These days when I think of the self, I am regularly reminded of this. I use ‘ego’ interchangeably with ‘self’. Ego as in egotism, not the Freud definition. The inflated view of the self that most of us refer to when we say ‘ego’. While the scientific-philosophical perspective is something I am very interested in, it is more the day-to-day reveals that are more frequent. 

For instance, when I think of me having my ego under control, it is more of not exhibiting a “Do you know who I am?” behaviour either directly or by showing status indicators, or showing empathy, or being nice to those less fortunate than I am. If I read these in the context of Barkow’s quote, these seem to be great PR done by my self to myself, or rather my self image. Deceivingly superficial stuff!

Maybe the ‘under control’ is a facile victory. An illusion just like we have an illusion of free will. Maybe the ego manifests itself in more subtle ways and I have to dig deeper.

P.S. I’m finding evolutionary psychology very interesting, mostly thanks to The Moral Animal