The German Ideology by Marx and Engels
“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 “the book”, 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 . 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).
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 “profitable egoism”. 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.
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 spiritual, rational 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, nevertheless I 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 trick No. 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": I alone 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 character of 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 penetrating behind 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, until little 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 egoistic burgher, 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 attempted solution 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.
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:
III. The negative unity of the two. “One” (p. 485),
I.. Child, dependent on things (realism).
II. Youth, dependent on ideas (idealism).
III. Man — (as the negative unity)
the owner of ideas and things (egoism)
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.
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  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 the sophos is by no means Only a Stoic but is met with just as much among the Epicureans, the Neo-academists and the Sceptics. Incidentally, the sophos 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  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”), 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 his Psychology [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.
“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, beyond theology”, 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 — to animals 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  “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.