First and foremost, as we have developed a culture focused on comfort and security and very practical and physical aspects of life, a spiritual process, which put simply, is a perpetual seeking, a seeking to see things as they objectively are, seems useless and is distant to our everyday needs.
But as humans we are curious, we strive to know, not knowing is unbearable for more than a moment. So to palliate this, we grew the illness of drawing fast, simple and easy to understand (wrong) conclusions, which avoid the hardship of trying to figure our what the hell is really going on.
The direct consequence is that we feel different from most others, we are unique. We make small talk as communicating our deeper ideas and questions about life would be pointless, others wouldn't feel that way.
I do not understand others and others struggle to understand me, therefore we must be very different and I am alone in my suffering, loneliness and misery.
We learn to despise and fear those who look different, act different.
Refugees? They should have taken better care of their country in the first place.
The modern capitalist societies core value or the so called "American dream" is founded on similar premises: you can achieve anything if you work hard enough, be unique, exceptional.
That seems quite appealing until you turn it around and that same theory then suggests that if you are poor or fail, it is also, and only because of your own doing.
Let me be clear here, I come from Bulgaria, an ex-communist country so, this is definitely not a pro socio-communist post, nostalgic of the good old days, nor do I suggest that you can be a lazy ass and get in great shape.
What I mean is that what we importantly fail to learn from the stories of success or failure because of the shortcuts that fast conclusions provide, is the story around, the circumstances, the background.
Many great movies or pieces of literature have a hero that is kind of a dick or a failure in the beginning, he or she has a hard or tragic back-story. Even villains often attract our sympathy because of the humanity of their suffering that we acknowledge through a great story telling. That is why we need great authors, amazing journalists, fascinating story tellers. But that is another subject :)
But here is the good news. As soon as you cross the threshold of talking meaningfully to the people around, you will quickly see human faces emerging from this faceless crowd.
How do you do that? Smile and dare asking for help when needed, asking an uncommon question to a stranger, paying a compliment without fearing rejection.
After only a month in South-Asia this year, I have already bumped into an elderly couple from Australia that are writing scripts for movies and plays, so full of wonder at near the age of 65, a Filipina girl speaking 5 languages, far more educated than me, helping to transform an orphanage into a better place for those kids, a Turkish-Thai couple growing a self sustainable farm, a Thai musician developing community based tourism and helping protect his region ...
And I thought I am the only dreamer around ...
Earth is so full of amazing people when you know how to look.