Volume 1


Critique of Modern German Philosophy According to its Representatives Feuerbach, B. Bauer and Stirner and of German Socialism According to its Various Prophets


Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels



Hitherto men have constantly made up for themselves false conceptions about themselves, about what they are and what they ought to be. They have arranged their relationships according to their ideas of God, of normal man, etc. The phantoms of their brains have got out of their hands. They, the creators, have bowed down before their creations. Let us liberate them from the chimeras, the ideas, dogmas, imaginary beings under the yoke of which they are pining away. Let us revolt against the rule of thoughts. Let us teach men, says one, to exchange these imaginations for thoughts which correspond to the essence of man; says the second, to take up a critical attitude to them; says the third, to knock them out of their heads; and — existing reality will collapse.

These innocent and childlike fancies are the kernel of the modern Young-Hegelian philosophy, which not only is received by the German public with horror and awe, but is announced by our philosophic heroes with the solemn consciousness of its cataclysmic dangerousness and criminal ruthlessness. The first volume of the present publication has the aim of uncloaking these sheep, who take themselves and are taken for wolves; of showing how their bleating merely imitates in a philosophic form the conceptions of the German middle class; how the boasting of these philosophic commentators only mirrors the wretchedness of the real conditions in Germany. It is its aim to debunk and discredit the philosophic struggle with the shadows of reality, which appeals to the dreamy and muddled German nation.

Once upon a time a valiant fellow had the idea that men were drowned in water only because they were possessed with the idea of gravity. If they were to knock this notion out of their heads, say by stating it to be a superstition, a religious concept, they would be sublimely proof against any danger from water. His whole life long he fought against the illusion of gravity, of whose harmful results all statistics brought him new and manifold evidence. This valiant fellow was the type of the new revolutionary philosophers in Germany.




A. Idealism and Materialism
The Illusions of German Ideology

As we hear from German ideologists, Germany has in the last few years gone through an unparalleled revolution. The decomposition of the Hegelian philosophy, which began with Strauss, has developed into a universal ferment into which all the “powers of the past” are swept. In the general chaos mighty empires have arisen only to meet with immediate doom, heroes have emerged momentarily only to be hurled back into obscurity by bolder and stronger rivals. It was a revolution beside which the French Revolution was child’s play, a world struggle beside which the struggles of the Diadochi [successors of Alexander the Great] appear insignificant. Principles ousted one another, heroes of the mind overthrew each other with unheard-of rapidity, and in the three years 1842-45 more of the past was swept away in Germany than at other times in three centuries.

All this is supposed to have taken place in the realm of pure thought.

Certainly it is an interesting event we are dealing with: the putrescence of the absolute spirit. When the last spark of its life had failed, the various components of this caput mortuum began to decompose, entered into new combinations and formed new substances. The industrialists of philosophy, who till then had lived on the exploitation of the absolute spirit, now seized upon the new combinations. Each with all possible zeal set about retailing his apportioned share. This naturally gave rise to competition, which, to start with, was carried on in moderately staid bourgeois fashion. Later when the German market was glutted, and the commodity in spite of all efforts found no response in the world market, the business was spoiled in the usual German manner by fabricated and fictitious production, deterioration in quality, adulteration of the raw materials, falsification of labels, fictitious purchases, bill-jobbing and a credit system devoid of any real basis. The competition turned into a bitter struggle, which is now being extolled and interpreted to us as a revolution of world significance, the begetter of the most prodigious results and achievements.

If we wish to rate at its true value this philosophic charlatanry, which awakens even in the breast of the honest German citizen a glow of national pride, if we wish to bring out clearly the pettiness, the parochial narrowness of this whole Young-Hegelian movement and in particular the tragicomic contrast between the illusions of these heroes about their achievements and the actual achievements themselves, we must look at the whole spectacle from a standpoint beyond the frontiers of Germany.

[In the first version of the clean copy there follows a passage, which is crossed out:] |p. 21|

We preface therefore the specific criticism of individual representatives of this movement with a few general observations, elucidating the ideological premises common to all of them. These remarks will suffice to indicate the standpoint of our criticism insofar as it is required for the understanding and the motivation of the subsequent individual criticisms. We oppose these remarks |p. 3| to Feuerbach in particular because he is the only one who has at least made some progress and whose works can be examined de bonne foi.

1. Ideology in General, and Especially German Philosophy

A. We know only a single science, the science of history. One can look at history from two sides and divide it into the history of nature and the history of men. The two sides are, however, inseparable; the history of nature and the history of men are dependent on each other so long as men exist. The history of nature, called natural science, does not concern us here; but we will have to examine the history of men, since almost the whole ideology amounts either to a distorted conception of this history or to a complete abstraction from it. Ideology is itself only one of the aspects of this history.

[There follows a passage dealing with the premises of the materialist conception of history. It is not crossed out and in this volume it is reproduced as Section 2; see pp. 31-32]

 Ideology in General, German Ideology in Particular

German criticism has, right up to its latest efforts, never quitted the realm of philosophy. Far from examining its general philosophic premises, the whole body of its inquiries has actually sprung from the soil of a definite philosophical system, that of Hegel. Not only in their answers but in their very questions there was a mystification. This dependence on Hegel is the reason why not one of these modern critics has even attempted a comprehensive criticism of the Hegelian system, however much each professes to have advanced beyond Hegel. Their polemics against Hegel and against one another are confined to this – each extracts one side of the Hegelian system and turns this against the whole system as well as against the sides extracted by the others. To begin with they extracted pure unfalsified Hegelian categories such as “substance” and “self-consciousness,” later they desecrated these categories with more secular names such as species “the Unique,” “Man,” etc.

The entire body of German philosophical criticism from Strauss to Stirner is confined to criticism of religious conceptions. [The following passage is crossed out in the manuscript:] claiming to be the absolute redeemer of the world from all evil. Religion was continually regarded and treated as the arch-enemy, as the ultimate cause of all relations repugnant to these philosophers. The critics started from real religion and actual theology. What religious consciousness and a religious conception really meant was determined variously as they went along. Their advance consisted in subsuming the allegedly dominant metaphysical, political, juridical, moral and other conceptions under the class of religious or theological conceptions; and similarly in pronouncing political, juridical, moral consciousness as religious or theological, and the political, juridical, moral man – “man” in the last resort – as religious. The dominance of religion was taken for granted. Gradually every dominant relationship was pronounced a religious relationship and transformed into a cult, a cult of law, a cult of the State, etc. On all sides it was only a question of dogmas and belief in dogmas. The world was sanctified to an ever-increasing extent till at last our venerable Saint Max was able to canonise it en blocand thus dispose of it once for all.

The Old Hegelians had comprehended everything as soon as it was reduced to an Hegelian logical category. The Young Hegelians criticised everything by attributing to it religious conceptions or by pronouncing it a theological matter. The Young Hegelians are in agreement with the Old Hegelians in their belief in the rule of religion, of concepts, of a universal principle in the existing world. Only, the one party attacks this dominion as usurpation, while the other extols it as legitimate.

Since the Young Hegelians consider conceptions, thoughts, ideas, in fact all the products of consciousness, to which they attribute an independent existence, as the real chains of men (just as the Old Hegelians declared them the true bonds of human society) it is evident that the Young Hegelians have to fight only against these illusions of consciousness. Since, according to their fantasy, the relationships of men, all their doings, their chains and their limitations are products of their consciousness, the Young Hegelians logically put to men the moral postulate of exchanging their present consciousness for human, critical or egoistic consciousness, and thus of removing their limitations. This demand to change consciousness amounts to a demand to interpret reality in another way, i.e. to recognise it by means of another interpretation. The Young-Hegelian ideologists, in spite of their allegedly “world-shattering” statements, are the staunchest conservatives. The most recent of them have found the correct expression for their activity when they declare they are only fighting against “phrases.” They forget, however, that to these phrases they themselves are only opposing other phrases, and that they are in no way combating the real existing world when they are merely combating the phrases of this world. The only results which this philosophic criticism could achieve were a few (and at that thoroughly one-sided) elucidations of Christianity from the point of view of religious history; all the rest of their assertions are only further embellishments of their claim to have furnished, in these unimportant elucidations, discoveries of universal importance.

It has not occurred to any one of these philosophers to inquire into the connection of German philosophy with German reality, the relation of their criticism to their own material surroundings.

First Premises of Materialist Method

The premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not dogmas, but real premises from which abstraction can only be made in the imagination. They are the real individuals, their activity and the material conditions under which they live, both those which they find already existing and those produced by their activity. These premises can thus be verified in a purely empirical way.

The first premise of all human history is, of course, the existence of living human individuals. Thus the first fact to be established is the physical organisation of these individuals and their consequent relation to the rest of nature. Of course, we cannot here go either into the actual physical nature of man, or into the natural conditions in which man finds himself – geological, hydrographical, climatic and so on. The writing of history must always set out from these natural bases and their modification in the course of history through the action of men.

Men can be distinguished from animals by consciousness, by religion or anything else you like. They themselves begin to distinguish themselves from animals as soon as they begin to produce their means of subsistence, a step which is conditioned by their physical organisation. By producing their means of subsistence men are indirectly producing their actual material life.

The way in which men produce their means of subsistence depends first of all on the nature of the actual means of subsistence they find in existence and have to reproduce. This mode of production must not be considered simply as being the production of the physical existence of the individuals. Rather it is a definite form of activity of these individuals, a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their part. As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and with how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the material conditions determining their production.

This production only makes its appearance with the increase of population. In its turn this presupposes the intercourse [Verkehr] of individuals with one another. The form of this intercourse is again determined by production.

[3. Production and Intercourse. Division of Labour and Forms of Property – Tribal, Ancient, Feudal]

The relations of different nations among themselves depend upon the extent to which each has developed its productive forces, the division of labour and internal intercourse. This statement is generally recognised. But not only the relation of one nation to others, but also the whole internal structure of the nation itself depends on the stage of development reached by its production and its internal and external intercourse. How far the productive forces of a nation are developed is shown most manifestly by the degree to which the division of labour has been carried. Each new productive force, insofar as it is not merely a quantitative extension of productive forces already known (for instance the bringing into cultivation of fresh land), causes a further development of the division of labour.

The division of labour inside a nation leads at first to the separation of industrial and commercial from agricultural labour, and hence to the separation of town and country and to the conflict of their interests. Its further development leads to the separation of commercial from industrial labour. At the same time through the division of labour inside these various branches there develop various divisions among the individuals co-operating in definite kinds of labour. The relative position of these individual groups is determined by the methods employed in agriculture, industry and commerce (patriarchalism, slavery, estates, classes). These same conditions are to be seen (given a more developed intercourse) in the relations of different nations to one another.

The various stages of development in the division of labour are just so many different forms of ownership, i.e. the existing stage in the division of labour determines also the relations of individuals to one another with reference to the material, instrument, and product of labour.

The first form of ownership is tribal [Stammeigentum] ownership. It corresponds to the undeveloped stage of production, at which a people lives by hunting and fishing, by the rearing of beasts or, in the highest stage, agriculture. In the latter case it presupposes a great mass of uncultivated stretches of land. The division of labour is at this stage still very elementary and is confined to a further extension of the natural division of labour existing in the family. The social structure is, therefore, limited to an extension of the family; patriarchal family chieftains, below them the members of the tribe, finally slaves. The slavery latent in the family only develops gradually with the increase of population, the growth of wants, and with the extension of external relations, both of war and of barter.

The second form is the ancient communal and State ownership which proceeds especially from the union of several tribes into a city by agreement or by conquest, and which is still accompanied by slavery. Beside communal ownership we already find movable, and later also immovable, private property developing, but as an abnormal form subordinate to communal ownership. The citizens hold power over their labouring slaves only in their community, and on this account alone, therefore, they are bound to the form of communal ownership. It is the communal private property which compels the active citizens to remain in this spontaneously derived form of association over against their slaves. For this reason the whole structure of society based on this communal ownership, and with it the power of the people, decays in the same measure as, in particular, immovable private property evolves. The division of labour is already more developed. We already find the antagonism of town and country; later the antagonism between those states which represent town interests and those which represent country interests, and inside the towns themselves the antagonism between industry and maritime commerce. The class relation between citizens and slaves is now completely developed.

With the development of private property, we find here for the first time the same conditions which we shall find again, only on a more extensive scale, with modern private property. On the one hand, the concentration of private property, which began very early in Rome (as the Licinian agrarian law proves) and proceeded very rapidly from the time of the civil wars and especially under the Emperors; on the other hand, coupled with this, the transformation of the plebeian small peasantry into a proletariat, which, however, owing to its intermediate position between propertied citizens and slaves, never achieved an independent development.

The third form of ownership is feudal or estate property. If antiquity started out from the town and its little territory, the Middle Ages started out from the country. This different starting-point was determined by the sparseness of the population at that time, which was scattered over a large area and which received no large increase from the conquerors. In contrast to Greece and Rome, feudal development at the outset, therefore, extends over a much wider territory, prepared by the Roman conquests and the spread of agriculture at first associated with it. The last centuries of the declining Roman Empire and its conquest by the barbarians destroyed a number of productive forces; agriculture had declined, industry had decayed for want of a market, trade had died out or been violently suspended, the rural and urban population had decreased. From these conditions and the mode of organisation of the conquest determined by them, feudal property developed under the influence of the Germanic military constitution. Like tribal and communal ownership, it is based again on a community; but the directly producing class standing over against it is not, as in the case of the ancient community, the slaves, but the enserfed small peasantry. As soon as feudalism is fully developed, there also arises antagonism to the towns. The hierarchical structure of land ownership, and the armed bodies of retainers associated with it, gave the nobility power over the serfs. This feudal organisation was, just as much as the ancient communal ownership, an association against a subjected producing class; but the form of association and the relation to the direct producers were different because of the different conditions of production.

This feudal system of land ownership had its counterpart in the towns in the shape of corporative property, the feudal organisation of trades. Here property consisted chiefly in the labour of each individual person. The necessity for association against the organised robber-nobility, the need for communal covered markets in an age when the industrialist was at the same time a merchant, the growing competition of the escaped serfs swarming into the rising towns, the feudal structure of the whole country: these combined to bring about the guilds. The gradually accumulated small capital of individual craftsmen and their stable numbers, as against the growing population, evolved the relation of journeyman and apprentice, which brought into being in the towns a hierarchy similar to that in the country.

Thus the chief form of property during the feudal epoch consisted on the one hand of landed property with serf labour chained to it, and on the other of the labour of the individual with small capital commanding the labour of journeymen. The organisation of both was determined by the restricted conditions of production – the small-scale and primitive cultivation of the land, and the craft type of industry. There was little division of labour in the heyday of feudalism. Each country bore in itself the antithesis of town and country; the division into estates was certainly strongly marked; but apart from the differentiation of princes, nobility, clergy and peasants in the country, and masters, journeymen, apprentices and soon also the rabble of casual labourers in the towns, no division of importance took place. In agriculture it was rendered difficult by the strip-system, beside which the cottage industry of the peasants themselves emerged. In industry there was no division of labour at all in the individual trades themselves, and very little between them. The separation of industry and commerce was found already in existence in older towns; in the newer it only developed later, when the towns entered into mutual relations.

The grouping of larger territories into feudal kingdoms was a necessity for the landed nobility as for the towns. The organisation of the ruling class, the nobility, had, therefore, everywhere a monarch at its head.

[4. The Essence of the Materialist Conception of History. Social Being and Social Consciousness]

The fact is, therefore, that definite individuals who are productively active in a definite way enter into these definite social and political relations. Empirical observation must in each separate instance bring out empirically, and without any mystification and speculation, the connection of the social and political structure with production. The social structure and the State are continually evolving out of the life-process of definite individuals, but of individuals, not as they may appear in their own or other people’s imagination, but as they really are; i.e. as they operate, produce materially, and hence as they work under definite material limits, presuppositions and conditions independent of their will.

[The following passage is crossed out in the manuscript:] The ideas which these individuals form are ideas either about their relation to nature or about their mutual relations or about their own nature. It is evident that in all these cases their ideas are the conscious expression – real or illusory – of their real relations and activities, of their production, of their intercourse, of their social and political conduct. The opposite assumption is only possible if in addition to the spirit of the real, materially evolved individuals a separate spirit is presupposed. If the conscious expression of the real relations of these individuals is illusory, if in their imagination they turn reality upside-down, then this in its turn is the result of their limited material mode of activity and their limited social relations arising from it.

The production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men, the language of real life. Conceiving, thinking, the mental intercourse of men, appear at this stage as the direct efflux of their material behaviour. The same applies to mental production as expressed in the language of politics, laws, morality, religion, metaphysics, etc., of a people. Men are the producers of their conceptions, ideas, etc. – real, active men, as they are conditioned by a definite development of their productive forces and of the intercourse corresponding to these, up to its furthest forms. Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence, and the existence of men is their actual life-process. If in all ideology men and their circumstances appear upside-down as in a camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical life-process as the inversion of objects on the retina does from their physical life-process.

In direct contrast to German philosophy which descends from heaven to earth, here we ascend from earth to heaven. That is to say, we do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real life-process we demonstrate the development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this life-process. The phantoms formed in the human brain are also, necessarily, sublimates of their material life-process, which is empirically verifiable and bound to material premises. Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking. Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life. In the first method of approach the starting-point is consciousness taken as the living individual; in the second method, which conforms to real life, it is the real living individuals themselves, and consciousness is considered solely as their consciousness.

This method of approach is not devoid of premises. It starts out from the real premises and does not abandon them for a moment. Its premises are men, not in any fantastic isolation and rigidity, but in their actual, empirically perceptible process of development under definite conditions. As soon as this active life-process is described, history ceases to be a collection of dead facts as it is with the empiricists (themselves still abstract), or an imagined activity of imagined subjects, as with the idealists.

Where speculation ends – in real life – there real, positive science begins: the representation of the practical activity, of the practical process of development of men. Empty talk about consciousness ceases, and real knowledge has to take its place. When reality is depicted, philosophy as an independent branch of knowledge loses its medium of existence. At the best its place can only be taken by a summing-up of the most general results, abstractions which arise from the observation of the historical development of men. Viewed apart from real history, these abstractions have in themselves no value whatsoever. They can only serve to facilitate the arrangement of historical material, to indicate the sequence of its separate strata. But they by no means afford a recipe or schema, as does philosophy, for neatly trimming the epochs of history. On the contrary, our difficulties begin only when we set about the observation and the arrangement – the real depiction – of our historical material, whether of a past epoch or of the present. The removal of these difficulties is governed by premises which it is quite impossible to state here, but which only the study of the actual life-process and the activity of the individuals of each epoch will make evident. We shall select here some of these abstractions, which we use in contradistinction to the ideologists, and shall illustrate them by historical examples.



History: Fundamental Conditions

Since we are dealing with the Germans, who are devoid of premises, we must begin by stating the first premise of all human existence and, therefore, of all history, the premise, namely, that men must be in a position to live in order to be able to “make history.” But life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing and many other things. The first historical act is thus the production of the means to satisfy these needs, the production of material life itself. And indeed this is an historical act, a fundamental condition of all history, which today, as thousands of years ago, must daily and hourly be fulfilled merely in order to sustain human life. Even when the sensuous world is reduced to a minimum, to a stick as with Saint Bruno [Bauer], it presupposes the action of producing the stick. Therefore in any interpretation of history one has first of all to observe this fundamental fact in all its significance and all its implications and to accord it its due importance. It is well known that the Germans have never done this, and they have never, therefore, had an earthly basis for history and consequently never an historian. The French and the English, even if they have conceived the relation of this fact with so-called history only in an extremely one-sided fashion, particularly as long as they remained in the toils of political ideology, have nevertheless made the first attempts to give the writing of history a materialistic basis by being the first to write histories of civil society, of commerce and industry.

The second point is that the satisfaction of the first need (the action of satisfying, and the instrument of satisfaction which has been acquired) leads to new needs; and this production of new needs is the first historical act. Here we recognise immediately the spiritual ancestry of the great historical wisdom of the Germans who, when they run out of positive material and when they can serve up neither theological nor political nor literary rubbish, assert that this is not history at all, but the “prehistoric era.” They do not, however, enlighten us as to how we proceed from this nonsensical “prehistory” to history proper; although, on the other hand, in their historical speculation they seize upon this “prehistory” with especial eagerness because they imagine themselves safe there from interference on the part of “crude facts,” and, at the same time, because there they can give full rein to their speculative impulse and set up and knock down hypotheses by the thousand.

The third circumstance which, from the very outset, enters into historical development, is that men, who daily remake their own life, begin to make other men, to propagate their kind: the relation between man and woman, parents and children, the family. The family, which to begin with is the only social relationship, becomes later, when increased needs create new social relations and the increased population new needs, a subordinate one (except in Germany), and must then be treated and analysed according to the existing empirical data, not according to “the concept of the family,” as is the custom in Germany. [1] These three aspects of social activity are not of course to be taken as three different stages, but just as three aspects or, to make it clear to the Germans, three “moments,” which have existed simultaneously since the dawn of history and the first men, and which still assert themselves in history today.

The production of life, both of one’s own in labour and of fresh life in procreation, now appears as a double relationship: on the one hand as a natural, on the other as a social relationship. By social we understand the co-operation of several individuals, no matter under what conditions, in what manner and to what end. It follows from this that a certain mode of production, or industrial stage, is always combined with a certain mode of co-operation, or social stage, and this mode of co-operation is itself a “productive force.” Further, that the multitude of productive forces accessible to men determines the nature of society, hence, that the “history of humanity” must always be studied and treated in relation to the history of industry and exchange. But it is also clear how in Germany it is impossible to write this sort of history, because the Germans lack not only the necessary power of comprehension and the material but also the “evidence of their senses,” for across the Rhine you cannot have any experience of these things since history has stopped happening. Thus it is quite obvious from the start that there exists a materialistic connection of men with one another, which is determined by their needs and their mode of production, and which is as old as men themselves. This connection is ever taking on new forms, and thus presents a “history” independently of the existence of any political or religious nonsense which in addition may hold men together.

Only now, after having considered four moments, four aspects of the primary historical relationships, do we find that man also possesses “consciousness,” but, even so, not inherent, not “pure” consciousness. From the start the “spirit” is afflicted with the curse of being “burdened” with matter, which here makes its appearance in the form of agitated layers of air, sounds, in short, of language. Language is as old as consciousness, language is practical consciousness that exists also for other men,[A] and for that reason alone it really exists for me personally as well; language, like consciousness, only arises from the need, the necessity, of intercourse with other men. Where there exists a relationship, it exists for me: the animal does not enter into “relations” with anything, it does not enter into any relation at all. For the animal, its relation to others does not exist as a relation. Consciousness is, therefore, from the very beginning a social product, and remains so as long as men exist at all. Consciousness is at first, of course, merely consciousness concerning the immediate sensuous environment and consciousness of the limited connection with other persons and things outside the individual who is growing self-conscious. At the same time it is consciousness of nature, which first appears to men as a completely alien, all-powerful and unassailable force, with which men’s relations are purely animal and by which they are overawed like beasts; it is thus a purely animal consciousness of nature (natural religion) just because nature is as yet hardly modified historically. (We see here immediately: this natural religion or this particular relation of men to nature is determined by the form of society and vice versa. Here, as everywhere, the identity of nature and man appears in such a way that the restricted relation of men to nature determines their restricted relation to one another, and their restricted relation to one another determines men’s restricted relation to nature.) On the other hand, man’s consciousness of the necessity of associating with the individuals around him is the beginning of the consciousness that he is living in society at all. This beginning is as animal as social life itself at this stage. It is mere herd-consciousness, and at this point man is only distinguished from sheep by the fact that with him consciousness takes the place of instinct or that his instinct is a conscious one. This sheep-like or tribal consciousness receives its further development and extension through increased productivity, the increase of needs, and, what is fundamental to both of these, the increase of population. With these there develops the division of labour, which was originally nothing but the division of labour in the sexual act, then that division of labour which develops spontaneously or “naturally” by virtue of natural predisposition (e.g. physical strength), needs, accidents, etc. etc. Division of labour only becomes truly such from the moment when a division of material and mental labour appears. (The first form of ideologists, priests, is concurrent.) From this moment onwards consciousness can really flatter itself that it is something other than consciousness of existing practice, that it really represents something without representing something real; from now on consciousness is in a position to emancipate itself from the world and to proceed to the formation of “pure” theory, theology, philosophy, ethics, etc. But even if this theory, theology, philosophy, ethics, etc. comes into contradiction with the existing relations, this can only occur because existing social relations have come into contradiction with existing forces of production; this, moreover, can also occur in a particular national sphere of relations through the appearance of the contradiction, not within the national orbit, but between this national consciousness and the practice of other nations, i.e. between the national and the general consciousness of a nation (as we see it now in Germany).

Moreover, it is quite immaterial what consciousness starts to do on its own: out of all such muck we get only the one inference that these three moments, the forces of production, the state of society, and consciousness, can and must come into contradiction with one another, because the division of labour implies the possibility, nay the fact that intellectual and material activity – enjoyment and labour, production and consumption – devolve on different individuals, and that the only possibility of their not coming into contradiction lies in the negation in its turn of the division of labour. It is self-evident, moreover, that “spectres,” “bonds,” “the higher being,” “concept,” “scruple,” are merely the idealistic, spiritual expression, the conception apparently of the isolated individual, the image of very empirical fetters and limitations, within which the mode of production of life and the form of intercourse coupled with it move.

Private Property and Communism

With the division of labour, in which all these contradictions are implicit, and which in its turn is based on the natural division of labour in the family and the separation of society into individual families opposed to one another, is given simultaneously the distribution, and indeed the unequal distribution, both quantitative and qualitative, of labour and its products, hence property: the nucleus, the first form, of which lies in the family, where wife and children are the slaves of the husband. This latent slavery in the family, though still very crude, is the first property, but even at this early stage it corresponds perfectly to the definition of modern economists who call it the power of disposing of the labour-power of others. Division of labour and private property are, moreover, identical expressions: in the one the same thing is affirmed with reference to activity as is affirmed in the other with reference to the product of the activity.

Further, the division of labour implies the contradiction between the interest of the separate individual or the individual family and the communal interest of all individuals who have intercourse with one another. And indeed, this communal interest does not exist merely in the imagination, as the “general interest,” but first of all in reality, as the mutual interdependence of the individuals among whom the labour is divided. And finally, the division of labour offers us the first example of how, as long as man remains in natural society, that is, as long as a cleavage exists between the particular and the common interest, as long, therefore, as activity is not voluntarily, but naturally, divided, man’s own deed becomes an alien power opposed to him, which enslaves him instead of being controlled by him. For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic. This fixation of social activity, this consolidation of what we ourselves produce into an objective power above us, growing out of our control, thwarting our expectations, bringing to naught our calculations, is one of the chief factors in historical development up till now. [2]

The social power, i.e., the multiplied productive force, which arises through the co-operation of different individuals as it is determined by the division of labour, appears to these individuals, since their co-operation is not voluntary but has come about naturally, not as their own united power, but as an alien force existing outside them, of the origin and goal of which they are ignorant, which they thus cannot control, which on the contrary passes through a peculiar series of phases and stages independent of the will and the action of man, nay even being the prime governor of these.

How otherwise could, for instance, property have had a history at all, have taken on different forms, and landed property, for example, according to the different premises given, have proceeded in France from parcellation to centralisation in the hands of a few, in England from centralisation in the hands of a few to parcellation, as is actually the case today? Or how does it happen that trade, which after all is nothing more than the exchange of products of various individuals and countries, rules the whole world through the relation of supply and demand – a relation which, as an English economist says, hovers over the earth like the fate of the ancients, and with invisible hand allots fortune and misfortune to men, sets up empires and overthrows empires, causes nations to rise and to disappear – while with the abolition of the basis of private property, with the communistic regulation of production (and, implicit in this, the destruction of the alien relation between men and what they themselves produce), the power of the relation of supply and demand is dissolved into nothing, and men get exchange, production, the mode of their mutual relation, under their own control again?

History as a Continuous Process

In history up to the present it is certainly an empirical fact that separate individuals have, with the broadening of their activity into world-historical activity, become more and more enslaved under a power alien to them (a pressure which they have conceived of as a dirty trick on the part of the so-called universal spirit, etc.), a power which has become more and more enormous and, in the last instance, turns out to be the world market. But it is just as empirically established that, by the overthrow of the existing state of society by the communist revolution (of which more below) and the abolition of private property which is identical with it, this power, which so baffles the German theoreticians, will be dissolved; and that then the liberation of each single individual will be accomplished in the measure in which history becomes transformed into world history. From the above it is clear that the real intellectual wealth of the individual depends entirely on the wealth of his real connections. Only then will the separate individuals be liberated from the various national and local barriers, be brought into practical connection with the material and intellectual production of the whole world and be put in a position to acquire the capacity to enjoy this all-sided production of the whole earth (the creations of man). All-round dependence, this natural form of the world-historical co-operation of individuals, will be transformed by this communist revolution into the control and conscious mastery of these powers, which, born of the action of men on one another, have till now overawed and governed men as powers completely alien to them. Now this view can be expressed again in speculative-idealistic, i.e. fantastic, terms as “self-generation of the species” (“society as the subject”), and thereby the consecutive series of interrelated individuals connected with each other can be conceived as a single individual, which accomplishes the mystery of generating itself. It is clear here that individuals certainly make one another, physically and mentally, but do not make themselves.

[5. Development of the Productive Forces as a Material Premise of Communism]

This “alienation” (to use a term which will be comprehensible to the philosophers) can, of course, only be abolished given two practical premises. For it to become an “intolerable” power, i.e. a power against which men make a revolution, it must necessarily have rendered the great mass of humanity “propertyless,” and produced, at the same time, the contradiction of an existing world of wealth and culture, both of which conditions presuppose a great increase in productive power, a high degree of its development. And, on the other hand, this development of productive forces (which itself implies the actual empirical existence of men in their world-historical, instead of local, being) is an absolutely necessary practical premise because without it want is merely made general, and with destitution the struggle for necessities and all the old filthy business would necessarily be reproduced; and furthermore, because only with this universal development of productive forces is a universal intercourse between men established, which produces in all nations simultaneously the phenomenon of the “propertyless” mass (universal competition), makes each nation dependent on the revolutions of the others, and finally has put world-historical, empirically universal individuals in place of local ones. Without this, (1) communism could only exist as a local event; (2) the forces of intercourse themselves could not have developed as universal, hence intolerable powers: they would have remained home-bred conditions surrounded by superstition; and (3) each extension of intercourse would abolish local communism. Empirically, communism is only possible as the act of the dominant peoples “all at once” and simultaneously, which presupposes the universal development of productive forces and the world intercourse bound up with communism. Moreover, the mass of propertyless workers – the utterly precarious position of labour – power on a mass scale cut off from capital or from even a limited satisfaction and, therefore, no longer merely temporarily deprived of work itself as a secure source of life – presupposes the world market through competition. The proletariat can thus only exist world-historically, just as communism, its activity, can only have a “world-historical” existence. World-historical existence of individuals means existence of individuals which is directly linked up with world history.

Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.

In the main we have so far considered only one aspect of human activity, the reshaping of nature by men. The other aspect, the reshaping of men by men … [Intercourse and productive power]

Origin of the state and the relation of the state to civil society. …


Contradiction between Individuals and their conditions of life

1. The building of houses. With savages each family has as a matter of course its own cave or hut like the separate family tent of the nomads. This separate domestic economy is made only the more necessary by the further development of private property. With the agricultural peoples a communal domestic economy is just as impossible as a communal cultivation of the soil. A great advance was the building of towns. In all previous periods, however, the abolition of individual economy, which is inseparable from the abolition of private property, was impossible for the simple reason that the material conditions governing it were not present. The setting-up of a communal domestic economy presupposes the development of machinery, of the use of natural forces and of many other productive forces – e.g. of water-supplies, of gas-lighting, steam-heating, etc., the removal [of the antagonism] of town and country. Without these conditions a communal economy would not in itself form a new productive force; lacking any material basis and resting on a purely theoretical foundation, it would be a mere freak and would end in nothing more than a monastic economy – What was possible can be seen in the towns brought about by condensation and the erection of communal buildings for various definite purposes (prisons, barracks, etc.). That the abolition of individual economy is inseparable from the abolition of the family is self-evident.

2. [This paragraph appears as a marginal note in the manuscript – Ed.] And out of this very contradiction between the interest of the individual and that of the community the latter takes an independent form as the State, divorced from the real interests of individual and community, and at the same time as an illusory communal life, always based, however, on the real ties existing in every family and tribal conglomeration – such as flesh and blood, language, division of labour on a larger scale, and other interests – and especially, as we shall enlarge upon later, on the classes, already determined by the division of labour, which in every such mass of men separate out, and of which one dominates all the others. It follows from this that all struggles within the State, the struggle between democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy, the struggle for the franchise, etc., etc., are merely the illusory forms in which the real struggles of the different classes are fought out among one another (of this the German theoreticians have not the faintest inkling, although they have received a sufficient introduction to the subject in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher andDie heilige Familie). Further, it follows that every class which is struggling for mastery, even when its domination, as is the case with the proletariat, postulates the abolition of the old form of society in its entirety and of domination itself, must first conquer for itself political power in order to represent its interest in turn as the general interest, which in the first moment it is forced to do. Just because individuals seek only their particular interest, which for them does not coincide with their communal interest (in fact the general is the illusory form of communal life), the latter will be imposed on them as an interest “alien” to them, and “independent” of them as in its turn a particular, peculiar “general” interest; or they themselves must remain within this discord, as in democracy. On the other hand, too, the practical struggle of these particular interests, which constantly really run counter to the communal and illusory communal interests, makes practical intervention and control necessary through the illusory “general” interest in the form of the State.


A. Marx struck out: “Mein Verhältnis zu meiner Umgebung ist mein Bewußtsein,” My relation to my environment is my consciousness. – from German version.

 B. The Illusion of the Epoch

Civil Society and the Conception of History

The form of intercourse determined by the existing productive forces at all previous historical stages, and in its turn determining these, is civil society. The latter, as is clear from what we have said above, has as its premises and basis the simple family and the multiple, the so-called tribe, the more precise determinants of this society are enumerated in our remarks above. Already here we see how this civil society is the true source and theatre of all history, and how absurd is the conception of history held hitherto, which neglects the real relationships and confines itself to high-sounding dramas of princes and states.

Civil society embraces the whole material intercourse of individuals within a definite stage of the development of productive forces. It embraces the whole commercial and industrial life of a given stage and, insofar, transcends the State and the nation, though, on the other hand again, it must assert itself in its foreign relations as nationality, and inwardly must organise itself as State. The word “civil society” [bürgerliche Gesellschaft] emerged in the eighteenth century, when property relationships had already extricated themselves from the ancient and medieval communal society. Civil society as such only develops with the bourgeoisie; the social organisation evolving directly out of production and commerce, which in all ages forms the basis of the State and of the rest of the idealistic superstructure, has, however, always been designated by the same name.

Conclusions from the Materialist Conception of History

History is nothing but the succession of the separate generations, each of which exploits the materials, the capital funds, the productive forces handed down to it by all preceding generations, and thus, on the one hand, continues the traditional activity in completely changed circumstances and, on the other, modifies the old circumstances with a completely changed activity. This can be speculatively distorted so that later history is made the goal of earlier history, e.g. the goal ascribed to the discovery of America is to further the eruption of the French Revolution. Thereby history receives its own special aims and becomes “a person rating with other persons” (to wit: “Self-Consciousness, Criticism, the Unique,” etc.), while what is designated with the words “destiny,” “goal,” “germ,” or “idea” of earlier history is nothing more than an abstraction formed from later history, from the active influence which earlier history exercises on later history.

The further the separate spheres, which interact on one another, extend in the course of this development, the more the original isolation of the separate nationalities is destroyed by the developed mode of production and intercourse and the division of labour between various nations naturally brought forth by these, the more history becomes world history. Thus, for instance, if in England a machine is invented, which deprives countless workers of bread in India and China, and overturns the whole form of existence of these empires, this invention becomes a world-historical fact. Or again, take the case of sugar and coffee which have proved their world-historical importance in the nineteenth century by the fact that the lack of these products, occasioned by the Napoleonic Continental System, caused the Germans to rise against Napoleon, and thus became the real basis of the glorious Wars of liberation of 1813. From this it follows that this transformation of history into world history is not indeed a mere abstract act on the part of the “self-consciousness,” the world spirit, or of any other metaphysical spectre, but a quite material, empirically verifiable act, an act the proof of which every individual furnishes as he comes and goes, eats, drinks and clothes himself.

[7. Summary of the Materialist Conception of History]

This conception of history depends on our ability to expound the real process of production, starting out from the material production of life itself, and to comprehend the form of intercourse connected with this and created by this mode of production (i.e. civil society in its various stages), as the basis of all history; and to show it in its action as State, to explain all the different theoretical products and forms of consciousness, religion, philosophy, ethics, etc. etc. and trace their origins and growth from that basis; by which means, of course, the whole thing can be depicted in its totality (and therefore, too, the reciprocal action of these various sides on one another). It has not, like the idealistic view of history, in every period to look for a category, but remains constantly on the real ground of history; it does not explain practice from the idea but explains the formation of ideas from material practice; and accordingly it comes to the conclusion that all forms and products of consciousness cannot be dissolved by mental criticism, by resolution into “self-consciousness” or transformation into “apparitions,” “spectres,” “fancies,” etc. but only by the practical overthrow of the actual social relations which gave rise to this idealistic humbug; that not criticism but revolution is the driving force of history, also of religion, of philosophy and all other types of theory. It shows that history does not end by being resolved into “self-consciousness as spirit of the spirit,” but that in it at each stage there is found a material result: a sum of productive forces, an historically created relation of individuals to nature and to one another, which is handed down to each generation from its predecessor; a mass of productive forces, capital funds and conditions, which, on the one hand, is indeed modified by the new generation, but also on the other prescribes for it its conditions of life and gives it a definite development, a special character. It shows that circumstances make men just as much as men make circumstances.

This sum of productive forces, capital funds and social forms of intercourse, which every individual and generation finds in existence as something given, is the real basis of what the philosophers have conceived as “substance” and “essence of man,” and what they have deified and attacked; a real basis which is not in the least disturbed, in its effect and influence on the development of men, by the fact that these philosophers revolt against it as “self-consciousness” and the “Unique.” These conditions of life, which different generations find in existence, decide also whether or not the periodically recurring revolutionary convulsion will be strong enough to overthrow the basis of the entire existing system. And if these material elements of a complete revolution are not present (namely, on the one hand the existing productive forces, on the other the formation of a revolutionary mass, which revolts not only against separate conditions of society up till then, but against the very “production of life” till then, the “total activity” on which it was based), then, as far as practical development is concerned, it is absolutely immaterial whether the idea of this revolution has been expressed a hundred times already, as the history of communism proves.

[8. The Inconsistency of the Idealist Conception of History in General, and of German Post-Hegelian Philosophy in Particular]

In the whole conception of history up to the present this real basis of history has either been totally neglected or else considered as a minor matter quite irrelevant to the course of history. History must, therefore, always be written according to an extraneous standard; the real production of life seems to be primeval history, while the truly historical appears to be separated from ordinary life, something extra-superterrestrial. With this the relation of man to nature is excluded from history and hence the antithesis of nature and history is created. The exponents of this conception of history have consequently only been able to see in history the political actions of princes and States, religious and all sorts of theoretical struggles, and in particular in each historical epoch have had to share the illusion of that epoch. For instance, if an epoch imagines itself to be actuated by purely “political” or “religious” motives, although “religion” and “politics” are only forms of its true motives, the historian accepts this opinion. The “idea,” the “conception” of the people in question about their real practice, is transformed into the sole determining, active force, which controls and determines their practice. When the crude form in which the division of labour appears with the Indians and Egyptians calls forth the caste-system in their State and religion, the historian believes that the caste-system is the power which has produced this crude social form.

While the French and the English at least hold by the political illusion, which is moderately close to reality, the Germans move in the realm of the “pure spirit,” and make religious illusion the driving force of history. The Hegelian philosophy of history is the last consequence, reduced to its “finest expression,” of all this German historiography, for which it is not a question of real, nor even of political, interests, but of pure thoughts, which consequently must appear to Saint Bruno as a series of “thoughts” that devour one another and are finally swallowed up in “self-consciousness.” —

Marginal note by Marx: So-called objective historiography [23] consisted precisely, in treating the historical relations separately from activity. Reactionary character.

— and even more consistently the course of history must appear to Saint Max Stirner, who knows not a thing about real history, as a mere “tale of knights, robbers and ghosts,”[24] from whose visions he can, of course, only save himself by “unholiness”. This conception is truly religious: it postulates religious man as the primitive man, the starting-point of history, and in its imagination puts the religious production of fancies in the place of the real production of the means of subsistence and of life itself.

This whole conception of history, together with its dissolution and the scruples and qualms resulting from it, is a purely national affair of the Germans and has merely local interest for Germany, as for instance the important question which has been under discussion in recent times: how exactly one “passes from the realm of God to the realm of Man” [Ludwig Feuerbach, Ueber das Wesen des Christenthums] – as if this “realm of God” had ever existed anywhere save in the imagination, and the learned gentlemen, without being aware of it, were not constantly living in the “realm of Man” to which they are now seeking the way; and as if the learned pastime (for it is nothing more) of explaining the mystery of this theoretical bubble-blowing did not on the contrary lie in demonstrating its origin in actual earthly relations. For these Germans, it is altogether simply a matter of resolving the ready-made nonsense they find into some other freak, i.e., of presupposing that all this nonsense has a specialsense which can be discovered; while really it is only a question of explaining these theoretical phrases from the actual existing relations. The real, practical dissolution of these phrases, the removal of these notions from the consciousness of men, will, as we have already said, be effected by altered circumstances, not by theoretical deductions. For the mass of men, i.e., the proletariat, these theoretical notions do not exist and hence do not require to be dissolved, and if this mass ever had any theoretical notions, e.g., religion, these have now long been dissolved by circumstances.

The purely national character of these questions and solutions is moreover shown by the fact that these theorists believe in all seriousness that chimeras like “the God-Man,” “Man,” etc., have presided over individual epochs of history (Saint Bruno even goes so far as to assert that only “criticism and critics have made history,” [Bruno Bauer, Charakteristik Ludwig Feuerbachs] and when they themselves construct historical systems, they skip over all earlier periods in the greatest haste and pass immediately from “Mongolism” [Max Stirner, Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum] to history “with meaningful content,” that is to say, to the history, of the Hallische and Deutsche Jahrbücher and the dissolution of the Hegelian school into a general squabble. They forget all other nations, all real events, and the theatrum mundi is confined to the Leipzig book fair and the mutual quarrels of “criticism,” [Bruno Bauer] “man,” [Ludwig Feuerbach] and “the unique”. [Max Stirner] If for once these theorists treat really historical subjects, as for instance the eighteenth century, they merely give a history of ideas, separated from the facts and the practical development underlying them; and even that merely in order to represent that period as an imperfect preliminary stage, the as yet limited predecessor of the truly historical age, i.e., the period of the German philosophic struggle from 1840 to 1844. As might be expected when the history of an earlier period is written with the aim of accentuating the brilliance of an unhistoric person and his fantasies, all the really historic events, even the really historic interventions of politics in history, receive no mention. Instead we get a narrative based not on research but on arbitrary constructions and literary gossip, such as Saint Bruno provided in his now forgotten history of the eighteenth century. [Bruno Bauer,Geschichte der Politik, Cultur und Aufklärung des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts] These pompous and arrogant hucksters of ideas, who imagine themselves infinitely exalted above all national prejudices, are thus in practice far more national than the beer-swilling philistines who dream of a united Germany. They do not recognise the deeds of other nations as historical; they live in Germany, within Germany 1281 and for Germany; they turn the Rhine-song [25] into a religious hymn and conquer Alsace and Lorraine by robbing French philosophy instead of the French state, by Germanising French ideas instead of French provinces. Herr Venedey is a cosmopolitan compared with the Saints Bruno and Max, who, in the universal dominance of theory, proclaim the universal dominance of Germany.

Feuerbach: Philosophic, and Real, Liberation

[…] It is also clear from these arguments how grossly Feuerbach is deceiving himself when (Wigand’s Vierteljahrsschrift, 1845, Band 2) by virtue of the qualification “common man” he declares himself a communist,[26] transforms the latter into a predicate of “man,” and thereby thinks it possible to change the word “communist,” which in the real world means the follower of a definite revolutionary party, into a mere category. Feuerbach’s whole deduction with regard to the relation of men to one another goes only so far as to prove that men need and always have needed each other. He wants to establish consciousness of this fact, that is to say, like the other theorists, merely to produce a correct consciousness about an existing fact; whereas for the real communist it is a question of overthrowing the existing state of things. We thoroughly appreciate, moreover, that Feuerbach, in endeavouring to produce consciousness of just this fact, is going as far as a theorist possibly can, without ceasing to be a theorist and philosopher…

As an example of Feuerbach’s acceptance and at the same time misunderstanding of existing reality, which he still shares with our opponents, we recall the passage in the Philosophie der Zukunft where he develops the view that the existence of a thing or a man is at the same time its or his essence, that the conditions of existence, the mode of life and activity of an animal or human individual are those in which its “essence” feels itself satisfied. Here every exception is expressly conceived as an unhappy chance, as an abnormality which cannot be altered. Thus if millions of proletarians feel by no means contented with their living conditions, if their “existence” does not in the least correspond to their “essence,” then, according to the passage quoted, this is an unavoidable misfortune, which must be borne quietly. The millions of proletarians and communists, however, think differently and will prove this in time, when they bring their “existence” into harmony with their “essence” in a practical way, by means of a revolution. Feuerbach, therefore, never speaks of the world of man in such cases, but always takes refuge in external nature, and moreover in nature which has not yet been subdued by men. But every new invention, every advance made by industry, detaches another piece from this domain, so that the ground which produces examples illustrating such Feuerbachian propositions is steadily shrinking.

The “essence” of the fish is its “being,” water – to go no further than this one proposition. The “essence” of the freshwater fish is the water of a river. But the latter ceases to be the “essence” of the fish and is no longer a suitable medium of existence as soon as the river is made to serve industry, as soon as it is polluted by dyes and other waste products and navigated by steamboats, or as soon as its water is diverted into canals where simple drainage can deprive the fish of its medium of existence. The explanation that all such contradictions are inevitable abnormalities does not essentially differ from the consolation which Saint Max Stirner offers to the discontented, saving that this contradiction is their own contradiction and this predicament their own predicament, whereupon then, should either set their minds at ease, keep their disgust to themselves, or revolt against it in some fantastic way. It differs just as little from Saint Bruno’s allegation that these unfortunate circumstances are due to the fact that those concerned are stuck in the muck of “substance,” have not advanced to “absolute self-consciousness and do not realise that these adverse conditions are spirit of their spirit.

[II. 1. Preconditions of the Real Liberation of Man]

[…] We shall, of course, not take the trouble to enlighten our wise philosophers by explaining to them that the “liberation” of man is not advanced a single step by reducing philosophy, theology, substance and all the trash to “self-consciousness” and by liberating man from the domination of these phrases, which have never held him in thrall. Nor will we explain to them that it is only possible to achieve real liberation in the real world and by employing real means, that slavery cannot be abolished without the steam-engine and the mule and spinning-jenny, serfdom cannot be abolished without improved agriculture, and that, in general, people cannot be liberated as long as they are unable to obtain food and drink, housing and clothing in adequate quality and quantity. “Liberation” is an historical and not a mental act, and it is brought about by historical conditions, the development of industry, commerce, agriculture, the conditions of intercourse…[There is here a gap in the manuscript]

In Germany, a country where only a trivial historical development is taking place, these mental developments, these glorified and ineffective trivialities, naturally serve as a substitute for the lack of historical development, and they take root and have to be combated. But this fight is of local importance.

[2. Feuerbach’s Contemplative and Inconsistent Materialism]

In reality and for the practical materialist, i.e. the communist, it is a question of revolutionising the existing world, of practically attacking and changing existing things. When occasionally we find such views with Feuerbach, they are never more than isolated surmises and have much too little influence on his general outlook to be considered here as anything else than embryos capable of development. Feuerbach’s conception of the sensuous world is confined on the one hand to mere contemplation of it, and on the other to mere feeling; he says “Man” instead of “real historical man.” “Man” is really “the German.” In the first case, the contemplation of the sensuous world, he necessarily lights on things which contradict his consciousness and feeling, which disturb the harmony he presupposes, the harmony of all parts of the sensuous world and especially of man and nature. To remove this disturbance, he must take refuge in a double perception, a profane one which only perceives the “flatly obvious” and a higher, philosophical, one which perceives the “true essence” of things. He does not see how the sensuous world around him is, not a thing given direct from all eternity, remaining ever the same, but the product of industry and of the state of society; and, indeed, in the sense that it is an historical product, the result of the activity of a whole succession of generations, each standing on the shoulders of the preceding one, developing its industry and its intercourse, modifying its social system according to the changed needs. Even the objects of the simplest “sensuous certainty” are only given him through social development, industry and commercial intercourse. The cherry-tree, like almost all fruit-trees, was, as is well known, only a few centuries ago transplanted by commerce into our zone, and therefore only by this action of a definite society in a definite age it has become “sensuous certainty” for Feuerbach.

Incidentally, when we conceive things thus, as they really are and happened, every profound philosophical problem is resolved, as will be seen even more clearly later, quite simply into an empirical fact. For instance, the important question of the relation of man to nature (Bruno [Bauer]goes so far as to speak of “the antitheses in nature and history” (p. 110), as though these were two separate “things” and man did not always have before him an historical nature and a natural history) out of which all the “unfathomably lofty works” on “substance” and “self-consciousness” were born, crumbles of itself when we understand that the celebrated “unity of man with nature” has always existed in industry and has existed in varying forms in every epoch according to the lesser or greater development of industry, just like the “struggle” of man with nature, right up to the development of his productive powers on a corresponding basis. Industry and commerce, production and the exchange of the necessities of life, themselves determine distribution, the structure of the different social classes and are, in turn, determined by it as to the mode in which they are carried on; and so it happens that in Manchester, for instance, Feuerbach sees only factories and machines, where a hundred years ago only spinning-wheels and weaving-rooms were to be seen, or in the Campagna of Rome he finds only pasture lands and swamps, where in the time of Augustus he would have found nothing but the vineyards and villas of Roman capitalists. Feuerbach speaks in particular of the perception of natural science; he mentions secrets which are disclosed only to the eye of the physicist and chemist; but where would natural science be without industry and commerce? Even this pure natural science is provided with an aim, as with its material, only through trade and industry, through the sensuous activity of men. So much is this activity, this unceasing sensuous labour and creation, this production, the basis of the whole sensuous world as it now exists, that, were it interrupted only for a year, Feuerbach would not only find an enormous change in the natural world, but would very soon find that the whole world of men and his own perceptive faculty, nay his own existence, were missing. Of course, in all this the priority of external nature remains unassailed, and all this has no application to the original men produced by generatio aequivoca [spontaneous generation]; but this differentiation has meaning only insofar as man is considered to be distinct from nature. For that matter, nature, the nature that preceded human history, is not by any means the nature in which Feuerbach lives, it is nature which today no longer exists anywhere (except perhaps on a few Australian coral-islands of recent origin) and which, therefore, does not exist for Feuerbach.

Certainly Feuerbach has a great advantage over the “pure” materialists in that he realises how man too is an “object of the senses.” But apart from the fact that he only conceives him as an “object of the senses, not as sensuous activity,” because he still remains in the realm of theory and conceives of men not in their given social connection, not under their existing conditions of life, which have made them what they are, he never arrives at the really existing active men, but stops at the abstraction “man,” and gets no further than recognising “the true, individual, corporeal man,” emotionally, i.e. he knows no other “human relationships” “of man to man” than love and friendship, and even then idealised. He gives no criticism of the present conditions of life. Thus he never manages to conceive the sensuous world as the total living sensuous activity of the individuals composing it; and therefore when, for example, he sees instead of healthy men a crowd of scrofulous, overworked and consumptive starvelings, he is compelled to take refuge in the “higher perception” and in the ideal “compensation in the species,” and thus to relapse into idealism at the very point where the communist materialist sees the necessity, and at the same time the condition, of a transformation both of industry and of the social structure.

As far as Feuerbach is a materialist he does not deal with history, and as far as he considers history he is not a materialist. With him materialism and history diverge completely, a fact which incidentally is already obvious from what has been said.

Ruling Class and Ruling Ideas

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think. Insofar, therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch. For instance, in an age and in a country where royal power, aristocracy, and bourgeoisie are contending for mastery and where, therefore, mastery is shared, the doctrine of the separation of powers proves to be the dominant idea and is expressed as an “eternal law.”

The division of labour, which we already saw above as one of the chief forces of history up till now, manifests itself also in the ruling class as the division of mental and material labour, so that inside this class one part appears as the thinkers of the class (its active, conceptive ideologists, who make the perfecting of the illusion of the class about itself their chief source of livelihood), while the others’ attitude to these ideas and illusions is more passive and receptive, because they are in reality the active members of this class and have less time to make up illusions and ideas about themselves. Within this class this cleavage can even develop into a certain opposition and hostility between the two parts, which, however, in the case of a practical collision, in which the class itself is endangered, automatically comes to nothing, in which case there also vanishes the semblance that the ruling ideas were not the ideas of the ruling class and had a power distinct from the power of this class. The existence of revolutionary ideas in a particular period presupposes the existence of a revolutionary class; about the premises for the latter sufficient has already been said above.

If now in considering the course of history we detach the ideas of the ruling class from the ruling class itself and attribute to them an independent existence, if we confine ourselves to saying that these or those ideas were dominant at a given time, without bothering ourselves about the conditions of production and the producers of these ideas, if we thus ignore the individuals and world conditions which are the source of the ideas, we can say, for instance, that during the time that the aristocracy was dominant, the concepts honour, loyalty, etc. were dominant, during the dominance of the bourgeoisie the concepts freedom, equality, etc. The ruling class itself on the whole imagines this to be so. This conception of history, which is common to all historians, particularly since the eighteenth century, will necessarily come up against the phenomenon that increasingly abstract ideas hold sway, i.e. ideas which increasingly take on the form of universality. For each new class which puts itself in the place of one ruling before it, is compelled, merely in order to carry through its aim, to represent its interest as the common interest of all the members of society, that is, expressed in ideal form: it has to give its ideas the form of universality, and represent them as the only rational, universally valid ones. The class making a revolution appears from the very start, if only because it is opposed to a class, not as a class but as the representative of the whole of society; it appears as the whole mass of society confronting the one ruling class. ” —

Marginal note by Marx: Universality corresponds to (1) the class versus the estate, (2) the competition, world-wide intercourse, etc., (3) the great numerical strength of the ruling class, (4) the illusion of the common interests (in the beginning this illusion is true), (5) the delusion of the ideologists and the division of labour.

— It can do this because, to start with, its interest really is more connected with the common interest of all other non-ruling classes, because under the pressure of hitherto existing conditions its interest has not yet been able to develop as the particular interest of a particular class. Its victory, therefore, benefits also many individuals of the other classes which are not winning a dominant position, but only insofar as it now puts these individuals in a position to raise themselves into the ruling class. When the French bourgeoisie overthrew the power of the aristocracy, it thereby made it possible for many proletarians to raise themselves above the proletariat, but only insofar as they become bourgeois. Every new class, therefore, achieves its hegemony only on a broader basis than that of the class ruling previously, whereas the opposition of the non-ruling class against the new ruling class later develops all the more sharply and profoundly. Both these things determine the fact that the struggle to be waged against this new ruling class, in its turn, aims at a more decided and radical negation of the previous conditions of society than could all previous classes which sought to rule.

This whole semblance, that the rule of a certain class is only the rule of certain ideas, comes to a natural end, of course, as soon as class rule in general ceases to be the form in which society is organised, that is to say, as soon as it is no longer necessary to represent a particular interest as general or the “general interest” as ruling.

Once the ruling ideas have been separated from the ruling individuals and, above all, from the relationships which result from a given stage of the mode of production, and in this way the conclusion has been reached that history is always under the sway of ideas, it is very easy to abstract from these various ideas “the idea,” the notion, etc. as the dominant force in history, and thus to understand all these separate ideas and concepts as “forms of self-determination” on the part of the concept developing in history. It follows then naturally, too, that all the relationships of men can be derived from the concept of man, man as conceived, the essence of man, Man. This has been done by the speculative philosophers. Hegel himself confesses at the end of the Geschichtsphilosophie that he “has considered the progress of the concept only” and has represented in history the “true theodicy.” (p.446.) Now one can go back again to the producers of the “concept,” to the theorists, ideologists and philosophers, and one comes then to the conclusion that the philosophers, the thinkers as such, have at all times been dominant in history: a conclusion, as we see[27], already expressed by Hegel. The whole trick of proving the hegemony of the spirit in history (hierarchy Stirner calls it) is thus confined to the following three efforts.

No. 1. One must separate the ideas of those ruling for empirical reasons, under empirical conditions and as empirical individuals, from these actual rulers, and thus recognise the rule of ideas or illusions in history.

No. 2. One must bring an order into this rule of ideas, prove a mystical connection among the successive ruling ideas, which is managed by understanding them as “acts of self-determination on the part of the concept” (this is possible because by virtue of their empirical basis these ideas are really connected with one another and because, conceived as mere ideas, they become self-distinctions, distinctions made by thought).

No. 3. To remove the mystical appearance of this “self-determining concept” it is changed into a person – “Self-Consciousness” – or, to appear thoroughly materialistic, into a series of persons, who represent the “concept” in history, into the “thinkers,” the “philosophers,” the ideologists, who again are understood as the manufacturers of history, as the “council of guardians,” as the rulers. Thus the whole body of materialistic elements has been removed from history and now full rein can be given to the speculative steed.

Whilst in ordinary life every shopkeeper is very well able to distinguish between what somebody professes to be and what he really is, our historians have not yet won even this trivial insight. They take every epoch at its word and believe that everything it says and imagines about itself is true.

This historical method which reigned in Germany, and especially the reason why, must be understood from its connection with the illusion of ideologists in general, e.g. the illusions of the jurist, politicians (of the practical statesmen among them, too), from the dogmatic dreamings and distortions of these fellows; this is explained perfectly easily from their practical position in life, their job, and the division of labour.

C. The Real Basis of Ideology
Division of Labour: Town and Country

[…] [1] From the first there follows the premise of a highly developed division of labour and an extensive commerce; from the second, the locality. In the first case the individuals must be brought together; in the second they find themselves alongside the given instrument of production as instruments of production themselves. Here, therefore, arises the difference between natural instruments of production and those created by civilisation. The field (water, etc.) can be regarded as a natural instrument of production. In the first case, that of the natural instrument of production, individuals are subservient to nature; in the second, to a product of labour. In the first case, therefore, property (landed property) appears as direct natural domination, in the second, as domination of labour, particularly of accumulated labour, capital. The first case presupposes that the individuals are united by some bond: family, tribe, the land itself, etc.; the second, that they are independent of one another and are only held together by exchange. In the first case, what is involved is chiefly an exchange between men and nature in which the labour of the former is exchanged for the products of the latter; in the second, it is predominantly an exchange of men among themselves. In the first case, average, human common sense is adequate — physical activity is as yet not separated from mental activity; in the second, the division between physical and mental labour must already be practically completed. In the first case, the domination of the proprietor over the propertyless may be based on a personal relationship, on a kind of community; in the second, it must have taken on a material shape in a third party – money. In the first case, small industry exists, but determined by the utilisation of the natural instrument of production and therefore without the distribution of labour among various individuals; in the second, industry exists only in and through the division of labour.

[2. The Division of Material and Mental Labour. Separation of Town and Country, The Guild System]

The greatest division of material and mental labour is the separation of town and country. The antagonism between town and country begins with the transition from barbarism to civilisation, from tribe to State, from locality to nation, and runs through the whole history of civilisation to the present day (the Anti-Corn Law League).

The existence of the town implies, at the same time, the necessity of administration, police, taxes, etc.; in short, of the municipality, and thus of politics in general. Here first became manifest the division of the population into two great classes, which is directly based on the division of labour and on the instruments of production. The town already is in actual fact the concentration of the population, of the instruments of production, of capital, of pleasures, of needs, while the country demonstrates just the opposite fact, isolation and separation. The antagonism between town and country can only exist within the framework of private property. It is the most crass expression of the subjection of the individual under the division of labour, under a definite activity forced upon him — a subjection which makes one man into a restricted town-animal, the other into a restricted country-animal, and daily creates anew the conflict between their interests. Labour is here again the chief thing, power over individuals, and as long as the latter exists, private property must exist. The abolition of the antagonism between town and country is one of the first conditions of communal life, a condition which again depends on a mass of material premises and which cannot be fulfilled by the mere will, as anyone can see at the first glance. (These conditions have still to be enumerated.) The separation of town and country can also be understood as the separation of capital and landed property, as the beginning of the existence and development of capital independent of landed property — the beginning of property having its basis only in labour and exchange.

In the towns which, in the Middle Ages, did not derive ready-made from an earlier period but were formed anew by the serfs who had become free, each man’s own particular labour was his only property apart from the small capital he brought with him, consisting almost solely of the most necessary tools of his craft. The competition of serfs constantly escaping into the town, the constant war of the country against the towns and thus the necessity of an organised municipal military force, the bond of common ownership in a particular kind of labour, the necessity of common buildings for the sale of their wares at a time when craftsmen were also traders, and the consequent exclusion of the unauthorised from these buildings, the conflict among the interests of the various crafts, the necessity of protecting their laboriously acquired skill, and the feudal organisation of the whole of the country: these were the causes of the union of the workers of each craft in guilds. We have not at this point to go further into the manifold modifications of the guild-system, which arise through later historical developments. The flight of the serfs into the towns went on without interruption right through the Middle Ages. These serfs, persecuted by their lords in the country, came separately into the towns, where they found an organised community, against which they were powerless and in which they had to subject themselves to the station assigned to them by the demand for their labour and the interest of their organised urban competitors. These workers, entering separately, were never able to attain to any power, since, if their labour was of the guild type which had to be learned, the guild-masters bent them to their will and organised them according to their interest; or if their labour was not such as had to be learned, and therefore not of the guild type, they became day-labourers and never managed to organise, remaining an unorganised rabble. The need for day-labourers in the towns created the rabble.

These towns were true “associations”, called forth by the direct need, the care of providing for the protection of property, and of multiplying the means of production and defence of the separate members. The rabble of these towns was devoid of any power, composed as it was of individuals strange to one another who had entered separately, and who stood unorganised over against an organised power, armed for war, and jealously watching over them. The journeymen and apprentices were organised in each craft as it best suited the interest of the masters. The patriarchal relationship existing between them and their masters gave the latter a double power — on the one hand because of their influence on the whole life of the journeymen, and on the other because, for the journeymen who worked with the same master, it was a real bond which held them together against the journeymen of other masters and separated them from these. And finally, the journeymen were bound to the existing order by their simple interest in becoming masters themselves. While, therefore, the rabble at least carried out revolts against the whole municipal order, revolts which remained completely ineffective because of their powerlessness, the journeymen never got further than small acts of insubordination within separate guilds, such as belong to the very nature of the guild-system. The great risings of the Middle Ages all radiated from the country, but equally remained totally ineffective because of the isolation and consequent crudity of the peasants.

In the towns, the division of labour between the individual guilds was as yet [quite naturally derived] and, in the guilds themselves, not at all developed between the individual workers. Every workman had to be versed in a whole round of tasks, had to be able to make everything that was to be made with his tools. The limited commerce and the scanty communication between the individual towns, the lack of population and the narrow needs did not allow of a higher division of labour, and therefore every man who wished to become a master had to be proficient in the whole of his craft. Thus there is found with medieval craftsmen an interest in their special work and in proficiency in it, which was capable of rising to a narrow artistic sense. For this very reason, however, every medieval craftsman was completely absorbed in his work, to which he had a contented, slavish relationship, and to which he was subjected to a far greater extent than the modern worker, whose work is a matter of indifference to him.

Capital in these towns was a naturally derived capital, consisting of a house, the tools of the craft, and the natural, hereditary customers; and not being realisable, on account of the backwardness of commerce and the lack of circulation, it descended from father to son. Unlike modern capital, which can be assessed in money and which may be indifferently invested in this thing or that, this capital was directly connected with the particular work of the owner, inseparable from it and to this extent estate capital.

Further Division of Labour

The next extension of the division of labour was the separation of production and commerce, the formation of a special class of merchants; a separation which, in the towns bequeathed by a former period, had been handed down (among other things with the Jews) and which very soon appeared in the newly formed ones. With this there was given the possibility of commercial communications transcending the immediate neighbourhood, a possibility, the realisation of which depended on the existing means of communication, the state of public safety in the countryside, which was determined by political conditions (during the whole of the Middle Ages, as is well known, the merchants travelled in armed caravans), and on the cruder or more advanced needs (determined by the stage of culture attained) of the region accessible to intercourse.

With commerce the prerogative of a particular class, with the extension of trade through the merchants beyond the immediate surroundings of the town, there immediately appears a reciprocal action between production and commerce. The towns enter into relations with one another, new tools are brought from one town into the other, and the separation between production and commerce soon calls forth a new division of production between the individual towns, each of which is soon exploiting a predominant branch of industry. The local restrictions of earlier times begin gradually to be broken down.

It depends purely on the extension of commerce whether the productive forces achieved in a locality, especially inventions, are lost for later development or not. As long as there exists no commerce transcending the immediate neighbourhood, every invention must be made separately in each locality, and mere chances such as irruptions of barbaric peoples, even ordinary wars, are sufficient to cause a country with advanced productive forces and needs to have to start right over again from the beginning. In primitive history every invention had to be made daily anew and in each locality independently. How little highly developed productive forces are safe from complete destruction, given even a relatively very extensive commerce, is proved by the Phoenicians, whose inventions were for the most part lost for a long time to come through the ousting of this nation from commerce, its conquest by Alexander and its consequent decline. Likewise, for instance, glass-painting in the Middle Ages. Only when commerce has become world commerce and has as its basis large-scale industry, when all nations are drawn into the competitive struggle, is the permanence of the acquired productive forces assured.

The Rise of Manufacturing

The immediate consequence of the division of labour between the various towns was the rise of manufactures, branches of production which had outgrown the guild-system. Manufactures first flourished, in Italy and later in Flanders, under the historical premise of commerce with foreign nations. In other countries, England and France for example, manufactures were at first confined to the home market. Besides the premises already mentioned manufactures depend on an already advanced concentration of population, particularly in the countryside, and of capital, which began to accumulate in the hands of individuals, partly in the guilds in spite of the guild regulations, partly among the merchants.

That labour which from the first presupposed a machine, even of the crudest sort, soon showed itself the most capable of development. Weaving, earlier carried on in the country by the peasants as a secondary occupation to procure their clothing, was the first labour to receive an impetus and a further development through the extension of commerce. Weaving was the first and remained the principal manufacture. The rising demand for clothing materials, consequent on the growth of population, the growing accumulation and mobilisation of natural capital through accelerated circulation, the demand for luxuries called forth by the latter and favoured generally by the gradual extension of commerce, gave weaving a quantitative and qualitative stimulus, which wrenched it out of the form of production hitherto existing. Alongside the peasants weaving for their own use, who continued, and still continue, with this sort of work, there emerged a new class of weavers in the towns, whose fabrics were destined for the whole home market and usually for foreign markets too.

Weaving, an occupation demanding in most cases little skill and soon splitting up into countless branches, by its whole nature resisted the trammels of the guild. Weaving was, therefore, carried on mostly in villages and market-centres without guild organisation, which gradually became towns, and indeed the most flourishing towns in each land.

With guild-free manufacture, property relations also quickly changed. The first advance beyond naturally derived estate capital was provided by the rise of merchants whose capital was from the beginning movable, capital in the modern sense as far as one can speak of it, given the circumstances of those times. The second advance came with manufacture, which again made mobile a mass of natural capital, and altogether increased the mass of movable capital as against that of natural capital.

At the same time, manufacture became a refuge of the peasants from the guilds which excluded them or paid them badly, just as earlier the guild-towns had [served] as a refuge for the peasants from [the oppressive landed nobility].

Simultaneously with the beginning of manufactures there was a period of vagabondage caused by the abolition of the feudal bodies of retainers, the disbanding of the swollen armies which had flocked to serve the kings against their vassals, the improvement of agriculture, and the transformation of great strips of tillage into pasture land. From this alone it is clear how this vagabondage is strictly connected with the disintegration of the feudal system. As early as the thirteenth century we find isolated epochs of this kind, but only at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth does this vagabondage make a general and permanent appearance. These vagabonds, who were so numerous that, for instance, Henry VIII of England had 72,000 of them hanged, were only prevailed upon to work with the greatest difficulty and through the most extreme necessity, and then only after long resistance. The rapid rise of manufactures, particularly in England, absorbed them gradually.

With the advent of manufactures, the various nations entered into a competitive relationship, the struggle for trade, which was fought out in wars, protective duties and prohibitions, whereas earlier the nations, insofar as they were connected at all, had carried on an inoffensive exchange with each other. Trade had from now on a political significance.

With the advent of manufacture the relationship between worker and employer changed. In the guilds the patriarchal relationship between journeyman and master continued to exist; in manufacture its place was taken by the monetary relation between worker and capitalist — a relationship which in the countryside and in small towns retained a patriarchal tinge, but in the larger, the real manufacturing towns, quite early lost almost all patriarchal complexion.

Manufacture and the movement of production in general received an enormous impetus through the extension of commerce which came with the discovery of America and the sea-route to the East Indies. The new products imported thence, particularly the masses of gold and silver which came into circulation and totally changed the position of the classes towards one another, dealing a hard blow to feudal landed property and to the workers; the expeditions of adventurers, colonisation; and above all the extension of markets into a world market, which had now become possible and was daily becoming more and more a fact, called forth a new phase of historical development, into which in general we cannot here enter further. Through the colonisation of the newly discovered countries the commercial struggle of the nations amongst one another was given new fuel and accordingly greater extension and animosity.

The expansion of trade and manufacture accelerated the accumulation of movable capital, while in the guilds, which were not stimulated to extend their production, natural capital remained stationary or even declined. Trade and manufacture created the big bourgeoisie; in the guilds was concentrated the petty bourgeoisie, which no longer was dominant in the towns as formerly, but had to bow to the might of the great merchants and manufacturers. Hence the decline of the guilds, as soon as they came into contact with manufacture.

The intercourse of nations took on, in the epoch of which we have been speaking, two different forms. At first the small quantity of gold and silver in circulation involved the ban on the export of these metals; and industry, for the most part imported from abroad and made necessary by the need for employing the growing urban population, could not do without those privileges which could be granted not only, of course, against home competition, but chiefly against foreign. The local guild privilege was in these original prohibitions extended over the whole nation. Customs duties originated from the tributes which the feudal lords exacted as protective levies against robbery from merchants passing through their territories, tributes later imposed likewise by the towns, and which, with the rise of the modern states, were the Treasury’s most obvious means of raising money.

The appearance of American gold and silver on the European markets, the gradual development of industry, the rapid expansion of trade and the consequent rise of the non-guild bourgeoisie and of money, gave these measures another significance. The State, which was daily less and less able to do without money, now retained the ban on the export of gold and silver out of fiscal considerations; the bourgeois, for whom these masses of money which were hurled onto the market became the chief object of speculative buying, were thoroughly content with this; privileges established earlier became a source of income for the government and were sold for money; in the customs legislation there appeared the export duty, which, since it only [placed] a hindrance in the way of industry, had a purely fiscal aim.

The second period began in the middle of the seventeenth century and lasted almost to the end of the eighteenth. Commerce and navigation had expanded more rapidly than manufacture, which played a secondary role; the colonies were becoming considerable consumers; and after long struggles the separate nations shared out the opening world market among themselves. This period begins with the Navigation Laws [2] and colonial monopolies. The competition of the nations among themselves was excluded as far as possible by tariffs, prohibitions and treaties; and in the last resort the competitive struggle was carried on and decided by wars (especially naval wars). The mightiest maritime nation, the English, retained preponderance in trade and manufacture. Here, already, we find concentration in one country.

Manufacture was all the time sheltered by protective duties in the home market, by monopolies in the colonial market, and abroad as much as possible by differential duties. The working-up of home-produced material was encouraged (wool and linen in England, silk in France), the export of home-produced raw material forbidden (wool in England), and the [working-up] of imported material neglected or suppressed (cotton in England). The nation dominant in sea trade and colonial power naturally secured for itself also the greatest quantitative and qualitative expansion of manufacture. Manufacture could not be carried on without protection, since, if the slightest change takes place in other countries, it can lose its market and be ruined; under reasonably favourable conditions it may easily be introduced into a country, but for this very reason can easily be destroyed. At the same time through the mode in which it is carried on, particularly in the eighteenth century, in the countryside, it is to such an extent interwoven with the vital relationships of a great mass of individuals, that no country dare jeopardise its existence by permitting free competition. Insofar as it manages to export, it therefore depends entirely on the extension or restriction of commerce, and exercises a relatively very small reaction [on the latter]. Hence its secondary [importance] and the influence of [the merchants] in the eighteenth century. It was the merchants and especially the shippers who more than anybody else pressed for State protection and monopolies; the manufacturers also demanded and indeed received protection, but all the time were inferior in political importance to the merchants. The commercial towns, particularly the maritime towns, became to some extent civilised and acquired the outlook of the big bourgeoisie, but in the factory towns an extreme petty-bourgeois outlook persisted. Cf Aikin, [3] etc. The eighteenth century was the century of trade. Pinto says this expressly: “Le commerce fait la marotte du siècle” ; and: “Depuis quelque temps il n’est plus question que de commerce, de navgation et de marine.” [“Commerce is the rage of the century.” “For some time now people have been talking only about commerce, navigation and the navy.” – Ed.]

This period is also characterised by the cessation of the bans on the export of gold and silver and the beginning of the trade in money; by banks, national debts, paper money; by speculation in stocks and shares and stockjobbing in all articles; by the development of finance in general. Again capital lost a great part of the natural character which had still clung to it.

[4. Most Extensive Division of Labour. Large-Scale Industry]

The concentration of trade and manufacture in one country, England, developing irresistibly in the seventeenth century, gradually created for this country a relative world market, and thus a demand for the manufactured products of this country, which could no longer be met by the industrial productive forces hitherto existing. This demand, outgrowing the productive forces, was the motive power which, by producing big industry — the application of elemental forces to industrial ends, machinery and the most complex division of labour — called into existence the third period of private ownership since the Middle Ages. There already existed in England the other pre-conditions of this new phase: freedom of competition inside the nation, the development of theoretical mechanics, etc. (Indeed, the science of mechanics perfected by Newton was altogether the most popular science in France and England in the eighteenth century.) (Free competition inside the nation itself had everywhere to be conquered by a revolution — 1640 and 1688 in England, 1789 in France.)

Competition soon compelled every country that wished to retain its historical role to protect its manufactures by renewed customs regulations (the old duties were no longer any good against big industry) and soon after to introduce big industry under protective duties. Big industry universalised competition in spite of these protective measures (it is practical free trade; the protective duty is only a palliative, a measure of defence within free trade), established means of communication and the modern world market, subordinated trade to itself, transformed all capital into industrial capital, and thus produced the rapid circulation (development of the financial system) and the centralisation of capital. By universal competition it forced all individuals to strain their energy to the utmost. It destroyed as far as possible ideology, religion, morality, etc. and where it could not do this, made them into a palpable lie. It produced world history for the first time, insofar as it made all civilised nations and every individual member of them dependent for the satisfaction of their wants on the whole world, thus destroying the former natural exclusiveness of separate nations. It made natural science subservient to capital and took from the division of labour the last semblance of its natural character. It destroyed natural growth in general, as far as this is possible while labour exists, and resolved all natural relationships into money relationships. In the place of naturally grown towns it created the modern, large industrial cities which have sprung up overnight. Wherever it penetrated, it destroyed the crafts and all earlier stages of industry. It completed the victory of the commercial town over the countryside. [Its first premise] was the automatic system. [Its development] produced a mass of productive forces, for which private [property] became just as much a fetter as the guild had been for manufacture and the small, rural workshop for the developing craft. These productive forces received under the system of private property a one-sided development only, and became for the majority destructive forces; moreover, a great multitude of such forces could find no application at all within this system. Generally speaking, big industry created everywhere the same relations between the classes of society, and thus destroyed the peculiar individuality of the various nationalities. And finally, while the bourgeoisie of each nation still retained separate national interests, big industry created a class, which in all nations has the same interest and with which nationality is already dead; a class which is really rid of all the old world and at the same time stands pitted against it. Big industry makes for the worker not only the relation to the capitalist, but labour itself, unbearable.

It is evident that big industry does not reach the same level of development in all districts of a country. This does not, however, retard the class movement of the proletariat, because the proletarians created by big industry assume leadership of this movement and carry the whole mass along with them, and because the workers excluded from big industry are placed by it in a still worse situation than the workers in big industry itself. The countries in which big industry is developed act in a similar manner upon the more or less non-industrial countries, insofar as the latter are swept by universal commerce into the universal competitive struggle. [4]

These different forms are just so many forms of the organisation of labour, and hence of property. In each period a unification of the existing productive forces takes place, insofar as this has been rendered necessary by needs.

The Relation of State and Law to Property

The first form of property, in the ancient world as in the Middle Ages, is tribal property, determined with the Romans chiefly by war, with the Germans by the rearing of cattle. In the case of the ancient peoples, since several tribes live together in one town, the tribal property appears as State property, and the right of the individual to it as mere “possession” which, however, like tribal property as a whole, is confined to landed property only. Real private property began with the ancients, as with modern nations, with movable property. — (Slavery and community) (dominium ex jure Quiritum [5]). In the case of the nations which grew out of the Middle Ages, tribal property evolved through various stages — feudal landed property, corporative movable property, capital invested in manufacture — to modern capital, determined by big industry and universal competition, i.e. pure private property, which has cast off all semblance of a communal institution and has shut out the State from any influence on the development of property. To this modern private property corresponds the modern State, which, purchased gradually by the owners of property by means of taxation, has fallen entirely into their hands through the national debt, and its existence has become wholly dependent on the commercial credit which the owners of property, the bourgeois, extend to it, as reflected in the rise and fall of State funds on the stock exchange. By the mere fact that it is a class and no longer an estate, the bourgeoisie is forced to organise itself no longer locally, but nationally, and to give a general form to its mean average interest. Through the emancipation of private property from the community, the State has become a separate entity, beside and outside civil society; but it is nothing more than the form of organisation which the bourgeois necessarily adopt both for internal and external purposes, for the mutual guarantee of their property and interests. The independence of the State is only found nowadays in those countries where the estates have not yet completely developed into classes, where the estates, done away with in more advanced countries, still have a part to play, and where there exists a mixture; countries, that is to say, in which no one section of the population can achieve dominance over the others. This is the case particularly in Germany. The most perfect example of the modern State is North America. The modern French, English and American writers all express the opinion that the State exists only for the sake of private property, so that this fact has penetrated into the consciousness of the normal man.

Since the State is the form in which the individuals of a ruling class assert their common interests, and in which the whole civil society of an epoch is epitomised, it follows that the State mediates in the formation of all common institutions and that the institutions receive a political form. Hence the illusion that law is based on the will, and indeed on the will divorced from its real basis — on free will. Similarly, justice is in its turn reduced to the actual laws.

Civil law develops simultaneously with private property out of the disintegration of the natural community. With the Romans the development of private property and civil law had no further industrial and commercial consequences, because their whole mode of production did not alter. (Usury!)

With modern peoples, where the feudal community was disintegrated by industry and trade, there began with the rise of private property and civil law a new phase, which was capable of further development. The very first town which carried on an extensive maritime trade in the Middle Ages, Amalfi, also developed maritime law. As soon as industry and trade developed private property further, first in Italy and later in other countries, the highly developed Roman civil law was immediately adopted again and raised, to authority. When later the bourgeoisie had acquired so much power that the princes took up its interests in order to overthrow the feudal nobility by means of the bourgeoisie, there began in all countries — in France in the sixteenth century — the real development of law, which in all countries except England proceeded on the basis of the Roman Codex. In England, too, Roman legal principles had to be introduced to further the development of civil law (especially in the case of movable property). (It must not be forgotten that law has just as little an independent history as religion.)

In civil law the existing property relationships are declared to be the result of the general will. The jus utendi et abutendi [6] itself asserts on the one hand the fact that private property has become entirely independent of the community, and on the other the illusion that private property itself is based solely on the private will, the arbitrary disposal of the thing. In practice, the abuti has very definite economic limitations for the owner of private property, if he does not wish to see his property and hence his jus abutendi pass into other hands, since actually the thing, considered merely with reference to his will, is not a thing at all, but only becomes a thing, true property in intercourse, and independently of the law (a relationship, which the philosophers call an idea). This juridical illusion, which reduces law to the mere will, necessarily leads, in the further development of property relationships, to the position that a man may have a legal title to a thing without really having the thing. If, for instance, the income from a piece of land is lost owing to competition, then the proprietor has certainly his legal title to it along with the jus utendi et abutendi. But he can do nothing with it: he owns nothing as a landed proprietor if in addition he has not enough capital to cultivate his ground. This illusion of the jurists also explains the fact that for them, as for every code, it is altogether fortuitous that individuals enter into relationships among themselves (e.g. contracts); it explains why they consider that these relationships [can] be entered into or not at will, and that their content rests purely on the individual [free] will of the contracting parties.

Whenever, through the development of industry and commerce, new forms of intercourse have been evolved (e.g. assurance companies, etc.), the law has always been compelled to admit them among the modes of acquiring property.

Notes, written by Marx, intended for further elaboration


The influence of the division of labour on science.

The role of repression with regard to the state, law, morality, etc.

It is precisely because the bourgeoisie rules as a class that in the law it must give itself a general expression.

Natural science and history.

There is no history of politics, law, science, etc., of art, religion, etc.

[Marginal note by Marx:] To the “community” as it appears in the ancient state, in feudalism and in the absolute monarchy, to this bond correspond especially the religious conceptions.

Why the ideologists turn everything upside-down.

Clerics, jurists, politicians.

jurists, politicians (statesmen in general), moralists, clerics.

For this ideological subdivision within a class: 1) The occupation assumes an independent existence owing to division of labour. Everyone believes his craft to be the true one. Illusions regarding the connection between their craft and reality are the more likely to be cherished by them because of the very nature of the craft. In consciousness — in jurisprudence, politics, etc. — relations become concepts; since they do not go beyond these relations, the concepts of the relations also become fixed concepts in their mind. The judge, for example, applies the code, he therefore regards legislation as the real, active driving force. Respect for their goods, because their craft deals with general matters.

Idea of law. Idea of state. The matter is turned upside-down in ordinary consciousness.

Religion is from the outset consciousness of the transcendental arising from actually existing forces.

This more popularly.

Tradition, with regard to law, religion, etc.

Individuals always proceeded, and always proceed, from themselves. Their relations are the relations of their real life-process. How does it happen that their relations assume an independent existence over against them? and that the forces of their own life become superior to them?

In short: division of labour, the level of which depends on the development of the productive power at any particular time.

Landed property. Communal property. Feudal. Modern.

Estate property. Manufacturing property. Industrial capital.


1. Four pages of the manuscript are missing here. – Ed.

2. Navigation Laws — a series of Acts passed in England from 1381 onwards to protect English shipping against foreign companies. The Navigation Laws were modified in the early nineteenth century and repealed in 1849 except for a reservation regarding coasting trade, which was revoked in 1854.

3. The movement of capital, although considerably accelerated, still remained, however, relatively slow. The splitting-up of the world market into separate parts, each of which was exploited by a particular nation, the exclusion of competition among themselves on the part of the nations, the clumsiness of production itself and the fact that finance was only evolving from its early stages, greatly impeded circulation. The consequence of this was a haggling, mean and niggardly spirit which still clung to all merchants and to the whole mode of carrying on trade. Compared with the manufacturers, and above all with the craftsmen, they were certainly big bourgeois; compared with the merchants and industrialists of the next period they remain petty bourgeois. Cf. Adam Smith.

[6. Competition of Individuals and the Formation of Classes]

4. Competition separates individuals from one another, not only the bourgeois but still more the workers, in spite of the fact that it brings them together. Hence it is a long time before these individuals can unite, apart from the fact that for the purposes of this union — if it is not to be merely local — the necessary means, the great industrial cities and cheap and quick communications, have first to be produced by big industry. Hence every organised power standing over against these isolated individuals, who live in relationships, daily reproducing this isolation, can only be overcome after long struggles. To demand the opposite would be tantamount to demanding that competition should not exist in this definite epoch of history, or that the individuals should banish from their minds relationships over which in their isolation they have no control.

5. Ownership in accordance with the law applying to full Roman citizens. – Ed.

6. The right of using and consuming (also: abusing), i.e. of disposing of a thing at will. – Ed.

D. Proletarians and Communism

Individuals, Class, and Community

In the Middle Ages the citizens in each town were compelled to unite against the landed nobility to save their skins. The extension of trade, the establishment of communications, led the separate towns to get to know other towns, which had asserted the same interests in the struggle with the same antagonist. Out of the many local corporations of burghers there arose only gradually the burgher class. The conditions of life of the individual burghers became, on account of their contradiction to the existing relationships and of the mode of labour determined by these, conditions which were common to them all and independent of each individual. The burghers had created the conditions insofar as they had torn themselves free from feudal ties, and were created by them insofar as they were determined by their antagonism to the feudal system which they found in existence. When the individual towns began to enter into associations, these common conditions developed into class conditions. The same conditions, the same contradiction, the same interests necessarily called forth on the whole similar customs everywhere. The bourgeoisie itself with its conditions, develops only gradually, splits according to the division of labour into various fractions and finally absorbs all propertied classes it finds in existence [1] (while it develops the majority of the earlier propertyless and a part of the hitherto propertied classes into a new class, the proletariat) in the measure to which all property found in existence is transformed into industrial or commercial capital. The separate individuals form a class only insofar as they have to carry on a common battle against another class; otherwise they are on hostile terms with each other as competitors. On the other hand, the class in its turn achieves an independent existence over against the individuals, so that the latter find their conditions of existence predestined, and hence have their position in life and their personal development assigned to them by their class, become subsumed under it. This is the same phenomenon as the subjection of the separate individuals to the division of labour and can only be removed by the abolition of private property and of labour itself. We have already indicated several times how this subsuming of individuals under the class brings with it their subjection to all kinds of ideas, etc.

If from a philosophical point of view one considers this evolution of individuals in the common conditions of existence of estates and classes, which followed on one another, and in the accompanying general conceptions forced upon them, it is certainly very easy to imagine that in these individuals the species, or “Man”, has evolved, or that they evolved “Man” — and in this way one can give history some hard clouts on the ear. [2]One can conceive these various estates and classes to be specific terms of the general expression, subordinate varieties of the species, or evolutionary phases of “Man”.

This subsuming of individuals under definite classes cannot be abolished until a class has taken shape, which has no longer any particular class interest to assert against the ruling class.

The transformation, through the division of labour, of personal powers (relationships) into material powers, cannot be dispelled by dismissing the general idea of it from one’s mind, but can only be abolished by the individuals again subjecting these material powers to themselves and abolishing the division of labour. This is not possible without the community. Only in community [with others has each] individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible. In the previous substitutes for the community, in the State, etc. personal freedom has existed only for the individuals who developed within the relationships of the ruling class, and only insofar as they were individuals of this class. The illusory community, in which individuals have up till now combined, always took on an independent existence in relation to them, and was at the same time, since it was the combination of one class over against another, not only a completely illusory community, but a new fetter as well. In a real community the individuals obtain their freedom in and through their association.

Individuals have always built on themselves, but naturally on themselves within their given historical conditions and relationships, not on the “pure” individual in the sense of the ideologists. But in the course of historical evolution, and precisely through the inevitable fact that within the division of labour social relationships take on an independent existence, there appears a division within the life of each individual, insofar as it is personal and insofar as it is determined by some branch of labour and the conditions pertaining to it. (We do not mean it to be understood from this that, for example, the rentier, the capitalist, etc. cease to be persons; but their personality is conditioned and determined by quite definite class relationships, and the division appears only in their opposition to another class and, for themselves, only when they go bankrupt.) In the estate (and even more in the tribe) this is as yet concealed: for instance, a nobleman always remains a nobleman, a commoner always a commoner, apart from his other relationships, a quality inseparable from his individuality. The division between the personal and the class individual, the accidental nature of the conditions of life for the individual, appears only with the emergence of the class, which is itself a product of the bourgeoisie. This accidental character is only engendered and developed by competition and the struggle of individuals among themselves. Thus, in imagination, individuals seem freer under the dominance of the bourgeoisie than before, because their conditions of life seem accidental; in reality, of course, they are less free, because they are more subjected to the violence of things. The difference from the estate comes out particularly in the antagonism between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. When the estate of the urban burghers, the corporations, etc. emerged in opposition to the landed nobility, their condition of existence — movable property and craft labour, which had already existed latently before their separation from the feudal ties — appeared as something positive, which was asserted against feudal landed property, and, therefore, in its own way at first took on a feudal form. Certainly the refugee serfs treated their previous servitude as something accidental to their personality. But here they only were doing what every class that is freeing itself from a fetter does; and they did not free themselves as a class but separately. Moreover, they did not rise above the system of estates, but only formed a new estate, retaining their previous mode of labour even in their new situation, and developing it further by freeing it from its earlier fetters, which no longer corresponded to the development already attained. [3]

For the proletarians, on the other hand, the condition of their existence, labour, and with it all the conditions of existence governing modern society, have become something accidental, something over which they, as separate individuals, have no control, and over which no social organisation can give them control. The contradiction between the individuality of each separate proletarian and labour, the condition of life forced upon him, becomes evident to him himself, for he is sacrificed from youth upwards and, within his own class, has no chance of arriving at the conditions which would place him in the other class.

Thus, while the refugee serfs only wished to be free to develop and assert those conditions of existence which were already there, and hence, in the end, only arrived at free labour, the proletarians, if they are to assert themselves as individuals, will have to abolish the very condition of their existence hitherto (which has, moreover, been that of all society up to the present), namely, labour. Thus they find themselves directly opposed to the form in which, hitherto, the individuals, of which society consists, have given themselves collective expression, that is, the State. In order, therefore, to assert themselves as individuals, they must overthrow the State.

It follows from all we have been saying up till now that the communal relationship into which the individuals of a class entered, and which was determined by their common interests over against a third party, was always a community to which these individuals belonged only as average individuals, only insofar as they lived within the conditions of existence of their class — a relationship in which they participated not as individuals but as members of a class. With the community of revolutionary proletarians, on the other hand, who take their conditions of existence and those of all members of society under their control, it is just the reverse; it is as individuals that the individuals participate in it. It is just this combination of individuals (assuming the advanced stage of modern productive forces, of course) which puts the conditions of the free development and movement of individuals under their control — conditions which were previously abandoned to chance and had won an independent existence over against the separate individuals just because of their separation as individuals, and because of the necessity of their combination which had been determined by the division of labour, and through their separation had become a bond alien to them. Combination up till now (by no means an arbitrary one, such as is expounded for example in the Contrat social, but a necessary one) was an agreement upon these conditions, within which the individuals were free to enjoy the freaks of fortune (compare, e.g., the formation of the North American State and the South American republics). This right to the undisturbed enjoyment, within certain conditions, of fortuity and chance has up till now been called personal freedom. These conditions of existence are, of course, only the productive forces and forms of intercourse at any particular time.

Forms of Intercourse

Communism differs from all previous movements in that it overturns the basis of all earlier relations of production and intercourse, and for the first time consciously treats all natural premises as the creatures of hitherto existing men, strips them of their natural character and subjugates them to the power of the united individuals. Its organisation is, therefore, essentially economic, the material production of the conditions of this unity; it turns existing conditions into conditions of unity. The reality, which communism is creating, is precisely the true basis for rendering it impossible that anything should exist independently of individuals, insofar as reality is only a product of the preceding intercourse of individuals themselves. Thus the communists in practice treat the conditions created up to now by production and intercourse as inorganic conditions, without, however, imagining that it was the plan or the destiny of previous generations to give them material, and without believing that these conditions were inorganic for the individuals creating them.

Contradiction between individuals and their conditions of life as contradiction between productive forces and the form of intercourse

The difference between the individual as a person and what is accidental to him, is not a conceptual difference but an historical fact. This distinction has a different significance at different times — e.g. the estate as something accidental to the individual in the eighteenth century, the family more or less too. It is not a distinction that we have to make for each age, but one which each age makes itself from among the different elements which it finds in existence, and indeed not according to any theory, but compelled by material collisions in life.

What appears accidental to the later age as opposed to the earlier — and this applies also to the elements handed down by an earlier age — is a form of intercourse which corresponded to a definite stage of development of the productive forces. The relation of the productive forces to the form of intercourse is the relation of the form of intercourse to the occupation or activity of the individuals. (The fundamental form of this activity is, of course, material, on which depend all other forms – mental, political, religious, etc. The various shaping of material life is, of course, in every case dependent on the needs which are already developed, and the production, as well as the satisfaction, of these needs is an historical process, which is not found in the case of a sheep or a dog (Stirner’s refractory principal argument adversus hominem), although sheep and dogs in their present form certainly, but malgré eux, are products of an historical process.) The conditions under which individuals have intercourse with each other, so long as the above-mentioned contradiction is absent, are conditions appertaining to their individuality, in no way external to them; conditions under which these definite individuals, living under definite relationships, can alone produce their material life and what is connected with it, are thus the conditions of their self-activity and are produced by this self-activity. The definite condition under which they produce, thus corresponds, as long as the contradiction has not yet appeared, to the reality of their conditioned nature, their one-sided existence, the one-sidedness of which only becomes evident when the contradiction enters on the scene and thus exists for the later individuals. Then this condition appears as an accidental fetter, and the consciousness that it is a fetter is imputed to the earlier age as well.

These various conditions, which appear first as conditions of self-activity, later as fetters upon it, form in the whole evolution of history a coherent series of forms of intercourse, the coherence of which consists in this: in the place of an earlier form of intercourse, which has become a fetter, a new one is put, corresponding to the more developed productive forces and, hence, to the advanced mode of the self-activity of individuals – a form which in its turn becomes a fetter and is then replaced by another. Since these conditions correspond at every stage to the simultaneous development of the productive forces, their history is at the same time the history of the evolving productive forces taken over by each new generation, and is, therefore, the history of the development of the forces of the individuals themselves.

Since this evolution takes place naturally, i.e. is not subordinated to a general plan of freely combined individuals, it proceeds from various localities, tribes, nations, branches of labour, etc. each of which to start with develops independently of the others and only gradually enters into relation with the others. Furthermore, it takes place only very slowly; the various stages and interests are never completely overcome, but only subordinated to the prevailing interest and trail along beside the latter for centuries afterwards. It follows from this that within a nation itself the individuals, even apart from their pecuniary circumstances, have quite different developments, and that an earlier interest, the peculiar form of intercourse of which has already been ousted by that belonging to a later interest, remains for a long time afterwards in possession of a traditional power in the illusory community (State, law), which has won an existence independent of the individuals; a power which in the last resort can only be broken by a revolution. This explains why, with reference to individual points which allow of a more general summing-up, consciousness can sometimes appear further advanced than the contemporary empirical relationships, so that in the struggles of a later epoch one can refer to earlier theoreticians as authorities.

On the other hand, in countries which, like North America, begin in an already advanced historical epoch, the development proceeds very rapidly. Such countries have no other natural premises than the individuals, who settled there and were led to do so because the forms of intercourse of the old countries did not correspond to their wants. Thus they begin with the most advanced individuals of the old countries, and, therefore, with the correspondingly most advanced form of intercourse, before this form of intercourse has been able to establish itself in the old countries. This is the case with all colonies, insofar as they are not mere military or trading stations. Carthage, the Greek colonies, and Iceland in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, provide examples of this. A similar relationship issues from conquest, when a form of intercourse which has evolved on another soil is brought over complete to the conquered country: whereas in its home it was still encumbered with interests and relationships left over from earlier periods, here it can and must be established completely and without hindrance, if only to assure the conquerors’ lasting power. (England and Naples after the Norman conquest, when they received the most perfect form of feudal organisation.)

[5. The Contradiction Between the Productive Forces and the Form of Intercourse as the Basis for Social Revolution]

This contradiction between the productive forces and the form of intercourse, which, as we saw, has occurred several times in past history, without, however, endangering the basis, necessarily on each occasion burst out in a revolution, taking on at the same time various subsidiary forms, such as all-embracing collisions, collisions of various classes, contradiction of consciousness, battle of ideas, etc., political conflict, etc. From a narrow point of view one may isolate one of these subsidiary forms and consider it as the basis of these revolutions; and this is all the more easy as the individuals who started the revolutions had illusions about their own activity according to their degree of culture and the stage of historical development.

Thus all collisions in history have their origin, according to our view, in the contradiction between the productive forces and the form of intercourse. Incidentally, to lead to collisions in a country, this contradiction need not necessarily have reached its extreme limit in this particular country. The competition with industrially more advanced countries, brought about by the expansion of international intercourse, is sufficient to produce a similar contradiction in countries with a backward industry (e.g. the latent proletariat in Germany brought into view by view by the competition of English industry).


This whole interpretation of history appears to be contradicted by the fact of conquest. Up till now violence, war, pillage, murder and robbery, etc. have been accepted as the driving force of history. Here we must limit ourselves to the chief points and take, therefore, only the most striking example — the destruction of an old civilisation by a barbarous people and the resulting formation of an entirely new organisation of society. (Rome and the barbarians; feudalism and Gaul; the Byzantine Empire and the Turks.)

With the conquering barbarian people war itself is still, as indicated above, a regular form of intercourse, which is the more eagerly exploited as the increase in population together with the traditional and, for it, the only possible, crude mode of production gives rise to the need for new means of production. In Italy, on the other hand, the concentration of landed property (caused not only by buying-up and indebtedness but also by inheritance, since loose living being rife and marriage rare, the old families gradually died out and their possessions fell into the hands of a few) and its conversion into grazing land (caused not only by the usual economic forces still operative today but by the importation of plundered and tribute-corn and the resultant lack of demand for Italian corn) brought about the almost total disappearance of the free population. The very slaves died out again and again, and had constantly to be replaced by new ones. Slavery remained the basis of the whole productive system. The plebeians, midway between freemen and slaves, never succeeded in becoming more than a proletarian rabble. Rome indeed never became more than a city; its connection with the provinces was almost exclusively political and could, therefore, easily be broken again by political events.

Nothing is more common than the notion that in history up till now it has only been a question of taking. The barbarians take the Roman Empire, and this fact of taking is made to explain the transition from the old world to the feudal system. In this taking by barbarians, however, the question is, whether the nation which is conquered has evolved industrial productive forces, as is the case with modern peoples, or whether their productive forces are based for the most part merely on their association and on the community. Taking is further determined by the object taken. A banker’s fortune, consisting of paper, cannot be taken at all, without the taker’s submitting to the conditions of production and intercourse of the country taken. Similarly the total industrial capital of a modern industrial country. And finally, everywhere there is very soon an end to taking, and when there is nothing more to take, you have to set about producing. From this necessity of producing, which very soon asserts itself, it follows that the form of community adopted by the settling conquerors must correspond to the stage of development of the productive forces they find in existence; or, if this is not the case from the start, it must change according to the productive forces. By this, too, is explained the fact, which people profess to have noticed everywhere in the period following the migration of the peoples, namely, that the servant was master, and that the conquerors very soon took over language, culture and manners from the conquered. The feudal system was by no means brought complete from Germany, but had its origin, as far as the conquerors were concerned, in the martial organisation of the army during the actual conquest, and this only evolved after the conquest into the feudal system proper through the action of the productive forces found in the conquered countries. To what an extent this form was determined by the productive forces is shown by the abortive attempts to realise other forms derived from reminiscences of ancient Rome (Charlemagne, etc.).

Contradictions of Big Industry: Revolution

Our investigation hitherto started from the instruments of production, and it has already shown that private property was a necessity for certain industrial stages. In industrie extractive private property still coincides with labour; in small industry and all agriculture up till now property is the necessary consequence of the existing instruments of production; in big industry the contradiction between the instrument of production and private property appears from the first time and is the product of big industry; moreover, big industry must be highly developed to produce this contradiction. And thus only with big industry does the abolition of private property become possible.

[9. Contradiction Between the Productive Forces and the Form of Intercourse]

In big industry and competition the whole mass of conditions of existence, limitations, biases of individuals, are fused together into the two simplest forms: private property and labour. With money every form of intercourse, and intercourse itself, is considered fortuitous for the individuals. Thus money implies that all previous intercourse was only intercourse of individuals under particular conditions, not of individuals as individuals. These conditions are reduced to two: accumulated labour or private property, and actual labour. If both or one of these ceases, then intercourse comes to a standstill. The modern economists themselves, e.g. Sismondi, Cherbuliez, etc., oppose “association of individuals” to “association of capital.” On the other hand, the individuals themselves are entirely subordinated to the division of labour and hence are brought into the most complete dependence on one another. Private property, insofar as within labour itself it is opposed to labour, evolves out of the necessity of accumulation, and has still, to begin with, rather the form of the communality; but in its further development it approaches more and more the modern form of private property. The division of labour implies from the outset the division of the conditions of labour, of tools and materials, and thus the splitting-up of accumulated capital among different owners, and thus, also, the division between capital and labour, and the different forms of property itself. The more the division of labour develops and accumulation grows, the sharper are the forms that this process of differentiation assumes. Labour itself can only exist on the premise of this fragmentation.

Thus two facts are here revealed. First the productive forces appear as a world for themselves, quite independent of and divorced from the individuals, alongside the individuals: the reason for this is that the individuals, whose forces they are, exist split up and in opposition to one another, whilst, on the other hand, these forces are only real forces in the intercourse and association of these individuals. Thus, on the one hand, we have a totality of productive forces, which have, as it were, taken on a material form and are for the individuals no longer the forces of the individuals but of private property, and hence of the individuals only insofar as they are owners of private property themselves. Never, in any earlier period, have the productive forces taken on a form so indifferent to the intercourse of individuals as individuals, because their intercourse itself was formerly a restricted one. On the other hand, standing over against these productive forces, we have the majority of the individuals from whom these forces have been wrested away, and who, robbed thus of all real life-content, have become abstract individuals, but who are, however, only by this fact put into a position to enter into relation with one another as individuals.

The only connection which still links them with the productive forces and with their own existence — labour — has lost all semblance of self-activity and only sustains their life by stunting it. While in the earlier periods self-activity and the production of material life were separated, in that they devolved on different persons, and while, on account of the narrowness of the individuals themselves, the production of material life was considered as a subordinate mode of self-activity, they now diverge to such an extent that altogether material life appears as the end, and what produces this material life, labour (which is now the only possible but, as we see, negative form of self-activity), as the means.

[10. The Necessity, Preconditions and Consequences of the Abolition of Private Property]

Thus things have now come to such a pass that the individuals must appropriate the existing totality of productive forces, not only to achieve self-activity, but, also, merely to safeguard their very existence. This appropriation is first determined by the object to be appropriated, the productive forces, which have been developed to a totality and which only exist within a universal intercourse. From this aspect alone, therefore, this appropriation must have a universal character corresponding to the productive forces and the intercourse.

The appropriation of these forces is itself nothing more than the development of the individual capacities corresponding to the material instruments of production. The appropriation of a totality of instruments of production is, for this very reason, the development of a totality of capacities in the individuals themselves.

This appropriation is further determined by the persons appropriating. Only the proletarians of the present day, who are completely shut off from all self-activity, are in a position to achieve a complete and no longer restricted self-activity, which consists in the appropriation of a totality of productive forces and in the thus postulated development of a totality of capacities. All earlier revolutionary appropriations were restricted; individuals, whose self-activity was restricted by a crude instrument of production and a limited intercourse, appropriated this crude instrument of production, and hence merely achieved a new state of limitation. Their instrument of production became their property, but they themselves remained subordinate to the division of labour and their own instrument of production. In all expropriations up to now, a mass of individuals remained subservient to a single instrument of production; in the appropriation by the proletarians, a mass of instruments of production must be made subject to each individual, and property to all. Modern universal intercourse can be controlled by individuals, therefore, only when controlled by all.

This appropriation is further determined by the manner in which it must be effected. It can only be effected through a union, which by the character of the proletariat itself can again only be a universal one, and through a revolution, in which, on the one hand, the power of the earlier mode of production and intercourse and social organisation is overthrown, and, on the other hand, there develops the universal character and the energy of the proletariat, without which the revolution cannot be accomplished; and in which, further, the proletariat rids itself of everything that still clings to it from its previous position in society.

Only at this stage does self-activity coincide with material life, which corresponds to the development of individuals into complete individuals and the casting-off of all natural limitations. The transformation of labour into self-activity corresponds to the transformation of the earlier limited intercourse into the intercourse of individuals as such. With the appropriation of the total productive forces through united individuals, private property comes to an end. Whilst previously in history a particular condition always appeared as accidental, now the isolation of individuals and the particular private gain of each man have themselves become accidental.

The individuals, who are no longer subject to the division of labour, have been conceived by the philosophers as an ideal, under the name “Man”. They have conceived the whole process which we have outlined as the evolutionary process of “Man,” so that at every historical stage “Man” was substituted for the individuals and shown as the motive force of history. The whole process was thus conceived as a process of the self-estrangement of “Man,” and this was essentially due to the fact that the average individual of the later stage was always foisted on to the earlier stage, and the consciousness of a later age on to the individuals of an earlier. Through this inversion, which from the first is an abstract image of the actual conditions, it was possible to transform the whole of history into an evolutionary process of consciousness.

The Necessity of the Communist Revolution

Finally, from the conception of history we have sketched we obtain these further conclusions:

(1) In the development of productive forces there comes a stage when productive forces and means of intercourse are brought into being, which, under the existing relationships, only cause mischief, and are no longer productive but destructive forces (machinery and money); and connected with this a class is called forth, which has to bear all the burdens of society without enjoying its advantages, which, ousted from society, is forced into the most decided antagonism to all other classes; a class which forms the majority of all members of society, and from which emanates the consciousness of the necessity of a fundamental revolution, the communist consciousness, which may, of course, arise among the other classes too through the contemplation of the situation of this class.

(2) The conditions under which definite productive forces can be applied are the conditions of the rule of a definite class of society, whose social power, deriving from its property, has its practical-idealistic expression in each case in the form of the State; and, therefore, every revolutionary struggle is directed against a class, which till then has been in power. [4]

(3) In all revolutions up till now the mode of activity always remained unscathed and it was only a question of a different distribution of this activity, a new distribution of labour to other persons, whilst the communist revolution is directed against the preceding mode of activity, does away with labour, and abolishes the rule of all classes with the classes themselves, because it is carried through by the class which no longer counts as a class in society, is not recognised as a class, and is in itself the expression of the dissolution of all classes, nationalities, etc. within present society; and

(4) Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness, and for the success of the cause itself, the alteration of men on a mass scale is, necessary, an alteration which can only take place in a practical movement, a revolution; this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.


1. [Marginal note by Marx:] To begin with it absorbs the branches of labour directly belonging to the State and then all ±[more or less] ideological estates.

2. The Statement which frequently occurs with Saint Max that each is all that he is through the State is fundamentally the same as the statement that bourgeois is only a specimen of the bourgeois species; a statement which presupposes that the class of bourgeois existed before the individuals constituting it. [Marginal note by Marx to this sentence:] With the philosophers pre-existence of the class.

3. N.B. — It must not be forgotten that the serf’s very need of existing and the impossibility of a large-scale economy, which involved the distribution of the allotments among the serfs, very soon reduced the services of the serfs to their lord to an average of payments in kind and statute-labour. This made it possible for the serf to accumulate movable property and hence facilitated his escape out of the possession of his lord and gave him the prospect of making his way as an urban citizen; it also created gradations among the serfs, so that the runaway serfs were already half burghers. It is likewise obvious that the serfs who were masters of a craft had the best chance of acquiring movable property.

4. [Marginal note by Marx:] The people are interested in maintaining the present state of production.



Source MECW Volume 5, pp 94-116 Written: November 1845 — April 1846; First published: 1921; Transcribed by: Andy Blunden.


In the third volume of the Wigand’sche Vierteljahrsschrift for 1845 the battle of the Huns, prophetically portrayed by Kaulbach,[38] actually takes place. The spirits of the slain, whose fury is not appeased even in death, raise a hue and cry, which sounds like the thunder of battles and war-cries, the clatter of swords, shields and iron waggons. But it is not a battle over earthly things. The holy war is being waged not over protective tariffs, the constitution, potato blight, [38] banking affairs and railways, but in the name of the most sacred interests of the spirit, in the name of “substance”, “self-consciousness”, “criticism;’, the “unique” and the “true man”. We are attending a council of church fathers. As these church fathers are the last specimens of their kind, and as here, it is to be hoped, the cause of the Most High, alias the Absolute, is being pleaded for the last time, it is worth while taking a verbatim report of the proceedings.

Here, first of all, is Saint Bruno, who is easily recognised by his stick (“become sensuousness, become a stick”, Wigand, p. 130).’ His head is crowned with a halo of “pure criticism” and, full of contempt for the world, he wraps himself in his “self-consciousness”. He has ‘,smashedreligion in its entirety and the state in its manifestations” (p. 138), by violating the concept of “substance” in the name of the most high self-consciousness. The ruins of the church and “debris” of the state lie at his feet, while his glance “strikes clown” the “masses into the dust. He is like God, he has neither father nor mother, he is “his own creation, his own product” (p. 136). In short, he is the “Napoleon” of the spirit, in spirit he is “Napoleon”. His spiritual exercises consist in constantly “examining himself, and in this self-examination he finds the impulse to self-determination” (p. 136); as a result of such wearisome self-recording he has obviously become emaciated. Besides “examining” himself — from time to time he “examines” also, as we shall see, the Westphälische Dampfboot.

Opposite him stands Saint Max, whose services to the Kingdom of God consist in asserting that he has established and proved — on approximately 600 printed pages [Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum] — his identity, that he is not just anyone, not some “Tom, Dick or Harry”, but precisely Saint Max and no other. About his halo and other marks of distinction only one thing can be said: that they are “his object and thereby his property”, that they are “unique” and “incomparable” and that they are “inexpressible” (p. 148).c He is simultaneously the “phrase” and the “owner of the phrase”, simultaneously Sancho Panza and Don Quixote. His ascetic exercises consist of sour thoughts about thoughtlessness, of considerations throughout many pages about inconsiderateness and of the sanctification of unholiness. Incidentally, there is no need for us to elaborate on his virtues, for concerning all the qualities ascribed to him — even if there were more of them than the. names of God among the Muslims — he is in the habit of saying: I am all this and something more, 1 am the all of this nothing and the nothing of this all. He is favourably distinguished from his gloomy rival in possessing a certain solemn “light-heartedness” and from time to time he interrupts his serious ponderings with a “critical hurrah”.

These two grand masters of the Holy Inquisition summon the heretic Feuerbach, who has to defend himself against the grave charge of gnosticism. The heretic Feuerbach, “thunders” Saint Bruno, is in possession of hyle, substance, and refuses to hand it over lest my infinite self-consciousness be reflected in it. Self-consciousness has to wander like a ghost until it has taken back into itself all things which arise from it and flow into it. It has already swallowed the whole world, except for this hyle, substance, which the gnostic Feuerbach keeps under lock and key and refuses to hand over.

Saint Max accuses the gnostic of doubting the dogma revealed by the mouth of Saint Max himself, the dogma that “every goose, every dog, every horse” is “the perfect, or, if one prefers the superlative degree, the most perfect, man”. (Wigand, p. 187: “The aforesaid does not lack a tittle of what makes man a man. Indeed, the same applies also to every goose, every dog, every, horse.”)

Besides the hearing of these important indictments, sentence is also pronounced in the case brought by the two saints against Moses Hess and in the case brought by Saint Bruno against the authors of Die Heilige Familie. But as these accused have been busying themselves with “worldly affairs” and, therefore, have failed to appear before the Santa Casa, [40] they are sentenced in their absence to eternal banishment from the realm of the spirit for the term of their natural life.

Finally, the two grand masters are again starting some strange intrigues among themselves and against each other.


1. “Campaign” Against Feuerbach

Before turning to the solemn discussion which Bauer’s selfconsciousness has with itself and the world, we should reveal one secret. Saint Bruno uttered the battle-cry and kindled the war only because he had to “safeguard” himself and his stale, soured criticism against the ungrateful forgetfulness of the public, only because he had to show that, in the changed conditions of 1845, criticism always remained itself and unchanged. He wrote the second volume of the “good cause and his own cause” [Bruno Bauer’s article “Charakteristik Ludwig Feuerbachs” is here ironically called the second volume of Bauer’s book Die gute.Sache der Freiheit und meine eigene Angelegenheit — The Good Cause of Freedom and My Own Cause]: he stands his ground, he fights pro aris et focis. [literally: for altars and hearths, used in the sense of: for house and home — that is, pleading his own cause] In the true theological manner, however, he conceals this aim of his by an appearance of wishing to “characterise” Feuerbach. Poor Bruno was quite forgotten, as was best proved by the polemic between Feuerbach and Stirner, [Feuerbach, “Ueber das ‘Wesen des Chrienthums’ in Bezichung auf den ‘Einzigen und sein Eigenthum'”] which no notice at all was taken of him. For just this reason he seized on this polemic in order to be able to proclaim himself, as the antithesis of the antagonists, their higher unity, the Holy Spirit.

Saint Bruno opens his “campaign” with a burst of artillery fire against Feuerbach, that is to say, with a revised and enlarged reprint of an article which had already appeared in the Norddeutsche Blätter. [Bruno Bauer’s article “Ludwig Feuerbach”] Feuerbach is made into a knight of “substance” in order that Bauer’s self-consciousness” shall stand out in stronger relief. In this trans-substantiation of Feuerbach, which is supposed to be proved by all the writings of the latter, our holy man jumps at once from Feuerbach’s writings on Leibniz and Bayle [The reference is to the following works of Feuerbach: Geschichte der neuern Philosophie. Darstellung, Entwirklung und Kritik der Leibnitzischen Philosophie and Pierre Bayle] to the Wesen des Christenthmus, leaving out the article against the “positive philosophers”,[41] in the Hallische Jahrbücher. [Ludwig Feuerbach, “Zur Kritik der ‘positiven Philosophie'”] This “oversight” is “in place”. For there Feuerbach revealed the whole wisdom of “selfconsciousness” as against the positive representatives of “substance”, at a time when Saint Bruno was still indulging in speculation on the immaculate conception.

It is hardly necessary to mention that Saint Bruno still continues to prance about on his old-Hegelian war horse. Listen to the first passage in his latest revelations from the Kingdom of God:

“Hegel combined into one Spinoza’s substance and Fichte’s ego; the unity of both, the combination of these opposing spheres, etc., constitutes the peculiar interest but, at the same time, the weakness of Hegel’s philosophy. [… ] This contradiction in which Hegel’s system was entangled had to be resolved and destroyed. But he could only do this by making it impossible for all time to put the question: what is the relation of self-consciousness to the absolute spirit…. This was possible in two ways. Either self-consciousness had to be burned again in the flames of substance, i.e., the pure substantiality relation had to be firmly established and maintained, or it had to be shown that personality is the creator of its own attributes and essence, that it belongs to the concept of personality in general to posit itself” (the “concept” or the personality”?) “as limited, and again to abolish this limitation which it posits by its universal essence, for precisely this essence is only the result of its inner self-distinction of its activity” (Wigand, pp. 86, 87, 88). [Bruno Bauer, “Charakteristik Ludwig Feuerbachs”]

In Die Heilige Familie (p. 220 ) Hegelian philosophy was represented as a union of Spinoza and Fichte and at the same time the contradiction involved in this was emphasised. The specific peculiarity of Saint Bruno is that, unlike the authors of Die Heilige Familie, he does not regard the question of the relation of selfconsciousness to substance as “a point of controversy within Hegelian speculation”, but as a world-historic, even an absolute question. This is the sole form in which he is capable of expressing the conflicts of the present day. He really believes that the triumph of selfconsciousness over substance has a most essential influence not only on European equilibrium but also on the whole future development of the Oregon problem. As to the extent to which the abolition of the Corn Laws in England depends on it, very little has so far transpired.[42]

The abstract and nebulous expression into which a real collision is distorted by Hegel is held by this “critical” mind to be the real collision itself. Bruno accepts the speculative contradiction and upholds one part of it against the other. A philosophical phrase about a real question is for him the real question itself. Consequently, on the one hand, instead of real people and their real consciousness of their social relations, which apparently confront them as something independent, he has the mere abstract expression: self-consciousness, just as, instead of real production, he has the activity of this self-consciousness, which has become independent. On the other hand, instead of real nature and the actually existing social relations, he has the philosophical summing-up of all the philosophical categories or names of these relations in the expression:substance; for Bruno, along with all philosophers and ideologists, erroneously regards thoughts and ideas — the independent intellectual expression of the existing world — as the basis of this existing world. It is obvious that with these two abstractions, which have become senseless and empty, he can perform all kinds of tricks without knowing anything at all about real people and their relations. (See, in addition, what is said about substance in connection with Feuerbach and concerning “humane liberalism” and the “holy” in connection with Saint Max.) Hence, he does not forsake the speculative basis in order to solve the contradictions of speculation; he manoeuvres while remaining on that basis, and he himself still stands so much on the specifically Hegelian basis that the relation of “self-consciousness” to the “absolute spirit” still gives him no peace. In short, we are confronted with the philosophy of self-consciousness that was announced in the der Synoptiker, carried out in Das entdenckte Christenthum and which, unfortunately, was long ago anticipated in Hegel’s Phänomenologie. This new philosophy of Bauer’s was completely disposed of in Die Heilige Familie on page 220 et seq. and on pages 304-07. Here, however, Saint Bruno even contrives to caricature himself by smuggling in “personality”, in order to be able, with Stirner, to portray the single individual as “his own product”, andStirner as Bruno’s product. This step forward deserves a brief notice.

First of all, let the reader compare this caricature with the original, the explanation given of self-consciousness in Das entdeckte Christenthum, page 113, and then let him compare this explanation with its prototype, with Hegel’s Phänomenologie, pages 575, 583 and so on. (Both these passages are reproduced in Die Heilige Familie, pages 221, 223, 224.) But now let us turn to the caricature! “Personality in general”! “Concept”! “Universal essence”! “To posit itself as limited and again to abolish the limitation”! “Inner self-distinction”! What tremendous “results”! “Personality ‘it general” is either nonsense “in general” or the abstract concept of personality. Therefore, it is part of the “concept” of the concept of personality to “posit itself as limited”. This limitation, which belongs to the “concept” of its concept, personality directly afterwards posits “by its universal essence”. And after it has again abolished this limitation, it turns out that “precisely this essence” is “the result of its inner self-distinction”. The entire grandiose result of this intricate tautology amounts, therefore, to Hegel’s familiar trick of the self-distinction of man in thought, a self-distinction which the unfortunate Bruno stubbornly proclaims to be the sole activity of “personality in general”. A fairly long time ago it was pointed out to Saint Bruno that there is nothing to be got from a “personality” whose activity is restricted to these, by now trivial, logical leaps. At the same time the passage quoted contains the naive admission that the essence of Bauer’s “personality” is the concept of a concept, the abstraction of an abstraction.

Bruno’s criticism of Feuerbach, insofar as It is new, is restricted to hypocritically representing Stirner’s reproaches against Feuerbach and Baueras Bauer’s reproaches against Feuerbach. Thus, for example, the assertions that the “essence of man is essence in general and something holy”, that “man is the God of man”, that the human species is “the Absolute”, that Feuerbach splits man “into an essential and an inessential ego” (although Bruno always declares that the abstract is the essential and, in his antithesis of criticism and the mass, conceives this split as far more monstrous than Feuerbach does), that a struggle must be waged against the “predicates of God”, etc. On the question of selfish and selfless love, Bruno, polemising with Feuerbach, copies Stirner almost word for word for three pages (pp. 133-35) just as he very clumsily copies Stirner’s phrases: “every man is his own creation”, “truth is a ghost”, and so on. In addition, in Bruno the “creation” is transformed into a “product”. We shall return to this exploitation of Stirner by Saint Bruno.

Thus, the first thing that we discovered in Saint Bruno was his continual dependence on Hegel. We shall not, of course, dwell further on the remarks he has copied from Hegel, but shall only put together a few more passages which show how firmly he believes in the power of the philosophers and how he shares their illusion that a modified consciousness, a new turn given to the interpretation of existing relations, could overturn the whole hitherto existing world. imbued with this faith, Saint Bruno also has one of his pupils certify — in issue IV of Wigand’s quarterly, p. 327 — that his phrases on personality given above, which were proclaimed by him in issue III, were “world-shattering ideas”.[“Ueber das Recht des Freigesprochenen…”]

Saint Bruno says (Wigand, p. 95) [Bruno Bauer, “Charakteristik Ludwig Feuerbachs”]

“Philosophy has never been anything but theology reduced to its most general form and given its most rational expression.”

This passage, aimed against Feuerbach, is copied almost word for word from Feuerbach’s Philosophie der Zukunft (p. 2):

“Speculative philosophy is true, consistent, rational theology.”

Bruno continues:

Philosophy, in alliance with religion, has always striven for the absolute dependence of the individual and has actually achieved this by demanding and causing the absorption of the individual life in universal life, of the accident in substance, of man in the absolute spirit.

As if Bruno’s “philosophy”, “in alliance with” Hegel’s, and his still continuing forbidden association with theology, did not “demand”, if not “cause”, the “absorption of man” in the idea of one of his “accidents”, that of self-consciousness, as “substance”! Moreover, one sees from this whole passage with what joy the church father with his “pulpit eloquence” continues to proclaim his “world-shattering” faith in the mysterious power of the holy theologians and philosophers. Of course, in the interests of the “good cause of freedom and his own cause”. [ironical allusion to Bauer’s book Die gute Sache der Freiheit und meine eigene Angelegenheit]

On page 105 our god-fearing man has the insolence to reproach Feuerbach:

“Feuerbach made of the individual, of the depersonalised man of Christianity, not a man, not a true” (!) “real” (!!) “personal” (!!!) “man” (these predicates owe their origin to Die Heilige Familie and Stirner), “but an emasculated man, a slave” — and thereby utters, inter alia, the nonsense that he, Saint Bruno, can make people by means of the mind.

Further on in the same passage he says:

According to Feuerbach the individual has to subordinate himself to the species, serve it. The species of which Feuerbach speaks is Hegel’s Absolute, and it, too, exists nowhere.

Here, as in all the other passages, Saint Bruno does not deprive himself of the glory of making the actual relations of individuals dependent on the philosophical interpretation of these relations. He has not the slightest inkling of the correlation which exists between the concepts of Hegel’s “absolute spirit” and Feuerbach’s “species” on the one hand and the existing world on the other.

On page 104 the holy father is mightily shocked by the heresy with which Feuerbach transforms the holy trinity of reason, love and will into something that “is in individuals and over individuals”, as though, in our day, every inclination, every impulse, every need did not assert itself as a force “in the individual and over the individual”, whenever circumstances hinder their satisfaction. If the holy father Bruno experiences hunger, for example, without the means of appeasing it, then even his stomach will become a force “in him and over him”. Feuerbach’s mistake is not that he stated this fact but that in idealistic fashion he endowed it with independence instead of regarding it as the product of a definite and surmountable stage of historical development.

Page 111: ‘Feuerbach is a slave and his servile nature does not allow him to fulfil the work of a man, to recognise the essence of religion” (what a fine “work of a man”!)……. He does not perceive the essence of religion because he does not know the bridge over which he can make his way to the source of religion.’

Saint Bruno still seriously believes that religion has its own “essence”. As for the “bridge”, “over which” one makes one’s way to the “source of religion”, this asses’ bridge [a pun in the original: Eselsbrücke — asses’ bridge — an expedient used by dull or lazy people to understand a difficult problem] must certainly be an aqueduct. At the same time Saint Bruno establishes himself as a curiously modernised Charon who has been retired owing to the building of the bridge, becoming a toll-keeper who demands a halfpenny from every person crossing the bridge to the spectral realm of religion.

On page 120 the saint remarks:

How could Feuerbach exist if there were no truth and truth were only a spectre” (Stirner, help!’) “of which hitherto man has been afraid?

The “man” who fears the “spectre” of “truth” is no other than the worthy Bruno himself. Ten pages earlier, on p. 110, he had already let out the following world-shattering cry of terror at the sight of the “spectre” of truth:

Truth which is never of itself encountered as a ready-made object and which develops itself and reaches unity only in the unfolding of personality.

Thus, we have here not only truth, this spectre, transformed into a person which develops itself and reaches unity, but in addition this trick is accomplished in a third personality outside it, after the manner of the tapeworm. Concerning the holy man’s former love affair with truth, when he was still young and the lusts of the flesh still strong in him — see Die Heilige Familie, p. 115 et seq.’

How purified of all fleshly lusts and earthly desires our holy man now appears is shown by his vehement polemic against Feuerbach’ssensuousness. Bruno by no means attacks the highly restricted way in which Feuerbach recognises sensuousness. He regards Feuerbach’s unsuccessful attempt, since it is an attempt to escape ideology, as — a sin. Of course! Sensuousness is lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and arrogance [cf. 1 John 2:16] — horror and abomination [cf. Ezekiel 11:18] in the eyes of the Lord! Do you not know that to be fleshly minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace; for to be fleshly, minded is hostility to criticism, and everything of the flesh is of this world. And do you not know that it is written: the works of the flesh are manifest, they are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, obscenity, idolatry, witchcraft, enmity, strife, envy, anger, quarrelsomeness, discord, sinful gangs, hatred, murder, drunkenness, gluttony and the like. [cf. Galatians 5:19-21] I prophesy to you, as I prophesied before, that those who do such works will not inherit the kingdom of criticism; but woe to them for in their thirst for delights they are following the path of Cain and are falling into the error of Balaam, and will perish in a rebellion, like that of Korah. These lewd ones feast shamelessly on your alms, and fatten themselves. They are clouds without water driven by the wind; bare, barren trees, twice dead and uprooted; wild ocean waves frothing their own shame; errant stars condemned to the gloom of darkness for ever. [cf. Jude 11-13] For we have read that in the last days there will be terrible times, people will appear who think much of themselves, lewd vilifiers who love voluptuousness [cf. 2 Timothy 3:1-4] more than criticism, makers of sinful gangs, in short, slaves of the flesh. Such people are shunned by Saint Bruno, who is spiritually minded and loathes the stained covering of the flesh [cf. Jude 23] and for this reason he condemns Feuerbach, whom he regards as the Korah of the gang, to remain outside together with the dogs, the magicians, the debauched and the assassins. [cf. Revelation 22:15] “Sensuousness” — ugh! Not only does it throw the saintly church father into the most violent convulsions, but it even makes him sing, and on page 121 he chants the “song of the end and the end of the song”. Sensuousness — do you know, unfortunate one, what sensuousness is? Sensuousness is — a “stick” (p. 130). Seized with convulsions, Saint Bruno even wrestles on one occasion with one of his own theses, just as Jacob of blessed memory wrestled with God, with the one difference that God twisted Jacob’s thigh, while our saintly epileptic twists all the limbs and ties of his own thesis, and so, by a number of striking examples, makes clear the identity of subject and object:

‘Feuerbach may say what he likes … all the same he destroys’ (!) ‘man… for he transforms the word man into a mere phrase … for he does not wholly make” and create’ (!) ‘man, but raises the whole of mankind to the Absolute, for in addition he declares not mankind, but rather the senses to be the organ of the Absolute, and stamps the sensuous — the object of the senses, of perception, of sensation — as the Absolute, the indubitable and the immediately certain. Whereby Feuerbach — such is Saint Bruno’s opinion — ‘can undoubtedly shake layers of the air, but he cannot smash the phenomena of human essence, because his innermost’ (!) ‘essence and his vitalising spirit […] already destroys the external” (!) “sound and makes it empty and jarring’ (p. 121).

Saint Bruno himself gives us mysterious but decisive disclosures about the causes of his nonsensical attitude:

‘As though my ego does not also possess just this particular sex, unique, compared with all others, and these particular, unique sex organs,’ (Besides his “unique sex organs”, this noble-minded man also possesses a special “unique sex”!)

This unique sex is explained on page 121 in the sense that:

sensuousness, like a vampire, sucks all the marrow and blood from the life of man; it is the insurmountable barrier against which man has to deal himself a mortal blow.

But even the saintliest man is not pure! They are all sinners and lack the glory that they should have before “self-consciousness”. Saint Bruno, who in his lonely cell at midnight struggles with “substance”, has his attention drawn by the frivolous writings of the heretic Feuerbach to women and female beauty. Suddenly his sight becomes less keen; his pure self-consciousness is besmirched, and a reprehensible, sensuous fantasy plays about the frightened critic with lascivious images. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. [cf. Matthew 26:41] Bruno stumbles, he falls, he forgets that he is the power that “with its strength binds, frees and dominates the world”, [cf. ibid. 16:19] he forgets that these products of his imagination are “spirit of his spirit”, he loses all “self-control” and, intoxicated, stammers a dithyramb to female beauty, to its “tenderness, softness, womanliness”, to the “full and rounded limbs” and the “surging, undulatingseething, rushing and hissing, wave-like structure of the body” of woman. Innocence, however, always reveals itself — even where it sins. Who does not know that a “surging, undulating, wave-like structure of the body” is Something that no eye has ever seen, or ear heard? Therefore — hush, sweet soul, the spirit will soon prevail over the rebellious flesh and set an insurmountable “barrier” to the overflowing, seething lusts, “against which” they will soon deal themselves a “mortal blow”.

“Feuerbach” — the saint finally arrives at this through a critical understanding of Die Heilige Familie — “is a materialist tempered with and corrupted by humanism, i.e., a materialist who is unable to endure the earth and its being” (Saint Bruno knows the being of the earth as distinct from the earth itself, and knows how one should behave in order to “endure the being of the earth”!) “but wants to spiritualism himself and rise into heaven; and at the same time he is a humanist who cannot think and build a spiritual world, but one who is impregnated with materialism”, and so on (p. 123).

Just as for Saint Bruno humanism, according to this, consists in thinking” and in “building a spiritual world”, so materialism consists in the following:

‘The materialist recognises only the existing, actual being, matter’ (as though man with all his attributes, including thought, were not an “existing, actual being”), ‘and recognises it as actively extending and realising itself in multiplicity, nature’ (p. 123).

First, matter is an existing, actual being, but only in itself, concealed; only when it “actively extends and realises itself in multiplicity” (an “existing,actual being” “realises itself”!!), only then does it become nature. First there exists the concept of matter, an abstraction, an idea, and this latter realises itself in actual nature. Word for word the Hegelian theory of the pre-existence of the creative categories. From this point of view it is understandable that Saint Bruno mistakes the philosophical phrases of the materialists concerning matter for the actual kernel and content of their world outlook.

2. Saint Bruno’s Views on the Struggle Between Feuerbach and Stirner

Having thus admonished Feuerbach with a few weighty words, Saint Bruno takes a look at the struggle between Feuerbach and the unique. The first evidence of his interest in this struggle is a methodical, triple smile.

The critic pursues his path irresistibly, confident of victory, and victorious. He is slandered — he smiles. He is called a heretic — he smiles. The old world starts a crusade against him — he smiles.

Saint Bruno — this is thus established — pursues his path but he does not pursue it like other people, he follows a critical course, he accomplishes this important action with a smile.

He does smile his face into more lines than are in the new map, with the augmentation of the Indies. 1 know my lady will strike him: if she do, he’ll smile and take it for a great art, [Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act III, Scene 2. Marx and Engels quote these lines front the German translation by August Wilhelm von Schlegel. But they have substituted the word Kunst (art) for the word Gunst (favour)] — like Shakespeare’s Malvolio.

Saint Bruno himself does not lift a finger to refute his two opponents, he knows a better way of ridding himself of them, he leaves them — divide et impera — to their own quarrel. He confronts Stirner with Feuerbach’s man (p. 124), and Feuerbach with Stirner’s unique (p. 126 et seq.); he knows that they are as incensed against each other as the two Kilkenny cats in Ireland, which so completely devoured each other that finally only their tails remained. [43] And Saint Bruno passes sentence on these tails, declaring that they are “substance” and, consequently, condemned to eternal damnation.

In confronting Feuerbach with Stirner he repeats what Hegel said of Spinoza and Fichte, where, as we know, the punctiform ego is represented as one, and moreover the most stable, aspect of substance. However much Bruno formerly raged against egoism, which he even considered theodor specificus of the masses, on page 129 he accepts egoism from Stirner — only this should be “not that of Max Stirner”, but, of course, that of Bruno Bauer. He brands Stirner’s egoism as having the moral defect “that his ego for the support of its egoism requires hypocrisy, deception, external violence”. For the rest, be believes (see p. 124) in the critical miracles of Saint Max and sees in the latter’s struggle (p. 126) “a real effort to radically destroy substance”. Instead of dealing with Stirner’s criticism of Bauer’s “pure criticism”, he asserts on p. 124 that Stirner’s criticism could affect him just as little as any other, “because he himself is the critic”.

Finally Saint Bruno refutes both of thein, Saint Max and Feuerbach, applying almost literally to Feuerbach and Stirner the antithesis drawn by Stirner between the critic Bruno Bauer and the dogmatist.

Wigand, p. 138: ‘Feuerbach puts himself in opposition to, and thereby’ (!) ‘stands in opposition to, the unique. He is a communist and wants to be one. The unique is an egoist and has to he one; he is the holy one, the other the profane one, he is the good one, the other theevil one, he is God, the other is man. Both are dogmatists.’

The point is, therefore, that he accuses both of dogmatism.

Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum, p. 194: ‘The critic is afraid of becoming dogmatic or of putting forward dogmas. Obviously, he would then become the opposite of a critic, a dogmatist; he who as a critic was good, would now become evil, or from being unselfish’ (a Communist) ‘would become an egoist, etc. Not a single dogma! — that is his dogma.’

3. Saint Bruno Versus the Authors of Die Heilige Familie

Saint Bruno, who has disposed of Feuerbach and Stirner in the manner indicated and who has “cut the unique off from all progress”, now turns against the apparent “consequences of Feuerbach”, the German Communists and, especially, the authors of Die Heilige Familie. The expression “real humanism”, which he found in the preface to this polemic treatise, provides the main basis of his hypothesis. He will recall a passage from the Bible:

‘And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal’ (in our case it was just the opposite), ‘even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it’ (1 Corinthians, 3: 1-2).

The first impression that Die Heilige Familie made on the worthy church father was one of profound distress and serious, respectable sorrow. The one good side of the book is that it ‘showed what Feuerbach had to become, and the position his philosophy can adopt, if it desires to fight against criticism’ (p. 138), that, consequently, it combined in an easy-going way “desiring” with “what can be” and “what must he”, but this good side does not out-weigh its many distressing sides. Feuerbach’s philosophy, which strangely enough is presupposed here, ‘dare not and cannot understand the critic, dare not and cannot know and perceive criticism in its development, dare not and cannot know that, in relation to all that is transcendental, criticism is a constant struggle and victory, a continual destruction and creation, the sole’ (!) ‘creative and productive principle. It dare not and cannot know how the critic has worked, and still works, to posit and to make” (!) ‘the transcendental forces, which up to now have suppressed mankind and not allowed it to breathe and live, into what they really are, the spirit of the spirit, the innermost of the innermost, a native thing’ (!) ‘out of and in the native soil, products and creations of self-consciousness. Itdare not and cannot know that the critic and only the critic has smashed religion in its entirety, and the state in its various manifestations, etc.’ (pp. 138,139).

Is this not an exact copy of the ancient Jehovah, who runs after his errant people who found greater delight in the cheerful pagan gods, and cries out:

Hear me, Israel, and close not your ear, Judah! Am I not the Lord your God, who led you out of the land of Egypt into the land flowing with milk and honey, and behold, from your earliest youth you have done evil in my sight and angered me with the work of my hands and turned your back unto me and not your face towards me, though 1 invariably tutored you; and you have brought abominations into my house to defile it, and built the high places of Baal in the valley of the son of Himmon, which 1 did not command, and it never entered my head that you should do such abominations; and 1 have sent to you my servant Jeremiah, to whom I did address my word, beginning with the thirteenth year of the reign of King Josiah, son of Amon, unto this day — and for twenty-three years now he has been zealously preaching to you, but ye have not harkened. Therefore says the Lord God: Who has ever heard the like of the virgin of Israel doing such an abomination. For rain water does not disappear so quickly as my people forgets me. 0 earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord! [cf. Jeremiah 2:6, 32:22, 30, 33-35, 25:3, 19:3, 18:13, 14, 22:29]

Thus, in a lengthy speech on “to dare” and “to be able”, Saint Bruno asserts that his communist opponents have misunderstood him. The way in which he describes criticism in this recent speech, the way in which he transforms the former forces that suppressed ‘’the life of mankind” into “transcendental forces”, and these transcendental forces into the “spirit of the spirit”, and the way in which he presents “criticism” as the sole branch of production proves that the apparent misconception is nothing but a disagreeable conception. We proved that Bauer’s criticism is beneath all criticism, owing to which we have inevitably become dogmatists. He even in all seriousness reproaches us for our insolent disbelief in his ancient phrases. The whole mythology of independent concepts, with Zeus the Thunderer — self-consciousness — at the head, is paraded here once again to the ‘jingling of hackneyed phrases of a whole janissary band of current categories’. (Literatur-Zeitung, cf. Die Heilige Familie, p. 234). First of all, of course, the myth of the creation of the world, i.e., of the hard “1abour” of the critic, which is “the sole creative and productive principle, a constant struggle and victory, a continual destruction and creation”, “working” and “having worked”. Indeed, the reverend father even reproaches Die Heilige Familie for understanding “criticism” in the same way as he understands it himself in the present rejoinder. After taking back “substance” ‘into the land of its birth, self-consciousness, the criticising and’ (since Die Heilige Familie also) ‘the criticised man, and discarding it’ (self-consciousness here seems to take the place of an ideological lumber-room), he continues:

‘It’ (the alleged philosophy of Feuerbach) dare not know that criticism and the critics, as long as they have existed’ (!) ‘have guided and made history, that even their opponents and all the movements and agitations of the present time are their creation, that it is they alone who hold power in their hands, because strength is in their consciousness, and because they derive power from themselves, from their deeds, from criticism, from’ their opponents, from their creations; that only by the act of criticism is man freed. and thereby men also, and man iscreated (!) ‘and thereby mankind as well’.

Thus, criticism and the critics are first of all two wholly different subjects, existing and operating apart from each other. The critic is a subject different from criticism, and criticism is a subject different from the critic. This personified criticism, criticism as a subject, is precisely that “ critical criticism” against which Die Heilige Familie was directed. “Criticism and the critics, as long as they have existed, have guided and made history.” It is clear that they could not do so “as long as they” did not “exist”, and it is equally clear that “as long as they have existed” they “made history” in their own fashion. Finally, Saint Bruno goes so far as to “dare and be able” to give us one of the most profound explanations about the state-shattering power of criticism, namely, that “criticism and the critics hold power in their hands, because” (a fine “because”!) “strength is in their consciousness”, and, secondly, that these great manufacturers of history “hold power in their hands”, because they “derive power from themselves and from criticism” (i.e., again from themselves) — whereby it is still, unfortunately, not proven that it is possible to “derive” anything at all from there, from “themselves”, from “criticism”. On the basis of criticism’s own words, one should at least believe that it must be difficult to “derive” from there anything more than the category of “substance” “discarded” there. Finally, criticism also “derives” “from criticism” “power” for a highly monstrous oracular dictum. For it reveals to us a secret that was hidden [cf. Colossians 1 :26] from our fathers and unknown to our grandfathers, the secret that “only by the act of criticism is man created, and thereby mankind as well” — whereas, up to now, criticism was erroneously regarded as an act of people who existed prior to it owing to quite different acts. Hence it seems that Saint Bruno himself came “into the world, from the world, and to the world” through “criticism”, i.e., by generatio aequiioca [spontaneous generation]. All this is, perhaps, merely another interpretation of the following passage from the Book of Genesis: And Adam knew, i.e., criticised, Eve his wife: and she conceived, [cf. Genesis 4: 1] etc.

Thus we see here the whole familiar critical criticism, which was already sufficiently characterised in Die Heilige Familie, confronting us again with all its trickery as though nothing had happened. There is no need to be surprised at this, for the saint himself complains, on page 140, thatDie Heilige Familie “cuts criticism off from all progress”. With the greatest indignation Saint Bruno reproaches the authors of Die Heilige Familie because, by means of a chemical process, they evaporated Bauer’s criticism from its “fluid” state into a crystalline” state.

It follows that “institutions of mendicancy”, the “baptismal certificate of adulthood”, the “regions of pathos and thunder-like aspects”, the “Mussulman conceptual affliction” (Die Heilige Familie, pp. 2, 3, 4 according to the critical Literatur-Zeitung) — all this is nonsense only if it is understood in the “crystalline” manner. And the twenty-eight historical howlers of which criticism was proved guilty in its excursion on “Englische Tagesfragen” [article by Julius Faucher] — are they not errors when looked at from the “fluid” point of view? Does criticism insist that, from the fluid point of view, it prophesied a priori the Nauwerck conflict [44] — long after this had taken place before its eyes — and did not construct it post festum? Does it still insist that the word marichal could mean “farrier” from the “crystalline” point of view, but from the “fluid” point of view at any rate must mean marshal”? Or that although in the “crystalline” conception “un fait physique” may mean “a physical fact”, the true “fluid” translation should be “a fact of physics”? Or that “la malveillance de nos bourgeois juste-milieux” [the ill will of our middle-of-the-road bourgeois] in the “fluid” state still means “the care-freeness of our good burghers”? Does it insist that, from the “fluid” point of view, “a child that does not, in its turn, become a father or mother is essentially a daughter”? That someone can have the task “of representing, as it were, the last tear of grief shed by the past”? That the various concierges, lions, grisettes, marquises, scoundrels and wooden doors in Paris in their “fluid” form are nothing but phases of the mystery “in whose concept in general it belongs to posit itself as limited and again to abolish this limitation which is posted by its universal essence, for precisely this essence is only the result of its inner self-distinction, its activity”[Bruno Bauer, “Charakteristik Ludwig Feuerbachs”]? That critical criticism in the “fluid” sense “pursues its path irresistibly, victorious and confident of victory”, when in dealing with a question it first asserts that it has revealed its “true and general significance” and then admits that it “had neither the will nor the right to go beyond criticism”, and finally admits that “it had still to take one step but that step was impossible because — it was impossible” (Die Heilige Familie, p. 184)? That from the “fluid” point of view “the future is still the work” of criticism, although “fate may decide as it will”[B. Bauer, “Neueste Schriften Über die Judenfrage”]? That from the fluid point of view criticism achieved nothing superhuman when it “came into contradiction with its true elements — a contradiction which had already found its solution in these same elements [ B. Bauer, “Was ist jetzt der Gegenstand der Kritik?”]?

The authors of Die Heilige Familie have indeed committed the frivolity of conceiving these and hundreds of other statements as statements expressing firm, “crystalline” nonsense — but the synoptic gospels should be read in a “fluid” way, i.e., according to the sense of their authors. and on no account in a “crystalline” way, e., according to their actual nonsense, in order to arrive at true faith and to admire the harmony of the critical household.

‘Engels and Marx, therefore, know only the criticism of the Literatur-Zeitung’ [Bruno Bauer, “Charakteristik Ludwig Feuerbachs”]

— a deliberate lie, proving how “fluidly” our saint has read a book in which his latest works are depicted merely as the culmination of all the ‘work he has done’. But the church father lacked the calm to read in a crystalline way, for he fears his opponents as rivals who contest his canonisation and ‘want to deprive him of his sanctity, in order to make themselves sanctified’.

Let us, incidentally, note the fact that, according to Saint Bruno’s present statement, his Literatur-Zeitung by no means aimed at founding “social society” or at “representing, as it were, the last tear of grief” shed by German ideology, nor did it aim at putting mind in the sharpest opposition to the mass and developing critical criticism in all its purity, but only — at “depicting the liberalism and radicalism of 1842 and their echoes in their half-heartedness and phrase-mongering”, hence at combating the “echoes” of what has long disappeared. Tant de bruit pour une omelette![Much ado about an omelette! An exclamation which Jacques Vallé, Sieur des Barreaux, is supposed to have made when a thunderstorm occurred while he was eating an omelette on a fast-day] Incidentally, it is just here that the conception of history peculiar to German theory is again shown in its “purest” light. The year 1842 is held to be the period of the greatest brilliance of German liberalism, because at that time philosophy took part in politics. Liberalism vanishes for the critic with the cessation of the Deutsche Jahrbücher and the Rheinische Zeitung, the organs of liberal and radical theory. After that, apparently, there remain only the “echoes” — whereas in actual fact only now, when the German bourgeoisie feels a real need for political power, a need produced by economic relations, and is striving to satisfy has liberalism in Germany an actual existence and thereby 1 the chance of some success.

Saint Bruno’s profound distress over Die Heilige Familie did not allow him to criticise this work “out of himself, through himself and with himself”. To be able to master his pain he had first to obtain the work in a “fluid” form. He found this fluid form in a confused review, teeming with misunderstandings, in the Westphälische Dampfboot, May issue, pp. 206-14 All his quotations are taken from passages quoted in theWestphälische Dampfboot and he quotes nothing that is not quoted there.

The language of the saintly critic is likewise determined by the language of the Westphalian critic. In the first place, all the statements from the Foreword which are quoted by the Westphalian (Dampfboot, p. 206) are transferred to the Wigand’sche Vierteljahrsschrift (pp. 140, 141). This transference forms the chief part of Bauer’s criticism, according to the old principle already recommended by Hegel:

To trust common sense and, moreover, in order to keep up with the times and advance with philosophy, to read reviews of philosophical works, perhaps even their prefaces and introductory paragraphs; for the latter give the general principles on which everything turns, while the former give, along with the historical information, also an appraisal which, because it is an appraisal, even goes beyond that which is appraised This beaten track can be followed in one’s dressing-gown; but the elevated feeling of the eternal, the sacred, the infinite, pursues its path in the vestments of a high priest, a path” which, as we have seen, Saint Bruno also knows how to “pursue” while “striking down” (Hegel, Phänomenologie, p. 54).

The Westphalian critic, after giving a few quotations from the preface, continues:

Thus the preface itself leads to the battlefield of the book, etc. (p. 206).

The saintly critic, having transferred these quotations into the Wigand’sche Vierteljahrsschrift, makes a more subtle distinction and says:

Such is the terrain and the enemy which Engels and Marx have created for battle.

From the discussion of the critical proposition: ‘the worker creates nothing’, the Westphalian critic gives only the summarising conclusion.

The saintly critic actually believes that this is all that was said about the proposition, copies out the Westphalian quotation on page 141 and rejoices at the discovery that only “assertions” have been put forward in opposition to criticism.

Of the examination of the critical outpourings about love, the Westphalian critic on page 209 first writes out the corpus delicti in part and then a few disconnected sentences from the refutation, which he desires to use as an authority for his nebulous, sickly-sweet sentimentality.

On pages 141-42 the saintly critic copies him out word for word, sentence by sentence, in the same order as his predecessor quotes.

The Westphalian critic exclaims over the corpse of Herr Julius Faucher: ‘Such is the fate of the beautiful on earth!’. [Schiller. Wallenstein’s Tod, Act IV, Scene 12]

The saintly critic cannot finish his “hard work” without appropriating this exclamation to use irrelevantly on page 142.

The Westphalian critic on page 212 gives a would-be summary of the arguments which are aimed against Saint Bruno himself in Die Heilige Familie.

The saintly critic cheerfully and literally copies out all this stuff together with all the Westphalian exclamations. He has not the slightest idea thatnowhere in the whole of this polemic discourse does anyone reproach hint for ‘transforming the problem of political emancipation into that of human emancipation’, for ‘wanting to kill the Jews’, for ‘transforming the Jews into theologians’, for ‘transforming Hegel into Herr Hinrichs’, etc. Credulously, the saintly critic repeats the Westphalian critic’s allegation that in Die Heilige Familie Marx volunteers to provide some sort of little scholastic treatise ‘in reply to Bauer’s silly self-apotheosis’. Yet the words ‘silly self-apotheosis’, which Saint Bruno gives as a quotation, are nowhere to be found in the whole of Die Heilige Familie, but they do occur with the Westphalian critic. Nor is the little treatise offered as a reply to the ‘self-apology’ of criticism on pages 150-63 of Die Heilige Familie, but only in the following section on page 165, in connection with the world-historic question: ‘Why did Herr Bauer have to engage in politics?’

Finally on page 143 Saint Bruno presents Marx as an ‘amusing comedian’, here again following his Westphalian model, who resolved the ‘world-historic drama of critical criticism’, on page 213, into a most amusing comedy’.

Thus one sees how the opponents of critical criticism ‘dare and can’ ‘know how the critic has worked, and still works’!

4. Obituary For “M. Hess”

‘What Engels and Marx could not yet do, M. Hess has accomplished.’

Such is the great, divine transition which — owing to the relative ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ be done of the evangelists — has taken so firm a hold of the holy man’s fingers that it has to find a place, relevantly or irrelevantly, in every article of the church father.

‘What Engels and Marx could not yet do, M. Hess has accomplished.’ But what is this ‘what’ that ‘Engels and Marx could not yet do’? Nothing more nor less, indeed, than — to criticise Stirner. And why was it that Engels and Marx ‘could not yet’ criticise Stirner? For the sufficient reason that — Stirner’s book had not yet appeared when they wrote Die Heilige Familie.

This speculative trick — of joining together everything and bringing the most diverse things into an apparent causal relation — has truly taken possession not only of the head of our saint but also of his fingers. With him it has become devoid of any contents and degenerates into a burlesque manner of uttering tautologies with an important mien. For example, already in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1, 5) we read:

‘The difference between my work and the pages which, for example, a Philippson covers with writing’ (that is, the empty pages on which, ‘for example, a Philippson’ writes) ‘must, therefore, be so constituted as in fact it is!!! [Bauer, ‘Neueste Schriften über die Judenfrage’]

“M. Hess’, for whose writings Engels and Marx take absolutely no responsibility, seems such a strange phenomenon to the saintly critic that he is only capable of copying long excerpts from Die letzten Philosophen and passing the judgment that ‘on some points this criticism has not understood Feuerbach or also’ (O theology!) ‘the vessel wishes to rebel against the potter’. Cf. Epistle to the Romans, 9: 20-21. Having once more performed the ‘hard work’ of quoting, our saintly critic finally arrives at the conclusion that Hess copies from Hegel, since he uses the two words ‘united’ and ‘development’. Saint Bruno, of course, had in a round-about way to try to turn against Feuerbach the proof given in Die Heilige Familie of his own complete dependence on Hegel.

‘See, that is how Bauer had to end! He fought as best he could against all the Hegelian categories’, with the exception of selfconsciousness — particularly in the glorious struggle of the Literatur-Zeitung against Herr Hinrichs. How he fought and conquered them we have already seen. For good measure, let us quote Wigand, page 110, where he asserts that

the “true” (1) “solution” (2) “of contradictions” (3) “in nature and history” (4), the “true unity” (5) “of separate relations” (6), the “genuine” (7) “basis” (8) “and abyss” (9) “of religion, the truly infinite” (10), “irresistible, self-creative” (11) “personality” (12) “has not yet been found”.

These three lines contain not two doubtful Hegelian categories, as in the case of Hess, but a round dozen of “true, infinite, irresistible” Hegelian categories which reveal themselves as such by ‘,the true unity of separate relations” — “see, that is how Bauer had to end”! And if the holy man thinks that in Hess he has discovered a Christian believer, not because Hess “hopes” — as Bruno says — but because he does not hope and because he talks of the “resurrection”, then our great church father enables us, on the basis of this same page 1 10, to demonstrate his very pronounced Judaism. He declares there

‘that the true, living man in the flesh has not yet been born’!!! (a new elucidation about the determination of the ‘unique sex’) ‘and the mongrel produced’ (Bruno Bauer?!?) “is not yet a le to master all dogmatic formulas’, etc.

That is to say, the Messiah is not yet born, the son of man has first to come into the world and this world, being the world of the Old Testament, is still under the rod of the law, of ‘dogmatic formulas’.

Just as Saint Bruno, as shown above, made use of ‘Engels and Marx’ for a transition to Hess, so now the latter serves him to bring Feuerbach finally into causal connection with his excursions on Stirner, Die heilige Familie and Die letzten Philosophen.

‘See, that is how Feuerba.ch had to end!’ ‘Philosophy had to end piously’, etc. (Wigand, p. 145.)

The true causal connection, however, is that this exclamation is an imitation of a passage from Hess’ Die letzten Philosophen aimed against Bauer, among others (Preface, p. 4):

Thus, [… ] and in no other way had the last offspring of the Christian ascetics to take farewell of the world.

Saint Bruno ends his speech for the prosecution against Feuerbach and his alleged accomplices with the reproach to Feuerbach that all he can do is to ‘trumpet’, to ‘blow blasts on a trumpet’, whereas Monsieur B. Bauer or Madame la critique, the ‘mongrel produced’, to say nothing of the continual ‘destruction’, ‘drives forth in his triumphal chariot and gathers new triumphs’ (p. 125), ‘hurls down from the throne’ (p. 119), “slays” (p. 111), ‘strikes down like thunder’ (p. 115), ‘destroys once and for all’ (p. 120), ‘shatters’ (p. 121), allows nature merely to ‘vegetate’ (p. 120), builds ‘stricter’ (!) ‘prisons’ (p. 104) and, finally, with ‘crushing’ pulpit eloquence expatiates, on p. 105, in a brisk, pious, cheerful and free [‘Brisk, pious, cheerful and free’ (‘frisch, fromm, fröhlich und frei’) — the initial words of a students’ saying, which were turned by Ludwig Jahn into the motto of the sport movement he initiated] fashion on the ‘stably-strongly-firmly-existing’, hurling ‘rock-like matter and rocks’ at Feuerbach’s head (p. 110) and, in conclusion, by a side thrust vanquishes Saint Max as well, by adding ‘the most abstract abstractness’ and ‘the hardest hardness’ (on p. 124) to ‘critical criticism’, ‘social society’ and ‘rock-like matter and rocks’.

All this Saint Bruno accomplished “through himself, in himself and with himself”, because he is “He himself”; indeed, he is “himself always the greatest and can always be the greatest” (is and can be!) “through himself, in himself and with himself” (p. 136). That’s that.

Saint Bruno would undoubtedly be dangerous to the female sex, for he is an ‘irresistible personality’, if ‘in the same measure on the other hand’ he did not fear ‘sensuousness as the barrier against which man has to deal himself a mortal blow’. Therefore, ‘through himself, in himself and with himself’ he will hardly pluck any flowers but rather allow them to wither in infinite longing and hysterical yearning for the ‘irresistible personality’, who ‘possesses this unique sex and these unique, particular sex organs’.

5. Saint Bruno in His “Triumphant Chariot”

Before leaving our church father ‘victorious and confident of victory’, let us for a moment mingle with the gaping crowd that comes up running just as eagerly when he ‘drives forth in his triumphal chariot and gathers new triumphs’ as when General Tom Thumb with his four ponies provides a diversion. It is not surprising that we hear the humming of street-songs, for to be welcomed with street-songs ‘belongs after all to the concept’ of triumph ‘in general’.




‘Was jehen mir die jrinen Beeme an?’

[“What are the green trees to me?” — a paraphrase (in the Berlin dialect) from Heine’s work Reisebilder, Dritter Teil “Die Bäder von Lucca”, Kapitel IV]

Saint Max exploits, “employs” or “uses” the Council to deliver a long apologetic commentary on “the book”, which is none other than “thebook”, the book as such, the book pure and simple, i.e., the perfect book, the Holy Book, the book as something holy, the book as the holy of holies, the book in heaven, viz., Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum. “The book”, as we know, fell from the heavens towards the end of 1844 and took on the shape of a servant with O. Wigand in Leipzig [46]. It was, therefore, at the mercy of the vicissitudes of terrestrial life and was attacked by three “unique ones”, viz., the mysterious personality of Szeliga, the gnostic Feuerbach and Hess. [Szeliga, “Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum”; Feuerbach, “Über das ‘Wesen des Christenthums’ in Beziehung auf den ‘Einzigen und sein Eigenthum’”; Hess, Die letzten Philosophen] However much at every moment Saint Max as creator towers over himself as a creation, as he does over his other creations, he nevertheless took pity on his weakly offspring and, in order to defend it and ensure its safety, let out a loud “critical hurrah”. In order to fathom in all their significance both this “critical hurrah” and Szeliga’s mysterious personality, we must here, to some extent, deal with church history and look more closely at “the book”. Or, to use the language of Saint Max: we “shall episodically put” “into this passage” a church-historical “meditation” on Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum “simply because” “it seems to us that it could contribute to the elucidation of the rest”.

“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. “Who is this King of Glory? The War-Lord strong and mighty, the War-Lord mighty in battle. “Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory, shall come in. “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord Unique, he is the King of Glory,” (Psalms, 24:7-10).

1. The Unique and His Property

The man who “has based his cause on nothing’ [here and below Marx and Engels paraphrase the first lines of Goethe’s poem Vanitas! Vanitatum Lanitas!] begins his lengthy “critical hurrah” like a good German, straightway with a Jeremiad: “Is there anything that is not to be my cause?” (p. 5 of the “book”). And he continues lamenting heart-rendingly that “everything is to be his cause”, that “God’s cause, the cause of mankind, of truth and freedom, and in addition the cause of his people, of his lord”, and thousands of other good causes, are imposed on him. Poor fellow! The French and English bourgeois complain about lack of markets, trade crises, panic on the stock exchange, the political situation prevailing at the moment, etc.; the German petty bourgeois, whose active participation in the bourgeois movement has been merely an ideal one, and who for the rest exposed only himself to risk, sees his own cause simply as the “good cause”, the “cause of freedom, truth, mankind”, etc.

Our German school-teacher simply believes this illusion of the German petty bourgeois and on three pages he provisionally discusses all these good causes.

He investigates “God’s cause”, “the cause of mankind” (pp. 6 and 7) and finds these are “purely egoistical causes”, that both “God” and “mankind” worry only about what is theirs, that “truth, freedom, humanity, justice” are “only interested in themselves and not in us, only in their own well-being and not in ours” — from which he concludes that all these persons “are thereby exceptionally well-off”. He goes so far as to transform these idealistic phrases — God, truth, etc. — into prosperous burghers who “are exceptionally well-off” and enjoy a “profitableegoism”. But this vexes the holy egoist: “And I?” he exclaims.

“I, for my part, draw the lesson from this and, instead of continuing to serve these great egoists, I should rather be an egoist myself!” (p. 7)

Thus we see what holy motives guide Saint Max in his transition to egoism. It is not the good things of this world, not treasures which moth and rust corrupt, not the capital belonging to his fellow unique ones, but heavenly treasure, the capital which belongs to God, truth, freedom, mankind, etc., that gives him no peace.

If it had not been expected of him that he should serve numerous good causes, he would never have made the discovery that he also has his “own” cause, and therefore he would never have based this cause of his “on nothing” (i.e., the “book”).

If Saint Max had looked a little more closely at these various causes” and the “owners” of these causes, e.g., God, mankind, truth, he would have arrived at the opposite conclusion: that egoism based on the egoistic mode of action of these persons must be just as imaginary as these persons themselves.

Instead of this, our saint decides to enter into competition with “God” and “truth” and to base his cause on himself —

“on myself, on the I that is, just as much as God, the nothing of everything else, the I that is everything for me, the I that is the unique…. I am nothing in the sense of void, but the creative nothing, the nothing from which I myself, as creator, create everything.”

The holy church father could also have expressed this last proposition as follows: I am everything in the void of nonsense, “but” I am the nugatory creator, the all, from which I myself, as creator, create nothing.

Which of these two readings is the correct one will become evident later. So much for the preface.

The “book” itself is divided like the book “of old”, into the Old and New Testament — namely, into the unique history of man (the Law and the Prophets) and the inhuman history of the unique (the Gospel of the Kingdom of God). The former is history in the framework of logic, the logos confined in the past; the latter is logic in history, the emancipated logos, which struggles against the present and triumphantly overcomes it.

The Old Testament: Man


1. The Book of Genesis, i.e., A Man’s Life

Saint Max pretends here that he is writing the biography of his mortal enemy, “man”, and not of a “unique” or “real individual”. This ties him up in delightful contradictions.

As becomes every normal genesis “a man’s life” begins ab ovo, with the “child”. As revealed to us on page 13, the child

“from the outset lives a life of struggle against the entire world, it resists everything and everything resists it”. “Both remain enemies” but “with awe and respect” and “are constantly on the watch, looking for each other’s weaknesses”.

This is further amplified, on page 14:

“we”, as children, “try to find out the basis of things or what lies behind them; therefore” (so no longer out of enmity) “we are trying to discover everybody’s weaknesses”. (Here the finger of Szeliga, the mystery-monger, is evident.)

Thus, the child immediately becomes a metaphysician, trying to find out the “basis of things”.

This speculating child, for whom “the nature of things” lies closer to his heart than his toys, “sometimes” in the long run, succeeds in coping with the “world of things”, conquers it and then enters a new phase, the age of youth, when he has to face a new “’arduous struggle of life”, the struggle against reason, for the “spirit means the first self-discovery” and: “We are above the world, we are spirit” (p. 15). The point of view of the youth is a “heavenly one”; the child merely “learned”, “he did not dwell on purely logical or theological problems” — just as (the child) “Pilate” hurriedly passed over the question: “What is truth?” (p. 17). The youth “tries to master thoughts”, he “understands ideas, the spirit” and “seeks ideas”; he “is engrossed in thought” (p. 16), he has “absolute thoughts, i.e., nothing but thoughts, logical thoughts”. The youth who thus “deports himself”, instead of chasing after young women and other earthly things, is no other than the young “Stirner”, the studious Berlin youth, busy with Hegel’s logic and gazing with amazement at the great Michelet. Of this youth it is rightly said on page 17:

“to bring to light pure thought, to devote oneself to it — in this is the joy of youth, and all the bright images of the world of thought — truth, freedom, mankind, Man, etc. — illumine and inspire the youthful soul.”

This youth then “throws aside” the “object” as well and “occupies himself” exclusively “with his thoughts”;

“he includes all that is not spiritual under the contemptuous name of external things, and if, all the same, he does cling to such external things as, for example, students’ customs, etc., it happens only when and because he discovers spirit in them, i.e., when they become symbols for him”. (Who will not “discover” “Szeliga” here?)

Virtuous Berlin youth! The beer-drinking ritual of the students’ association was for him only a “symbol” and only for the sake of the “symbol” was he after a drinking bout many a time found under the table, where he probably also wished to “discover spirit”! — How virtuous is this good youth, whom old Ewald, who wrote two volumes on the “virtuous youth”, [Johann Ludwig Ewald, Der gute Jüngling, gute Gatte und Vater, oder Mittel, um es zu werden.] could have taken as a model, is seen also from the fact that it was “made known” to him (p. 15): “Father and mother should be abandoned, all natural authority should be .considered broken.” For him, “the rational man, the family as a natural authority does not exist; there follows a renunciation of parents, brothers and sisters, etc.” — But they are all “re-born as spiritualrational authority”, thanks to which the good Youth reconciles obedience and fear of one’s parents with his speculating conscience, and everything remains as before. Likewise “it is said” (p. 15): “We ought to obey God rather than men.” [The Acts of the Apostles 5: 29] Indeed, the good youth reaches the highest peak of morality on page 16, where “it is said”: “One should obey one’s conscience rather than God.” This moral exultation raises him even above the “revengeful Eumenides” and even above the “anger of Poseidon” — he is afraid of nothing so much as his “conscience”.

Having discovered that “the spirit is the essential” he no longer even fears the following perilous conclusions:

“If, however, the spirit is recognised as the essential, nevertheless it makes a difference whether the spirit is poor or rich, and therefore” (!) “one strives to become rich In spirit; the spirit wishes to expand, to establish its realm, a realm not of this world, which has just been overcome. In this way, the spirit strives to become all in all” [1 Corinthians 15:28] (what way is this?), “i.e., although I am spirit, neverthelessI am not perfect spirit and must” (?) “first seek the perfect spirit” (p. 1 7).

“Nevertheless it makes a difference.” — It”, what is this? What is the “It” that makes the differences We shall very often come across this mysterious “It” in our holy man, and it will then turn out that it is the unique from the standpoint of substance, the beginning of “unique” logic, and as such the true identity of Hegel’s “being” and “nothing”. Hence, for everything that this “It” does, says or performs, we shall lay the responsibility on our saint, whose relation to it is that of its creator. First of all, this “It”, as we have seen, makes a difference between poor and rich. And why? Because “the spirit is recognised as the essential”. Poor “It”, which without this recognition would never have arrived at the difference between poor and rich! “And therefore one strives”, etc. “One!” We have here the second impersonal person which, together with the “It”, is in Stirner’s service and must perform the heaviest menial work for him. How these two are accustomed to support each other is clearly seen here. Since “It” makes a difference whether the spirit is poor or rich, lone” (could anyone but Stirner’s faithful servant [F. Szeliga] have had this idea!) — “one, therefore, strives to become rich in spirit”. “It” gives the signal and immediately “one” joins in at the top of its voice. The division of labour is classically carried out.

Since “one strives to become rich in spirit, the spirit wishes to expand, to establish its realm”, etc. “If however” a connection is present here “it still makes a difference” whether “one” wants to become “rich in spirit” or whether “the spirit wants to establish its realm”. Up to now “the spirit” has not wanted anything, “the spirit” has not yet figured as a person — it was only a matter of the spirit of the “youth”, and not of “the spirit” as such, of the spirit as subject. But our holy writer now needs a spirit different from that of the youth, in order to place it in opposition to the latter as a foreign, and in the last resort, as a holy spirit. Conjuring trick No. 1.

“In this way the spirit strives to become all in all”, a somewhat obscure statement, which is then explained as follows:

“Although I am spirit, nevertheless I am not perfect spirit and must first seek the perfect spirit.”

But if Saint Max is the “Imperfect spirit”, “nevertheless it makes a difference” whether he has to “perfect” his spirit or seek “the perfect spirit”. A few lines earlier he was in fact dealing only with the “poor” and “rich” spirit — a quantitative, profane distinction — and now there suddenly appears the “imperfect” and “perfect” spirit — a qualitative, mysterious distinction. The striving towards the development of one’s own spirit can now be transformed into the hunt of the “imperfect spirit” for “the perfect spirit”. The holy spirit wanders about like a ghost. Conjuring trickNo. 2.

The holy author continues:

“But thereby” (i.e., by the transformation of the striving towards “perfection” my spirit into the search for “the perfect spirit”) “ I, who have only just found myself as spirit, at once lose myself again, in that I bow down before the perfect spirit, as a spirit which is not my own, but a spirit of the beyond, and I feel my emptiness “ (p. 18).

This is nothing but a further development of conjuring trick No. 2. After the “perfect spirit” has been assumed as an existing being and opposed to the “imperfect spirit”, it becomes obvious that the “imperfect spirit”, the youth, painfully feels his “emptiness” to the depths of his soul. Let us go on!

“True, it is all a matter of spirit, but is every spirit the right spirit? The right and true spirit is the ideal of the spirit, the ‘holy spirit’. It is not my or your spirit but precisely” (!) — “an ideal spirit, a spirit of the beyond — ‘God’. ‘God is spirit” [John 4: 24] (p. 18).

Here the “perfect spirit” has been suddenly transformed into the “right” spirit, and immediately afterwards into the “right and true spirit”. The latter is more closely defined as the “Ideal of the spirit, the holy spirit” and this is proved by the fact that it is “not my or your spirit but precisely, a spirit of the beyond, an ideal spirit — God”. The true spirit is the ideal of the spirit, “precisely” because it is ideal! It is the holy spirit “precisely” because it is — God! What “virtuosity of thought”! We note also in passing that up to now nothing was said about “your” spirit. Conjuring trick No. 3.

Thus, if I seek to train myself as a mathematician, or, as Saint Max puts it, to “perfect” myself as a mathematician, then I am seeking the “perfect” mathematician, i.e., the “right and true” mathematician, the “ideal” of the mathematician, the “holy” mathematician, who is distinct from me and you (although in my eyes you may be a perfect mathematician, just as for the Berlin youth his professor of philosophy is the perfect spirit); but a mathematician who is “precisely ideal, of the beyond”, the mathematician in the heavens, “God”. God is a mathematician.

Saint Max arrives at all these great results because “it makes a difference whether the spirit is rich or poor”; i.e., in plain language, it makes a difference whether anyone is rich or poor in spirit, and because his “youth” has discovered this remarkable fact.

On page 18 Saint Max continues:

It divides the man from the youth that the former takes the world as it is”, etc.

Consequently, we do not learn how the youth arrives at the point where he suddenly takes the world “as it is”, nor do we see our holy dialectician making the transition from youth to man, we merely learn that “It” has to perform this service and “divide” the youth from the man. But even this “It” by itself does not suffice to bring the cumbersome wagon-load of unique thoughts into motion. For after “It” has “divided the man from the youth”, the man all the same relapses again into the youth, begins to occupy himself afresh “exclusively with the spirit” and does not get going until “one” hurries to his assistance with a change of horses. “Only when one has grown fond of oneself corporeally, etc.” (p. 18), “only then” everything goes forward smoothly again, the man discovers that he has a personal interest, and arrives at “the second self-discovery”, in that he not only “finds himself as spirit”, like the youth, “and then at once loses himself again in the universal spirit”, but finds himself “as corporeal spirit” (p. 19). This “corporeal spirit” finally arrives at having an “interest not only in its own spirit” (like the youth), “but in total satisfaction, in the satisfaction of the whole fellow” (an interest in the satisfaction of the whole fellow!) — he arrives at the point where “he is pleased with himself exactly as he is”. Being a German, Stirner’s “man” arrives at everything very late. He could see, sauntering along the Paris boulevards or in London’s Regent Street, hundreds of “young men”, fops and dandies who have not yet found themselves as “corporeal spirits” and are nevertheless “pleased with themselves exactly as they are”, and whose main interest lies in the ‘”satisfaction of the whole fellow”

This second “self-discovery” fills our holy dialectician with such enthusiasm that he suddenly forgets his role and begins to speak not of the man, but of himself, and reveals that he himself, he the unique, is “the man”, and that “the man” = “the unique”. A new conjuring trick.

“How I find myself” (it should read: “how the youth finds himself”) “behind the things, and indeed as spirit, so subsequently, too, I must find myself” (it should read: “the man must find himself”) “behind the thoughts, i.e., as their creator and owner. In the period of spirits, thoughts outgrew me” (the youth), “although they were the offspring of my brain; like delirious fantasies they floated around me and agitated me greatly, a dreadful power. The thoughts became themselves corporeal, they were spectres like God, the Emperor, the Pope, the Fatherland, etc,; by destroying their corporeality, I take them back into my own corporeality and announce: I alone am corporeal. And now I take the world as it is for me, as my world, as my property: I relate everything to myself.”

Thus, the man, identified here with the “unique”, having first given thoughts corporeality, i.e., having transformed them into spectres, now destroys this corporeality again, by taking them back into his own body, which he thus makes into a body of spectres. The fact that he arrives at his own corporeality only through the negation of the spectres, shows the nature of this constructed corporeality of the man, which he has first to “announce” to “himself”, in order to believe in it. But what he “announces to himself” he does not even announce” correctly. The fact that apart from his “unique” body there are not also to be found in his head all kinds of independent bodies, spermatozoa, he transforms into the “fable“: Ialone am corporeal. Another conjuring trick.

Further, the man who, as a youth, stuffed his head with all kinds of nonsense about existing powers and relations such as the Emperor, the Fatherland, the State, etc., and knew them only as his own “delirious fantasies”, in the form of his conceptions — this man, according to Saint Max, actually destroys all these powers by getting out of his head his false opinion of them. On the contrary: now that he no longer looks at the world through the spectacles of his fantasy, he has to think of the practical interrelations of the world, to get to know them and to act in accordance with them. By destroying the fantastic corporeality which the world had for him, he finds its real corporeality outside his fantasy. With the disappearance of the spectral corporeality of the Emperor, what disappears for him is not the corporeality, but the spectral characterof the Emperor, the actual power of whom he can now at last appreciate in all its scope. Conjuring trick No. 3[a].

The youth as a man does not even react critically towards ideas which are valid also for others and are current as categories, but is critical only of those ideas that are the “mere offspring of his brain”, i.e., general concepts about existing conditions reproduced in his brain. Thus, for example, he does not even resolve the category “Fatherland”, but only his personal opinion of this category, after which the generally valid category still remains, and even in the sphere of “philosophical thought” the work is only just beginning. He wants, however, to make us believe that he has destroyed the category itself because he has destroyed his emotional personal relation to it — exactly as he has wanted to make us believe that he has destroyed the power of the Emperor by giving up his fantastic conception of the Emperor. Conjuring trick No. 4.

And now,” continues Saint Max, “I take the world as it is for me, as my world, as my property.”

He takes the world as it is for him, i.e., as he is compelled to take it. and thereby he has appropriated the world for himself, has made it his property — a mode of acquisition which, indeed, is not mentioned by any of the economists, but the method and success of which will be the more brilliantly disclosed in “the book”. Basically, however, he takes” not the “world”, but only his “delirious fantasy” about the world as his own, and makes it his property. He takes the world as his conception of the world, and the world as his conception is his imagined property, the property of his conception, his conception as property, his property as conception, his own peculiar conception, or his conception of property; and all this he expresses in the incomparable phrase: “I relate everything to myself.”

After the man has recognised, as the saint himself admits, that the world was only populated by spectres, because the youth saw spectres, after the illusory world of the youth has disappeared for the man, the latter finds himself in a real world, independent of youthful fancies.

And so, it should therefore read, I take the world as it is independently of myself, in the form in which it belongs to itself (“the man takes” — see page 18 — “the world as it is”, and not as he would like it to be), in the first place as my non-property (hitherto it was my property only as a spectre); I relate myself to everything and only to that extent do I relate everything to I myself.

“If I as spirit rejected the world with the deepest contempt for it, then I as proprietor reject the spectres or ideas into their emptiness. They no longer have power over me, just as no ‘earthly force’ has power over the spirit” (p. 20).

We see here that the proprietor, Stirner’s man, at once enters into possession, sine beneficio deliberandi atque inventarii, [without the advantage of deliberation and inventory — the right of deliberation and inventory is an old principle of the law of inheritance, which grants the heir time to decide whether he wants to accept or to reject a legacy] of the inheritance of the youth which, according to his own statement, consists only of “delirious fantasies” and “spectres”. He believes that in the process of changing from a child into a youth he had truly coped with the world of things, and in the process of changing from a youth into a man he had truly coped with the world of the spirit, that now, as a man, he has the whole world in his pocket and has nothing more to trouble him. If, according to the words of the youth which he repeats, no earthly force outside him has any power over the spirit, and hence the spirit is the supreme power on earth — and he, the man, has forced this omnipotent spirit into subjection to himself — is he not then completely omnipotent? He forgets that he has only destroyed the fantastic and spectral form assumed by the idea of “Fatherland”, etc., in the brain of the “youth”, but that he has still not touched these ideas, insofar as they express actual relations. Far from having become the master of ideas — he is only now capable of arriving at “ideas”.

“Now, let us say in conclusion, it can be clearly seen” (p. 199) that the holy man has brought his interpretation of the different stages of life to the desired and predestined goal. He informs us of the result achieved in a thesis that is a spectral shade which we shall now confront with its lost body.

unique thesis, p. 20.

The child was realistic, in thrall to the things of this world, until little by little he succeeded in penetratingbehind these very things. The youth was idealistic, inspired by thoughts, until he worked his way up to become a man, the egoistic man, who deals with things and thoughts as he pleases and puts his personal interest above everything. Finally, the old man? It will be time enough to speak of this when I become one.”

Owner of the accompanying liberated shade.

The child was actually in thrall to the world of his things, untillittle by little (a borrowed conjuring trick standing for development) he succeeded in leaving these very things behind him. The youth was fanciful and was made thoughtless by his enthusiasm, until he was brought down by the man, the egoisticburgher, with whom things and thoughts deal as they please, because his personal interest puts everything above him. Finally, the old man? — “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” [John 2:4]

The entire history of “a man’s life” amounts, therefore, “let us say in conclusion”, to the following:

1. Stirner regards the various stages of life only as “self-discoveries” of the individual, and these “self-discoveries” are moreover always reduced to a definite relation of consciousness. Thus the variety of consciousness is here the life of the individual. The physical and social changes which take place in the individuals and produce an altered consciousness are, of course, of no concern to Stirner. In Stirner’s work, therefore, child, youth and man always find the world ready-made, just as they merely “find” “themselves”; absolutely nothing is done to ensure that there should be something which can in fact be found. But even the relation of consciousness is not correctly understood either, but only in its speculative distortion. Hence, too, all these figures have a philosophical attitude to the world — “the child is realistic”, “the youth is idealistic”, the man is the negative unity of the two, absolute negativity, as is evident from the above-quoted final proposition. Here the secret of “a man’s life” is revealed, here it becomes clear that the “child” was only a disguise of “realism”, the “youth” a disguise of “idealism”, the “man” of an attemptedsolution of this philosophical antithesis. This solution, this “absolute negativity”, is arrived at — it is now seen — only thanks to the man blindly taking on trust the illusions both of the child and of the youth, believing thus to have overcome the world of things and the world of the spirit.

2. Since Saint Max pays no attention to the physical and social “life” of the individual, and says nothing at all about “life”, he quite consistently abstracts from historical epochs, nationalities, classes, etc., or, which is the same thing, he inflates the consciousness predominant in the class nearest to him in his immediate environment into the normal consciousness of “a man’s life”. In order to rise above this local and pedantic narrow-mindedness he has only to confront “his” youth with the first young clerk he encounters, a young English factory worker or young Yankee, not to mention the young Kirghiz-Kazakhs.

3. Our saint’s enormous gullibility — the true spirit of his book — is not content with causing his youth to believe in his child, and his man to believe in his youth. The illusions which some youths”, “men”, etc., have or claim to have about themselves, are without any examination accepted by Stirner himself and confused with the “life”, with the reality, of these highly ambiguous youths and men.

4. The prototype of the entire structure of the stages of life has already been depicted in the third part of Hegel’s Encyclopädie and “in various transformations” in other passages in Hegel as well. Saint Max, pursuing “his own” purposes, had, of course, to undertake certain “transformations” here also. Whereas Hegel, for example, is still to such an extent guided by the empirical world that he portrays the German burgher as the servant of the world around him, Stirner has to make him the master of this world, which he is not even in imagination. Similarly, Saint Max pretends that he does not speak of the old man for empirical reasons; he wishes to wait until he becomes one himself (here, therefore, “a man’s life” = his unique life). Hegel briskly sets about constructing the four stages of the human life because, in the real world, the negation is posited twice, i.e., as moon and as comet (cf. Hegel’s Naturphilosophie , and therefore the quaternity here takes the place of the trinity. Stirner finds his own uniqueness in making moon and comet coincide and so abolishes the unfortunate old man from “a man’s life”. The reason for this conjuring trick becomes evident as soon as we examine the construction of the unique history of man.

2. The Economy of the Old Testament

We must here, for a moment, jump from the “Law” to the “Prophets”, since at this point already we reveal the secret of unique domestic economy in heaven and on earth. In the Old Testament, too — where the law, man, still is a school-master of the unique (Galatians 3:24) — the history of the kingdom of the unique follows a wise plan fixed from eternity. Everything has been foreseen and preordained in order that the unique could appear in the world, when the time had come [Galatians 4:4] to redeem holy people from their holiness.

The first book, “A Man’s Life”, is also called the “Book of Genesis”, because it contains in embryo the entire domestic economy of the unique, because it gives us a prototype of the whole subsequent development up to the moment when the time comes for the end of the world. The entire unique history revolves round three stages: child, youth and man, who return “in various transformations” and in ever widening circles until, finally, the entire history of the world of things and the world of the spirit is reduced to “child, youth and man”. Everywhere we shall find nothing but disguised 1I child, youth and man”, just as we already discovered in them three disguised categories.

We spoke above of the German philosophical conception of history. Here, in Saint Max, we find a brilliant example of it. The speculative idea, the abstract conception, is made the driving force of history, and history is thereby turned into the mere history of philosophy. But even the latter is not conceived as, according to existing sources, it actually took place — not to mention how it evolved under the influence of real historical relations — but as it was understood and described by recent German philosophers, in particular Hegel and Feuerbach. And from these descriptions again only that was selected which could be adapted to the given end, and which came into the hands of our saint by tradition. Thus, history becomes a mere history of illusory ideas, a history of spirits and ghosts, while the real, empirical history that forms the basis of this ghostly history is only utilised to provide bodies for these ghosts; from it are borrowed the names required to clothe these ghosts with the appearance of reality. In making this experiment our saint frequently forgets his role and writes an undisguised ghost-story.

In his case we find this method of making history in its most naive, most classic simplicity. Three simple categories — realism, idealism and absolute negativity (here named “egoism”) as the unity of the two — which we have already encountered in the shape of the child, youth and man, are made the basis of all history and are embellished with various historical signboards; together with their modest suite of auxiliary categories they form the content of all the allegedly historical phases which are trotted out. Saint Max once again reveals here his boundless faith by pushing to greater extremes than any of his predecessors faith in the speculative content of history dished up by German philosophers. In this solemn and tedious construction of history, therefore, all that matters is to find a pompous series of resounding names for three categories that are so hackneyed that they no longer dare to show themselves publicly under their own names. Our anointed author could perfectly well have passed from the “man” (p. 20) immediately to the “ego” (p. 201) or better still to the “unique” (p. 485); but that would have been too simple. Moreover, the strong competition among the German speculative philosophers makes it the duty of each new competitor to offer an ear-splitting historical advertisement for his commodity.

“The force of true development”, to use Dottore Graziano’s words, “proceeds most forcibly” in the following “transformations”: Basis:

I. Realism. II. Idealism. III. The negative unity of the two. “One” (p. 485),

First nomenclature:

I.. Child, dependent on things (realism). II. Youth, dependent on ideas (idealism). III. Man — (as the negative unity) expressed positively: the owner of ideas and things       (egoism) expressed negatively: free from ideas and things

        Second, historical nomenclature:

I. Negro (realism, child). II. Mongol (Idealism, youth). III. Caucasian (negative unity of realism and idealism, man).

Third, most general nomenclature:

I. Realistic egoist (egoist in the ordinary sense) — child, Negro. II. Idealist egoist (devotee) — youth, Mongol. III. True egoist (the unique) — man, Caucasian.

Fourth, historical nomenclature. Repetition of the preceding stages within the category of the Caucasian.

I. The Ancients. Negroid Caucasians childish men — pagans dependent on things — realists — the world.

Transition (child penetrating behind the “things of this world”): Sophists, Sceptics, etc.

II. The Moderns. Mongoloid Caucasians — youthful men — Christians — dependent on ideas — idealists — spirit.

1. Pure history of spirits, [Geistergeschichte, or “ghost-story” Geister — ghosts or spirits; Geschichte — story or history; here rendered as “history of spirits”] Christianity as spirit. “The spirit.”

2. Impure history of spirits. Spirit in relation to others. “The Possessed”.

A. Purely impure history of spirits.

a) The apparition, the ghost, the spirit in the Negroid state, as thing-like spirit and spiritual thing — objective being for the Christian, spirit as child. b) The whimsy, the fixed idea, the spirit in the Mongolian condition, as spiritual in the spirit, determination in consciousness, conceptual being in the Christian — spirit as youth.

B. Impurely impure (historical) history of spirits.

a) Catholicism — Middle Ages (the Negro, child, realism, etc.). b) Protestantism — modern times in modern times (Mongol, youth, idealism, etc.).

Within Protestantism it is possible to make further subdivisions, for example:

[a] English philosophy — realism, child, Negro. [b] German philosophy — idealism, youth, Mongol.

3. The Hierarchy — negative unity of the two within the Mongoloid-Caucasian point of view. Such unity appears where historical relations are changed into actually existing relations or where opposites are presented as existing side by side. Here, therefore, we have two coexisting stages:

A. The “uneducated”, (evil ones, bourgeois, egoists in the ordinary sense)=Negroes, children, Catholics, realists, etc.

B. The “educated” (good ones, citoyens, devotees, priests, etc.) = Mongols, youths, Protestants, idealists.

These two stages exist side by side and hence it follows easily” that the “educated” rule over the “uneducated” — this is the hierarchy. In the further course of historical development there arises then the non-Hegelian from the “uneducated”, the Hegelian from the “educated”, [“The shaman and the speculative philosopher denote the lowest and the highest point in the scale of the inner man, the Mongol” (p. 453).]

from which it follows that the Hegelians rule over the non-Hegelians. In this way Stirner converts the speculative notion of the domination of the speculative idea in history into the notion of the domination of the speculative philosophers themselves. The view of history hitherto held by him — the domination of the idea — becomes in the hierarchy a relation actually existing at present; it becomes the world domination of ideologists. This shows how deeply Stirner has plunged into speculation. This domination of the speculative philosophers and ideologists is finally developing, “for the time has come” for it, into the following, concluding nomenclature:

a) Political liberalism, dependent on things, independent of persons — realism, child, Negro, the ancient, apparition, Catholicism, the “uneducated”, masterless.

b) Social liberalism, independent of things, dependent on the spirit, without object — idealism, youth, Mongol, the modern, whimsy, Protestantism, the “educated”, propertyless.

c) Humane liberalism, masterless and propertyless, that is godless, for God is simultaneously the supreme master and the supreme possession, hierarchy — negative unity in the sphere of liberalism and, as such, domination over the world of things and thoughts; at the same time the perfect egoist in the abolition of egoism — the perfect hierarchy. At the same time, it forms the

Transition (youth penetrating behind the world of thoughts) to

III. the “ego” — i.e., the perfect Christian, the perfect man, the Caucasian Caucasian and true egoist, who — just as the Christian became spirit through the supersession of the ancient world — becomes a corporeal being [Leibhaftige] through the dissolution of the realm of spirits, by entering, sine beneficio deliberandi et inventarii, into the inheritance of idealism, the youth, the Mongol, the modern, the Christian, the possessed, the whimsical, the Protestant, the “educated”, the Hegelian and the humane liberal.

NB. 1. “At times” Feuerbachian and other categories, such as reason, the heart, etc., may be also “included episodically”, should a suitable occasion arise, to heighten the colour of the picture and to produce new effects. It goes without saying that these, too, are only new disguises of the ever present idealism and realism.

2. The very pious Saint Max, Jacques le bonhomme, has nothing real and mundane to say about real mundane history, except that under the name of “nature”, the “world of things”, the “world of the child”, etc., he always opposes it to consciousness, as an object of speculation of the latter, as a world which, in spite of its continual annihilation, continues to exist in a mystical darkness, in order to reappear on every convenient occasion — probably because children and Negroes continue to exist, and hence also their world, the so-called world of things, “easily,” continues to exist. Concerning such historical and non-historical constructions, good old Hegel wrote with regard to Schelling — the model for all constructors — that one can say the following in this context:

“It is no more difficult to handle the instrument of this monotonous formalism than a painter’s palette which has only two colours, say black” (realistic, childish, Negroid, etc.) “and yellow” [Hegel mentions red and green as examples] (idealist, youthful, Mongolian, etc.), “in order to use the former to paint a surface when something historical” (the “world of things”) “is required, and the latter when a landscape” (“heaven”, spirit, holiness, etc.) “is needed” (Phänomenologie, p. 39).

“Ordinary consciousness” has even more pointedly ridiculed constructions of this kind in the following song:

The master sent out John And told him to cut the hay; But John did not cut the hay Nor did he come back home.

Then the master sent out the dog And told him to bite John; But the dog did not bite John, John did not cut the hay And they did not conic back home.

Then the master sent out the stick And told it to beat the dog; But the stick did not beat the dog, The dog did not bite John, John did not cut the hay And they did not come back home.

Then the master sent out fire And told it to burn the stick; But the fire did not burn the stick, The stick did not beat the dog, The dog did not bite John, John did not cut the hay And they did not come back home.

Then the master sent out water And told it to put out the fire; But the water did not put out the fire, The fire did not burn the stick, The stick did not beat the dog, The dog did not bite John, John did not cut the hay And they did not come back home.

Then the master sent out the ox And told it to drink the water; But the ox did not drink the water, The water did not put out the fire, The fire did not burn the stick, The stick did not beat the dog, The dog did not bite John, John did not cut the hay And they did not come back home.

Then the master sent out the butcher And told him to slaughter the ox; But the butcher did not slaughter the ox, The ox did not drink the water, The water did not put out the fire, The fire did not burn the stick, The stick did not beat the dog, The dog did not bite John, John did not cut the hay And they did not come back home.

Then the master sent out the hangman And told him to hang the butcher; The hangman did hang the butcher, The butcher slaughtered the ox, The ox drank the water, The water put out the fire, The fire burnt the stick, The stick beat the dog, The dog bit John, John cut the hay, And they all came back home. [A German nursery rhyme]

We shall now see with what “virtuosity of thought” and with what school-boyish material Jacques le bonhomme elaborates on this scheme.

3. The Ancients

Properly speaking we ought to begin here with the Negroes; but Saint Max, who undoubtedly sits in the “Council of Guardians”, in his unfathomable wisdom introduces the Negroes only later, and even then “without any claim to thoroughness and authenticity”. if, therefore, we make Greek philosophy precede the Negro era, i.e., the campaigns of Sesostris and Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt [48] it is because we are confident that our holy author has arranged everything wisely.

“Let us, therefore, take a look at the activities which tempt” Stirner’s ancients.

“’For the ancients, the world was a truth,’ says Feuerbach; but he forgets to make the important addition: a truth, the untruth of which they sought to penetrate and, finally, did indeed penetrate” (p. 22).

“For the ancients”, their “world” (not the world) “was a truth” — whereby, of course, no truth about the ancient world is stated, but only that the ancients did not have a Christian attitude to their world. As soon as untruth penetrated their world (i.e., as soon as this world itself disintegrated in consequence of practical conflicts — and to demonstrate this materialistic development empirically would be the only thing of interest), the ancient philosophers sought to penetrate the world of truth or the truth of their world and then, of course, they found that it had become untrue. Their very search was itself a symptom of the internal collapse of this world. Jacques le bonhomme transforms the idealist symptom into the material cause of the collapse and, as a German church father, makes antiquity itself seek its own negation, Christianity. For him this position of antiquity is inevitable because the ancients are “children” who seek to penetrate the “world of things”. “And that is fairly easy too”: by transforming the ancient world into the later consciousness regarding the ancient world, Jacques le bonhomme can, of course, jump in a single leap from the materialistic ancient world to the world of religion, to Christianity. Now the “word of God” immediately emerges in opposition to the real world of antiquity; the Christian conceived as the modern sceptic emerges in opposition to the ancient man conceived as philosopher. His Christian “is never convinced of the vanity of the word of God” and, in consequence of this lack of conviction, he “believes” “in its eternal and invincible truth” (p. 22). Just as Stirner’s ancient is ancient because he is a non-Christian, not yet a Christian or a hidden Christian, so his primitive Christian is a Christian because he is a non-atheist, not yet an atheist or a hidden atheist. Stirner, therefore, causes Christianity to be negated by the ancients and modern atheism by the primitive Christians, instead of the reverse. Jacques le bonhomme, like all other speculative philosophers, seizes everything by its philosophical tail. A few more examples of this child-like gullibility immediately follow.

“The Christian must consider himself a ‘stranger on the earth’ (Epistle to the Hebrews 11 :13)” (p. 23).

On the contrary, the strangers on earth (arising from extremely natural causes e.g., the colossal concentration of wealth in the whole Roman world, etc., etc.) had to consider themselves Christians. It was not their Christianity that made them vagrants, but their vagrancy that made them Christians.

On the same page the holy father jumps straight from Sophocles’ Antigone and the sacredness of the burial ceremonial connected with it to the Gospel of Matthew, 8:22 (let the dead bury their dead), while Hegel, at any rate in the Phänomenologie, gradually passes from the Antigone, etc., to the Romans. With equal right Saint Max could have passed at once. to the Middle Ages and, together with Hegel, have advanced this biblical statement against the Crusaders or even, in order to be quite original, have contrasted the burial of Polynices by Antigone with the transfer of the ashes of Napoleon from St. Helena to Paris. It is stated further:

“In Christianity the inviolable truth of family ties” (which on page 22 is noted as one of the “truths” of the ancients) “is depicted as an untruth which should be got rid of as quickly as possible (Mark, 10: 29) and so in everything” (p. 23).

This proposition, in which reality is again turned upside-down, should be put the right way up as follows: the actual untruth of family ties (concerning which, inter alia, the still existing documents of pre-Christian Roman legislation should be examined) is depicted in Christianity as an inviolable truth, “and so in everything”.

From these examples, therefore, it is superabundantly evident how Jacques le bonhomme, who strives to “get rid as quickly as possible” of empirical history, stands facts on their heads, causes material history to be produced by ideal history, “and so in everything”. At the outset we learn only the alleged attitude of the ancients to their world; as dogmatists they are put in opposition to the ancient world, their own world, instead of appearing as its creators; it is a question only of the relation of consciousness to the object, to truth; it is a question, therefore, only of the philosophical relation of the ancients to their world — ancient history is replaced by the history of ancient philosophy, and this only in the form in which Saint Max imagines it according to Hegel and Feuerbach.

Thus the history of Greece, from the time of Pericles inclusively, is reduced to a struggle of abstractions: reason, spirit, heart, worldliness, etc. These are the Greek parties. In this ghostly world, which is presented as the Greek world, allegorical persons such as Madame Purity of Heart “machinate” and mythical figures like Pilate (who must never be missing where there are children) find a place quite seriously side by side with Timon of Phlius.

After presenting us with some astounding revelations about the Sophists and Socrates, Saint Max immediately jumps to the Sceptics. He discovers that they completed the work which Socrates began. Hence the positive philosophy of the Greeks that followed immediately after the Sophists and Socrates, especially Aristotle’s encyclopaedic learning, does not exist at all for Jacques le bonhomme. He strives “to get rid as quickly as possible” of the past and hurries to the transition to the “moderns”, finding this transition in the Sceptics, Stoics and Epicureans. Let us see what our holy father has to reveal about them.

“The Stoics wish to realise the ideal of the wise man … the man who knows how to live … they find this ideal in contempt for the world, in a life without living development […] without friendly intercourse with the world, i.e., in a life of isolation [… ] not in a life in common with others; the Stoic alone lives, for him everything else is dead. The Epicureans, on the other hand, demand an active life” (p. 30).

We refer Jacques le bonhomme — the man who wants to realise himself and who knows how to live — to, inter alia, Diogenes Laertius: there he will discover that the wise man, the sophos, is nothing but the idealised Stoic, not the Stoic the realised wise man; he will discover that thesophos is by no means Only a Stoic but is met with just as much among the Epicureans, the Neo-academists and the Sceptics. Incidentally, thesophos is the first form in which the Greek philosophos confronts us; he appears mythologically in the seven wise men, in practice in Socrates, and as an ideal among the Stoics, Epicureans, Neo-academists [49] and Sceptics. Each of these schools, of course, has its own sofos [wise man] Just as Saint Bruno has his own “unique sex”. Indeed, Saint Max can find “le sage” again in the eighteenth century in the philosophy of Enlightenment, and even in Jean Paul in the shape of the “wise men” like Emanuel [Jean Paul, Hesperus oder 45 Hundsposttage] etc. The Stoical wise man by no means has in mind “life without living development”, but an absolutely active life, as is evident even from his concept of nature, which is Heraclitean, dynamic, developing and living, while for the Epicureans the principle of the concept of nature is the mars immortalis[immortal death. Lucretius, De rerum natura libri sex, Book 3, Verse 882], as Lucretius says, the atom, and, in opposition to Aristotle’s divine energy, divine leisure is put forward as the ideal of life instead of “active life”.

“The ethics of the Stoics (their only science, for they were unable to say anything about the spirit except what its relation to the world should be; and about nature — physics — they could say only that the wise man has to assert himself against it) is not a doctrine of the spirit, but merely a doctrine of rejection of the world and of self-assertion against the world” (p. 31).

The Stoics were able to “say about nature” that physics is one of the most important sciences for the philosopher and consequently they even went to the trouble of further developing the physics of Heraclitus; they were “further able to say” that the wra, masculine beauty, is the highest that the individual could represent, and glorified life in tune with nature, although they fell into contradictions in so doing. According to the Stoics, philosophy is divided into three doctrines: “physics, ethics, logic”.

“They compare philosophy to the animal and to the egg, logic — to the bones and sinews of the animal, and to the. outer shell of the egg, ethics — to the flesh of the animal and to the albumen of the egg, and physics — to the soul of the animal and to the yolk of the egg” (Diogenes Laertius, Zeno).

From this alone it is evident how little true it is to say that “ethics is the only science of the Stoics”. It should be added also that, apart from Aristotle, they were the chief founders of formal logic and systematics in general.

That the “Stoics were unable to say anything about the spirit” is so little true that even seeing spirits originated from them, on account of which Epicurus opposes them, as an Enlightener, and ridicules them as “old women”, while precisely the Neo-Platonists borrowed part of their tales about spirits from the Stoics. This spirit-seeing of the Stoics arises, on the one hand, from the impossibility of achieving a dynamic concept of nature without the material furnished by empirical natural science, and, on the other hand, from their effort to interpret the ancient Greek world and even religion in a speculative manner and make them analogous to the thinking spirit.

The “ethics of the Stoics” is so much a “doctrine of world rejection and of self-assertion against the world” that, for example, it was counted a Stoical virtue to “have a sound fatherland, a worthy friend”, that “the beautiful alone” is declared to be “the good”, and that the Stoical wise man is allowed to mingle with the world in every way, for example, to commit incest, etc., etc. The Stoical wise man is to such an extent caught up “in a life of isolation and not in a life in common with others” that it is said of him in Zeno:

“Let not the wise man wonder at anything that seems wonderful — but nether will the worthy man live in solitude, for he is social by nature and active in practice” (Diogenes Laertius, Book VII, 1).

Incidentally, it would be asking too much to demand that, for the sake of refuting this school-boyish wisdom of Jacques le bonhomme, one should set forth the very complicated and contradictory ethics of the Stoics.

In connection with the Stoics, Jacques le bonhomme has to note the existence of the Romans also (p. 3 1), of whom, of course, he is unable to say anything, since they have no philosophy. The only thing we hear of them is that Horace (!) “did not go beyond the Stoics’ worldly wisdom” (p. 32). Integer vitae, scelerisque purus! [he of life without flaw, pure from sin. Horace, The Odes, Book I — Ode XXII. Verse 1]

In connection with the Stoics, Democritus is also mentioned in the following way: a muddled passage of Diogenes Laertius (Democritus, Book IX, 7, 45), which in addition has been inaccurately translated, is copied out from some textbook, and made the basis for a lengthy diatribe about Democritus. This diatribe has the distinguishing feature of being in direct contradiction to its basis, i.e., to the above-mentioned muddled and inaccurately translated passage, and converts “peace of mind” (Stirner’s translation of euqumia, in Low German Wellmuth) into “rejection of the world”. The fact is that Stirner imagines that Democritus was a Stoic, and indeed of the sort that the unique and the ordinary school-boyish consciousness conceive a Stoic to be. Stirner thinks that “his whole activity amounts to an endeavour to detach himself from the world”, “hence to a rejection of the world”, and that in the person of Democritus he can refute the Stoics. That the eventful life of Democritus, who had wandered through the world a great deal, flagrantly contradicts this notion of Saint Max’s; that the real source from which to learn about the philosophy of Democritus is Aristotle and not a couple of anecdotes from Diogenes Laertius; that Democritus, far from rejecting the world, was, on the contrary, an empirical natural scientist and the first encyclopaedic mind among the Greeks; that his almost unknown ethics was limited to a few remarks which he is alleged to have made when he was an old, much-travelled man; that his writings on natural science can be called philosophy only per abusum, [by abuse, i. e., improperly, wrongly] because for him, in contrast to Epicurus, the atom was only a physical hypothesis, an expedient for explaining facts, just as it is in the proportional combinations of modern chemistry (Dalton and others) — all this does not suit the purpose of Jacques le bonhomme. Democritus must be understood in the “unique” fashion, Democritus speaks of euthymia, hence of peace of mind, hence of withdrawal into oneself, hence of rejection of the world. Democritus is a Stoic, and he differs from the Indian fakir mumbling “Brahma” (the word should have been “Om”),[50] only as the comparative differs from the superlative, i.e., “only in degree”.

Of the Epicureans our friend knows exactly as much as he does of the Stoics, viz., the unavoidable schoolboy’s minimum. He contrasts the Epicurean “hedone”, [pleasure] with the “ataraxia” [equanimity, imperturbability, intrepidity] of the Stoics and Sceptics, not knowing that this “ataraxia” is also to he found in Epicurus and, moreover, as something placed higher than the “hedone” — in consequence of which his whole contrast falls to the ground. He tells us that the Epicureans “teach only a different attitude to the world” from that of the Stoics; but let him show us the (non-Stoic) philosopher of “ancient or modern times” who does not do “only” the same. Finally, Saint Max enriches us with a new dictum of the Epicureans: “the world must be deceived, for it is my enemy”. Hitherto it was only known that the Epicureans made statements in the sense that the world must be disillusioned and especially freed from fear of gods, for the world is my friend.

To give our saint some indication of the real base on which the philosophy of Epicurus rests, it is sufficient to mention that the idea that the state rests on the mutual agreement of people, on a contrat social (sunqhjh [contract]), is found for the first time in Epicurus.

The extent to which Saint Max’s disclosures about the Sceptics follow the same line is already evident from the fact that he considers their philosophy more radical than that of Epicurus. The Sceptics reduced the theoretical relation of people to things to appearance, and in practice they left everything as of old, being guided by this appearance just as much as others are guided by actuality; they merely gave it another name.Epicurus, on the other hand, was the true radical Enlightener of antiquity; he openly attacked the ancient religion, and it was from him, too, that the atheism of the Romans, insofar as it existed, was derived. For this reason, too, Lucretius praised Epicurus as the hero who was the first to overthrow the gods and trample religion underfoot; for this reason among all church fathers, from Plutarch to Luther, Epicurus has always had the reputation of being the atheist philosopher par excellence, and was called a swine; for which reason, too, Clement of Alexandria says that when Paul takes up arms against philosophy he has in mind Epicurean philosophy alone. (Stromatum, Book I [chap. XI], p. 295, Cologne edition, 1688.) Hence we see how “cunning, perfidious” and “clever” was the attitude of this open atheist to the world in directly attacking its religion, while the Stoics adapted the ancient religion in their own speculative fashion, and the Sceptics used their concept of “appearance” as the excuse for being able to accompany all their judgments with a reservatio mentalis.

Thus, according to Stirner, the Stoics finally arrive at “contempt for the world” (p. 30), the Epicureans at ‘,the same worldly wisdom as the Stoics” (p. 32), and the Sceptics at the point where they “let the world alone and do not worry about it. at all”. Hence, according to Stirner, all three end in an attitude of indifference to the world, of “contempt for the world” (p. 485). Long before him, Hegel expressed it in this way: Stoicism, Scepticism, Epicureanism “aimed at making the mind indifferent towards everything that actuality has to offer” (Philosophie der Geschichte, p. 327).

“The ancients,” writes Saint max, summing up his criticism of the ancient world of ideas, “it is true, had ideas, but they did not know the idea” (p. 30). In this connection, “one should recall what was said earlier about our childhood ideas” (ibid.).

The history of ancient philosophy has to conform to Stirner’s design. In order that the Greeks should retain their role of children, Aristotle ought not to have lived and his thought in and for itself (h nohsis h kaq authn), his self-thinking reason (auton de noeio nous) and his self-thinking intellect (h, nohsis ths nohsews) should never have occurred; and in general his Metaphysics and the third book of hisPsychology [Aristoteles, De anima] ought not to have existed.

With just as much right as Saint Max here recalls “what was said earlier about our childhood”, when he discussed “our childhood” he could have said: let the reader look up what will be said below about the ancients and the Negroes and will not be said about Aristotle.

In order to appreciate the true meaning of the last ancient philosophies during the dissolution of the ancient world, Jacques le bonhomme had only to look at the real situation in life of their adherents under the world dominion of Rome. He could have found, inter alia, in Lucian a detailed description of how the people regarded them as public buffoons, and how the Roman capitalists, proconsuls, etc., hired them as court jesters for their entertainment, so that after squabbling at the table with slaves for a few bones and a crust of bread and after being given a special sour wine, they would amuse the master of the house and his guests with delightful words like “ataraxia”, “aphasia” [refusal to express any definite opinion]“hedone”, etc.

Incidentally, if our good man wanted to make the history of ancient philosophy into a history of antiquity, then as a matter of course he ought to have merged the Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics in the Neo-Platonists, whose philosophy is nothing but a fantastic combination of the Stoic, Epicurean and Sceptical doctrine with the content of the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Instead of that, he merges these doctrines directly in Christianity.

It is not “Stirner” that has left Greek philosophy “behind him”, but Greek philosophy that has “Stirner” behind it (cf. Wigand, p. 186 [Max Stirner, “Recensenten Stirners”]). Instead of telling us how “antiquity” arrives at a world of things and “copes” with it,. this ignorant school-master causes antiquity blissfully to vanish by means of a quotation from Timon; whereby antiquity the more naturally “arrives at its final goal” since, according to Saint Max, the ancients “found themselves placed by nature” in the ancient “communality”, which, “let us say in conclusion”, “can be understood” the more easily because this communality, the family, etc., are dubbed “the so-called natural ties” (p. 33). By means of nature the ancient “world of things” is created, and by means of Timon and Pilate (p. 32) it is destroyed. Instead of describing the “world of things” which provides the material basis of Christianity, he causes this “world of things” to be annihilated in the world of the spirit, in Christianity.

The German philosophers are accustomed to counterpose antiquity, as the epoch of realism, to Christianity and modern times, as the epoch of idealism, whereas the French and English economists, historians and scientists are accustomed to regard antiquity as the period of idealism in contrast to the materialism and empiricism of modern times. In the same way antiquity can be considered to be idealistic insofar as in history the ancients represent the “citoyen”, the idealist politician, while in the final analysis the moderns turn into the “bourgeois”, the realist ami du commerce — or again it can be considered to be realistic, because for the ancients the communality was a “truth”, whereas for the moderns it is an idealist “lie”. All these abstract counterposings and historical constructions are of very little use.

The “unique thing” we learn from this whole portrayal of the ancients is that, whereas Stirner “knows” very few “things” about the ancient world, he has all the “better seen through” them (cf. Wigand, p. 191).

Stirner is truly that same “man child” of whom it is prophesied in the Revelation of St. John, 12:5, that he “was to rule all nations with a rod of iron”. We have seen how he sets about the unfortunate heathen with the iron rod of his ignorance. The “moderns” will fare no better.

4. The Moderns

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17) (p. 33).

By means of this biblical saying the ancient world has now indeed passed away” or, as Saint Max really wanted to say, “all gone”, and with one leap [Satz, = leap, jump and also sentence or proposition] we have jumped over to the new, Christian, youthful, Mongoloid “world of the spirit”. We shall see that this, too, will have “all gone” in a very short space of time.

“Whereas it was stated above ‘for the ancients, the world was a truth’, we must say here ‘for the modems the spirit was a truth’, but in neither case should we forget the important addition: ‘a truth, the untruth of which they sought to penetrate and, finally, did indeed penetrate’” (p. 33).

While we do not wish to devise any Stirner-like constructions, “we must say here”: for the moderns truth was a spirit, namely the holy spirit. Jacques le bonhomme again takes the moderns not in their actual historical connection with the “world of things” — which, despite being “all gone”, nevertheless continues to exist — but in their theoretical, and indeed religious, attitude. For him the history of the Middle Ages and modern times again exists only as the history of religion and philosophy; he devoutly believes all the illusions of these epochs and the philosophical illusions about these illusions. Thus, having given the history of the moderns the same turn as he gave that of the ancients, Saint Max can then easily “demonstrate” in it a ‘similar course to that taken by antiquity”, and pass from the Christian religion to modern German philosophy as rapidly as he passed from ancient philosophy to the Christian religion. On page 37 he himself gives a characterisation of his historical illusions, by making the discovery that “the ancients have nothing to offer but worldly wisdom” and that “the moderns have never gone, and do not go, beyondtheology”, and he solemnly asks: “What did the moderns seek to penetrate?” The ancients and moderns alike do nothing else in history but “seek to penetrate something” — the ancients try to find out what is behind the world of things, the moderns behind the world of the spirit. In the end ‘ the ancients are left “without a world” and the moderns “without a spirit”; the ancients wanted to become idealists, the moderns to become realists (p. 485), but both of them were only occupied with the divine (p. 488) — “history up to now” is only the “history of the spiritual man” (what faith!) (p. 442) — in short we have again. the child and the youth, the Negro and the Mongol, and all the rest of the terminology of the “various transformations”.

At the same time we see a faithful imitation of the speculative manner, by which children beget their father, and what is earlier is brought about by what is later. From the very outset Christians must “seek to penetrate the untruthfulness of their truth”, they must immediately be hidden atheists and critics, as was already indicated concerning the ancients. But not satisfied with this, Saint Max gives one more brilliant example of his “virtuosity in” (speculative) “thought” (p. 230):

“Now, after liberalism has acclaimed man, one can state that thereby only the last consequence of Christianity has been drawn and that Christianity originally set itself no other task than that of … realising man.”

Since allegedly the last consequence of Christianity has been drawn, “one” can state that it has been drawn. As soon as the later ones have transformed what was earlier “one can state” that the earlier ones “originally”, namely “in truth”, in essence, in heaven, as hidden Jews, “set themselves no other task” than that of being transformed by the later ones. Christianity, for Jacques le bonhomme, is a self-positing subject, the absolute spirit, which “originally” posits its end as its beginning. Cf. Hegel’s Encyclopädie, etc.

“Hence” (namely because one can attribute an imaginary task to Christianity) “there follows the delusion” (of course, before Feuerbach it was impossible to know what task Christianity “had originally set itself”) “that Christianity attaches infinite value to the ego, as revealed, for example, in the theory of immortality and pastoral work. No, it attaches this value to man alone, man alone is immortal, and only because I am a man, am I also immortal.”

if, then, from the whole of Stirner’s scheme and formulation of tasks it emerges, already sufficiently clearly, that Christian’ try can lend immortality only to Feuerbach’s “man”, we learn here in addition that this comes about also because Christianity does not ascribe this immortality — toanimals as well.

Let us now also draw up a scheme à la Saint Max.

Now, after” modern large-scale landownership, which has arisen from the process of parcellation, has actually “proclaimed” primogeniture, “one can state that thereby only the last consequence” of the parcellation of landed property “has been drawn”  and that” parcellation “in truth originally set itself no other task than that of realising” primogeniture, true primogeniture. “Hence there follows the delusion” that parcellation “attaches infinite value” to equal rights of members of the family, “as revealed, for example”, in the laws of inheritance of the Code Napoléon. “No, it attaches this value solely” to the eldest son; “only” the eldest son, the future owner of the entailed estate, will become a large landowner, “and only because I am” the eldest son “I will also be” a large landowner.

In this way it is infinitely easy to give history “unique” turns, as one has only to describe its very latest result as the “task” which “in truth originally it set itself”. Thereby earlier times acquire a bizarre and hitherto unprecedented appearance. It produces a striking impression, and does not require great production costs. As, for instance, if one says that the real “task” which the institution of landed property “originally set itself” was to replace people by. sheep — a consequence which has recently, become manifest in Scotland, etc., or that the proclamation of the Capet dynasty[51] “originally in truth set itself the task” of sending Louis XVI to the guillotine and M. Guizot into the Government. The important thing is to do it in a solemn, pious, priestly way, to draw a deep breath, and then suddenly to burst out: “Now, at last, one can state it.”

What Saint Max says about the moderns in the above section (pp. 33-37) is only the prologue to the spirit history which is in store for us. Here, too, we see how he tries “to rid himself as quickly as possible” of empirical facts and parades before us the same categories as in the case of the ancients — reason, heart, spirit, etc. — only they are given different names. The Sophists become sophistical scholastics, “humanists, Machiavellism (the art of printing, the New World”, etc.; cf. Hegel’s Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 128) who represent reason; Socrates is transformed into Luther, who extols the heart (Hegel, 1.c., p. 227), and of the post-Reformation period we learn that during that time it was a matter of “empty cordiality” (which in the section about the ancients was called “purity of heart”, cf. Hegel, 1.c., p. 241). All this on page 34. In this way Saint Max “proves” that “Christianity takes a course “similar to that of antiquity”. After Luther he no longer even troubles to provide names for his categories; he hurries in seven-league boots to modern German philosophy. Four oppositions (“until nothing remains but empty cordiality, all the universal love of mankind, love of man, consciousness of freedom, ‘self-consciousness”’, p. 34; Hegel, 1.c., pp. 228, 229), four words fill the gulf between Luther and Hegel and “only thus is Christianity completed”. This whole argument is achieved in one masterly sentence, with the help of such levers as “at last”-“and from that time” — “since one” — “also” — “from day to day” — “until finally”, etc., a sentence which the reader can verify for himself on the classic page 34 already mentioned.

Finally Saint Max gives us a few more examples of his faith, showing that he is so little ashamed of the Gospel that he asserts: “We really are nothing but spirit”, and maintains that at the end of the ancient world “after long efforts” the “spirit” has really “rid itself of the world”. And immediately afterwards he once more betrays the secret of his scheme, by declaring of the Christian spirit that “like a youth it entertains plans for improving or saving the world”. All this on page 36.

“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy…. And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great … and saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints”, etc. (Revelation of St. John, 17, Verses 3, 5, 6).

The apocalyptic prophet did not prophesy accurately this time. Now at last, after Stirner has acclaimed man, one can state that he ought to have said: So he carried me into the wilderness of the spirit. And I saw a man sit upon a scarlet-coloured beast, full of blasphemy of names … and upon his forehead was a name written, Mystery, the unique … and I saw the man drunken with the blood of holy, etc. So we now enter the wilderness of the spirit.

The Moderns

A. The Spirit (Pure History of Spirits)

The first thing we learn about the “spirit” is that it is not the spirit but “the realm of spirits” that “is immensely large”. Saint Max has nothing to say immediately of the spirit except that “an immensely large realm of spirits” exists — just as all he knows of the Middle Ages is that this period lasted for “a long time”. Having presupposed that this “realm of spirits” exists, he subsequently proves its existence with the help of ten theses.

1. The spirit is not a free spirit until it is not occupied with itself alone, until it is not ,,solely concerned” with its own world, the “spiritual” world (first with itself alone and then with its own world). 2. “It is a free spirit only in a world of its own.” 3. “Only by means of a spiritual world is the spirit really spirit.” 4. “Before the spirit has created its world of spirits, it is not spirit.” 5. “Its creations make it spirit.” … 6. “Its creations are its world.” … 7. “The spirit is the creator of a spiritual world.” … 8. “The spirit exists only when it creates the spiritual.” … 9. “Only together with the spiritual, which is its creation, is it real.” … 10. “But the works or offspring of the spirit are nothing but — spirits” (pp. 38-39).

In thesis 1 the “spiritual world” is again immediately presupposed as existing, instead of being deduced, and this thesis 1 is again preached to us in theses 2-9 in eight new transformations. At the end of thesis 9 we find ourselves exactly where we were at the end of thesis 1 — and then in thesis 10 a “but” suddenly introduces us to “spirits”, about whom so far nothing has been said.

Since the spirit exists only by creating the spiritual, we look around for its first creations” (p. 41),

According to theses 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9, however, the spirit is its own creation. This is now expressed thus, the spirit, i.e., the first creation of the spirit,

“must arise out of nothing it must first create itself its first creation is itself, the spirit” (ibid,). “When it has accomplished this creative act there follows from then on a natural reproduction of creations just as, according to the myth, only the first human beings had to be created and the rest of the human race was reproduced of itself” (ibid.).

“However mystical this may sound, we nevertheless experience this daily. Are you a thinking person before you think? In creating your firstthought, you can create yourself, the thinker for you do not think until you think, — i.e. — have some thought. Is it not your singing alone that makes you a singer, your speech that makes you a speaking person? Well, in the same way only the creation of the spiritual makes you spirit.”

Our saintly conjurer assumes that the spirit creates the spiritual in order to draw the conclusion that the spirit creates itself as spirit; on the other hand, he assumes it as spirit in order to allow it to arrive at its spiritual creations (which, “according to the myth, are reproduced of themselves” and become spirits). So far we have the long-familiar orthodox-Hegelian phrases. The genuinely “unique” exposition of what Saint Max wants to say only begins with the example he gives. That is to say, if Jacques le bonhomme cannot get any further, if even “One” and “it” are unable to float his stranded ship, “Stirner” calls his third serf to his assistance, the “You”, who never leaves him in the lurch and on whom he can rely in extremity. This “You” is an individual whom we are not encountering for the first time, a pious and faithful servant, [Matthew 25:21] whom we have seen going through fire and water, a worker in the vineyard of his lord, a man who does not allow anything to terrify him, in a word he is:Szeliga. [cf. Die Heilige Familie, oder Kritik der kritischen Kritik, where the earlier exploits of this man of God have already been set forth.]When “Stirner” is in the utmost plight in his exposition he cries out: Szeliga, help! — and trusty Eckart Szeliga immediately puts his shoulder to the wheel to get the cart out of the mire. We shall have more to say later about Saint Max’s relation to Szeliga.

It is a question of spirit which creates itself out of nothing, hence it is a question of nothing, which out of nothing makes itself spirit. From this Saint Max derives the creation of Szeliga’s spirit from Szeliga. And who else if not Szeliga could “Stirner” count on allowing himself to be put in the place of nothing in the manner indicated above? Who could be taken in by such a trick but Szeliga, who feels highly flattered at being allowed to appear at all as one of the dramatis personae? What Saint Max had to prove was not that a given “you”, i.e., the given Szeliga, becomes a thinker, speaker, singer from the moment when he begins to think, speak, sing — but that the thinker creates himself out of nothing by beginning to think, that the singer creates himself out of nothing by beginning to sing, etc., and it is not even the thinker and the singer, but thethought and the singing as subjects that create themselves out of nothing by beginning to think and to sing. For the rest, “Stirner makes only the extremely simple reflection” and states only the “extremely popular” proposition (cf. Wigand, p. 156) that Szeliga develops one of his qualities by developing it. There is, of course, absolutely nothing “to be wondered at” in the fact that Saint Max does not even “make” correctly “such simple reflections”, but expresses them incorrectly in order thereby to prove a still much more incorrect proposition with the aid of the most incorrect logic in the world.

Far from it being true that “out of nothing” I make myself, for example, a “speaker”, the nothing which forms the basis here is a very manifold something, the real individual, his speech organs, a definite stage of physical development, an existing language and dialects, ears capable of hearing and a human environment from which it is possible to hear something, etc., etc. Therefore, in the development of a property something is created by something out of something, and by no means comes, as in Hegel’s Logik, from nothing, through nothing to nothing. [cf. G.W.F. Hegel. Wissenschaft der Logik, Th. I, Abt. 2]

Now that Saint Max has his faithful Szeliga close at hand, everything goes forward smoothly again. We shall see how, by means of hi ‘ S “You”, he again transforms the spirit into the youth, exactly as he earlier transformed the youth into the spirit; here we shall again find the whole history of the youth repeated almost word for word, only with a few camouflaging alterations — just as the “Immensely large realm of spirits” mentioned on page 37 was nothing but the “realm of the spirit”, to found and enlarge which was the “aim” of the spirit of the youth (p. 17).

Just as you, however, distinguish yourself from the thinker, singer, speaker, so you distinguish yourself no less from the spirit and are well aware that You are something else as well as spirit. However, just as in the enthusiasm of thinking it may easily happen that sight and hearing fail the thinking ego, so the enthusiasm of the spirit has seized you too, and you too, and you now aspire with all four might to become wholly spirit and merged in spirit. The spirit is your ideal, something unattained, something of the beyond: spirit: means your — God, — God is spirit [John 4:24] … You inveigh against yourself, you who cannot get rid of ‘a relic of the non-spiritual. Instead of saving: I am more than spirit, you say contritely: I am less than spirit, and I can only envisage spirit, pure spirit, or the spirit which is nothing but spirit, but I am not it, and since I am not it, then it is an other, it exists as an other, whom I call ‘God’.”

After previously, for a long time occupying ourselves with the trick of making something out of nothing, we now suddenly, perfectly naturally”, come to an individual who is something else as well as spirit, consequently is something, and wants to become pure spirit, i.e., nothing. This much easier problem, i.e., to turn something into nothing, once again poses the whole story of the youth, who “has yet to seek the perfect spirit”, and one needs merely to repeat the old phrases from pages 17-18 to be extricated from all difficulties. Particularly, when one has such an obedient and gullible servant as Szeliga, on whom “Stirner” can impose the idea that just as “in the enthusiasm of thinking it may easily” (!) “happen that sight and hearing fail” him, “Stirner”, so he, Szeliga, has also been “seized with the enthusiasm of the spirit” and he, Szeliga, “is now aspiring with all his might to become spirit”, instead of acquiring spirit, that is to say, he now has to play the role of the youth as presented on page 18. Szeliga believes it and in fear and trembling he obeys; he obeys when Saint Max thunders at him: The spirit is your ideal — your God. You do this for me, you do that for me. Now you “inveigh”, now “you say” now “you can envisage”, etc. When “Stirner” imposes on him the idea that “the pure spirit is an other, for he” (Szeliga) “is not it”, then in truth, it is only Szeliga who is capable of believing him and who gabbles the entire nonsense after him, word for word. Incidentally, the method by which Jacques le bonhomme makes up this nonsense was already exhaustively analysed when dealing with the youth. Since you are well aware that you are something else as well as a mathematician, you aspire to become wholly a mathematician, to become merged in mathematics, the mathematician is your ideal, mathematician means your — God. You say contritely: I am less than a mathematician and I can only envisage the mathematician, and since I am not him, then he is an other, he exists as an other, whom I call “God”. Someone else in Szeliga’s place would say — Arago.

“Now, at last, after” we have proved Stirner’s thesis to be a repetition of the “youth”, “one can state” that he “in truth originally set himself no other task” than to identify the spirit of Christian asceticism with spirit in general, and to identify the frivolous esprit, for example, of the eighteenth century with Christian spiritlessness.

It follows, therefore, that the necessity of spirit dwelling in the beyond, i.e., being God, is not to be explained, as Stirner asserts, “because ego and spirit are different names for different things, because ego is not spirit and spirit is not ego” (p. 42). The explanation lies in the “enthusiasm of the spirit” which is ascribed without any grounds to Szeliga and which makes him an ascetic, i.e., a man who wishes to become God (pure spirit), and because he is not able to do this posits God outside himself. But it was a matter of the spirit having first to create itself out of nothing and then having to create spirits out of itself. Instead of this, Szeliga now produces God (the unique spirit that makes its appearance here) not because he, Szeliga, is the spirit, but because he is Szeliga, i.e., imperfect spirit, unspiritual spirit, and therefore at the same time non-spirit. But Saint Max does not say a word about how the Christian conception of spirit as God arises, although this is now no longer such a clever feat; he assumes the existence of this conception in order to explain it.

The history of the creation of the spirit “has in truth originally set itself no other task” than to put Stirner’s stomach among the stars.

“Precisely because we are not the spirit which dwells within us, for that very reason we had to …

Precisely because we are not stomach which dwells within us, for that the very reason we had to …

that put it outside of ourselves; it was not us, and therefore we could not conceive it as existing except outside of ourselves, beyond us, in the beyond” (p, 43).

It was a matter of the spirit having first to create itself and then having to create something other than itself out of itself; the question was: What is this something else? No answer is given to this question, but after the above-mentioned “various transformations” and twists, it becomes distorted into the following new question:

“The spirit is something other than the ego. But what is this something other?” (p. 45).

Now, therefore, the question arises: What is the spirit other than the ego? whereas the original question was: What is the spirit, owing to its creation out of nothing, other than itself? With this Saint Max jumps to the next “transformation”.

B. The Possessed (Impure History of Spirits)

Without realising it, Saint Max has so far done no more than give instruction in the art of spirit-seeing, by regarding the ancient and modern world only as the “pseudo-body of a spirit”, as a spectral phenomenon, and seeing in it only struggles of spirits. Now, however, he consciously and ex professo gives instruction in the art of ghost-seeing.

Instructions in the art of seeing spirits. First of all one must become transformed into a complete fool, i.e., imagine oneself to be Szeliga, and then say to oneself, as Saint Max does to this Szeliga: “Look around you in the world and say for yourself whether a spirit is not looking at you from everywhere!” If one can bring oneself to imagine this, then the spirits will come “easily”, of themselves; in a “flower” one sees only the “creator”, in the mountains — a “spirit of loftiness”, in water — a “spirit of longing” or the longing of the spirit, and one hears “millions of spirits speak through the mouths of people”. If one has achieved this level, if one can exclaim with Stirner: “ Yes, ghosts are teeming in the whole world,” then “it is not difficult to advance to the point” (p. 93) where one makes the further exclamation: “Only in it? No, the world itself is an apparition” (let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil [Matthew 5: 37] i.e., a logical transition), “it is the wandering pseudo-body of a spirit, it is an apparition.” Then cheerfully “look near at hand or into the distance, you are surrounded by a ghostly world…. You see spirits”. If you are an ordinary person you can be satisfied with that, but if you are thinking of ranking yourself with Szeliga, then you can also look into yourself and then “you should not be surprised” if, in these circumstances and from the heights of Szeligality, you discover also that “your spirit is a ghost haunting your body”, that you yourself are a ghost which “awaits salvation, that is, a spirit”. Thereby you will have arrived at the point where you are capable of seeing “spirits” and “ghosts” in “all” people, and therewith spirit-seeing “reaches its final goal” (pp. 46, 47).

The basis of this instruction, only much more correctly expressed, Is to be found in Hegel, inter alia, in the Geschichte der Philosophie, III, pp. 124, 125.

Saint Max has such faith in his own instruction that as a result he himself becomes Szeliga and asserts that

“ever since the word was made flesh [John 1:14], the world is spiritualised, bewitched, a ghost” (p. 47).

“Stirner” “sees spirits”.

Saint Max intends to give us a phenomenology of the Christian spirit and in his usual way seizes on only one aspect. For the Christian the world was not only spiritualised but equally despiritualised as, for example, Hegel quite correctly admits in the passage mentioned, where he brings the two aspects into relation with each other, which Saint Max should also have done if he wanted to proceed historically. As against the world’s despiritualisation in the Christian consciousness, the ancients, “who saw gods everywhere”, can with equal justification be regarded as the spiritualisers of the world — a conception which our saintly dialectician rejects with the well-meaning warning: “Gods, my dear modern man, are not spirits” (p. 47). Pious Max recognises only the holy spirit as spirit.

But even if he had given us this phenomenology (which after Hegel is moreover superfluous), he would all the same have given us nothing. The standpoint at which people are content with such tales about spirits is itself a religious one, because for people who adopt it religion is a satisfactory answer, they regard religion as causa sui [its own cause] (for both “self-consciousness” and “man” are still religious) instead of explaining it from the empirical conditions and showing how definite relations of industry and intercourse are necessarily connected with a definite form of society, hence, with a definite form of state and hence with a definite form of religious consciousness. If Stirner had looked at the real history of the Middle Ages, he could have found why the Christian’s notion of the world took precisely this form in the Middle Ages, and how it happened that it subsequently passed into a different one; he could have found that “Christianity” has no history whatever and that all the different forms in which it was visualised at various times were not “self-determinations” and “further developments” “of the religious spirit”, but were brought about by wholly empirical causes in no way dependent on any influence of the religious spirit.

Since Stirner “does not stick to the rules” (p. 45), it is possible, before dealing in more detail with spirit-seeing, to say here and now that the various “transformations” of Stirner’s people and their world consist merely in the transformation of the entire history of the world into the body of Hegel’s philosophy; into ghosts, which only apparently are an “other being” of the thoughts of the Berlin professor. In the Phänomenologie, the Hegelian bible, “the book”, individuals are first of all transformed into “consciousness” [and the] world into “object”, whereby the manifold variety of forms of life and history is reduced to a different attitude of “consciousness” to the “object”. This different attitude is reduced, in turn, to three cardinal relations: 1) the relation of consciousness to the object as to truth, or to truth as mere object (for example, sensual consciousness, natural religion, Ionic philosophy, Catholicism, the authoritarian state, etc.); 2) the relation of consciousness as the true to the object (reason, spiritual religion, Socrates, Protestantism, the French Revolution); 3) the true relation of consciousness to truth as object, or to the object as truth (logical thinking, speculative philosophy, the spirit as existing for the spirit). In Hegel, too, the first relation is defined as God the Father, the second as Christ, the third as the Holy Spirit, etc. Stirner already used these transformations when speaking of child and youth, of ancient and modern, and he repeats them later in regard to Catholicism and Protestantism, the Negro and the Mongol, etc., and then accepts this series of camouflages of a thought in all good faith as the world against which he has to assert and maintain himself as a “corporeal individual”.

Second set of instructions in spirit-seeing. How to transform the world into the spectre of truth, and oneself into something made holy or spectral. A conversation between Saint Max and his servant Szeliga (pp. 47, 48).

Saint Max: “You have spirit, for you have thoughts. What are your thoughts?” Szeliga: “Spiritual entities.” Saint Max: “Hence they are not things?” Szeliga: “No, but they ‘are the spirit of things, the important element in all things, their innermost essence, their idea.” Saint Max: “What you think is, therefore, not merely your thought?” Szeliga: “On the contrary, it is the most real, genuinely true thing in the world: it is truth itself; when I but truly think, I think the truth. I can admittedly he mistaken about the truth and fail to perceive it, but when I truly perceive, then the object of my perception is the truth.” Saint Max: “Thus, you endeavour all the time to perceive the truth?” Szeliga: “For me the truth is sacred…. The truth I cannot abolish; in the truth I believe, and therefore I investigate into its nature; there is nothing higher than it, it is eternal. The truth is sacred, eternal, it is the holy, the eternal.” Saint Max (indignantly): “But you, by allowing yourself to become filled with this holiness, become yourself holy.”

Thus, when Szeliga truly perceives some object, the object ceases to be an object and becomes “the truth”. This is the first manufacture of spectres on a large scale. — It is now no longer a matter of perceiving objects, but of perceiving the truth; first he perceives objects truly, which he defines as the truth of perception, and he transforms this into perception of the truth. But after Szeliga has thus allowed truth as a spectre to be imposed on him by the threatening saint, his stern master strikes home with a question of conscience, whether he is filled “all the time” with longing for the truth, whereupon the thoroughly confused Szeliga blurts out somewhat prematurely: “For me the truth is sacred.” But he immediately notices his error and tries to correct it, by shamefacedly transforming objects no longer into the truth, but into a number of truths, and abstracting “the truth” as the truth of these truths, “the truth” which he can now no longer abolish after he has distinguished it from truths which are capable of being abolished. Thereby it becomes “eternal”. But not satisfied with giving it predicates such as “sacred, eternal”, he transforms it into the holy, the eternal, as subject. After this, of course, Saint Max can explain to him that having become “filled” with this holiness, he “himself becomes holy” and “should not be surprised” if he now “finds nothing but a spectre” in himself. Then our saint begins a sermon:

“The holy, moreover, is not for your senses” and quite consistently appends by means of the conjunction “and“: “never will you, as a sensuous being, discover its traces”; that is to say, after sensuous objects are “all gone” and “the truth”, “the sacred truth”, “the holy” has taken their place, “But” — obviously, — “for your faith or more exactly for your spirit” (for your lack of spirit), “for it is itself somethingspiritual” (per appositionen), “a spirit” (again per appos.), “is spirit for the spirit”.

Such is the art of transforming the ordinary world, “objects”, by means of an arithmetical series of appositions, into “spirit for the spirit”. Here we can only admire this dialectical method of appositions — later we shall have occasion to explore it and present it in all its classical beauty.

The method of oppositions can also be reversed — for example here, after we have once produced “the holy”, it does not receive further oppositions, but is made the apposition of a new definition; this is combining progression with equation. Thus, as a result of some dialectical process “there remains the idea of another entity” which “I should serve more than myself” (per appos.), which for me should be more important than everything else” (per appos.), “in short — a something in which I should seek my true salvation” (and finally per appos. the return to the first series), and which becomes “something ‘holy’” (p. 48). We have here two progressions which are equated to each other and can thus provide the opportunity for great variety of equations. We shall deal with this later. By this method too, “the sacred”, which hitherto we have been acquainted with only as a purely theoretical designation of purely theoretical relations, has acquired a new practical meaning as “something in which I should seek my true salvation”, which makes it possible to make the holy the opposite of the egoist. Incidentally we need hardly mention that this entire dialogue with the sermon that follows is nothing but another repetition of the story of the youth already met with three or four times before.

Here, having arrived at the “egoist”, we need not stick to Stirner’s “rules” either, because, firstly, we have to present his argument in all its purity, free from any intervening intermezzos, and, secondly, because in any case these intermezzi (on the analogy of “a Lazaroni” — Wigand, p. 159, the word should be Lazzarone — Sancho would say intermezzi’s) will occur again in other parts of the book, for Stirner, far from obeying his own requirement “always to draw back into himself”, on the contrary expresses himself again and again. We shall only just mention that the question raised on page 45: What is this something distinct from the “ego” that is the spirit? is now answered to the effect that it is the holy, i.e., that which is foreign to the “ego”, and that everything that is foreign to the “ego” is — thanks to some unstated appositions, appositions “in themselves” — accordingly without more ado regarded as spirit. Spirit, the holy, the foreign are identical ideas, on which he declares war, in the same way almost word for word as he did at the very outset in regard to the youth and the man. We have, therefore, still not advanced a step further than we had on page 20.

a) The Apparition

Saint Max now begins to deal seriously with the “spirits” that are “offspring of the spirit” (p. 39), with the ghastliness of everything (p. 47). At any rate, he imagines so. Actually, however, he only substitutes a new name for his former conception of history according to which people were from the outset the representatives of general concepts. These general concepts appear here first of all in the Negroid form as objective spirits having for people the character of objects, and at this level are called spectres or — apparitions. The chief spectre is, of course, “man” himself, because, according to what has been previously said, people only exist for one another as representatives of a universal — essence, concept, the holy, the foreign, a the spirit — i.e., only as spectral persons, spectres, and because, according to Hegel’s Phänomenologie, page 25 and elsewhere, the spirit, insofar as for man it has the “form of thinghood”, is another man (see below about “the man”).

Thus, we see here the skies opening and the various kinds of spectres passing before us one after the other. Jacques le bonhomme forgets only that he has already caused ancient and modern times to parade before us like gigantic spectres, compared with which all the harmless fancies about God, etc., are sheer trifles.

Spectre No. 1: the supreme being, God (p. 53). As was to be expected from what has preceded, Jacques le bonhomme, whose faith moves all the mountains’ of world history, believes that “for thousands of years people have set themselves the task”, “have tired themselves out struggling with the awful impossibility, the endless Danaidean labour” — “to prove the existence of God”. We need not waste any more words on this incredible belief.

Spectre No. 2: essence. What our good man says about essence is limited — apart from what has been copied out of Hegel — to “pompous words and miserable thoughts” (p. 53). “The advance from” essence “to” world essence “is not difficult”, and this world essence is, of course,

Spectre No. 3: the vanity of the world. There is nothing to say about this except that from it “easily” arises

Spectre No. 4: good and evil beings. Something, indeed, could be said about this but is not said — and one passes at once to the next:

Spectre No. 5: the essence and its realm. We should not be at all surprised that we find here essence for the second time in our honest author, for he is fully aware of his “clumsiness” (Wigand, p. 166), and therefore repeats everything several times in order not to be misunderstood. Essence is here in the first place defined as the proprietor of a “realm” and then it is said of it that it is “essence” (p. 54), after which it is swiftly transformed into

Spectre No. 6: “essences”. To perceive and to recognise them, and them alone, is religion. “Their realm” (of essences) “is — a realm of essences” (p. 54). Here there suddenly appears for no apparent reason

Spectre No. 7: the God-Man, Christ. Of him Stirner is able to say that he was “corpulent”. If Saint Max does not believe in Christ, he at least believes in his “actual corpus”. According to Stirner, Christ introduced great distress into history, and our sentimental saint relates with tears in his eyes “how the strongest Christians have racked their brains in order to comprehend him” — indeed,

“there has never been a spectre that caused such mental anguish, and no shaman, spurring himself into wild frenzy and nerve-racking convulsions, can have suffered such agony as Christians have suffered on account of this most incomprehensible spectre”.

Saint Max sheds a sympathetic tear at the grave of the victims of Christ and then passes on to the “horrible being”,

Spectre No. 8, man. Here our hold writer is seized with immediate “horror” — “he is terrified of himself”, he sees in every man a “frightful spectre”, a “sinister spectre” in which something “stalks” (pp. 55, 56). He feels highly uncomfortable. The split between phenomenon and essence gives him no peace. He is like Nabal, Abigail’s husband, of whom it is written that his essence too was separated from his phenomenal appearance: “And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions [wesen (essence) — in Luther’s Bible Wesen means “possession”] were in Carmel”. (1 Samuel 25: 2.) But in the nick of time, before the “mental anguish” causes Saint Max in desperation to put a bullet through his head, he suddenly remembers the ancients who “took no notice of anything of the kind in their slaves”. This leads him to

Spectre No. 9, the national spirit (p. 56), about which too Saint Max, who can no longer be restrained, indulges in “frightful” fantasies, in order to transform

Spectre No. 10, “everything”, into an apparition and, finally, where all enumeration ends, to hurl together in the class of spectres the “holy spirit”, truth, justice, law, the good cause (which he still cannot forget) and half a dozen other things completely foreign to one another.

Apart from this there is nothing remarkable in the whole chapter except that Saint Max’s faith moves an historical mountain. That is to say, he utters the opinion (p. 56):

“Only for the sake of a supreme being has anyone ever been worshipped, only as a spectre has he been regarded as a sanctified, i.e.” (that is!) “protected and recognised person.”

If we shift this mountain, moved by faith alone, back into its proper place, then “it will read”: Only for the sake of persons who are protected, i.e., who protect themselves, and who are privileged, i.e., who seize privileges for themselves, have supreme beings been worshipped and spectres sanctified. Saint Max imagines, for example, that in antiquity, when each people was held together by material relations and interests, e.g., by the hostility of the various tribes, etc., when owing to a shortage of productive forces each had either to be a slave or to possess slaves, etc., etc., when, therefore, belonging to a particular people was a matter of “the most natural interest” (Wigand, p. [162]) — that then it was only the concept people, or “nationality” that gave birth to these interests from itself; he imagines also that in modern times, when free competition and world trade gave birth to hypocritical, bourgeois cosmopolitanism and the notion of man — that here, on the contrary, the later philosophical construction of man brought about those relations as its “revelations” (p. 51). It is the same with religion, with the realm of essences, which he considers the unique realm, but concerning the essence of which he knows nothing, for otherwise he must have known that religion as such has neither essence, nor realm.

— On Religion —

In religion people make their empirical world into an entity that is only conceived, imagined, that confronts them as something foreign. This again is by no means to be explained from other concepts, from “self-consciousness” and similar nonsense, but from the entire hitherto existing mode of production and intercourse, which is just as independent of the pure concept as the invention of the self-acting mule and the use of railways are independent of Hegelian philosophy. If he wants to speak of an “essence” of religion, i.e., of a material basis of this inessentiality, then he should look for it neither in the “essence of man”, nor in the predicates of God, but in the material world which each stage of religious development finds in existence (cf. above Feuerbach).

All the “spectres” which have filed before us were concepts. These concepts — leaving aside their real basis (which Stirner in any case leaves aside) — understood as concepts inside consciousness, as thoughts in people’s heads, transferred from their objectivity back into the subject, elevated from substance into self-consciousness, are — whimsies or fixed ideas.

Concerning the origin of Saint Max’s history of ghosts, see Feuerbach in Anekdota IIp. 66 [Ludwig Feuerbach, “Verläufige Thesen zur Reformation der Philosophie”], where it is stated:

“Theology is belief in ghosts. Ordinary theology, however, has its ghosts in the sensuous imagination, speculative theology has them in non-sensuous abstraction.”

And since Saint Max shares the belief of all critical speculative philosophers of modern times that thoughts, which have become independent, objectified thoughts — ghosts — have ruled the world and continue to rule it, and that all history up to now was the history of theology, nothing could be easier for him than to transform history into a history of ghosts. Sancho’s history of ghosts, therefore, rests on the traditional belief in ghosts of the speculative philosophers.

b) Whimsy

“Man, there are spectres in your head!… You have a fixed idea!” thunders Saint Max at his slave Szeliga. “Don’t think I am joking,” he threatens him. Don’t dare to think that the solemn “Max Stirner” is capable of joking.

The man of God is again in need of his faithful Szeliga in order to pass from the object to the subject, from the apparition to the whimsy.

Whimsy is the hierarchy in the single individual, the domination of thought “in him over him”. After the world has confronted the fantasy-making youth (of page 20) as a world of his “feverish fantasies”, as a world of ghosts, “the off-springs of his own head” inside his head begin to dominate him. The world of his feverish fantasies — this is the step forward he has made’ now exists as the world of his deranged mind. Saint Max — the man who is confronted by “the world of the moderns” in the form of the fantasy-making youth — has necessarily to declare that “almost the whole of mankind consists of veritable fools, inmates of a mad-house” (p.. 57).

The whimsy which Saint Max discovers in the heads of people is nothing but his own whimsy — the whimsy of the “saint” who views the worldsub specie aeterni [under the aspect of eternity — see Spinoza, Ethics] and who takes both the hypocritical phrases of people and their illusions for the true motives of their actions; that is why our naive, pious man confidently pronounces the great proposition: “Almost all mankind clings to something higher” (p. 57).

“Whimsy” is “a fixed idea”, i.e., “an idea which has subordinated man to itself” or — as is said later in more popular form — all kinds of absurdities which people “have stuffed into their heads”. With the utmost ease, Saint Max arrives at the conclusion that everything that has subordinated people to itself — for example, the need to produce in order to live, and the relations dependent on this — is such an ,absurdity” or “fixed idea”. Since the child’s world is the only “world of things”, as we learned in the myth of “a man’s life”, everything that does not exist “for the child” (at times also for the animal) is in any case an “idea” and “easily also” a “fixed idea”. We are still a long way from getting rid of the youth and the child.

The chapter on whimsy aims merely at establishing the existence of the category of whimsy in the history of “man”. The actual struggle against whimsy is waged throughout the entire “book and particularly in the second part. Hence a few examples of whimsy can suffice us here.

On page 59, Jacques le bonhomme believes that our newspapers are full of politics, because they are in the grip of the delusion that man was created in order to become a zoon politikon[political animal — Aristotle]”.

Hence, according to Jacques le bonhomme, people engage in politics because our newspapers are full of them! If a church father were to glance at the stock exchange reports of our newspapers, he could not judge differently from Saint Max and would have to say: these newspapers are full of stock exchange reports because they are in the grip of the delusion that man was created in order to engage in financial speculation. Thus, it is not the newspapers that possess whimsies, but whimsies that possess “Stirner”.

Stirner explains the condemnation of incest and the institutions of monogamy from “the holy”, “they are the holy”. If among the Persians incest is not condemned, and if the institution of polygamy occurs among the Turks, then in those places incest and polygamy are “the holy”. It is not possible to see any difference between these two “holies” other than that the nonsense with which the Persians and Turks have “stuffed their heads” is different from that with which the Christian Germanic peoples have stuffed their heads. — Such is the church father’s manner of “detaching himself” from history “in good time”. — Jacques le bonhomme has so little inkling of the real, materialist causes for the condemnation of polygamy and incest in certain social conditions that he considers this condemnation to be merely the dogma of a creed and in common with every philistine imagines that when a man is imprisoned for a crime of this kind, it means that “moral purity” is confining him in a “house of moral correction” (p. 60) — just as jails in general seem to him to be houses for moral correction — in this respect he is at a lower level than the educated bourgeois, who has a better understanding of the matter — cf. the literature on prisons. “Stirner’s” “jails” are the most trite illusions of the Berlin burgher which for him, however, hardly deserve to be called a “house of moral correction”.

After Stirner, with the help of an “episodically included” “historical reflection”, has discovered that

“it had to come to pass that the whole man with all his abilities would prove to be religious” (p. 64) “so, too, in point of fact” “it is not surprising” — “for we are now so thoroughly religious” — “that” the oath “of the members of the jury condemns us to death and that by means of the ‘official oath’ the police constable, as a good Christian, has us put in the clink”.

When a gendarme stops him for smoking in the Tiergarten [52], the cigar is knocked out of his mouth not by the royal Prussian gendarme who is paid to do so and shares in the money from fines, but by the “official oath”. In precisely the same way the power of the bourgeois in the jury court becomes transformed for Stirner — owing to the pseudo-holy appearance which the amis du commerce assume here — into the power of making a vow, the power of the oath, into the “holy”. “Verily, I say unto you: I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” (Matthew 8:10)

“For some persons a thought becomes a maxim, so that it is not the person who possesses the maxim, but rather the latter that possesses him, and with the maxim he again acquires a firm standpoint.” But “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9: 16).

Therefore Saint Max has on the same page to receive several thorns in the flesh [2 Corinthians 12:7] and must give us a number of maxims: firstly, the maxim [to recognise] no maxims, with which goes, secondly, the maxim not to have any firm standpoint; thirdly, the maxim “although weshould possess spirit, spirit should not possess us”; and fourthly, the maxim that one should also be aware of one’s flesh, “for only by being aware of his flesh is man fully aware of himself, and only by being fully aware of himself, is he aware or rational”.

C. The Impurely Impure History of Spirits

a) Negroes and Mongols

We now go back to the beginning of the “unique” historical scheme and nomenclature. The child becomes the Negro, the youth — the Mongol. See “The Economy of the Old Testament”.

“The historical reflection on our mongolhood, which I shall include episodically at this point, I present without any claim to thoroughness or even to authenticity, but solely because it seems to me that it can contribute to clarifying the rest” (p. 87).

Saint Max tries to “clarify” for himself his phrases about the child and the youth by giving them world-embracing names, and he tries to “clarify” these world-embracing names by replacing them with his phrases about the child and the youth. “The Negroid character represents antiquity, dependence on things” (child); “the Mongoloid character — the period of dependence on thoughts, the Christian epoch” (the youth). (Cf. “The Economy of the Old Testament”.) “The following words are reserved for the future: I am owner of the world of things, and I am owner of the world of thoughts” (pp. 87, 88). This “future” has already happened once, on page 20, in connection with the man, and it will occur again later, beginning with page 226.

First “historical reflection without claim to thoroughness or even to authenticity”: Since Egypt is part of Africa where Negroes live, it follows that “included” “in the Negro era” (p. 88) are the “campaigns of Sesostris”, which never took place, and the “significance of Egypt” (the significance it had also at the time of the Ptolemics, Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt, Mohammed All, the Eastern question, the pamphlets of Duvergier de Haurannes, etc.), land of North Africa in general” (and therefore of Carthage, Hannibal’s campaign against Rome, and “easily also”, the significance of Syracuse and Spain, the Vandals, Tertuilian, the Moors, AI Hussein Abu Ali Ben Abdallah Ibn Sina, piratical states, the French in Algeria, Abd-el-Kader, Père Enfantin [53] and the font. new toads of the Charivari) (p. 88). Consequently, Stirner clarifies the campaigns of Sesostris, etc., by transferring them to the Negro era, and he clarifies the Negro era by “episodically including” it as a historical illustration of his unique thoughts “about our childhood years”.

Second “historical reflection: “To the Mongoloid era belong the campaigns of the Huns and Mongols up to the Russians” (andWasserpolaken[54]); thus here again the campaigns of the Huns and Mongols, together with the Russians, are “clarified” by their inclusion in the “Mongoloid era”, and the “Mongoloid era” — by pointing out that it is the era of the phrase “dependence on thoughts”, which we have already encountered in connection with the youth.

Third “historical reflection:

In the Mongoloid era the “value of my ego cannot possibly be put at a high level because the hard diamond of the non-ego is too high in price, because it is still too gritty and impregnable for it to be absorbed and consumed by my ego. On the contrary, people are simply exceptionally busy crawling about on this static world, this substance, like parasitic animalcules on a body from whose juices they extract nourishment, but nevertheless do not devour the body. It is the bustling activity of noxious insects, the industriousness of Mongols. Among the Chinese indeed everything remains as of old, etc…. Therefore” (because among the Chinese everything remains as of old) “in our Mongol era every change has only been reformatory and corrective, and not destructive, devouring or annihilating. The substance, the object remains. All our industriousness is only the activity of ants and the jumping of fleas … juggling on the tightrope of the objective”, etc. (p. 88. Cf. Hegel, Philosophie der Geschichte, pp. 113, 118, 119 (unsoftened substance). p. 140, etc., where China is understood as “substantiality”).

We learn here, therefore, that in the true Caucasian era people will be guided by the maxim that the earth, “substance”, the “object”, the “static” has to be devoured, “consumed”, “annihilated”, “absorbed”, “destroyed”, and along with the earth the solar system that is inseparable from it. World-devouring “Stirner” has already introduced us to the “reformatory or corrective activity” of the Mongols as the youth’s and Christian’s “plans for the salvation and correction of the world” on page 36. Thus we have still not advanced a step. It is characteristic of the entire “unique” conception of history that the highest stage of this Mongol activity earns the title of “scientific” — from which already now the conclusion can be drawn, which Saint Max later tells us, that the culmination of the Mongolian heaven is the Hegelian kingdom of spirits.

Fourth “historical reflection”. The world on which the Mongols crawl about is now transformed by means of a “flea jump” into the “positive”, this into the “precept”, and, with the help of a paragraph on page 89, the precept becomes “morality”. “Morality appears in its first form as custom” — hence it conies forward as a person, but in a trice it becomes transformed into a sphere:

“To act in accordance with the morals and customs of one’s country means here” (i.e., in the sphere of morality) “to be moral……. Therefore” (because this occurs in the sphere of morality as a custom) “pure, moral behaviour in the most straightforward form is practised in …China! “

Saint Max is unfortunate in his examples. On page 116 in just the same way he attributes to the North Americans the “religion of honesty”. He regards the two most rascally nations on earth, the patriarchal swindlers — the Chinese, and the civilised swindlers — the Yankees, as “straightforward”, “moral” and “honest”. If he had looked up his crib he could have found the North Americans classed as swindlers on page 81 of the Philosophie der Geschichte and the Chinese ditto on page 130.

“One” — that friend of the saintly worthy man — now helps him to arrive at innovation, and from this an “and” brings him back to custom, and thus the material is prepared for achieving a masterstroke in the

Fifth historical reflection: “There is in fact no doubt that by means of custom man protects himself against the importunity of things, of the world” — for example, from hunger;

and” — as quite naturally follows from this —

founds a world of his own” — which “Stirner” has need of now —

in which alone he feels in his native element and at home”, — “alone”, after he has first by “custom” made himself “at home” in the existing “world” —

i.e., builds himself a heaven” — because China is called the Celestial Empire.

For indeed heaven has no other significance than that of being the real homeland of man” — in this context, however, it signifies the imagined unreality of the real homeland —

where nothing alien any longer prevails upon him”, i.e., where what is his own prevails upon him as something alien, and all the rest of the old story. “Or rather”, to use Saint Bruno’s words, or “it is easily possible”, to use Saint Max’s words, that this proposition should read as follows:

Stirner’s proposition without claim to thoroughness or even to authenticity

“There is in fact no doubt that by means of custom man protects himself against the importunity of things, of the world, and founds a world of his own, in which alone he feels in his native element and at home, i.e., builds himself aheaven.

For indeed ‘heaven’ has no other significance than that of being the real homeland of man, where nothing alien any longer prevails upon him and rules over him, no earthly influence any longer estranges him from himself, in short, where earthly dross is thrown aside and the struggle against the world has come to an end. where, therefore, nothing is forbidden him any more” (p. 89).

Clarified proposition

“There is in fact no doubt” that because China is called the Celestial Empire, because “Stirner” happens to be speaking of China and as he is “accustomed” by means of ignorance “to protect himself against the importunity of things, ,f the world, and to found a world of his own, in which alone he feels in his native element and at home” — therefore he “builds himself a heaven” out of the Chinese Celestial Empire. “For indeed” the importunity of the world, of things, “has no other significance than that of being the real” hell of the unique, “in which” everything “prevails upon him and rules over him” as something “alien”, but which he is able to transform into a “heaven” by “estranging himself” from all “earthly influences”, historical facts and connections, and hence no longer thinks them strange; “in short”, it is a sphere “where the earthly”, the historical “dross is thrown aside”, and where Stirner “does not find” in the “end” “of the world” any more “struggle” — and thereby everything has been said.

Sixth “historical reflection”. On page 90, Stirner imagines that

“in China everything is provided for; no matter what happens, the Chinese always knows how he should behave, and he has no need to decide according to circumstances; no unforeseen event will overthrow his celestial calm”.

Nor any British bombardment either — he knew exactly “how he should behave”, particularly in regard to the unfamiliar steamships and shrapnel-bombs.[55]

Saint Max extracted that from Hegel’s Philosophie der Geschichte, pages 118 and 127, to which, of course, he had to add something unique, in order to achieve his reflection as given above.

Consequently,” continues Saint Max, “mankind climbs the first rung of the ladder of education by means of custom, and since it imaginesthat by gaining culture, it has gained heaven, the realm of culture or second nature, it actually mounts the first rung of the heavenly ladder” (p. 90).

“Consequently”, i.e., because Hegel begins history with China, and because “the Chinese does not lose his equanimity”, “Stirner” transforms mankind into a person who “mounts the first rung of the ladder of culture” and indeed does so “by means of custom”, because China has no other meaning for Stirner than that of being the embodiment of “custom”. Now it is only a question for our zealot against the holy of transforming the “ladder” into a “heavenly ladder”, since China is also called the Celestial Empire. “Since mankind imagines” (“wherefrom” does Stirner “know everything that” mankind imagines, see Wigand, page 189) — and this ought to have been proved by Stirner — firstly that it transforms “culture” into the “heaven of culture”, and secondly that it transforms the “heaven of culture” into the “culture of heaven” — (an alleged notion on the part of mankind which appears on page 91 as a notion of Stirner’s and thereby receives its correct expression) — “so it actually mounts the first rung of the heavenly ladder”. Since it imagines that it mounts the first rung of the heavenly ladder — so — it mounts it actually! “Since” the “youth” “imagines” that he becomes pure spirit, he does actually become such! See the “youth” and the “Christian” on the transition from the world of things to the world of the spirit, where the simple formula for this heavenly ladder of “unique” ideas already occurs.

Seventh historical reflection, page 90. “If Mongolism” (it follows immediately after the heavenly ladder, whereby “Stirner”, through the alleged notion on the part of mankind, was able to ascertain the existence of a spiritual essence [Wesen]), “if Mongolism has established the existence of spiritual beings [Wesen]” (rather — if “Stirner” has established his fancy about the spiritual essence of the Mongols), “then the Caucasians have fought for thousands of years against these spiritual beings, in order to get to the bottom of them”. (The youth, who becomes a man and “tries all the time” “to penetrate behind thoughts”, the Christian, who “tries all the time” ‘,to explore the depths of divinity”.) Since the Chinese have noted the existence of God knows what spiritual beings (“Stirner” does not note a single one, apart from his heavenly ladder) — so for thousands of years the Caucasians have to wrangle with “these” Chinese “spiritual beings”; moreover, two lines below Stirner puts on record that they actually “stormed the Mongolian heaven, the tien”, and continues: “When will they destroy this heaven, when will they finally become actual Caucasians and find themselves?

Here we have the negative unity, already seen earlier as man, now appearing as the “actual Caucasian”, i.e., not Negroid, not Mongolian, but as the Caucasian Caucasian. This latter, therefore, as a concept, as essence, is here separated from the actual Caucasians, is counterposed to them as the “ideal of the Caucasian”, as a ,,vocation” in which they should “find themselves”, as a “destiny”, a “task”, as “the holy”, as “the holy” Caucasian, “the perfect” Caucasian, “who indeed” is the Caucasian “in heaven — God”.

“In the sedulous struggle of the Mongolian race, men had built a heaven” — so “Stirner” believes (p. 91), forgetting that actual Mongols are much more occupied with sheep than with heaven — “when the people of the Caucasian stock, so long as they … have to do with heaven …undertook the business of storming heaven.” Had built a heaven, when … so long as they have… [they] undertookThe unassuming “historical reflection” is here expressed in a comecutio temporum which also does not “lay claim” to classic form “or even” to grammatical correctness; the construction of the sentences corresponds to the construction of history. “Stirner’s” “claims” “are restricted to this” and “thereby achieve their final goal”.

Eighth historical reflection, which is the reflection of reflections, the alpha and omega of the whole of Stirner’s history: Jacques le bonhomme, as we have pointed out from the beginning, sees in all the movement of nations that has so far taken place merely a sequence of heavens (p. 91), which can also be expressed as follows: successive generations of the Caucasian race up to the present day did nothing but squabble about the concept of morality (p. 92) and “their activity has been restricted to this” (p. 91). If they had got out of their heads this unfortunate morality, this apparition, they would have achieved something; as it was, they achieved nothing, absolutely nothing, and have to allow Saint Max to set them a task as if they were schoolboys. It is completely in accordance with his view of history that at the end (p. 92) he conjures up speculative philosophy so that “in it this heavenly kingdom, the kingdom of spirits and spectres, should find its proper order” — and that in a later passage speculative philosophy should be conceived as the “perfect kingdom of spirits”.

Why it is that for those who regard history in the Hegelian manner the result of all preceding history was finally bound to be the kingdom of spirits perfected and brought into order in speculative philosophy — the solution of this secret “Stirner” could have very simply found by recourse to Hegel himself. To arrive at this result ‘,the concept of spirit must be taken as the basis and then it must be shown that history is the process of the spirit itself” (Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 91). After the “concept of spirit” has been imposed on history as its basis, it is very easy, of course, to “show” that it is to be discovered everywhere, and then to make this as a process “find its proper order”.

After making everything “find its proper order”, Saint Max can now exclaim with enthusiasm: “To desire to win freedom for the spirit, that is Mongolism”, etc. (cf. p. 17: “To bring to light pure thought, etc. — that is the joy of the youth”, etc.), and can declare hypocritically: “Hence it is obvious that Mongolism … represents non-sensuousness and unnaturalness”, etc. — when he ought to have said: it is obvious that the Mongol is only the disguised youth who, being the negation of the world of things, can also be called unnaturalness”, “non-sensuousness”, etc.

We have again reached the point where the “youth” can pass into the “man”: “But who will transform the spirit into its nothing? He, who by means of the spirit represented nature as the futile, the finite, the transitory” (i.e., imagined it as such — and, according to page 16 et seq., this was done by the youth, later the Christian, then the Mongol, then the Mongoloid Caucasian, but properly speaking only by idealism), “he alone can also degrade the spirit” (namely ‘it his imagination) “to the same futility” (therefore the Christian, etc.? No, exclaims “Stirner” resorting to a similar trick as on pages 19-20 in the case of the man). “I can do it, each of you can do it who operates and creates” (in his imagination) “as the unrestricted ego”, “in a word, the egoist can do it” (p. 93), i.e., the man, the Caucasian Caucasian, who therefore is the perfect Christian, the true Christian, the holy one, the embodiment of the holy.

Before dealing with the further nomenclature, we also “should like at this point to include an historical reflection” on the origin of Stirner’s “historical reflection about our Mongolism”; our reflection differs, however, from Stirner’s ‘n that it definitely “lays claim to thoroughness and authenticity”. His whole historical reflection, just as that on the “ancients”, is a concoction out of Hegel.

The Negroid state is conceived as “the child” because Hegel says on page 89 of his Philosophie der Geschichte:

“Africa is the country of the childhood of history.” “in defining the African” (Negroid) “spirit we must entirety discard the category of universality” (p. 90) — i.e., although the child or the Negro has ideas, he still does not have the idea. “Among the Negroes consciousness has not yet reached a firm objective existence, as for example God, law, in which man would have the perception of his essence” … “thanks to which, knowledge of an absolute being is totally absent. The Negro represents natural man in all his lack of restraint” (p. 90). “Although they must be conscious of their dependence on the natural” (on things, as “Stirner” says), “this, however, does not lead them to the consciousness of something higher” (p. 91).

Here we meet again all Stirner’s determinations of the child and the Negro — dependence on things, independence of ideas and especially of “the idea”, “the essence”, “the absolute” (holy) “being”, etc.

He found that in Hegel the Mongols and, in particular, the Chinese appear as the beginning of history and since for Hegel, too, history is a history of spirits (but not in such a childish way as with “Stirner”), it goes without saying that the Mongols brought the spirit into history and are the original representatives of everything “sacred”. In particular, on page 110, Hegel describes the “ Mongolian kingdom” (of the Dalai-Lama) as the “ecclesiastical” realm, the “kingdom of theocratic rule”, a “spiritual, religious kingdom” — in contrast to the worldly empire of the Chinese. “Stirner”, of course, has to identify China with the Mongols. In Hegel, on page 140, there even occurs the “Mongolian principle” from which “Stirner” derived his “Mongolism”. Incidentally, if he really wanted to reduce the Mongols to the category of “idealism”, he could have “found established” in the Dalai-Lama system and Buddhism quite different “spiritual beings” from his fragile “heavenly ladder”. But he did not even have time to look properly at Hegel’s Philosophie der Geschichte. The peculiarity and uniqueness of Stirner’s attitude to history consists in the egoist being transformed into a “clumsy” copier of Hegel.

b) Catholicism and Protestantism (Cf. “The Economy of the Old Testament”)

What we here call Catholicism, “Stirner” calls the “Middle Ages”, but as he confuses (as “in everything”) the pious, religious character of the Middle Ages, the religion of the Middle Ages, with the actual, profane Middle Ages in flesh and blood, we prefer to give the matter its right name at once.

“The Middle Ages” were a “lengthy period, in which people were content with the illusion of having the truth” (they did not desire or do anything else), “without seriously thinking about whether one must he true oneself in order to possess the truth”. — “In the Middle Agespeople” (that is, the whole of the Middle Ages) “mortified the flesh, in order to become capable of assimilating the holy” (p. 108).

Hegel defines the attitude to the divine in the Catholic church by saying

“that people’s attitude to the absolute was as to something purely external” (Christianity in the form of externality) (Geschichte der Philosophie, Ill, p. 148, and elsewhere). Of course, the individual has to be purified in order to assimilate the truth, but “this also occurs in an external way, through redemptions, fasts, self-flagellations, visits to holy places, pilgrimages” (ibid., p. 140).

“Stirner” makes this transition by saying:

“In the same way, too, as people strain their eyes in order to see a distant object … so they mortified the flesh, etc.”

Since in “Stirner’s” “book” the Middle Ages are identified with Catholicism, they naturally end with Luther (p. 108). Luther himself is reduced to the following definition, which has already cropped up in connection with the youth, in the conversation with Szeliga and elsewhere:

“Man, if he wants to attain truth, must become as true as truth itself. Only he who already has truth in faith can participate in it.”

Concerning Lutheranism, Hegel says:

“The truth of the gospel exists only in the true attitude to it…… The essential attitude of the spirit exists only for the spirit…. Hence theattitude of the spirit to the content is that although the content is essential, it is equally essential that the holy and consecrating spirit should stand in relation to this content” (Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 234). “This then is the Lutheran faith — his” (i.e., man’s) “faith is required of him and it alone can truly be taken into account” (ibid., p. 230). “Luther … affirms that the divine is divine only insofar as it is apprehended in this subjective spirituality of faith” (ibid., p. 138). “The doctrine of the” (Catholic) “church is truth as existent truth(Philosophie der Religion, II, p. 331).

“Stirner” continues:

“Accordingly, with Luther the knowledge arises that truth, because it is thought, exists only for the thinking man, and this means that with regard to his object — thought — man must adopt a totally different standpoint, a pious” (per appos.), “scientific standpoint, or that of thinking” (p. 110).

Apart from the repetition which “Stirner” again “includes” here, only the transition from faith to thinking deserves attention. Hegel makes the transition in the following way:

“But this spirit” (namely, the holy and consecrating spirit) “is, secondly, essentially also thinking spirit. Thinking as such must also have its development in it”, etc. ([Geschichte der Philosophie,] p. 234).

“Stirner” continues:

“This thought” (“that I am spirit, spirit alone”) “pervades the history of the Reformation down to the present day” (p. 111).

From the sixteenth century onwards, no other history exists for “Stirner” than the history of the Reformation — and the latter only in the interpretation in which Hegel presents it.

Saint Max has again displayed his gigantic faith. He has again taken as literal truth all the illusions of German speculative philosophy; indeed, he has made them still more speculative, still more abstract. For him there exists only the history of religion and philosophy — and this exists for him only through the medium of Hegel, who with the passage of time has become the universal crib, the reference source for all the latest German speculators about principles and manufacturers of systems.

Catholicism = attitude to truth as thing, child, Negro, the “ancient”.

Protestantism = attitude to truth in the spirit, youth, Mongol, the “modern”.

The whole scheme was superfluous, since all this was already present in the section on “spirit”.

As already mentioned in “The Economy of the Old Testament”, it is now possible to make the child and the youth appear again in new transformations” within Protestantism, as “Stirner” actually does on page 112, where he conceives English, empirical philosophy as the child, in contrast to German, speculative philosophy as the youth. Here again he copies out Hegel, who here, as elsewhere in the “book”, frequently appears as “one”.

“One” — i.e., Hegel — “expelled Bacon from the realm of philosophy.” “And, indeed, what is called English philosophy does not seem to have got any farther than the discoveries made by so-called clear intellects such as Bacon arid Hume” (p. 112).

Hegel expresses this as follows:

“Bacon is in fact the real leader and representative of what is called philosophy in England and beyond which the English have by no means gone as yet” (Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 254).

The people whom “Stirner” calls “clear intellects” Hegel (ibid., p. 255) calls “educated men of the world” — Saint Max on one occasion even transforms them into the “simplicity of childish nature”, for the English philosophers have to represent the child. On the same childish grounds Bacon is not allowed to have “concerned himself with theological problems and cardinal propositions”, regardless of what may be said in his writings (particularly De Augmentis Scientiarum, Novum Organum and the Essays). On the other hand, “German thought … sees life only in cognition itself” (p. 112), for it is the youth. Ecce iterum Crispinus!

How Stirner transforms Descartes into a German philosopher, the reader can see for himself in the “book”, p. 112.

The German Ideology by Marx and Engels

D. Hierarchy

In the foregoing presentation Jacques le bonhomme conceives history merely as the product of abstract thoughts — or, rather, of his notions of abstract thoughts — as governed by these notions, which, in the final analysis, are all resolved into the “holy”. This domination of the “holy”, of thought, of the Hegelian absolute idea over the empirical world he further portrays as a historical relation existing at the present time, as the domination of the holy ones, the ideologists, over the vulgar world — as a hierarchy. In this hierarchy, what previously appeared consecutivelyexists side by side, so that one of the two coexisting forms of development rules over the other. Thus, the youth rules over the child, the Mongol over the Negro, the modern over the ancient, the selfless egoist (citoyen) over the egoist in the usual sense of the word (bourgeois), etc. — see “The Economy of the Old Testament”. The “destruction” of the “world of things” by the “world of the spirit” appears here as the “domination” of the “world of thoughts” over the “world of things”.

— The Professional Thinkers —

The outcome, of course, is bound to be that the domination which the “world of thoughts” exercises from the outset in history is at the end of the latter also presented as the real, actually existing domination of the thinkers — and, as we shall see, in the final analysis, as the domination of the speculative philosophers — over the world of things, so that Saint Max has only to fight against thoughts and ideas of the ideologists and to overcome them, in order to make himself “possessor of the world of things and the world of thoughts”.

Hierarchy is the domination of thought, the domination of the spirit. We are still — hierarchical to this day, we are under the yoke of those who rely on thoughts, and thoughts” — who has failed to notice it long ago? — “are the holy” (p. 97). (Stirner has tried to safeguard himself against the reproach that in his whole book he has only been producing “thoughts”, i.e., the “holy,”, by in fact nowhere producing any thoughts in it. Although in the Wigand periodical he ascribes to himself “virtuosity in thinking”, i.e., according to his interpretation, virtuosity in the fabrication of the “holy” — and this we shall concede him.) — “Hierarchy is the supreme domination of spirit” (p. 467). — “The medieval hierarchy was only a weak hierarchy, for it was forced to allow all kinds of profane barbarism to exist unrestricted alongside it” (“how Stirner knows so much about what the hierarchy was forced to do”, we shall soon see), “and only the Reformation steeled the power of the hierarchy” (p. 110). “Stirner” indeed thinks that “the domination of spirits was never before so all-embracing and omnipotent” as after the Reformation; he thinks that this domination of spirits “instead of divorcing the religious principle from art, state and science, on the contrary, raised these wholly from actuality into the kingdom of tile spirit and made them religious”.

This view of modern history merely dilates upon speculative philosophy’s old illusion of the domination of spirit in history. Indeed, this passage even shows how pious Jacques le bonhomme in all good faith continually takes the world outlook derived from Hegel, and which has become traditional for him, as the real world, and “manoeuvres” on that basis. What may appear as “his own” and “unique” in this passage is the conception of this domination of the spirit as a hierarchy — and here, again, we will “include” a brief “historical reflection” on the origin of Stirner’s “hierarchy”.

Hegel speaks of the philosophy of hierarchy in the following “transformations”:

“We have seen in Plato’s Republic the idea that philosophers should govern; now” (in the Catholic Middle Ages) “the time has come when it is affirmed that the spiritual should dominate, but the spiritual has acquired the meaning that the clerical, the clergy, should dominate. Thus, the spiritual is made a special being, the individual” (Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 132). — “Thereby actuality, the mundane, isforsaken by God … a few individual persons are holy, the others unholy” (ibid., p. 136). “God-forsakenness” is more closely defined thus: “All these forms” (family, work, political life, etc.) “are considered nugatory, unholy” (Philosophie der Religion, II, p. 343). — “It is a union with worldliness which is unreconciled, worldliness which is crude in itself” (for this Hegel elsewhere also uses the word “barbarism”; cf., for example. Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 136) “and, being crude in itself, is simply subjected to domination.” (Philosophie der Religion, If, pp. 342, 343). — “This domination” (the hierarchy of the Catholic church) “is, therefore, a domination of passion, although it should be the domination of the spiritual” (Geschichte der Philosophie, III, p. 134). — “The true domination of the spirit, however, cannot he domination of the spirit in the sense that what opposes it should be something subordinate” (ibid., p. 131). — “The true meaning is that thespiritual as such” (according to “Stirner” the “holy”) “should be the determining factor, and this has been so until our times; thus, we see in the French Revolution” Following in the wake of Hegel, “Stirner” sees it) “that the abstract idea should dominate: state constitutions and laws should be determined by it, it should constitute the bond between people, and people should be conscious that that which they hold as valid are abstract ideas, liberty and equality, etc.” (Geschichte dei. Philosophie, III, p. 132). The true domination of spirit as brought about by Protestantism, in contrast to its imperfect form in the Catholic hierarchy, is defined further in the sense that “the earthly is made spiritual in itself” (Geschichte der Philosophie, IIIp. 185); “that the divine is realised in the sphere of actuality” (the Catholic God-forsakenness of actuality, therefore, ceases to exist — Philosophie der Religion, II, p. 344); that the “contradiction” between holiness and worldliness “is resolved in morality” (Philosophie der Religion, II, p. 343); that “moral institutions” (marriage, the family, the state, earning one’s livelihood, etc.) are “divine, holy” (Philosophie der Religion, II, p. 344).

Hegel expresses this true domination of spirit in two forms:

State, government, low, property, civic order” (and, as we know from his other works, art, science, etc., as well), “all this is the religious… emerging in the form of the finite” (Geschichte der Philosophie, IIIp. 185).

And, finally, this domination of the religious, the spiritual, etc., is expressed as the domination of philosophy:

“Consciousness of the spiritual is now” (in the eighteenth century) “essentially the foundation, and thereby domination has passed to philosophy” (Philosophie der Geschichte, p. 440).

Hegel, therefore, ascribes to the Catholic hierarchy of the Middle Ages the intention of wanting “to be the domination of spirit” and thereupon regards it as a restricted imperfect form of this domination of spirit, the culmination of which he sees in Protestantism and its alleged further development. However unhistorical this may be, nevertheless, Hegel is sufficiently historically-minded not to extend the use of the name“hierarchy” beyond the bounds of the Middle Ages. But Saint Max knows from this same Hegel that the later epoch is the “truth” of the preceding one; hence the epoch of the perfect domination of spirit is the truth of that epoch in which the domination of spirit was as yet imperfect, so that Protestantism is the truth of hierarchy and therefore true hierarchySince, however, only true hierarchy deserves to be called hierarchy, it is clear that the hierarchy of the Middle Ages had to be “weakly”, and it is all the easier for Stirner to prove this since in the passages given above and in hundreds of other passages from Hegel the imperfection of the domination of spirit in the Middle Ages is portrayed. He only needed to copy these out, the whole of his “own” work consisting in substituting the word “hierarchy” for “domination of spirit”. There was no need for him even to formulate the simple argument by means of which domination of spirit as such is transformed by him into hierarchy, since it has become the fashion among German theoreticians to give the name of the cause to the effect and, for example, to put back into the category of theology everything that has arisen out of theology and has not yet fully attained the height of the principles of these theoreticians — e.g., Hegelian speculation, Straussian pantheism, etc. — a trick especially prevalent in 1842. From the above-quoted passages it also follows that Hegel: 1) appraises the French Revolution as a new and more perfect phase of this domination of spirit; 2) regards philosophers as the rulers of the world of the nineteenth century; 3) maintains that now only abstract ideas have validity among people; 4) that he already regards marriage, the family, the state, earning one’s livelihood, civic order, property, etc., as “divine and holy”, as the “religious principle” and 5) that morality as worldly sanctity or as sanctified worldliness is represented as the highest and ultimate form of the domination of spirit over the world — all these things are repeated word for word in “Stirner”.

Accordingly there is no need to say or prove anything more concerning Stirner’s hierarchy, apart from why Saint Max copied out Hegel — a fact, however, for the explanation of which further material data are necessary, and which, therefore, is only explicable for those who are acquainted with ‘the Berlin atmosphere. It is another question how the Hegelian idea of the domination of spirit arose, and about this see what has been said above.

Saint Max’s adoption of Hegel’s world domination of the philosophers and his transformation of it into a hierarchy are due to the extremely uncritical credulity of our saint and to a “holy” or unholy ignorance which is content with “seeing through” history (i.e., with glancing throughHegel’s historical writings) without troubling to “know” many “things” about it. In general, he was bound to be afraid that as soon as he “learned” he would no longer be able to ,abolish and dissolve” (p. 96), and, therefore, remain stuck in the “bustling activity of noxious insects” — a sufficient reason not to “proceed” to the “abolition and dissolution” of his own ignorance.

If, like Hegel, one designs such a system for the first time, a system embracing the whole of history and the present-day world in all its scope, one cannot possibly do so without comprehensive, positive knowledge, without great energy and keen insight and without dealing at least in some passages with empirical history. On the other hand, if one is satisfied with exploiting an already existing pattern, transforming it for one’s “own” purposes and demonstrating this conception of one’s own by means of isolated examples (e.g., Negroes and Mongols, Catholics and Protestants, the French Revolution, etc.) — and this is precisely what our warrior against the holy does — then absolutely no knowledge of history is necessary. The result of all this exploitation inevitably becomes comic; most of all comic when a jump is made from the past into the immediate present, examples of which we saw already in connection with whimsy”.

As for the actual hierarchy of the Middle Ages, we shall merely note here that it did not exist for the people, for the great mass of human beings. For the great mass only feudalism existed, and hierarchy only existed insofar as it was itself either feudal or anti-feudal (within the framework of feudalism). Feudalism itself had entirely empirical relations as its basis. Hierarchy and its struggle against feudalism (the struggle of the ideologists of a class against the class itself) are only the ideological expression of feudalism and of the struggles developing within feudalism itself — which include also the struggles of the feudally organised nations among themselves. Hierarchy is the ideal form of feudalism; feudalism is the political form of the medieval relations of production and intercourse. Consequently, the struggle of feudalism against hierarchy can only be explained by elucidating these practical material relations. This elucidation of itself puts an end to the previous conception of history which took the illusions of the Middle Ages on trust, in particular those illusions which the Emperor and the Pope brought to bear in their struggle against each other.

Since Saint Max merely reduces the Hegelian abstractions about the Middle Ages and hierarchy to “pompous words and paltry thoughts”, there is no need to examine in more detail the actual, historical hierarchy.

From the above it is now clear that the trick can also be reversed and Catholicism regarded not just as a preliminary stage, but also as the negation of the real hierarchy; in which case Catholicism = negation of spirit, non-spirit, sensuousness, and then one gets the great proposition of Jacques le bonhomme — that the Jesuits “saved us from the decay and destruction of sensuousness” (p. 118). What would have happened to “us” If the “destruction” of sensuousness had come to pass, we do riot learn. The whole material movement since the sixteenth century, which did not save “us” from the “decay” of sensuousness, but, on the contrary, developed “sensuousness” to a much wider extent, does not exist for “Stirner” — it is the Jesuits who brought about all that. Compare, incidentally, Hegel’s Philosophie der Geschichte, p. 425.

By carrying over the old domination of the clerics to modern times Saint Max interprets modern times as “clericalism”; and then by regarding this domination of the clerics carried over to modern times as something distinct from the old medieval clerical domination, he depicts it as domination of the ideologists, as “scholasticism”. Thus clericalism = hierarchy as the domination of the spirit, scholasticism = the domination of the spirit as hierarchy.

“Stirner” achieves this simple transition to clericalism — which is no transition at all — by means of three weighty transformations.

Firstly, he “has” the “concept of clericalism” in anyone “who lives for a great idea, for a good cause” (still the good cause!), “for a doctrine, etc.”

Secondly, in his world of illusion Stirner “comes up against” the age-old illusion of a world that has not yet learned to dispense with clericalism”, namely — “to live and create for the sake of an idea, etc.”

Thirdly, “it is the domination of the idea, i.e., clericalism”, that is: “Robespierre, for example” (for example!), “Saint-Just, and so on” (and so on!) “were out-and-out priests”, etc. All three transformations in which clericalism is “discovered”, “encountered” and “called upon” (all this on p. 100), therefore, express nothing more than what Saint Max has already repeatedly told us, namely, the domination of spirit, of the idea, of the holy, over “life” (Ibid.).

After the “domination of the idea, i.e., clericalism” has thus been foisted upon history, Saint Max call, of course, without difficulty find this “clericalism” again in the whole of preceding history, and thus depict “Robespierre, for example, Saint-Just, and so on” as priests and identify them with Innocent III and Gregory VII, and so all uniqueness vanishes in the face of the unique. All of them, properly speaking, are merely different names, different disguises for one person, “clericalism”, which made all history from the beginning of Christianity. As to how. with this sort of conception of history, “all cats become grey”, since all historical differences are “abolished” and “resolved” in the “notion of clericalism” — as to this, Saint Max at once gives us a striking example in his “Robespierre, for example, Saint-Just, and so on”. Here we are first given Robespierre as an “example” of Saint-Just, and Saint-Just — as an “and-so-on” of Robespierre. It is then said:

“These representatives of holy interests are confronted by a world of innumerable ‘personal’, earthly interests.”

By whom were they confronted? By the Girondists and Thermidorians, who (see “for example” R. Levasseur’s Mémoires, “and so on I.e. Nougaret, Histoire des prisons; Barère; “Deux amis de la liberté[56] (et du commerce); Montgaillard, Histoire de France; Madame Roland, Appel à la postérité; J. B. Louvet’s Mémoires and even the disgusting Essais historiques by Beaulieu, etc., etc., as well as all the proceedings before the revolutionary tribunal, “and so on”) constantly reproached them, the real representatives of revolutionary power, i.e., of the class which alone was truly revolutionary, the “innumerable” masses, for violating “sacred interests”, the constitution, freedom, equality, the rights of man, republicanism, law, sainte propriété, “for example” the division of powers, humanity, morality, moderation, “and so on”. They were opposed by all the priests, who accused them of violating all the main and secondary items of the religious and moral catechism (see “for example” Histoire du clergé de France pendant la revolution, by M. R., Paris, libraire catholique, 1828, “and so on”). The historical comment of the bourgeois that during the règne de la terreur “Robespierre, for example, Saint-Just, and so on” cut off the beads of honnêtesgens (see the numerous writings of the simpleton Monsieur Peltier, “for example”, La conspiration de Robespierre by Montjoie, “and so on”) is expressed by Saint Max in the following transformation:

“Because the revolutionary priests and school-masters served Man, they cut the throats of men.”

This, of course, saves Saint Max the trouble of wasting even one “unique” little word about the actual, empirical grounds for the cutting off of heads — grounds which were based on extremely worldly interests, though not, of course, of the stockjobbers, but of the “innumerable” masses. An earlier “priest”, Spinoza, already in the seventeenth century had the brazen audacity to act the “strict school-master” of Saint Max, by saying: “Ignorance is no argument.”’ Consequently Saint Max loathes the priest Spinoza to such an extent that he accepts his anti-cleric, the priestLeibniz, and for all such astonishing phenomena as the terror, “for example”, the cutting off of heads, “and so on”, produces “sufficient grounds”, viz., that “the ecclesiastics stuffed their heads with something of the kind” (p. 98).

Blessed Max, who has found sufficient grounds for everything (“I have now found the ground into which my anchor is eternally fastened, ,b in the idea, “for example”, in the “clericalism”, “and so on,’ of “Robespierre, for example, Saint-Just, and so on”, George Sand, Proudhon, the chaste Berlin seamstress,’ etc.) — this blessed Max “does not blame the class of the bourgeoisie for having asked its egoism how far it should give way to the revolutionary idea as such”. For Saint Max “the revolutionary idea” which inspired the habits bleus [57] and honnêtes gens of 1789 is the same “idea” as that of the sansculottes of 1793, the same idea concerning which people deliberate whether to “give way” to it — but no further “space can be given”’ to any “idea” about this point.

We now come to present-day hierarchy, to the domination of the idea in ordinary life. The whole of the second part of “the book” is filled with struggle against this “hierarchy”. Therefore we shall deal with it in detail when we come to this second part. But since Saint Max, as in the section on “whimsy”, takes delight in anticipating his ideas here and repeats what comes later in the beginning, as he repeats the beginning in what comes later, we are compelled already at this point to note a few examples of his hierarchy. His method of writing a book is the unique “egoism” which we find in the whole book. His self-delight stands in inverse proportion to the delight experienced by the reader.

Since the middle class demand love for their kingdom, their regime, they want, according to Jacques le bonhomme, to “establish the kingdom of love on earth” (p. 98). Since they demand respect for their domination and for the conditions in which it is exercised, and therefore want to usurp domination over respect, they demand, according to this worthy man, the domination of respect as such, their attitude towards respect is the same as towards the holy spirit dwelling within them (p. 95). Jacques le bonhomme, with his faith that can move mountains, takes as the actual, earthly basis of the tons and bourgeois world the distorted form in which the sanctimonious and hypocritical ideology of the bourgeoisie voices their particular interests as universal interests. Why this ideological delusion assumes precisely this form for our saint, we shall see in connection with “political liberalism”.

Saint Max gives us a new example on page 115, speaking of the family. He declares that, although it is very easy to become emancipated from the domination of one’s own family, nevertheless, “refusal of allegiance easily arouses pangs of conscience”, and so people retain family affection, the concept of the family, and therefore have the “holy conception of the family”, the “holy” (p. 116).

— The Bourgeoisie and the Family —

Here again our good man perceives the domination of the holy where entirely empirical relations dominate. The attitude of the bourgeois to the institutions of his regime is like that of the Jew to the law; he evades them whenever it is possible to do so in each individual case, but he wants everyone else to observe them. If the entire bourgeoisie, in a mass and at one time, were to evade bourgeois institutions, it would cease to be bourgeoise conduct which, of course, never occurs to the bourgeois and by no means depends on their willing or running. [58] The dissolute bourgeois evades marriage and secretly commits adultery; the merchant evades the institution of property by depriving others of property by speculation, bankruptcy, etc.; the young bourgeois makes himself independent of his own family, if he can by in fact abolishing the family as far as he is concerned. But marriage, property, the family remain untouched in theory, because they are the practical basis on which the bourgeoisie has erected its domination, and because in their bourgeois form they are the conditions which make the bourgeois a bourgeois, just as the constantly evaded law makes the religious Jew a religious Jew. This attitude of the bourgeois to the conditions of his existence acquires one of its universal forms in bourgeois morality. One cannot speak at all of the family “as such”. Historically, the bourgeois gives the family the character of the bourgeois family, in which boredom and money are the binding link, and which also includes the bourgeois dissolution of the family, which does not prevent the family itself from always continuing to exist. Its dirty existence has its counterpart in the holy concept of it in official phraseology and universal hypocrisy. Where the family is actually abolished, as with the proletariat, just the opposite of what “Stirner” thinks takes place.There the concept of the family does not exist at all, but here and there family affection based on extremely real relations is certainly to be found. In the eighteenth century the concept of the family was abolished by the philosophers, because the actual family was already in process of dissolution at the highest pinnacles of civilisation. The internal family bond, the separate components constituting the concept of the family were dissolved, for example, obedience, piety, fidelity in marriage, etc.; but the real body of the family, the property relation, the exclusive attitude in relation to other families, forced cohabitation — relations determined by the existence of children, the structure of modern towns, the formation of capital, etc. — all these were preserved, although with numerous violations, because the existence of the family is made necessary by its connection with the mode of production, which exists independently of the will of bourgeois society. That it was impossible to do without it was demonstrated in the most striking way during the French Revolution, when for a moment the family was as good as legally abolished. The family continues to exist even in the nineteenth century, only the process of its dissolution has become more general, not on account of the concept, but because of the higher development of industry and competition; the family still exists although its dissolution was long ago proclaimed by French and English socialists and this has at last penetrated also to the German church fathers, by way of French novels.

One other example of the domination of the idea in everyday life. Since school-masters may be told to find consolation for their scanty pay in the holiness of the cause they serve (which could only occur in Germany), Jacques le bonhomme actually believes that such talk is the reason for their low salaries (p. 100). He believes that “the, holy” in the present-day bourgeois world has an actual money value, he believes that the meagre funds of the Prussian state (see, inter alia, Browning on this subject [G. Browning, The domestic (and financial Condition of Great Britain; preceded by a Brief Sketch of her Foreign Policy: and of the Statistics and Politics of France, Russia, Austria and Prussia]) would be so increased by the abolition of “the holy” that every village school-master could suddenly be paid a ministerial salary.

This is the hierarchy of nonsense.

The “keystone of the magnificent cathedral” — as the great Michelet [Carl Michelet, Geschichte der letzten Système der Philosophie in Deutschland von Kant bis Hegel] puts it — of hierarchy is “sometimes” the work of “One”.

One sometimes divides people into two classes, the educated and the uneducated.” (One sometimes divides apes into two classes, the tailed and the tailless.) “The former, insofar as they were worthy of their name, occupied themselves with thoughts, with the spirit.” They “dominated in the post-Christian epoch and for their thoughts they demanded … respect”. The uneducated (the animal, the child, the Negro) are “powerless” against thoughts and “are dominated by them. That is the meaning of hierarchy.”

The “educated” (the youth, the Mongol, the modern) are, therefore, again only occupied with “spirit”, pure thought, etc.; they are metaphysicians by profession, in the final analysis Hegelians. “Hence” the “uneducated” are the non-Hegelians.’ Hegel was indubitably “the most educated” Hegelian and therefore in his case it must “become apparent what a longing for things particularly the most educated man possesses”. The point is that the “educated” and “uneducated” are within themselves in conflict with each other; indeed, in every man the “uneducated” is in conflict with the “educated”. And since the greatest longing for things, i.e., for that which belongs to the “uneducated”, becomes apparent in Hegel, it also becomes apparent here that “the most educated” man is at the same time “the most uneducated”.

“There” (in Hegel) “reality should be completely in accordance with thought and no concept be without reality.”

This should read: there the ordinary idea of reality should receive its complete philosophical expression, while Hegel imagines, on the contrary, that “consequently” every philosophical expression creates the reality that is in accordance with it. Jacques le bonhomme takes Hegel’s illusion about his own philosophy for the genuine coin of Hegelian philosophy.

The Hegelian philosophy, which in the form of the domination of the Hegelians over the non-Hegelians appears as the crown of the hierarchy, now conquers the last world empire.

“Hegel’s system was the supreme despotism and autocracy of thought, the omnipotence and almightiness of the spirit” (p. 97).

Here, therefore, we find ourselves in the realm of spirits of Hegelian philosophy, which stretches from Berlin to Halle and Tübingen, the realm of spirits whose history was written by Herr Bayrhoffer [Karl Theodor Bayrhoffer, Die Idee und Geschichte der Philosophie] and for which the great Michelet collected the statistical data.

The preparation for this realm of spirits was the French Revolution, which “did nothing but transform things into ideas about things” (p. 115; cf. above Hegel on the revolution, p. […])

“So people remained citizens” (in “Stirner”, this occurs earlier, but “what Stirner says is not what he has in mind, and what he has in mind cannot be said”, Wigand, p. 149) and “lived in reflection, they had their eye on an object, before which” (per appos.) “they felt reverence and fear”. “Stirner” says in a passage on page 98: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” But we say: the road to the unique is paved with bad concluding clauses, with oppositions, which are his “heavenly ladder” borrowed from the Chinese, and his rope of the objective” (p. 88) on which he makes his “flea-jumps”. In accordance with this, for “modern philosophy or modern times” — since the emergence of the realm of spirits modern times are indeed nothing but modern philosophy — it is an easy matter to “transform the existing objects into notional objects, i.e., into concepts”, page 114, a work which Saint Max continues.

We have already seen our knight of the rueful countenance even “before the mountains were brought forth”, which he later moved by his faith, right at the beginning of his book, galloping headlong towards the great result of his “magnificent cathedral”. His “donkey”, apposition, could not jump swiftly enough for him; now, at last, on page 114, he has reached his goal and by means of a mighty “or” has transformed modern timesinto modern philosophy.

— On Ideas and Social Conditions —

Thereby ancient times (i.e., the ancient and modern, Negroid and Mongolian but, properly speaking, only pre-Stirnerian times) “reached their final goal”. We can now reveal why Saint Max gave the title “Man” to the whole of the first part of his book and made out his entire history of miracles, ghosts and knights to be the history of “man”. The ideas and thoughts of people were, of course, ideas and thoughts about themselves and their relationships, their consciousness of themselves and of people in general — for it was the consciousness not merely of a single individual but of the individual in his interconnection with the whole of society and about the whole of the society in which they lived. The conditions, independent of them, in which they produced their life, the necessary forms of intercourse connected herewith, and the personal and social relations thereby given, had to take the form — insofar as they were expressed in thoughts — of ideal conditions and necessary relations, i.e., they had to be expressed in consciousness as determinations arising from the concept of man as such, from human essence, from the nature of man, from man as such. What people were, what their relations were, appeared in consciousness as ideas of man as such, of his modes of existence or of his immediate conceptual determinations. So, after the ideologists had assumed that ideas and thoughts had dominated history up to now, that the history of these ideas and thoughts constitutes all history up to now, after they had imagined that real conditions had conformed to man as such and his ideal conditions, i.e., to conceptual determinations, after they had made the history of people’s consciousness of themselves the basis of their actual history, after all this, nothing was easier than to call the history of consciousness, of ideas, of the holy, of established concepts — the history of “man” and to put it in the place of real history. The only distinction between Saint Max and all his predecessors is that he knows nothing about these concepts — even in their arbitrary isolation from real life, whose products they were — and his trivial creative work in his copy of Hegelian ideology is restricted to establishing his ignorance even of what he copies. — It is already evident from this how he can counterpose the history of the real individual in the form of the unique to his fantasy about the history of man.

The unique history takes place at the beginning in the Stoa in Athens, later almost wholly in Germany, and finally at the Kupfergraben [59] in Berlin, where the despot of “modern philosophy or modern times” set up his imperial residence. That already shows how exclusively national and local is the matter dealt with. Instead of world history, Saint Max gives a few and, what is more, extremely meagre and biased comments on the history of German theology and philosophy. If on occasion we appear to go outside Germany, it is only in order to cause the deeds and thoughts of other peoples, e.g., the French Revolution, to “reach their final goal” in Germany, namely, at the Kupfergraben. Only national-German facts are given, they are dealt with and interpreted in a national-German manner, and the result remains a national-German one. But even that is not enough. The views and education of our saint are not only German, but of a Berlin nature through and through. The role allotted to Hegelian philosophy is that which it plays in Berlin, and Stirner confuses Berlin with the world and world history. The “youth” is a Berliner; the good citizens that we encounter throughout the book are Berlin beer-drinking philistines. With such premises for the starting-point, it is natural that the result arrived at is merely one confined within the national and local framework. “Stirner” and his whole philosophical fraternity, among whom he is the weakest and most ignorant member, afford a practical commentary to the valiant lines of the valiant Hoffmann von Fallersleben:

In Germany alone, in Germany alone, Would I for ever live.

The local Berlin conclusion of our valiant saint — that in Hegelian philosophy the world has “all gone” — enables him now without much expense to arrive at a universal empire of his “own”. The Hegelian philosophy transformed everything into thought, into the holy, into apparition, into spirit, into spirits, into spectres. “Stirner” will fight against them, he will conquer them in his imagination and will erect on their dead bodies his “own”, “unique”, “corporeal” empire, the empire of the “whole fellow”.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Now “Stirner” has his “feet shod with the preparation” for waging the fight against thoughts. He has no need first to “take the shield of faith”, for he has never laid it down. Armed with the “helmet” of disaster and the “sword” of spiritlessness (see ibid.), he goes into battle. “And it was given unto him to make war with the holy” but not “to overcome” it. (Revelation of St. John 13:7)

The German Ideology by Marx and Engels

5. “Stirner” Delighted in His Construct

We now find ourselves again exactly where we were on page 19 in connection with the youth, who became the man, and on page 90 in connection with the Mongoloid Caucasian, who was transformed into the Caucasian Caucasian and “found himself”. We are, therefore, at the third self-finding of the mysterious individual whose “arduous life struggle” Saint Max depicts for us. Only the whole story is now behind us, and, in view of the extensive material we have worked through, we must take a retrospective look at the gigantic corpse of the ruined man.

Though on a later page, where he has long ago forgotten his history, Saint Max asserts that “genius has long since been regarded as the creator of new world-historic productions” (p. 214), we have already seen that even his bitterest enemies cannot revile his history on that score, at any rate, for in it no individuals, let alone geniuses, make their appearance, but only ossified, crippled thoughts and Hegelian changelings.

Repetitio est mater studiorum. Saint Max, who expounded his whole history of “philosophy or time” only in order to find an opportunity for a few hurried studies of Hegel, finally repeats once again his whole unique history. However, he does it with a turn towards natural history, offering us important information about “unique” natural science, the reason being that for him, whenever the “world” has to play an important role, it immediately becomes transformed into nature. “Unique” natural science begins at once with the admission of its impotence. It does not examine the actual relation of man to nature, determined by industry and natural science, but proclaims a fantastic relation of man to nature.

“How little can man conquer! He has to allow the sun to trace its course, the sea to roll its waves, the mountains to tower to the sky” (p. 122).

Saint Max who, like all saints, loves miracles, but can only perform a logical miracle, is annoyed because he cannot make the sun dance the cancan, he grieves because he cannot still the ocean, he is indignant because he must allow the mountains to tower to the sky.

Although on page 124 the world already becomes “prosaic” at the end of antiquity, it is still, for our saint, highly unprosaic. For him it still is the “sun” and riot the earth that traces its course, and to his sorrow he cannot à la Joshua command “sun, stand thou still: On page 123, Stirner discovers that at the end of the ancient world, “spirit” “again foamed and frothed over irresistibly because gases” (spirits) “developed within it and, after themechanical impact from outside became ineffective, chemical tension, which stimulate in the interior, began to come into wonderful play”.

This sentence contains the most important data of the “unique” philosophy of nature, which on the previous page had already arrived at the conclusion that for man nature is the “unconquerable”. Earthly physics knows nothing about a mechanical impact which becomes ineffective —unique physics alone has the merit of this discovery. Earthly chemistry knows no “gases” which stimulate “chemical tensions” and, what is more, “in the interior”. Gases which enter into new combinations, into new chemical relations, do not stimulate any “tensions”, but at most lead to a fall of tension, insofar as they pass into a liquid state of aggregation and thereby their volume decreases to something less than one-thousandth of their former volume. If Saint Max feels “tensions” “in” his own “interior” due to “gases”, these are highly “mechanical impacts”, and by no means “chemical tensions”. They are produced by a chemical transformation, determined by physiological causes, of certain mixtures into others, whereby part of the constituents of the former mixture becomes gaseous, therefore, occupies a larger volume arid, in the absence of space for it, causes a “mechanical impact” or pressure towards the outside. [That] these nonexistent “chemical tensions” “come” into extremely “wonderful play” in Saint Max’s “interior”, namely, this time in his head, “we see” from the role they play in “unique” natural science. Incidentally, it is to be desired that Saint Max would no longer withhold from the profane natural scientists what nonsense he has in mind with the crazy expression “chemical tensions”, which moreover “stimulate in the interior” (as though a “mechanical impact” on the stomach does not “stimulate it in the interior” as well).

Saint Max wrote his “unique” natural science only because on this occasion he was unable to touch on the ancients in decent fashion without at the same time letting fall a few words about the “world of things”, about nature.

At the end of the ancient world the ancients, we are assured here, are all transformed into Stoics, “whom no collapse of the world” (how many times is it supposed to have collapsed “could put out of countenance” (p. 123). Thus, the ancients become Chinese, who also cannot be thrown down from the heavens of their tranquillity by any unforeseen event” (or idea”) (p. 90). Indeed, Jacques le bonhomme seriously believes that against the last of the ancients “the mechanical impact from outside became ineffective”. How far this corresponds to the actual situation of the Romans and Greeks at the end of the ancient world, to their complete lack of stability and confidence, which could hardly oppose any remnant ofvis inertiae to the “mechanical impact” — on this point compare, inter alia, Lucian. The powerful mechanical shocks which the Roman empire received as a result of its division among several Caesars and their wars against one another, as a result of the colossal concentration of property, particularly landed property, in Rome, and the decrease in Italy’s population caused by this, and as a result of the [pressure of the] Huns and Teutons — these shocks, in the opinion of our saintly historian, “became ineffective”; only the “chemical tensions”, only the “gases” which Christianity “stimulated in the interior” overthrew the Roman Empire. The great earthquakes [in the West] and in the East, and other “mechanical impacts” which buried hundreds of thousands of people under the [ruins] of their towns and [which by no] means left the consciousness of people unchanged, were presumably, according to “Stirner”, also “ineffective” or were chemical tensions. And “ in fact” (!) “ancient history ends in this, that I have made the world my property” — which is proved by means of the biblical saying: “All things are delivered unto me” (i.e., Christ) “of my Father. ,a Here, therefore, I = Christ. In this connection, Jacques le bonhomme cannot refrain from believing the Christian that he could move mountains, etc., if he “only wanted to”. As a Christian he proclaims himself the lord of the world, but he is this only as a Christian; he proclaims himself the “owner of the world”. “Thereby egoism won its first full victory, since I elevated myself to be the owner of the world” (p. 124). In order to rise to the level of the perfect Christian, Stirner’s ego had only to carry through the struggle to become poor in spirit as well (which he succeeded in doing even before the mountains arose). “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”’ Saint Max has reached perfection as regards poverty of spirit and even boasts of it in his great rejoicing before the Lord.

Saint Max, poor in spirit, believes in the fantastic gas formations of the Christians arising from the decomposition of the ancient world. The ancient Christian owned nothing in this world and was, therefore, satisfied with his imaginary heavenly property and his divine right to ownership. Instead of making the world the possession of the people, he proclaimed himself and his ragged fraternity to be “God’s own possession” (1 Peter 2: 9). According to “Stirner”, the Christian idea of the world is the world into which the ancient world is actually dissolved, although this is at most [a world] of fantasy into which the world of ancient ideas has [been transformed] and in which the Christian [by faith] can move mountains, can feel [all-powerful] and press forward to a position where the “mechanical impact is ineffective”. Since for “Stirner” people are no longer determined by the [external] world, are no longer driven forward by the mechanical impact of the need to produce, since, in general, the mechanical impact, and with it the sexual act as well, has ceased to operate, it is only by a miracle that they have been able to continue to exist. Of course, for German prigs and school-masters with a gaseous content like that of “Stirner”, it is far easier to be satisfied with the Christian fantasy about property — which is truly nothing but the property of Christian fantasy — than to describe the transformation of the real property relations and production relations of the ancient world.

That same primitive Christian who, in the imagination of Jacques le bonhomme, was the owner of the ancient world, actually belonged for the most part to the world of owners; he was a slave and could be sold on the market. But “Stirner”, delighted in his construction, irrepressibly continues his rejoicing.

“The first property, the first splendour has been won!” (p. 124).

In the same way ‘ Stirner’s egoism continues to gain property and splendour and to achieve “complete victories”. The theological attitude of the primitive Christian to the ancient world is the perfect prototype of all his property and all his splendour.

The following are the grounds given for this property of the Christian:

“The world has lost its divine character … it has become prosaic, it is my property, which I dispose of as I (viz., the spirit) choose” (p. 124).

This means: the world has lost its divine character, therefore, it is freed from my fantasies for my own consciousness; it has become prosaic, consequently its relation to me is prosaic and it disposes of me n the prosaic way it favours, by no means to please me. Apart from the fact that “Stirner” here actually thinks that in ancient times the prosaic world did not exist and the divine principle held sway in the world, he even falsifies the Christian concept, which continually bemoans its impotence in relation to the world, and itself depicts its victory over the world in its fantasy as merely an ideal one, by transferring t to the day of judgment. Only when a great secular power took possession of Christianity and exploited it, whereupon, of course, it ceased to be unworldly, could Christianity imagine itself to be the owner of the world. Saint Max ascribes to the Christian the same false relation to the ancient world as he ascribes to the youth with regard to the “world of the child”; he puts the egoist in the same relation to the world of the Christian as he puts the man to the world of the youth.

The Christian has now nothing more to do than to become poor in spirit as quickly as possible and perceive the world of spirit in all its vanity — just as he did with the world of things — in order to be able to “dispose as he chooses” of the world of spirit also, whereby he becomes a perfect Christian, an egoist. The attitude of the Christian to the ancient world serves, therefore, as the standard for the attitude of the egoist to the modern world. The preparation for this spiritual poverty was the content of “almost two thousand years” of life — a life whose main epochs, of course, took place only in Germany.

After various transformations the holy spirit in the course of time became the absolute idea, which again in manifold refractions split up into the various ideas of love of mankind, civic virtue, rationality, etc.” (pp. 125, 126).

The German stay-at-home again turns the thing upside-down. The ideas of love of mankind, etc. — coins whose impressions had already been totally worn away, particularly owing to their great circulation in the eighteenth century — were recast by Hegel in the sublimate of the absolute idea, but after this re-minting they were just as little successful in retaining their value abroad as Prussian paper money.

The consistent conclusion — which has already appeared again and again — of Stirner’s view of history is as follows:

“Concepts should play the decisive roll everywhere, concepts should regulate life, concepts should rule. That is the religious world to which Hegel gave systematic expression” (p. 126),

and which our good-natured philistine so much mistakes for the real world that on the following page (p. 127) he can say:

“Now nothing but spirit rules in the world.”

Stuck fast in this world of illusion, he can (on p. 128) build first of all an “altar” and then “erect a church” “round this altar”, a church whose “walls” have legs for making progress and “move ever farther forward”. “Soon this church embraces the whole earth.” He, the unique, and Szeliga, his servant, stand outside, they “wander round these walls, and are driven out to the very edge”. “Howling with agonising hunger”, Saint Max calls to his servant: “One step more and the world of the holy has conquered.” But Szeliga suddenly ‘,sinks into the outermost abyss”, which lies above him — a literary miracle! For, since the earth is a sphere, the abyss can only lie above Szeliga as soon as the church embraces the whole earth. So he reverses the laws of gravity, ascends backwards into heaven and thereby reflects honour on “unique” natural science, which is all the easier for him since, according to page 126, “the nature of the thing and the concept of relation” are a matter of indifference to “Stirner”, “do not guide him in his treatment or conclusion”, and the “relationship into which” Szeliga “entered” with gravity “is itself unique” by virtue of Szeliga’s “uniqueness”, and by no means “depends” on the nature of gravity or on how “others”, for instance, natural scientists, “classify it”. “Stirner” moreover objects to Szeliga’s “action being separated from the real” Szeliga and ,assessed according to human standards”.

Having thus arranged for decent accommodation in heaven for his I faithful servant, Saint Max passes on to the subject of h’ is own I passion. On page 95 he discovers that even the “gallows” has the “colour of the holy”; “people loathe coming into contact with it, there is something uncanny, i.e., unfamiliar, strange about it”. In order to transcend this strangeness of the gallows, he transforms it into his own gallows, which he can only do by hanging himself on it. The lion of Judah makes also this last sacrifice to egoism. [cf. Revelation of John 5:,5] The holy Christian allows himself to he nailed to the cross, not to redeem the cross, but to redeem people from their impiety; the unholy Christian hangs himself on the gallows in order to redeem the gallows from holiness or to redeem himself from the strangeness of the gallows.

“The first splendour, the first property has been won, the first complete victory achieved!” The holy warrior has now conquered history, he has transformed it into thoughts, pure thoughts, which are nothing but thoughts — and at the end of time only a host of thoughts confront him. And so Saint Max, having taken his “gallows” on his back, just like an ass that carries a cross, and his servant Szeliga, who was welcomed in heaven with kicks and has returned to his master with his head hanging, set out to fight against this host of thoughts or, rather, against the mere halo of these thoughts. This time ‘t is Sancho Panza, full of moral sayings, maxims and proverbs, who takes on himself the struggle against the holy, and Don Quixote plays the role of his pious and faithful servant. The honest Sancho fights just as bravely as the caballero Manchego [Don Quixote] did in the old days, and like him does not fail several times to mistake a herd of Mongolian sheep for a swarm of spectres. The plump Maritornes “in the course of time, after various transformations in manifold refractions”, is transformed into a chaste Berlin seamstress, [Marie Wilhelmine Dähnhardt] dying of anaemia, a subject on which Saint Sancho composes an elegy, one which causes all young graduates and Guards lieutenants to remember Rabelais’ statement that the world-liberating “soldier’s prime weapon is the flap of his trousers”. [Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagmel]

Sancho Panza achieves his heroic feats by perceiving the entire opposing host of thoughts in its nullity and vanity. All his great deed is confined to mere perception which in the end leaves everything existing as it was, changing only his conception, and that not even of things, but of philosophical phrases about things.

Thus, after the ancients have been presented realistically as child, Negro, Negroid Caucasians, animal, Catholics, English philosophy, the uneducated, non-Hegelians, and the world of things, and the moderns have been presented idealistically as youth, Mongol, Mongoloid Caucasians, man, Protestants, German philosophy, the educated, Hegelians, and the world of thoughts — after everything has happened that was from time immemorial decided in the Council of Guardians, the time has at last arrived. The negative unity of the ancient and the modern, which has already figured as the man, the Caucasian, the Caucasian Caucasian, the perfect Christian, in servant’s clothing, seen “through a glass darkly” (I Corinthians 13:12), can now, after the passion and death of Stirner on the gallows and Szeliga’s ascent to heaven in full glory, return to the simplest nomenclature and appear in the clouds of heaven endowed with great power and majesty. [cf. Matthew 24:30] “And so it is said”: what was previously “One” (see “Economy of the Old Testament”‘/ has become “ego” — the negative unity of realism and idealism, of the world of things and the world of spirit. Schelling calls this unity of realism and idealism “indifference” or, rendered in the Berlin dialect, “Jeichjiltigkeit; in Hegel it becomes the negative unity in which the two moments are transcended. Saint Max who, being a proper German speculative philosopher, is still tormented by the “unity of opposites”, is not satisfied with this; he wants this unity to be visible to him in the form of a “corporeal individual”, in a “whole fellow”, and he is encouraged in this by Feuerbach’s views expressed in the Anekdota [Ludwig Feuerbach, “Vorläufige Thesen zur Reformation der Philosophie”] and in the Philosophie der Zukunft. This “ego” of Stirner’s which is the final outcome of the hitherto existing world is, therefore, not a “corporeal individual”, but a category constructed on the Hegelian method and supported by oppositions, the further “flea-jumps” of which we shall trace in the New Testament. Here we shall merely add that in the final analysis this ego comes into existence because it has the same illusions about the world of the Christian as the Christian has about the world of things. just as the Christian takes possession of the world of things by “getting into his head” fantastic nonsense about them, so the “ego” takes possession of the Christian world, the world of thoughts, by means of a series of fantastic ideas about it. What the Christian imagines about his own relation to the world, “Stirner” accepts in good faith, finds excellent, and good-naturedly repeats after him.

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds” (Epistle to the Romans 3 : 28).

Hegel, for whom the modern world was also resolved into the world of abstract ideas, defines the task of the modern philosopher, in contrast to that of the ancient, as consisting in the following: instead of, like the ancients, freeing himself from “natural consciousness” and “purging the individual of the immediate, sensuous method and making him into conceived and thinking substance” (into spirit), the modern philosopher should “abolish firm, definite, fixed ideas”. This, he adds, is accomplished by “dialectics” (Phänomenologie, pp. 26, 27). The difference between “Stirner” and Hegel is that the former achieves the same thing without the help of dialectics.

6. The Free Ones

What role “the free ones” have to play here is stated in the economy of the Old Testament. We cannot help it that the ego, which we had approached so closely, now recedes from us again into the nebulous distance. It is not at all our fault that we did not pass at once to the ego from page 20 of “the book”.

A. Political Libralism

The key to the criticism of liberalism advanced by Saint Max and his predecessors is the history of the German bourgeoisie. We shall call special attention to some aspects of this history since the French Revolution.

The state of affairs in Germany at the end of the last century is fully reflected in Kant’s Critik der Practischen Vernunft. While the French bourgeoisie, by means of the most colossal revolution that history has ever known, was achieving domination and conquering the Continent of Europe, while the already politically emancipated English bourgeoisie was revolutionising industry and subjugating India politically, and all the rest of the world commercially, the impotent German burghers did not get any further than “good will”. Kant was satisfied with “good will” alone, even if it remained entirely without result, and he transferred the realisation of this good will, the harmony between it and the needs and impulses of individuals, to the world beyond. Kant’s good will fully corresponds to the impotence, depression and wretchedness of the German burghers, whose petty interests were never capable of developing into the common, national interests of a class and who were, therefore, constantly exploited by the bourgeois of all other nations. These petty, local interests had as their counterpart, on the one hand, the truly local and provincial narrow-mindedness of the German burghers and, on the other hand, their cosmopolitan swollen-headedness. In general, from the time of the Reformation German development has borne a completely petty-bourgeois character. The old feudal aristocracy was, for the most part, annihilated in the peasant wars; what remained of it were either imperial petty princes who gradually achieved a certain independence and aped the absolute monarchy on a minute, provincial scale, or lesser landowners who partly squandered their little bit of property at the tiny courts, and then gained their livelihood from petty positions in the small armies and government offices — or, finally, Junkers from the backwoods, who lived a life of which even the most modest English squire or French gentilhomme de province would have been ashamed. Agriculture was carried on by a method which was neither parcellation nor large-scale production, and which, despite the preservation of feudal dependence and corvées, never drove the peasants to seek emancipation, both because this method of farming did not allow the emergence of any active revolutionary class and because of the absence of the revolutionary bourgeoisie corresponding to such a peasant class.

As regards the middle class, we can only emphasise here a few significant factors. It is significant that linen manufacture, i.e., an industry based on the spinning wheel and the hand-loom, came to be of some importance in Germany at the very time when in England those cumbersome tools were already being ousted by machines. Most characteristic of all is the position of the German middle class in relation to Holland. Holland, the only part of the Hanseatic League[60] that became commercially important, tore itself free, cut Germany off from world trade except for two ports (Hamburg and Bremen) and since then dominated the whole of German trade. The German middle class was too impotent to set limits to exploitation by the Dutch. The bourgeoisie of little Holland, with its well-developed class interests, was more powerful than the far more numerous German middle class with its indifference and its divided petty interests. The fragmentation of interests was matched by the fragmentation of political organisation, the division into small principalities and free imperial cities. How could political concentration arise in a country which lacked all the economic conditions for it?

The impotence of each separate sphere of life (one can speak here neither of estates nor of classes, but at most of former estates and classes not yet born) did not allow any one of them to gain exclusive domination. The inevitable consequence was that during the epoch of absolute monarchy, which assumed here its most stunted, semi-patriarchal form, the special sphere which, owing to division of labour, was responsible for the administration of public interests acquired an abnormal independence, which became still greater in the bureaucracy of modern times. Thus, the state built itself up into an apparently independent force, and this position, which in other countries was only transitory — a transition stage — it has maintained in Germany until the present day. This position of the state explains both the conscientiousness of the civil servant, which is found nowhere else, and all the illusions about the state which are current in Germany, as well as the apparent independence of German theoreticians in relation to the middle class — the seeming contradiction between the form in which these theoreticians express the interests of the middle class and these interests themselves.

The characteristic form which French liberalism, based on real class interests, assumed in Germany we find again in Kant. Neither he, nor the German middle class, whose whitewashing spokesman he was, noticed that these theoretical ideas of the bourgeoisie had as their basis material interests and a will that was conditioned and determined by the material relations of production. Kant, therefore, separated this theoretical expression from the interests which it expressed; he made the materially motivated determinations of the will of the French bourgeois into pureself-determinations of “free will”, of the will in and for itself, of the human will, and so converted it into purely ideological conceptual determinations and moral postulates. Hence the German petty bourgeois recoiled in horror from the practice of this energetic bourgeois liberalism as soon as this practice showed itself, both in the Reign of Terror and In shameless bourgeois profit-making.

Under the rule of Napoleon, the German middle class pushed its petty trade and its great illusions still further. As regards the petty-trading spirit which predominated in Germany at that time, Saint Sancho can, inter alia, compare Jean Paul, to mention only works of fiction, since they are the only source open to him. The German citizens, who railed against Napoleon for compelling them to drink chicory [61] and for disturbing their peace with military billeting and recruiting of conscripts, reserved all their moral indignation for Napoleon and all their admiration for England; yet Napoleon rendered them the greatest services by cleaning out Germany’s Augean stables and establishing civilised means of communication, whereas the English only waited for the opportunity to exploit them à tort et à travers [at random, recklessly] In the same petty-bourgeois spirit the German princes imagined they were fighting for the principle of legitimism and against revolution, whereas they were only the paid mercenaries of the English bourgeoisie. In the atmosphere of these universal illusions it was quite in the order of things that the estates privileged to cherish illusions — ideologists, school-masters, students, members of the Tugendbund [62] — should talk big and give a suitable high-flown expression to the universal mood of fantasy and indifference.

The political forms corresponding to a developed bourgeoisie were passed on to the Germans from outside by the July [1830] revolution — as we mention only a few main points we omit the intermediary period. Since German economic relations had by no means reached the stage of development to which these political forms corresponded, the middle class accepted them merely as abstract ideas, principles valid in and for themselves, pious wishes and phrases, Kantian self-determinations of the will and of human beings as they ought to be. Consequently their attitude to these forms was far more moral and disinterested than that of other nations, i.e., they exhibited a highly peculiar narrow-mindedness and remained unsuccessful in all their endeavours.

Finally the ever more powerful foreign competition and world intercourse — from which it became less and less possible for Germany to stand aside — compelled the diverse local interests in Germany to adopt some sort of common attitude. Particularly since 1840, the German middle class began to think about safeguarding these common interests; its attitude became national and liberal and it demanded protective tariffs and constitutions. Thus it has now got almost as far as the French bourgeoisie in 1789.

If, like the Berlin ideologists, one judges liberalism and the state within the framework of local German impressions, or limits oneself merely to criticism of German-bourgeois illusions about liberalism, instead of seeing the correlation of liberalism with the real interests from which it originated and without which it cannot really exist — then, of course, one arrives at the most banal conclusions. This German liberalism, in the form in which it expressed itself up to the most recent period, is, as we have seen, even in its popular form, empty enthusiasm, ideological reflections about real liberalism. How easy it is, therefore, to transform its content wholly into philosophy, into pure conceptual determinations, into “rational cognition”! Hence if one is so unfortunate as to know even this bourgeoisified liberalism only in the sublimated form given it by Hegel and the school-masters who depend on him, then one will arrive at conclusions belonging exclusively to the sphere of the holy. Sancho will provide us with a pitiful example of this.

“Recently” in active circles “so much has been said” about the rule of the bourgeois, “that it is not surprising that news of it”, if only through the medium of L. Blanc (translated by the Berliner Buhl), [reference to Louis Blanc, Histoire de dix ans 1830-1840, which appeared in Berlin in 1844-45 in Ludwig Buhl’s translation under the title Geschichte der zehn jahre] etc., “has even penetrated to Berlin” and there attracted the attention of easy-going school-masters (Wigand, p. 190). It cannot, however, be said that “Stirner” in his method of appropriating current ideas has “adopted a particularly fruitful and profitable style” (Wigand, ibid.) — as was already evident from his exploitation of Hegel and will now be further exemplified.

It has not escaped our school-master that in recent times the liberals have been identified with the bourgeois. Since Saint Max identifies the bourgeois with the good burghers, with the petty German burghers, he does not grasp what has been transmitted to him as it is in fact and as it is expressed by all competent authors — viz., that the liberal phrases are the idealistic expression of the real interests of the bourgeoisie — but, on the contrary, as meaning that the final goal of the bourgeois is to become a perfect liberal, a citizen of the state. For Saint Max the bourgeois is not the truth of the citoyen, but the citoyen the truth of the bourgeois. This conception, which is as holy as it is German, goes to such lengths that, on page 130, “the middle class” (it should read: the domination of the bourgeoisie) is transformed into a “thought, nothing but a thought” and “the state” comes forward as the “true man”, who in the “Rights of Man” confers the rights of “Man”, the true solemnisation on each individual bourgeois. And — all this occurs after the illusions about the state and the rights of man had already been adequately exposed in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, [In the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher this was done, in view of the context, only in relation to the rights of man proclaimed by the French Revolution. [Cf. Marx, On the Jewish Question] incidentally, this whole conception of competition as “the rights of man” can already be found among representatives of the bourgeoisie a century earlier (John Hampden, Petty, Boisguillebert, Child, etc.). On the relation of the theoretical liberals to the bourgeois compare what has been said [above] on the relation of the ideologists of a class to the class itself.] a fact which Saint Max notices at last in his “Apologetical Commentary” anno 1845. Hence he can transform the bourgeois — having separated the bourgeois as a liberal from the empirical bourgeois — into a holy liberal, just as he transforms the state into the “holy”, and the relation of the bourgeois to the modern state into a holy relation, into a cult (p. 131) — and with this, in effect, he concludes his criticism of political liberalism. He has transformed it into the “holy”.

We wish to give here a few examples of how Saint Max embellishes this property of his with historical arabesques. For this purpose he uses the French Revolution, concern rig which a small contract to supply him with a few data has been negotiated by his history-broker, Saint Bruno.

On the basis of a few words from Bailly, obtained moreover through the intermediary of Saint Bruno’s Denkwürdigkeiten, [reference to Edgar Bauer’s essay “Bailly und die ersten Tage der Französischen Revolution” in Denkwürdigkeiten zur Geschichte der neueren Zeit seit der Revolution, by Bruno and Edgar Bauer] the statement is made that through the convening of the States General “those who hitherto were subjects arrive at the consciousness that they are proprietors” (p. 132). On the contrary, mon brave! By the convening of the States General, those who hitherto were proprietors show their consciousness of being no longer subjects — a consciousness which was long ago arrived at, for example in the Physiocrats, and — in polemical form against the bourgeoisie — in Linguet (Théorie des lois civiles, 1767), Mercier, Mably, and, in general, in the writings against the Physiocrats. This meaning was also immediately understood at the beginning of the revolution — for example by Brissot, Fauchet, Marat, in the Cercle social [63] and by all the democratic opponents of Lafayette. If Saint Max had understood the matter as it took place independently of his history-broker, he would not have been surprised that “Bailly’s words certainly sound [as if each man is … were now a proprietor…” and that the bourgeois express… the rule of the proprietors … that now the proprietors have become the bourgeoisiepar excellence. ] [64]

The “statement of the Bishop of Autun and Barère” is a motion tabled by the former on July 4 (not 8), with which Barère had nothing to do except that together with many others he supported it on July 8. It was carried on July 9, hence it is not at all clear why Saint Max speaks of “July 8”. This motion by no means “destroyed” “the illusion that each man, the individual, was of importance”, etc.; but it destroyed the binding force of the Cahiers given to the deputies, that is, the influence and the “importance”, not of “each man, the individual”, but of the feudal 177bailliages and 431 divisions des ordres. By carrying the motion, the Assembly discarded the characteristic features of the old, feudal États généraux[65] Moreover, it was at that time by no means a question of the correct theory of popular representation, but of highly practical, essential problems. Broglie’s army held Paris at bay and drew nearer every day; the capital was in a state of utmost agitation; hardly a fortnight had passed since the jeu de paume and the lit de justice [66], the court was plotting with the bulk of the aristocracy and the clergy against the National Assembly; lastly, owing to the still existing feudal provincial tariff barriers, and as a result of the feudal agrarian system as a whole, most of the provinces were in the grip of famine and there was a great scarcity of money. At that moment it was a question of an assemblée essentiellement active, as Talleyrand himself put it, while the Cahiers of [the] aristocratic’ and other reactionary groups provided the court with an opportunity, to declare [the] decision of the Assembly [void by referring] to the wishes of the constituents. The Assembly proclaimed its independence by carrying Talleyrand’s motion and seized the power it required, which in the political sphere could, of course, only be done within the framework of political form and by making use of the existing theories of Rousseau, etc. (cf. Le point du jour, par Barère de Vieuzac, 1789, Nos. 15 and 17.) The National Assembly had to take this step because it was being urged forward by the immense mass of the people that stood behind it. By so doing, therefore, it did not at all transform itself into an “utterly egoistical chamber, completely cut off from the umbilical cord and ruthless” [p. 147]; on the contrary it actually transformed itself thereby into the true organ of the vast majority of Frenchmen, who would otherwise have crushed it, as they later crushed “utterly egoistical” deputies who “completely cut themselves off from the umbilical cord”. But Saint Max, with the help of his history-broker, sees here merely the solution of a theoretical question; he takes the Constituent Assembly, six days before the storming of the Bastille, for a council of church fathers debating a point of dogma! The question regarding the “importance of each man, the individual”, can, moreover, only arise in a democratically elected representative body, and during the revolution it only came up for discussion in the Convention, and for as empirical reasons as earlier the question of the Cahiers. A problem which the Constituent Assembly decided also theoretically was the distinction between the representative body of a ruling class and that of the rulingestates; and this political rule of the bourgeois class was determined by each individual’s position, since it was determined by the relations of production prevailing at the time. The representative system is a very specific product of modern bourgeois society which is as inseparable from the latter as is the isolated individual of modern times.

Just as here Saint Max takes the 177 bailliages and 431 divisions des ordres for “individuals”, so he later sees in the absolute monarch and hiscar tel est notre plaisir [“for this is our will” — the concluding words of royal edicts] the rule of the “individual” as against the constitutional monarch, the “rule of the apparition” (p. 141), and in the aristocrat and the guild-member he again sees the “individual” in contrast to the citizen (p. 137).

“The Revolution was not directed against reality, but against this reality, against this definite existence” (p. 145).

Hence, not against the really existing system of landownership, of taxes, of customs duties which hampered commerce at every turn, and the [… gap in the manuscript]

[… “Stirner” thinks] it makes no difference [“to ‘the good burghers’ who defends them] and their principles, whether an absolute or a constitutional king, a republic, etc. — For the “good burghers” who quietly drink their beer in a Berlin beer-cellar this undoubtedly “makes no difference”; but for the historical bourgeois it is by no means a matter of indifference. The “good burgher” “Stirner” here again imagines — as he does throughout this section — that the French, American and English bourgeois are good Berlin beer-drinking philistines. If one translates the sentence above from the language of political illusion into plain language, it means: “it makes no difference” to the bourgeoisie whether it rules unrestrictedly or whether its political and economic power is counterbalanced by other classes. Saint Max believes that an absolute king, or someone else, could defend the bourgeoisie just as successfully as it defends itself. And even “Its principles”, which consist in subordinating state power to “chacun pour soi, chacun chez soi” [each for himself and the devil take the hindmost] and exploiting it for that purpose — an “absolute monarch” is supposed to be able to do that! Let Saint Max name any country with developed trade and industry and strong competition where the bourgeoisie entrusts its defence to an “absolute monarch”.

After this transformation of the historical bourgeois into German philistines devoid of history, “Stirner”, of course, does not need to know any other bourgeois than “comfortable burghers and loyal officials”(!!) — two spectres who only dare to show themselves on “holy” German soil — and can lump together the whole class as ,obedient servants” (p. 138). Let him just take a look at these obedient servants on the stock exchanges of London, Manchester, New York and Paris. Since Saint Max is well under way, he can now go the whole hog and, believing one of the narrow-minded theoreticians of the Einundzwanzig Bogen who savs that “liberalism is rational cognition applied to our existing conditions”[from the article “Preussen seit der Einsetzung Arndt’s bis zur Absetzung Bauer’s” published anonymously in the Einundzwanzig Bogen aus der Schweiz], can declare that the “liberals are fighters for reason”. It is evident from these […] phrases how little the Germans have recovered [from] their original illusions about liberalism. Abraham “against hope believed in hope” … and his faith “was imputed to him for righteousness” (Romans 4: 18 and 22).

“The state pays well, so that its good citizens can without danger pay poorly; it provides itself by means of good payment with servants from whom it forms a force — the police — for the protection of good citizens and the good citizens willingly pay high taxes to the state in order to pay so much lower amounts to their workers” (p. 152).

This should read: the bourgeois pay their state well and make the nation pay for it so that without risk they should be able to pay poorly; by good payment they ensure that the state servants are a force available for their protection — the police; they willingly pay, and force the nation to pay high taxes so as to be able without danger to shift the sums they pay on to the workers as a levy (as a deduction from wages). “Stirner” here makes the new economic discovery that wages are a levy, a tax, paid by the bourgeois to the proletarian; whereas the other, mundane economists regard taxes as a tribute which the proletarian pays to the bourgeois.

Our holy church father now passes from the holy middle class to the Stirnerian “unique” proletariat (p. 148). The latter consists of “rogues, prostitutes, thieves, robbers and murderers, gamblers, propertyless people with no occupation and frivolous individuals” (ibid.). They form the “dangerous proletariat” and for a moment are reduced by “Stirner” to “individual shouters”, and then, finally, to 1I vagabonds”, who find their perfect expression in the “spiritual vagabonds” who do not “keep within the bounds of a moderate way of thinking…

So wide a meaning has the so-called proletariat or” (per appos.) “pauperism”! (p. 149).

On page 151 [“on the other hand,] the state sucks the life-blood” of the proletariat. Hence the entire proletariat consists of ruined bourgeois and ruined proletarians, of a collection of ragamuffins, who have existed in every epoch and whose existence on a mass scale after the decline of the Middle Ages preceded the mass formation of the ordinary proletariat, as Saint Max can ascertain by a perusal of English and French legislation and literature. Our saint has exactly the same notion of the proletariat as the “good comfortable burghers” and, particularly, the “loyal officials”. He is consistent also in identifying the proletariat with pauperism, whereas pauperism is the position only of the ruined proletariat, the lowest level to which the proletarian sinks who has become incapable of resisting the pressure of the bourgeoisie, and it is only the proletarian whose whole energy has been sapped who becomes a pauper. Compare Sismondi, [Simonde de Sismondi, Nouveaux principes d’économie politique] Wade, [John Wade, History of the Middle and Working Classes] etc. “Stirner” and his fraternity, for example, can in the eyes of the proletarians, in certain circumstances count as paupers but never as proletarians.

Such are Saint Max’s “own” ideas about the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. But since with these imaginations about liberalism, good burghers and vagabonds he, of course, gets nowhere, he finds himself compelled in order to make the transition to communism to bring in the actual, ordinary bourgeois and proletarians insofar as he knows about them from hearsay. This occurs on pages 15I and 152, where the lumpen-proletariat becomes transformed into “workers”, into ordinary proletarians, while the bourgeois “in course of time” undergoes “occasionally” a series of “various transformations” and “manifold refractions”. In one line we read: “The propertied rule”, i.e., the profane bourgeois; six lines later we read: “The citizen is what he is by the grace of the state”, i.e., the holy bourgeois; yet another six lines later: “The state is the status of the middle class”, i.e., the profane bourgeois; this is then explained by saying that “the state gives the propertied” “their property in feudal possession” and that the “money and property” of the “capitalists”, i.e., the holy bourgeois, Is such “state property” transferred by the state to “feudal possession”. Finally, this omnipotent state is again transformed into the “state of the propertied”, i.e., of the profane bourgeois, which is in accord with a later passage: “Owing to the revolution the bourgeoisie became omnipotent” (p. 156). Even Saint Max would never have been able to achieve these “heart-rending” and “horrible” contradictions — at any rate, he would never have dared to promulgate them — had he not had the assistance of the German word “Bürger”, which he can interpret at will as “citoyen” or as bourgeois” or as the German “good burgher”.Before going further, we must take note of two more great politico-economic discoveries which our simpleton “brings into being” “in the depths of his heart” and which have in common with the “joy of youth” of page 17 the feature of being also “pure thoughts”.

On page 150 all the evil of the existing social relations is reduced to the fact that “burghers and workers believe in the ‘truth’ of money”. Jacques le bonhomme imagines that it is in the power of the “burghers” and “workers”, who are scattered among all civilised states of the world, suddenly, one fine day, to put on record their “disbelief” in the “truth of money”; he even believes that if this nonsense were possible, something would be achieved by it. He believes that any, Berlin writer could abolish the “truth of money” with the same ease as he abolishes in his mind the “truth” of God or of Hegelian philosophy. That money is a necessary product of definite relations of production and intercourse and remains a “truth” so long as these relations exist — this, of course, is of no concern to a holy man like Saint Max, who raises his eyes towards heaven and turns his profane backside to the profane world.

The second discovery is made on page 152 and amounts to this, that “the worker cannot turn his labour to account” because he “falls into the hands” of “those who” have received “some kind of state property” “in feudal possession”. This is merely a further explanation of the sentence on page 15I already quoted above where the state sucks the life-blood of the worker. And here everyone will immediately “put forward” “the simple reflection” — that “Stirner” does not do so is not “surprising” — how does it come about that the state has not given the “workers” also some sort of “state property” in “feudal possession”. If Saint Max had asked himself this question he would probably have managed to do without his construction of the “holy” burghers, because he would have been bound to see the relation in which the propertied stand to the modern state.

By means of the opposition of the bourgeoisie and proletariat — as even “Stirner” knows — one arrives at communism. But how one arrives at it, only “Stirner” knows.

“The workers have the most tremendous power in their hands … they have only to cease work and to regard what they have produced by their labour as their property and to enjoy it. This is the meaning of the workers’ disturbances which flare up here and there” (p. 153).

Workers’ disturbances, which even under the Byzantine Emperor Zeno led to the promulgation of a law (Zeno, de novis operibus constitutio[Decree on New Works]), which “flared up” in the fourteenth century in the form of the Jacquerie and Wat Tyler’s rebellion, in 1518 on the Evil May Day in London, and in 1549 in the great uprising of the tanner Kett [67] and later gave rise to Act 15 of the second and third year of the reign of Edward VI, and a series of similar Acts of Parliament; the disturbances which soon afterwards, in 1640 and 1659 (eight uprisings in one year), took place in Paris and which already since the fourteenth century must have been frequent in France and England, judging by the legislation of the time; the constant war which since 1770 in England and since the revolution in France has been waged with might and cunning by the workers against the bourgeoisie — all this exists for Saint Max only “here and there”, in Silesia, Poznan, Magdeburg and Berlin, “according to German newspaper reports”.

What is produced by labour, according to Jacques le bonhomme’s imagination, would continue to exist and be reproduced, as an object to be “regarded” and “enjoyed”, even if the producers “ceased work”.

As he did earlier in the case of money, now again our good burgher transforms “the workers”, who are scattered throughout the civilised world, into a private club which has only to adopt a decision in order to get rid of all difficulties. Saint Max does not know, of course, that at least fifty attempts have been made in England since 1830, and at the present moment yet another is being made, to gather all the English workers into a single association and that highly empirical causes have frustrated the success of all these projects. He does not know that even a minority of workers who combine and go on strike very soon find themselves compelled to act in a revolutionary way — a fact he could have learned from the 1842 uprising in England and from the earlier Welsh uprising of 1839, in which year the revolutionary excitement among the workers first found comprehensive expression in the “sacred month”, which was proclaimed simultaneously with a general arming of the people. [68] Here again we see how Saint Max constantly tries to pass off his nonsense as “the meaning” of historical facts (in which he is successful at best in relation to his “one”) — historical facts “on which he foists his own meaning, which are thus bound to lead to nonsense” (Wigand, p. 194). Incidentally, it would never enter the head of any proletarian to turn to Saint Max for advice about the “meaning” of the proletarian movements or what should be undertaken at the present time against the bourgeoisie.

After this great campaign, our Saint Sancho returns to his Maritornes with the following fanfare:

“The state rests on the slavery of labour. If labour were to become free, the state would be lost” (p. 153).

— Free Labour —

The modern state, the rule of the bourgeoisie, is based on freedom of labour. The idea that along with freedom of religion, state, thought, etc., and hence “occasionally” “also” “perhaps” with freedom of labour, not I become free, but only one of my enslavers — this idea was borrowed by Saint Max himself, many times, though in a very distorted form, from the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher. Freedom of labour is free competition of the workers among themselves. Saint Max is very unfortunate in political economy as in all other spheres. Labour is free in all civilised countries; it is not a matter of freeing labour but of abolishing it.

B. Communism

Saint Max calls communism “social liberalism”, because he is well aware how great is the disrepute of the word liberalism among the radicals of 1842 and the most advanced Berlin “free-thinkers”. [69] This transformation gives him at the same time the opportunity and courage to put into the mouths of the “social liberals” all sorts of things which had never been uttered before “Stirner” and the refutation of which is intended to serve also as a refutation of communism.

Communism is overcome by means of a series of partly logical and partly historical constructions.

First logical construction.

Because “we have seen ourselves made into servants of egoists”, “we should” not ourselves “become egoists … but should rather see to it that egoists become impossible. We want to turn them all into ragamuffins, we want no one to possess anything, in order that ‘all’ should be possessors. — So say the social [liberals]. — Who is this person whom you call ‘all’? It is ‘society’” (p. 153).

With the aid of a few quotation marks Sancho here transforms “all” into a person, society as a person, as a subject = holy society, the holy. Now our saint knows what he is about and can let loose the whole torrent of his flaming anger against “the holy”, as the result of which, of course, communism is annihilated.

That Saint Max here again puts his nonsense into the mouth of the “social [liberals]”, as being the meaning of their words, is not “surprising”. He identifies first of all “owning” as a private property-owner with “owning” in general. Instead of examining the definite relations between private property and production, instead of examining “owning” as a landed proprietor, as a rentier, as a merchant, as a factory-owner, as a worker — where “owning” would be found to be a quite distinct kind of owning, control over other people’s labour — he transforms all these relations into “owning as such”.

[…four pages of the manuscript missing here.

…] political liberalism, which made the nation” the supreme owner. Hence communism has no longer to “abolish” any “personal property” but, at most, has to equalise the distribution of “feudal possessions”, to introduce égalité there.

On society as “supreme owner” and on the “ragamuffin”, Saint Max should compare, inter aliaL’Égalitaire for 1840:

“Social property is a contradiction, but social wealth is a consequence of communism. Fourier, in contradistinction to the modest bourgeois moralists, repeats a hundred times that it is not a social evil that some have too much but that ill have too little”, and therefore draws attention also to the “poverty of the rich”, in La fausse industrie, Paris, 1835, p. 410.

Similarly as far back as 1839 — hence before Weitling’s Garantien [der Harmonie und Freiheit] — it is stated in the German communist magazine Die Stimme des Volks (second issue, p. 14) published in Paris:

“Private property, the much praised, industrious, comfortable, innocent ‘private gain’, does obvious harm to the wealth of life.” [This seems to be a quotation from the article “Politischer und Socialer Umschwung” published in Blätter der Zukunft, 1846, No. 5. Die Stimme des folks was probably mentioned by mistake]

Saint Sancho here takes as communism the ideas of a few liberals tending towards communism, and the mode of expression of some communists who, for very practical reasons, express themselves in a political form.

After “Stirner” has transferred property to “society”, all the members of this society in his eyes at once become paupers and ragamuffins, although — even according to his idea of the communist order of things — they “own” the “supreme owner”. — His benevolent proposal to the communists — “to transform the word ‘Lump’ into an honourable form of address, just as the revolution did with the word ‘citizen’ “ — is a striking example of how he confuses communism with something which long ago passed away. The revolution even “transformed” the word sansculotte “into an honourable form of address”, as against “honnêtes gens”, which he translates very inadequately as good citizens. Saint Sancho does this in order that there may be fulfilled the words in the book of the prophet Merlin about the three thousand and three hundred slaps which the man who is to come will have to give himself:

Needful it is that your squire, Sancho Panza, Shall deal himself three thousand and three hundred Lashes upon his two most ample buttocks, Both to the air exposed, and in such sort That they shall smart, and sting and vex him sorely. (Don Quixote, Vol. If, Ch. 35.)

Saint Sancho notes that the “elevation of society to supreme owner” is a “second robbery of the personal element in the interests of humanity”, while communism is only the completed robbery of the “robbery of the personal element”. “Since he unquestionably regards robbery as detestable”, Saint Sancho “therefore believes for example” that he “has branded” communism “already by the” above “proposition” (“the book”, p. 102). “Once” “Stirner” has “detected” “even robbery” in communism, “how could he fail to feel profound disgust’ at it and ‘just indignation”‘! (Wigand, p. 156.) We now challenge “Stirner” to name a bourgeois who has written about communism (or Chartism) and has not put forward the same absurdity with great emphasis. Communism will certainly carry out “robbery” of what the bourgeois regards as “personal”.

First corollary.

Page 349: “Liberalism at once came forward with the statement that it is an essential feature of man to be not property, but property-owner. Since it was a question here of man, and not of an individual, the question of how much, which was precisely what constituted the particular interest of individuals, was left to their discretion. Therefore, the egoism of individuals had the widest scope as regards this how much and carried on tireless competition.”

That is to say: liberalism, i.e., liberal private property-owners, at the beginning of the French Revolution gave private property a liberal appearance by declaring it one of the rights of man. They were forced to do so if only because of their position as a revolutionising party; they were even compelled not only to give the mass of the French [rural] population the right to property, [but also] to let them seize actual property, and they could do all this because thereby their own “how much”, which was what chiefly interested them, remained intact and was even made safe.

We find here further that Saint Max makes competition arise from liberalism, a slap that he gives history in revenge for the slaps which he had to give himself above. A “more exact explanation” of the manifesto with which he makes liberalism “at once come forward” can be found in Hegel, who in 1820 expressed himself as follows:

“In respect of external things it is rational” (i.e., it becomes me as reason, as a man) “that I should possess property … what and how much I possess is, therefore, legally a matter of chance” (Rechtsphilosophie, § 49).

It is characteristic of Hegel that he turns the phrase of the bourgeois into the true concept, into the essence of property, and “Stirner” faithfully imitates him. On the basis of the above analysis, Saint Max now makes the further statement, that communism raised the question as to how much property, and answered it in the sense that man should have as much as he needs. Can my egoism be satisfied with that?… No. I must rather have as much as I am capable of appropriating” (p. 349).

First of all it should be remarked here that communism has by no means originated from § 49 of Hegel’s Rechtsphilosophie and its “what and how much”. Secondly, “communism” does not dream of wanting to give anything to “man”, for “communism” is not at all of the opinion that “man” 1I needs” anything apart from a brief critical elucidation. Thirdly, Stirner foists on to communism the conception of “need” held by the present-day bourgeois; hence he introduces a distinction which, on account of its paltriness, can be of importance only in present-day society and its ideal copy — Stirner’s union of “individual shouters” and free seamstresses. “Stirner” has again achieved great “penetration” into the essence of communism. Finally, in his demand to have as much as he is capable of appropriating (if this is not the usual bourgeois phrase that everyone should have as much as his ability [The German word Vermögen used several times in this passage means not only ability, capability but also wealth, fortune, means, property; the authors here play on the various meanings of the word] permits him, that everyone should have the right of free gain), Saint Sancho assumes communism as having already been achieved in order to be able freely to develop his “ability” and put it into operation, which by no means depends solely on him, any more than his fortune itself, but depends also on the relations of production and intercourse in which he lives. (Cf. the chapter on the “Union” b) Incidentally, even Saint Max himself does not behave according to his doctrine, for throughout his “book” he “needs” things and uses things which he was not “capable of appropriating”.

Second corollary.

“But the social reformers preach a social law to us. The individual thus becomes the slave of society” (p. 246). “in the opinion of the communists, everyone should enjoy the eternal rights of man” (p. 238).

Concerning the expressions “law”, “labour”, etc., how they are used by proletarian writers . and what should be the attitude of criticism towards them, we shall speak in connection with “True Socialism” (see Volume 11). As far as law is concerned, we with many others have stressed the opposition of communism to law, both political and private, as also in its most general form as the rights of man. See the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, where privilege, the special right, is considered as. something corresponding to private property inseparable from social classes, and law as something corresponding to the state of competition, of free private property (p. 206 and elsewhere); equally, the rights of man themselves are considered as privilege, and private property as monopoly. Further, criticism of law is brought into connection with German philosophy and presented as the consequence of criticism of religion (p. 72); further, it is expressly stated that the legal axioms that are supposed to lead to communism are axioms of private property, and the right of common ownership is an imaginary premise of the right of private property (pp. 98, 99). Incidentally, even in the works of German communists passages appeared very early — e.g., in the writings of Hess, Einundzwanzig Bogen aus der Schweiz, 1843, p. 326 and elsewhere — which could be appropriated and distorted — “by Stirner” in his criticism of law.

Incidentally, the idea of using the phrase quoted above against Babeuf, of regarding him as the theoretical representative of communism could only occur to a Berlin school-master. “Stirner”, however, has the effrontery to assert on page 247 that communism, which assumes “that all people by nature have equal rights, refutes its own thesis and asserts that people by nature have no rights at all. For it does not want, for example, to admit that parents have rights in relation to their children; it abolishes the family. in general, this whole revolutionary or Babouvist principle (compare Die Kommunisten in der Schweiz, Kommissionalbericht, p. 3) is based on a religious, i.e., false, outlook”.

A Yankee comes to England, where he is prevented by a justice of the Peace from flogging his slave, and he exclaims indignantly: “Do you call this a land of liberty, where a man can’t larrup his nigger? ,d Saint Sancho here makes himself doubly ridiculous. Firstly, he sees an abolition of the “equal rights of man” in the recognition of the “equal rights by nature” of children in relation to parents, in the granting of the same rights of man to children as well as to parents. Secondly, two pages previously Jacques le bonhomme tells us that the state does not interfere when a father beats his son, because it recognises family rights. Thus, what he presents, on the one hand, as a particular right (family right), he includes, on the other hand, among the “equal rights of man by nature”. Finally, he admits that he knows Babeuf only from the Bluntschli report, while this report (p. 3), in turn, admits that its wisdom is derived from the worthy L. Stein, [Lorenz von Stein, Der Socialismus und Communismus des heutigen Frankreichs] Doctor of Law. Saint Sancho’s thorough knowledge of communism is evident from this quotation. just as Saint Bruno is his broker as regards revolution, so Saint Bluntschli is his broker as regards communists. With such a state of affairs we ought not to be surprised that a few lines lower down our rustic word of God reduces the fraternité of the revolution to “equality of the children of God” (in what Christian dogma is there any talk of égalité?).

Third corollary.

Page 414: Because the principle of community culminates in communism, therefore, communism = “apotheosis of the state founded on love”.

From the state founded on love, which is Saint Max’s own fabrication, he here derives communism which then, of course, remains an exclusively Stirnerian communism. Saint Sancho knows only egoism on the one hand or the claim to the loving services, pity and aims of people on the other hand. Outside and above this dilemma nothing exists for him at all.

Third logical construction.

“Since the most oppressive evils are to be observed in society, it is especially” (!) “the oppressed” (!) who “think that the blame is to be found in society and set themselves the task of discovering the right society” (p. 155).

On the contrary, it is “Stirner” who “sets himself the task” of discovering the “society” which is “right” for him, the holy society, the society as the incarnation of the holy. Those who are ,oppressed” nowadays “in society”, “think” only about how to achieve the society which is right for them, and this consists primarily in abolishing the present society on the basis of the existing productive forces. If, e.g., “oppressive evils are to be observed” in a machine, if, for example, it refuses to work, and those who need the machine (for example, in order to make money) find the fault in the machine and try to alter it, etc. — then, in Saint Sancho’s opinion, they are setting themselves the task not of putting the machine right, but of discovering the right machine, the holy machine, the machine as the incarnation of the holy, the holy as a machine, the machine in the heavens. “Stirner” advises them to seek the blame “in themselves”. Is it not their fault that, for example, they need a hoe and a plough? Could they not use their bare hands to plant potatoes and to extract them from the soil afterwards? The saint, on page 156, preaches to them as follows:

“It is merely an ancient phenomenon that one seeks first of all to lay the blame anywhere but on oneself — and therefore on the state, on the selfishness of the rich, for which, however, we ourselves are to blame.”

The “oppressed” who seeks to lay the “blame” for pauperism on the “state” is, as we have noted above, no other than Jacques le bonhomme himself. Secondly, the “oppressed” who comforts himself by causing the “blame” to be laid on the “selfishness of the rich” is again no other than Jacques le bonhomme. He could have learned something better about the other oppressed from the Facts and Fictions of John Watts a tailor and doctor of philosophy, from Hobson’s Poor Man’s Companion, etc. And, thirdly, who is the person that should bear the “blame”? Is it, perhaps, the proletarian child who comes into the world tainted with scrofula, who is reared with the help of opium and is sent into the factory when seven years old — or is it, perhaps, the individual worker who is here expected to “revolt” by himself against the world market — or is it, perhaps, the girl who must either starve or become a prostitute? No, not these but only he who seeks “all the blame”, i.e., the “blame” for everything in the present state of the world, “in himself”, viz., once again no other than Jacques le bonhomme himself. “This is merely the ancient phenomenon” of Christian heart-searching and doing penitence in a German-speculative form, with its idealist phraseology, according to which 1, the actual man, do not have to change actuality, which I can only change together with others, but have to change myself in myself. “It is the internal struggle of the writer with himself” (Die heilige Familie, p. 122, cf. pp. 73, 121 and 306)

According to Saint Sancho, therefore, those oppressed by society seek the right society. If he were consistent, he should make those who “seek to lay the blame on the state” — and according to him they are the very same people — also seek the right state. But he cannot do this, because he has heard that the communists want to abolish the state. He has now to construct this abolition of the state, and our Saint Sancho once more achieves this with the aid of his “ass”, the apposition, in a way that “looks very simple”:

“Since the workers are in a state of distress” [Notstand], “the existing state of affairs” [Stand der Dinge], “i.e., the state” [Staat] (status =state or estate) “must be abolished” (ibid.).


the state of distress = the existing state of affairs the existing state of affairs = state or estate state, estate = status status = the State

Conclusion: the state of distress = the State.

What could “look simpler”? “It is only surprising” that the English bourgeois in 1688 and the French in 1789 did not “put forward” the same “simple reflections” and equations, since in those times it was much more the case that estate = status = the State. It follows from this that wherever a “state of distress” exists, “the State”, which is, of course, the same in Prussia and North America, must be abolished.

As is his custom, Saint Sancho now presents us with a few proverbs of Solomon.

Proverb of Solomon No. 1

Page 163: “That society is no ego, which could give, etc., but an instrument from which we can derive benefit; that we have no social duties, but only interests; that we do not owe any sacrifices to society, but if we do sacrifice something we sacrifice it for ourselves — all this is disregarded by the social [liberals], because they are in — thrall to the religious principle and are zealously striving for a — holy society.”

The following “penetrations” into the essence of communism result from this:

1. Saint Sancho has quite forgotten that it was he himself who transformed “society” into an “ego” and that consequently he finds himself only in his own “society”.

2. He believes that the communists are only waiting for “society” to “give” them something, whereas at most they want to give themselves a society.

3. He transforms society, even before it exists, into an instrument from which he wants to derive benefit, without him and other people by their mutual social relations creating a society, and hence this “instrument”.

4. He believes that in communist society there can be a question of “duties” and “interests”, of two complementary aspects of an antithesis which exists only in bourgeois society (under the guise of interest the reflecting bourgeois always inserts a third thing between himself and his mode of action — a habit seen in truly classic form in Bentham, whose nose had to have some interest before it would decide to smell anything. Compare “the book” on the right to one’s nose, page 247).

5. Saint Max believes that the communists want to “make sacrifices” for “society”, when they want at most to sacrifice existing society; in this case he should describe their consciousness that their struggle is the common cause of all people who have outgrown the bourgeois system as a sacrifice that they make to themselves.

6. That the social [liberals] are in thrall to the religious principle and

7. that they are striving for a holy society — these points have already been dealt with above. How “zealously” Saint Sancho “strives” for a “holy society”, so as to be able to refute communism by means of it, we have already seen.

Proverb of Solomon No. 2.

Page 277: “If interest in the social problem were less passionate and blind, then one … would understand that a society cannot be turned into a new one so long as those of whom it consists and who constitute it remain as of old,”

“Stirner” believes that the communist proletarians who revolutionise society and put the relations of production and the form of intercourse on a new basis — i.e., on themselves as new people, on their new mode of life — that these proletarians remain “as of old”. The tireless propaganda carried on by these proletarians, their daily discussions among themselves, sufficiently prove how little they themselves want to remain “as of old”, and how little they want people to remain “as of old”. They would only remain “as of old” if, with Saint Sancho, they “sought the blame in themselves”; but they know too well that only under changed circumstances will they cease to be “as of old”, and therefore they are determined to change these circumstances at the first opportunity. In revolutionary activity the changing of oneself coincides with the changing of circumstances. — This great saying is explained by means of an equally great example which, of course, is again taken from the world of “the holy”.

“If, for example, the Jewish people was to give rise to a society which spread a new faith throughout the world, then these apostles could not remain Pharisees.”

The first Christians = a society for spreading faith (founded anno 1). — Congregatio de propaganda fide [70] (founded anno 1640). Anno 1 =Anno 1640.

This society which should arise = These apostles. These apostles = Non-Jews. The Jewish people = Pharisees. Christians = Non-Pharisees. = Not the Jewish people.

What can look simpler?

Reinforced by these equations, Saint Max calmly utters the great historic words [paraphrase of line from Goethe’s Iphigenie auf Tauris]:

“Human beings, by no means intending to achieve their own development, have always wanted to form a society.” .

Human beings, by no means wanting to form a society, have, nevertheless, only achieved the development of society, because they have always wanted to develop only as isolated individuals and therefore achieved their own development only in and through society. Incidentally it would only occur to a saint of the type of our Sancho to separate the development of “human beings” from the development of the “society” in which they live, and then let his fantasy roam on this fantastic basis. Incidentally, he has forgotten his own proposition, inspired by Saint Bruno, in which just previously he set people the moral demand of changing themselves and thereby changing their society — a proposition, therefore, in which he identifies the development of people with the development of their society.

Fourth logical construction.

On page 156 he makes the communists say, in opposition to the citizens:

“Our essence” (!) “does not consist in all of us being equal children of the state” (!) “but in that we all exist for one another. We are all equal in that we all exist for one another, that each works for the other, that each of us is a worker.” He then regards ‘,to exist as a worker” as equivalent to “each of us exists only through the other”, so that the other, “for example, works to clothe me, and I to satisfy his need of entertainment, he for my food and I for his instruction. Hence participation in labour is our dignity and our equality.

“What advantage do we derive from citizenship? Burdens. And what value is put on our labour? The lowest possible What can you put against us? Again, only labour!” “Only for labour do we owe you a recompense”; “only for what you do that is useful to us” “have You any claim on us”. “We want to be only worth so much to you as we perform for you; but you should be valued by us in just the same way.” “Deeds which are of some value to us, i.e., work beneficial to the community, determine value…. He who does something useful takes second place to no one, or — all workers (beneficial to the community) are equal. Since however the worker is worthy of his wage, then let the wage also be equal” (pp. 157,158).

With “Stirner”, “communism” begins with searchings for “essence”; being a good “youth” he wants again only to “ penetrate behind things”. That communism ‘s a highly practical movement, pursuing practical aims by practical means, and that only perhaps in Germany, in opposing the German philosophers, can it spare a moment for the problem of “essence” — this, of course, is of no concern to our saint. This Stirnerian “communism”, which yearns so much for “essence”, arrives, therefore, only at a philosophical category, i.e., “being-for-one-another”, which then by means of a few arbitrary equations:

Being-for-one-another = to exist only through another = to exist as a worker = universal community of workers

is brought somewhat closer to the empirical world. We would, moreover, challenge Saint Sancho to indicate, for example, in Owen (who, after all, as a representative of English communism can serve as an example of “communism” just as well as, for example, the non-communist Proudhon, [Proudhon, who was as early as 1841 strongly criticised by the communist workers’ journal La Fraternité for advocating equal wages, community of workers in general and also the other economic prejudices which can be found in the works of this outstanding writer; Proudhon, from whom the communists have accepted nothing but his criticism of property, … unfinished note] from whom the greater part of the above propositions were abstracted and then rearranged) a passage containing anything of these propositions about “essence”, universal community of workers, etc. Incidentally we do not even have to go so far back. The third issue of Die Stimme des Volks, the German communist magazine already quoted above, says:

“What is today called labour is only a miserably small part of the vast, mighty process of production; for religion and morality honour with the name of labour only the kind of production that is repulsive and dangerous, and in addition they venture to embellish such labour with all kinds of maxims — as it were words of blessing (or witchcraft) — ‘labour in the sweat of thy brow’ as a test imposed by God; ‘labour sweetens life’ for encouragement, etc. The morality of the world in which we live takes very good care not to apply the term work to the pleasing and free aspects of human intercourse. These aspects are reviled by morality, although they too constitute production. morality eagerly reviles them as vanity, vain pleasure, sensuality. Communism has exposed this hypocritical preaching, this miserable morality.”

As universal community of workers, Saint Max reduces the whole of communism to equal wages — a discover which is then repeated in the following three “refractions”: on page 351, “Against competition there rises the principle of the society of ragamuffins — distribution. Is it possible then that I, who am very resourceful, should have no advantage over one who is resourceless?” Further, on page 363, he speaks of a “universal tax on human activity in communist society”. And, finally, on page 350, he ascribes to the communists the view that “labour” is “the only resource” of man. Thus, Saint Max re-introduces into communism private property in its dual form — as distribution and wage-labour. As before in connection with “robbery”, Saint Max here again displays the most ordinary and narrow-minded bourgeois views as “his own” “penetrations” into the essence of communism. He shows himself fully worthy of the honour of having been taught by Bluntschli. As a real petty bourgeois, he is then afraid that he, “who is very resourceful”, “should have no advantage over one who is resourceless” — although he should fear nothing so much as being left to his own “resources”.

Incidentally, he “who is very resourceful” imagines that citizenship is a matter of indifference to the proletarians, after he has first assumed that theyhave it. This is just as he imagined above that for the bourgeoisie the form of government is a matter of in difference. The workers attach so much importance to citizenship, i.e., to active citizenship, that where they have it, for instance in America, they make good use” of it, and where they do not have it, they strive to obtain it. Compare the proceedings of the North American workers at innumerable meetings, the whole history of English Chartism, and of French communism and reformism. [71]

First corollary.

“The worker, being conscious that the essential thing about him is that he is a worker, keeps himself away from egoism and subordinates himself to the supremacy of a society of workers, just as the bourgeois adhered with devotion” (!) “to the state based on competition” (p. 162).

The worker’ is at most conscious that for the bourgeois the essential thing about him is that he is a worker, who, therefore, can assert himself against the bourgeois as such. Both these discoveries of Saint Sancho, the “devotion of the bourgeois” and the “state based on competition”, can be recorded only as fresh proofs of the resourcefulness” of the “very resourceful” man.

Second corollary.

The aim of communism is supposed to be the ‘well-being of all’. This indeed really looks as though in this way no one need be in an inferior position. But what sort of well-being will this be? Have all one and the same well-being? Do all people feel equally well in one and the same circumstances?… If that is so, then it is a matter of ‘true well-being’. Do we not thereby arrive precisely at the point where the tyranny of religion begins?… Society has decreed that a particular sort of well-being is ‘true well-being’, and if this well-being were, for example, honestly earned enjoyment, but you preferred enjoyable idleness, then society … would prudently refrain from making provision for what is for you well-being. By proclaiming the well-being of all, communism destroys the well-being of those who up to now have lived as rentiers”, etc. (pp. 411. 412).

“If that is so”, the following equations result from it:

The well-being of all = Communism = If that is so = One and the same well-being of all = Equal well-being of all in one and the same circumstances = True well-being = [Holy well-being, the holy, the rule of the holy, hierarchy] = Tyranny of religion.

Communism = Tyranny of religion.

“This indeed really looks as though” “Stirner” has said the same thing about communism as he has said previously about everything else.

How deeply our saint has “penetrated” into the essence of communism is evident also from the fact that he ascribes to communism the desire to bring about “true well-being” in the shape of “honestly earned enjoyment”. Who, except “Stirner” and a few Berlin cobblers and tailors, thinks of “honestly earned enjoyment”!

And, what is more, to put this into the mouth of communists, for whom the basis of this whole opposition between work and enjoyment disappears. Let our highly moral saint put his mind at rest on this score. “Honest earning” will be left to him and those whom, unknown to himself, he represents — his petty handicraftsmen who have been ruined by industrial freedom and are morally indignant”. “Enjoyable idleness”, too, belongs wholly to the most trivial bourgeois outlook. But the crowning point of the whole statement is the artful bourgeois scruple that he raises against the communists: that they want to abolish the “well-being” of the rentier and yet talk about the “well-being of all”. Consequently, he believes that in communist society there will still be rentiers, whose “well-being” would have to be abolished. He asserts that “wellbeing” as rentier is inherent in the individuals who are at present rentiers, that it is inseparable from their individuality, and he imagines that for these individuals there can exist no other “wellbeing” than that which is determined by their position as rentiers.

He believes further that a society which has still to wage a struggle against rentiers and the like, is already organised in a communist way. The communists, at any rate, will have no scruples about overthrowing the rule of the bourgeoisie and abolishing its “wellbeing”, as soon as they are strong enough to do so. It does not matter to them at all whether this “well-being” common to their enemies and determined by class relations also appeals as personal “well-being” to a sentimentality which is narrow-mindedly presumed to exist.

Third corollary.

On page 190, in communist society

“Worry arises again in the form of labour”.

The good citizen “Stirner”, who is already rejoicing that he will again find his beloved “worry” ‘n communism, has nevertheless miscalculated this time. “Worry” ‘s nothing but the mood of oppression and anxiety which in the middle class is the necessary companion of labour, of beggarly activity for securing scanty earnings. “Worry” flourishes in its purest form among the German good burghers, where it is chronic and “always identical with itself”, miserable and contemptible, whereas the poverty of the proletarian assumes an acute, sharp form, drives him into a life-and-death struggle, makes him a revolutionary, and therefore engenders not “worry”, but passion. If then communism wants to abolish both the “worry” of the burgher and the poverty of the proletarian, it goes without saying that it cannot do this without abolishing the cause of both, i.e., “labour”.

We now come to the historical constructions of communism.

First historical construction.

“So long as faith was sufficient for the honour and dignity of man, no objection could be raised against any, even the most arduous labour…. The oppressed classes existing social classes. could tolerate their misery only so long as they were Christians” (the most that can be said is that they were Christians so long as they tolerated their miserable position), “for Christianity” (which stands behind them with a stick) “keeps their grumbling and indignation in check” (p. 158).

“How ‘Stirner’ knows so well” what the oppressed classes could do, we learn from the first issue of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, where “criticism in the form of a master-bookbinder” quotes the following passage from an unimportant book. [from August Theodor Woeniger’s book Publicistische Abhandlungen, quoted by Carl Ernst Reichardt — “the master-bookbinder” — in his article “Schriften über den Pauperismus”]

“Modern pauperism has assumed a political character; whereas formerly the beggar bore his fate submissively and regarded it as God’s will, the modern ragamuffin asks whether he is forced to drag out his life in poverty just because he chanced to be born in rags.”

It was due to this power of Christianity that during the liberation of the feudal serfs the most bloody and embittered struggles were precisely those against the spiritual feudal lords, and it was carried through despite all the grumbling and indignation of Christianity as embodied in the priests (cf. Eden, History of the Poor, Book I; Guizot, Histoire de la civilisation en France; Monteil, Histoire des français des divers états,etc.), while, on the other hand, the minor priests, particularly at the beginning of the Middle Ages, incited the feudal serfs to “grumbling” and “Indignation” against the temporal feudal lords (cf., inter alia, even the well-known capitulary of Charlemagne[72]). Compare also what was written above in connection with the “workers’ disturbances which flared up here and there”, about the “oppressed classes” and their revolts in the fourteenth century.’ The earlier forms of workers’ uprisings were connected with the degree of development of labour in each case and the resulting form of property; direct or indirect communist uprisings were connected with large-scale industry. Instead of going into this extensive history, Saint Max accomplishes a holy transition from the patient oppressed classes to the impatient oppressed classes:

“Now, when everyone ought to develop into a man” (“how,” for example, do the Catalonian workers [73] “know” that “everyone ought to develop into a man”?), “the confining of man to machine labour amounts to slavery” (p. 158).

Hence, prior to Spartacus and the uprising of the slaves, it was Christianity that prevented the “confining of man to machine labour” from “amounting to slavery”; and in the days of Spartacus it was only the concept of “man” that removed this relation and brought about slavery. “Or did” Stirner “perhaps” “even” hear something about the connection between modern labour unrest and machine production and wanted here to give an intimation of this? In that case it was not the introduction of machine labour that transformed the workers into rebels, but the introduction of the concept of “man” that transformed machine labour into slavery. — “If that is so” then “it indeed really looks as though” we have here a “unique” history of the workers’ movements.

Second historical construction.

“The bourgeoisie has preached the gospel of material enjoyment and is now surprised that this doctrine finds supporters among us proletarians” (p. 159).

Just now the workers wanted to realise the concept of “man”, the holy; now it is “material enjoyment”, the worldly; above it was a question of the “drudgery” of labour, now it is only the labour of enjoyment. Saint Sancho strikes himself here on ambas sus valientes posaderasa [his two most ample buttocks] — first of all on material history, and then on Stirner’s, holy history. According to material history, it was the aristocracy that first put the gospel of worldly enjoyment in the place of enjoyment of the gospel; it was at first for the aristocracy that the sober bourgeois’ ie applied itself to work and it very cunningly left to the aristocracy the enjoyment from which it was debarred by its own laws (whereby the power of the aristocracy passed i . n the form of money into the pockets of the bourgeoisie).

According to Stirner’s history, the bourgeoisie was satisfied to seek “the holy”, to pursue the cult of the state and to “transform all existing objects into imaginary ones”, and it required the Jesuits to “save sensuousness from complete decay”. According to this same Stirnerian history, the bourgeoisie usurped all power by means of revolution, consequently also its gospel, that of material enjoyment, although according to the same Stirnerian history we have now reached the point where “ideas alone rule the world”. Stirner’s hierarchy thus finds itself “entre ambas posaderas”.

Third historical construction.

Page 159: “After the bourgeois had given freedom from the commands and arbitrariness of individuals, there remained the arbitrariness which arises from the conjuncture of conditions and which can be called the fortuitousness of circumstances. There remained — luck and those favoured by luck.”

Saint Sancho then makes the communists “find a law and a new order which puts an end to these fluctuations” (the thingumbob), about which order he knows this much, that the communists should now proclaim: “Let this order henceforth be holy!” (whereas he ought now rather to have proclaimed: Let the disorder of my fantasies be the holy order of the communists). “Here is wisdom’ (Revelation of St. John, 13: 18). “Let him that bath understanding count the number” of absurdities which Stirner — usually so verbose and always repeating himself — [here] squeezes into a few [lines].

In its most general form the first proposition reads: after the bourgeoisie had abolished feudalism, the bourgeoisie remained. Or: after the domination of individuals had been abolished in “Stirner’s” imagination, precisely the opposite remained to be done. “It indeed really looks as though” one could bring the two most distant historical epochs into a relationship which is the holy relationship, the relationship as the holy, the relationship in heaven.

Incidentally, this proposition of Saint Sancho’s is not satisfied with the above-mentioned mode simple of absurdity, it has to bring it to the ,mode composé and bicomposé [terms used by Fourier] of absurdity. For, firstly, Saint Max believes the bourgeoisie which liberates itself that, by liberating itself from the commands and arbitrariness of individuals, it has liberated the mass of society as a whole from the commands and arbitrariness of individuals. Secondly, in reality it liberated itself not from the “commands and arbitrariness of individuals”, but from the domination of the corporation, the guild, the estates, and hence was now for the first time, as actual individual bourgeois, in a position to impose “commands and arbitrariness” on the workers. Thirdly, it only abolished the more or less idealistic appearance of the former commands and former arbitrariness of individuals, in order to establish instead these commands and this arbitrariness in their material crudity. He, the bourgeois, wanted his “commands and arbitrariness” to be no longer restricted by the hitherto existing “commands and arbitrariness” of political power concentrated in the monarch, the nobility and the corporations, but at most restricted only by the general interests of the whole bourgeois class, as expressed in bourgeois legislation. He did nothing more than abolish the commands and arbitrariness over the commands and arbitrariness of the individual bourgeois (see “Political Liberalism”).

Instead of making a real analysis of the conjuncture of conditions, which with the rule of the bourgeoisie became a totally different conjuncture of totally different conditions, Saint Sancho leaves it in the form of the general category “conjuncture, etc.”, and bestows on it the still more indefinite name of “fortuitousness of circumstances”, as though the “commands and arbitrariness of individuals” are not themselves a “conjuncture of conditions”. Having thus done away with the real basis of communism, i.e., the definite conjuncture of conditions under the bourgeois regime, he can now also transform this airy communism into his holy communism. “It indeed really looks” as though “Stirner” is a “man with only ideal”, imagined, historical “wealth” — the “perfect ragamuffin”. See “the book”, p. 362.

This great construction or, rather, its major proposition is once more and with great emphasis repeated on page 189 in the following form:

“Political liberalism abolished the inequality of master and servant; it made people masterless, anarchic” (!); “the master was then separated from the individual, from the egoist, to become a spectre, the law or the state.”

Domination of spectres = (hierarchy) = absence of domination equivalent to the domination of the “omnipotent” bourgeois. As we see, this domination of spectres is, on the contrary, the domination of the many actual masters; hence with equal justification communism could be regarded as liberation from this domination of the many. This, however, Saint Sancho could riot do, for then not only his logical constructions of communism but also the whole construction of “the free ones” would be overthrown. But this is how it is throughout “the book”. A single conclusion from our saint’s own premises, a single historical fact, overthrows the entire series of penetrations and results.

Fourth historical construction. On page 350, Saint Sancho derives communism directly from the abolition of serfdom.

I. Major proposition:

“Extremely much was gained when people succeeded in being regarded” (!) “as property-owners. Thereby serfdom was abolished and everyone who until then had himself been property henceforth became a master.”

(According to the mode simple of absurdity this means: serfdom was abolished as soon as it was abolished.) The mode composé of this absurdity is that Saint Sancho believes that people became “property-owners” by means of holy contemplation, by means of “regarding” and “being regarded”, whereas the difficulty consisted in becoming a “property-owner”, and consideration came later of itself. The mode bicomposéof the absurdity is that when the abolition of serfdom, which at first was still partial, had begun to develop its consequences and thereby became universal, people ceased to be able to “succeed” in being “regarded” as worth owning (for the property-owners those they owned had become too expensive); consequently the vast mass “who until then had themselves been property” i.e., unfree workers, became as a result not “masters”, but free workers.

II. Minor historical proposition, which embraces about eight centuries, although one “will of course not perceive how momentous” it is (cf.Wigand, p. 194).

“However, henceforth your having [Dein Haben] and what you have [Deine Habe] no longer suffices, and is no longer recognised; on the other hand, your working and your work increases in value. We now respect your mastery of things as previously” (?) “we respected your possession of them. Your labour is your wealth. You are now the master or possessor of what you have obtained by work and not by inheritance” (ibid.).

“Henceforth” — “no longer” — “on the other hand” — “now” — “as previously” — “now” — “or” — “not” — such is the content of this proposition.

Although “Stirner” has “now” arrived at this, that you (viz., Szeliga) are the master of what you have obtained by work and not by inheritance, it “now” occurs to him that just the opposite is the case at present — and so he causes communism to be born as a monster from these two distorted propositions.

III. Communist conclusion.

“Since, however, now everything is inherited and every farthing you possess bears not the stamp of work, but of inheritance” (the culminating absurdity), “SO everything must be remoulded.”

On this basis Szeliga is able to imagine that he has arrived at both the rise and fall of the medieval communes, and the communism of the nineteenth century. And thereby Saint Max, despite everything “inherited” and “obtained by work”, does not arrive at any “mastery of things”, but at most at “having” nonsense.

Lovers of constructions can now see in addition on page 421 how Saint Max, after constructing communism from serfdom, then constructs it again in the form of serfdom under a liege lord — society — on the same model as he already, above, transformed the means by which we earn something into the “holy”, by “grace” of which something is given to us. Now, in conclusion, we shall deal in addition only with a few “penetrations” into the essence of Communism, which follow from the premises given above.

First of all, “Stirner” gives a new theory of exploitation which consists in this:

“the worker in a pin factory performs only one piece of work, only plays into the hand of another and is used. exploited by that other” (p. 158).

Thus, here “Stirner” makes the discovery that the workers in a factory exploit one another, since they “play into the hands” of one another; whereas the factory-owner, whose hands do not work at all, cannot, therefore, exploit the workers. “Stirner” here gives a striking example of the lamentable position in which communism has put the German theoreticians. Now they have to concern themselves also with mundane things like pin factories, etc., in relation to which they behave like real barbarians, like Ojibbeway Indians and New Zealanders.

Stirnerian communism “on the contrary says” (ibid.):

“All work should have the aim of satisfying ‘man’. Therefore, he” (“man”) “must become master of it, i.e., be able to perform it as a totality.”

“Man” must become a master! — “Man” remains a maker of pin-heads, but he has the consolation of knowing that the pin-head is part of the pin and that he is able to make the whole pin. The fatigue and disgust caused by the eternally repeated making of pin-heads is transformed, by this knowledge, into the “satisfaction of man”. O Proudhon!

A further penetration:

“Since communists declare that only free activity is the essence” (iterum Crispinus) “of man, they, like every workaday mode of thought, need a Sunday, a time of exaltation and devotion, in addition to their dull labour.”

Apart from the “essence of man” that is dragged in here, the unfortunate Sancho is forced to convert “free activity”, which is for the communists the creative manifestation of life arising from the free development of all abilities of the “whole fellow” (in order to make it comprehensible to “Stirner”), into “dull labour”, for our Berliner notices that the question here is not one of the “hard work of thought”. By this simple transformation the communists can now also be transposed into the “workaday mode of thought”. Then, of course, together with the work-day of the middle-class its Sunday also is to be found again in communism.

Page 161: “The Sunday aspect of communism consists in the communist seeing in you the man, the brother.”

Thus, the communist appears here as “man” and as “worker”. This Saint Sancho calls (loc. cit.) “a dual employment of man by the communists — an office of material earning and one of spiritual earning”.

Here, therefore, he brings back even “earning” and bureaucracy into communism which, of course, thereby “attains its final goal” and ceases to be communism. Incidentally he has to do this, because in his “union”, which he will construct later, each also is given a “dual position” — as man and as the “unique”. For the present he legitimises this dualism by foisting it on communism, a method we shall find again in his theory of feudalism and of utilisation.

On page 344 “Stirner” believes that the “communists” want to “settle the question of property amicably”, and on page 413 he even makes them appeal to the self-sacrifice of people [and to] the self-denying disposition of the capitalists! The few non-revolutionary communist bourgeois who made their appearance since the time of Babeuf were a rare occurrence; the vast majority of the communists in all countries are revolutionary. All communists in France reproach the followers of Saint-Simon and Fourier with their peaceableness and differ from the latter chiefly in their having abandoned all hope of an “amicable settlement”, just as in Britain it is the same criterion which chiefly distinguishes the Chartists from the socialists. Saint Max could discover the communist view of the “self-denying disposition of the rich” and the “self-sacrifice of people” from a few passages of Cabet, the very communist who most of all could give the impression that he appeals for dévoûment, self-sacrifice. These passages are aimed against the republicans and especially against the attacks on communism made by Monsieur Buchez, who still commands the following of a very small number of workers in Paris:

“The same thing applies to self-sacrifice (dévoûment); it is the doctrine of Monsieur Buchez, this time divested of its Catholic form, for Monsieur Buchez undoubtedly fears that his Catholicism is repugnant to the mass of the workers, and drives them away. ‘In order to fulfil their duty (devoir) worthily’ — says Buchez — ‘self-sacrifice (dévoûment) is needed.’ — Let those who can understand the difference between devoir and dévoûment. — ‘We require self-sacrifice from everyone, both for great national unity and for the workers’ association … it is necessary for us to be united, always devoted (dévoûés) to one another.’ — It is necessary, it is necessary — that is easy to say, and people have been saying it for a long time and they will go on saying it for a very long time yet without any more success, if they cannot devise other means! Buchez complains of the self-seeking of the rich; but what is the use of such complaints? All who are unwilling to sacrifice themselves Buchez declares to be enemies.

“’If,’ he says, ‘impelled by egoism, a man refuses to sacrifice himself for others, what is to be done?… We have not a moment’s hesitation in answering: society always has the right to take from us what our own duty bids us sacrifice to it…. Self-sacrifice is the only means of fulfilling one’s duty. Each one of us must sacrifice himself, always and everywhere. He who out of egoism refuses to fulfil his duty of self-sacrifice must be compelled to do it.’ — Thus Buchez cries out to all: sacrifice yourselves, sacrifice yourselves! Think only of sacrificing yourselves! Does this not mean to misunderstand human nature and trample it underfoot? Is not this a false view? We might almost say — a childish, silly view” (Cabet, Réfutation des doctrines de l’Atelier, pp. 19, 20).

Cabet, further, on page 22, demonstrates to the republican Buchez that he inevitably arrives at an “aristocracy of self-sacrifice” with various ranks, and then asks ironically:

“What then becomes of dévoûment? What remains of dévoûment if people sacrifice themselves only in order to reach the highest pinnacles of hierarchy?… Such a system might originate in the mind of a man who would like to become Pope or Cardinal — but in the minds of workers!!!” — “M. Buchez does not want labour to become a pleasant diversion, nor that man should work for his own well-being and create new pleasures for himself. He asserts … ‘that man exists on earth only to fulfil a calling, a duty (une fonction, un devoir)’. ‘No,’ he preaches to the communists, ‘man, this great force, has not been created for himself (n’a point été fait Pour lui-même)…. That is a crude idea. Man is a worker (ouvrier) in the world, he must accomplish the work (oeuvre) which morality imposes on his activity, that is his duty…. Let us never lose sight of the fact that we have to fulfil a high calling (une haute fonction) — a calling that began with the first day of man’s existence and will come to an end only at the same time as humanity.’ — But who revealed all these fine things to [M.] Buchez? (Mais qui a révélé toutes ces belles chases a M. Buchez lui-même” — which Stirner would have translated: How is it that Buchez knows so well what man should do?) — “Du reste, comprenne qui pourra. — Buchez continues: ‘What! Man had to wait thousands of centuries in order to learn from you communists that he was created for himself and has no other aim than to live in all possible pleasures…. But one must not fall into such an error. One must not forget that we are created in order to labour (faits pour travailler), to labour always, and that the only thing we can demand is what is necessary for life (la suffisante vie), i.e., the well-being that suffices for us to carry out our calling properly. Everything that is beyond this boundary is absurd and dangerous.’ — But just prove it, prove it! And do not be satisfied merely with delivering oracles like a prophet! At the very outset you speak of thousands of centuries! And then, who asserts that people have been waiting for us down all the centuries? But have people perhaps been waiting for you with all your theories about dévoûmentdevoir, nationalité française, association ouvrière?’ ‘In conclusion,’ says Buchez, ‘we ask you not to take offence at what we have said.’ — We also are polite Frenchmen and we, too, ask you not to take offence” (p. 31). — “‘Believe us,’ says Buchez, ‘there exists a communauté which was created long ago and of which you too are members.’ — Believe us, Buchez,” concludes Cabet, “become a communist!”

“Self-sacrifice”, “duty”, “social obligation”, “the right of society”, “the calling, the destiny of man”, “to be a worker the calling of man”, “moral cause”, “workers’ association”, “creation of what is indispensable for life” — are not these the same things for which Saint Sancho reproaches the communists, and for the absence of which the communists are reproached by M. Buchez, whose solemn reproaches are ridiculed by Cabet? Do we not find here even Stirner’s “hierarchy”?

Finally, Saint Sancho deals communism the coup de grace on page 169, by uttering the following proposition:

“By taking away also property” (!) “the socialists do not take into account that its continuance is safeguarded by the peculiarities of human beings. Are only money and goods property, or is not every opinion also something that is mine, that belongs to me? Hence, every opinion must be abolished or made impersonal.”

Or does Saint Sancho’s opinion, insofar as it does not become the opinion of others as well, give him command over anything, even over another’s opinion? By bringing into play against communism the capital of his opinion, Saint Max again does nothing but advance against it the oldest and most trivial bourgeois objections, and he thinks he has said something new because for him, the “educated” Berliner, these hackneyed ideas are new. Destutt de Tracy among, and after, many others said the same thing much better approximately thirty years ago, and also later, in the book quoted below. For example:

“Formal proceedings were instituted against property, and arguments were brought forward for and against it, as though it depended on us to decide whether property should or should not exist in the world; but this is based on a complete misunderstanding of our nature” (Traité de la volonté, Paris, 1826, p. 18).

And then M. Destutt de Tracy undertakes to prove that propriétéindividualité and personnalité are identical, that the “ego” [moi] also includes “mine” [mien], and he finds as a natural basis for private property that

“nature has endowed man with an inevitable and inalienable property, property in the form of his own individuality” (p. 17). — The individual “clearly sees that this ego is the exclusive owner of the body which it animates, the organs which it sets in motion, all their capacities, all their forces, all the effects they produce, all their passions and actions; for all this ends and begins with this ego, exists only through it, is set in motion through its action; and no other person can make use of these same instruments or be affected in the same way by them” (p. 16). “Property exists, if not precisely, everywhere that a sentient individual exists, at least wherever there is a conative individual” (p. 19).

Having thus made private property and personality identical, Destutt de Tracy with a play on the words propriété and propre, like “Stirner” with his play on the words Mein and MeinungEigentum and Eigenheit, [one’s own, my, mine; opinion, view; property; peculiarity] arrives at the following conclusion:

“It is, therefore, quite futile to argue about whether it would not be better for each of us to have nothing of our own (de discuter s’il ne vaudrait pas mieux que rien ne fût propre à chacun de nous) … in any case it is equivalent to asking whether it would not be desirable for us to be quite different from what we are, and even to examining whether it would not be better for us not to exist at all” (p. 22).

“these are extremely popular”, now already traditional objections to communism, and for that very reason “it is not surprising that Stirner” repeats them.

— Individuality and Property —

When the narrow-minded bourgeois says to the communists: by abolishing property, i.e., my existence as a capitalist, as a landed proprietor, as a factory-owner, and your existence as workers, you abolish my individuality and your own; by making it impossible for me to exploit you, the workers, to rake in my profit, interest or rent, you make it impossible for me to exist as an individual. — When, therefore, the bourgeois tells the communists: by abolishing my existence as a bourgeois, you abolish my existence as an individual; when thus he identifies himself as a bourgeois with himself as an individual, one must, at least, recognise his frankness and shamelessness. For the bourgeois it is actually the case, he believes himself to be an individual only insofar as he is a bourgeois.

But when the theoreticians of the bourgeoisie come forward and give a general expression to this assertion, when they equate the bourgeois’s property with individuality in theory as well and want to give a logical justification for this equation, then this nonsense begins to become solemn and holy.

Above “Stirner” refuted the communist abolition of private property by first transforming private property into “having” and then declaring the verb “to have” an indispensable word, an eternal truth, because even in communist society it could happen that Stirner will “have” a stomach-ache. In exactly the same way here his arguments regarding the impossibility of abolishing private property depend on his transforming private property into the concept of property, on exploiting the etymological connection between the words Eigentum and eigen and declaring the wordeigen an eternal truth, because even under the communist system it could happen that a stomach-ache will be eigen to him. All this theoretical nonsense, which seeks refuge in etymology, would be impossible if the actual private property that the communists want to abolish had not been transformed into the abstract notion of “property”. This transformation, on the one hand, saves one the trouble of having to say anything, or even merely to know anything, about actual private property and, on the other hand, makes it easy to discover a contradiction in communism, sinceafter the abolition of (actual) property it is, of course, easy to discover all sorts of things in communism which can be included in the concept “property”. In reality, of course, the situation is just the reverse. In reality I possess private property only insofar as I have something vendible, whereas what is peculiar to me [meine Eigenheit] may not be vendible at all. My frock-coat is private property for me only so long as I can barter, pawn or sell it, so long [as it] is [marketable]. If it loses that feature, if it becomes tattered, it can still have a number of features which make it valuable for me, it may even become a feature of me and turn me into a tatterdemalion. But no economist would think of classing it as my private property, since it does not enable me to command any, even the smallest, amount of other people’s labour. A lawyer, an ideologist of private property, could perhaps still indulge in such twaddle.

— Private Property and Alienation —

Private property alienates [entfremdet] the individuality not only of people but also of things. Land has nothing to do with rent of land, the machine has nothing to do with profit. For the landed proprietor, land has the significance only of rent of land; he leases his plots of land and receives rent; this is a feature which land can lose without losing a single one of its inherent features, without, for example, losing any part of its fertility; it is a feature the extent and even the existence of which depends on social relations which are created and destroyed without the assistance of individual landed proprietors. It is the same with machines. How little connection there is between money, the most general form of property, and personal peculiarity, how much they are directly opposed to each other was already known to Shakespeare better than to our theorising petty bourgeois:

Thus much of this will make black, white; foul, fair; Wrong, right; base, noble; old, young; coward, valiant. This yellow slave… Will make the hear leprosy adored…

This it is

That makes the wappened widow wed again; She, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices To the April day again…

Thou visible god,

That solder’st close impossibilities, And makest them kiss!” [Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, Act IV, Scene 3]

In a word, rent of land, profit, etc., these actual forms of existence of private property, are social relations corresponding to a definite stage of production, and they are “individual” only so long as they have not become fetters on the existing productive forces.

According to Destutt de Tracy, the majority of people, the proletarians, must have lost all individuality long ago, although nowadays it looks as if it was precisely among them that individuality is most developed. For the bourgeois it is all the easier to prove on the basis of his language the identity of commercial and individual, or even universal, human relations, as this language itself is a product of the bourgeoisie, and therefore both in actuality and in language the relations of buying and selling have been made the basis of all others. For example, propriété — property [Eigentum] and characteristic feature [Eigenschaft]; property — possession [Eigentum] and peculiarity [Eigentümlichkeit]; “eigen” [“one’s own”] — In the commercial and in the individual sense; valeur, value, Wert; commerce, Verkehréchange, exchange, Austausch, etc., all of which are used both for commercial relations and for characteristic features and mutual relations of individuals as such. In the other modern languages this is equally the case. If Saint Max seriously applies himself to exploit this ambiguity, he may easily succeed in making a brilliant series of new economic discoveries, without knowing anything about political economy; for, indeed, his new economic facts, which we shall take note of later, lie wholly within this sphere of synonymy.

Our kindly, credulous Jacques takes the bourgeois play on the words Eigentum [property] and Eigenschaft [characteristic feature] so literally, in such holy earnest, that he even endeavours to behave like a private property-owner in relation to his own features, as we shall see later on.

Finally, on page 421, “Stirner” instructs communism that “actually it” (viz., communism) “does not attack property, but the alienation of property”.

In this new revelation of his, Saint Max merely repeats an old witticism already used repeatedly by, for example, the Saint-Simonists. Cf., for example, Leçons sur l’industrie et les finances, Paris, 1832, where, inter alia, it is stated:

“Property will not be abolished, but its form will be changed … it will for the first time become true personification … it will for the first time acquire its real, individual character” (pp. 42, 43).

Since this phrase, introduced by the French and particularly enlarged on by Pierre Leroux, was seized on with great pleasure by the German speculative socialists and used for further speculation, and finally gave occasion for reactionary intrigues and sharp practices — we shall not deal with it here where it says nothing, but later on, in connection with true socialism.

Saint Sancho, [following the] example of Woeniger, whom Reichardt [used], takes delight in turning the proletarians, [and hence] also the communists, into “ragamuffins”. He defines his “ragamuffin” on page 362 as a “man possessing only ideal wealth”. If Stirner’s “ragamuffins” ever set up a vagabond kingdom, as the Paris beggars did in the fifteenth century, then Saint Sancho will be the vagabond king, for he is the “perfect” ragamuffin, a man possessing not even ideal wealth and therefore living on the interest from the capital of his opinion.

C. Humane Libralism

After Saint Max has interpreted liberalism and communism as imperfect modes of existence of philosophical “man”, and thereby also of modern German philosophy in general (which he was justified in doing, since in Germany not only liberalism but communism as well was given a petty-bourgeois and at the same time high-flown ideological form), after this, it is easy for him to depict the latest forms of German philosophy, what he has called “humane liberalism”, as perfect liberalism and communism, and, at the same time, as criticism of both of them.

With the aid of this holy construction we now get the following three delightful transformations (cf. also “The Economy of the Old Testament”):

1. The individual is not man, therefore he is of no value — absence of personal will, ordinance — “whose name will be named”: “masterless” — political liberalism, which we have already dealt with above.

2. The individual has nothing human, therefore no validity attaches to mine and thine or property: “propertyless” — communism, which we have also already dealt with.

3. In criticism the individual should give place to man, now found for the first time: “godless” = identity of “masterless” and “propertyless” — humane liberalism (pp. 180-81). — In a more detailed exposition of this last negative unity, the unshakeable orthodoxy of Jacques reaches the following climax (p. 189):

“The egoism of property loses its last possession if even the words ‘my God’ become meaningless, for” (a grand “for”!) “God only exists if he has at heart the salvation of each individual, just as the latter seeks his salvation in God.”

According to this, the French bourgeois would only “lose” his “last” “Property” if the word adieu were banished from the language. In complete accord with the preceding construction, property in God, holy property in heaven, the property of fantasy, the fantasy of property, are here declared to be supreme property and the last sheet-anchor of property.

From these three illusions about liberalism, communism and German philosophy, he now concocts his new — and, thanks be to the “holy”, this time the last — transition to the “ego”. Before following him in this, let us once more glance at his last “arduous life struggle” with “humane liberalism”.

After our worthy Sancho in his new role of caballero andante [knight-errant], and in fact as caballero de la tristisima figura, [knight of the most rueful countenance] has traversed the whole of history, everywhere battling and “blowing down” spirits and spectres, “dragons and ostriches, satyrs and hobgoblins, wild beasts of the desert and vultures, bitterns and hedgehogs” (cf. Isaiah, 34:11-14), how happy he must now be, after his wanderings through all these different lands, to come at last to his island of Barataria [74] to “the land” as such, where “Man” goes about in puris naturalibus [in the pure natural state]! Let us once more recall his great thesis, the dogma imposed on him, on which his whole construction of history rests, to the effect that:

“the truths which arise from the concept of man are revered as revelations of precisely this concept and regarded as holy”; “the revelations of this holy concept”, even “with the abolition of many a truth manifested by means of this concept, are not deprived of their holiness” (p. 51).

We need hardly repeat what we have already proved to our holy author in respect of all his examples, namely, that empirical relations, created by real people in their real intercourse and not at all by the holy concept of man, are afterwards interpreted, portrayed, imagined, consolidated and justified by people as a revelation of the concept “man”. One may also recall his hierarchy. And now on to humane liberalism.

On page 44, where Saint Max “in brief” “contrasts Feuerbach’s [theological] view with our view”, at first nothing but phrases are advanced against Feuerbach. As we already saw in regard to the manufacture of spirits, where “Stirner” places his stomach among the stars (the third Dioscuros, a patron saint and protector against seasickness [75]), because he and his stomach are “different names for totally different things” (p. 42), so, here, too, essence [Wesen] appears first of all as an existing thing, and “so it is now said” (p. 44):

“The supreme being is, indeed, the essence of man, but precisely because it is his essence, and not man himself, it makes absolutely no difference whether we see this essence outside man and perceive it as ‘God’ or find it in man and call it the ‘essence of man’ or ‘Man’. I am neither God nor Man, neither the supreme being nor my essence — and, therefore, in the main, it makes no difference whether I think of this essence as inside me or outside me.”

Hence, the “essence of man” is presupposed here as an existing thing, it is the “supreme being”, it is not the “ego”, and, instead of saying something about “essence”, Saint Max restricts himself to the simple statement that it makes “no difference” “whether I think of it as inside me or outside me”, in this locality or in that. That this indifference to essence is no mere carelessness of style is already evident from the fact that he himself makes the distinction between essential and inessential and that with him even “the noble essence of egoism” finds a place (p. 71). Incidentally everything the German theoreticians have said so far about essence and non-essence is to be found already far better said by Hegel in his Logik.

We found the boundless orthodoxy of “Stirner” with regard to the illusions of German philosophy expressed in concentrated form in the fact that he constantly foists “Man” on history as the sole dramatis persona and believes that “Man” has made history. Now we shall find the same thing recurring in connection with Feuerbach, whose illusions “Stirner” faithfully accepts in order to build further on their foundation.

Page 77: “In general Feuerbach only transposes subject and predicate, giving preference to the latter. But since he says himself: ‘Love is not holy because it is a predicate of God (nor have people ever held it to be holy for that reason) but it is a predicate of God because it is divine by and for itself,’ he was able to conclude that the struggle had to be begun against the predicates themselves, against love and everything holy. How could he hope to turn people away from God, once he had left them the divine? And if, as Feuerbach says, the main thing for people has never been God, but only his predicates, he could after all have allowed them to keep this tinsel, since the puppet, the real kernel, still remained.”

Since, therefore, Feuerbach “himself” says this, it is reason enough for Jacques le bonhomme to believe him that people have esteemed love because it is “divine by and for itself “. If precisely the opposite of what Feuerbach says took place — and we “make bold to say this” (Wigand, p. 157) — if neither God nor his predicates have ever been the main thing for people, if this itself is only a religious illusion of German theory — it means that the very same thing has happened to our Sancho as happened to him before in Cervantes, when four stumps were put under his saddle while he slept and his ass was led away from under him.

— Criticism of Religion —

Relying on these statements of Feuerbach, Sancho starts a battle which was likewise already anticipated by Cervantes in the nineteenth chapter, where the ingenioso hidalgo fights against the predicates, the mummers, while they are carrying the corpse of the world to the grave and who entangled in their robes and shrouds, are unable to move and so make it easy for our hidalgo to overturn them with his lance and give them a thorough thrashing. The last attempt to exploit further the criticism of religion as an independent sphere (a criticism which has been flogged to the point of exhaustion), to remain within the premises of German theory and yet to appear to be going beyond them, and to cook from this bone, gnawed away to the last fibres, a thin Rumford beggar’s broth [76] [for “the] book” — this last attempt consisted in attacking material relations, not in their actual form, and not even in the form of the mundane illusions of those who are practically involved in the present-day world, but in the heavenly extract of their mundane form as predicates, as emanations from God, as angels. Thus, the heavenly kingdom was now repopulated and abundant new material created for the old method of exploitation of this heavenly kingdom. Thus, the struggle against religious illusions, against God, was again substituted for the real struggle. Saint Bruno, who earns his bread by theology, in his “arduous life struggle” against substance makes the same attempt pro aris et focie [for home and hearth] as a theologian to go beyond the limits of theology. His “substance” is nothing but the predicates of God united under one name; with the exception of personality, which he reserves for himself — these predicates of God are again nothing but deified names for the ideas of people about their definite, empirical relations, ideas which subsequently they hypocritically retain because of practical considerations.

With the theoretical equipment inherited from Hegel it is, of course, not possible even to understand the empirical, material attitude of these people. Owing to the fact that Feuerbach showed the religious world as an illusion of the earthly world — a world which in his writing appears merely as a phrase — German theory too was confronted with the question which he left unanswered: how did it come about that people “got” these illusions “into their heads”? Even for the German theoreticians this question paved the way to the materialistic view of the world, a view which is not without premises, but which empirically observes the actual material premises as such and for that reason is, for the first time,actually a critical view of the world. This path was already indicated in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher — in the Einleitung zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie and Zur Judenfrage. But since at that time this was done in philosophical phraseology, the traditionally occurring philosophical expressions such as “human essence”, “species”, etc., gave the German theoreticians the desired reason for misunderstanding the real trend of thought and believing that here again it was a question merely of giving a new turn to their worn-out theoretical garment — just as Dr. Arnold Ruge, the Dottore Graziano of German philosophy, imagined that he could continue as before to wave his clumsy arms about and display his pedantic-farcical mask. One has to “leave philosophy aside” (Wigand, p. 187, cf. Hess, Die letzten Philosophen,p. 8), one has to leap out of it and devote oneself like an ordinary man to the study of actuality, for which there exists also an enormous amount of literary material, unknown, of course, to the philosophers. When, after that, one again encounters people like Krummacher or “Stirner”, one finds that one has long ago left them “behind” and below. Philosophy and the study of the actual world have the same relation to one another as onanism and sexual love. Saint Sancho, who in spite of his absence of thought — which was noted by us patiently and by him emphatically — remains within the world of pure thoughts, can, of course, save himself from it only by means of a moral postulate, the postulate of “thoughtlessness” (p. 196 of “the book”). He is a bourgeois who saves himself in the face of commerce by the banqueroute cochenne[77]whereby, of course, he becomes not a proletarian, but an impecunious, bankrupt bourgeois. He does not become a man of the world, but a bankrupt philosopher without thoughts.

The predicates of God handed down from Feuerbach as real forces over people, as hierarchs, are the monstrosity which is substituted for the empirical world and which “Stirner” finds in existence. So heavily does Stirner’s entire “peculiarity” depend merely on “prompting”. If “Stirner” (see also p. 63) reproaches Feuerbach for reaching no result because he turns the predicate into the subject and vice versa, he himself is far less capable of arriving at anything, [for] he faithfully accepts these Feuerbachian predicates, transformed into subjects, as real personalities ruling [the world], he faithfully accepts these phrases about relations as actual relations, attaching the predicate “holy” to them, transforming this predicate into a subject, the “holy”, i.e., doing exactly the same as that for which he reproaches Feuerbach. And so, after he has thus completely got rid of the definite content that was the matter at issue, he begins his struggle — i.e., his “antipathy” — against this “holy”, which, of course, always remains the same. Feuerbach has still the consciousness “that for him it is ‘only a matter of destroying an illusion’” — and it is this with which Saint Max reproaches him (p. 77 of “the book”) — although Feuerbach still attaches much too great importance to the struggle against this illusion. In “Stirner” even this consciousness has “all gone”, he actually believes in the domination of the abstract ideas of ideology in the modern world; he believes that in his struggle against “predicates”, against concepts, he is no longer attacking an illusion, but the real forces that rule the world. Hence his manner of turning everything upside-down, hence the immense credulity with which he takes at their face value all the sanctimonious illusions, all the hypocritical asseverations of the bourgeoisie. How little, incidentally, the “puppet” is the “real kernel” of the “tinsel”, and how lame this beautiful analogy is, can best be seen from “Stirner’s” own “puppet” — “the book”, which contains no “kernel”, whether “real” or not “real”, and where even the little that there is in its 491 pages scarcely deserves the name “tinsel”. — If, however, we must find some sort of “kernel” in it, then that kernel is the German petty bourgeois.

Incidentally, as regards the source of Saint Max’s hatred of “predicates”, he himself gives an extremely naive disclosure in the “Apologetic Commentary”. He quotes the following passage from Das Wesen des Christenthums (p. 31): “A true atheist is only one for whom thepredicates of the divine being, e.g., love, wisdom, justice are nothing, but not one for whom only the subject of these predicates is nothing” — and then he exclaims triumphantly: “Does this not hold good for Stirner?” — “Here is wisdom.” In the above passage Saint Max found a hint as to how one should start in order to go “farthest of all”. He believes Feuerbach that the above passage reveals the “essence” of the “trueatheist”, and lets Feuerbach set him the “task” of becoming a “true atheist”. The “unique” is “the true atheist”.

Even more credulously than in relation to Feuerbach does he “handle” matters in relation to Saint Bruno or “criticism”. We shall gradually see all the things that he allows “criticism” to impose on him, how he puts himself under its police surveillance, how it dictates his mode of life, his “calling”. For the time being it suffices to mention as an example of his faith in criticism that on page 186 he treats “Criticism” and the “Mass” as two persons fighting against each other and “striving to free themselves from egoism”, and on page 187 he “accepts” both “for what they … give themselves out to be”.

With the struggle against humane liberalism, the long struggle of the Old Testament, when man was a school-master of the unique, comes to an end; the time is fulfilled, and the gospel of grace and joy is ushered in for sinful humanity.

The struggle over “man” is the fulfilment of the word, as written in the twenty-first chapter of Cervantes, which deals with “the high adventure and rich prize of Mambrino’s helmet”. Our Sancho, who in everything imitates his former lord and present servant, “has sworn to win Mambrino’s helmet” — Man — for himself. After having during his various “campaigns”, sought in vain to find the longed-for helmet among the ancients and moderns, liberals and communists, “he caught sight of a man on a horse carrying something on his head which shone like gold”. And he said to Don Quixote-Szeliga: “If I am not mistaken, there is someone approaching us bearing on his head that helmet of Mambrino, about which I swore the oath you know of.” “Take good care of what you say, your worship, and even greater care of what you do,” replied Don Quixote, who by now has become wiser. “Tell me, can you not see that knight coming towards us on a dapple-grey steed with a gold helmet on his head?” — “What I see and perceive,” replies Don Quixote, “is nothing but a man on a grey ass like yours with something glittering on his head.” — “Why, that is Mambrino’s helmet,” says Sancho.

Meanwhile, at a gentle trot there approaches them Bruno, the holy barber, on his small ass, criticism, with his barber’s basis on his head; Saint Sancho sets on him lance in hand, Saint Bruno jumps from his ass, drops the basin (for which reason we saw him here at the Council without the basin) and rushes off across country, “for he’s the Critic himself”. Saint Sancho with great joy picks up the helmet of Mambrino, and to Don Quixote’s remark that it looks exactly like a barber’s basin he replies: “This famous, enchanted helmet, which has become ‘ghostly’, undoubtedly fell into the hands of a man who was unable to appreciate its worth, and so he melted down one half of it and hammered out the other half ‘n such a way that, as you say, it appears to be a barber’s basin; in any case, whatever it may look like to the vulgar eye, for me, since I know its value, that is a matter of indifference.”

“The second splendour, the second property, has now been won!” Now that he has gained his helmet, “man”, he puts himself in opposition to him, behaves towards him as towards his “most irreconcilable enemy” and declares outright to him (why, we shall see later) that he (Saint Sancho) is not “man”, but an “unhuman being, the inhuman”. In the guise of this “inhuman”, he now moves to Sierra-Morena, in order to prepare himself by acts of penitence for the splendour of the New Testament. There he strips himself “stark naked” (p. 184) in order to achieve his peculiarity and surpass what his predecessor in Cervantes does in chapter twenty-five:

“And hurriedly stripping off his breeches, he stood in his skin and his shirt. And then, without more ado, he took two goat leaps into the air burning head over heels, thereby revealing such things as caused his trusty armour-bearer to turn Rosinante aside, so as not to see them.”

The “inhuman” far surpasses its mundane prototype. It “resolutely turns its back on itself and thus also turns away from the disquieting critic,”, and “leaves him behind”. The “inhuman” then enters into an argument with criticism that has been “left behind”; it “despises itself”, it “conceives itself in comparison with another”, it “commands God”, it “seeks its better self outside itself”, it does penance for not yet being unique, it declares itself to be the unique, “the egoistical and the unique” — although it was hardly necessary for it to state this after having resolutely turned its back on itself. The “Inhuman” has accomplished all this by its own efforts (see Pfister, Geschichte der Teutschen) and now, purified and triumphant, it rides on its ass into the kingdom of the unique.

End of the Old Testament

Saint Max – The New Testament: “Ego”


1. The Economy of the New Testament

Whereas in the Old Testament the object of our edification was unique” logic in the framework of the past, we are now confronted by the present time in the framework of “unique” logic. We have already thrown sufficient light on the “unique” in his manifold antediluvian “refractions” — as man, Caucasian Caucasian, perfect Christian, truth of humane liberalism, negative unity of realism and idealism, etc., etc. Along with the historical construction of the “ego”, the “ego” itself also collapses. This “ego”, the end of the historical construction, is no “corporeal” ego, carnally procreated by man and woman, which needs no construction in order to exist; it is an “ego” spiritually created by two categories, “idealism” and “realism,” a merely conceptual existence.

The New Testament, which has already been dissolved together with its premise, the Old Testament, possesses a domestic economy that is literally as wisely designed as that of the Old, namely the same “with various transformations”, as can be seen from the following table:

I. Peculiarity = the ancients, child, Negro, etc., in their truth, i.e., development from the “world of things” to one’s “own” outlook and taking possession of this world. Among the ancients this led to riddance of the world, among the moderns — riddance of spirit, among the liberals — riddance of the individual, among the communists — riddance of property, among the — humane [liberals] — riddance of God: hence it led in general to the category of riddance (freedom) as the goal. The negated category of riddance is peculiarity, which of course has no other content than this riddance. Peculiarity is the philosophically constructed quality of all the qualities of Stirner s individual.

II. The owner — as such Stirner has penetrated beyond the untruthfulness of the world of things and the world of spirit; hence the moderns, the phase of Christianity within the logical development: youth, Mongol. — Just as the moderns divide into the triply determined free ones, so the owner falls into three further determinations:

1. My power, corresponding to political liberalism, where the truth of right is brought to light and right as the power of “man” is resolved in power as the right of the “ego”. The struggle against the state as such.

2. My intercourse, corresponding to communism, whereby the truth of society is brought to light and society (in its forms of prison society, family, state, bourgeois society, etc.) as intercourse mediated by “man” is resolved in the intercourse of the “ego”.

3. My self-enjoyment, corresponding to critical, humane liberalism, in which the truth of criticism, the consumption, dissolution and truth of absolute self-consciousness, comes to light as self-consumption, and criticism as dissolution in the interests of man is transformed into dissolution in the interests of the “ego”.

The peculiarity of the individuals was resolved, as we have seen, in the universal category of peculiarity, which was the negation of riddance, of freedom in general. A description of the special qualities of the individual, therefore, can again only consist in the negation of this “freedom” in its three “refractions”; each of these negative freedoms is now converted by its negation into a positive quality. Obviously, just as in the Old Testament riddance of the world of things and the world of thoughts was already regarded as the acquisition of both these worlds, so here also it is a matter of course that this peculiarity or acquisition of things and thoughts is in its turn represented as perfect riddance.

The “ego” with its property, its world, consisting of the qualities just “pointed out”, is owner. As self-enjoying and self-consuming, it is the “ego” raised to the second power, the owner of the owner, it being as much rid of the owner as the owner belongs to it; the result is “absolute negativity” in its dual determination as indifference, “unconcern”’ and negative relation to itself, the owner. Its property in respect of the world and its riddance of the world is now transformed into this negative relation to itself, into this self-dissolution and self-ownership of the owner. The ego, thus determined, is —

III. The unique, who again, therefore, has no other content than that of owner plus the philosophical determination of the “negative relation to himself”. The profound Jacques pretends that there is nothing to say about this unique, because it is a corporeal, not constructed individual. But the matter here is rather the same as in the case of Hegel’s absolute idea at the end of the Logik and of absolute personality at the end of the Encyklopädie, about which there is likewise nothing to say because the construction contains everything that can be said about such constructed personalities. Hegel knows this and does not mind admitting it, whereas Stirner hypocritically maintains that his “unique” ‘s also something different from the constructed unique alone, but something that cannot be expressed, viz., a corporeal individual. This hypocritical appearance vanishes ‘f the thing is reversed, if the unique is defined as owner, and it is said of the owner that he has the universal category of peculiarity as his universal determination. This not only says everything that is “sayable” about the unique, but also what he is in general — minus the fantasy of Jacques le bonhomme about him.

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of the unique! How incomprehensible are his thoughts, and his ways past finding out! “ [Romans 11:33] “Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him!” (Job 26:14.)

2. The Phenomenology of the Egoist in Agreement with Himself, or the Theory of Justification

As we have already seen in “The Economy of the Old Testament” and afterwards, Saint Sancho’s true egoist in agreement with himself must on no account be confused with the trivial, everyday egoist, the egoist in the ordinary sense”. Rather he has as his presupposition both this latter (the one in thrall to the world of things, child, Negro, ancient, etc.) and the selfless egoist (the one in thrall to the world of thoughts, youth, Mongol, modern, etc,). It is, however, part of the nature of the secrets of the unique that this antithesis and the negative unity which follows from it — the “egoist in agreement with himself” — can be examined only now, in the New Testament.

Since Saint Max wishes to present the “true egoist” as something quite new, as the goal of all preceding history, he must, on the one hand, prove to the selfless, the advocates of dévoûment, that they are egoists against their will, and he must prove to the egoists in the ordinary sense that they are selfless, that they are not true, holy, egoists. — Let us begin with the first, with the selfless.

We have already seen countless times that in the world of Jacques le bonhomme everyone is obsessed by the holy. “Nevertheless it makes a difference” whether “one is educated or uneducated”. The educated, who are occupied with pure thought, confront us here as “obsessed” by the holy par excellence. They are the “selfless” in their practical guise.

“Who then is selfless? Completely” (!) “most” (!!) “likely” (!!!) “he who stakes everything else on one thing, one aim, one purpose, one passion…. He is ruled by a passion to which he sacrifices all others. And are these selfless not selfish, perhaps? Since they possess only a single ruling passion, they are concerned only with a single satisfaction, but the more ardently oil that account. All their deeds and actions are egoistic, but it is a one-sided, concealed, narrow egoism; it is — obsession” (p. 99).

Hence, according to Saint Sancho, they possess only a single ruling passion; ought they to be concerned also with the passions which not they, but others possess, in order to rise to an all-round, unconcealed, unrestricted egoism, in order to correspond to this alien scale of “holy” egoism?

In this passage are incidentally introduced also the “miser” and the “pleasure-seeker” probably because Stirner thinks that he seeks “pleasure” as such, holy pleasure, and not all sorts of real pleasures), as also “Robespierre, for example, Saint-Just, and so on “ (p. 100) as examples of “selfless, obsessed egoists”. “From a certain moral point of view it is argued” (i.e., our holy “egoist in agreement with himself “ argues from his own point of view in extreme disagreement with himself) “approximately as follows”:

“But if I sacrifice other passions to one passion, still do not thereby sacrifice myself to this passion, and I do not sacrifice anything thanks to which I am truly I myself” (p. 386).

Saint Max is compelled by these two propositions “in disagreement with each other” to make the “paltry” distinction that one may well sacrifice six “for example”, or seven, “and so on”, passions to a single other passion without ceasing to be “truly I myself”, but by no means ten passions, or a still greater number. Of course, neither Robespierre nor Saint-Just was “truly I myself”, Just as neither was truly “man”, but they were truly Robespierre and Saint-Just, those unique, incomparable individuals.

The trick of proving to the “selfless” that they are egoists is an old dodge, sufficiently exploited already by Helvétius and Bentham. Saint Sancho’s “own” trick consists in the transformation of “egoists in the ordinary sense”, the bourgeois, into non-egoists. Helvétius and Bentham, at any rate, prove to the bourgeois that by their narrow-mindedness they in practice harm themselves, but Saint Max’s “ own trick consists in proving that they do not correspond to the “ideal”, the “concept”, the essence”, the “calling”, etc., of the egoist and that their attitude towards themselves is not that of absolute negation. Here again he has ‘n mind only his German petty bourgeois. Let us point out, incidentally, that whereas on page 99 our saint makes the “miser” figure as a “selfless egoist”, on page 78, on the other hand, the “avaricious one” is included among “egoists in the ordinary sense”, among the “impure, unholy”.

This second class of the hitherto existing egoists is defined on page 99 as follows:

“These people” (the bourgeois) “are therefore not selfless, not inspired, not ideal, not consistent, not enthusiasts; they are egoists in the ordinary sense, selfish people, thinking of their own advantage, sober, calculating, etc.”

Since “the book” is not all of a piece, we have already had occasion, in connection with “whimsy” and “political liberalism”, to see how Stirner achieves the trick of transforming the bourgeois into non-egoists, chiefly owing to his great ignorance of real people and conditions. This same ignorance serves him here as a lever.

“This” (i.e., Stirner’s fantasy about unselfishness) “is repugnant to the stubborn brain of worldly man but for thousands of years he at least succumbed so far that he had to bend his obstinate neck and worship higher powers” (p. 104). The egoists in the ordinary sense “behave half clerically and half in a worldly way, they serve both God and Mammon” (p. 105).

We learn on page 78: “The Mammon of heaven and the God of the world both demand precisely the same degree of self-denial”, hence it is impossible to understand how self-denial for Mammon and self-denial for God can be opposed to each other as “worldly” and “clerical”.

On page 105-106, Jacques le bonhomme asks himself:

“How does it happen, then, that the egoism of those who assert their personal interest nevertheless constantly succumbs to a clerical or school-masterly, i.e., an ideal, interest?”

(Here, one must in passing “point out” that in this passage the bourgeois are depicted as representatives of personal interests.) It happens because:

“Their personality seems to them too small, too unimportant — as indeed it is — to lay claim to everything and be able to assert itself fully. A sure sign of this is the fact that they divide themselves into two persons, an eternal and a temporal; on Sundays they take care of the eternal aspect and on weekdays the temporal. They have the priest within them, therefore they cannot get rid of him.”

Sancho experiences some scruples here; he asks anxiously whether ‘,the same thing will happen” to peculiarity, the egoism in the extraordinary sense.

We shall see that it is not without grounds that this anxious question is asked. Before the cock has crowed twice, Saint Jacob (Jacques le bonhomme) will have “denied” himself thrice. [cf. Mark 14: 30]

He discovers to his great displeasure that the two sides prominently appearing in history, the private interest of individuals and the so-called general interest, always accompany each other. As usual, he discovers this in a false form, in its holy form, from the aspect of ideal interests, of the holy, of illusion. He asks: how is it that the ordinary egoists, the representatives of personal interests, are at the same time dominated by general interests, by school-masters, by the hierarchy? His reply to the question is to the effect that the bourgeois, etc., “seem to themselves too small”, and he discovers a “sure sign” of this in the fact that they behave in a religious way, i.e., that their personality is divided into a temporal and an eternal one, that is to say, he explains their religious behaviour by their religious behaviour, after first transforming the struggle between general and personal interests into a mirror image of the struggle, into a simple reflection inside religious fantasy.

How the matter stands as regards the domination of the ideal, see above in the section on hierarchy.

If Sancho’s question is translated from its high-flown form into everyday language, then “it now reads”:

— On Class Interests —

How is it that personal interests always develop, against the will of individuals, into class interests, into common interests which acquire independent existence in relation to the individual persons, and in their independence assume the form of general interests? How is it that as such they come into contradiction with the actual individuals and in this contradiction, by which they are defined asgeneral interests, they can be conceived by consciousness as ideal and even as religious, holy interests? How is it that in this process of private interests acquiring independent existence as class interests the personal behaviour of the individual is bound to be objectified [sich versachlichen], estranged [sich entfremden], and at the same time exists as a power independent of him and without him, created by intercourse, and is transformed into social relations, into a series of powers which determine and subordinate the individual, and which, therefore, appear in the imagination as “holy” powers? Had Sancho understood the fact that within the framework of definite modes of production, which, of course, are not dependent on the will, alien [fremde] practical forces, which are independent not only of isolated individuals but even of all of them together, always come to stand above people — then he could be fairly indifferent as to whether this fact is presented in a religious form or distorted in the fancy of the egoist, above whom everything is placed in imagination, in such a way that he places nothing above himself. Sancho would then have descended from the realm of speculation into the realm of reality, from what people fancy to what they actually are, from what they imagine to how they act and are bound to act in definite circumstances. What seems to him a product of thought, he would have understood to be a product of life. He would not then have arrived at the absurdity worthy of him — of explaining the division between personal and general interests by saying that people imagine this division also in a religious way and seem to themselves to be such and such, which is, however, only another word for “imagining”.

Incidentally, even in the banal, petty-bourgeois German form in which Sancho perceives the contradiction of personal and general interests, he should have realised that individuals have always started out from themselves, and could not do otherwise, and that therefore the two aspects he noted are aspects of the personal development of individuals; both are equally engendered by the empirical conditions under which the individuals live, both are only expressions of one and the same personal development of people and are therefore only in seeming contradiction to each other. As regards the position — determined by the special circumstances of development and by division of labour — which falls to the lot of the given individual, whether he represents to a greater extent one or the other aspect of the antithesis, whether he appears more as an egoist or more as selfless — that was a quite subordinate question, which could only acquire any interest at all if it were raised in definite epochs of history in relation to definite individuals. Otherwise this question could only lead to morally false, charlatan phrases. But as a dogmatist Sancho falls into error here and finds no other way out than by declaring that the Sancho Panzas and Don Quixotes are born such, and that then the Don Quixotes stuff all kinds of nonsense into the heads of the Sanchos; as a dogmatist he seizes on one aspect, conceived in a school-masterly manner, declares it to be characteristic of individuals as such, and expresses his aversion to the other aspect. Therefore, too, as a dogmatist, the other aspect appears to him partly as a mere state of minddévoûment, partly as a mere “principle”, and not as a relation necessarily arising from the preceding natural mode of life of individuals. One has, therefore, only to “get this principle out of one’s head”, although, according to Sancho’s ideology, it creates all kinds of empirical things. Thus, for example, on page 180 ,social life, all sociability, all fraternity and all that … was created by the life principles or social principle”. It is better the other way round: life created the principle.

— On Communism and Morality —

Communism is quite incomprehensible to our saint because the communists do not oppose egoism to selflessness or selflessness to egoism, nor do they express this contradiction theoretically either in its sentimental or ‘it its high-flown ideological form; they rather demonstrate its material source, with which it disappears of itself. The communists do not preach morality at all, as Stirner does so extensively. They do not put to people the moral demand: love one another, do not be egoists, etc.; on the contrary, they are very well aware that egoism, just as much as selflessness, is in definite circumstances a necessary form of the self-assertion of individuals. Hence, the communists by no means want, as Saint Max believes, and as his loyal Dottore Graziano (Arnold Ruge) repeats after him (for which Saint Max calls him “an unusually cunning and politic mind”, Wigand, p. 192), to do away with the “private individual” for the sake of the “general”, selfless man. That is a figment of the imagination concerning which both of them could already have found the necessary explanation in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher. Communist theoreticians, the only communists who have time to devote to the study of history, are distinguished precisely by the fact that they alone have discovered that throughout history the “general interest” is created by individuals who are defined as “private persons”. They know that this contradiction is only a seeming one because one side of it, what is called the “general interest”, is constantly being produced by the other side, private interest, and in relation to the latter it is by no means an independent force with an independent history — so that this contradiction is in practice constantly destroyed and reproduced. Hence it is not a question of the Hegelian “negative unity” of two sides of a contradiction, but of the materially determined destruction of the preceding materially determined mode of life of individuals, with the disappearance of which this contradiction together with its unity also disappears.

Thus we see how the “egoist in agreement with himself” as opposed to the “egoist in the ordinary sense” and the “selfless egoist”, is based from the outset on an illusion about both of these and about the real relations of real people. The representative of personal interests is merely an “egoist in the ordinary sense” because of his necessary contradiction to communal interests which, within the existing mode of production and intercourse, are given an independent existence as general interests and are conceived and vindicated in the form of ideal interests. The representative of the interests of the community is merely “selfless” because of his opposition to personal interests, fixed as private interests, and because the interests of the community are defined as general and ideal interests.

Both the “selfless egoist” and the “egoist in the ordinary sense” coincide, in the final analysis, in self-denial.

Page 78: “Thus, self-denial is common to both the holy and unholy, the pure and impure: the impure denies all better feelings, all shame, even natural timidity, and follows only the desire which rules him. The pure renounces his natural relation to the world…. Impelled by the thirst for money, the avaricious person denies all promptings of conscience, all sense of honour, all soft-heartedness and pity; he is blind to all consideration, his desire drives him on. The holy person acts similarly: he makes himself a laughing-stock in the eyes of the world, he is ‘hard-hearted’ and ‘severely just’, for he is carried away by his longing.”

The “avaricious man”, shown here as an impure, unholy egoist, hence as an egoist in the ordinary sense, is nothing but a figure on whom moral readers for children and novels dilate, but that actually occurs only as an exception, and is by no means the representative of the avaricious bourgeois. The latter, on the contrary, have no need to deny the “promptings of conscience”, “the sense of honour”, etc., or to restrict themselves to the one passion of avarice alone. On the contrary, their avarice engenders a series of other passions — political, etc. — the satisfaction of which the bourgeois on no account sacrifice. Without going more deeply into this matter, let us at once turn to Stirner’s “self-denial”.

For the self which denies itself, Saint Max here substitutes a different self which exists only in Saint Max’s imagination. He makes the “impure” sacrifice general qualities such as “better feelings”, “shame”, “timidity”, “sense of honour”, etc., and does not at all ask whether the impure actually possesses these properties. As if the “impure” is necessarily bound to possess all these qualities! But even if the “impure” did possess all of them, the sacrifice of these qualities would still be no self-denial, but only confirm the fact — which has to be justified even in morality “in agreement with itself” — that for the sake of one passion several others are sacrificed. And, finally, according to this theory, everything that Sancho does or does not do is “self-denial”. He may or may not act in a particular manner … [there is a gap here. An extant page, which has been crossed out and greatly damaged, contains the following:] he is an egoist, his own self-denial. If he pursues an interest he denies the indifference to this interest, if he does something he denies idleness. Nothing is easier for Sancho than to prove to the “egoist in the ordinary sense — his stumbling-block-that he always denies himself, because he always denies the opposite of what he does, and never denies his real interest.

In accordance with his theory of self-denial Sancho can exclaim on page 80: “Is perhaps unselfishness unreal and non-existent? On the contrary, nothing is more common!”

We are really very happy [about the “unselfishness”] of the consciousness of the German petty [bourgeois]….

He immediately gives a good example of this unselfishness by [adducing] Orphanage-F[rancke [79] O’Connell, Saint Boniface, Robespierre, Theodor Körner … ].

O’Connell [… ], every [child] in Britain knows this. Only in Germany, and particularly in Berlin, is it still possible to believe that O’Connell is “unselfish”. O’Connell, who “tirelessly works” to place his illegitimate children and to enlarge his fortune, who has not for love exchanged his lucrative legal practice (£10,000 per annum) for the even more lucrative job of an agitator (£20,000-30,000 per annum) (especially lucrative in Ireland, where he has no competition); O’Connell who, acting as middleman a “hard-heartedly” exploits the Irish peasants making them live with their pigs while he, King Dan, holds court in princely style in his palace in Merrion Square and at the same time laments continually over the misery of these peasants, “for he is carried away by his longing”; O’Connell, who always pushes the movement just as far as is necessary to secure his national tribute and his position as chief, and who every year after collecting the tribute gives up all agitation in order to pamper himself on his estate at Derrynane. Because of his legal charlatanism carried on over many years and his exceedingly brazen exploitation of every movement in which he participated, O’Connell is regarded with contempt even by the English bourgeoisie, despite his usefulness.

It is moreover obvious that Saint Max, the discoverer of true egoism, is strongly interested in proving that unselfishness has hitherto ruled the world. Therefore he puts forward the great proposition (Wigand, p. 165) that the world was “not egoistic for millennia”. At most he admits that from time to time the “egoist” appeared as Stirner’s forerunner and “ruined nations”.

[III. Consciousness]

Although on page 420 Saint Max now says:

“Over the portals of our [epoch] are written not the words … ‘know thyself’, [but] turn yourself to account”’ [Verwerte Dich] (here our school-master again transforms the actual turning to account which he finds in existence into a moral precept about turning to account), nevertheless [for the] “egoist in the ordinary [sense’ instead of for] the former “selfless egoist”, “the [Apollonic” maxim [80] should read:

“Only know yourselves], only know what [you] are in reality and give up your foolish endeavour to be something different from what you are!” “For”: “This leads to the phenomenon ofdeceived egoism, in which I satisfy not myself, but] only one [of my desires, e.] g., the [thirst for] happiness. [ — All] your deeds and [actions are secret], concealed … [egoism,] unconscious egoism, [but] for that very reason not egoism, but slavery, service, self-denial. You are egoists and at the same time not egoists, inasmuch as you deny egoism” (p. 217).

“No sheep, no dog, endeavours to become a real” egoist (p. 443); no animal” calls to the others: “Only know yourselves, only know what you are in reality”. — “It is your nature to be” egoistical, “you are” egoistical “natures, i. e.”, egoists. “But precisely because you are that already, you have no need to become so” (ibid.). To what you are belongs also your consciousness, and since you are egoists you possess also the consciousness corresponding to your egoism, and therefore there is no reason at all for paying the slightest heed to Stirner’s moral preaching to look into your heart and do penance.

Here again Stirner exploits the old philosophical device to which we shall return later. The philosopher does not say directly: You are not people. [He says:] You have always been people, but you were not conscious of what you were, and for that very reason you were not in reality True People. Therefore your appearance was not appropriate to your essence. You were people and you were not people.

In a roundabout way the philosopher here admits that a definite consciousness is appropriate to definite people and definite circumstances. But at the same time he imagines that his moral demand to people — the demand that they should change their consciousness — will bring about this altered consciousness, and in people who have changed owing to changed empirical conditions and who, of course, now also possess a different consciousness, he sees nothing but a changed [consciousness]. — It is just the same [with the consciousness for which you are secretly] longing; [in regard to this] you are [secret, unconscious] egoists — i.e., you are really egoists, insofar as you are unconscious, but you are non-egoists, insofar as you are conscious. Or: at the root of your present [consciousness lies] a definite being, which is not the [being] which I demand; your consciousness is the consciousness of the egoist such as he should not [be], and therefore it shows that you yourselves are egoists such as egoists should not be — or it shows that you should be different from what you really are. This entire separation of consciousness from the individuals who are its basis and from their actual conditions, this notion that the egoist of present-day bourgeois society does not possess the consciousness corresponding to his egoism, is merely an old philosophical fad that Jacques le bonhomme here credulously accepts and copies. Let us deal with Stirner’s “touching example” of the avaricious person. He wants to persuade this avaricious person, who is not an “avaricious person” in general, but the avaricious “Tom or Dick”; a quite individually defined, “unique” avaricious person, whose avarice is not the category of “avarice” (an abstraction of Saint Max’s from his all-embracing, complex, “unique” manifestation of life) and “does not depend on the heading under which other people” (for example, Saint Max) “classify it” — he wants to persuade this avaricious person by moral exhortations that he “is satisfying not himself but one of his desires”. But “you are you only for a [moment], only as a momentary being are you real. What [is separated from you,] from the ‘momentary being” is something absolutely higher, [e.g., money. But whether] “for you” money is “rather” [a higher pleasure], whether it is for you [something “absolutely higher” or] not [… ?] perhaps [“deny”] myself [? — He] finds that O am possessed [by avarice] day and night, [but] this is so only in his reflection. It is he who makes “day and night” out of the many moments in which I am always the momentary being, always myself, always real, just as he alone embraces in one moral judgment the different moments of my manifestation of life and asserts that they are the satisfaction of avarice. When Saint Max announces that I am satisfying only one of my desires, and not myself, he puts me as a complete and whole being in opposition to me myself. “And in what does this complete and whole being consist? It is certainly not your Momentary being, not what you are at the present moment” — hence, according to Saint Max himself, it consists in the holy “being” (Wigand, p. 171). When “Stirner” says that I must change my consciousness, then I know for my part that my momentary consciousness also belongs to my momentary being, and Saint Max, by disputing that I have this consciousness, attacks as a covert moralist my whole mode of life. [III (Consciousness)] And then — “do you exist only when you think about yourself, do you exist only owing to self-consciousness?” (Wigand, pp. 157-158.) How can I be anything but an egoist? How can Stirner, for example, be anything but an egoist — whether he denies egoism or not? “You are egoists and you are not egoists, inasmuch as you deny egoism,” — that is what you preach.

Innocent, “deceived”, “unavowed” school-master! Things are just the reverse. We egoists in the ordinary sense, we bourgeois, know quite well: Charité bien ordonnée commence par soi-même, [charity begins at home] and we have long had the motto: love thy neighbour as thyself, interpreted lit the sense that each is his own neighbour. But we deny that we are heartless egoists, exploiters, ordinary egoists, whose hearts can not be lifted up to the exalted feeling of making the interests of their fellow-men their own — which, between ourselves, only means that we declare our interests to be the interests of our fellow-men. [You] deny the “ordinary” [egoism of the] unique egoist [only because] you [“deny]” your [“natural] relations to the [world]”. Hence you do not understand why we bring practical egoism to perfection precisely by denying the phraseology of egoism — we who are concerned with realising real egoistical interests, not the holy interest of egoism. Incidentally, it could be foreseen — and here the bourgeois coolly turns his back on Saint Max — that you German school-masters, if you once took up the defence of egoism, would proclaim not real, “mundane and plainly evident” egoism (“the book”, p. 455), that is to say, “not what is called” egoism, but egoism in the extraordinary, school-masterly sense, philosophical or vagabond egoism.

The egoist in the extraordinary sense, therefore, is “only now discovered”. “Let us examine this new discovery more closely” (p. 11).

From what has been just said it is already clear that the egoists who existed till now have only to change their consciousness in order to become egoists in the extraordinary sense, hence that the egoist in agreement with himself is distinguished from the previous type only by consciousness, i.e., only as a learned man, as a philosopher. It further follows from the whole historical outlook of Saint Max that, because the former egoists were ruled only by the “holy”, the true egoist has to fight only against the “holy”. “Unique” history has shown us how Saint Max transformed historical conditions into ideas, and then the egoist into a sinner against these ideas; how every egoistic manifestation was transformed into a sin [against these] ideas, [the power of] the privileged into a sin [against the ideal of equality, into the sin of despotism. [Concerning the] idea of freedom [of competition,] therefore, it could be [said in “the book”] that [private property is regarded] by him [(p. 155) as”] the personal” […] great, […] [selfless] egoists […] essential arid invincible […] only to be fought by transforming them into something holy and then asserting that he abolishes the holiness in them, i.e., his holy idea about them, [i.e.,] abolishes them only insofar as they exist in him as a holy one.

[II (Creator and Creation)] Page 50: “How you are at each moment you are as your creation, and it is precisely in this creation that you do not want to lose yourself, the creator. You yourself are a higher being than yourself, i.e., you are not merely a creation, but likewise a creator; and it is this that you fail to recognise as an involuntary egoist, and for that reason the higher being is something foreign to you.”

In a somewhat different variation, this same wisdom is stated on page 239 of “the book”:

“The species is nothing” (later it becomes all sorts of things, see “Self-Enjoyment”), land when the individual rises above the limitations of his individuality, it is precisely here that he himself appears as an individual; he exists only by raising himself, he exists only by not remaining what he is, otherwise he would be done for, dead.”

In relation to these propositions, to his “creation”, Stirner at once begins to behave as “creator”, “by no means losing himself in them”:

“You are only for a moment, only as a momentary being are you real…. At each moment I am wholly what I am … what is separated from you, the momentary being”, is “something absolutely higher” … (Wigand, p. 170); arid, on page 171 (ibid.), “your being” is defined as momentary being”.

Whereas lit “the book” Saint Max says that besides a momentary being he has also another, higher being, in the “Apologetical Commentary” “the momentary being” [of his] individual is equated with his “complete [and whole] being”, and every [being] as a “momentary being” is transformed [into an] “absolutely higher being”. In “the book” therefore he is, at every moment, a higher being than what he is at that moment, whereas in the Commentary”, everything that he is not directly at a given moment is defined as an absolutely higher being”, a holy, being. — And in contrast to all this division we read on page 200 of “the book”:

“I know nothing about a division into an ‘imperfect’ and a ‘perfect’ ego.”

“The egoist in agreement with himself” needs no longer sacrifice himself to something higher, since in his own eyes he is himself this higher being, and he transfers this schism between a “higher” and a “lower being” into himself. So, in fact (Saint Sancho contra Feuerbach, “the book”, p. 243), “the highest being has undergone nothing but a metamorphosis”. The true egoism of Saint Max consists in an egoistic attitude to real egoism, to himself, as he is “at each moment”. This egoistic attitude to egoism is selflessness. From this aspect Saint Max as a creation is an egoist in the ordinary sense; as creator he is a selfless egoist. We shall also become acquainted with the opposite aspect, for both these aspects prove to be genuine determinations of reflection since they undergo absolute dialectics in which each of them is the opposite of itself.

Before entering more deeply into this mystery in its esoteric form, one has to observe some of [its arduous] life battles.

[on pages 82, 83 Stirner achieves the feat of] bringing the most general quality, [the egoist,] [into agreement] with himself as creator, [from the standpoint of the world] of spirit:

[“Christianity aimed] at [delivering us from natural determination (determination through nature), from desires as a driving force, it consequently wished that man should not allow himself to be] determined [by his desires. This does not mean that] he [should have] no [desires], but that [desires] should not possess [him,] that [they] should not become fixed, unconquerable, ineradicable. Could we not apply these machinations of Christianity against desires to its own precept, that we should be determined by the spirit … ? … Then this would signify the dissolution of spirit, the dissolution of all thoughts. As one ought to have said there … so one would have to say now: We should indeed possess spirit, but spirit should not possess us.”

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24) — thus, according to Stirner, they deal with their crucified affections and lusts like true owners. He accepts Christianity in instalments, but will not let matters rest at the crucified flesh alone, wanting to crucify his spirit as well, consequently, the “whole fellow”.

— Human Nature —

The only reason why Christianity wanted to free us from the domination of the flesh and “desires as a driving force” was because it regarded our flesh, our desires as something foreign to us; it wanted to free us from determination by nature only because it regarded our own nature as not belonging to us. For if I myself am not nature, if my natural desires, my whole natural character, do not belong to myself — and this is the doctrine of Christianity — then all determination by nature — whether due to my own natural character or to what is known as external nature — seems to me a determination by something foreign, a fetter, compulsion used against me, heteronomy as opposed to autonomy of the spirit. Stirner accepts this Christian dialectic without examining it and then applies it to our spirit. Incidentally, Christianity has indeed never succeeded in freeing us from the domination of desires, even in that juste milieu sense foisted on it by Saint Max; it does not go beyond mere moral injunctions, which remain ineffective in real life. Stirner takes moral injunctions for real deeds and supplements them with the further categorical imperative: “We should indeed possess spirit, but spirit should not possess us” — and consequently all his egoism in agreement with itself is reduced “on closer examination”, as Hegel would say, to a moral philosophy that is as delightful as it is edifying and contemplative.

— On Desire and the Conditions of Life —

Whether a desire becomes fixed or not, i.e., whether it obtains exclusive [power over us] — which, however, does [not] exclude [further progress] — depends on whether material circumstances, “bad” mundane conditions permit the normal satisfaction of this desire and, on the other hand, the development of a totality of desires. This latter depends, in turn, on whether we live in circumstances that allow all-round activity and thereby the full development of all our potentialities. On the actual conditions, and the possibility of development they give each individual, depends also whether thoughts become fixed or not — just as, for example, the fixed ideas of the German philosophers, these “victims of society”, qui nous font pitié [for whom we feel pity] are inseparable from the German ‘conditions. Incidentally, in Stirner the domination of desires is a mere phrase, the imprint of the absolute saint. Thus, still keeping to the “touching example” of the avaricious person, we read:

“An avaricious person is not an owner, but a servant, and he can do nothing for his own sake without at the same time doing it for the sake of his master” (p. 400).

No one can do anything without at the same time doing it for the sake of one or other of his needs and for the sake of the organ of this need — for Stirner this means that this need and its organ are made into a master over him, just as earlier he made the means for satisfying a need (cf. the. sections on political liberalism and communism) into a master over him. Stirner cannot eat without at the same time eating for the sake of his stomach. If the worldly conditions prevent him from satisfying his stomach, then his stomach becomes a master over him, the desire to eat becomes a fixed desire, and the thought of eating becomes a fixed idea — which at the same time gives him an example of the influence of world conditions in fixing his desires and ideas. Sancho’s “revolt” against the fixation of desires and thoughts is thus reduced to an impotent moral injunction about self-control and provides new evidence that he merely gives an ideologically high-sounding expression to the most trivial sentiments of the petty bourgeois.

Thus, in this first example he fights, on the one hand, against his carnal desires, and on the other against his spiritual thoughts — on the one hand against his flesh, on the other against his spirit — when they, his creations, want to become independent of him, their creator. How our saint conducts this struggle, how he behaves as creator towards his creation, we shall now see.

In the Christian “in the ordinary sense”, in the chrétien “simple”, to use Fourier’s expression,

spirit has undivided power and pays no heed to any persuasion of the ‘flesh’. However, only through the ‘flesh’ can I break the tyranny of the spirit; for only when man perceives also hisflesh does he perceive himself wholly, and only when he perceives himself wholly does he become perceptive or rational…. But as soon as the flesh speaks and — as cannot be otherwise — in a passionate tone… then he” (the chrétien simple) “believes he hears devil voices, voices against the spirit… and with good reason comes out passionately against them. He would not he a Christian if he were prepared to tolerate them” (p. 83).

Hence, when his spirit wishes to acquire independence in relation to him, Saint Max calls his flesh to his aid, and when his flesh becomes rebellious, he remembers that he is also spirit. What the Christian does in one direction, Saint Max does in both. He is the chrétien “composé”, he once again reveals himself as the perfect Christian.

Here, in this example, Saint Max, as spirit, does not appear as the creator of his flesh and vice versa; he finds his flesh and his spirit both present, and only when one side rebels does he remember that he has also the other, and asserts this other side, as his true ego, against it. Here, therefore, Saint Max is creator only insofar as he is one who is “also-otherwise-determined”, insofar as he possesses yet another quality besides that which it just suits him to subsume under the category of “creation”. His entire creative activity consists here in the good resolution to perceive himself, and indeed to perceive himself entirely or be rational, [Here, therefore, Saint Max completely justifies Feuerbach’s “touching example” of the hetaera and the beloved. In the first case, a man “perceives” only his flesh or only her flesh, in the second he perceives himself entirely or her entirely. See Wigand, pp. 170, 171.] to perceive himself as a “complete, entire being”, as a being different from “his momentary being”, and even in direct contradiction to the kind of being he is “momentarily”.

[Let us now turn to one of the “arduous] life battles” [of our saint]:

[Pages 80, 81: “My zeal] need not [be less than the] most fanatical, [but at the same] time [I remain] towards [it cold as ice, sceptical], and its [most irreconcilable enemy;] I remain [its judge, for I am its] owner.”

[If one desires to] give [meaning] to what Saint [Sancho] says about himself, then it amounts to this: his creative activity here is limited to the fact that in his zeal he preserves the consciousness of his zeal, that he reflects on it, that he adopts the attitude of the reflecting ego to himself as the real ego. It is to consciousness that he arbitrarily gives the name “creator”. He is “creator” only insofar as he possesses consciousness.

“Thereupon, you forget yourself in sweet self-oblivion…. But do you exist only when you think of yourself, and do you vanish when you forget yourself? Who does not forget himself at every instant, who does not lose sight of himself a thousand times an hour?” (Wigand, pp. 157, 158).

This, of course, Sancho cannot forgive his “self-oblivion” and therefore “remains at the same time its most irreconcilable enemy”.

Saint Max, the creation, burns with immense zeal at the very time when Saint Max, the creator, has already risen above his zeal by means of reflection; or the real Saint Max burns with zeal, and the reflecting Saint Max imagines that he has risen above this zeal. This rising in reflection above what he actually is, is now amusingly and adventurously described in the phrases of a novel to the effect that he allows his zeal to remain in existence, i.e., he does not draw any serious consequences from his hostility to it, but his attitude towards it is “cold as ice”, “sceptical” and that of its “most irreconcilable enemy”.

Insofar as Saint Max burns with zeal, i.e., insofar as zeal is his true quality, his attitude to it is not that of creator; and insofar as his attitude is that of creator, he does not really burn with zeal, zeal is foreign to him, not a quality of him. So long as he burns with zeal he is not the owner of zeal, and as soon as he becomes the owner, he ceases to burn with zeal. As an aggregate complex, he is at every instant, in the capacity of creator and owner, the sum total of all his qualities, with the exception of the one quality which he puts in opposition to himself, the embodiment of all the others, as creation and property — so that precisely that quality which he stresses as his own is always foreign to him.

No matter how extravagant Saint Max’s true story of his heroic exploits within himself, in his own consciousness, may sound, it is nevertheless an acknowledged fact that there do exist reflecting individuals, who imagine that in and through reflection they have risen above everything, because in actual fact they never go beyond reflection.

This trick — of declaring oneself against some definite quality as being someone who is also — otherwise-determined, namely, in the present example as being the possessor of reflection directed towards the opposite — this trick can be applied with the necessary variations to any quality you choose. For example, my indifference need be no less than that 6f the most blaséperson; but at the same time I remain towards it extremely ardent, sceptical and its most irreconcilable enemy, etc.

[It should] not be forgotten that [the aggregate] complex of all his [qualities, the owner] — in which capacity [Saint] Sancho [by reflecting opposes one particular] quality — is in this [case nothing but Sancho’s] simple [reflection about this] one quality, [which he has] transformed [into his ego by] putting forward, instead of the whole [complex, one] merely reflecting [quality and] putting forward in opposition to each of his qualities [and to] the series [merely the one] quality of reflection, an ego, and himself as the imagined ego.

Now he himself gives expression to this hostile attitude to himself, this solemn parody of Bentham’s book-keeping [81] of his own interests and qualities.

Page 188: “An interest, no matter towards what end it may be directed, acquires a slave in the shape of myself, if I am unable to rid myself of it; it is no longer my property, but I am its property. Let us, therefore, accept the directive of criticism that we should feel happy only in dissolution.”

“We!” — Who are “We?” It never occurs to “us” to “accept” the “directive of criticism”. — Thus Saint Max, who for the moment is under the police surveillance of “criticism”, here demands “the same well-being for all”, “equal well-being for all in one and the same [respect]”, “the direct tyrannical domination of religion”.

His interestedness in the extraordinary sense is here revealed as a heavenly disinterestedness.

Incidentally, there is no need here to deal at length with the fact that in existing society it does not at all depend on Saint Sancho whether an “interest” “acquires a slave in the shape of himself” and whether “he is unable to rid himself of it”. The fixation of interests through division of labour and class relations is far more obvious than the fixation of “desires” and “thoughts”.

In order to outbid critical criticism, our saint should at least have gone as far as the dissolution of dissolution, for otherwise dissolution becomes an interest which he cannot get rid of, which in him acquires a slave. Dissolution is no longer his property, but he is the property of dissolution. Had he wanted to be consistent in the example just given, [he should] [have treated his zeal against his] own “zeal” as [an “interest”] and [behaved] towards it [as an “irreconcilable] enemy”. [But he should have] also considered his [“ice-cold” disinterestedness] in relation to his [“ice-cold” zeal] and become [just as wholly “ice-cold”] and thereby, [obviously, he would have spared] his original [“interest”] and hence himself the “temptation” to turn [in a circle] on the [heel] of speculation. — Instead, he cheerfully continues (ibid.):

I shall only take care to safeguard my own property for myself” (i.e., to safeguard myself from my property) “and, in order to safeguard it, I take it back into myself at any time, I destroy in it any inclination towards independence and absorb it before it becomes fixed and can become a fixed idea or passion.”

How does Stirner “absorb” the persons who are his property!

Stirner has just allowed himself to be given a “vocation” by “criticism”. He asserts that he at once absorbs this “vocation” again, by saying on page 189:

“I do this, however, not for the sake of my human vocation, but because I call on myself to do so.”

If I do not call on myself to do so, I am, as we have just heard, a slave, not an owner, not a true egoist, I do not behave to myself as creator, as I should do as a true egoist; therefore, insofar as a person wants to be a true egoist, he must call himself to this vocation given him by “criticism”. Thus, it is a universal vocation, a vocation for all, not merely his vocation, but also his vocation.

On the other hand, the true egoist appears here as an ideal which is unattainable by the majority of individuals, for (p. 434) “innately limited intellects unquestionably form the most numerous class of mankind” — and how could these “limited intellects” be able to penetrate the mystery of unlimited absorption of oneself and the world.

Incidentally, all these terrible expressions — to destroy, to absorb etc. — are merely a new variation of the above-mentioned “ice-cold, most irreconcilable enemy”.

Now, at last, we are put in a position to obtain an insight into Stirner’s objections to communism. They were. nothing but a preliminary, concealed legitimisation of his egoism in agreement with itself, in which these objections are resurrected in the flesh. The “equal well-being of all in one and the same respect” is resurrected in the demand that “we should [only] feel happy in [dissolution”. “Care]” is resurrected [in the form of the unique “care]” to secure [one’s ego] [as one’s property]; [but “with the passage of time]” [“care”] again arises as to “how” [one can arrive] at a [unity — ] viz., unity [of creator and creation.] And, finally, humanism re[-appears, which in the form of the true] egoist confronts empirical individuals as an unattainable ideal. Hence page 117 of “the book” should read as follows: Egoism in agreement with itself really endeavours to transform every man into a “secret police state”. The spy and sleuth “reflection” keeps a strict eye on every impulse of spirit and body, and every deed and thought, every manifestation of life is, for him, a matter of reflection, i.e., a police matter. It is this dismemberment of man into “natural instinct” and “reflection” (the inner plebeian-creation, and the internal police — creator) which constitutes the egoist in agreement with himself.

Hess (Die letzten Philosophen, p. 26) reproached our saint:

“He is constantly under the secret police surveillance of his critical conscience…. He has not forgotten the ‘directive of criticism … to feel happy only in dissolution….. The egoist — his critical conscience is always reminding him — should never become so interested in anything as to devote himself entirely to his subject”, and so on.

Saint Max “empowers himself” to answer as follows:

When “Hess says of Stirner that he is constantly, etc’. — What does this mean except that when he criticises he wants to criticise not at random” (i.e., by the way: in the unique fashion), “not talking twaddle, but criticising properly” (i.e., like a human being)?

“What it means”, when Hess speaks of the secret police, etc., is so clear from the passage by Hess quoted above that even Saint Max’s “unique” understanding of it can only be explained as a deliberate misunderstanding. His “virtuosity of thought” is transformed here into a virtuosity in lying, for which we do not reproach him since it was his only way out, but which is hardly in keeping with the subtle little distinctions on the right to lie which he sets out elsewhere in “the book”. Incidentally, we have already demonstrated — at greater length than he deserves — that “when he criticises”, Sancho by no means “criticises properly”, but “criticises at random” and “talks twaddle”.

Thus, the attitude of the true egoist as creator towards himself as creation was first of all defined in the sense that in opposition to a definition in which he became fixed as a creation — for example, as against himself as thinker, as spirit — he asserts himself as a person also-otherwise-determined, as flesh. Later, he no longer asserts himself as really also-otherwise-determined, but as the mere idea of being also-otherwise-determined in general — hence, in the above example as someone who also-does-not think, who is thoughtless or indifferent to thought, an idea which he abandons again as soon as its nonsensicalness becomes evident. See above on turning round on the heel of speculation. Hence the creative activity consisted here in the reflection that this single determination, in the present case thought, could also be indifferent for him, i.e., it consisted in reflecting in general; as a result, of course, he creates only reflective definitions, if he creates anything at all (e.g., the idea of antithesis, the simple essence of which is concealed by all kinds of fiery arabesques).

As for the content of himself as a creation, we have seen that nowhere does he create this content, these definite qualities, e.g., his thought, his zeal, etc., but only the reflective definition of this content as creation, the idea that these definite qualities are his creations. All his qualities are present in him and whence they come is all the same to him. He, therefore, needs neither to develop them — for example, to learn to dance, in order to have mastery over his feet, or to exercise his thought on material which is not given to everyone, and is not procurable by everyone, in order to become the owner of his thought — nor does he need to worry about the conditions in the world, which in reality determine the extent to which an individual can develop.

Stirner actually only rids himself of one quality by means of another (i.e., the suppression of his remaining qualities by this “other”). In reality, however, [as we] have [already shown,] he does this only insofar as this quality has not only achieved free development, i.e., has not remained merely potential, but also insofar as conditions in the world have permitted him to develop in an equal measure a totality of qualities, [that is to say,] thanks to the division of [labour,] thus making possible the [predominant pursuit] of a [single passion, e.g., that of [writing] books. [In general], it is an [absurdity to assume], as Saint [Max does], that one could satisfy one [passion], apart from all others, that one could satisfy it without at the same time satisfying oneself, the entire living individual. If this passion assumes an abstract, isolated character, if it confronts me as an alien power, if, therefore, the satisfaction of the individual appears as the one-sided satisfaction of a single passion — this by no means depends on consciousness or “good will” and least of all on lack of reflection on the concept of this quality, as Saint Max imagines.

— Individual and Class Interests —

It depends not on consciousness, but on being; not on thought, but on life; it depends on the individual’s empirical development and manifestation of life, which in turn depends on the conditions obtaining in the world. If the circumstances in which the individual lives allow him only the [one]-sided development of one quality at the expense of all the rest, [If] they give him the material and time to develop only that one quality, then this individual achieves only a one-sided, crippled development. No moral preaching avails here. And the manner in which this one, pre-eminently favoured quality develops depends again, on the one hand, on the material available for its development and, on the other hand, on the degree and manner in which the other qualities are suppressed. Precisely because thought, for example, is the thought of a particular, definite individual, it remains his definite thought, determined by his individuality and the conditions in which he lives. The thinking individual therefore has no need to resort to prolonged reflection about thought as such in order to declare that his thought is his own thought, his property; from the outset it is his own, peculiarly determined thought and it was precisely his peculiarity which [in the case of Saint] Sancho [was found to be] the “opposite” of this, a peculiarity which is peculiarity “as such”. In the case of an individual, for example, whose life embraces a wide circle of varied activities and practical relations to the world, and who, therefore, lives a many-sided life, thought has the same character of universality as every other manifestation of his life. Consequently, it neither becomes fixed in the form of abstract thought nor does it need complicated tricks of reflection when the individual passes from thought to some other manifestation of life. From the outset it is always a factor in the total life of the individual, one which disappears and is reproduced as required,

In the case of a parochial Berlin school-master or author, however, whose activity is restricted to arduous work on the one hand and the pleasure of thought on the other, whose world extends from Moabit to Köpenick and ends behind the Hamburger Tor, [82] whose relations to this world are reduced to a minimum by his pitiful position in life, when such an individual experiences the need to think, it is indeed inevitable that his thought becomes just as abstract as he himself and his life, and that thought confronts him, who is quite incapable of resistance, in the form of a fixed power, whose activity offers the individual the possibility of a momentary escape from his “bad world”, of a momentary pleasure. In the case of such an individual the few remaining desires, which arise not so much from intercourse with the world as from the constitution of the human body, express themselves only through repercussion, i.e., they assume in their narrow development the same one-sided and crude character as does his thought, they appear only at long intervals, stimulated by the excessive development of the predominant desire (fortified by immediate physical causes, e.g. [stomach] spasm) and are manifested turbulently and forcibly, with the most brutal suppression of the ordinary, [natural] desire [ — this leads to further] domination over [thought.] As a matter of course, the school-master’s [thinking reflects on and speculates about] this empirical [fact in a school]masterly fashion. [But the mere announcement] that Stirner in general “creates” [his qualities] does not [explain] even their particular form of development. The extent to which these qualities develop on the universal or local scale, the extent to which they transcend local narrow-mindedness or remain within its confines, depends not on Stirner, but on the development of world intercourse and on the part which he and the locality where he lives play in it. That under favourable circumstances some individuals are able to rid themselves of their local narrow-mindedness is by no means due to individuals imagining that they have got rid of, or intend to get rid of their local narrow-mindedness, but is only due to the fact that in their real empirical life individuals, actuated by empirical needs, have been able to bring about world intercourse.

The only thing our saint achieves with the aid of his arduous reflection about his qualities and passions is that by his constant crotchetiness and scuffling with them he poisons the enjoyment and satisfaction of them.

Saint Max creates, as already said, only himself as a creation, i.e., he is satisfied with placing himself in this category of created entity. His activity [as] creator consists in regarding himself as a creation, and he does not even go on to resolve this division of himself into [creator and] creation, which is his own [product]. The division [into the “essential” and] the “Inessential” becomes [for him a] permanent life process, [hence mere appearance,] i.e., his real life exists only [in “pure”] reflection, is [not] even actual existence; [for since this latter is at every] instant outside [him and his reflection], he tries [in vain to] present [reflection as] essential.

“But [since] this enemy” (viz., the true egoist as a creation) “begets himself in his defeat, since consciousness, by becoming fixed on him, does not free itself from him, but instead always dwells on him and always sees itself besmirched, and since this content of his endeavour is at the same time the very lowest, we find only an individual restricted to himself and his petty activity” (inactivity), “and brooding over himself, as unhappy as he is wretched” (Hegel) [Phänomenologie des Geistes. B. Selbstbewusstsein. 3. Das unglückliche Bewusstsein].

What we have said so far about the division of Sancho into creator and creation, he himself now finally expresses in a logical form: the creator and the creation are transformed into the presupposing and the presupposed ego, or (inasmuch as his presupposition [of his ego] is a positing) into the positing and the posited ego:

“I for my part start from a certain presupposition since I presuppose myself; but my presupposition does not strive for its perfection” (rather does Saint Max strive for its abasement), “on the contrary, it serves me merely as something to enjoy and consume!’ (an enviable enjoyment!). “I am nourished by my presupposition alone and exist only by consuming it. But for that reason” (a grand “for that reason”!) “the presupposition in question is no presupposition at all, for since” (a grand “for since”!) “I am the unique” (it should read: the true egoist in agreement with himself), “I know nothing about the duality of a presupposing and presupposed ego (of an ‘imperfect’ and ‘perfect’ ego or man)” — it should read: the perfection of my ego consists in this alone, that at every instant I know myself as an imperfect ego, as a creation — “ but” (a magnificent “but”!) “the fact that I consume myself signifies merely that I am.” (It should read: The fact that I am signifies here merely that in me I consume in imagination the category of the presupposed.) “I do not presuppose myself, because I really only posit or create myself perpetually” (viz., I posit and create myself as the presupposed, posited or created) “and I am I only because I am not presupposed, but posited” (it should read: and I exist only because I am antecedent to my positing) land, again, I am posited only at the moment when I posit myself, i.e., I am creator and creation in one.”

Stirner is a “posited man”, since he is always a posited ego, and his ego is “also a man” (Wigand, p. 183). “For that reason” he is a posited man; “for since” he is never driven by his passions to excesses, “therefore”, he is what burghers call a sedate man, “but” the fact that he is a sedate man “signifies merely” that he always keeps an account of his own transformations and refractions.

What was so far only “for us” — to use for once, as Stirner does, the language of Hegel — viz., that his whole creative activity had no other content than general definitions of reflection, is now “posited” by, Stirner himself. Saint Max’s struggle against “essence” here attains its “final goal” in that he identifies himself with essence, and indeed with pure, speculative essence. The relation of creator and creation is transformed into an explication of self-presupposition, i.e., [Stirner transforms] into an extremely “clumsy” and confused [idea] what Hegel [says] about reflection in “the [Doctrine of Essence]”. [Since] Saint Max takes out one [element of his] reflection, [viz., positing reflection, his fantasies become] “negative”, [because he] transforms himself, etc., into “self-[presupposition”, in] contradistinction to [himself as the positing] and himself as the posited, [and] transforms reflection into the mystical antithesis of creator and creation. It should be pointed out, by the way, that in this section of his Logik Hegel analyses the “machinations” of the “creative nothing”, which explains also why Saint Max already on page 8 had to “posit” himself as this “creative nothing”.

We shall now “episodically insert” a few passages from Hegel’s explanation of self-presupposition for comparison with Saint Max’s explanation. But as Hegel does not write so incoherently and “at random” as our Jacques le bonhomme, we shall have to collect these passages from various pages of the Logik in order to bring them into correspondence with Sancho’s great thesis.

“Essence presupposes itself and is itself the transcendence of this presupposition. Since it is the repulsion of itself from itself or indifference towards itself, negative relation to itself, it thereby posits itself against itself … positing has no presupposition … the other is only posited through essence itself… Thus, reflection is only the negative of itself. Reflection in so far as it presupposes is simply positing reflection. It consists therefore in this, that it is itself and’ not itself in a unity” (“creator and creation in one”) (Hegel, Logik, II, pp. 5, 16, 17, 18, 22).

One might have expected from Stirner’s “virtuosity of thought” that he would have gone on to further researches into Hegel’s Logik. However, he wisely refrained from doing so. For, if he had done so, he would have found that he, as mere “posited” ego, as creation, i.e., insofar as he possesses existence, is merely a seeming ego, and he is “essence”, creator, only insofar as he doesnot exist, but only imagines himself. We have already seen, and shall see again further on, that all his qualities, his whole activity, and his whole attitude to the world, are a mere appearance which he creates for himself, nothing but “juggling tricks on the tightrope of the objective”. His ego is always a dumb, hidden “ego”, hidden in his ego imagined as essence.

Since the true egoist in his creative activity is, therefore, only a paraphrase of speculative reflection or pure essence, it follows, “according to the myth”, “by natural reproduction”, as was already revealed when examining the “arduous life battles” of the true egoist, that his “creations” are limited to the simplest determinations of reflection, such as identity, difference, equality, inequality, [opposition,] etc. — determinations [of reflection] which he [tries] to make clear for himself in [“himself”], concerning whom “the tidings have [gone] as far as [Berlin]”. [Concerning] hispresuppositionless [ego] we [shall] have occasion to “hear [a little] word” later on. See, inter alia, “The Unique”.

As in Sancho’s construction of history the later historical phenomenon is transformed, by Hegel’s method, into the cause, the creator, of an earlier phenomenon, so in the case of the egoist in agreement with himself the Stirner of today is transformed into the creator of the Stirner of yesterday, although, to use his language, the Stirner of today is the creation of the Stirner of yesterday. Reflection, indeed, reverses all this, and in reflection the Stirner of yesterday is the creation of the Stirner of today, as a product of reflection, as an idea — just as in reflection the conditions of the external world are creations of his reflection.

Page 216: “Do not seek in ‘self-denial’ the freedom that actually deprives you of yourselves, but seek yourselves” (i.e., seek yourselves in self-denial), “become egoists, each of you should become an all-powerful ego!”

After the foregoing, we should not be surprised if later on Saint Max’s attitude to this proposition is again that of creator and most irreconcilable enemy and he “dissolves” his lofty moral postulate: “Become an all-powerful ego” into this, that each, in any case, does what he can, and that he can do what he does, and therefore, of course, for Saint Max, he is “all-powerful”.

Incidentally, the nonsense of the egoist in agreement with himself is summarised in the proposition quoted above. First comes the moral injunction to seek and, moreover, to seek oneself. This is defined in the sense that man should become something that he so far is not, namely, an egoist, and this egoist is defined as being an “all-powerful ego”, in whom the peculiar ability has become resolved from actual ability into the ego, into omnipotence, into the fantastic idea of ability. To seek oneself means, therefore, to become something different from what one is and, indeed, to become all-powerful, i.e., nothing, a non-thing, a phantasmagoria.

We have now progressed so far that one of the profoundest mysteries of the unique, and at the same time a problem that has long kept the civilised world in a state of anxious suspense, can be disclosed and solved.

Who is Szeliga? Since the appearance of the critical Literatur-Zeitung (see Die heilige Familie, etc.) this question has been put by everyone who has followed the development of German philosophy. Who is Szeliga? Everyone asks, everyone listens attentively when he hears the barbaric sound of this name — but no one replies.Who is Szeliga? Saint Max gives us the key to this “secret of secrets”.

Szeliga is Stirner as a creation, Stirner is Szeliga as creator. Stirner is the “I”, Szeliga the “you”, in “the book”. Hence Stirner, the creator, behaves towards Szeliga, his creation, as towards his “most irreconcilable enemy”. As soon as Szeliga wishes to acquire independence in relation to Stirner — he a made a hapless attempt in this direction in the Norddeutsche Blätter — Saint Max “takes him back into himself”, an experiment which was carried out against this attempt of Szeliga’s on pages 176-79 of the “Apologetic Commentary” in Wigand. The struggle of the creator against the creation, of Stirner against Szeliga, is, however, only a seeming one: [Now] Szeliga advances against his creator the phrases of this [creator himself] — for example, the assertion “that [the mere,] bare body is [absence of] thought” (Wigand, p. 148). Saint [Max,] as we have seen, [was thinking] only of [the bare flesh], the body before its [formation], and in [this connection] he gave the body the [determination] of being “the other of thought”, non-thought and the non-thinking being, hence absence of thought; and indeed in a later passage he bluntly declares that onlyabsence of thought (as previously only the flesh — thus the two concepts are treated as identical) saves him from thoughts (p. 196).

We find a still more striking proof of this mysterious connection in Wigand, We have already seen on page 7 of “the book” that the “ego”, i.e., Stirner, is “the unique”. On page 153 of the “Commentary” he addresses his “you”: “You……… are the content of the phrase”,. viz., the content of the “unique”, and on the same page it is stated: “he overlooks the fact that he himself, Szeliga, is the content of the phrase”. “The unique” is a phrase, as Saint Max says in so many words. Considered as the “ego”, i.e., as creator, he is the owner of the phrase — this isSaint Max. Considered as “you”, i.e., as creation, he is the content of the phrase — this is Szeliga, as we have just been told. Szeliga the creation appears as a selfless egoist, as a degenerate Don Quixote; Stirner the creator appears as an egoist in the ordinary sense, as Saint Sancho Panza.

Here, therefore, the other aspect of the antithesis of creator and creation makes its appearance, each of the two aspects containing its opposite in itself. Here Sancho Panza Stirner, the egoist in the ordinary sense, is victorious over Don Quixote Szeliga, the selfless and illusory egoist, is victorious over him precisely as Don Quixote by his faith in the world domination of the holy. Who indeed was Stirner’s egoist in the [ordinary] sense if not Sancho [Panza,] and who his self-sacrificing egoist [if not] Don Quixote, and what was [their mutual] relation in the [form in which it has so far existed if] not the relation of [Sancho Panza Stirner] to Don Quixote [Szeliga? Now as] Sancho Panza [Stirner belongs to himself as] Sancho only [in order to make Szeliga as] Don Quixote [believe that] he surpasses him in Don [quixotry] and [in accordance with this role, as] the presupposed universal Don [quixotry,] he takes [no steps] against the [Don quixotry of his] former master (Don quixotry, by which he swears with all the firm faith of a servant), and at the same time he displays the cunning already described by Cervantes. In actual content he is, therefore, the defender of the practical petty bourgeois, but he combats the consciousness that corresponds to the petty bourgeois, a consciousness which in the final analysis reduces itself to the idealising ideas of the petty bourgeois about the bourgeoisie to whom he cannot attain.

Thus, Don Quixote now, as Szeliga, performs mental services for his former armour-bearer.

How greatly Sancho in his new “transformation” has retained his old habits, he shows on every page. “Swallowing” and “consuming” still constitute one of his chief qualities, his “natural timidity” has still such mastery over him that the King of Prussia and Prince Heinrich LXXII become transformed for him into the “Emperor of China” or the “Sultan” and he ventures to speak only about the “G[erman] chambers”; he still strews around him proverbs and moral sayings from his knapsack, he continues to be afraid of “spectres” and even asserts that they alone are to be feared; the only difference is that whereas Sancho in his unholiness was bamboozled by the peasants in the tavern, now in a state of saintliness he continually bamboozles himself.

But let us return to Szeliga. Who has not long ago discovered the hand of Szeliga in all the “phrases” which Saint Sancho put into the mouth of his “you”? And it is always possible to discover traces of Szeliga not only in the phrases of this “you”, but also in the phrases in which Szeliga appears as creator, i.e., as Stirner. But because Szeliga is a creation, he could only figure in Die heilige Familie as a “mystery”. The revelation of this mystery was the task of Stirner the creator. Me surmised, of course, that some great, holy adventure was at the root of this. Nor were we deceived. The unique adventure really has never been seen or heard of and surpasses the adventure with the fulling mills in Cervantes’ twentieth chapter.

3. The Revelation of John the Divine, or

“Logic of the New Wisdom”

In the beginning was the word, the logos. In it was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shone in darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. That was the true light, it was in the world, and the world did not know it. He came into his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become owners, who believe in the name of the unique. [But who] has ever [seen] the unique [?]

[Let] us now [examine] this “light of the [world” in “the] logic of the new wisdom [”, for Saint] Sancho does not rest content with his previous [destructions].

[In the case of our] “unique” author, it is a matter [of course that] the basis of his [genius lies] in the brilliant [series of personal] advantages [which constitute] his special [virtuosity] of thought. [Since] all these advantages have already been extensively demonstrated, it suffices here to give a brief summary of the most important of them: carelessness of thought — confusion — incoherence — admitted clumsiness — endless repetitions — constant contradiction with himself — unequalled comparisons — attempts to intimidate the reader — systematic legacy-hunting in the realm of thoughts by means of the levers “you”, “it”, “one”, etc., and crude abuse of the conjunctions for, therefore, for that reason, because, accordingly, but, etc. — ignorance — clumsy assertions — solemn frivolity — revolutionary phrases and peaceful thoughts — bluster — bombastic vulgarity and coquetting with cheap indecency — elevation of Nante the loafer[83] to the rank of an absolute concept — dependence on Hegelian traditions and current Berlin phrases — in short, sheer manufacture of a thin beggar’s broth (491 pages of it) in the Rumford manner.

Drifting like bones in this beggar’s broth are a whole series of transitions, a few specimens of which we shall now give for the amusement of the German public depressed as it is:

“Could we not — now, however — one sometimes shares — one can then — to the efficacy of … belongs especially that which one frequently … hears called — and that is to say — to conclude, it can now be clear — in the meantime — thus it can, incidentally, be thought here — were it not for — or if, perhaps, it were not — progress from … to the point that … is not difficult — from a certain point of view it is argued approximately, thus — for example, and so on”, etc., and “it is to that” in all possible “transformations”.

We can at once mention here a [logical] trick about which [it is impossible] to decide whether it owes [its] existence to the [lauded] efficiency of Sancho [or to] the inefficiency of his [thinking]. This [trick consists] in seizing on [one aspect], treating it as if it were the sole [and only] aspect so far known of an idea [or] concept which [has several well]-defined aspects, foisting this aspect [on the concept as] its sole characteristic and then setting [against it every other] aspect under a [new name, as] something original. This is how the concepts of freedom and peculiarity are dealt with, [as] we shall see later.

Among the categories which owe their origin not so much to the personality of Sancho, as to the universal distress in which the German theoreticians find themselves at the present time, the first place is taken by trashy distinction, the extreme of trashiness. Since our saint immerses himself in such “soul-torturing” antitheses as singular and universal, private interest and universal interest, ordinary egoism and selflessness, etc., in the final analysis one arrives at the trashiest mutual concessions and dealings between the two aspects, which again rest on the most subtle distinctions — distinctions whose existence side by side is expressed by “also” and whose separation from each other is then maintained by means of a miserable “insofar as”. Such trashy distinctions, for instance, are: how people exploit one another, but none does so at the expense of another, the extent to which something in me is inherent or suggested; the construction of human and ofunique work, existing side by side, what is indispensable for human life and what is indispensable for unique life; what belongs to personality in its pure form and what is essentially fortuitous, to decide which Saint Max, from his point of view, has no criterion at all; what belongs to the rags and tatters and what to the skin of the individual; what by means of denial he gets rid ofaltogether or appropriates, to what extent he sacrifices merely his freedom or merely his peculiarity, in which case he also makes a sacrifice but only insofar as, properly speaking, he does not make a sacrifice; what brings me into relation with others as a link or as a personal relation. Some of these distinctions are absolutely trashy, others — in the case of Sancho at least — lose all meaning and foundation. One can regard as the peak of these trashy distinctions that between the creation of the world — by the individual and the impulse which the individual receives from the world. If, for example, he had gone more deeply here into this impulse, into the whole extent and multifarious character of its influence on him, he would in the end have discovered the contradiction that he is as blindly [dependent] on the world as he [egoistically] and ideologically creates [it]. (See: “My Self-Enjoyment”.) He [would not then have put] side by side [his”] .also”and “insofar as”, [any more than] “human” work [and] unique” work; he would not have opposed one to the other, therefore one would [not have] attacked the other [in the rear,] and the “egoist in agreement [with himself”] would not be completely [subordinated to himself] — but we [know] that the latter did not need to be [presupposed] because from the outset this was the point of departure.

This trashy play with distinctions occurs throughout “the book”; It is a main lever also for the other logical tricks and particularly takes the form of a moral casuistry that is as self-satisfied as it is ridiculously cheap. Thus, it is made clear to us by means of examples how far the true egoist has the right to tell lies and how far he has not; to what extent the betrayal of confidence is “despicable” and to what extent it is not; to what extent the Emperor Sigismund and the French King Francis I had the right to break their oath [84] and how far their behaviour in this respect was “disgraceful”, and other subtle historical illustrations of the same sort. Against these painstaking distinctions and petty questions there stands out in strong relief the indifference of our Sancho for whom it is all the same and who ignores all actual, practical and conceptual differences. In general we can already say now that his ability to distinguish is far inferior to his ability not to distinguish, to regard all cats as black in the darkness of the holy, and to reduce everything to anything — an art which finds its adequate expression in the use of the apposition.

Embrace your “ass”, Sancho, you have found him again here. He gallops merrily to meet you, taking no notice of the kicks he has been given, and greets you with his ringing voice. Kneel before him, embrace his neck and fulfil the calling laid down for you by Cervantes in Chapter XXX.

The apposition is Saint Sancho’s ass, his logical and historical locomotive, the driving force of “the book”, reduced to its briefest and simplest expression. In order to transform one idea into another, or to prove the identity of two quite different things, a few intermediate links are sought which partly by their meaning, partly by their etymology and partly by their mere sound can be used to establish an apparent connection between the two basic ideas. These links are then appended to the first idea in the form of an apposition, and in such a way that one gets farther and farther away from the starting-point and nearer and nearer to the point one wants to reach. If the chain of oppositions has got so far that one can draw a conclusion without any danger, the final idea is likewise fastened on in the form of an apposition by means of a dash, and the trick is done. This is a highly recommendable method of insinuating thoughts, which is the more effective the more it is made to serve as the lever for the main arguments. When this trick has been successfully performed several times, one can, following Saint Sancho’s procedure, gradually omit some of the intermediate links and finally reduce the series of oppositions to a few absolutely essential hooks.

The apposition, as we have seen above, can also be reversed and thus lead to new, even more complicated tricks and more astounding results. We have seen there, too, that the apposition is the logical form of the infinite series of mathematics.

Saint Sancho employs the apposition in two ways: on the one hand, purely logically, in the canonisation of the world, where it enables him to transform any earthly thing into “the holy”, and, on the other hand, historically, in disquisitions on the connection of various epochs and in summing them up, each historical stage being reduced to a single word, and the final result is that the last link of the historical series has not got us an inch farther than the first, and in the end all the epochs of the series are combined in a single abstract category like idealism, dependence on thoughts, etc. If the historical series of oppositions is to be given the appearance of progress, this is achieved by regarding the concluding phrase as the completion of the first epoch of the series, and the intermediate links as ascending stages of development leading to the final, culminating phrase.

Alongside the apposition we have synonymy, which Saint Sancho exploits in every way. If two words are etymologically linked or are merely similar in sound, they are made responsible for each other, or if one word has different meanings, then, according to need, it is used sometimes in one sense and sometimes in the other, while Saint Sancho makes it appear that he is speaking of one and the same thing in different “refractions”. Further, a special branch of synonymy consists of translation, where a French or Latin expression is supplemented by a German one which only half-expresses it, and in addition denotes something totally different; as we saw above, for example, when the word “ respektieren” was translated “to experience reverence and fear”, and so on. One recalls the words Staat, Status, StandNotstand, etc. In the section on communism we have already had the opportunity of observing numerous examples of this use of ambiguous expressions. Let us briefly examine an example of etymological synonymy.

“The word ‘Gesellschaft’ [society] is derived from the word ‘Sal’. If there are many people in a Saal, [hall, room] then the Saal brings it about that they are in society. They are in society and they constitute at most a salon society, since they talk in conventional salon phrases. If real intercourse takes place, it should be regarded as independent of society” (p. 286).

Since the “word ‘Gesellschaft’ is derived from ‘Sal“’ (which, incidentally, is not true, for the original roots of all words are verbs) then “Sal” must be equivalent to “Saal”. But “Sal” in old High-German means a buildingKisello, Geselle — from which Gesellschaft is derived — means a house companion; hence “Saal” is dragged in here quite arbitrarily. But that does not matter; “Saal” is immediately transformed into “salon”, as though there was not a gap of about a thousand years and a great many miles between the old High-German “ Sal” and the modern French “salon”. Thus society is transformed into a salon society, in which, according to the German philistine idea, an intercourse consisting only of phrases takes place and all real intercourse is excluded. — Incidentally since Saint Max only aimed at transforming society into “the holy”, he could have arrived at this by a much shorter route if he had made a somewhat more accurate study of etymology and consulted any dictionary of word roots. What a find it would have been for him to discover there the etymological connection between the words “Gesellschaft” and “selig”; Gesellschaft — selig — heilig — das Heilige [society-blessed-holy-the holy] — what could look simpler?

If “Stirner’s” etymological synonymy is correct, then the communists are seeking the true earldom, the earldom as the holy. As Gesellschaft comes from Sal, a building, so Graf [earl] (Gothicgarâvo) comes from the Gothic râvo, house. Sal, building = râvo, house; consequently Gesellschaft=Grafschaft. [earldom] The prefixes and suffixes are the same in both words, the root syllables have the same meaning — hence the holy society of the communists is the holy earldom, the earldom as the holy — what could look simpler? Saint Sancho had an inkling of this, when he saw in communism the perfection of the feudal system, i.e., the system of earldoms.

Synonymy serves our saint, on the one hand, to transform empirical relations into speculative relations, by using in its speculative meaning a word that occurs both in practical life and in philosophical speculation, uttering a few phrases about this speculative meaning and then making out that he has thereby also criticised the actual relations which this word denotes as well. He does this with the word speculation. On page 406, “speculation” “appears” showing two sides as one essence that possesses a “dual manifestation” — O Szeliga! He rages against philosophicalspeculation and thinks he has thereby also settled accounts with commercial speculation, about [which] he knows nothing. On the other hand, this synonymy enables him, a concealed petty bourgeois, to transform bourgeois relations (see what was said above in dealing with “communism about the connection between language and bourgeois relations’) into personal, individual relations, which one cannot attack without attacking the individuality, “peculiarity” and “uniqueness” of the individual. Thus, for example, Sancho exploits the etymological connection between Geld[money] and Geltung, [worth, value] Vermögen [wealth, property] vermögen, [to be able, capable] etc.

Synonymy, combined with the apposition, provides the main lever for his conjuring tricks, which we have already exposed on countless occasions. To give an example how easy this art is, let us also perform a conjuring trick à la Sancho.

Wechsel, [change, bill of exchange] as change, is the law of phenomena, says Hegel, This is the reason, “Stirner” could continue, for the phenomenon of the strictness of the law against falsebills of exchange; for we see here the law raised above phenomena, the law as such, holy law, the law as the holy, the holy itself, against which sin is committed and which is avenged in the punishment. Or in other words: Wechsel “in its dual manifestation”, as a bill of exchange (lettre de change) and as change (changement), leads to Verfall [expiry, falling due, decline], (échéance and décadence). Decline as a result of change is observed in history, inter alia, in the fall of the Roman Empire, feudalism, the German Empire and the domination of Napoleon. The “transition from” these great historical crises “to” the commercial crises of our day “is not difficult”, and this explains also why these commercial crises are always determined by the expiry of bills of exchange.

Or he could also, as in the case of “Vermögen” and “Geld”, justify the “Wechsel” etymologically and “from a certain point of view argue approximately as follows”. The communists want, among other things, to abolish the Wechsel (bill of exchange). But does not the main pleasure of the world lie precisely in Wechsel (change)? They want, therefore, the dead, the immobile, China — that is to say, the perfect Chinese is a communist. “Hence” communist declamations against Wechselbriefe and Wechsler. As though every letter were not a Wechselbrief, a letter that notes a change,and every man not a Wechselnder, a Wechsler.

To give the simplicity of his construction and logical tricks the appearance of great variety, Saint Sancho needs the episode. From time to time he “episodically” inserts a passage which belongs to another part of the book, or which could quite well have been left out altogether, and thus still further breaks the thread of his so-called argument, which has already been repeatedly broken without that. This is accompanied by the naive statement that “we” “do not stick to the rules”, and after numerous repetitions causes in the reader a certain insensitiveness to even the greatest incoherence. When one reads “the book”, one becomes accustomed to everything and finally one readily submits even to the worst. Incidentally, these episodes (as was only [to be] expected from Saint Sancho) are themselves only imaginary and mere repetitions under [other guises] of phrases encountered hundreds of times [already].

After Saint Max has [thus displayed] his personal qualities, and then revealed himself as [“appearance” and] as “essence” in the distinction, [in] synonymy and in the episode, [we] come [to the] true culmination and completion of logic, the “concept”.

[The] concept is the “ego” (see Hegel’s Logik, Part 3), logic [as the ego]. This is the pure relation [of the] ego to the world, a relation [divested] of all the real relations that exist for it; [a formula] for all the equations to [which the holy] man reduces mundane [concepts]. It was already [revealed] above that by applying this formula to all sorts of things Sancho merely makes an unsuccessful “attempt” to understand the various pure determinations of reflection, such as identity, antithesis,, etc.

Let us begin at once with a definite example, e.g., the relation between the “ego” and the people.

I am not the people. The people = non-I I = the non-people.

Hence, I am the negation of the people, the people is dissolved in me.

The second equation can be expressed also by an auxiliary equation:

The people’s ego is non-existent,


The ego of the people is the negation of my ego.

The whole trick, therefore, consists in: 1) that the negation which at the outset belonged to the copula is attached first to the subject and then to the predicate; and 2) that the negation, the “not”, is, according to convenience, regarded as an expression of dissimilarity, difference, antithesis or direct dissolution. In the present example it is regarded as absolute dissolution, as complete negation; we shall find that — at Saint Max’s convenience — it is used also in the other meanings. Thus the tautological proposition that I am not the people is transformed into the tremendous new discovery that I am the dissolution of the people.

For the equations given above, it was not even necessary for Saint Sancho to have any idea of the people; it was enough for him to know that I and the people are “totally different names for totally different things”; it was sufficient that the two words do not have a single letter in common. If now there is to be further speculation about the people from the standpoint of egoistical logic, it suffices to attach any kind of trivial determination to the people and to “I” from outside, from day-to-day experience, thus giving rise to new equations. At the same time it is made to appear that different determinations are being criticised in different ways. We shall now proceed to speculate in this manner about freedom, happiness and wealth:

Basic equations: The people = non-I.
Equation No. 1: Freedom of the people = Not my freedom. Freedom of the people = My non-freedom. Freedom of the people = My lack of freedom.
(This can also be reversed, resulting in the grand proposition: My lack of freedom = slavery is the freedom of the people.)
Equation No. 2: Happiness of the people = Not my happiness. Happiness of the people = My non-happiness. Happiness of the people = My unhappiness.

(Reversed equation: My unhappiness, my distress, is the happiness of the people.)Equation No. 3:Wealth of the people = Not my wealth. Wealth of the people = My non-wealth. Wealth of the people = My poverty.

(Reversed equation: My poverty is the wealth of the people.) This can be continued ad libitum and extended to other determinations.

For the formation of such equations all that is required, apart from a very general acquaintance with such ideas as Stirner can combine in one notion with “people”, is to know the positive expression for the result obtained in the negative form, e.g., “poverty” — for “non-wealth”, etc. That is to say, as much knowledge of the language as one acquires in everyday life is quite sufficient to arrive in this way at the most surprising discoveries.

The entire trick here, therefore, consisted in transforming not-my-wealth, not-my-happiness, not-my-freedom into my non-wealth, my non-happiness, my non-freedom. The “not”, which in the first equation is a general negation that can express all possible forms of difference, e.g., it may merely mean that it is our common, and not exclusively my, wealth — this “not” is transformed in the [second] equation into the negation of my wealth, [my] happiness, etc., and ascribes to me [non-happiness], unhappiness, slavery. [Since] I am denied some definite form of wealth, [the people’s] wealth but by no means [wealth] in general, [Sancho believes poverty] must be ascribed to me. [But] this is also [brought about] by expressing my non-freedom in a positive way and so transforming it into my [“lack of freedom”]. But [my non-freedom] can, of course, also mean hundreds [of other] things — e.g., my [“lack of freedom]”, my non-freedom from [my] body, etc.

We started out just now from the second equation: the people = non-I. We could also have taken the third equation as Our starting-point: I =the non-people, and then, in the case of wealth for example, according to the same method, it would be proved in the end that “my wealth is the poverty of the people”. Here, however, Saint Sancho would not proceed in this way, but would dissolve altogether the property relations of the people and the people itself, and then arrive at the following result: my wealth is the destruction not only of the people’s wealth but of the people itself. This shows how arbitrarily Saint Sancho acted when he transformed non-wealth into poverty. Our saint applies these different methods higgledy-piggledy and exploits negation sometimes in one meaning and sometimes in another. Even “anyone who has not read Stirner’s book” “sees at once” (Wigand, p. 191) what confusions this is liable to produce.

In just the same way the “ego” “operates” against the state.

I am not the state. State=non-I. I=”Negation” of the state. Nothing of the state=I.

Or in other words: I am the “creative nothing” in which the state is swallowed up.

This simple melody can be used to ring the changes with any subject.

The great proposition that forms the basis of all these equations is: I am not non-I. This non-I is given various names, which, on the one hand, can be purely logical, e.g., being-in-itself, other-being, or, on the other hand, the names of concrete ideas such as the people, state, etc. In this way the appearance of a development can he produced by taking these names as the starting-point and gradually reducing them — with the aid of equations, or a series of appositions — again to the non-ego, which was their basis at the outset. Since the real relations thus introduced figure only as different modifications of the non-ego, and only nominally different modifications at that — nothing at all need be said about these real relations themselves. This is all the more ludicrous since [the real] relations are the relations [of the individuals] themselves, and declaring them to be relations [of the non]-ego only proves that one knows nothing about them. The matter is thereby so greatly simplified that even “the great majority consisting of innately limited intellects” can learn the trick in ten minutes at most. At the same time, this gives us a criterion of the “uniqueness” of Saint Sancho.

Saint Sancho further defines the non-ego opposed to the ego as being that which is alien to the ego, that which is the alien. The relation of the non-ego to the ego is “therefore” that of alienation [Entfremdung]. We have just given the logical formula by which Saint Sancho presents any object or relation whatsoever as that which is alien to the ego, as the alienation of the ego; on the other hand, Saint Sancho can, as we shall see, also present any object or relation as something created by the ego and belonging to it. Apart, first of all, from the arbitrary way in which he presents, or does not present, any relation as a relation of alienation (for everything can he made to fit in the above equations), we see already here that his only concern is to present all actual relations, [and also] actual individuals, [as alienated] (to retain this philosophical [expression] for the time being), to [transform] them into the wholly [abstract] phrase of alienation. Thus [instead] of the task of describing [actual] individuals in their [actual] alienation and in the empirical relations of this alienation, [purely empirical] relations, the same happens here — the setting forth is replaced by the [mere idea] of alienation, of [the Alien], of the Holy. [The] substitution of the category of alienation (this is again a determination of reflection which can be considered as antithesis, difference, non-identity, etc.) finds its final and highest expression in “the alien” being transformed again into “the holy”, and alienation into the relation of the ego to anything whatever as the holy. We prefer to elucidate the logical process on the basis of Saint Sancho’s relation to the holy, since this is the predominant formula, and in passing we note that “the alien” is considered also as ‘,the existing” (per appos.), that which exists apart from me, that which exists independently of me, per appos., that which is regarded as independent owing to my non-independence, so that Saint Sancho can depict as the holy everything that exists independently of him, e.g., the Blocksberg. [85]

Because the holy is something alien, everything alien is transformed into the holy; and because everything holy is a bond, a fetter, all bonds and all fetters are transformed into the holy. By this means Saint Sancho has already achieved the result that everything alien becomes for him a mere appearance, a mere idea, from which he frees himself by simply protesting against it and declaring that he does not have this idea. just as we saw in the case of the egoist not in agreement with himself: people have only to change their consciousness to make everything in the world all right.

Our whole exposition has shown that Saint Sancho criticises all actual conditions by declaring them “the holy”, and combats them by combating his holy idea of them. This simple trick of transforming everything into the holy was achieved, as we have already seen in detail above, by Jacques le bonhomme accepting in good faith the illusions of philosophy, the ideological, speculative expression of reality divorced from its empirical basis, for reality, just as he mistook the illusions of the petty [bourgeois concerning] the bourgeoisie for the “[holy essence” of the] bourgeoisie, and could therefore imagine that he was only dealing with thoughts and ideas. With equal ease people were transformed into the “holy”, for after their thoughts had been divorced from them themselves and from their empirical relations, it became possible to consider people as mere vehicles for these thoughts and thus, for example, the bourgeois was made into the holy liberal.

The positive relation of [Sancho] — who is in the final analysis [pious] — to the holy (a relation [he] calls respect) figures also [under the] name of “love”. “Love” [is a ] relation that approves of “[man”], the holy, the ideal, the supreme being, or such a human, holy, ideal, essential relation. Anything that was elsewhere designated as the existence of the holy, e.g., the state, prisons, torture, police, trade and traffic, etc., can also be regarded by Sancho as “another example” of “love”. This new nomenclature enables him to write new chapters about what he has already utterly rejected under the trade mark of the holy and respect. It is the old story of the goats of the shepherdess Torralva, in a holy form. And as at one time, with the aid of this story, he led his master by the nose, so now he leads himself and the public by the nose throughout the book without, however, be) rig able to break off his story as wittily as he did in those earlier times when he was still a secular armour-bearer. In general, since his canonisation Sancho has lost all his original mother wit.

The first difficulty appears to arise because this holy is in itself very diverse, so that when criticising some definite holy thing one ought to leave the holiness out of account and criticise the definite content itself. Saint Sancho avoids this rock by presenting everything definite as merely an “example” of the holy; just as in Hegel’s Logik it is immaterial whether atom or personality is adduced to explain “being-for-itself”, or the solar system, magnetism or sexual love as an example of attraction. It is, therefore, by no means an accident that “the book” teems with examples, but is rooted in the innermost essence of the method of exposition employed in it. This is the unique” possibility which Saint Sancho has of producing an appearance of some sort of content, the prototype of which is already to be found in Cervantes, since Sancho also speaks all the time in examples. Thus Sancho is able to say: “Another example of the holy” (the uninteresting) “is labour”. He could have continued: another example is the state, another is the family, another is rent of land, another is Saint Jacob (Saint-Jacques, le bonhomme), another is Saint Ursula and her eleven thousand virgins.[86] Indeed, in his imagination, all these things have this in common: that they are the “holy”. But at the same time they are totally different things, and it is just this that constitutes their specific nature. Insofar as one speaks of their specific nature, one does not speak of them as “the holy”.

[Labour is] not rent of land, and [rent of land] is not the state; [the main] thing, therefore, is to define [what] the state, land rent and labour are [apart from] their imagined holiness, [and Saint] Max achieves this in the following way. [He pretends to] be speaking about the state, [labour,] etc., and then calls [“the” state] the reality of some [sort of idea] — of love, of [being]-for-one-another, of the existing, of power over [Individuals], and — by means [of a] dash — of “the holy”, but [he could] have said [that at the] outset. Or [he says] of labour that it is regarded as a life task, [a vocation, a] destiny — “the holy”. That is to say, the state and labour are first of all brought under a particular kind of the holy which has been previously prepared in the same way, and thisparticular holy is then again dissolved in the universal “holy”; all of which can take place without saying anything about labour and. the state. The same stale cud can then be chewed over again on any convenient occasion, because everything that is apparently the object of criticism serves our Sancho merely as an excuse for declaring that the abstract ideas and the predicates transformed into subjects (which are nothing but suitably assorted holies, a sufficient store of which is always kept in reserve) are what they were made to be at the outset, viz., the holy. He has in fact reduced everything to its exhaustive, classic expression, by saying of it that it is “another example of the holy”. The definitions which he has picked up by hearsay, and which are supposed to relate to content, are altogether superfluous, and on closer examination it is found, too, that they introduce neither definition nor content and amount to no more than ignorant banalities. This cheap “virtuosity of thought” which polishes off any subject-matter whatever even before knowing anything about it, can of course be acquired by anyone, and not in ten minutes, as previously [stated], but even in five. In the “Commentary” Saint Sancho threatens us with “treatises” about Feuerbach, socialism, bourgeois society, and only the holy knows what else. Provisionally we can already here reduce these treatises to their simplest expression as follows:

First treatise: Another example of the holy is Feuerbach. Second treatise: Another example of the holy is socialism. Third treatise: Another example of the holy is bourgeois society. Fourth treatise: Another example of the holy is the “treatise” in the Stirner manner.

Etc., in infinitum.

A little reflection shows that the second rock against which Saint Sancho was bound to suffer shipwreck was his own assertion that every individual is totally different from every other, is unique. Since every individual is an altogether different being, hence an other-being, it is by no means necessary that what is alien, holy, for one individual should be so for another individual; it even cannot be so. And the common name used, such as state, religion, morality, etc., should not mislead us, for these names are only abstractions from the actual attitude of separate individuals, and these objects, in consequence of the totally different attitude towards them of the unique individuals, become for each of the latter unique objects, hence totally different objects, which have only their name in common. Consequently, Saint Sancho could at most have said: for me, Saint Sancho, the state, religion, etc., are the alien, the holy. Instead of this he has to make them the absolutely holy, the holy for all individuals — how else could he have fabricated his constructed ego, his egoist in agreement with himself, etc., how else could he at all have written his whole “book”? How little it occurs to him to make each “unique” the measure of his own “uniqueness”, how much he uses his own “uniqueness” as a measure, as a moral norm, to be applied to all other individuals, like a true moralist forcing them into his Procrustean bed, is already evident, inter alia, from his judgment on the departed and forgotten Klopstock, whom he opposes with the moral maxim that he ought to have adopted an “attitude to religion altogether his own”, in that case he would have arrived not at a religion of his own, which would be the correct conclusion (a conclusion that “Stirner” himself draws innumerable times, e.g., in regard to money), but at a “dissolution and swallowing up of religion” (p. 85), a universal result instead of an individual, unique result. As though Klopstock had not arrived at a “dissolution and swallowing up of religion”, and indeed at a quite individual, unique dissolution, such as only this unique Klopstock could have ,achieved”, a dissolution whose uniqueness “Stirner” could have easily seen even from the many unsuccessful imitations. Klopstock’s attitude to religion is supposed to be not his “own”, although it was altogether peculiar to him, and indeed was a relation to religion which made Klopstock Klopstock. His attitude to religion would have been “peculiar” only if he had behaved towards it not like Klopstock but like a modern German philosopher.

The “egoist in the ordinary sense”, who is not so docile as Szeliga and who has already above put forward all sorts of objections, here makes the following retort to our saint: here in the actual world, as I know very well, I am concerned with my own advantage and nothing else, rien pour la gloire [mere honour is worth nothing]. Besides this, I enjoy thinking that I am immortal and can have advantages also in heaven. Ought I to sacrifice this egoistical conception for the sake of the mere consciousness of egoism in agreement with itself, which will not bring me in a farthing? The philosophers tell me: that is inhuman. What do I care? Am I not a human being? Is not everything I do human, and human because I do it, and is it any concern of mine how “others” “classify” my actions? You, Sancho, who indeed are also a philosopher, but a bankrupt one — and because of your philosophy you deserve no financial credit, and because of your bankruptcy you deserve no intellectual credit — you tell me that my attitude to religion is not one peculiar to me. What you say, therefore, is the same as what the other philosophers tell me, but in your case, as usual, it loses all meaning since you call “peculiar” what they call “human”. Could you speak of any other peculiarity than your own and transform your own relation again into a universal one? In my own way, my attitude to religion, if you like, is also a critical one. Firstly, I have no hesitation in sacrificing it, as soon as it attempts to interfere in my commerce; secondly, in my business affairs it is useful for me to be regarded as religious (as it is useful for my proletarian, if the pie that I eat here he eats at least in heaven); and, finally, I turn heaven into my property. It is une propriété ajoutée à la propriété, [property added to property] although already Montesquieu, who was of course a quite different type of man from you, tried to make me believe that it is une terreur ajoutée à la terreur. [terror added to terror]My attitude to heaven is not like that of any other person, and by virtue of the unique attitude that I adopt towards it, it is a unique object, a unique heaven. At most, therefore, you are criticising your idea of my heaven, but not my heaven. And now immortality! Here you become simply ridiculous. I deny my egoism — as you assert to please the philosophers — because I immortalise it and declare the laws of nature and thought null and void, as soon as they want to give my existence a determination which is not produced by me myself and is highly unpleasant for rite, namely, death. You call immortality “tedious stability” — as though I could not always live an “eventful” life so long as trade is flourishing in this or the other world and I can do business in other things than your “book”. And what can be “more stable” than death, which against my will puts an end to my movement and submerges me in the universal, nature, the species, the holy? And now the state, law, police! For many an “ego” they may appear to be alien powers; but I know that they are my own powers. Incidentally — and at this point the bourgeois, this time with a gracious nod of the head, again turns his back on our saint — as far as I am concerned, go on blustering against religion, heaven, God and so on. I know all the same that in everything that interests me — private property, value, price, money, purchase and sale — you always perceive something “peculiar”.

We have just seen how individuals differ from one another. But every individual again is diverse in himself. Thus, by reflecting himself in one of these qualities, i.e., by regarding, defining his “ego” through one of these determinations, Saint Sancho can define the object of the other qualities and these other qualities themselves as the alien, the holy; and so in turn with all his qualities. Thus, for example, that which is object for his flesh is the holy for his spirit, or that which is object for his need of rest is the holy for his need of movement. His transformation, described above, of all action and inaction into self-denial is based on this trick. Moreover, his ego is no real ego, but only the ego of the equations given above, the same ego that in formal logic, in the theory of propositions, figures as Caius [87].

“Another example”, namely, a more general example of the canonisation of the world, is the transformation of real collisions, i.e., collisions between individuals and their actual conditions of life, into ideal collisions, i.e., into collisions between these individuals and the ideas which they form or get into their heads. This trick, too, is extremely simple. As Saint Sancho earlier made the thoughts of individuals into something existing independently, so here he separates the ideal reflection of real collisions from these collisions and turns this reflection into something existing independently. The real contradictions in which the Individual finds himself are transformed into contradictions of the individual with his idea or, as Saint Sancho also expresses it more simply, into contradictions with the idea as such, with the holy. Thus he manages to transform the real collision, the prototype of its ideal copy, into the consequence of this ideological pretence. Thus he arrives at the result that it is not a question of the practical abolition of the practical collision, but only of renouncing the idea of this collision, a renunciation which he, as a good moralist, insistently urges people to carry out.

After Saint Sancho has thus transformed all the contradictions and collisions in which the individual finds himself into mere contradictions and collisions of the individual with one or other of his ideas, an idea which has become independent of him and has subordinated him to itself, and, therefore, is “easily” transformed into the idea as such, the holy idea, the holy — after this there remains only one thing for the individual to do: to commit the sin against the Holy Spirit, to abstract from this idea and declare the holy to be a spectre. This logical swindle, which the individual performs on himself, our saint regards as one of the greatest efforts of the egoist. On the other hand, however, anyone can see how easy it is in this way to declare that from the egoistical point of view all historically occurring conflicts and movements are subsidiary, without knowing anything about them. To do this one has only to extract a few of the phrases usually adopted in such cases, to transform them, in the manner indicated, into “the holy”, to depict the individuals as being subordinated to this holy, and to put oneself forward as one who despises “the holy as such”.

A further offshoot of this logical trick, and indeed our saint’s favourite manoeuvre, is the exploitation of the words designation, vocation, task, etc., thereby immensely facilitating the transformation of whatever he likes into the holy. For, in vocation, designation, task, etc., the individual appears in his own imagination as something different from what he actually is, as the alien, hence as the holy, and in opposition to his real being he asserts his idea of what he ought to be as the rightful, the ideal, the holy. Thus, when it is necessary for him, Saint Sancho can transform everything into the holy by means of the following series of oppositions: to designate oneself, i.e., to choose a designation (insert here any content you like) for oneself; to choose the designation as such; to choose a holy designation, to choose a designation as the holy, i.e., to choose the holy as designation. Or: to be designated, i.e., to have a designation, to have the designation, the holy designation, designation as the holy, the holy as designation, the holy for designation, the designation of the holy.

And now, of course, it only remains for him strongly to admonish people to select for themselves the designation of absence of any designation, the vocation of absence of any vocation, the task of absence of any task — although throughout “the book”, “up to and including” the “Commentary”, he does nothing but select designations for people, set people tasks and, like a prophet in the wilderness, call them to the gospel of true egoism, about whom, of course, it is said: many are called but only one — O’Connell — is chosen.

— The Conditions of Life of a Class Appear as Universal —

We have already seen above how Saint Sancho separates the ideas of individuals from the conditions of their life, from their practical collisions and contradictions, in order then to transform them into the holy. Now these ideas appear in the form of designation, vocation, task. For Saint Sancho vocation has a double form; firstly as the vocation which others choose for me — examples of which we have already had above in the case of the newspapers that are full of politics and the prisons that our saint mistook for houses of moral correction. Afterwards vocation appears also as a vocation in which the individual himself believes. If the ego is divorced from all its empirical conditions of life, its activity, the conditions of its existence, if it is separated from the world that forms its basis and from its own body, then, of course, it has no other vocation and no other designation than that of representing the Caius of the logical proposition and to assist Saint Sancho in arriving at the equations given above. In the real world, on the other hand, where individuals have needs, they thereby already have a vocation and task; and at the outset it is still immaterial whether they make this their vocation in their imagination as well. It is clear, however, that because the individuals possess consciousness they form an idea of this vocation which their empirical existence has given them and, thus, furnish Saint Sancho with the opportunity of seizing on the word vocation, that is, on the mental expression of their actual conditions of life, and of leaving out of account these conditions of life themselves. The proletarian, for example, who like every human being has the vocation of satisfying his needs and who is not in a position to satisfy even the needs that he has in common with all human beings, the proletarian whom the necessity to work a 14-hour day debases to the level of a beast of burden, whom competition degrades to a mere thing, an article of trade, who from his position as a mere productive force, the sole position left to him, is squeezed out by other, more powerful productive forces — this proletarian is, if only for these reasons, confronted with the real task of revolutionising his conditions. He can, of course, imagine this to be his “vocation”, he can also, if he likes to engage in propaganda, express his “vocation” by saying that to do this or that is the human vocation of the proletarian, the more so since his position does not even allow him to satisfy the needs arising directly from his human nature. Saint Sancho does not concern himself with the reality underlying this idea, with the practical aim of this proletarian — he clings to the word “vocation” and declares it to be the holy, and the proletarian to be a servant of the holy — the easiest way of considering himself superior and “proceeding further”.

Particularly in the relations that have existed hitherto, when one class always ruled, when the conditions of life of an individual always coincided with the conditions of life of a class, when, therefore, the practical task of each newly emerging class was bound to appear to each of its members as a universal task, and when each class could actually overthrow its predecessor only by liberating the individuals of all classes from certain chains which had hitherto fettered them — under these circumstances it was essential that the task of the individual members of a class striving for domination should be described as a universal human task.

Incidentally, when for example the bourgeois tells the proletarian that his, the proletarian’s, human task is to work fourteen hours a day, the proletarian is quite justified in replying in the same language that on the contrary his task is to overthrow the entire bourgeois system.

We have already repeatedly seen how Saint Sancho puts forward a whole series of tasks all of which resolve themselves into the final task, which exists for all people, that of true egoism. But even where he does not reflect, and does not see himself as creator and creation, he manages to arrive at a task by means of the following trashy distinction.

Page 466: “Whether you want to continue to occupy yourself with thinking depends on you. If you wish to achieve anything substantial in thinking, then” (the conditions and designations begin for you) “then … anyone who wishes to think, therefore, certainly has a task, which by having that wish he sets himself, consciously or unconsciously; but no one has the task of thinking.”

First of all, apart from any other content of this proposition, it is incorrect even from Saint Sancho’s own viewpoint, since the egoist in agreement with himself, whether he wishes it or not, certainly has the “task” of thinking. He must think, on the one hand, to keep in check the flesh, which can be tamed only through the spirit, through thought, and, on the other hand, to be able to fulfil his reflective determination as creator and creation. Consequently he sets the whole world of deceived egoists the “task” of knowing themselves — a “task” which, of course, cannot be accomplished without thought.

In order to change this proposition from the form of trashy distinction into a logical form, one must first of all get rid of the term “substantial”. For each person the “substantial” that he wishes to achieve in thought is something different, depending on his degree of education, the conditions of his life and his aim at the time. Saint Max, therefore, does not give us here any firm criterion for determining when the task begins which one sets oneself by thinking and how far one can go in thought without setting oneself any task — he limits himself to the relative expression “substantial”. But for me everything is “substantial” that induces me to think, everything about which I think is “substantial”. Therefore instead of: “if you want to achieve anything substantial in thinking”, it should read: “if you want to think at all”. This depends, however, not at all on your wishing or not wishing, since you possess consciousness and can satisfy your needs only by an activity in which you have to use your consciousness as well. Further, the hypothetical form must be got rid of. “If you want to think” — then from the outset you are setting yourself the “task” of thinking; Saint Sancho had no need to proclaim this tautological statement with such pomposity. The whole proposition was only clothed in this form of trashy distinction and pompous tautology in order to conceal the content: as a definite person, an actual person, you have a designation, a task, whether you are conscious of it or not. It arises from your need and the connection of the latter with the existing world. Sancho’s real wisdom lies in his assertion that it depends on your will whether you think, live, etc., whether in general you possess any sort of determinateness. He is afraid that otherwise determination would cease to be your self-determination. When you equate your self with your reflection, or according to need, with your will, then it is obvious that in this abstraction everything that is not posited by your reflection or your will is not self-determination — therefore also, for example, your breathing, your blood circulation, thought, life, etc. For Saint Sancho, however, self-determination does not even consist in will but, as we saw already in regard to the true egoist, in the reservatio mentalis of indifference to any kind of determinateness — an indifference which reappears here as absence of determination. In his “own” series of oppositions this would assume the following form: as opposed to all real determination, he chooses absence of determination as his determination, at each moment he distinguishes between himself and the undeterminated, thus at each moment he is also some other than he is, a third person, and indeed the other pure and simple, the holy other, the other counterposed to all uniqueness, the undeterminated, the universal, the ordinary — the ragamuffin.

If Saint Sancho saves himself from determination by his leap into absence of determination (which is itself a determination and indeed the worst of all), then the practical, moral content of this whole trick, apart from what was said above in connection with the true egoist, is merely an apology for the vocation forced on every individual in the world as it has existed so far. If, for example, the workers assert in their communist propaganda that the vocation, designation, task of every person is to achieve all-round development of all his abilities, including, for example, the ability to think, Saint Sancho sees in this only the vocation to something alien, the assertion of “the holy”. He seeks to free them from this by defending the individual who has been crippled by the division of labour at the expense of his abilities and relegated to a one-sided vocation against his own need to become different, a need which has been stated to be his vocation by others. What is here asserted in the form of a vocation, a designation, is precisely the negation of the vocation that has hitherto resulted in practice from the division of labour, i.e., the only actually existing vocation — hence, the negation of vocation altogether. The all-round realisation of the individual will only cease to be conceived as an ideal, a vocation, etc., when the impact of the world which stimulates the real development of the abilities of the individual is under the control of the individuals themselves, as the communists desire.

Finally, in the egoistical logic all the twaddle about vocation has moreover the purpose of making it possible to introduce the holy into things and to enable us to destroy them without having to touch them. Thus, for example, one person or another regards work, business affairs, etc., as his vocation. Thereby these become holy work, holy business affairs, the holy. The true egoist does not regard them as vocation; thereby he has dissolved holy work and holy business affairs. So they remain what they are and he remains what he was. It does not occur to him to investigate whether work, business affairs, etc., these modes of existence of individuals, by their real content and process of development necessarily lead to those ideological notions which he combats as independent beings, or, to use his expression, which he canonises.

Just as Saint Sancho canonises communism in order later, in connection with the union, the better to palm off his holy idea of it as his “own” invention, so, in exactly the same way, he blusters against “vocation, designation, task” merely in order to reproduce them throughout his book as the categorical imperative. Wherever difficulties arise, Sancho hacks his way through them by means of a categorical imperative such as “turn yourself to account”, “recognise yourself”, “let each become an all-powerful ego”, etc. On the categorical imperative, see the section on the “union”; on “vocation”, etc., see the section on “self-enjoyment”.

We have now revealed the chief logical tricks Saint Sancho uses to canonise the existing world and thereby to criticise and consume it. Actually, however, he consumes only the holy in the world, without even touching the world itself. Hence it is obvious that he has to remain wholly conservative in practice. If he wanted to criticise, then earthly criticism would begin just where any possible halo ends.

— Social Development Exposes Falsehoods —

The more the normal form of intercourse of society, and with it the conditions of the ruling class, develop their contradiction to the advanced productive forces, and the greater the consequent discord within the ruling class itself as well as between it and the class ruled by it, the more fictitious, of course, becomes the consciousness which originally corresponded to this form of intercourse (i.e., it ceases to be the consciousness corresponding to this form of intercourse), and the more do the old traditional ideas of these relations of intercourse, in which actual private interests, etc., etc., are expressed as universal interests, descend to the level of mere idealising phrases, conscious illusion, deliberate hypocrisy. But the more their falsity is exposed by life, and the less meaning they have for consciousness itself, the more resolutely are they asserted, the more hypocritical, moral and holy becomes the language of this normal society. The more hypocritical this society becomes, the easier it is for such a credulous man as Sancho to discover everywhere the idea of the holy, the ideal. From the universal hypocrisy of society he, the credulous, can deduce universal faith in the holy, the domination of the holy, and can even mistake this holy for the pedestal of existing society. He is the dupe of this hypocrisy, from which he should have drawn exactly the opposite conclusion.

The world of the holy is in the final analysis epitomised in “man”. As we have already seen throughout the Old Testament, Sancho regards “man” as the active subject on which the whole of previous history ‘s based; in the New Testament he extends this domination of “man” to the whole of the existing, contemporary physical and spiritual world, and also to the properties of the individuals at present existing. Everything belongs to “man” and thus the world is transformed into the “world of man”. The holy as a person is “man”, which for Sancho is only another name for the concept, the idea. The conceptions and ideas of people, separated from actual things, are bound, of course, to have as their basis not actual individuals, but the individual of the philosophical conception, the individual separated from his actuality and existing only in thought, man as such, the concept of man. With this, his faith in philosophy reaches its culmination.

Now that everything has been transformed into “the holy” or into what belongs to “man”, our saint is enabled to proceed further to appropriation, by renouncing the idea of “the holy” or of “man” as a power standing above him. Owing to the alien having been transformed into the holy, into a mere idea, this idea of the alien, which he mistakes for the actually existing alien, is of course his property. The basic formulas for the appropriation of the world of man (the way in which the ego gains possession of the world when it no longer has any respect for the holy) are already contained in the equations given above.

As we have seen, Saint Sancho is already master of his qualities as the egoist in agreement with himself. In order to become master of the world, all he has to do is to make it one of his qualities. The simplest way of doing so is for Sancho to proclaim the quality of “man”, with all the nonsense contained in this, directly as his quality. Thus he claims for himself, for example, as a quality of the ego, the nonsense of universal love of mankind by asserting that he loves “everyone” (p. 387) and indeed with the consciousness of egoism, for “love makes him happy”. A person who has such a happy nature, indubitably belongs to those of whom it is said: Woe unto you if you offend even one of these little ones! [cf. Luke 17:1-2]

The second method is that Saint Sancho tries to preserve something as a quality of his, while he transforms it — when it seems necessary to him as a relation — into a relation, a mode of existence, of “man”, a holy relation, and thereby repudiates it. Saint Sancho does this even when the quality, separated from the relation through which it is realised, becomes pure nonsense. Thus, for example, on page 322 he wants to preserve national pride by declaring that “nationality is one of his qualities and the nation his owner and master”. He could have continued:religiousness is a quality of mine, I have no intention of renouncing it as one of my qualities — religion is my master, the holy. Family love is a quality of mine, the family is my master. justice is a quality of mine, the law is my master; to engage in politics is a quality of mine, the state is my master.

The third method of appropriation is employed when some alien power whose force he experiences in practice is regarded by him as holy and spurned altogether without being appropriated. In this case he sees his own powerlessness in the alien power and recognises this powerlessness as his property, his creation, above which he always stands as creator. This, for example, is the case with the state. Here, too, he fortunately arrives at the point at which he has to deal not with something alien, but only with a quality of his own, against which he needs only to set himself as creator in order to overcome it. In an emergency, therefore, the lack of a quality is also taken by him as a quality of his. When Saint Sancho is starving to death it is not due to lack of food, but to his own hungriness, his own quality of starving. If he falls out of a window and breaks his neck, it happens not because the force of gravity plunges him downwards, but because absence of wings, inability to fly, is a quality of his own.

The fourth method, which he employs with the most brilliant success, consists in declaring that everything that is the object of one of his qualities, is, since it is his object, his property, because he has a relation to it by virtue of one of his qualities, irrespective of the character of this relation. Thus, what has up to now been called seeing, hearing, feeling, etc., Sancho, this inoffensive acquisitor, calls: acquiring property. The shop at which I am looking is, as something seen by me, the object of my eye, and its reflection on my retina is the possession of my eye. And now the shop, besides its relation to the eye, becomes his possession and not merely the possession of his eye — his possession, which is as much upside-down as the image of the shop on his retina. When the shopkeeper lets down the shutters (or, as Szeliga puts it, the “blinds and curtains”), his property disappears and, like a bankrupt bourgeois, he retains only the painful memory of vanished brilliance. If “Stirner” passes by the royal kitchen he will undoubtedly acquire possession of the smell of the pheasants roasting there, but he will not even see the pheasants themselves. The only persisting possession that falls to his share is a more or less vociferous rumbling in his stomach. incidentally, what and how much he can see depends not only on the existing state of affairs in the world, a state of affairs by no means created by him, but also on his purse and on the position in life which falls to his lot owing to division of labour, which perhaps shuts away very much from him, although he may have very acquisitive eyes and ears.

If Saint Sancho had said simply and frankly that everything that is the object of his imagination, as an object imagined by him, i.e., as his idea of an object, is his idea, i.e., his possession (and the same thing holds with looking at something, etc.), one would only have marvelled at the childish näiveté of a man who believes that such a triviality is a discovery and a fortune. But the fact that he passes off this conjectural property as property in general was bound, of course, to have a magical attraction for the propertyless German ideologists.

Every other person in his sphere of action, too, is his object, and “as his object — his property”, his creature. Each ego says to the other (see p. 184):

“For me you are only what you are for me” (for example, my exploiteur), “namely my object and, because my object, my property.”

Hence also my creature, which at any moment as creator I can swallow up and take back into myself. Thus, each ego regards the other not as a property-owner, but as his property; not as “ego” (see [p. 184)l but as being-for-him, as object; not as belonging to himself, but as belonging to him, to another, as alienated from himself. “Let us take both for what they give themselves out to be” (p. 187), for property-owners, for something belonging to themselves, “and for what they take each other to be”, for property, for something belonging to the alien. They are property-owners and they are not property-owners (cf. p. 187). What is important for Saint Sancho, however, in all relations to others, is not to take the real relation, but how each can see himself in his imagination, in his reflection.

Since everything that is object for the “ego” is, through the medium of one or other of his properties, also his object and, therefore, his property — thus, for example, the beatings he receives as the object of his members, his feelings and his mind, are his object and, therefore, his property — he is able to proclaim himself the owner of every object that exists for him. By this means he can proclaim that the world surrounding him is his property, and that he is its owner — no matter how much it maltreats him and debases him to the level of a “man having only ideal wealth, a ragamuffin”. On the other hand, since every object for the “ego” is not only my object, but also my object, it is possible, with the same indifference towards the content, to declare that everyobject is not-my-own, alien, holy. one and the same object and one and the same relation can, therefore, with equal ease and with equal success be declared to be the holy and my property. Everything depends on whether stress is laid on the word “my” or on the word “object”. The methods of appropriation and canonisation are merely two different “refractions” of one “transformation”.

All these methods are merely positive expressions for negating what was posited as alien to the ego in the above equations; except that the negation is again, as above, taken in various determinations. Negation can, firstly, be determined in a purely formal way, so that it does not at all affect the content — as we saw above in the case of love of mankind and in all cases when its whole alteration is limited to introducing consciousness of indifference. Or the whole sphere of the object or predicate, the whole content, can be negated, as in the case of religion and the state. Or, thirdly, the copula alone, my hitherto alien relation to the predicate, can be negated and the stress laid on the word “my” so that my attitude to what is mine is that of property-owner — in the case of money, for instance, which becomes coin of my own coining. In this last case both the quality of Man and his relation can lose all meaning. Every one of the qualities of Man, by being taken back into myself, is extinguished in my individuality. It is no longer possible to say what the quality is. It remains only nominally what it was. As “mine”, as determinateness dissolved in me, it no longer has any determinateness whether in relation to others or in relation to me, it is only posited by me, an illusory quality. Thus, for example, my thought. just as with my qualities, so with the things which stand in a relation to me and which, as we have seen above, are basically also only my qualities — as, for example, in the case of the shop I am looking at. Insofar, [therefore,] as thought in me is totally [different] from all [other] qualities, just as, for example, a jeweller’s shop is totally different from a sausage shop, etc. — the [difference] emerges again as a difference of appearance, and reasserts itself externally too in my manifestation for others. Thereby this annihilated determinateness is fortunately restored and, insofar as it is at all possible to express it in words, must also be reproduced in the old expressions. (Incidentally, we shall be hearing a little more yet concerning Saint Sancho’s non-etymological illusions about language.)

The simple equation encountered above is here replaced by the antithesis. In its simplest form it is expressed, for example, as follows:

Man’s thought — my thought, egoistical thought,

where the word my means only that he can also be without thoughts, so that the word my abolishes thought. The antithesis already becomes more complicated in the following example:

Money as man’s means of exchange — Money of my own coining as the egoist’s means of exchange

where the absurdity stands revealed.

The antithesis becomes still more complicated when Saint Max introduces a determination and wants to create the appearance of a far-reaching development. Here the single antithesis becomes a series of antitheses. First of all, for example, it is stated:

Right in general as the right of man Right is what is right for me,

where, instead of right, he might equally well have put any other word, since admittedly it no longer has any meaning. Although this nonsense continues to crop up all the time, in order to proceed further he has to introduce another, well-known determination of right which can be used both in the purely personal and in the ideological sense — for example, might as the basis of right. Only now, where the right mentioned in the first thesis has acquired yet another determination, which is retained in the antithesis, can this antithesis produce Some content. Now we get:

Right — might of Man — Might — my right

which then again simply becomes reduced to:

Might as my right = My might.

These antitheses are no more than positive reversals of the above-mentioned negative equations, in which antitheses continually proved to be contained in the conclusion. They even surpass those equations in simple grandeur and great simple-mindedness.

Just as previously Saint Sancho could regard everything as alien, as existing independently of him, as holy, so now with equal ease he can regard everything as his own product, as only existing thanks to him, as his property. Indeed, since he transforms everything into his qualities, it only remains for him to behave towards them as he behaves towards his original qualities, in the capacity of the egoist in agreement with himself, a procedure we do not need to repeat here. In this way our Berlin school-master becomes the absolute master of the world — “this, of course, is also the case with every goose, every dog, every horse” (Wigand, p. 187).

The real logical experiment, on which all these forms of appropriation are based, is a mere form of speech, namely a paraphrase, expressing one relation as a manifestation, as a mode of existence of another. just as we have seen that every relation can be depicted as an example of the relation of property, in exactly the same way it can be depicted as the relation of love, might, exploitation, etc. Saint Sancho found this manner of paraphrase ready-made in philosophical speculation where it plays a very important part. See below on the “theory of exploitation”.

The various categories of appropriation become emotional categories as soon as the appearance of practice is introduced and appropriation is to be taken seriously. The emotional form of assertion of the ego against the alien, the holy, the world of “Man”, is bragging. Refusal to revere the holy is proclaimed (reverence, respect, etc. — these emotional categories serve to express his relation to the holy or to some third thing as the holy), and this permanent refusal is entitled a deed, a deed that appears all the more comic because all the time Sancho is battling only against the spectre of his own sanctifying conception. On the other hand, since the world, despite his refusal to revere the holy, treats him in the most ungodly fashion, he enjoys the inner satisfaction of declaring to the world that he has only to attain power over it in order to treat it without any reverence. This threat with its world-shattering reservatio mentalis completes the comedy. To the first form of bragging belongs Saint Sancho’s statement on page 16 that he “is not afraid of the anger of Poseidon, nor of the vengeful Eumenides”, “does not fear the curse” (p. 58), “desires no forgiveness” (p. 242), etc., and his final assurance that he commits “the most boundless desecration” of the holy. To the second form belongs his threat against the moon (p. 218):

“If only I could seize you, I would in truth seize you, and if only I could find a means to get to you, you would in no way terrify me…. I do not surrender to you, but am only hiding my time. Even if for the present I refrain from having designs on you, I still have a grudge against you” —

an apostrophe in which our saint sinks below the level of Pfeffel’s pug-dog in the ditch. [88] And likewise on page 425, where he “does not renounce power over life and death”, etc.

Finally, the practice of bragging [can] again become mere [practice] within the sphere of theory [by] our holy man [asserting] in the [most] pompous language that he has performed actions that he has never performed, and [at the same time] endeavouring by means of high-sounding phrases to smuggle in traditional trivialities [as] his original creations. Actually this is characteristic of theentire book, particularly his construction of history — which is foisted on us as an exposition of his thought but is only a bad piece of copying out — then the assurance that “the book” “appears to be written against man” (Wigand, p. 168), and a multitude of separate assertions, such as: “With one puff of the living ego I blow down whole peoples” (p. 219 of “the book”), “I recklessly attack” (p. 254), “the people is dead” (p. 285), further the assurance that he “delves into the bowels of right” (p. 275), and, finally, the challenging call, embellished with quotations and aphorisms, for “a flesh-and-blood opponent” (p. 280).

Bragging is already in itself sentimental. But, in addition, sentimentality occurs in “the book” as a particular category, which plays a definite part especially in positive appropriation that is no longer mere assertion against the alien. However simple the methods of appropriation so far examined, with a more detailed exposition the appearance has to be given that the ego thereby acquires also property “in the ordinary sense”, and this can only be achieved by a forcible puffing-up of this ego, by enveloping himself and others in a sentimental charm. Sentimentality cannot be avoided since, without previous examination, he claims the predicates of “Man” as his own — he asserts, for example, that he “loves” “everyone” “out of egoism” — and thus gives his qualities an exuberant turgidity. Thus, on page 351, he declares that the “smile of the infant” is “his property” and in the same passage the stage of civilisation at which old men are no longer killed off is depicted with the most touching expressions as the deed of these old men themselves, etc. His attitude to Maritornes also belongs wholly to this same sentimentality.

The unity of sentimentality and bragging is rebellion. Directed outwards, against others, it is bragging; directed inwards, as grumbling-in-oneself, it is sentimentality. It is the specific expression of the impotent dissatisfaction of the philistine. He waxes indignant at the thought of atheism, terrorism, communism, regicide, etc. The object against which Saint Sancho rebels is the holy; therefore rebellion, which indeed is also characterised as a crime, becomes, in the final analysis, a sin. It is therefore by no means necessary for rebellion to take the form of an action, as it is only the “sin” against “the holy”. Saint Sancho, therefore, is satisfied with “getting” “holiness” or the “spirit of alienation” “out of his head” and accomplishing his ideological appropriation. But just as present and future are altogether confused in his head, and just as he sometimes asserts that he has already appropriated everything and sometimes that it has still to be acquired, so in connection with rebellion also at times it occurs to him quite accidentally that he is still confronted by the actually existing alien even after he has finished with the halo of the alien. In this case, or rather in the case of this sudden idea, rebellion is transformed into an imaginary act, and the ego into we”. We shall examine this in more detail later (see “Rebellion”).

The true egoist, who from the description given so far has proved to be the greatest conservative, finally collects up the fragments of the “world of man”, twelve basketfuls; for “far be it that anything should be lost!” Since his whole activity is limited to trying a few hackneyed, casuistical tricks on the world of thoughts handed down to him by philosophical tradition, it is a matter of course that the real world does not exist for him at all and, therefore, too, remains in existence as before. The content of the New Testament will furnish us with detailed proof of this.

Thus, “we appear at the bar of majority and are declared of age” (p. 86).

4. Peculiarity

“To create for oneself one’s own world, that means building a heaven for oneself” (p. 89 of “the book”). [Leopold Ranke’s “Einleitung” in Historisch-politische Zeitschrift. I. Band, Hamburg, 1832 — the place and date of publication are cited incorrectly in the text]

We have already “penetrated” into the innermost sanctuary of this heaven; now we shall try to learn “more things” about it. In the New Testament, however, we shall rediscover the same hypocrisy that permeated the Old Testament. just as in the latter the historical data were only names for a few simple categories, so here in the New Testament, too, all worldly relations are only disguises, different designations, for the meagre content which we have assembled in the “Phenomenology” and “Logic”. Under the appearance of speaking about the actual world, Saint Sancho always speaks only about these meagre categories.

“You do not want the freedom to have all these fine things…. You want to have them in actuality … to possess them as your property…. You ought to be not only a free person, but also anowner” (p. 205).

One of the oldest formulas arrived at by the early social movement — the opposition between socialism in its most miserable form and liberalism — is here exalted into an utterance of the “egoist in agreement with himself”. How old this opposition is even for Berlin, our holy man could have seen if only from the fact that it is mentioned with terror already in Ranke’s Historisch-politischeZeitschrift, Berlin, 1831 .

“How I utilise it” (freedom) “depends on my peculiarity” (p. 205).

The great dialectician can also reverse this and say: “How I utilise my peculiarity depends on my freedom.” — Then he continues:

“Free — from what?”

Here, therefore, by means of a dash freedom is already transformed into freedom from something and, per appos., from “everything”. This time, however, the apposition is given in the form of a proposition that apparently provides a closer definition. Having thus achieved this great result, Sancho becomes sentimental.

“Oh, how much can be shaken off!” First, the “yoke of serfdom”, then a whole series of other yokes, leading imperceptibly to the result that “the most perfect self-denial is nothing but freedom, freedom … from one’s own ego, and the urge towards freedom as something absolute … has deprived us of our peculiarity.”

By means of an extremely artless series of yokes, liberation from serfdom, which was the assertion of the individuality of the serfs and at the same time the abolition of a definite empirical barrier, is here equated with the much earlier Christian-idealist freedom of the Epistles to the Romans and Corinthians, thereby transforming freedom in general into self-denial. At this point we have already finished with freedom, since it is now indisputably the “holy”. Saint Max transforms a definite historical act of self-liberation into the abstract category of “freedom”, and this category is then defined more closely by means of a totally different historical phenomenon which can likewise be included under the general conception of “freedom”. This is the whole trick by which the throwing off of the yoke of serfdom is transformed into self-denial.

To make his theory of freedom as clear as noonday to the German burgher, Sancho now begins to declaim in the burgher’s own language, particularly that of the Berlin burgher:

“But the freer I become, the larger does compulsion loom before my eyes, and the more powerless do I feel. The unfree son of the wilds is not yet aware of all the limitations that trouble an ‘educated’ man, he imagines himself freer than the latter. In proportion as I achieve freedom for myself I create new limits and new tasks for myself; no sooner have I invented railways than I again feel myself weak because I still cannot sail through the air like a bird, and I have no sooner solved a problem that was perplexing my mind than countless others await me,” etc. (pp. 205, 206).

O “clumsy” story-writer for townsman and villager!

Not the “unfree sons of the wilds” but “educated people” “imagine” the savage freer than the educated man. That the son of the wilds” (whom F. Halm brought on the stage [Friedrich Halm, Der Sohn der Wildniss]) is ignorant of the limitations of the educated man because he cannot experience them is just as clear as that the “educated” citizen of Berlin, who only knows the “son of the wilds” from the theatre, knows nothing of the limitations of the savage. The simple fact is this: the limitations of the savage are not those of the civilised man. The comparison that our saint draws between them is the fantastic comparison of an “educated” Berliner whose education consists of knowing nothing about either of them. That he knows nothing of the limitations of the savage is explicable, although after the large number of new travel books, it is certainly easy enough to know something about them; but that he is also ignorant of the limitations of the educated man, is proved by his example of railways and flying. The inactive petty bourgeois, for whom railways dropped from the sky and who for that very reason I imagines that he invented them himself, begins to indulge in fantasies about aerial flight after having once travelled by railway. Actually, the balloon came first and then the railways. Saint Sancho had to reverse this, for otherwise everyone would have seen that when the balloon was invented the demand for railways was still a long way off, whereas the opposite is easy to imagine. In general, Sancho turns empirical relations upside down. When hackney carriages and carts no longer sufficed for the growing requirements of communication, when, inter alia, the centralisation of production due to large-scale industry necessitated new methods to accelerate and expand the transport of its mass of products, the locomotive was invented and thus the use of railways for transport on a large scale. The inventor and shareholders were interested in their profits, and commerce in general in reducing production costs; the possibility, indeed the absolute necessity, of the invention lay in the empirical conditions. The application of the new invention in the various countries depended on the various empirical conditions; in America, for example, on the need to unite the individual states of that vast area and to link the semi-civilised districts of the interior with the sea and the markets for their products. (Compare, inter alia, M. Chevalier, Lettres sur 1’Amérique du Nord.) In other countries, for example in Germany, where every new invention makes people regret that it does not complete the sum total of inventions — in such countries after stubbornly resisting these detestable railways which cannot supply them with wings, people are nevertheless compelled by competition to accept them in the end and to give up hackney carriages and carts along with the time-honoured, respectable spinning-wheel. The absence of other profitable investment of capital made railway construction the predominant branch of industry in Germany. The development of her railway construction and reverses on the world market went hand in hand. But nowhere are railways built for the sake of the category “freedom from”; Saint Max could have realised this even from the fact that no one builds railways in order to free himself from his money. The real kernel of the burgher’s ideological contempt for railways due to his longing to fly like a bird is to be found in his preference for hackney carriages, vans and country roads. Sancho yearns for his “own world” which, as we saw above, is heaven. Therefore he wants to replace the locomotive by Elijah’s fiery chariot and be carried up to heaven.

After the actual tearing down of restrictions — which is at the same time an extremely positive development of the productive forces, real energy and satisfaction of urgent requirements, and an expansion of the power of individuals — after the actual tearing down of restrictions has been transformed in the eyes of this passive and ignorant spectator into simple freedom from a restriction, which he can again logically make into a postulate of freedom from restriction as such — at the conclusion of the whole argument, we arrive at what was already presupposed at the beginning:

“To be free from something means only to be relieved of something, to be rid of something” (p. 206).

He at once gives an extremely unfortunate example: “He is free of headache is equivalent to saying: he is rid of it”; as though this “riddance” of headache were not equivalent to a wholly positive ability to dispose of my head, equivalent to ownership of my head, while as long as I had a headache I was the property of my sick head.

“In ‘riddance’ — in riddance from sin, from God, from morality, etc. — we consummate the freedom that Christianity recommends” (p. 206).

Hence our “consummate Christian”, too, finds his peculiarity only in “riddance” from “thought”, from “determination”, from “vocation”, from “law”, from “constitution”, etc., and invites his brothers in Christ to “feel happy only in dissolution”, i.e., in accomplishing “riddance” and the “consummate”, “Christian freedom”.

He continues:

“Ought we, perhaps, to renounce freedom because it turns out to he a Christian ideal? No, nothing should be lost” (voilà notre conservateur tout trouvé [there’s the conservative all complete]), “freedom too should not be lost, it should however become our own, and it cannot become our own in the form of freedom” (p. 207).

Here “our egoist” (toujours et partout [always and everywhere]) “in agreement with himself” forgets that already in the Old Testament, thanks to the Christian ideal of freedom, i.e., thanks to the illusion of freedom, we became “owners” of the “world of things”; he forgets, likewise, that accordingly we had only to get rid of the “world of thoughts” to become “owners” of that world as well, that in this context peculiarly” was for him a consequence of freedom, of riddance.

Having interpreted freedom as the state of being free from something, and this, in turn, as “riddance”, and this as the Christian ideal of freedom, and hence as the freedom of “Man”, our saint can, with the material thus prepared, carry through a practical course of his logic. The first, simplest antithesis reads:

Freedom of Man — My freedom, where in the antithesis freedom ceases to exist “in the form of freedom”. Or:

Riddance in the interests of Man — Riddance in my interests.

 Both these antitheses, with a numerous retinue of declamations, continually appear throughout the chapter on peculiarity, but with their help alone our world-conquering Sancho would attain very little, he would not even attain the island of Barataria. Earlier, when observing the behaviour of people from his “own world”, from his “heaven”, he set aside two factors of actual liberation in making his abstraction of freedom. The first factor was that individuals in their self-liberation satisfy a definite need actually experienced by them. As the result of setting aside this factor, “Man” has been substituted for actual individuals, and striving for a fantastic ideal — for freedom as such, for the “freedom of Man” — has been substituted for the satisfaction of actual needs.

The second factor was that an ability that has hitherto existed merely as a potentiality in the individuals who are freeing themselves begins to function as a real power, or that an already existing power becomes greater by removal of some restriction. The removal of the restriction, which is merely a consequence of the new creation of power, can of course be considered the main thing. But this illusion arises only if one takes politics as the basis of empirical history, or if, like Hegel, one wants everywhere to demonstrate the negation of negation, or finally if, after the new power has been created, one reflects, as an ignorant citizen of Berlin, on this new creation.

By setting aside this second factor for his own use, Saint Sancho acquires a determinateness that he can counterpose to the remaining, abstract caput mortuum of “freedom”. Thus he arrives at the following new antitheses:

Freedom, the empty removal of alien power Peculiarity, the actual possession of one’s own power.

Or, even:

Freedom, repulsion of alien power Peculiarity, possession of one’s own power.

To show the extent to which Saint Sancho has juggled his own “power”, which he here counterposes to freedom, out of this same freedom and into himself, we do not intend to refer him to the materialists or communists, but merely to the Dictionnaire de 1’académie, where he will find that the word liberté is most frequently used in the sense of puissance. If, however, Saint Sancho should maintain that he does not combat “liberté “, but “freedom”, then he ought to consult Hegel on negative and positive freedom. As a German petty bourgeois, he might enjoy the concluding remark in this chapter.

The antithesis can also be expressed as follows:

Freedom, idealistic striving for riddance and the struggle against other-being Peculiarity, actual riddance and pleasure in one’s own existence.

Having thus, by means of a cheap abstraction, distinguished peculiarity from freedom, Sancho pretends that he is only now beginning to analyse this difference and exclaims:

“What a difference there is between freedom and peculiarity!” (p. 207).

We shall see that, apart from the general antitheses, he has achieved nothing, and that peculiarity “in the ordinary sense” continues most amusingly to creep in side by side with this definition of peculiarity.

“In spite of the state of slavery, one can be inwardly free, although, again, only from various things, but not from everything, but the slave cannot be free from the whip, from the despotic mood, etc., of his master.”

“On the other hand, peculiarity is my whole essence and existence, it is I myself. I am free from that which I have got rid of; I am the owner of that which I have in my power or which I have mastered. I am my own at all times and under all circumstances, if only I know how to possess myself and do not abandon myself to others. I cannot truly want the state of being free, because I cannot … achieve it; I can only wish for it and strive towards it, for it remains an ideal, a spectre. At every moment the fetters of actuality cut very deeply into my flesh. But I remainmy own. Belonging as a feudal serf to some master, I think only of myself and of my own advantage; his blows, it is true, strike me: I am not free from them; but I endure them only for my own good, for example, in order to deceive him by an appearance of patience and to lull him into security or perhaps in order not to incur something worse by my defiance. But since I constantly have in mind myself and my own advantage” (while the blows retain possession of him and his back) “I seize on the first convenient opportunity” (i.e., he “wishes”, he “strives” towards the first convenient opportunity, which, however, “remains an ideal, a spectre”) “to crush the slave-owner. That I then become free from him and his whip is only a consequence of my previous egoism. It will, perhaps, he said here that even in the state of slavery I was free, namely ‘in myself’ or ‘inwardly’; however, ‘free in oneself’ is not ‘actually free’, and ‘inwardly’ is not ‘outwardly’. On the other hand, was myself, my own wholly and completely, both inwardly and outwardly. Under the domination of a cruel master, my body is not ‘free’ from the pain of torture and the lashes of the whip; but it is my bones that crack under torture, my muscles that twitch under the blows, and it is I who groan because my body suffers. The fact that I sigh and tremble proves that I still belong to myself, that I am my own” (pp. 207, 208).

Our Sancho, who here again acts the story-teller for the petty bourgeois and villagers, proves here that, despite the numerous drubbings he has already received in Cervantes, he has always remained “owner” of himself and that these blows belonged rather to his “peculiarity”. He is “his own” “at all times and under all circumstances” provided he knows how to possess himself. Here, therefore, peculiarity is hypothetical and depends on his knowledge, by which term he understands a slavish casuistry. This knowledge later on becomes thinking as well, when he begins “to think” about himself and his “advantage” — this thinking and this imagined “advantage” being his imagined “property”. It is further interpreted in the sense that he endures the blows “for his own good”, where peculiarity once again consists in the idea of “good”, and where he “endures” the bad in order not to become the “owner” of “something worse”. Subsequently, knowledge is revealed also as the “owner” of the reservation about “the first convenient opportunity”, hence of a mere reservatio mentalis, and, finally, as the “crushing” of the “slave-owner”, in the anticipation of the idea, in which case he is the “owner” of this anticipation, whereas at present the slave-owner actually tramples him underfoot. While, therefore, he identifies himself here with hisconsciousness, which endeavours to calm itself by means of all kinds of maxims of worldly wisdom, in the end he identifies himself with his body, so that he is wholly “his own”, outwardly as well as inwardly, so long as he still retains a spark of life, even if it is merely unconscious life. Such phenomena as the cracking of his “bones”, the twitching of his muscles, etc., are phenomena which, when translated from the language of unique natural science into the language of pathology, can be produced with the aid of galvanism on his corpse, when freshly cut down from the gallows on which he hanged himself, as we saw above, and which can be produced even in a dead frog — these phenomena serve him here as proof that he is “wholly and completely” “both inwardly and outwardly” still “his own”, that he still has control over himself. The very fact which demonstrates the power and peculiarity of the slave-owner, namely that it is precisely he who is flogged and not someone else, that it is precisely his bones that “crack”, his muscles that twitch, without his being able to alter it — this very fact here serves our saint as proof of his own peculiarity and power. Thus, when he lies trussed up in the spanso bocko” [89] torture of Surinam, unable to move hand or foot, or any other of his limbs, and has to put up with everything done to him, in such circumstances his power and peculiarity do not consist in his being able to make use of his limbs, but in the fact that they are his limbs. Here once again he has saved his peculiarity by always considering himself as otherwise-determined — sometimes as mere consciousness, sometimes as an unconscious body (see the “Phenomenology”).

At any rate, Saint Sancho “endures” his portion of blows with more dignity than actual slaves do. However often, in the interests of the slave-owners, missionaries may tell the slaves that they have to “endure” the blows “for their own good”, the slaves are not taken in by such twaddle. They do not coldly and timidly reflect that they would otherwise “incur something worse”, nor do they imagine that they “deceive the slave-owner by an appearance of patience”. On the contrary, they scoff at their torturers, they jeer at the latter’s impotence even to force them to humble themselves, and they in suppress every “groan” and every sigh, as long as the physical pain permits them to do so. (See Charles Comte, Traité de legislation.) They are therefore, neither “inwardly” nor “outwardly” their own “owners”, but only the “owners” of their defiance, which could equally well be expressed by saying that they are neither “inwardly” nor “outwardly” “free”, but are free only in one respect, namely that they are “inwardly” free from self-humiliation as they also show “outwardly”. Insofar as “Stirner” suffers blows, he is the owner of the blows and thus free from being not beaten; and this freedom, this riddance, belongs to his peculiarity.

From the fact that Saint Sancho assumes that the reservation about running away at “the first convenient opportunity” is a special characteristic of peculiarity and sees in the “liberation” thus obtained “merely the consequence of his previous egoism” (of his own egoism, i.e., egoism in agreement with itself), it follows that he imagines that the insurgent Negroes of Haiti[90] and the fugitive Negroes of all the colonies wanted to free not themselves, but “man”. The slave who takes the decision to free himself must already be superior to the idea that slavery is his “peculiarity”. He must be “free” from this “peculiarity”. The peculiarity” of an individual, however, can consist in his “abandoning” himself. For “one” to assert the opposite means to apply an “alien scale” to this individual.

In conclusion, Saint Sancho takes revenge for the blows he has received by the following address to the “owner” of his “peculiarity”, the slave-owner:

“My leg is not ‘free’ from the blows of the master, but it is my leg, and it cannot be taken away. Let him tear it firm me and see whether he has possession of my leg! He will find in his hands nothing but the corpse of my leg, which is as little my leg as a dead dog is a dog” (p. 208).

But let him — Sancho, who imagines here that the slave-owner wants to have his living leg, probably for his own use — let him “see” what he still retains of his leg which “cannot be taken away”. He retains nothing but the loss of his leg and has become the one-legged owner of his torn-out leg. If he has to labour at a treadmill eight hours every day, then it is he who in the course of time becomes an idiot, and idiocy will then be his “peculiarity”. Let the judge who sentences him to this “see” whether he has still Sancho’s brain “in his hands”. But that will be of little help to poor Sancho.

“The first property, the first splendour has been won!”

After our saint, by means of these examples, which are worthy of an ascetic, has revealed the difference between freedom and peculiarity, at a considerable belletristical production cost, he quite unexpectedly declares on page 209 that “between peculiarity and freedom there lies a still deeper gulf than the simple verbal difference”.

This “deeper gulf” consists in the fact that the above definition of freedom is repeated with “manifold transformations” and “refractions” and numerous “episodical insertions”. From the definition of “freedom” as “riddance” the questions arise: from what should people be free (p. 209), etc., disputes concerning this “from what” (ibid.) (here, too, as a German petty bourgeois, he sees in the struggle of actual interests only wrangling about the definition of this “from what”, in which connection, of course, it appears very strange to him that the “citizen” does not wish to be free “from citizenship”, page 210). Then the proposition is repeated that the removal of a barrier is the establishment of a new barrier, in the form that “the striving for a definite freedom always includes the aim of a new rule”, page 210 (in which connection we learn that in the revolution the bourgeois was not striving for his own rule but for the “rule of law” — see above concerning liberalism); then follows the result that one does not wish to be rid of what “is wholly to one’s liking, e.g., the irresistible glance of the beloved” (p. 211). Further on, it turns out that freedom is a “phantom” (p. 211), a “dream” (p. 212); then we learn by the way that the “voice of nature” can sometimes also become “peculiarity” (p. 213); on the other hand the “voice of God and conscience” is to be considered “devil’s work”, and the author boasts: “Such godless people” (who consider it the work of the devil) “do exist; how will you deal with them?” (pp. 213, 214). But it is not nature that should determine me, but I who should determine my nature, says the egoist in agreement with himself. And my conscience is also a “voice of nature”.

In this connection it also turns out that the animal “takes very correct steps” (p. 213). We learn further that “freedom is silent about what should happen after I have become free” (p. 215). (See “Solomon’s Song of Songs”) The exposition of the abovementioned “deeper gulf” is closed by Saint Sancho repeating the scene with the blows and this time expressing himself somewhat more clearly about peculiarity:

“Even when unfree, even bound by a thousand fetters, I nevertheless exist, and I exist not only just in the future, and in the hope, like freedom, but even as the most abject of slaves I am present” (p. 215).

Here, therefore, he counterposes himself and “freedom” as two persons, and peculiarity becomes mere existence, being present, and indeed the “most abject” presence. Peculiarity here is the simple registering of personal identity. Stirner, who in an earlier passage has already constituted himself the “secret police state”, here sets himself up as the passport department. “By no means” should anything be lost” from “the world of human beings!” (See “Solomon’s Song of Songs”.)

According to page 218, one can also “give up” one’s peculiarity through “submissiveness”, “submission”, although, according to the preceding, peculiarity cannot cease so long as one is present at all, even in the most “abject” or “submissive” form. And is not the most abject” slave the “most submissive”? According to one of the earlier descriptions of peculiarity, one can only “give up” one’s peculiarity by giving up one’s life.

On page 218, peculiarity as one aspect of freedom, as power, is once again set against freedom as riddance; and among the means by which Sancho pretends to protect his peculiarity, are mentioned “hypocrisy”, “deception” (means which my peculiarity employs. because it had to “submit” to the conditions of the world), etc., “for the means that I employ are determined by what I am”.

We have already seen that among these means the absence of any means plays a major role, as was evident also from his proceedings against the moon (see above “Logic”). Then, for a change, freedom is regarded as “self-liberation”, “i.e., that I can only have as much freedom as I procure by my peculiarity”, where the definition of freedom as self-determination, which occurs among all, and particularly German, ideologists, makes its appearance as peculiarity. This is then explained to us on the example of “sheen”; to whom it is of no use” at all “if they are given freedom of speech” (p. 220). How trivial is his conception here of peculiarity as self-liberation is evident if only from his repetition of the most hackneyed phrases about granted freedom, setting free, self-liberation, etc. (pp. 220, 221). The antithesis between freedom as riddance and peculiarity as the negation of this riddance is now also portrayed poetically:

“Freedom arouses your wrath against everything that you are not” (it is, therefore, wrathful peculiarity, or have choleric natures, e.g., Guizot, in Saint Sancho’s opinion, no “peculiarity”? And do I not enjoy myself in wrath against others,,), “egoism calls on you to rejoice over yourself, to delight in yourself “ (hence egoism is freedom which rejoices; incidentally, we have already become acquainted with the joy and self-enjoyment of the egoist in agreement with himself). “Freedom is and remains a longing” (as though longing were not also a peculiarity, the self-enjoyment of individuals of a particular nature, especially of Christian-German individuals — and should this longing “be lost”?). “Peculiarity is a reality which of itself abolishes all the non-freedom which is an impediment and blocks your own path” (in which case, then, until non-freedom is abolished my peculiarity is a blocked peculiarity. It is characteristic again of the German petty bourgeois that for him all barriers and obstacles disappear “of themselves”, since he never lifts a finger to achieve it, and by habit he turns those barriers which do not disappear “of themselves” into his peculiarity. It may be remarked in passing that peculiarity appears here as an acting person, although it is later demoted to a mere description of its owner) (p. 215).

The same antithesis appears again in the following form:

“As being your own, you are in actuality rid of everything, and what remains with you, you have yourself accepted, it is your choice and option. One who is his own is born free, one who is free on the other hand is only one who desires freedom.”

Nevertheless Saint Sancho “admits” on page 252

“that each is born as a human being; hence in this respect the newborn children are equal”.

What you as being your own have not “rid yourself of” is “your choice and option”, as in the case of the beatings of the slave mentioned above. — Banal paraphrase! — Here, therefore, peculiarity is reduced to the fantastic idea that Saint Sancho has voluntarily accepted and retained everything from which he has not “rid” himself, e.g., hunger when he has no money. Apart from the many things, e.g., dialect, scrofula, haemorrhoids, poverty, one-leggedness, forced philosophising imposed on him by division of labour, etc., etc. — apart from the fact that it in no way depends on him whether he “accepts” these things or not; all the same, even if for an instant we accept his premises, he has only the choice between definite things which lie within his province and which are in no way posited by his peculiarity. As an Irish peasant, for example, he can only choose to eat potatoes or starve, and he is not always free to make even this choice. In the sentence quoted above one should note also the beautiful apposition, by which, just as in jurisprudence, “acceptance” is directly identified with “choice” and “option”. Incidentally, it is impossible to say what Saint Sancho means by one who is “born free”, whether in the context or outside it.

And is not a feeling instilled into him, his feeling accepted by him? And do we not learn on pages 84, 85, that “instilled” feelings are not “ones own” feelings? For the rest, it turns out here, as we have already seen in connection with Klopstock (who is put forward here as an example), that “one’s own” behaviour by no means coincides with individual behaviour, although for Klopstock Christianity seems to have been “quite right” and in no way to have “obstructively blocked his path”.

“One who is his own does not need to free himself, because from the outset he rejects everything except himself…. Although he remains in the confines of childish reverence, he alreadyworks to ‘free’ himself from this enthralment.”

Since one who is his own does not need to free himself, already as a child he works to free himself, and all this because, as we have seen, he is one who is “born free”. “Although he remains in the confines of childish reverence” he already reflects without any restraint, namely in his own fashion, about this his own enthralment. But this should not surprise us: we already saw at the beginning of the Old Testament what a prodigy the egoist in agreement with himself was.

Peculiarity works in the little egoist and secures him the desired ‘freedom’.”

It is not “Stirner” who lives, it is “peculiarity” that lives, “works” and “secures” in him. Here we learn that peculiarity is not a description of one who is his own, but that one who is his own is merely a paraphrase of peculiarity.

As we have seen, “riddance” at its climax was riddance from one’s own self, self-denial. We saw also that on the other hand he put forward “peculiarity” as the assertion of self, as self-interestedness. But we have seen likewise that this self-interestedness itself was again self-denial.

For some time past we have been painfully aware that “the holy” was missing. But we rediscover it suddenly, on page 224, at the end of the section on peculiarity, where it stands quite bashfully and proves its identity by means of the following new turn of expression:

“My relation to something which I selfishly carry on” (or do not carry on at all) “is different from my relation to something which I unselfishly serve” (or which I carry on).

But Saint Max is not satisfied with this remarkable piece of tautology, which he “accepted” from “choice and option”; there suddenly reappears the long forgotten “one”, in the shape of the night watchman who establishes the identity of the holy, and declares that he

“could put forward the following distinguishing mark: against the former I can sin or commit a sin” (a remarkable tautology!), “the other I can only lose by my folly, push away from myself, deprive myself of it, i.e., do something stupid” (it follows that he can lose himself by his folly, can deprive himself of himself, can be deprived of himself — can be deprived of life). “Both these points of view are applicable to freedom of trade, because it” is partly taken for the holy and partly not so taken, or, as Sancho himself expresses it more circumstantially, “because it is partly regarded as a freedom which can be granted or withdrawn depending on circumstances, and partly as a freedom which should be regarded as holy under all circumstances” (pp. 224, 225).

Here again Sancho reveals his “peculiar” “penetration” into the question of freedom of trade and protective tariffs. He is herewith given the “vocation” of pointing out just one single case where freedom of trade was regarded as “holy” 1) because it is a “freedom”, and 2) “under all circumstances”. The holy comes in useful for all purposes.

After peculiarity, by means of logical antitheses and the phenomenological “being-also-otherwise-determined”, has been constructed, as we have seen, from a “freedom” previously trimmed up for the purpose — Saint Sancho meanwhile having “dismissed” everything that happened to suit him (e.g., beatings) into peculiarity, and whatever did not suit him into freedom — we learn finally that all this was still not true peculiarity.

“Peculiarity,” it is stated on page 225, “is not at all an idea, such as freedom, etc., it is only a description — of the owner.”

We shall see that this “description of the owner” consists in negating freedom in the three refractions which Saint Sancho ascribes to it — liberalism, communism and humanism — comprehending it in its truth and then calling this process of thought, which is extremely simple according to advanced logic, the description of a real ego.

The entire chapter about peculiarity boils down to the most trivial self-embellishments by means of which the German petty bourgeois consoles himself for his own impotence. Exactly like Sancho, he thinks that in the struggle of bourgeois interests against the remnants of feudalism and absolute monarchy in other countries everything turns merely on a question of principles, on the question offrom what “Man” should free himself. (See also above on political liberalism.) Therefore in freedom of trade he sees only a freedom and, exactly like Sancho, expatiates with a great air of importance about whether “Man” ought to enjoy freedom of trade “under all circumstances’ or not. And when, as is inevitable in such conditions, his aspirations for freedom suffer a miserable collapse, then, again like Sancho, he consoles himself that “Man”, or he himself, cannot “become free from everything”, that freedom is a highly indefinite concept, and that even Metternich and Charles X were able to appeal to “true freedom” (p. 210 of “the book”; and it need only be remarked here that it is precisely the reactionaries, especially the Historical School and the Romanticists[91] who — again just like Sancho — reduce true freedom to peculiarity, for instance, to the peculiarity of the Tyrolean peasants, and in general, to the peculiar development of individuals, and also of localities, provinces and estates). — The petty bourgeois also consoles himself that as a German, even if he is not free, he finds compensation for all sufferings in his own indisputable peculiarity. Again like Sancho, he does not see in freedom a power that he is able to obtain and therefore declares his own impotence to be power.

What the ordinary German petty bourgeois whispers to himself as a consolation, in the quiet depths of his mind, the Berliner trumpets out loudly as an ingenious turn of thought. He is proud of his trashy peculiarity and his peculiar trashiness.


5. The Owner

For the way in which the “owner” is divided into three refractions”: “my power”, “my intercourse” and my self-enjoyment”, see “The Economy of the New Testament”. We shall pass directly to the first of these refractions.

A. MyPower

The chapter on power has in its turn a trichotomous structure in that it treats of: 1) right, 2) law, and 3) crime. In order to conceal this trichotomy, Sancho resorts very frequently to the “episode”. We give here the entire content in tabular form, with the necessary episodical insertions.

I. Right

A. Canonisation in General

Another example of the holy is right.

Right is not ego

All existing right = not my right = alien right = existing right. = alien right = right of others (not my right) = right given by others = (right, which one gives me, which is meted out to me) (pp. 244, 245). The Holy

Note No. 1. The reader will wonder why the conclusion of equation No. 4 suddenly appears in equation No. 5 as the antecedent of the conclusion of equation No. 3, so that in the place of “right”, “all existing right” suddenly appears as the antecedent. This is done to create the illusion that Saint Sancho is speaking of actual, existing right which, however, he by no means intends to do. He speaks of right only insofar as it is represented to be a holy “predicate”.

Note No. 2. After right has been determined as “alien right”, it can be given any names you like, such as “Sultan’s right”, “people’s right”, etc., depending on how Saint Sancho wishes to define the alien from whom he receives the right in question. This allows Sancho to go on to say that “alien right is given by nature, God, popular choice, etc.” (p. 250), hence “not by me”. What is naive is only the method by which our saint through the use of synonymy tries to give some semblance of development to the above simple equations.

“If some blockhead considers me right” (what if he himself is the blockhead who considers him right?). “I begin to be mistrustful of my right” (it would be desirable in “Stirner’s” interests that this were so). “But even if a wise man considers me right, this still does not mean that I am right. Whether I am right is quite independent of my being acknowledged right by fools or wise men. Nevertheless, up to now we have striven for this right. We seek right and to this end we appeal to the court…. But what do I seek from this court? I seek Sultan’s right, not my right, I seek alien right … before the high court of censorship I seek, therefore, the right of censorship” (pp. 244, 245).

One has to admire the cunning use of synonymy in this masterly proposition. Recognition of right in the ordinary conversational sense is identified with recognition of right in the juridical sense. Even more worthy of admiration is the faith capable of moving mountains in the idea that one “appeals to the court” for the sake of the pleasure of vindicating one’s right — a faith which explains that courts are due to litigiousness.

Notable, finally, is also the craftiness with which Sancho — as in the case of equation No. 5 above — smuggles in, in advance, the more concrete name, in this case “Sultan’s right”, in order to be able more confidently later to bring in his universal category of “alien right”.

Alien right =not my right.
My being right according to alien  
right = not to be right
  to have no right
  = to be rightless (p. 247).
My right = not your right
  your wrong.
Your right = my wrong.

Note. “You desire to be in the right against others” (it should read: to be in Your right). “You cannot be this, in relation to them you will always remain in the ‘wrong’, for they would not be your opponents if they were not also in ‘their’ right. They will always ‘consider’ You ‘wrong….. if You remain on the basis of right, then you remain on the basis of litigiousness” (pp. ‘248, 253).

“Let us in the meantime consider the subject from yet another aspect.” Having thus given adequate evidence of his knowledge of right. Saint Sancho can now restrict himself to defining right once again as the holy, in this connection repeating some of the epithets previously given to the holy with the addition of the word “right”.

“Is not tight a religious concept, i.e., something holy?” (p. 247). “Who can ask about ‘right’ if he does not have a religious standpoint?” (ibid.). “Right ‘in and for itself’. Therefore without relation to me? ‘Absolute right’! Therefore separated from me. — Something ‘being in and for itself’! — An Absolute! An eternal right, like an eternal truth” — the holy (p. 270). “You recoil in horror before others because You imagine You see by their side the spectre of right“’ (p. 253). “You creep about in order to win the apparition over to Your side” (ibid.). “Right is a whimsy, dispensed by an apparition” (the synthesis of the two propositions given above) (p. 276). “Right is … a fixed idea” (p. 270). “Right is spirit …” (p. 244). “Because right can be dispensed only by a spirit” (p. 275).

Saint Sancho now expounds again what he already expounded in the Old Testament, viz., what a “fixed idea” is, with the only difference that here “right” crops up everywhere as another example” of the “fixed idea”.

“Right is originally my thought, or it” (!) “has its origin in me. But if it’ has escaped from me” (in common parlance, absconded), “if the ‘word’ has been uttered, then it has become flesh” [cf. John 1:14] (and Saint Sancho can cat his fill of it), “a fixed idea” — for which reason Stirner’s whole book consists of “fixed ideas”, which have “escaped” from him, but have been caught by us and confined in the much-praised “house for the correction of morals”. “Now I can no longer get rid of the idea” (after the idea has got rid of him!); “however I twist and turn, it confronts me.” (The pigtail, which hangs down behind him.) “Thus, people have been unable to regain control of the idea of ‘right’ that they themselves have created. Their creature runs away with them. That is absolute right, which is absolved” (o synonymy!) “and detached from me. Since we worship it as Absolute, we cannot devour it again and it deprives us of our creative power; the creation is more than the creator, it exists in and for itself. Do not allow right to run about freely any longer…… (We shall already in this sentence follow this advice and chain it up for the time being) (p. 270).

Having thus dragged right through all possible ordeals of sanctification by fire and water and canonised it, Saint Sancho has thereby destroyed it.

“With absolute right, right itself disappears, at the same time the domination of the concept of right” (hierarchy) “is wiped out. For one should not forget that concepts, ideas, and principles have up to now ruled over us and that among these rulers the concept of right or the concept of justice has played one of the most important parts” (p. 276).

That relations of right here once again appear as the domination of the concept of right and that Stirner kills right simply by declaring it a concept, and therefore the holy, is something to which we are already accustomed; on this see “Hierarchy”. Right [according to Stirner] does not arise from the material relations of people and the resulting antagonism of people against one another, but from their struggle against their own concept, which they should “get out of their heads”. See “Logic”.

This last form of the canonisation of right comprises also the following three notes:

Note 1.

“So long as this alien right coincides with mine, I shall, of course, find the latter also in it” (p. 2451).

Saint Sancho might ponder awhile over this proposition.

Note 2.

“If once an egoistic interest crept in, then society was corrupted … as is shown, for example, by the Roman society with its highly developed civil law” (p. 278).

According to this, Roman society from the very outset must have been corrupted Roman society, since egoistic interest is manifested in the Ten Tables [92] even more sharply than in the “highly developed civil law” of the imperial epoch. In this unfortunate reminiscence from Hegel, therefore, civil law is considered a symptom of egoism, and not of the holy. Here, too, Saint Sancho might well reflect on the extent to which civil law [Privatrecht] is linked with private property [Privateigentum] and to what extent civil law implies a multitude of other legal relations (cf. “Private Property, State and Right ) about which Saint Max has nothing to say except that they are the holy.

Note 3.

Although right is derived from the concept, nevertheless it only comes into existence because it serves men’s needs.”

So says Hegel (Rechtsphilosophie par 209, Addition) from whom our saint derived the hierarchy of concepts in the modern world. Hegel, therefore, explains the existence of right from the empirical needs of individuals, and rescues the concept only by means of a simple assertion. One can see how infinitely more materialistically Hegel proceeds than our “corporeal ego”, Saint Sancho.

B. Appropriation by Simple Antithesis

a) The right of man My right.
b) Human right Egoistic right.
c) Alien right = to be authorised by others My right = to be authorised by myself.
d) Right is that which man considers right Right is that which I consider right.

“This is egoistic right, i.e., I consider it right, therefore, it is right” (passin; the last sentence is on p. 25 1).

Note 1.

“I am authorised by myself to commit murder if I do not forbid myself to do so, if I myself am not afraid of murder as a wrong” (p. 249).

This should read: I commit murder if I do not forbid myself to do so, if I am not afraid of murder. This whole proposition is a boastful expansion of the second equation in antithesis c, where the word authorised” has lost its meaning.

Note 2.

“I decide whether it is right within meoutside me, no right exists” (p. 249). — “Are we what is in us? No, no more than we are what is outside us…. Precisely because we are not the spirit which dwells in us, for that very reason we had to transfer it outside us … think of it as existing outside us … in the beyond” (p. 43).

Thus, according to his own statement on page 43, Saint Sancho has again to transfer the right “in him” to “outside himself”, and indeed “into the beyond”. But if at some stage he wants to appropriate things for himself in this fashion, then he can transfer “into himself” morality, religion, everything “holy”, and decide whether “in him” it is the moral, the religious, the holy — “outside him there exists no” morality, religion, holiness — in order thereupon to transfer them, according to page 43, again outside himself, into the beyond. Thereby the “restoration of all things” [Mark 9:12]according to the Christian model is brought about.

Note 3.

“Outside me no right exists. If I consider it right then it is right. It is possible that it is still not on that account right for others” (p. 249).

This should read: If I consider it right then it is right for me, but it is still not right for others. We have by now had sufficient examples of the sort of synonymical “flea-jumps” Saint Sancho makes with the word “right”. The right and right, legal “right”, moral “right”, what he considers “right”, etc. — all are used higgledy-piggledy, as it suits him. Let Saint Max attempt to translate his propositions about right into another language; his nonsense would then become fully apparent. Since this synonymy was dealt with exhaustively in “The Logic [of the New Wisdom]”, we need here only refer to that section.

The proposition mentioned above is also presented in the following three “transformations”:

A. “Whether I am right or not, of that there can be no other judge than I myself. Others can judge and decide only whether they agree with my right and whether it exists as right also for them” (p. 246).

B. “it is true that society wants each person to attain his right, but only light sanctioned by society, social right, and not actually his right” (it should read: “what is his” — “right” is a quite meaningless word here. And then he continues boastfully:) “1, however, give myself, or take for myself, right on my own authority…. Owner and creator of my right” (“creator” only insofar as he first declares right to be his thought and then asserts that he has taken this thought back into himself), “I recognise no other source of right but myself — neither God, nor the state, nor nature, nor man, neither divine nor human right” (p. 269).

C. “Since human right is always something given, in reality it always amounts to the right which people give to, i.e., concede, one another” (p. 251).

Egoistical right, on the other hand, is the right which I give myself or take.

However, “let us say in conclusion, it can be seen” that in Sancho’s millennium egoistical right, about which people “came to terms” with each other, is not so very different from that which people “give to” or “concede” one another.

Note 4.

“In conclusion, I have now still to take back the half-and-half mode of expression which I desired to use only while I was delving into the bowels of right and allowed at least the word to remain. In point of fact, however, together with the concept the word loses its meaning. What I called my right, is no longer right at all” (p. 275).

Everyone will see at a glance why Saint Sancho allowed the “word” right to remain in the above antitheses. For as he dces not speak at all about the content of right, let alone criticise it, he can only by retaining the word right make it appear that he is speaking about right. If the word right is left out of the antithesis, all that it contains is “my” and the other grammatical forms of the first person pronoun. The content was always introduced only by means of examples which, however, as we have seen, were nothing but tautologies, such as: if I commit murder, then I commit murder, etc., and in which the words “right”, “authorised”, etc., were introduced only to conceal the simple tautology and give it some sort of connection with the antitheses. The synonymy, too, was intended to create the appearance of dealing with some sort of content. Incidentally, one can see at once what a rich source of bragging this empty chatter about right provides.

Thus, all the “delving into the bowels of right” amounted to this, that Saint Sancho “made use of a half-and-half mode of expression” and “allowed at least the word to remain”, because he was unable to say anything about the subject itself. If the antithesis is to have any meaning, that is to say, if “Stirner” simply wanted to demonstrate in it his repugnance to right, then one must say rather that it was not he who “delved into the bowels of right”, but that right “delved” into his bowels and that he merely recorded the fact that right is not to his liking. “Keep this right uncurtailed”, Jacques le bonhomme!

To introduce some sort of content into this void, Saint Sancho has to undertake vet another logical manoeuvre, which with great “virtuosity” he thoroughly shuffles together with canonisation and the simple antithesis, and so completely masks with numerous episodes that the German public and German philosophers, at any rate, were unable to see through it.

C. Appropriation by Compound Antithesis

“Stirner” now has to introduce an empirical definition of right, which he can ascribe to the individual, i.e., he has to recognise something else in right besides holiness. In this connection, he could have spared himself all his clumsy machinations, since, starting with Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Bodinus and others of modern times, not to mention earlier ones, might has been represented as the basis of right. Thereby the theoretical view of politics was freed from morality, and apart from the postulate of an independent treatment of politics nothing was accepted. Later, in the eighteenth century in France and in the nineteenth century in England, all right was reduced to civil law (which Saint Max does not discuss) and the latter to a quite definite power, the power of the owners of private property. Moreover, the matter was by no means left at a mere phrase.

Thus Saint Sancho draws the definition of might from right and explains it as follows:

“We are in the habit of classifying states according to the various ways in which the ‘supreme power’ is divided … hence, the supreme power! Power over whom, Over the individual…. The state uses force … the behaviour of the state is exercise of force, and it calls its force right…. The collective as a whole … has a power which is called rightful, i.e., which is right” (pp. 259, 260).

Through “our” “habit”, our saint arrives at his longed-for power and can now “look after” [in German a pun on pflegen, which can mean to be accustomed to and to look after] himself.

Right, the might of man — might, my right.

Intermediate equations:

To be authorised = to be empowered.

To authorise oneself = to empower oneself.


To be authorised by man — to be empowered by me.

First antithesis:

Right, might of man — Might, my right

now becomes converted into:

Right of man — Might of me, My might,

because in the thesis right and might are identical, and in the antithesis the “half-and-half mode of expression” has to be “taken back”, since right, as we have seen, has “lost all meaning”.

Note 1. Examples of bombastic and boastful paraphrases of the above antitheses and equations:

“What You have the power to be, You have the right to be.” “I derive all right and all authority from myself, I am authorised to do everything which I have the power to do.” — “I do not demand any right, and therefore I need recognise none. What I can obtain for myself by force, I obtain for myself, and what I cannot obtain by force, to that I have no right either, etc. — It is a matter of indifference to me whether I am authorised or not; if only I have the power, then I am already empowered as a matter of course and do not need any other power or authority” (pp. 248, 275).

Note 2. Examples of the way in which Saint Sancho expounds might as the real basis of right:

“Thus, ‘the communists’ say” (how on earth does “Stirner” know what the communists say, since he has never set eves on anything concerning them except the Bluntschli report,’ Becker’sVolksphilosophie and a few other things?): “Equal work gives people the right to equal enjoyment…. No, equal work does not give you this right, only equal enjoyment gives you the right to equal enjoyment. Enjoy, and you are entitled to enjoyment…. if You take enjoyment, then it is your right; if, on the other hand, you only yearn for it, without seizing it, it will remain as before the ‘established right’ of those who have the privilege of enjoyment. It is their right, just as it would become your right, by your seizing it” (p. 250).

Compare what is here put into the mouth of the communists with what was previously said about “communism”. Saint Sancho again presents the proletarians here as a “closed society”, which has only to take the decision of “seizing” in order the next day to put a summary end to the entire hitherto existing world order. But in reality the proletarians arrive at this unity only through a long process of development in which the appeal to their right also plays a part. Incidentally, this appeal to their right is only a means of making them take shape as “they”, as a revolutionary, united mass.

As for the above proposition itself, from start to finish it is a brilliant example of tautology, as is at once clear if one omits both might and right, which can be done without any harm to the content. Secondly, Saint Sancho himself distinguishes between personal and material property, [vermögen] thereby making a distinction between enjoying and the power to enjoy. I may have greatpersonal power (capacity) of enjoyment without necessarily having the corresponding material power (money, etc.). Thus my actual “enjoyment” still remains hypothetical.

“That the child of royalty sets himself above other children,” continues our school-master, using examples suitable for a child’s book, “is already his act, one which ensures his superiority, and that other children recognise and approve this act is their act, which makes them deserving of being subjects” (p. 250).

In this example, the social relation in which the royal child stands to other children is regarded as the power and indeed as the personal power of the royal child, and as the impotence of other children. If the fact that other children allow themselves to be commanded by the royal child is regarded as the “act” of the other children, this proves at most that they are egoists. “Peculiarity is at work in the little egoists” and induces them to exploit the royal child, to extract an advantage from him.

“It is said” (i.e., Hegel said) “that punishment is the right of the criminal. But impunity is equally his right. If he succeeds in his undertakings, he gets his right, and if he fails it equally serves him right. If someone with reckless courage puts himself in danger and is killed, we say: it serves him right, he asked for it. But if he overcomes the danger, i.e., if his power is victorious, it appears he is also right. If a child plays with a knife and cuts himself, it serves him right; if he does not cut himself, that is also all right. Therefore it serves the criminal right if he suffers the penalty he risked; why did he take the risk, knowing the possible consequences?” (p. 255).

in the concluding words of the last sentence, where the criminal is asked why he took the risk, the school-masterish nonsense of the whole passage is latent. Whether it serves a criminal right if on burgling a house he falls down and breaks his leg, or a child who cuts himself all these important questions, with which only a man like Saint Sancho is capable of occupying himself, yield only the result that here chance is declared to be my power. Thus, in the first example it was my action that was “my power”, in the second example it was social relations independent of me, in the third it was chance. But we have already encountered these contradictory definitions in connection with peculiarity.

Between the above childish examples Sancho inserts the following amusing little intermezzo:

For otherwise right would be a humbug. The tiger who attacks me is right and I, who kill it, am also right. I am protecting against it not my right, but myself” (p. 251).

In the first part of this passage Saint Sancho sets himself in a relation of right to the tiger, but in the second part it occurs to him that basically no relation of right is involved at all. For that reason“right” appears to “be a humbug”. The right of “Man” merges into the right of the “Tiger”.

This concludes the criticism of right. Long after having learned from hundreds of earlier writers that right originated from force, we now learn from Saint Sancho that “right” is “the power of man”. Thus he has successfully eliminated all questions about the connection between right and real people and their relations, and has established his antithesis. He restricts himself to abolishing right in the form in which he posits it, namely, as the holy, i.e., he restricts himself to abolishing the holy and leaving right untouched.

This criticism of right is embellished with a host of episodes — all sorts of things which people are “in the habit” of discussing at Stehely’s between two and four in the afternoon.

Episode 1. “The right of man” and “established right”.

“When the revolution made ‘equality’ into a ‘right’, it [the revolution] fled into the religious sphere, into the domain of the holy, the idealTherefore a struggle has been waged ever since over the holy, inalienable rights of man. Quite naturally and with equal justification, the ‘established right of the existing’ is asserted against the eternal right of man; right against right, and of course each of these condemns the other as a wrong. Such has been the dispute over right since the revolution” (p. 248).

Here Saint Sancho first of all repeats that the rights of man are “the holy” and that therefore a struggle over the rights of man has been waged ever since. Thereby he only proves that the material basis of this struggle is still, for him, holy, i.e., alien.

Since the “right of man” and “established right” are both rights”, they are “equally justified” and here in fact “justified” in the historical sense. Since both are “rights” in the legal sense, they are “equally justified” in the historical sense. In this way one can dispose of everything in the shortest space of time without knowing anything about the matter. Thus, for example, it can be said of the struggle over the Corn Laws in England: “quite naturally and with equal justification” rent, which is also profit (gain), is “asserted” against the profit (gain) [of the manufacturers], gain against gain, and “of course each of these decries the other. Such has been the struggle” over the Corn Laws in England since 1815.[93]

Incidentally, Stirner might have said from the outset: existing right is the right of man, human right. In certain circles one is also “in the habit” of calling ‘t “established right”. Where then is the difference between the “right of man” and “established right”?

We already know that alien, holy right is what is given to me by others. But since the rights of man are also called natural, innate rights, and since for Saint Sancho the name is the thing itself, it follows that they are rights which are mine by nature, i.e., by birth.

But “established rights amount to the same thing, namely to nature, which gives me a right, that is to birth and, furthermore, to inheritance”, and so on. “I am born as a man is equivalent to saying: I am born as a king’s son”

This is on pages 249, ‘50, where Babeuf is reproached for not having had this dialectical talent for dissolving differences. Since under all circumstances”, the “ego” is “also” man, as Saint Sancho later concedes, and therefore has the benefit “also” of what it has as man, just as the ego, for instance, as a Berliner has the benefit of the Berlin Tiergarten,’ so “also” the ego has the benefit of the right of man “under all circumstances”. But since he is by no means born a “king’s son” “under all circumstances”, he by no means has the benefit of “established right” “under all circumstances”. In the sphere of right, therefore, there is an essential difference between the “right of man” and “established right”. If it had not been necessary for Saint Sancho to conceal his logic it “should have been said here”: After I have, in my opinion, dissolved the concept of right, in the way in which I am generally “in the habit” of dissolving concepts, the struggle over these two special rights becomes a struggle within a concept which, in my opinion, has been dissolved by me, and “therefore” does not need to be touched upon any further by me.

For greater thoroughness Saint Sancho could have added the following new turn of expression: The right of man too is acquired, hence well acquired, and well-acquired [i.e., established]right is the human right possessed by men, the right of man.

That such concepts, if they are divorced from the empirical reality underlying them, can be turned inside-out like a glove [Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act III, Scene 1] has already been thoroughly enough proved by Hegel, whose use of this method, as against the abstract ideologists, was justified. Saint Sancho, therefore, has no need to make it appear ridiculous by his own “clumsy” “machinations”.

So far established right and the right of man “have amounted to the same thing”, so that Saint Sancho could reduce to nothing a struggle that exists outside his mind, in history. Now our saint proves that he is as keen-witted in drawing distinctions as he is all-powerful in heaping everything together, in order to be able to bring about a new terrible struggle in the “creative nothing” of his head.

“I am also ready to admit” (magnanimous Sancho) “that everyone is born as a human being” (hence, according to the above-mentioned reproach against Babeuf, also as a “king’s son”), “hence, the newly born are in this respect equal to one another … only because as Yet they reveal themselves and act as nothing but mere children of men, naked little human beings.” On the other hand, adults are the “children of their own creation”. They “possess more than merely innate rights, they have acquired rights”.

(Does Stirner believe that the infant emerged from the mother’s womb without any act of his own, an act by which he acquired the right” to be outside the mother’s womb; and does not every child from the very beginning reveal himself and act as a “unique” child?)

“What a contradiction, what a battlefield! The old battle of innate rights and established rights!” (p. 252).

What a battle of bearded men against babes!

Incidentally, Sancho speaks against the rights of man only because “in recent times” it has again become “customary” to speak against them. In fact he has “acquired” these innate rights of man. In connection with peculiarity we already met the man who is “born free”; there Sancho made peculiarity the innate right of man, because merely by being born he revealed himself as being free and acted as such’. Furthermore: “Every ego is already from birth a criminal against the state”, whereby a crime against the state becomes an innate right of man, and the child already commits a crime against something that does not yet exist for him, but for which he exists. Finally, “Stirner” speaks further on about “innately limited intellects”, “born poets”, “born musicians”, etc. Since here the power (musical, poetic resp. limited ability) is innate, and right = power, one sees how “Stirner” claims for the “ego” the innate rights of man, although this time equality does not figure among these rights.

Episode 2. Privileges and equal rights. Our Sancho first of all transforms the struggle over privilege and equal right into a struggle over the mere “concepts” privileged and equal. In this way he saves himself the trouble of having to know anything about the medieval mode of production, the political expression of which was privilege, and the modern mode of production, of which rightas such, equal right, is the expression, or about the relation of these two modes of production to the legal relations which correspond to them. He can even reduce the two above-mentioned “concepts” to the still simpler expression: equal and unequal, and prove that one and the same thing (e.g., other people, a dog, etc.) may, according to circumstances, be a matter of indifference i.e., of equanimity,, equality, or it may not be a matter of indifference — i.e., it may be different, unequal, preferred, etc., etc.

“Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted.” (Saint-Jaques le bonbomme [James] 1:9)

II. Law

Here we must disclose to the reader a great secret of our saint, viz., that he begins his whole treatise about right with a general explanation of right, which “escapes” from him so long as he is speaking about right, and which he is only able to recapture when he begins to speak about something totally different, namely — law. Then the gospel called out to our saint: judge not, that ye be not judged [Matthew 7:1] — and he opened his mouth and taught, saying:

Right is the spirit of society. “ (But society is the holy). “If society has a will, then this will is indeed right: society exists only thanks to right. But since it exists only thanks to the fact” (not thanks to right, but only thanks to the fact) “that it exercises its domination over individuals, so right is its dominant will” (p. 244).

That is to say: “right … is … has … then … indeed … exists only since … exists only thanks to the fact … that … so … dominant will”. This passage is Sancho in all his perfection.

This passage “escaped” at that time from our saint because it was not suitable for his theses, and has now been partially recaptured because it is now partially suitable again.

“States endure so long as there is a dominant will and this dominant will is regarded as equivalent to one’s own will. The will of the ruler is law” (p. 256).

The dominant will of society = right,
Dominant will = law —
Right = law.

“Sometimes”, i.e., as the trade mark of his “treatise” about law, there will still turn out to be a distinction between right and law, a distinction which — strange to say — has almost as little to do with his treatise” about law as the definition of right which “escaped” from him has to do with the “treatise” about “right”:

“But what is right, what is considered legitimate in a society is also given a verbal expression — in law” (p. 255),

This proposition is a “clumsy” copy of Hegel:

“That which is lawful is the source of the knowledge of what is right or, properly, what is legitimate.”

What Saint Sancho calls “receiving verbal expression”, Hegel also calls: “posited”, “known”, etc., Rechtsphilosophie, par. 211 et seq.

It is very easy to understand why Saint Sancho had to exclude right as the “will” or the “dominant will” of society from his “treatise” about right. Only to the extent that right was defined as man’spower could he take it back into himself as his power. For the sake of his antithesis, therefore, he had to hold fast to the materialistic definition of “power” and let the idealistic definition of “will” “escape”. Why, when speaking of “law”, he now recaptures “will” we shall understand in connection with the antitheses about law.

— Material Life the Basis of the State —

In actual history, those theoreticians who regarded might as the basis of right were in direct contradiction to those who looked on will as the basis of right — a contradiction which Saint Sancho could have regarded also as that between realism (the child, the ancient, the Negro, etc.) and idealism (the youth, the modern, the Mongol, etc.). If power is taken as the basis of right, as Hobbes, etc., do, then right, law, etc., are merely the symptom, the expression of other relations upon which state power rests. The material life of individuals, which by no means depends merely on their “will”, their mode of production and form of intercourse, which mutually determine each other — this is the real basis of the state and remains so at all the stages at which division of labour and private property are still necessary, quite independently of the will of individuals. These actual relations are in no way created by the state power; on the contrary they are the power creating it, The individuals who rule in these conditions — leaving aside the fact that their power must assume the form of the state — have to give their will, which is determined by these definite conditions, a universal expression as the will of the state, as law, an expression whose content is always determined by the relations of this class, as the civil and criminal law demonstrates in the clearest possible way. Just as the weight of their bodies does not depend on their idealistic will or on their arbitrary decision, so also the fact that they enforce their own will in the form of law, and at the same time make it independent of the personal arbitrariness of each individual among them, does not depend on their idealistic will. Their personal rule must at the same time assume the form of average rule. Their personal power is based on conditions of life which as they develop are common to many individuals, and the continuance of which they, as ruling individuals, have to maintain against others and, at the same time, to maintain that they hold good for everybody. The expression of this will, which is determined by their common interests, is the law. It is precisely because individuals who are independent of one another assert themselves and their own will, and because on this basis their attitude to one another is bound to be egoistical, that self-denial is made necessary in law and right, self-denial in the exceptional case, and self-assertion of their interests in the average case (which, therefore, not they, but only the “egoist in agreement with himself” regards as self-denial). The same applies to the classes which are ruled, whose will plays just as small a part in determining the existence of law and the state. For example, so long as the productive forces are still insufficiently developed to make competition superfluous, and therefore would give rise to competition over and over again, for so long the classes which are ruled would be wanting the impossible if they had the “will” to abolish competition and with it the state and the law. Incidentally, too, it is only in the imagination of the ideologist that this “will” arises before relations have developed far enough to make the emergence of such a will possible. After relations have developed sufficiently to produce it, the ideologist is able to imagine this will as being purely arbitrary and therefore as conceivable at all times and under all circumstances.

Like right, so crime, i.e., the struggle of the isolated individual against the predominant relations, is not the result of pure arbitrariness. On the contrary, it depends on the same conditions as that domination. The same visionaries who see in right and law the domination of some independently existing general will can see in crime the mere violation of right and law. Hence the state does not exist owing to the dominant will, but the state, which arises from the material mode of life of individuals, has also the form of a dominant will. If the latter loses its domination, it means that not only the will has changed but also the material existence and life of the individuals, and only for that reason has their will changed. It is possible for rights and laws to be “inherited”, [paraphrase of a passage from Goethe’s Faust, 1. Teil, 2. “Studierzimmerszene”, where Mephistopheles says: “Laws and rights are inherited like an eternal malady”] but in that case they are no longer dominant, but nominal, of which striking examples are furnished by the history of ancient Roman law and English law. We saw earlier how a theory and history of pure thought could arise among philosophers owing to the separation of ideas from the individuals and their empirical relations which serve as the basis of these ideas. In the same way, here too one can separate right from its real basis, whereby one obtains a “dominant will” which in different eras undergoes various modifications and has its own, independent history in its creations, the laws. On this account, political and civil history becomes ideologically merged in a history of the domination of successive laws. This is the specific illusion of lawyers and politicians, which Jacques le bonhomme adopts sans façon. He succumbs to the same illusion as, for example, Frederick William IV, who also regards laws as mere caprices of the dominant will and hence always finds that they come to grief against the “awkward something” [paraphrase from Goethe’s Faust, 1. Teil, 1. “Studierzimmerszene”, where Mephistopheles says: “This something, this awkward world”] of the world. Hardly [one] of his quite harmless whims reaches a further stage of realisation than cabinet decrees. Let him issue an order for a twenty-five million loan, i.e., for one hundred and tenth part of the English national debt, and he will see whose will his dominant will is. Incidentally, we shall — find later on, too, that Jacques le bonhomme uses the phantoms or apparitions of his sovereign and fellow-Berliner as documents out of which to weave his own theoretical whimsies about right, law, crime, etc. This should occasion us the less surprise since even the spectre of the Vossische Zeitung repeatedly “offers” him something, e.g., the constitutional state. The most superficial examination of legislation, e. g., poor laws in all countries, shows how far the rulers got when they imagined that they could achieve something by means of their “dominant will” alone, i. e., simply by exercising their will. Incidentally, Saint Sancho has to accept the illusion of the lawyers and politicians about the dominant will in order to let his own will be splendidly displayed in the equations and antitheses with which we shall presently delight ourselves, and in order to arrive at the result that he can get out of his head any idea which he has put into it.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” (Saint-Jacques le bonhomme [James ] 1:2).”

Law = Dominant will of the state,
  = state will.


State will, alien will — My will, own will.
Dominant will of the state — My own will
  — My self-will.
Subjects of the state, who sustain the law of the state “Subjects of themselves (unique ones), who bear their own law in themselves” (p. 268).


A) State will = Not-my will.
B) My will = Not-state will.
C) Will = Desire.
D) My will = Non-desire of the state,
    = Will against the state,
    = Ill will towards the state.
E) To desire the non-state = Self-will.
  Self-will = Not to desire the state.
F) State will = Negation of my will,
    = My lack of will.
G) My lack of will = Existence of state will.

(We know already from the preceding that the existence of the state will is equal to the existence of the state, from which the following new equation results:)

H) My lack of will = Existence of the state.
I) The negation of my lack of will = Non-existence of the state.
K) Self-will = Negation of the state.
L) My will = Non-existence of the state.

Note 1.

According to the already quoted passage from page 256:

“States endure so long as the dominant will is regarded as equivalent to one’s own will.”

Note 2.

“He who in order to exist” (the conscience. of the state is appealed to) “is compelled to count on the lack of will of others is a creation of those others, just as the master is a creation of the servant” (p. 257). (Equations F, G, H, I.)

Note 3.

My own will is the corrupter of the state. Therefore, it is branded by the latter as self-will. One’s own will and the state are powers that are mortal enemies, between whom eternal peace is impossible” (p. 257). — “Therefore it in fact watches everybody, it sees an egoist in everyone” (self-will), “and it fears the egoist” (p. 263). “The state … opposes the duel … even a scuffle is punishable” (even if the police are not called in) (p. 245).

Note 4.

“For it, for the state, it is absolutely essential that no one should have his own will; if anyone had such a will, the state would have to expel him” (imprison, banish); “if everyone had it” (“who is this person whom you call ‘everyone'”?) “then they would abolish the state” (p. 257).

This can also be expressed rhetorically:

“What is the use of your laws if no one obeys them, what is the use of your orders if everybody refuses to accept any orders?” (p. 256).

Note 5.

The simple antithesis: “state will — my will” is given an apparent motivation in the following paragraph: “Even if one were to imagine a case where each individual in the nation had expressed the same will and thus a perfect collective will” (!) “had come into existence, things would still remain the same. Would I not today and later be bound by my will of yesterdays… My creation, that is, a definite expression of will, would have become my master: but I … the creator, would be hampered in my course and my dissolution…. Because yesterday I possessed will, I have today no will of my own; yesterday voluntary, today involuntary” (p. 258).

The old thesis, which has often been put forward both by revolutionaries and reactionaries, that in a democracy individuals. only exercise their sovereignty for a moment and then at once relinquish their authority — this thesis Saint Sancho endeavours to appropriate here in a “clumsy” fashion by applying to it his phenomenological theory of creator and creation. But the theory of creator and creation deprives this thesis of all meaning. According to this theory of his, it is not that Saint Sancho has no will of his own today because he has changed his will of yesterday, i.e., has a differently defined will, so that the nonsense which yesterday he exalted into a law as the expression of his will, now weighs like a bond or fetter on his more enlightened will of today. On the contrary, according to his theory, his, will of today must be the negation of his will of yesterday, because, as creator, he is in duty bound to dissolve his will of yesterday. Only as “one without will” is he creator, as one actually having will he is always the creation. (See “Phenomenology”) In that case, however, it by no means follows that “because yesterday he possessed will”, today he is “without will”, but rather that he bears ill will to his will of yesterday, whether the latter has assumed the form of law or not. In both cases he can abolish it as he, in general, is accustomed to do, namely as his will. Thereby he has done full justice to egoism in agreement with itself. It is, therefore, a matter of complete indifference here whether his will of yesterday has assumed as law the form of something existing outside his head, particularly if we recall that earlier the “word which escaped from him” behaved likewise in a rebellious way towards him. In the above-mentioned thesis, moreover, Saint Sancho desires to preserve, not indeed his self-will, but his free will, freedom of will, freedom, which is a serious offence against the moral code of the egoist in agreement with himself. In committing this offence, Saint Sancho even goes so far as to proclaim that true peculiarity is the inner freedom that was so much condemned above, the freedom of bearing ill will.

“How is this to be changed?,” cries Sancho. “Only in one way: by not recognising any duty, i.e., not binding myself and not allowing myself to be bound […]

“However, they will bind me’ No one can bind my will, and my ill will remains free!” (p. 258).

Drums and trumpets pay homage To his youthful splendour! [From Heine’s poem “Berg-Idylle”]

Here Saint Sancho forgets “to make the simple reflection” that his will” is indeed “bound” inasmuch as, against his will, it is “ill will”.

The above proposition that the individual will is bound by the general will expressed through law completes, by the way, the idealistic conception of the state, according to which it is only a matter of the will, and which has led French and German writers to the most subtle philosophising.

Incidentally, if it is merely a matter of “desiring” and not of “being able” and, at worst, merely of “ill will”, then it is incomprehensible why Saint Sancho wants to abolish altogether an object so productive of “desiring” and “ill will” as state law.

“Law in general, etc. — that is the stage we have reached today” (p. 256).

The things Jacques le bonhomme believes!

The equations so far examined were purely destructive as regards state and law. The true egoist had to adopt a purely destructive attitude to both. We missed appropriation; on the other hand, we had the satisfaction of seeing Saint Sancho performing a great trick

in which he shows how the state is destroyed by a mere change of will, a change which in turn depends, of course, only on the will. However, appropriation is not lacking here either, although it is quite secondary, and can produce results only later on “from time to time”. The two antitheses given above:

State will, alien will — My will, own will, Dominant will of the state — My own will

can also be summarised as follows:

Domination of alien will — Domination of one’s own will.

In this new antithesis, which incidentally all the time formed the concealed basis of his destruction of the state through his self-will, Stirner appropriates the political illusion about the domination of arbitrariness, of ideological will. He could also have expressed this as follows:

Arbitrariness of law — Law of arbitrariness.

Saint Sancho, however, did not reach such simplicity of expression.

In antithesis III we already have a “law within him”, but he appropriates the law still more directly in the following antithesis:

Law, the state’s declaration of will Law, declaration of my will, my declaration of will.

“Someone can, of course, declare what he is prepared to put up with, and consequently forbid the opposite by a law,” etc. (p. 256).

This prohibition is necessarily accompanied by threats. The last antithesis is of importance for the section on crime.

Episodes. We are told on page 256 that there is no difference between “law” and “arbitrary command, ordinance” because both = “declaration of will”, consequently “command”. — On pages 254, 255, 260 and 263, while pretending to speak about “the State” Stirner substitutes the Prussian state and deals with questions that are of the greatest importance for the Vossische Zeitung, such as the constitutional state, removability of off