Alice Munro quipped that, "The constant happiness is curiosity."
It's almost as if she were addressing introverts, among the most intellectually curious people in existence, directly.
Introverts' quest for knowledge is perpetual. It will never abate.
We strive to learn something new each and every day, whether by reading books, watching documentaries, or catching the newest exhibitions at the local museum.
Introverts don't buy into the notion that learning ends the day you get your high school or college diploma. Rather, learning is a lifelong pursuit. As the prolific science fiction writer Isaac Asimov said, "Education is not something you can finish."
Does this mean we all aim to go out and get a Ph.D. like Asimov did? Of course not.
We're fortunate enough to live in an age where we have myriad tools at our disposal that enable us to learn practically anything we want, whenever we want, without the need to invest in a formal degree. Asimov himself championed self-learning as a way of supplementing standard schooling.
I can't imagine what Asimov and the intellectuals who came before him -- Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin -- would have thought of the limitless possibilities afforded by the internet. All of them could rely upon books at the library, but that's about it.
Take YouTube. If I want to watch an hour-long documentary on Hamilton, I can find one in a matter of seconds. If I'm interested in learning about the history of Philadelphia, I have a plethora of videos to choose from.
Then there are platforms like Coursera and The Great Courses, which provide lectures on a broad range of topics -- from literature to business to science.
With the advent of technology, there is no justification for anyone complaining of boredom. I only wish more people would leverage the internet for self-education rather than mostly using it for games, movies, and social media. But that's a topic for a separate post all its own.
Now, I am not suggesting that extroverts aren't intellectually curious. But from what I've observed, introverts by and large tend to be:
- More bookish
- More ardently passionate about one or two subjects in particular
- More inclined to stay home or at the library reading as opposed to attending social gatherings
- Learn new facts and concepts
- Learn new and different perspectives
- Absorb new vocabulary -- from phrases to idioms -- and different styles of prose that can help sharpen my writing skills