Yes, the term ego has been vilified and misunderstood for centuries. The common notion is that egoism means pursuing one own rational or irrational values without any consideration of others. This is irrational. Contrast it with Ayn Rand’s notion of egoism, which means pursuing ones own values while respecting other people’s right to do pursue theirs. Men interact by voluntarily trading values to their mutual benefit. For instance, as an employee of a company, I provide value to the employer by offering my skills for a salary. The ego was crucially important to Ayn Rand as she discovered that it is a critical component to man’s nature. It is part of what defines us as human beings, and by rejecting it or vilifying it, where acting against our own nature.