Great piece. What you say at the end reminds me of James Carse. Quoting from finite and infinite games:

"...self-veiling is a contradictory act-

a free suspension of our freedom. I cannot forget that I have forgotten. I may have used the veil so successfully that I have made my performance believable to myself. But credibility will never suffice to undo the contradictoriness of self-veiling. To believe is to know you believe, and to know you believe is not to believe."

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Jul 20, 2022·edited Jul 20, 2022

Venkatesh Rao have also noted the two effects of "Tall Poppy" and "Games". The two games looks very familiar to Posturetalk (pretending one is better than the others, whilst being tone-deaf) and Gametalk (average people not rocking the boat, herd-like behaviors) https://www.ribbonfarm.com/series/mediocratopia-2/ https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/11/11/the-gervais-principle-ii-posturetalk-powertalk-babytalk-and-gametalk/

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