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ideas, it still does not get clear of them. It pitches into the ghosts, but it can do this only as it holds them to be ghosts. The ideas it has to do with do not fully disappear; the morning breeze of a new day does not scare them away.
The critic may indeed come to ataraxia before ideas, but he never gets rid of them; i.e. he will never comprehend that above the bodily man there does not exist something higher -- to wit, liberty, his humanity, etc. He always has a "calling" of man still left, "humanity." And this idea of humanity remains unrealized, just because it is an "idea" and is to remain such.
If, on the other hand, I grasp the idea as my idea, then it is already realized, because I am its reality; its reality consists in the fact that I, the bodily, have it.
They say, the idea of liberty realizes itself in the history of the world. The reverse is the case; this idea is real as a man thinks it, and it is real in the measure in which it is idea, i. e. in which I think it or have it. It is not the idea of liberty that develops itself, but men develop themselves, and, of course, in this self-development develop their thinking too.
In short, the critic is not yet owner, because he still fights with ideas as with powerful aliens -- as the Christian is not owner of his "bad desires" so long as he has to combat them; for him who contends against vice, vice exists.
Criticism remains stuck fast in the "freedom of knowing," the freedom of the spirit, and the spirit gains its proper freedom when it fills itself with the pure, true idea; this is the freedom of thinking, which cannot be without thoughts.
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Criticism smites one idea only by another, e. g. that of privilege by that of manhood, or that of egoism by that of unselfishness.
In general, the beginning of Christianity comes on the stage again in its critical end, egoism being combated here as there. I am not to make myself (the individual) count, but the idea, the general.
Why, warfare of the priesthood with egoism, of the spiritually minded with the worldly-minded, constitutes the substance of all Christian history. In the newest criticism this war only becomes all-embracing, fanaticism complete. Indeed, neither can it pass away till it passes thus, after it has had its life and its rage out.
Whether what I think and do is Christian,
what do I care? Whether it is human, liberal, humane, whether
unhuman, illiberal, inhuman, what do I ask about that? If only
it accomplishes what I want, if only I satisfy myself in it, then
overlay it with predicates as you will; it is all alike to me.
Perhaps I too, in the very next moment, defend myself against my former thoughts; I too am likely to change suddenly my mode of action; but not on account of its not corresponding to Christianity, not on account of its running counter to the eternal rights of man, not on account of its affronting the idea of mankind, humanity, and humanitarianism, but -- because I am no longer all in it, because it no longer furnishes me any full enjoyment, because I doubt the earlier thought or no longer please myself in the mode of action just now practiced.
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As the world as property has become a material with which I undertake what I will, so the spirit too as property must sink down into a material before which I no longer entertain any sacred dread. Then, firstly, I shall shudder no more before a thought, let it appear as presumptuous and "devilish" as it will, because, if it threatens to become too inconvenient and unsatisfactory for me, its end lies in my power; but neither shall I recoil from any deed because there dwells in it a spirit of godlessness, immorality, wrongfulness. as little as St. Boniface pleased to desist, through religious scrupulousness, from cutting down the sacred oak of the heathens. If the things of the world have once become vain, the thoughts of the spirit must also become vain.
No thought is sacred, for let no thought rank as "devotions";* no feeling is sacred (no sacred feeling of friendship, mother's feelings, etc.), no belief is sacred. They are all alienable, my alienable property, and are annihilated, as they are created, by me.
The Christian can lose all things or objects, the most loved persons, these "objects" of his love, without giving up himself (i.e., in the Christian sense, his spirit, his soul! as lost. The owner can cast from him all the thoughts that were dear to his heart and kindled his zeal, and will likewise "gain a thousandfold again," because he, their creator, remains.
Unconsciously and involuntarily we all strive toward ownness, and there will hardly be one among us who has not given up a sacred feeling, a sacred
*[Andacht, a compound form of the word "thought"."]
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thought, a sacred belief; nay, we probably meet no one who could not still deliver himself from one or another of his sacred thoughts. All our contention against convictions starts from the opinion that maybe we are capable of driving our opponent out of his entrenchments of thought. But what I do unconsciously I half-do, and therefore after every victory over a faith I become again the prisoner (possessed) of a faith which then takes my whole self anew into its service, and makes me an enthusiast for reason after I have ceased to be enthusiastic for the Bible, or an enthusiast for the idea of humanity after I have fought long enough for that of Christianity.
Doubtless, as owner of thoughts, I shall cover my property with my shield, just as I do not, as owner of things, willingly let everybody help himself to them; but at the same time I shall look forward smilingly to the outcome of the battle, smilingly lay the shield on the corpses of my thoughts and my faith, smilingly triumph when I am beaten. That is the very humor of the thing. Every one who has "sublimer feelings" is able to vent his humor on the pettiness of men; but to let it play with all "great thoughts, sublime feelings, noble inspiration, and sacred faith" presupposes that I am the owner of all.
If religion has set up the proposition that we are sinners altogether, I set over against it the other: we are perfect altogether! For we are, every moment, all that we can be; and we never need be more. Since no defect cleaves to us, sin has no meaning either. Show me a sinner in the world still, if no one any longer needs to do what suits a superior! If I
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only need do what suits myself, I am no sinner if I do not do what suits myself, as I do not injure in myself a "holy one"; if, on the other hand, I am to be pious, then I must do what suits God; if I am to act humanly, I must do what suits the essence of man, the idea of mankind, etc. What religion calls the "sinner," humanitarianism calls the "egoist." But, once more: if I need not do what suits any other, is the "egoist," in whom humanitarianism has borne to itself a new-fangled devil, anything more than a piece of nonsense? The egoist, before whom the humane shudder, is a spook as much as the devil is: he exists only as a bogie and phantasm in their brain. If they were not unsophisticatedly drifting back and forth in the antediluvian opposition of good and evil, to which they have given the modern names of "human" and "egoistic," they would not have freshened up the hoary "sinner" into an "egoist" either, and put a new patch on an old garment. But they could not do otherwise, for they hold it for their task to be "men." They are rid of the Good One; good is left!*
We are perfect altogether, and on the whole earth there is not one man who is a sinner! There are crazy people who imagine that they are God the Father, God the Son, or the man in the moon, and so too the world swarms with fools who seem to themselves to be sinners; but, as the former are not the man in the moon, so the latter are -- not sinners. Their sin is imaginary
*[See note on p. 112.]
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Yet, it is insidiously objected, their craziness or their possessedness is at least their sin. Their possessedness is nothing but what they -- could achieve, the result of their development, just as Luther's faith in the Bible was all that he was -- competent to make out. The one brings himself into the madhouse with his development, the other brings himself therewith into the Pantheon and to the loss of --Valhalla.
There is no sinner and no sinful egoism!
Get away from me with your "philanthropy"! Creep in, you philanthropist, into the "dens of vice," linger awhile in the throng of the great city: will you not everywhere find sin, and sin, and again sin? Will you not wail over corrupt humanity, not lament at the monstrous egoism? Will you see a rich man without finding him pitiless and "egoistic?" Perhaps you already call yourself an atheist, but you remain true to the Christian feeling that a camel will sooner go through a needle's eye than a rich man not be an "un-man." How many do you see anyhow that you would not throw into the "egoistic mass"? What, therefore, has your philanthropy [love of man] found? Nothing but unlovable men! And where do they all come from? From you, from your philanthropy! You brought the sinner with you in your head, therefore you found him, therefore you inserted him everywhere. Do not call men sinners, and they are not: you alone are the creator of sinners; you, who fancy that you love men, are the very one to throw them into the mire of sin, the very one to divide them into vicious and virtuous, into men and un-men, the very one to befoul them with the
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slaver of your possessedness; for you love not men, but man. But I tell you, you have never seen a sinner, you have only -- dreamed of him.
Self-enjoyment is embittered to me by my thinking I must serve another, by my fancying myself under obligation to him, by my holding myself called to "self-sacrifice," "resignation," "enthusiasm." All right: if I no longer serve any idea, any "higher essence," then it is clear of itself that I no longer serve any man either, but -- under all circumstances -- myself. But thus I am not merely in fact or in being, but also for my consciousness, the -- unique.*
There pertains to you more than the divine, the human, etc.; yours pertains to you.
Look upon yourself as more powerful than they give you out for, and you have more power; look upon yourself as more, and you have more.
You are then not merely called to everything divine, entitled to everything human, but owner of what is yours, i.e. of all that you possess the force to make your own; ** i.e. you are appropriate *** and capacitated for everything that is yours.
People have always supposed that they must give me a destiny lying outside myself, so that at last they demanded that I should lay claim to the human because I am -- man. This is the Christian magic circle. Fichte's ego too is the same essence outside me, for every one is ego; and, if only this ego has rights, then it is "the ego," it is not I. But I am not an ego along with other egos, but the sole ego: I am
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unique. Hence my wants too are unique, and my deeds; in short, everything about me is unique. And it is only as this unique I that I take everything for my own, as I set myself to work, and develop myself, only as this. I do not develop men, nor as man, but, as I, I develop -- myself.
This is the meaning of the -- unique one.
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Pre-Christian and Christian times
pursue opposite goals; the former wants to idealize the real,
the latter to realize the ideal; the former seeks the "holy
spirit," the latter the "glorified body." Hence
the former closes with insensitivity to the real, with "contempt
for the world"; the latter will end with the casting off
of the ideal, with "contempt for the spirit."
The opposition of the real and the ideal is an irreconcilable one, and the one can never become the other: if the ideal became the real, it would no longer be the ideal; and, if the real became the ideal, the ideal alone would be, but not at all the real. The opposition of the two is not to be vanquished otherwise than if some one annihilates both. Only in this "some one," the third party, does the opposition find its end; otherwise idea and reality will ever fail to coincide. The idea cannot be so realized as to remain idea, but is realized only when it dies as idea; and it is the same with the real.
But now we have before us in the ancients adherents of the idea, in the moderns adherents of reality. Neither can get clear of the opposition, and both pine only, the one party for the spirit, and, when this crav-
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ing of the ancient world seemed to be satisfied and this spirit to have come, the others immediately for the secularization of this spirit again, which must forever remain a "pious wish."
The pious wish of the ancients was sanctity, the pious wish of the moderns is corporeity. But, as antiquity had to go down if its longing was to be satisfied (for it consisted only in the longing), so too corporeity can never be attained within the ring of Christianness. As the trait of sanctification or purification goes through the old world (the washings, etc.), so that of incorporation goes through the Christian world: God plunges down into this world, becomes flesh, and wants to redeem it,
e. g., fill it with himself; but, since he is "the idea" or "the spirit," people (e. g. Hegel) in the end introduce the idea into everything, into the world, and prove "that the idea is, that reason is, in everything." "Man" corresponds in the culture of today to what the heathen Stoics set up as "the wise man"; the latter, like the former, a -- fleshless being. The unreal "wise man," this bodiless "holy one" of the Stoics, became a real person, a bodily "Holy One," in God made flesh; the unreal "man," the bodiless ego, will become real in the corporeal ego, in me.
There winds its way through Christianity the question about the "existence of God," which, taken up ever and ever again, gives testimony that the craving for existence, corporeity, personality, reality, was incessantly busying the heart because it never found a satisfying solution. At last the question about the existence of God fell, but only to rise up again in the
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proposition that the "divine" had existence (Feuerbach). But this too has no existence, and neither will the last refuge, that the "purely human" is realizable, afford shelter much longer. No idea has existence, for none is capable of corporeity. The scholastic contention of realism and nominalism has the same content; in short, this spins itself out through all Christian history, and cannot end in it.
The world of Christians is working at realizing ideas in the individual relations of life, the institutions and laws of the Church and the State; but they make resistance, and always keep back something unembodied (unrealizable). Nevertheless this embodiment is restlessly rushed after, no matter in what degree corporeity constantly fails to result.
For realities matter little to the realizer, but it matters everything that they be realizations of the idea. Hence he is ever examining anew whether the realized does in truth have the idea, its kernel, dwelling in it; and in testing the real he at the same time tests the idea, whether it is realizable as he thinks it, or is only thought by him incorrectly, and for that reason unfeasibly.
The Christian is no longer to care for family, State, etc., as existences; Christians are not to sacrifice themselves for these "divine things" like the ancients, but these are only to be utilized to make the spirit alive in them. The real family has become indifferent, and there is to arise out of it an ideal one which would then be the "truly real," a sacred family, blessed by God, or, according to the liberal way of thinking, a "rational" family. With the ancients, family, State,
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fatherland, is divine as a thing extant; with the moderns it is still awaiting divinity, as extant it is only sinful, earthly, and has still to be "redeemed," i. e., to become truly real. This has the following meaning: The family, etc., is not the extant and real, but the divine, the idea, is extant and real; whether this family will make itself real by taking up the truly real, the idea, is still unsettled. It is not the individual's task to serve the family as the divine, but, reversely, to serve the divine and to bring to it the still undivine family, to subject everything in the idea's name, to set up the idea's banner everywhere, to bring the idea to real efficacy.
But, since the concern of Christianity, as of antiquity, is for the divine, they always come out at this again on their opposite ways. At the end of heathenism the divine becomes the extramundane, at the end of Christianity the intramundane. Antiquity does not succeed in putting it entirely outside the world, and, when Christianity accomplishes this task, the divine instantly longs to get back into the world and wants to "redeem" the world. But within Christianity it does not and cannot come to this, that the divine as intramundane should really become the mundane itself: there is enough left that does and must maintain itself unpenetrated as the "bad," irrational, accidental, "egoistic," the "mundane" in the bad sense. Christianity begins with God's becoming man, and carries on its work of conversion and redemption through all time in order to prepare for God a reception in all men and in everything human, and to penetrate everything with the spirit: it sticks to
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preparing a place for the "spirit."
When the accent was at last laid on Man or mankind, it was again the idea that they "pronounced eternal. " "Man does not die!" They thought they had now found the reality of the idea: Man is the I of history, of the world's history; it is he, this ideal, that really develops, i.e. realizes, himself. He is the really real and corporeal one, for history is his body, in which individuals are only members. Christ is the I of the world's history, even of the pre-Christian; in modern apprehension it is man, the figure of Christ has developed into the figure of man: man as such, man absolutely, is the "central point" of history. In "man" the imaginary beginning returns again; for "man" is as imaginary as Christ is. "Man," as the I of the world's history, closes the cycle of Christian apprehensions.
Christianity's magic circle would be broken if the strained relation between existence and calling, e. g., between me as I am and me as I should be, ceased; it persists only as the longing of the idea for its bodiliness, and vanishes with the relaxing separation of the two: only when the idea remains -- idea, as man or mankind is indeed a bodiless idea, is Christianity still extant. The corporeal idea, the corporeal or "completed" spirit, floats before the Christian as "the end of the days" or as the "goal of history"; it is not present time to him.
The individual can only have a part in the founding of the Kingdom of God, or, according to the modern notion of the same thing, in the development and history of humanity; and only so far as he has a
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part in it does a Christian, or according to the modern expression human, value pertain to him; for the rest he is dust and a worm-bag. That the individual is of himself a world's history, and possesses his property in the rest of the world's history, goes beyond what is Christian. To the Christian the world's history is the higher thing, because it is the history of Christ or "man"; to the egoist only his history has value, because he wants to develop only himself not the mankind-idea, not God's plan, not the purposes of Providence, not liberty, etc. He does not look upon himself as a tool of the idea or a vessel of God, he recognizes no calling, he does not fancy that he exists for the further development of mankind and that he must contribute his mite to it, but he lives himself out, careless of how well or ill humanity may fare thereby. If it were not open to confusion with the idea that a state of nature is to be praised, one might recall Lenau's "Three Gypsies."- What, am I in the world to realize ideas? To do my part by my citizenship, say, toward the realization of the idea "State," or by marriage, as husband and father, to bring the idea of the family into an existence? What does such a calling concern me! I live after a calling as little as the flower grows and gives fragrance after a calling.
The ideal "Man" is realized when the Christian apprehension turns about and becomes the proposition, "I, this unique one, am man." The conceptual question, "what is man?" -- has then changed into the personal question, "who is man?" With "what" the concept was sought for, in order to realize it; with
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"who" it is no longer any question at all, but the answer is personally on hand at once in the asker: the question answers itself.
They say of God, "Names name thee not." That holds good of me: no concept expresses me, nothing that is designated as my essence exhausts me; they are only names. Likewise they say of God that he is perfect and has no calling to strive after perfection. That too holds good of me alone.
I am owner of my might, and I am so when I know myself as unique. In the unique one the owner himself returns into his creative nothing, of which he is born. Every higher essence above me, be it God, be it man, weakens the feeling of my uniqueness, and pales only before the sun of this consciousness. If I concern myself for myself,* the unique one, then my concern rests on its transitory, mortal creator, who consumes himself, and I may say:
All things are nothing to me.**
* [Stell' Ich auf Mich meine
Sache. Literally, "if I set my affair
**["Ich hab' Mein' Sach' auf Nichts gestellt." Literally, "I have set my affair on nothing." See note on p. 8.]
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