The Ego and Its Own

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1844

People

(1806 - 1856) ~ Father of Egoism : Max Stirner? The philosophizing petit bourgeois to whom Karl Marx had given the brush-off? The anarchist, egoist, nihilist, the crude precursor of Nietzsche? Yes, he. (From : Bernd Laska Bio.)
• "When I had exalted myself to be the owner of the world, egoism had won its first complete victory, had vanquished the world, had become worldless, and put the acquisitions of a long age under lock and key." (From : "The Ego and Its Own," by Max Stirner, 1845, publi....)
• "If the welfare of the state is the end, war is a hallowed means; if justice is the state's end, homicide is a hallowed means, and is called by its sacred name, 'execution'; the sacred state hallows everything that is serviceable to it." (From : "The Ego and Its Own," by Max Stirner, 1845, publi....)
• "Alienness is a criterion of the 'sacred.' In everything sacred there lies something 'uncanny,' strange, such as we are not quite familiar and at home in." (From : "The Ego and Its Own," by Max Stirner, 1845, publi....)

Sections

This document contains 20 sections, with 136,849 words or 794,698 characters.

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TO MY SWEETHEART MARIE DÄHNHARDT... (From : WikiSource.)

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All Things Are Nothing To Me All Things Are Nothing To Me What is not supposed to be my concern! First and foremost, the good cause, then God's cause, the cause of mankind, of truth, of freedom, of humanity, of justice; further, the cause of my people, my prince, my fatherland; finally, even the cause of Mind, and a thousand other causes. Only my cause is never to be my concern. Shame on the egoist who thinks only of himself!" Let us look and see, then, how they manage their concerns - they for whose cause we are to labor, devote ourselves, and grow enthusiastic. You have much profound information to give about God, and have for thousands of years "searched the depths of the Godhead," and looked into its heart, so that you can doubtless tell us how God himself attends to "God's cause," which we are called to serve. And you do not conceal the Lord's doings, either. Now, what is... (From : WikiSource.)

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A Human Life From the moment when he catches sight of the light of the world a man seeks to find out himself and get hold of himself out of its confusion, in which he, with everything else, is tossed about in motley mixture. But everything that comes in contact with the child defends itself in turn against his attacks, and asserts its own persistence. Accordingly, because each thing cares for itself and at the same time comes into constant collision with other things, the combat of self-assertion is unavoidable. Victory or defeat - between the two alternatives the fate of the combat wavers. The victor becomes the lord, the vanquished one the subject: the former exercises supremacy and "rights of supremacy," the latter fulfills in awe and deference the "duties of a subject." But both remain enemies, and always lie in wait: they watch for each other's weaknesses - children for those of their parents and parents for those of their children (t... (From : WikiSource.)

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Men of the Old Time and the New How each of us developed himself, what he strove for, attained, or missed, what objects he formerly pursued and what plans and wishes his heart is now set on, what transformation his views have experienced, what perturbations his principles - in short, how he has today become what yesterday or years ago he was not - this he brings out again from his memory with more or less ease, and he feels with especial vividness what changes have taken place in himself when he has before his eyes the unrolling of another's life. Let us therefore look into the activities our forefathers busied themselves with.

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The Ancients Custom having once given the name of "the ancients" to our pre-Christian ancestors, we will not throw it up against them that, in comparison with us experienced people, they ought properly to be called children, but will rather continue to honor them as our good old fathers. But how have they come to be antiquated, and who could displace them through his pretended newness? We know, of course, the revolutionary innovator and disrespectful heir, who even took away the sanctity of the fathers' sabbath to hallow his Sunday, and interrupted the course of time to begin at himself with a new chronology; we know him, and know that it is - the Christian. But does he remain forever young, and is he today still the new man, or will he too be superseded, as he has superseded the "ancients"? The fathers must doubtless have themselves begotten the young one who entombed them. Let us then peep at this act of generation. "To the ancients the worl... (From : WikiSource.)

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The Moderns If any man be in Christ, he is a newcreature; the old is passed away, behold, all is become new. As it was said above, "To the ancients the world was a truth," we must say here, "To the moderns the spirit was a truth"; but here, as there, we must not omit the supplement, "a truth whose untruth they tried to get back of, and at last they really do." A course similar to that which antiquity took may be demonstrated in Christianity also, in that the understanding was held a prisoner under the dominion of the Christian dogmas up to the time preparatory to the Reformation, but in the pre-Reformation century asserted itself sophistically and played heretical pranks with all tenets of the faith. And the talk then was, especially in Italy and at the Roman court, "If only the heart remains Christian-minded, the understanding may go right on taking its pleasure." Long before the Reformation... (From : WikiSource.)

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The Spirit The realm of spirits is monstrously great, there is an infinite deal of the spiritual; yet let us look and see what the spirit, this bequest of the ancients, properly is. Out of their birth-pangs it came forth, but they themselves could not utter themselves as spirit; they could give birth to it, it itself must speak. The "born God, the Son of Man," is the first to utter the word that the spirit, he, God, has to do with nothing earthly and no earthly relationship, but solely ,with the spirit and spiritual relationships. Is my courage, indestructible under all the world's blows, my inflexibility and my obduracy, perchance already spirit in the full sense, because the world cannot touch it? Why, then it would not yet be at enmity with the world, and all its action would consist merely in not succumbing to the world! No, so long as it does not busy itself with itself alone, so long as it does not have to do with its world, the spiritual, alone, it... (From : WikiSource.)

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The Possessed Have you ever seen a spirit? "No, not I, but my grandmother." Now, you see, it's just so with me too; I myself haven't seen any, but my grandmother had them running between her feet all sorts of ways, and out of confidence in our grandmothers' honesty we believe in the existence of spirits. But had we no grandfathers then, and did they not shrug their shoulders every time our grandmothers told about their ghosts? Yes, those were unbelieving men who have harmed our good religion much, those rationalists! We shall feel that! What else lies at the bottom of this warm faith in ghosts, if not the faith in "the existence of spiritual beings in general," and is not this latter itself disastrously unsettled if saucy men of the understanding may disturb the former? The Romantics were quite conscious what a blow the very belief in God suffered by the laying aside of the belief in spirits or ghosts, and they tried to help us out of the baleful co... (From : WikiSource.)

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The Hierarchy The historical reflections on our Mongolism which I propose to insert episodically at this place are not given with the claim of thoroughness, or even of approved soundness, but solely because it seems to me that they may contribute toward making the rest clear. The history of the world, whose shaping properly belongs altogether to the Caucasian race, seems until now to have run through two Caucasian ages, in the first of which we had to work out and work off our innate negroidity; this was followed in the second by Mongoloidity (Chineseness), which must likewise be terribly made an end of. Negroidity represents antiquity, the time of dependence on things (on cocks' eating, birds' flight, on sneezing, on thunder and lightning, on the rustling of sacred trees, and so forth); Mongoloidity the time of dependence on thoughts, the Christian time. Reserved for the future are the words, "I am the owner of the world of things, I am the owner of the world of... (From : WikiSource.)

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The Free The ancients and the moderns having been presented above in two divisions, it may seem as if the free were here to be described in a third division as independent and distinct. This is not so. The free are only the more modern and most modern among the "moderns," and are put in a separate division merely because they belong to the present, and what is present, above all, claims our attention here. I give "the free" only as a translation of "the liberals," but must with regard to the concept of freedom (as in general with regard to so many other things whose anticipatory introduction cannot be avoided) refer to what comes later. (From : WikiSource.)

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Political Liberalism After the chalice of so-called absolute monarchy had been drained down to the dregs, in the eighteenth century people became aware that their drink did not taste human - too clearly aware not to begin to crave a different cup. Since our fathers were "human beings" after all, they at last desired also to be regarded as such. Whoever sees in us something else than human beings, in him we likewise will not see a human being, but an inhuman being, and will meet him as an unhuman being; on the other hand, whoever recognizes us as human beings and protects us against the danger of being treated inhumanly, him we will honor as our true protector and guardian. Let us then hold together and protect the man in each other; then we find the necessary protection in our holding together, and in ourselves, those who hold together, a fellowship of those who know their human dignity and hold together as "human beings." Our holding together is the stat... (From : WikiSource.)

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Social Liberalism We are freeborn men, and wherever we look we see ourselves made servants of egoists! Are we therefore to become egoists too! Heaven forbid! We want rather to make egoists impossible! We want to make them all "ragamuffins [Lumpen]"; all of us must have nothing, that "all may have." So say the Socialists. Who is this person that you call "All"? - It is "society"! - But is it corporeal, then? - We are its body! - You? Why, you are not a body yourselves - you, sir, are corporeal to be sure, you too, and you, but you all together are only bodies, not a body. Accordingly the united society may indeed have bodies at its service, but no one body of its own. Like the "nation of the politicians, it will turn out to be nothing but a "spirit," its body only semblance. The freedom of man is, in political liberalism, freedom from persons, from personal dominion, from the master; the securing of each individual person against other persons, per... (From : WikiSource.)

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Humane Liberalism As liberalism is completed in self-criticizing, critical liberalism - in which the critic remains a liberal and does not go beyond the principle of liberalism, Man - this may distinctively be named after Man and called the "humane." The laborer is counted as the most material and egoistical man. He does nothing at all for humanity, does everything for himself, for his welfare. The commonalty, because it proclaimed the freedom of Man only as to his birth, had to leave him in the claws of the un-human man (the egoist) for the rest of life. Hence under the regime of political liberalism egoism has an immense field for free utilization. The laborer will utilize society for his egoistic ends as the commoner does the state. You have only an egoistic end after all, your welfare, is the humane liberal's reproach to the Socialist; take up a purely human interest, then I will be your companion. "But to this there belongs a conscious... (From : WikiSource.)

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Postscript The foregoing review of "free human criticism" was written by bits immediately after the appearance of the books in question, as was also that which elsewhere refers to writings of this tendency, and I did little more than bring together the fragments. But criticism is restlessly pressing forward, and thereby makes it necessary for me to come back to it once more, now that my book is finished, and insert this concluding note. I have before me the latest (eighth) number of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung of Bruno Bauer. There again "the general interests of society" stand at the top. But criticism has reflected, and given this "society" a specification by which it is discriminated from a form which previously had still been confused with it: the "state," in former passages still celebrated as "free state," is quite given up because it can in no wise fulfill the task of "human society." Criticism only "saw itself compelled to identify for a mome... (From : WikiSource.)

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Ownness "Does not the spirit thirst for freedom?" - Alas, not my spirit alone, my body too thirsts for it hourly! When before the odorous castle-kitchen my nose tells my palate of the savory dishes that are being prepared therein, it feels a fearful pining at its dry bread; when my eyes tell the hardened back about soft down on which one may lie more delightfully than on its compressed straw, a suppressed rage seizes it; when - but let us not follow the pains further. - And you call that a longing for freedom? What do you want to become free from, then? From your hardtack and your straw bed? Then throw them away! - But that seems not to serve you: you want rather to have the freedom to enjoy delicious foods and downy beds. Are men to give you this "freedom" - are they to permit it to you? You do not hope that from their philanthropy, because you know they all think like you: each is the nearest to himself! How, therefore, do you mean to come to the enjoyment of those foo... (From : WikiSource.)

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The Owner I - do I come to myself and mine through liberalism? Whom does the liberal look upon as his equal? Man! Be only man - and that you are anyway - and the liberal calls you his brother. He asks very little about your private opinions and private follies, if only he can espy "Man" in you. But, as he takes little heed of what you are privatim - indeed, in a strict following out of his principle sets no value at all on it - he sees in you only what you are generatim. In other words, he sees in you, not you, but the species; not Tom or Jim, but Man; not the real or unique one, but your essence or your concept; not the bodily man, but the spirit. As Hans you would not be his equal, because he is Kunz, therefore not Hans; as man you are the same that he is. And, since as Hans you virtually do not exist at all for him (so far, namely, as he is a liberal and not unconsciously an egoist), he has really made "brother-love" very easy for himself: he loves in... (From : WikiSource.)

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My Power Right is the spirit of society. If society has a will this will is simply right: society exists only through right. But, as it endures only exercising a sovereignty over individuals, right is its sovereign will . Aristotle says justice is the advantage of society. All existing right is - foreign law; some one makes me out to be in the right, "does right by me." But should I therefore be in the right if all the world made me out so? And yet what else is the right that I obtain in the state, in society, but a right of those foreign to me? When a blockhead makes me out in the right, I grow distrustful of my rightness; I don't like to receive it from him. But, even when a wise man makes me out in the right, I nevertheless am not in the right on that account. Whether I am in the right is completely independent of the fool's making out and of the wise man's. All the same, we have coveted th... (From : WikiSource.)

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My Intercourse In society the human demand at most can be satisfied, while the egoistic must always come short. Because it can hardly escape anybody that the present shows no such living interest in any question as in the "social," one has to direct his gaze especially to society. Indeed, if the interest felt in it were less passionate and dazzled, people would not so much, in looking at society, lose sight of the individuals in it, and would recognize that a society cannot become new so long as those who form and constitute it remain the old ones. If, for example, there was to arise in the Jewish people a society which should spread a new faith over the earth, these apostles could in no case remain Pharisees. As you are, so you present yourself, so you behave toward men: a hypocrite as a hypocrite, a Christian as a Christian. Therefore the character of a society is determined by the character of its members: they are its creators. So much at least one mu... (From : WikiSource.)

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My Self-Enjoyment We stand at the boundary of a period. The world hitherto took thought for nothing but the gain of life, took care for - life. For whether all activity is put on the stretch for the life of this world or of the other, for the temporal or for the eternal, whether one hankers for "daily bread" ("Give us our daily bread") or for "holy bread" ("the true bread from heaven" "the bread of God, that comes from heaven and gives life to the world"; "the bread of life," John 6), whether one takes care for "dear life" or for "life to eternity" - this does not change the object of the strain and care, which in the one case as in the other shows itself to be life. Do the modern tendencies announce themselves otherwise? People now want nobody to be embarrassed for the most indispensable necessaries of life, but want every one to feel secure as to these; and on the other hand they teach that man has this life to attend to and the real world to adapt himself to, without... (From : WikiSource.)

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The Unique One Pre-Christian and Christian times pursue opposite goals; the former wants to idealize the real, the latter to realize the ideal; the former seeks the "holy spirit," the latter the "glorified body." Hence the former closes with insensitiveness to the real, with "contempt for the world"; the latter will end with the casting off of the ideal, with "contempt for the spirit." The opposition of the real and the ideal is an irreconcilable one, and the one can never become the other: if the ideal became the real, it would no longer be the ideal; and, if the real became the ideal, the ideal alone would be, but not at all the real. The opposition of the two is not to be vanquished otherwise than if some one annihilates both. Only in this "some one," the third party, does the opposition find its end; otherwise idea and reality will ever fail to coincide. The idea cannot be so realized as to remain idea, but is realized only when it dies as idea; and it is the... (From : WikiSource.)

Chronology

1844 :
The Ego and Its Own -- Publication.

February 02, 2017 ; 4:29:41 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

April 14, 2019 ; 3:40:45 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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