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I don't like people

A few days ago, I changed my tagline on my Google profile to "I don't like people".

This tagline has helped many people ridicule my comments with Your tagline says it all and has got a good many people who know me and care about me extremely worried. Hence this blog.

The inspiration for this line came about from a Dilbert animation, wherein Dogbert says this at the start of the animation. Somehow, this line resonated very well with me.

Why, you may ask. Good question, but the answer may not be to your liking.

Actually, as I write this post, I wonder whether I should just hit the delete button, as it is extremely difficult to put in a coherent and cogent answer on a post which is available publicly.

People, I find can be just as mean as they can be magnanimous, with more people tending towards the mean side. Consider the Milgram Experiment or the Stanford Prison Trials. However, I don't need psychological experiments to prove my case. Even in everyday affairs, we see people behaving in ways that are just ridiculous and sometimes, downright wrong. I shall not talk of the incidents in Indian politics now, that is for another post, but I will give the example of the occupy movement. Scott Adams posted his views in his own blog post. However, the occupy movement shows how people can gang up to remove a perceived threat, and how people blindly worship false gods (I think that too will be a separate post).

Ever wondered how lynch mobs form? It is not unnatural, given the basic worse-than-animal-istic tendencies of people. A modern day lynch mob is not too different from medieval witch hunts. People just gang up against any one person, the object of hate subject to ridicule, torture and much worse. At this point, I will recommend that you read "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. To quote Jackson's explanation of the story.

Explaining just what I had hoped the story to say is very difficult. I suppose, I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story's readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.
You may say that Jackson took an overly dark view of life and people, but even the darkest of views are inspired by some truth.

My own experience which figuratively sealed the tagline was on Google Plus, the same place I use that tagline. It happened with a case of copyright infringement (yes, people do infringe copyrights; in poor countries, people don't know about intellectual property and don't care if they steal). Suddenly, the entire community, which otherwise showed so much of love, appreciation and harmony suddenly broke out into a lynch mob, or a witch hunt, take your own version, with such abuse showered at the violator that the violator was violated.

Note that I do not condone what was done on either side. However, the true nature of people is seen only when they are under duress. People can claim to be extremely benevolent, magnanimous and wonderful, but the stark truth is that they are not. People essentially have two personalities, one when everything goes on well, and one when things don't quite work out. It is the personality that is seen under duress that scares me.

Hence, "I don't like people".

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