if I hadn’t been raised in America? Hard to say.
What I can say is that I think I am wired differently from other people with respect to sociality. You often hear activists of various kinds in particular say that only when you view people in the abstract can you do harm to them—that when you know them personally you begin to care.
I am definitely in the opposite. When I imagine people in the abstract, I can have empathy for them, see them as other human beings with thoughts and feelings that must be like my own. But when I am around people in the general public, I instead feel as though I must be wrong. “How can this sack of skin have feelings? I probably shouldn’t give two shits about it.”
Later on when they’re gone and I’m no longer in the midst of the general public I feel guilty and recognize that they must have feelings. But when confronted by them I just can’t see it.
People assume that everyone is like them. Particularly guilty of this are the people who say that they realize that everyone is not like them.
People underestimate the broad variability in emotional response, perceptive experience, etc. that marks the human condition.
They get upset and attribute to bad motives or psychosis or willful idiosyncrasy what is the result merely of human cultural and biological diversity.
The world will never have understanding or peace.
I think people like to imagine that they are like their pets, or that their pets are like them. I know that I do but if I really think about it I realize that I am guilty of precisely what I’m writing about.
Mostly my pet just likes frisbees, which I have no particular care for beyond my pet’s love of them.