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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Interconnectedness vs. Separateness: Why Americans overinflate themselves and try to "fit in"

“The ego thrives on separateness” – Dr. Wayne Dyer “Four Pathways to Success” (audio tape)

In America, there is a common saying which applies to basic life wisdom, "You're on your own. No one will take care of you except yourself. You have only yourself to depend on." However, what they negate to say is this primarily applies to America values and cultural mentality, not the whole world. You see, in Western culture, there is this false teaching that we are all separate individuals with separate interests, disconnected from each other. This culture of individualism creates a strong but separate sense of ego in us. And it naturally leads to selfishness and narcissism as well, which are the norm in US culture.

Many immigrants upon arrival in America notice that they suddenly seem to have an individual ego that is detached and disconnected from others. All of a sudden, they feel alone as though they don't exist and nobody cares about them, even in crowded places, in a way that they never did back in their home country. They experience this immediately because wherever you are, the collective consciousness of the people and culture where you are at, determines the reality of that space or region, which can be strongly felt even without prior knowledge of such. The New Age and esoteric mantra that "thought creates reality" does have a degree of truth to it.

In America's case, since the majority population believes that they are individual separate egos detached from others, any newcomer immediately FEELS like a separate disconnected ego, even if he/she felt connected wherever they came from prior, because that is the new reality that he/she is in. It's a reality co-created by the American population, lifestyle, culture, and collective thought/beliefs/values. In essence, they're on their own once they come here, literally and figuratively, unless they have pre-existing friends or relatives. But even if they do, their social interaction will usually be limited to them.

Hence, America has a discrepancy between lip service and reality (but every country has such discrepancies in fact). America likes to boast to the world that it is an inclusive cultural melting pot, when in reality, it is extremely socially non-inclusive - people don't generally talk to strangers unless it's business-related, cliques are closed, young women are anti-social and hate men, people are on their own, selfishness is the norm, and you either assimilate into the culture or you are a freak who doesn't belong here.

In many spiritual traditions, this belief of having a separate individual ego creates much suffering, for a separate ego has a “me vs. them” mentality. And since America is the most individualistic of all, it goes to follow that this type of suffering is greatest there, regardless of its economic prosperity. That's why despite its financial benefits and opportunities, it is a country of much greater psychological suffering and maladaptation than most. In short, America is the loneliest country in the world.

From a spiritual and quantum perspective, we and the universe are all interconnected. Thus, our ideals of separateness cause a whole series of imbalances – psychological and physical (highest rates of mental illness and obesity in the industrialized world, for example). In the US, there simply is not a natural sense of interconnectedness between people like there is in other countries. Now, this is one generalization I can make that is very accurate, observable, and easily experienced.

As a consequence, this lack of interconnectedness between people in America leads to two common maladaptive neuroses: a) The tendency of Americans to overinflate their ego, confidence, and attitude to compensate for their vulnerability. b) The conflicting oxymoron of trying to "fit in" somewhere. I will elaborate on both.

a) Why Americans tend to overinflate their ego/confidence/attitude

Due to a lack of interconnectedness, Americans tend to puff up and overinflate their ego, attitude and confidence to appear "tough" to compensate for their vulnerability, since they are on their own. And in the process, many develop narcissistic attitudes as well. It's individualism gone too far, in my opinion and by the rest of the world's standards. Now couple that with overwork, stress, and loneliness, and you've got mental/behavioral dysfunction breeding big time, which is no surprise why the US is the highest in mental illness among industrialized nations.

The disproportionate American ego and attitude are too obvious to deny, especially when you compare them to foreigners. In fact, it's one reason why Americans think they are superior to the rest of the world, and come off as arrogant about it. When they are in abroad, they notice that their egos are larger than those of the foreigners, who by comparison are more modest and humble, and thus they subconsciously feel superior when amongst foreigners.

My culture consultant, in his guide on how to behave in Russia, notes this difference between American and Russian egos:

“a) In America you need to blow your horn and act independent and arrogant to show you are somebody. Not there (Russia). You need to be humble. This is what they (Russians) like. Polite and friendly, too.”

In other countries on the other hand, people have a natural sense of interconnectedness with each other, as well as a rich communal bond, so they have no need to overinflate their egos and confidence. Instead, they have a calm relaxed ego and confidence that's in harmony with the rest of their personality, unlike the bulging/pulsating ego/confidence that Americans tend to exude which can be quite intimidating to others and to foreigners.

Thus, they are more comfortable to be around (in my view at least). And that's why I have a more natural comfort zone with foreigners. This difference is readily noticeable by anyone with exposure to foreigners and newly arrived immigrants. One can easily sense it in their personalities, vibes and auras, that they are accustomed to a rich communal bond. It's a refreshing contrast to the big bulging type of ego and over-confidence that modern Americans tend to develop, which is overcompensating, intimidating to others, and leads to dysfunctional behavior, maladaptation and mental illness.

You see, a sense of natural interconnection with others means you simply don't need to develop a big ego, attitude, or over-confidence to be "tough". But in America, you do tend to need such ridiculous qualities, otherwise you feel vulnerable to being trampled by others who have them. It's an immature power play.

Some Americans even consider me "weak" and "timid" when they meet me, because I don't overinflate my attitude and confidence in the bravado style that they do, and appear too easy-going to them. But in reality, I have a deep inner strength, balance, harmony and willpower that they don't know or appreciate (and how can they since most of them have no "inner life" anyway). So I have no need to inflate my outer personality to imitate them, which they sometimes use to put me down. Funnily enough, even some young punks have chided me for not being like them, acting as though “everything is cool” and exuding fake optimism all the time. However, I find their act/behavior too fake for my taste and also, if I were to try to emulate them, well, I just wouldn’t feel good about myself doing it.

In fact, even their British counterparts, whose culture/values most closely resemble ours, have far less of an egoist attitude and act far more modestly (as well as more cultured).

b) The conflicting oxymoron of trying to "fit in"

The second common maladaptive behavior influenced by the lack of a sense of interconnectedness in the US is the perpetual neurosis of trying to "fit in" somewhere. But it’s an oxymoron to try to “fit in” to a society that is individualistic and private in nature. You can't truly "fit in" a society where everyone is separate, individualistic, exclusive, and isolated from each other psychologically, cause there's really nothing to "fit" into. In that sense, no one really "fits in". They either thrive in this kind of environment, or they don't (like me). But many still keep trying (or feel the need to try) to "fit in" anyway because it is innate in our psyche to belong, bond, and connect with others. Unfortunately, the average American doesn't realize this, and so asks him/herself perpetually, "how do I fit in?"

And of course, there are some who simply live their own life and don’t care about “fitting in”, as my dad described to me about how he dealt with this issue:

“Dear Win,

I can understand now what you had gone through in those growing up years in California. I am so sorry that I did not see your sufferings then and offered you some help. My situation was different than yours. I was mentally prepared what I would encountered when we immigrated to the US. I knew that I had to work double harder and smarter to get the same pay and position. I hated to play politic. I was promoted to a manager but when the top management shift and re-organized, the minority managers are the first to be shifted. I knew that I could not and would not want to fit in to this foreign society. I was not interested in their sports. All they talked about was football and baseball, the players, the teams that meant nothing to me. I did not want to go to have a drink after work with my co-workers. So, it was not a problem to me because I did not want to fit in anyway. But to you, it is completely different. I was not realized the crude environment of American schools in all levels. I came from a very friendly and strictly monitored school environment. Look what had happened in the Virginia Tech that a Korean student killed 13 people? He was discriminated and badly treated in school. No excuse there. The problem is American do not seem to be able to learn from past lessons. That is why those tragedies keep happening.

I am glad and feel so relief that you finally came out of that and are able to find your own path and write about them. You can now guide others out of those traps and find their happiness some place else.

Good luck, love,


An offshoot of this is the "identity crisis" where an individual feels undefined, not knowing his/her place and purpose in an "artificial society" like ours (which is not even in harmony with nature or our own souls). It's a complex neurosis that makes no sense, and has no logical solution, yet it's an ongoing problem that lingers in the psyche of many in America. Unfortunately, many young Americans have no idea how to deal with it, nor how to verbalize it, so they escape into drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex, addiction, or delinquent behavior.

The problem though, stems from an inherent conflict/contradiction between American cultural values and our innate human nature. On the one hand, Americans like to be separate from others, independent, not need others, and be in their own space and bubble. And they are conditioned to derive a sense of pride and honor from being independent and autonomous. But on the other, we have an innate human need to connect/bond with others and belong to a social group/collective.

Thus, a fundamental conflict arises at the core between our mentality and our natural biological/psychological needs. They mentally tell themselves, "I am strong, independent, self-reliant. I don't need others. I am happy being alone. And I'm proud of it." But in their heart and emotions they FEEL a need to bond/connect to others and belong, so deep down they wonder "how do I fit in and where do I fit in?" which can progress to a deep "identity crisis" that they can't explain or understand. It’s like a split-personality within them that creates confusion.

But alas, this conflict is irreconcilable. The American cultural value of separateness does not breed unity, deep-hearted camaraderie, or a communal sense of belonging among its people. Instead, it breeds narcissism and selfishness. My cultural consultant couldn't have been more right when he told me, "Americans don't tend to work well in groups. They meet for convenience and then go their separate ways, each doing his/her own thing."

In contrast, in other countries "fitting in" is simply not an issue, and certainly not a neurosis, because the natural inherent sense of interconnectedness in foreign cultures makes everyone "fit in" by default, since there is no cultural/psychological separation in the first place. Since in most other nations there is not such a strong sense of individualism, they do not view themselves as separate from others. Thus, people have more in common with each other and get along much better than those in individualistic countries do. There isn’t this Western individualistic ego that battles other egos like in America. Instead, there is a rich sense of belonging, inclusiveness, communal bond, and deep-hearted camaraderie, even in countries that are economically poor. Not surprisingly, many Americans have told me after experiencing this interconnectedness between people and family in other countries, that “This is how it should be!”

One of the best examples of this is in the Philippines. One of my consultants described how he feels when he goes to the Philippines like this:

“One thing you will notice in the Philippines is that you can be yourself and still be treated well and most

people will just accept you as you are and treat you as a human being.

That is called Freedom. The freedom to be yourself.

I am not afraid to go to Casinos there, bars and restaurants and that I will feel out of place or see

cocky people around swaggering or puffing up their chests. All social interactions are smooth and

friendly and you are part of everything. I just walk in and the feeling is nice. You are included in their

groups. They are so different from the Anglos or the CJKs (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans).”

And regarding the healthy advanced integrated social life in the Philippines, he also observed:

"The Philippine society puts primary emphasis on family, human relations and the development thereof- which includes sex, friendship, love, etc. Socially, it seems to be one of the most advanced societies on earth. Of course, these developments are not mentioned in the western press which only measures progress in political, technological and financial areas. If it started measuring societies by the healthfulness of social life, the place you are at would win hands down. Cheerz."

In fact, the article at this link below explains why Filipinos in general, though poor, have a pure radiant happiness about them and in their smiles (which I can personally attest to, having been in the Philippines) attributing it to their fundamental view that they are NOT separate from others:

“UP Professor Felipe de Leon, after a decade of researching, has concluded that Filipino culture is the most inclusive and open of all those he has studied. It is the opposite of the individualistic culture of the West, with its emphasis on privacy and personal fulfillment. It is also the opposite of certain collectivistic cultures, as one finds them in Confucian societies, that value hierarchy and ‘face.'

"BY CONTRAST", Filipino culture is based on the notion of kapwa, a Tagalog word that roughly translates into "shared being." In essence, it means that most Filipinos, deep down, do not believe that their own existence is separable from that of the people around them. Everything, from pain to a snack or a joke, is there to be shared. "The strongest social urge of the Filipino is to connect, to become one with people", says De Leon. As a result, he believes, there is much less loneliness among them.”

One of my readers who has lived in the Philippines also noted:

“I've lived in the Philippines for a year. Some of the best people in the world. Poor in material life but SUPER RICH in the heart. Thats where it counts after all.”

From my experience in foreign environments, you can sense this “interconnectedness” I speak of, even without seeing any evidence, from the vibe in the air around you, generated by the collective mentality/attitude of the population.

Those who visit Europe often notice the natural sense of interconnectedness that leads to greater happiness as well:

Hi Winston,

I was just talking to someone in the newsroom where I work about his trip to Eastern Europe. He mentions that even though the people are poor, they are exceedingly happier than people in the U.S. and that he had to "shut off the sarcasm filter" because he was so floored by their hospitality, kindness, genuity, and innocence. He mentioned that the pace of life was slower and that unlike the U.S., which is task-oriented and focused on time and quality of life materially, they were focused on quality of life socially, and that there was an interconnectedness and contentedness that is missing from the U.S. There wasn't that additional layer of superficiality and deception/mask/distance that you have to deal with in social interactions in the U.S.

Some offshoot effects of “separateness” in America

Here are some other offshoot effects of the inherent separateness in America.

a) Going out alone in other countries doesn't leave you feeling vulnerable, alone, or insecure like you would in America, because the natural interconnectedness there makes you feel included with others, even if they're strangers, rather than "excluded" like in the states. There is a natural sense of inclusiveness in their social environment that is lacking in the US. Thus, going out alone, even to a restaurant, movie, or even bar, doesn’t leave you feeling alone, ignored, and isolated. Abroad, there is a richer sense of belonging, not individuals in isolated little bubbles/shells.

On the other hand, when you go out alone in America, even when you’re surrounded by many people, you can still feel disconnected and isolated from others. In fact, even if you around many people at a social gathering, you will still feel alone and lonely if you don’t “connect” with others there or have any meaningful conversations with them. In my experience, this happens more in America than anywhere else.

b) Likewise, being single in other countries is also far less painful than in America, where the lack of interconnectedness makes being single much worse than it otherwise would be in an inclusive interconnected social environment and vibe. After all, what could be more lonely than being alone in a society where people are isolated from you mentally, emotionally, and psychologically by default?

In a society where everyone is separate, independent, and in their own bubble/shell, it feels awkward, unnatural, and inappropriate to try to meet people or connect with others, rather than in an interconnected/communal environment.

c) Nowadays, the whole country seems unduly insecure, as one reader observed:

“Living in the United States really is sad compared to living in other countries that have a offer such as Germany or Netherlands. The problem is that we are a very insecure and individualistic society. Even the American media admits we are an insecure nation. Money is the number one focus. For many poorer countries, money is an obsession as well. For example, Ukraine to me was very isolated and distant if you are an American in that country. When Eastern Ukrainians find out you are an American, they see you as a walking dollar bill and you cannot trust anyone. It is because we put such a high emphasis on making money. When money is the main focus of a people, then to me it seems sadder to live in that country.

Western Europeans however are very warm in welcoming you if you have money or not. In Amsterdam, I thought the people would be snobby and would make me be distant toward them. This wasn't the case at all. They were very nice, intellectual, and the women were very attractive.”

d) Our overemphasis with individuality in America also seems to lead to “bland individuals” as this poster on my forum insightfully describes:

“The US appears to hold individuality so dear that it has produced possibly the most bland 'individuals' of all cultures, bi-polar patients aside perhaps, which there seems to be no end of now. It would appear the true life of the person cannot be found in isolation, rather it blooms in a more collective mentality. No surprise, it's difficult to cultivate a complex mentality when all you're exposed to is the same people, friends, situations, roads, jobs, etc or worse, left in isolation. I have always found my friends from other countries to be far more informed and colorful as people, men and women both and far more altruistic and 'other oriented' than the people I've known in the US.

Strangest thing is, the people I've known from politically torn and bomb ridden countrysides are far less paranoid than people from the States and far more outgoing. Then again, people from safer countries than the US, which are many, are also less paranoid and more outgoing. Go figure.”

e) Also, the belief in separateness from others also contributes to disunity and harmony in the American family. It has been sociologically documented that families in America are not as closely bonded as in other countries, as members tend to battle for control early on, asserting their independence and going their separate ways early in life. Sure, this has advantages and disadvantages, but overall, not having close family connections leads to decreased life spans, lower mental and physical health, increasing rates of depression, loneliness, alienation, and anger, etc. For more on this, see the chapter Family harmony vs. Fight for control (

f) The individuality of separateness view also contributes to a primitive socialization process. This expat intellectual noted:

America may be a lot of good things..productive, prosperous, and relatively free but the socialization of its citizens is much less advanced than other (much more economically poorer) countries I’ve been in. The way I look at it quality of life isn’t just all about money. It’s about what you can do with yourself in that society and how comfortable you feel around others. In America I was never truly “comfortable” but always felt tense or slightly agitated at the people around me. There’s definitely a hostility and tenseness to social interaction there that I don’t feel anywhere else. That’s a lot of negativity to deal with daily so it’s not surprising that out of all industrialized first world countries Americans generally have the least healthy lifestyles and shortest overall life spans.”

In conclusion, Americans simply don't know how to deal with this emptiness and lack of interconnectedness. If you look at their faces in public, you notice that they look angry, high strung and irritable all the time, not knowing why they aren't happy or what they are missing. Occasionally, they pull out the regular punch line greeting to others, "How are you? Oh I'm just great, and how about you?" in their artificial cheerful tones, to reinforce fake optimism on each other. But it's just a temporary fix-it "band-aid" they try to use which in no way substitutes for the rich communal bond, sense of belonging, deep-hearted camaraderie, or interconnectedness with others that they are missing.

To be fair though, separateness and individuality do have some advantages that are worth noting. For one, if you are in a group, family or environment that is detrimental to your interests and goals, it is much easier for an individualist/separatist to do what it takes to get out of such a predicament, than it would be for one who is group-minded and co-dependent on their group/family. The latter aligns his/her interests with those of the group, viewing the group’s interests as his/her own, dissolving their own individuality in the process. Plus, group-minded folks are less likely to speak out or take action when it’s needed, and more likely to be modest and passive instead. And they can be unnecessarily self-sacrificing (depending on your views and values of course), foregoing their own needs for others. But of course, whether these are advantages or not depends on one’s personal and cultural values.

Americans should take note that in most religions and spiritual systems, it is taught that the more conscious and God-loving people view themselves as interconnected with others, the universe, and God himself, for that is the true nature of how things really are, even at the quantum level. That’s why they aim at absolving the ego (sin nature in Christian terms) which thrives on separateness rather than unity with others and God. As one of my insightful Indian readers observed about the dualistic “separation from others” mentality of America:

“I myself am heavily influenced by nondualist studies, such as Zen, Sufism, Advaita and Taoism, which focus heavily on interconnectedness with the universe, and getting away from the "I" (and understanding that our own perception of the self is generally false).

Indeed, America is therefore a very spiritually starved place, in my opinion, because of the emphasis on a self/ego (which is most likely perceived falsely to begin with), instead of the heavy emphasis on oneness, or interconnectedness. And it wreaks its havoc in work, in family life and beyond.

By the way, India, where my family is from, is a good place to meet people. Not the greatest, but quite a bit superior to USA in terms of social life. I love it when I visit there.

I do also think, however, that good and bad exists everywhere, in different ways and different amounts, which I know you've addressed. And we can only fight the bad so much. So it's a matter of how well we take the good with the bad.

But yes, when it comes to this particular problem of not being able to control the ego, and being hopelessly caught in the traps of duality, rather than engaging in interconnectedness with all, America is just about at the top. And therefore your site is spot-on about that.”

The insightful metaphysics/spirituality author, Fritjof Capra, noted in his book The Tao of Physics, page 9, about the consequences that “fragmentation” in man and society leads to:

“This inner fragmentation of man mirrors his view of the world “outside,” which is seen as a multitude of separate objects and events. The natural environment is treated as if it consisted of separate parts to be exploited by different interest groups. The fragmented view is further extended to society, which is split into different nations, races, religious and political groups. The belief that all these fragments – in ourselves, in our environment, and in our society – are really separate can be seen as the essential reason for the present series of social, ecological, and cultural crises. It has alienated us from nature and from our fellow human beings. It has brought a grossly unjust distribution of natural resources, creating economic and political disorder; an ever-rising wave of violence, both spontaneous and institutionalized, and an ugly, polluted environment in which life has often become physically and mentally unhealthy.”

Finally, the best-selling New Age author and motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer teaches in his lectures and books:

“The ego thrives on separateness. Authentic freedom is found by absolving this sense of separateness from others and God.” (“Four Pathways to Success” audio tape)


  1. Interesting. A lot of it stems from collective mentality- there is no need for a massive ego if you belong
    to a group with many friends. They bolster you and support you and make you feel better about yourself.

    In the US you need a huge ego since you are basically on your own all the time so if you do not develop it
    others with huge egos will crush you. And people will not respect you if you do not puff up your chest and
    tell the world "I am great!"

  2. You really tell the truth the way it is about American society. Many
    people want to get in a bubble or comfort zone of a kind of fake reality
    with our mainstream media, superficial tv and music and it reflects in
    the women of America and social networks. Americans are being socially
    engineered to live apart and not want "natural" contact with others but
    instead want superficial relationships and friendships. It is hard for
    free thinkers of different backgrounds in America to ever get truly
    comfortable in this kind of environment, which is why I want to either
    move to Europe or just travel from place to place instead of staying in
    America. This country is terrible. I am a pianist who thinks that Europe
    would be more open and accepting for a classical black musician as
    myself! The educational system is dumbing us down as well in American,
    making us submissive to authority and never questioning things in our
    society. I could write a long essay about this but I agree with everyth
    ing that you have said. Keep up the good work.


  3. Agreed. America is a very lonely country. That is why I am working on an expat position back to China.

  4. Hi Winston,

    I was just talking to someone in the newsroom where I work about his trip to Eastern Europe. He mentions that even though the people are poor, they are exceedingly happier than people in the U.S. and that he had to "shut off the sarcasm filter" because he was so floored by their hospitality, kindness, genuity, and innocence. He mentioned that the pace of life was slower and that unlike the U.S., which is task-oriented and focused on time and quality of life materially, they were focused on quality of life socially, and that there was an interconnectedness and contentedness that is missing from the U.S. There wasn't that additional layer of superficiality and deception/mask/distance that you have to deal with in social interactions in the U.S.

  5. A very interesting, well written and insightful article, Winston.

    Yes, Americans definately over-rate and overinflate themselves. I would be embarassed to admit that I was an American if I were to visit a foreign country. Even though I am only an American in a strict LEGAL sense, not psychologically, emotionally, or intellectually.

    Also, American women definately have to be the world's worst ( Not all, of course, but definately most.), very shallow, very superficial, very demanding, and very, very entitled.

    This is just one reason why I miss my Indian friend so much. He was just so selfless and just so much fun to be with. It's kind of funny, but every time I think of him, I always wonder where he is and what he's doing at that very moment, and if he's also thinking of me. I could kick myself for neglecting our friendship, Winston. If I'm ever given another chance, I'll never, ever be ' too busy' for him again. Anyway, sorry again for whining about this. You know, I wasn't always this depressed. This loss that I'm suffering through just happened to occur around the same time that stumbled upon your website. Take care.

  6. Hi Winston I can 100 percent relate to your last article. About how the United States and be a very isolating place. Now is it because of the way things are socially economically structured. Over the past few decades started with the Reagan non mics of the 1980,s, Dose it go back to the old Puritan Calvinistic work ethics over 400 years ago. Do the different powers at be. Use fear to have the upper hand. As far as control over us. IE by keeping people more isolated alienated. It give more power to the different powers at be. By keeping people alienated from them self and others it creates more social problems. Like crime especially violent crime, More violent gangs, Extreme substance abuse alcoholism harder drugs, And so many other pathology's. However all the pathology's create more jobs at many different levels. More police more privet security company's. The courts the lawyers the judges. The court clerks that handle all the paperwork. The prison system. Allot of the prisons in the USA are now becoming privatized. The company's that supply the food and clothing to the prison. Company's that manufacture and sell security equipments at all levels. Not to mention the medical field. When people feel alienated they are much more likely to use tobacco products. Like cigarettes chewing tobacco. Smoke real heavy. Also have real bad diets. Like fast food. Or replacing an apple a banana or a carrot with a snickers bar or a bag of chips. Plus all the other health issues associated with the high stress and frustration of alienation. So in a nut shell. All these things make billions and billions of dollars. The way the cooperate America sees things. Something that creates distress and hardships, pain, makes big money. Things that create fulfillment happiness togetherness. Dons,t make money and will cost money. Also fear is used by almost all the commercials you see on TV your computer the magazines. If you don,t buy this product your not going to fit in and you are a total freak. Then you see the news. This person got stabbed. Three women got raped murdered and mutilated last night. The person that did this is still at large. People in the United State are hit with millions and millions of bits of this information everyday. When they get up in the morning and leave for work. At work on there way home from work. Just going out on the town. At home when you turn on your TV or boot up to your web server. I personally feel the whole things feeds on it,s self and is it,s own kind of demonic entity. You do wonderful work Winston. Keep up the good work. {{{{PEACE}}}}


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