Well well well… Here’s something different about the air. It doesn’t smell foul, yet peculiarly strange in its own kind. Interestingly, as we are more prone to find the odds in our environment, we tend to see them as faults. We use our perception to evaluate things and people which are merely acting the natural way.
Its not that someone or a set of people are egoist. Every individual soul on this planet has evolved to operate on modulus of ego. But, as you may find, the very definition of ego and its properties cannot be stereotyped. You either go with eastern philosophy of “I’ as the ego or Freudian thought of how the conflict between our identity and acceptance of real world drives our sub-conscious thinking.
When we start defining our own ‘self’, the thoughts which we generate, begin to take over the uniqueness of every individual. The body is construct of the food and nutrients that we have eaten, and thus it grows and dies. There’s some entity, so we believe, around which our cells our formed and mind is coerced to think.
We are named by our parents when we are born. We start associating those audio notes to recognize our self by responding to the name. And soon, it imprints in our brain as how we introduce self to the world. No wonder we expect the same for everything we try to learn about. We need to ‘label’ everything in order to refer it anywhere. Our brain works by mapping what is stored in our memories with the information which is being force fed to us by our education system, government, media, social sites and what not. Identity is what we are born with, personality is what we build along our way to death bed.
Psychology, is where we turn to look out for answers for understanding the psyche. Philosophy, is the lens through which we use to change perspective about what needs to be ‘labeled’. This is like questioning the information that we obtain for its authenticity. The onset of “Who am I?” marks the very initial stage of a grave conflict for discerning the differences in our belief. Standing in front of a mirror, you will get the answer as you see yourself. You can see your body through the mirror but not see the ‘observer’ who is looking at the mirror. If we don’t find this satisfactory, we venture out on a quest to quench our thirst for answers.
People become self-centered or starts caring about self-whatever, we say that its not them but their ego which is making them act in such a way. Here, our perception is at fault in creating separate identities for that individual. And, that is important when we talk of creating User Experience which caters to a set of individuals who all have different degrees of ego. The challenge starts growing its root during the design process itself, where we have to make way for our designs between all breeds of ego. Then come the users from whom we expect a rational attitude towards our product.
Games fuel our ego to an extent that best friends turn into hard core rivals, who’ll raise fingers at the crossroads. Games fulfill our innate desires which, for many, are not achievable in real world. And it devastates the id, when one is defeated in a simulated environment, when players get the feeling of shame or defeated, their super-ego pumping hormones in the body. Small kids swearing out at the top of their voice, breaking things and even taking real world revenge like “swatting”. They cant take defeats or taunts of other players. They’ve become too sensitive for their identity and when it doesn’t maps to real world they become disoriented. We are brought up in a competitive environment where children are scolded for scoring 99% in exams, queuing up for job interviews, where you might be rejected because the interviewer had an argument with his wife, working hard to get hands on the ‘dream car’ and what not. We are persistently being pushed to the limits of survival in race at genetic levels, manifesting the evolution at physical level. We rely on our ego for our success and that ego doesn’t like failures.
When we think of the time, we’ll be discarding the body to outcome any physical limitations, bound to keep us ‘safe’ from what we perceive of this world, we’ll see that ego was a figment of our illusory world. Ego wont survive without the body, and it wont let us get rid of the body. Our intellect will fail us in the digital realm as it is clouded under dense fog of uncertainty, which we think of as awareness.
Now imagine a whole generation bred on competition, not taking a ‘no’ for an answer to failures, every single disappointment impacts their judgement, restless, true egotists, they’ll be decision makers for fate of your product. Being a UX person, we must know how to tame our ego to serve the super ego of our users. This is why we see many UXers dwelling in ocean of Psychology, be it Cognitive, Behavioral, Psychoanalysis or much deeper. A better understanding of how humans think, help us in designing a better trap for them. We are the devils here with our ego being fed by masses hoarding at ports of our servers, trying to get their hands on the experience dripping off our flagship designs.