The Impedance of the Human Ego

Moses Nwokedi Written by Moses Nwokedi · 2 min read >

The following content is me giving voice to my thoughts on certain issues that I have personally observed. Thus, it can be viewed as entirely subjective.  I would like to know the take of my readers as well. Earlier today, I was in a bus headed home when the driver bumped into someone’s car. As expected, the owner of the car alighted and an exchange of words ensued. The owner of the car challenged the driver, asking why he did that. To my surprise, the bus driver responded obstinately and resorted to name-calling. He did everything but admit to the fact that he was in the wrong. At a point in the exchange, the car owner said to the bus driver, “you no fit say sorry?” or in other words, “can’t you apologise?” My sense of puzzlement increased at this point and I mentally disconnected myself from the altercation. By the time we began moving again, whether or not the bus driver mumbled any sort of apology wasn’t quite clear to me. But the whole event got me thinking; why didn’t he offer an apology? What would it cost him to apologise?  I actually voiced out these questions to the person seated next to me. In response, he said that one of the possible reasons why the driver did not apologise was because if he had done so, he stood a chance of paying for damages. Thus, in order to avoid that scenario, he had to maintain a façade of being in the right. “Ah”, I thought, “we have a problem here”.

The first thing that came to mind was the impedance of the human ego. Ego in this context refers to a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. That innate tendency to want to preserve oneself even when in the wrong, as seen in the fender bender situation mentioned prior, can be an impedance. People see themselves as having an image to protect and project to their fellow humans, not wanting to appear inferior or less in a given situation. Looking closely at what my fellow passenger said about the situation, we see the same line of thought; protecting oneself to avoid certain consequences. Herein is the impedance I mentioned earlier; when the protection of oneself (of which there is nothing wrong in and of itself) stands in the way of doing the RIGHT thing. I think we have something fundamentally wrong in a society, when people put self-preservation above the RIGHT and the GOOD. We see this multiple times in governance when leaders perform poorly or outright wrongly and are not brought to account. In fact, the people, who supposedly voted in the said leader, do not deem it fit for him/her to be held accountable for his/her actions. Instead, we hear lots of excuses, explaining away and ‘sweeping under the rug’. Perhaps, this is a reflection of the general mindset of the populace. If, as individuals, we build personal values of esteeming the Right above the Self, perhaps this could translate into the greater society at large and, eventually, places of power and leadership. I believe the home is an excellent place to start (just saying).

It goes without saying, that a man’s sense of self or self-esteem is of utmost importance, because it directly affects how he conducts himself on a day-to-day basis. But, that sense of self should not be placed above the Right and the Good. Accountability should first of all be to ourselves and then those within our sphere of influence.

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