Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Let's Dope the Shy People

Oxytocin is a new drug/hormone that scientists are giving to shy people to make the less shy. Great. So now being shy is a bad characteristic? Come on now, does anybody else see how preposterous this seems?

I firmly believe that shyness is a positive tool with which people are naturally endowed to promote successful social relationships. Shyness is what keeps you from dancing on top of the table in a room full of strangers. Shyness is what stops you from wearing clashing clothes to business interviews. Shyness is what makes you hide your unflattering habits on a first date. Shyness is what helps you to appear calm, cool, and collected in high pressure situations. A world without shyness would be like having permanent drunken fools hopping and skipping around us at every moment.

Shyness is hardly such a bad thing, and in fact, I almost think some people could afford to take a drug that would make the MORE shy. Thank you.

Most disturbing to me, This is London and The Telegraph reports:
It could have other commercial benefits. For instance, it could be sprayed in restaurants to put diners at ease, or be used as an alternative to tear gas to calm rioters.
Does anyone else feel a sort of post-apocalyptic mind-control eeriness to this whole dope the shy people plan? I know I do.

Also, with my love of the Spanish language and all, I was thinking "I am shy" in Spanish is "me da verg├╝enza." And, when translated back into English more literally it means "it gives me shame." This seems an like significantly more severe way of expressing timidness. Is it possible that cross-culturally or cross-linguistically the social stigma of shyness is even greater?


  1. Sorry I am not as linguistically poetic as you but I read this through a link from PostSecret and wanted to comment.

    I am a very shy person and I find that it is looked upon as a great weakness by others. They consider me as weird because I am not flamboyant and generally avoid me and since I am shy I find it hard to approach others. In other countries you'll find they are less inhibited than people in the U.S.; and to them that is the only way to live life, be as wild as you want and find your own limits as you go. I have always been reserved and I do think that is my biggest downfall but no matter how hard I try to change it I can not.

    Although it is true that I have not danced on table tops, or worn clashing clothes to a business interview it really hasn't helped me in the relationship area. I am 32 and have had 4 girlfriends in my whole life. My own family thought I was gay until my first girlfriend as a Junior in high school. So in my opinion shyness can be a bad thing depending on how shy one is. My shyness is to a fault.

    It also scares me to read that they consider using that Oxytocin in public places to alter their state of being.

  2. Thanks for your comment.

    I still think shyness--to a certain level--is still positive. Sure, if it impedes you from living a healthy or meaningful life, then it starts becoming a problem, but otherwise it is a good thing. Perhaps you have been living in an environment that frowns on shyness more than what is necessary (hence your family thinking you are gay) and this has made this characteristic particularly shameful/bad for you?? Who knows?