People don’t believe in anything. They just pretend to.

When I was young, people told me to believe in things. Believe in turning the other cheek, believe in forgiveness, believe in unconditional love, believe in “wishing/praying makes it so”, believe in unchosen obligations towards gods/kings/country/family, believe in cosmic/divine justice (karma) which will take care of us.

Silly me, I truly believed in all of it. Turns out people around me were faking belief in these ideas, and I didn’t have the shrewdness to figure it out. They were just using these fashionable ideals to make people more predictable and manipulable. Since they knew I would be merciful, they began to exploit me, since they knew I sought and gave love, they began to deny it so as to get me to do their bidding, since they knew I wouldn’t act and only pray, they exploited it, since they knew I would take up unchosen obligations they began to lay them on me, since they knew I wouldn’t retaliate, they exploited that too.

When I finally figured it out, I went out on an opposite streak. Believing in justice instead of mercy, believing in trade (quid pro quo) instead of love, believing in actions instead of prayers, believing in individual rights instead of unchosen obligations, believe in retaliation instead of karma taking care of things.

Turns out people want me to be merciful, loving, wishing, praying, doing my duties, and expecting karma from the universe instead of retaliating. If I don’t do any of these things they will hate me.

So my options are thus: be exploited or be hated. Or I could be a hypocrite. I choose to be a hypocrite until the opportunity arrives. That is the Nash equilibrium.

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