Egosystem (n) – A complex set of defenses designed to stave off criticism or intelligent conversation with the aim of retaining our preferred status quo. In the corporate world, often presented as a plausible excuse to resist change and establish empires.
It’s the same egosystem that causes us to grow defensive in the face of opposition, where we feel persecuted if our opinion is not accepted. The irony is that we employ such defense mechanisms with the aim of protecting ourselves from a perceived threat, when in fact that defense is what harms us most.
Exhausting is the effort it takes to wear down such defenses so that a whole life can be lived. Exhausting for both the whistle blower and the victim. We’re often so focused on defending ourselves from being the perceived victims of circumstances and others around us that we fail to protect ourselves from becoming victims of ourselves.
In a world that is engineered to create victims in order to create new capitalist markets, the corrosive mindset that it spawns quickly sets the tone for how we perceive our worth relative to the world around us. I used to think that I interacted with various ecosystems as I worked my way through life, or simply through an average day, but the longer I live, the more I realise that it is the egosystems that drive the events around me rather than any ecosystem I previously perceived.
When I fail to recognise those egosystems, I inevitably get drawn into it and find myself trying to defend my contribution in a space that is already contaminated by the egos of others. There is no value that can be demonstrated in such a setting. You either play to the egos that you’re surrounded with, or you disrupt. When you play to it, you become the disrupted and inevitably find yourself toeing the line to a tune you didn’t choose. But it offers inclusion and feigned acceptance, which is comforting at a superficial level. But because most of us live superficially, we willingly subscribe to such a toxic social setting. Not always limited to our social circles though, and in fact, more prone to exist in our professional circles where almost everything becomes a measuring contest.
However, when I do become aware of the egosystem that putrefies the air around me, my instinctive response is to disrupt. It’s that long held belief of mine that the arrogant must be treated with arrogance, which has served my sanity well, but my bank account and social circles have suffered as a result. Hypocrisy seeps to the surface when I find myself restraining myself in the face of such isolation or disruption because I lack the will to trudge through the mire that often follows such conviction. But I placate myself by believing that similar to arrogance, hypocrites deserve a dose of hypocrisy. Do I then willingly contribute to the cesspool that I despise? Probably. But I find it acceptable as a response to those that refused to respond to the wholesome goodness of my ego, and therefore deserve a taste of my alter-ego instead.
One of the most scary thoughts for me has always been the knowledge that if I had to embrace the vile behaviours of those around me with the same vigour and conviction as I do my current set of principles, I would be devastatingly effective at politics. Yes, I know, that must sound so arrogant, but that is exactly the point I am making. Being arrogant does not require conviction in principles. It simply requires an indulgent mind bent on self-enrichment and consumerism. Pretty much the ingredients needed to sustain a destructive egosystem.
We’re all capable of being assholes, so a successful asshole is not one that should be celebrated because there are too many principled fools that fell as a result of their manipulations. But principled fools don’t seem to garner much respect either because they appear naïve and foolhardy in their convictions, so it is of little surprise that there is not much respect in this world, let alone respect for the world we live in. The ecosystem of earth is being contaminated by the egosystem of us, but we seem to be looking for answers everywhere but at home.