I used to try. When I was younger, I tried to act like everyone else.
I would observe carefully, and I would lean forward when the other person leaned forward. I would observe cautiously, and I would smile when the other person smiled. I conscientiously laughed for 2 whole seconds when the other person told a joke – yes, it was a contrived, concocted chuckle, but the point is that I was trying.
If the target spoke with an accent, I would copy the same regional dialect. If I detected a minimal intelligence in the subject, I would make an attempt at small talk. I would memorize what the other person told me, and I would claim the same thing happened to me when the stranger confided in me – obviously, nothing like that actually occurred to me, but I was making an effort here. But all the while, I was fully conscious of myself a putting on a different persona – mimicking a personality-type the same way you might wear a Halloween costume. Eventually I came to understand that other people actually thought they were the character whose outward appearance they were wearing.
There was a point in my life when I forced myself to be friendly. After a couple hours, the other person always managed to see through my best efforts. It is like the other person could sense that something is different with me. They could somehow perceive that I do not belong to their group. Like all dumb animals, they could instinctively feel I am not one of them. They knew I was not on their side.
It didn’t take long for me to recognize that most of humanity has no genuine self-awareness. Other people see themselves as part of a pack. If one of the herd were to ever fully realize his own uniqueness, then he would immediately be cast out of the flock. The ordinary person is simply not fully capable of perceiving himself as a unique entity. A liberal wants to transcend his ego – while a free man just wants to know himself completely, to realize himself completely.
Individualism is really just a form of self-consciousness. Other people lack a divine spark that gives them this self-knowledge.
I think that other people are alien creatures. I fear that altruists might actually be a different species. Communitarians might possibly have some human DNA – but other people are obviously not children of God. While a conformist might be anatomically Homo sapiens, he does not possess a fully developed sense of self-awareness. A humanitarian does not have a soul.