From the few individuals of one family to the numerous citizens of the one world, diversity comes as no surprise at all. As obvious as it is, the implications of such overwhelming diversity are quite less obvious than it seems, especially in a time when interactions among different peoples are becoming exponentially more common if not the dominating option. In this realm of peoples from different backgrounds mingling together, the ego will not merely define the one individual, it will control each and every action, reaction and interaction of every individual to assert and shield a sense of individuality or the lack of it.
Anaïs Nin says: "We don't see the world as it is, we see it as we are." However, knowing and understanding who we are on this bridge connecting us with the world, where dwell our perceptions and experiences, ego and individuality, becomes an intricate quest we must wisely overcome to attain solid communications while preserving the self and taming an insatiable ego. Be it an interaction between a doctor and a patient, a teacher and a student, a manger and an employee, a parent and a child (young or adult), a husband and his wife, a person and a friend, or any other encounters between two individuals, the ego is a major player in the flow and efficiency of communication.
On the other hand, individuality nowadays must stand the significant test of a mass brainwash carried out through elaborate media and social media channels bombarding every human with limitless ideas, ideologies and currents on a daily basis, thus making self-awareness and self-confidence ever harder to attain, or in most cases entailing a false sense of self. When it is not the media, it is people trying to influence each other every second for the sake of supremacy and self assertation totally oblivious to the fact that one’s individuality is possible even when accepting and respecting the other, which eventually results in hindering constructive communication once again.
Relevant to ego and individuality as well comes the need for recognition that also impedes the possibilities of healthy and affective communication that stems from an authentic care for others rather than an arrogant need to impose one’s knowledge and ideas for the sole purpose of reaping a sense of supremacy and validation. As micro as this perception on communication versus individuality and ego may be, it is yet an essential one that is pretty much at work in the daily interactions between people in countless scenarios from trivial domestic talks to international affairs.
In Bertrand Russel’s words: “Our present predicament is due more than anything else to the fact that we have learnt to understand and control to a terrifying extent the forces of nature outside us, but not those that are embodied in ourselves. Self-control has always been a watchword of the moralists, but in the past it has been a control without understanding.” This very “understanding” has not yet fully evolved even today, as the vital need for a balance between an ego supported by so many factors and an individuality threatened and misled by so many manipulatives remains in its infancy until an opposite equation leads it to maturity.
The factors of efficient interpersonal communication go way beyond mere ego and individuality as the social, political, historical, psychological, geographical, ethnic, and even biological factors play an integral part. While all these factors are connected and interrelated, self-knowledge remains the starting point to know and understand others without the fear of intimidating one’s ego or erasing a false individuality. In a world of countless “I”s, it is worth elaborating on Bertrand Russel’s notion that “the good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge,” by noting that an unconditional love of others and an indispensable knowledge of the self are what would make this life deemed “good.”