Get out of your Ego Chambers – KSInsights Mar 2024

Published on 02 Apr 2024

In today’s digital age, where online platforms have transformed the way we communicate, there’s a trend that’s becoming more apparent. Amid the endless stream of opinions online, people often find themselves drawn to voices that echo their own thoughts, rather than exploring a range of different views. This tendency isn’t just about the algorithms used by big tech companies; it reflects a deeper, personal choice. It’s crucial to talk about this – the way we often end up in ‘echo chambers,’ where our own views are echoed back to us, unchallenged and unchanged.

The idea of echo chambers is a common critique when talking about how we interact online. But calling them ‘ego chambers’ highlights an important point: it’s on us to decide to step outside and engage with people who think differently. It’s easy to blame technology for creating isolated bubbles. However, this situation is something we’ve created ourselves, and it takes a deliberate effort to break free. The comfort of the familiar is tempting, but it leads us away from the rich diversity of thoughts and into a space where our views go unchallenged.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to take part in community and civic life. Democracy relies on its citizens to be active participants, not just during elections but as engaged community members. The true power of democracy is in the hands of its people, trusted temporarily to leaders to make decisions for us. But this doesn’t mean we should step back from talking, debating, and ensuring our democratic system works as it should. Democracy thrives on the collective action and discussion of its people.

To find ways to connect more deeply with others and leave our ego chambers, we can draw inspiration from the traditions of the ASEAN region. For example, the concept of gotong-royong in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei is about mutual help and working together. It means sharing the weight of challenges with those we trust. In the Philippines, bayanihan is about the community coming together to help move a house, showing unity. Singapore’s ‘kampung spirit’ and Laos’ ‘Soukhouane’ highlight the importance of neighborliness and collective well-being. These traditions remind us that our strength comes from our ability to collaborate, support each other, and work together for the common good.

The message is clear: we need to step out of our comfort zones and talk to people with different perspectives. A vibrant democracy is built on diverse conversations, debates, and discussions. By engaging with the unfamiliar, we grow, learn, and strengthen our society. Let’s value different opinions, celebrate our cultural diversity, and act together. This way, our democracy becomes a living reflection of its diverse people.

In short, while staying in spaces where our views are always agreed with might feel safe, it ultimately weakens the foundation of our society. The rich traditions of communal support in the ASEAN region offer us a way forward. By embracing these principles and stepping out of our ego chambers, we can create a more inclusive, active, and strong community. The future of our society relies on all of us being engaged. It’s time to leave the echo chambers behind and start connecting with one another.


02 Apr 2024