20 July, 2007
By Dr. Aamir Mehmood
In this world from the time of creation, as per history narrates and depicts human being has come across matters deemed as delicate yet insignificant, important yet ignorable, criminal yet innocent, have come across conscientiously, recognizable, discussable aspects which has twisted, turned and transformed the life of a human, world’s economy, world’s thinking and ultimately world’s existence, as a consequence to spin around and to be captured in whirl pool of Bermuda triangle. To say the least we all have experienced it, some consciously and some subconsciously to get affected, get afflicted and ultimately infected by the slow deep seated effects of a condemned poison.
We have been accustomed to it from time to time, our antecedents have felt it, our descendants will come across, the problems, with conflicting matters, on contestable issues, on disputable interests; they all occur and happen mostly due to simple, trivial desires which are ineligible in the larger perspective of the whole picture which we call “Life”. These trivial and negligible issues which we hold tightly and close to our jugular pulse as matters of life and death are termed as “Ego”.
Ego is termed to many as a self esteem and personality trait but to me it is more of a brain stimulant specifically requiring self projection, hurting more of us than benefiting. People whether common or famous, good or bad, kindhearted or unkind, all have tasted it and have fallen for this willfully or unintentionally.
Ego, literally means personal pride, and I believe if ego is used constructively it is a utility, a booster for self esteem, derives the best out of you, but being egotistic or egocentric is what one only feels for self, or to be interested in oneself, is what has hurt us in relations, community, companionship and as a nation. It mars our growth, our repute and above all our traditional values related to humanity. The only noticeable thing about egotistical and egocentric people is that is that they don't talk about other people they only talk about themselves. They are most likely to believe that they matter and the interests are separated in totality from the loved one.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, a poet, states “Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine”. If we consider situation after situation we will find many have suffered, many were deprived, many were left out, and many could not survive when the self pride got erroneously placed above anything and everything else. The person rendered oneself incapacitated to see what resulted in its sufferings and failures for every situation in which it was hosted.
We have seen people with no money, in suffering more from egotistical and egocentric related issues than inadequate wealth. They suffer from hunger, basic elementary needs inadequacy, betrayal, illness or any other thing because of the burning ego. We have seen individuals ruining personal lives, damage personal dreams, neglecting families, maintaining stubborn attitudes, prolonging rigidity in approach, virtually all a prey to an individual’s ego. Why? Simply because one cannot justify one’s self to say yes, to a situation where it desires for the thing, person or a situation to agree but just because it is opposite to the way it was perceived to happen, the required gets not required and the most desired gets the most undesired. It is a constant struggle between “Mind, Self” and “Ego” but can we distinguish or divide mind or self from ego, which to me is a remote resemblance but hardly an independent state. I feel “Mind” if it is retained within itself is “Self” and if it is exhibited and projected as such, seen or perceived by others is termed as “Ego”. The most desirable accolade in anyone’s life is reaching the highest pinnacle of fame and glory but never has one with egocentric mannerism or personality traits showing others as inferior have survived in fond remembrance.
In my experience in professional life, from working in diversified occupations, I have ascertained that in job, more issues are created when the ego gets the better of an individual, department or organization whether in competition or not is not the concern. From a simple like, hate situation between two resources, departments or companies to a more complex issue when two stand opposite to each other by taking a stance on any given situation is something very commonly seen. The dispute ridden aspects are paraphernalia in this era but unfortunately they are treated, perceived and communicated to be matters of life and death. No one is a winner in a win win situation in life that we desire if we continue to get ourselves indulged in such situations. I learned from someone, never force an argument with someone, if you win an argument you will lose the good will of the other person and if you lose the argument you have lost everything.
Similarly consider, a young girl, in our culture and environment, with a limited exposure in life, gets married, meets her first challenge, in form of husband, in-laws, new home and family environment, she is upright, has dreams, aspirations, wishes and desires, if has self respect it is good but if is egotistical or egocentric will always have an issue on compatibility, in our culture she will be the one unfortunately finding difficulty to adjust, finding inconvenience to survive, finding impossible to consume marriage, finding reluctancy to live with in-laws, finding difficulty to adjust to a new home, environment and people but more importantly she will be in misery and sufferings. But remember, for all the girls who will get the chance to read; I for once don’t want you to be submissive to all wrongs, as two wrongs don’t make one right, I don’t want you to feel that if a relationship in marriage does not materialize it is just entirely a girl’s fault, it is just plain emphasis that they you are required more to adjust initially but should remember to identify the right from wrong, just from unjust, ego from egotistical then we will have more right than little wrong.
In professional experiences, one will come in situations where one can find a delay or a lag in finalization of a situation for which not being done on time can hurt self pride, as it could be something important and overdue by months for the concerned. If you believed it to be not a deliberate act but work got the better of the situation and imbalance resulted, you would have acted, wisely and patiently. But, if you were adamant to make an issue and handle the particular variation or situation as matter of contesting your self pride then at his point or juncture your actions were of egotistical or egocentric person, if you would not have waited and proceeded to find new answers and avenues. Surely you would not benefit or harvest from the vision of interpretation which we call as inference. It reminds me of a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. “We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind”. To me, honestly, in life the biggest gift in terms is continuity in respect, relationship, love, affection and building on self esteem to a level that we can contribute and share on our success, achievements and glory.
Much of the chaos and confusion amidst situations, which exist in the world now, are issues which are related to “no issues” but a personal ego which may result in catastrophic events that can culminate in ending of civilization. I firmly believe we have no place in this world for acts, thoughts or vision to self please and gratifications and act against the interests of mankind.
The ego, when in collection of our past experiences, it is continually offering us multiple lines of thought. While we rediscover our past, in every judgement, we see a relationship establish to our ego, some good and some bad. The ego is constantly judging everybody and everything. It has its own agenda, about proximity, about relation to things for yesterday, today and tomorrow. The more you think about it the more convinced you are. Ego resides inside you secured in a safe, it lives similarly within you as an evil which lives within you. If you see the ego and evil as not much different, then evil is a natural part of who you are, and you, ego and the evil must be the same. But if you find a way to understand that ego as an evil aspect of yourself; which is not you and is simply a misperception then you have done and chosen wisely and people, situations, conditions are virtually safe and the living in the world comfortable and a better place in every aspect of the word.
Finally, ego is equated to as an end result to our desire, our satisfaction, our commitments, our involvement, that it becomes a prestige, a matter of pride but as long as it is an achievement to have all benefit from its results, one never finds the negative reflections of such ego but if it turns the other way around then venom is lethal and hardly anyone in this world would benefit from anything. If we could reconcile that ultimate aim and end result should be to be someone, do something for others, as the goodness one has achieved by doing it for others and this is the basic and whole truth of life. Be good to others and forget about ego. I conclude and agree with famous poet Rainer Maria Rilke states “Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything”, and I add “Be Humble”.