I have met many different kinds of people with a host of different characteristics which they are endowed with and with a variety of different faces that they are trying to put up. There are flaws that they are insecure about and I can often make out these insecurities. It is not hard to do as the essential personality signatures of these insecurities are repeated with great uniformity by people who might, on the surface, appear very different and otherwise confident. Any reasonably observant person should be able to make them out. I am not interested in the faces people put up, merely in their flawed and insecure and honest selves, not necessarily seeing the sum total of these flaws as something for me to feel good about but because I am interested in the existence of a colorful world, one which is not polluted by perfection, whatever that ideal may be. The nature and degree of flaws and strengths differ in different people but there is one trait which I have found in every single person that I have met. Again the degree of this trait has differed from person to person and depends very much on the culture to which he/she belongs but it has existed nevertheless in everyone I have met.

Everyone wants others to be like them in some deep way, to do the things that they have done, to make similar decisions when confronted with similar choices in life, to follow the essential principles that they have followed. This tendency is very logical and very surprising at the same time. The logicality results from the superficial understanding that people have some vague idea that their lives have turned out okay and that these general principles can be applied by others to get similar and desired (?) results. However, I don't think this is very true. It is at least not the full story. I think the stronger drive here is insecurity. I think people need external validation that the choices that they have made were good and one way to make that validation is to convince others to make the same choices. It is undeniably true in my experience that those who are truly happy have the least desire to convince others to be like them. It is only those who are deeply conflicted, who are not sure whether they are, on balance, contented or not, who live with a very gray version of reality and are not ready to accept that they do actually live in such a complicated fashion, it is only those who want others to be like them, and in precisely the ways which has led them to their dissatisfied states. The tendency to preach, to give unsolicited and general advice, to expect others to be like oneself, is, to me, mostly driven by deep inadequacy and a distinct lack of a sense of self and of self-respect. But everyone suffers from it to different degrees. If I may say so, Indians suffer from it more gravely than Americans, conservatives suffer from it more than liberals, old people more than young, and religious people more than atheists (although atheists are catching up!). But these are very broad brushstrokes.

This tendency is also surprising to me at some level. I have no doubt that people are not considering the possibility that it is their own insecurities which might be driving them to behave in the manner that they do. I am convinced that in wanting others to be like them, these people really do feel that they have something objectively good to share, that there is something really worth emulating in the way that they have lived. I am incredibly surprised by the surety of this assumption especially when I consider the situations of those who are most ready to display this tendency. It is hard enough to be sure on very specific matters in science but to be so sure in the vague domains of life! How is such surety possible unless one is actively involved in deluding oneself?

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