Source Material – The Ego And Its Own
Pages Covered – Page 11
Well this is it, I’m finally starting on my series of philosophical reflections on whatever I read. This is how the format will be like for now on, by the way. Every post will have “Philosophical Reflections” in the title followed by the abbreviation of the title of the work that I am reading. Also, these posts will be further organized in parts. I believe that this way people shouldn’t have too much trouble in navigating.
Furthermore, there will always be an Author’s Notes section with the source material available. There may or may not be some words from me, but there will always be the pages that were covered in the scope of the post. Without further ado, let us begin.
The Excerpt Part I
The author has made certain work of it, even though he has to wait for his public; but still, the reception of the book by its critics amply proves the truth of the saying that one can give another arguments, but not understanding. The system-makers and system-believers thus far cannot get it out of their heads that any discourse about the nature of an ego must turn upon the common characteristics of egos, to make a systematic scheme of what they share as a generality. The critics inquire what kind of man the author is talking about.
They repeat the question: What does he believe in? They fail to grasp the purport of the recorded answer: “I believe in myself”; which is attributed to a common soldier long before the time of Stirner. They ask, what is the principle of the self-conscious egoist, the Einzige? To this perplexity Stirner says: Change the question; put “who?” instead of “what?” and an answer can then be given by naming him!
The Excerpt Part II
This, of course, is too simple for persons governed by ideas, and for persons in quest of new governing ideas. They wish to classify the man. Now, that in me which you can classify is not my distinguishing self. “Man” is the horizon or zero of my existence as an individual. Over that I rise as I can. At least I am something more than “man in general.”
Pre-existing worship of ideals and disrespect for self had made of the ego at the very most a Somebody,The Ego And Its Own by Max Stirner
oftener an empty vessel to be filled with the grace or the leavings of a tyrannous doctrine; thus a Nobody. Stirner dispels the morbid subjection, and recognizes each one who knows and feels himself as his own property to be neither humble Nobody nor befogged Somebody, but henceforth flat-footed and level-headed Mr. Thisbody, who has a character and good pleasure of his own, just as he has a name of his own.
The Reflection Part I
Unfortunately, only a few people can become “Thisbodies” without succumbing into a state of lesser being, it seems… In my heart I understand that the best outcome is for everyone to have autonomy, in the sense that nobody is guided by the ideals/values & principles of anyone else but himself. In my mind however, I understand that this is a futile endeavor.
Rulers seek to rule because they believe fellow Man to be just as depraved as they are, if not more depraved. And so in order to protect himself he must dominate & oppress those willing to listen to him. But in the end, they, we, are all cut from the same cloth, and so are capable of all the same things & thoughts.
For the great majority of people however, they feel themselves to be “lesser than Man.” I say this because most “men” chase after the ideal of being a man, of being “manly,” as if their self-esteem is low enough to delude themselves into seeing themselves as less than human. This is a combination of internal repression and external oppression.
The Reflection Part II
I agree with the excerpt, however, “being a man” has always been the starting point in my eyes. I was simply born as a man and now I simply grow “to be.” Hence I suppose I was never insecure in masculinity simply because nothing could ever strip that away from me. I’ve always been more interested in being myself than “being a man”. How can I not be what I already am, after all? It is a finite category. Who I am, however… That’s much more interesting…
Hmmm…Who am I vs. Who I am. Myself As if the concept of self is something I possess but isn’t me/I in the first place. Strip an individual of his soul, his will, is name…Any of his identifiers.
Who is he then?
For me personally, I’ve felt that even if I lost everything that defined me and my identity, it would ultimately not matter as I am still Me without definition. All that truly matters is in my ability to continue or not. If I cannot continue, only truly then can I call this, “the end of me.”
And that is the end of my first reflection. There are many more posts to come. I do hope that you all will glimpse something out of this for yourselves. That’s all that I have to say, thank you.
Regards From Your Fellow Wonderer,
I agree with most of what you have said, and I believe that the ego is the root of all our suffering. I believe that the search for a “self” is ultimately futile just as searching for what it means to “be a man”; I’d compare it to the everlasting search for the holy grail. How could we even indulge in ourselves, when we don’t even really know who we are, or even at best ‘what we are? Maybe rather than indulging in ourselves to create more suffering by going on an everlasting search, and preservation of the self; we should give it up, and embrace our emptiness. Maybe then we will be better off for it.