinder, Fine Art Seen, as well as my own website and of course WordPress. It certainly has it’s benefits and I have come to realise that unlike the extroverts who seek constant attention, the introvert retains the ability to retreat at will, we are masters at the beautiful art of withdrawal, where once again we can resume a conversation with ourselves; where we can tend a wound, cradle our disappointment and nurture our imagination until we are inspired once more. To seek solace, to retreat from the white noise, is to find space in which we can ask more of ourselves, raise questions that can re-shape our thinking and perspective of the world we inhabit.
It is quite simply, an exquisite place to reside.
Oil painting ‘The Bench’ Rebecca Pells
available from https://www.artfinder.com/product/the-bench-47d9/