Conflict and Ego

The article written by David Brooks openly examines the interplay between insult and response. It discusses the critical and crude nature of most reader’s comments on various articles. The author suggests responding to such a vituperative comment in a quiet and calm manner rather than in a derisive manner. The article states that the conversation becomes a battle of status as people hurl insult upon insult towards each other, making them more egoistic. Using Lincoln and ISIS as examples he enumerates the need to retaliate to such hate with peace, in order to avoid conflict. Thus we see the adverse affect “conflict” has on “ego”.

Read an excerpt of the article written by David Brooks:

 

Conflict and Ego By DAVID BROOKS If you read the online versions of newspaper columns you can click over to the reader comments, which are often critical, vituperative and insulting. I’ve found that I can only deal with these comments by following the adage, “Love your enemy.” It’s too psychologically damaging to read these comments as evaluations of my intelligence, morals or professional skill. But if I read them with the (possibly delusional) attitude that these are treasured friends bringing me lovely gifts of perspective, then my eye slides over the insults and I can usually learn something. The key is to get the question of my self-worth out of the way — which is actually possible unless the insulter is really creative. It’s not only newspaper columnists who face this kind of problem. Everybody who is on the Internet is subject to insult, trolling, hating and cruelty. Most of these online assaults are dominance plays. They are attempts by the insulter to assert his or her own superior status through displays of gratuitous cruelty toward a target. The natural but worst way to respond is to enter into the logic of this status contest. If he puffs himself up, you puff yourself up. But if you do this you put yourself and your own status at center stage. You enter a cycle of keyboard vengeance. You end up with a painfully distended ego, forever in danger, needing to assert itself, and sensitive to sleights. Clearly, the best way to respond is to step out of the game. It’s to get out of the status competition. Enmity is a nasty frame of mind. Pride is painful. The person who can quiet the self can see the world clearly, can learn the subject and master the situation. Historically, we reserve special admiration for those who can quiet the self even in the heat of conflict. Abraham Lincoln was caught in the middle of a horrific civil war. ...read more