The pronoun ‘I’ is such a problematic piece of language, don’t you think? ‘I’ locates a single person as the center of events, conversation, or thought. It’s also (and often) a desperately acquisitive word, of attention, recognition, importance. Maybe this is true because the human individual is frequently celebrated as the irreducible unit of existence, and ‘I’ is a persistently occurring, collectively embraced reminder of that essentially cultural and philosophical theory. Maybe it’s due to some sort of biologically determined neural circuitry.
Whatever the reason, it is almost impossible to speak, think, write, or otherwise interact with oneself, others, or the nonhuman world without relying, in some measure, on self-regard, self-reference, or self-referential dialogue. But is that a bad thing? Is that corrosive, or morally suspect in some way? Maybe under certain conditions or frequencies of use? One whimsical, philosophical exercise (probably lacking any practical benefit) is complete abstention from use of ‘I’ to see if any measurable or observable changes occur. Perhaps a shift in discourse would in turn alter patterns of thoughts and behavior.
Would ceasing use of ‘I’ lead to greater empathy? Vicarity? Substantial declines in selfish thought or action? At the individual level, partial abdication of the self (by boycotting ‘I’) as the paramount entity could logically force a person to contemplate or inhabit real or imagined alternate perspectives – an arguably positive outcome. Who knows, but it is fun to think about though!
Anyway, wanna go out sometime? Pita chips, hummus, and tzatziki smothered gyros if you’re into that kind of thing.