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how with the proletarian? As he has nothing to lose, he does not need the protection of the State for his "nothing." He may gain, on the contrary, if that protection of the State is withdrawn from the protégé.
Therefore the non-possessor will regard the State as a power protecting the possessor, which privileges the latter, but does nothing for him, the non-possessor, but to -- suck his blood. The State is a -- commoners' State, is the estate of the commonalty. It protects man not according to his labor, but according to his tractableness ("loyalty") -- to wit, according to whether the rights entrusted to him by the State are enjoyed and managed in accordance with the will, i. e., laws, of the State.
Under the regime of the commonalty the laborers always fall into the hands of the possessors, of those who have at their disposal some bit of the State domains (and everything possessible in State domain, belongs to the State, and is only a fief of the individual), especially money and land; of the capitalists, therefore. The laborer cannot realize on his labor to the extent of the value that it has for the consumer. "Labor is badly paid!" The capitalist has the greatest profit from it. -- Well paid, and more than well paid, are only the labors of those who heighten the splendor and dominion of the State, the labors of high State servants. The State pays well that its "good citizens," the possessors, may be able to pay badly without danger; it secures to itself by good payment its servants, out of whom it forms a protecting power, a "police" (to the police belong soldiers, officials of all kinds, e. g. those of justice, education, etc. -- in short, the whole "machinery of the State")
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for the "good citizens," and the "good citizens" gladly pay high tax-rates to it in order to pay so much lower rates to their laborers.
But the class of laborers, because unprotected in what they essentially are (for they do not enjoy the protection of the State as laborers, but as its subjects they have a share in the enjoyment of the police, a so-called protection of the law), remains a power hostile to this State, this State of possessors, this "citizen kingship." Its principle, labor, is not recognized as to its value; it is exploited,* a spoil** of the possessors, the enemy.
The laborers have the most enormous power in their hands, and, if they once became thoroughly conscious of it and used it, nothing would withstand them; they would only have to stop labor, regard the product of labor as theirs, and enjoy it. This is the sense of the labor disturbances which show themselves here and there.
The State rests on the -- slavery of labor. If labor becomes free. the State is lost.
We are freeborn men, and wherever
we look we see ourselves made servants of egoists! Are we therefore
to become egoists too! Heaven forbid! We want rather to make egoists
impossible! We want to make them all "ragamuffins";
all of us must have nothing, that "all may have."
So say the Socialists.
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Who is this person that you call "All"? -- It is "society"! -- But is it corporeal, then? -- We are its body! -- You? Why, you are not a body yourselves -- you, sir, are corporeal to be sure, you too, and you, but you all together are only bodies, not a body. Accordingly the united society may indeed have bodies at its service, but no one body of its own. Like the "nation of the politicians, it will turn out to be nothing but a "spirit," its body only semblance.
The freedom of man is, in political liberalism, freedom from persons, from personal dominion, from the master; the securing of each individual person against other persons, personal freedom.
No one has any orders to give; the law alone gives orders.
But, even if the persons have become equal, yet their possessions have not. And yet the poor man needs the rich, the rich the poor, the former the rich man's money, the latter the poor man's labor. So no one needs another as a person, but needs him as a giver, and thus as one who has something to give, as holder or possessor. So what he has makes the man. And in having, or in "possessions," people are unequal.
Consequently, social liberalism concludes, no one must have, as according to political liberalism no one was to give orders; i.e. as in that case the State alone obtained the command, so now society alone obtains the possessions.
For the State, protecting each one's person and property against the other, separates them from one another; each one is his special part and has his
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special part. He who is satisfied with what he is and has finds this state of things profitable; but he who would like to be and have more looks around for this "more," and finds it in the power of other persons. Here he comes upon a contradiction; as a person no one is inferior to another, and yet one person has what another has not but would like to have. So, he concludes, the one person is more than the other, after all, for the former has what he needs, the latter has not; the former is a rich man, the latter a poor man.
He now asks himself further, are we to let what we rightly buried come to life again? Are we to let this circuitously restored inequality of persons pass? No; on the contrary, we must bring quite to an end what was only half accomplished. Our freedom from another's person still lacks the freedom from what the other's person can command, from what he has in his personal power -- in short, from "personal property." Let us then do away with personal property. Let no one have anything any longer, let every one be a -- ragamuffin. Let property be impersonal, let it belong to -- society.
Before the supreme ruler, the sole commander, we had all become equal, equal persons, i. e., nullities.
Before the supreme proprietor we all become equal -- ragamuffins. For the present, one is still in another's estimation a "ragamuffin," a "have-nothing"; but then this estimation ceases. We are all ragamuffins together, and as the aggregate of Communistic society we might call ourselves a "ragamuffin crew."
When the proletarian shall really have founded his purposed "society" in which the interval between rich
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and poor is to be removed, then he will be a ragamuffin, for then he will feel that it amounts to something to be a ragamuffin, and might lift "Ragamuffin" to be an honourable form of address, just as the Revolution did with the word "Citizen." Ragamuffin is his ideal; we are all to become ragamuffins.
This is the second robbery of the "personal" in the interest of "humanity." Neither command nor property is left to the individual; the State took the former, society the latter.
Because in society the most oppressive evils make themselves felt, therefore the oppressed especially, and consequently the members of the lower regions of society, think they found the fault in society, and make it their task to discover the right society. This is only the old phenomenon -- that one looks for the fault first in everything but himself, and consequently in the State, in the self-seeking of the rich, etc., which yet have precisely our fault to thank for their existence.
The reflections and conclusions of Communism look very simple. As matters lie at this time -- in the present situation with regard to the State, therefore -- some, and they the majority, are at a disadvantage compared to others, the minority. In this state of things the former are in a state of prosperity, the latter in state of need. Hence the present state of things, i.e. the State itself, must be done away with. And what in its place? Instead of the isolated state of prosperity -- a general state of prosperity, a prosperity of all.
Through the Revolution the bourgeoisie became
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omnipotent, and all inequality was abolished by every one's being raised or degraded to the dignity of a citizen : the common man -- raised, the aristocrat -- degraded; the third estate became sole estate, viz., namely, the estate of -- citizens of the State. Now Communism responds: Our dignity and our essence consist not in our being all -- the equal children of our mother, the State, all born with equal claim to her love and her protection, but in our all existing for each other. This is our equality, or herein we are equal, in that we, I as well as you and you and all of you, are active or "labor" each one for the rest; in that each of us is a laborer, then. The point for us is not what we are for the State (citizens), not our citizenship therefore, but what we are for each other, that each of us exists only through the other, who, caring for my wants, at the same time sees his own satisfied by me. He labors e. g. for my clothing (tailor), I for his need of amusement (comedy-writer, rope-dancer), he for my food (farmer), I for his instruction (scientist). It is labor that constitutes our dignity and our -- equality.
What advantage does citizenship bring us? Burdens! And how high is our labor appraised? As low as possible! But labor is our sole value all the same: that we are laborers is the best thing about us, this is our significance in the world, and therefore it must be our consideration too and must come to receive consideration. What can you meet us with? Surely nothing but -- labor too. Only for labor or services do we owe you a recompense, not for your bare existence; not for what you are for yourselves
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either, but only for what you are for us. By what have you claims on us? Perhaps by your high birth? No, only by what you do for us that is desirable or useful. Be it thus then: we are willing to be worth to you only so much as we do for you; but you are to be held likewise by us. Services determine value, -- i.e. those services that are worth something to us, and consequently labors for each other, labors for the common good. Let each one be in the other's eyes a laborer. He who accomplishes something useful is inferior to none, or -- all laborers (laborers, of course, in the sense of laborers "for the common good," i. e., communistic laborers) are equal. But, as the laborer is worth his wages,* let the wages too be equal.
As long as faith sufficed for man's honor and dignity, no labor, however harassing, could be objected to if it only did not hinder a man in his faith. Now, on the contrary, when every one is to cultivate himself into man, condemning a man to machine-like labor amounts to the same thing as slavery. If a factory worker must tire himself to death twelve hours and more, he is cut off from becoming man. Every labor is to have the intent that the man be satisfied. Therefore he must become a master in it too, i.e. be able to perform it as a totality. He who in a pin factory only puts on the heads, only draws the wire, works, as it were, mechanically, like a machine; he remains half-trained, does not become a master: his labor cannot satisfy him, it can only fatigue him. His labor is nothing by itself, has no object in
*[In German an exact quotation of Luke 10. 7.]
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itself, is nothing complete in itself; he labors only into another's hands, and is used (exploited) by this other. For this laborer in another's service there is no enjoyment of a cultivated mind, at most, crude amusements: culture, you see, is barred against him. To be a good Christian one needs only to believe, and that can be done under the most oppressive circumstances. Hence the Christian-minded take care only of the oppressed laborers' piety, their patience, submission, etc. Only so long as the downtrodden classes were Christians could they bear all their misery: for Christianity does not let their murmurings and exasperation rise. Now the hushing of desires is no longer enough, but their sating is demanded. The bourgeoisie has proclaimed the gospel of the enjoyment of the world, of material enjoyment, and now wonders that this doctrine finds adherents among us poor: it has shown that not faith and poverty, but culture and possessions, make a man blessed; we proletarians understand that too.
The commonalty freed us from the orders and arbitrariness of individuals. But that arbitrariness was left which springs from the conjuncture of situations, and may be called the fortuity of circumstances; favoring .fortune. and those "favored by fortune," still remain.
When, e. g., a branch of industry is ruined and thousands of laborers become breadless, people think reasonably enough to acknowledge that it is not the individual who must bear the blame, but that "the evil lies in the situation." Let us change the situation then, but let us change it thoroughly, and so that its fortuity becomes power-
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less. and a law! Let us no longer be slaves of chance! Let us create a new order that makes an end of fluctuations. Let this order then be sacred!
Formerly one had to suit the lords to come to anything; after the Revolution the word was "Grasp fortune!" Luck-hunting or hazard-playing, civil life was absorbed in this. Then, alongside this, the demand that he who has obtained something shall not frivolously stake it again.
Strange and yet supremely natural contradiction. Competition, in which alone civil or political life unrolls itself, is a game of luck through and through, from the speculations of the exchange down to the solicitation of offices, the hunt for customers, looking for work, aspiring to promotion and decorations, the second-hand dealer's petty haggling, etc. If one succeeds in supplanting and outbidding his rivals, then the "lucky throw" is made; for it must be taken as a piece of luck to begin with that the victor sees himself equipped with an ability (even though it has been developed by the most careful industry) against which the others do not know how to rise, consequently that -- no abler ones are found. And now those who ply their daily lives in the midst of these changes of fortune without seeing any harm in it are seized with the most virtuous indignation when their own principle appears in naked form and "breeds misfortune" as -- hazard-playing. Hazard-playing, you see, is too clear, too barefaced a competition, and, like every decided nakedness, offends honourable modesty.
The Socialists want to put a stop to this activity of chance, and to form a society in which men are no
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longer dependent on fortune, but free.
In the most natural way in the world this endeavor first utters itself as hatred of the "unfortunate" against the "fortunate," i.e., of those for whom fortune has done little or nothing, against those for whom it has done everything. But properly the ill- feeling is not directed against the fortunate, but against fortune, this rotten spot of the commonalty.
As the Communists first declare free activity to be man's essence, they, like all work-day dispositions, need a Sunday; like all material endeavors, they need a God, an uplifting and edification alongside their witless "labor."
That the Communist sees in you the man, the brother, is only the Sunday side of Communism. According to the work-day side he does not by any means take you as man simply, but as human laborer or laboring man. The first view has in it the liberal principle; in the second, illiberality is concealed. If you were a "lazy-bones," he would not indeed fail to recognize the man in you, but would endeavor to cleanse him as a "lazy man" from laziness and to convert you to the faith that labor is man's "destiny and calling."
Therefore he shows a double face: with the one he takes heed that the spiritual man be satisfied, with the other he looks about him for means for the material or corporeal man. He gives man a twofold post -- an office of material acquisition and one of spiritual.
The commonalty had thrown open spiritual and material goods, and left it with each one to reach out
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for them if he liked.
Communism really procures them for each one, presses them upon him, and compels him to acquire them. It takes seriously the idea that, because only spiritual and material goods make us men, we must unquestionably acquire these goods in order to be man. The commonalty made acquisition free; Communism compels to acquisition, and recognizes only the acquirer, him who practices a trade. It is not enough that the trade is free, but you must take it up.
So all that is left for criticism to do is to prove that the acquisition of these goods does not yet by any means make us men.
With the liberal commandment that every one is to make a man of himself, or every one to make himself man, there was posited the necessity that every one must gain time for this labor of humanization, i. e., that it should become possible for every one to labor on himself.
The commonalty thought it had brought this about if it handed over everything human to competition, but gave the individual a right to every human thing. "Each may strive after everything!"
Social liberalism finds that the matter is not settled with the "may," because may means only "it is forbidden to none" but not "it is made possible to every one." Hence it affirms that the commonalty is liberal only with the mouth and in words, supremely illiberal in act. It on its part wants to give all of us the means to be able to labor on ourselves.
By the principle of labor that of fortune or compe-
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tition is certainly outdone. But at the same time the laborer, in his consciousness that the essential thing in him is "the laborer," holds himself aloof from egoism and subjects himself to the supremacy of a society of laborers, as the commoner clung with self-abandonment to the competition-State. The beautiful dream of a "social duty" still continues to be dreamed. People think again that society gives what we need, and we are under obligations to it on that account, owe it everything.* They are still at the point of wanting to serve a "supreme giver of all good." That society is no ego at all, which could give, bestow, or grant, but an instrument or means, from which we may derive benefit; that we have no social duties, but solely interests for the pursuance of which society must serve us; that we owe society no sacrifice, but, if we sacrifice anything, sacrifice it to ourselves -- of this the Socialists do not think, because they -- as liberals -- are imprisoned in the religious principle, and zealously aspire after -- a sacred society, e. g. the State was hitherto.
Society, from which we have everything, is a new master, a new spook, a new "supreme being," which "takes us into its service and allegiance!"
The more precise appreciation of political as well as social liberalism must wait to find its place further on. For the present we pass this over, in order first to summon them before the tribunal of humane or critical liberalism.
*Proudhon (Création de l'Ordre) cries out, p. 414, "In industry, as in science, the publication of an invention is the first and most sacred of duties!"
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As liberalism is completed in self-criticizing,
"critical"* liberalism -- in which the critic remains
a liberal and does not go beyond the principle of liberalism,
Man -- this may distinctively be named after Man and called the
The laborer is counted as the most material and egoistical man. He does nothing at all for humanity, does everything for himself, for his welfare.
The commonalty, because it proclaimed the freedom of Man only as to his birth, had to leave him in the claws of the un-human man (the egoist) for the rest of life. Hence under the regime of political liberalism egoism has an immense field for free utilization.
The laborer will utilize society for his egoistic ends as the commoner does the State. You have only an egoistic end after all, your welfare, is the humane liberal's reproach to the Socialist; take up a purely human interest, then I will be your companion. "But to this there belongs a consciousness stronger, more comprehensive, than a laborer-consciousness". "The laborer makes nothing, therefore he has nothing; but he makes nothing because his labor is always a labor that remains individual, calculated strictly for
*[In his strictures on "criticism" Stirner refers to a special movement known by that name in the early forties of the last century, of which Bruno Bauer was the principal exponent. After his official separation from the faculty of the university of Bonn on account of his views in regard to the Bible, Bruno Bauer in 1843 settled near Berlin and founded the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, in which he and his friends, at war with their surroundings, championed the "absolute emancipation" of the individual within the limits of "pure humanity" and fought as their foe "the mass," comprehending in that term the radical aspirations of political liberalism and the communistic demands of the rising Socialist movement of that time. For a brief account of Bruno Bauer's movement of criticism, see John Henry Mackay, Max Stirner. Sein Leben und sein Werk.]
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his own want, a labor day by day."* In opposition to this one might, e. g., consider the fact that Gutenberg's labor did not remain individual, but begot innumerable children, and still lives today; it was calculated for the want of humanity, and was an eternal, imperishable labor.
The humane consciousness despises the commoner-consciousness as well as the laborer-consciousness: for the commoner is "indignant" only at vagabonds (at all who have "no definite occupation") and their "immorality"; the laborer is "disgusted" by the idler ("lazy-bones") and his "immoral," because parasitic and unsocial, principles. To this the humane liberal retorts: The unsettledness of many is only your product, Philistine! But that you, proletarian, demand the grind of all, and want to make drudgery general, is a part, still clinging to you, of your pack-mule life up to this time. Certainly you want to lighten drudgery itself by all having to drudge equally hard, yet only for this reason, that all may gain leisure to an equal extent. But what are they to do with their leisure? What does your "society" do, that this leisure may be passed humanly? It must leave the gained leisure to egoistic preference again, and the very gain that your society furthers falls to the egoist, as the gain of the commonalty, the masterlessness of man, could not be filled with a human element by the State, and therefore was left to arbitrary choice.
It is assuredly necessary that man be masterless: but
*Br. Bauer, "Lit. Ztg." V, 18
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therefore the egoist is not to become master over man again either, but man over the egoist. Man must assuredly find leisure: but, if the egoist makes use of it, it will be lost for man; therefore you ought to have given leisure a human significance. But you laborers undertake even your labor from an egoistic impulse, because you want to eat, drink, live; how should you be less egoists in leisure? You labor only because having your time to yourselves (idling) goes well after work done, and what you are to while away your leisure time with is left to chance.
But, if every door is to be bolted against egoism, it would be necessary to strive after completely "disinterested" action, total disinterestedness. This alone is human, because only Man is disinterested, the egoist always interested.
If we let disinterestedness pass
unchallenged for a while, then we ask, do you mean not to take
an interest in anything, not to be enthusiastic for anything,
not for liberty, humanity, etc.? "Oh, yes, but that is not
an egoistic interest, not interestedness, but a human,
i.e. a -- theoretical interest, to wit, an interest
not for an individual or individuals ('all'), but for the idea,
And you do not notice that you too are enthusiastic only for your idea, your idea of liberty?
And, further, do you not notice that your disinterestedness is again, like religious disinterestedness, a heavenly interestedness? Certainly benefit to the individual leaves you cold, and abstractly you could cry fiat libertas, pereat mundus. You do not take
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thought for the coming day either, and take no serious care for the individual's wants anyhow, not for your own comfort nor for that of the rest; but you make nothing of all this, because you are a -- dreamer.
Do you suppose the humane liberal will be so liberal as to aver that everything possible to man is human? On the contrary! He does not, indeed, share the Philistine's moral prejudice about the strumpet, but "that this woman turns her body into a money-getting machine"* makes her despicable to him as "human being." His judgment is, the strumpet is not a human being; or, so far as a woman is a strumpet, so far is she unhuman, dehumanized. Further: The Jew, the Christian, the privileged person, the theologian, etc., is not a human being; so far as you are a Jew, etc., you are not a human being. Again the imperious postulate: Cast from you everything peculiar, criticize it away! Be not a Jew, not a Christian, but be a human being, nothing but a human being. Assert your humanity against every restrictive specification; make yourself, by means of it, a human being, and free from those limits; make yourself a "free man" -- i.e. recognize humanity as your all-determining essence.
I say: You are indeed more than a Jew, more than a Christian, etc., but you are also more than a human being. Those are all ideas, but you are corporeal. Do you suppose, then, that you can ever become a "human being as such?" Do you suppose our posterity will find no prejudices and limits to clear away, for
*"Lit. Ztg." V, 26
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which our powers were not sufficient? Or do you perhaps think that in your fortieth or fiftieth year you have come so far that the following days have nothing more to dissipate in you, and that you are a human being? The men of the future will yet fight their way to many a liberty that we do not even miss. What do you need that later liberty for? If you meant to esteem yourself as nothing before you had become a human being, you would have to wait till the "last judgment," till the day when man, or humanity, shall have attained perfection. But, as you will surely die before that, what becomes of your prize of victory?
Rather, therefore, invert the case, and say to yourself, I am a human being! I do not need to begin by producing the human being in myself, for he belongs to me already, like all my qualities.
But, asks the critic, how can one be a Jew and a man at once? In the first place, I answer, one cannot be either a Jew or a man at all, if "one" and Jew or man are to mean the same; "one" always reaches beyond those specifications, and -- let Isaacs be ever so Jewish -- a Jew, nothing but a Jew, he cannot be, just because he is this Jew. In the second place, as a Jew one assuredly cannot be a man, if being a man means being nothing special. But in the third place -- and this is the point -- I can, as a Jew, be entirely what I -- can be. From Samuel or Moses, and others, you hardly expect that they should have raised themselves above Judaism, although you must say that they were not yet "men." They simply were what they could be. Is it otherwise with the Jews of today? Because you have discovered the idea of humanity, does it fol-
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low from this that every Jew can become a convert to it? If he can, he does not fail to, and, if he fails to, he -- cannot. What does your demand concern him? What the call to be a man, which you address to him?
As a universal principle, in the
"human society" which the humane liberal promises, nothing
"special" which one or another has is to find recognition,
nothing which bears the character of "private" is to
have value. In this way the circle of liberalism, which has its
good principle in man and human liberty, its bad in the, egoist
and everything private, its God in the former, its devil in the
latter, rounds itself off completely; and, if the special or private
person lost his value in the State (no personal prerogative),
if in the "laborers' or ragamuffins' society" special
(private) property is no longer recognized, so in "human
society" everything special or private will be left out of
account; and, when "pure criticism" shall have accomplished
its arduous task, then it will be known just what we must look
upon as private, and what, "penetrated with a sense of our
nothingness," we must -- let stand.
Because State and Society do not suffice for humane liberalism, it negates both, and at the same time retains them. So at one time the cry is that the task of the day is "not a political, but a social, one," and then again the "free State" is promised for the future. In truth, "human society" is both -- the most general State and the most general society. Only against the limited State is it asserted that it makes too much stir about spiritual private interests (e. g. people's religious
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belief), and against limited society that it makes too much of material private interests. Both are to leave private interests to private people, and, as human society, concern themselves solely about general human interests.
The politicians, thinking to abolish personal will, self-will or arbitrariness, did not observe that through property* our self-will** gained a secure place of refuge.
The Socialists, taking away property too, do not notice that this secures itself a continued existence in self-ownership. Is it only money and goods, then, that are a property. or is every opinion something of mine, something of my own?
So every opinion must be abolished or made impersonal. The person is entitled to no opinion, but, as self-will was transferred to the State, property to society, so opinion too must be transferred to something general, "Man," and thereby become a general human opinion.
If opinion persists, then I have my God (why, God exists only as "my God," he is an opinion or my "faith"), and consequently my faith, my religion, my thoughts, my ideals. Therefore a general human faith must come into existence, the "fanaticism of liberty." For this would be a faith that agreed with the "essence of man," and, because only "man" is reasonable (you and I might be very unreasonable!), a reasonable faith.
As self-will and property become powerless, so must
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self-ownership or egoism in general.
In this supreme development of "free man" egoism, self-ownership, is combated on principle, and such subordinate ends as the social "welfare" of the Socialists, etc., vanish before the lofty "idea of humanity." Everything that is not a "general human" entity is something separate, satisfies only some or one; or, if it satisfies all, it does this to them only as individuals, not as men, and is therefore called "egoistic."
To the Socialists welfare is still the supreme aim, as free rivalry was the approved thing to the political liberals; now welfare is free too, and we are free to achieve welfare, just as he who wanted to enter into rivalry (competition) was free to do so.
But to take part in the rivalry you need only to be commoners; to take part in the welfare, only to be laborers. Neither reaches the point of being synonymous with "man." It is "truly well" with man only when he is also "intellectually free!" For man is mind: therefore all powers that are alien to him, the mind -- all superhuman, heavenly, unhuman powers -- must be overthrown and the name "man" must be above every name.
So in this end of the modern age (age of the moderns) there returns again, as the main point, what had been the main point at its beginning: "intellectual liberty."
To the Communist in particular the humane liberal says: If society prescribes to you your activity, then this is indeed free from the influence of the individual, i.e. the egoist, but it still does not on that account need to be a purely human activity, nor you to be a
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complete organ of humanity. What kind of activity society demands of you remains accidental, you know; it might give you a place in building a temple or something of that sort, or, even if not that, you might yet on your own impulse be active for something foolish, therefore unhuman; yes, more yet, you really labor only to nourish yourself, in general to live, for dear life's sake, not for the glorification of humanity. Consequently free activity is not attained till you make yourself free from all stupidities, from everything non-human, i.e., egoistic (pertaining only to the individual, not to the Man in the individual), dissipate all untrue thoughts that obscure man or the idea of humanity: in short, when you are not merely unhampered in your activity, but the substance too of your activity is only what is human, and you live and work only for humanity. But this is not the case so long as the aim of your effort is only your welfare and that of all; what you do for the society of ragamuffins is not yet anything done for "human society."
Laboring does not alone make you a man, because it is something formal and its object accidental; the question is who you that labor are. As far as laboring goes, you might do it from an egoistic (material) impulse, merely to procure nourishment and the like; it must be a labor furthering humanity, calculated for the good of humanity, serving historical (i.e. human) evolution -- in short, a human labor. This implies two things: one, that it be useful to humanity; next, that it be the work of a "man." The first alone may be the case with every labor, as even the labors of nature, e. g. of animals, are utilized by humanity for
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the furthering of science, etc.; the second requires that he who labors should know the human object of his labor; and, as he can have this consciousness only when he knows himself as man, the crucial condition is -- self-consciousness.
Unquestionably much is already attained when you cease to be a "fragment-laborer,"* yet therewith you only get a view of the whole of your labor, and acquire a consciousness about it, which is still far removed from a self-consciousness, a consciousness about your true "self" or "essence," Man. The laborer has still remaining the desire for a "higher consciousness," which, because the activity of labor is unable to quiet it, he satisfies in a leisure hour. Hence leisure stands by the side of his labor, and he sees himself compelled to proclaim labor and idling human in one breath, yes, to attribute the true elevation to the idler, the leisure-enjoyer. He labors only to get rid of labor; he wants to make labor free, only that he may be free from labor.
In fine, his work has no satisfying substance, because it is only imposed by society, only a stint, a task, a calling; and, conversely, his society does not satisfy, because it gives only work.
His labor ought to satisfy him as a man; instead of that, it satisfies society; society ought to treat him as a man, and it treats him as -- a rag-tag laborer, or a laboring ragamuffin.
Labor and society are of use to him not as he needs them as a man, but only as he needs them as an
*[Referring to minute subdivision of labor, whereby the single workman produces, not a whole, but a part.]
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Such is the attitude of criticism toward labor. It points to "mind," wages the war "of mind with the masses,"* and pronounces communistic labor unintellectual mass-labor. Averse to labor as they are, the masses love to make labor easy for themselves. In literature, which is today furnished in mass, this aversion to labor begets the universally-known superficiality, which puts from it "the toil of research."**
Therefore humane liberalism says: You want labor; all right, we want it likewise, but we want it in the fullest measure. We want it, not that we may gain spare time, but that we may find all satisfaction in it itself. We want labor because it is our self-development.
But then the labor too must be adapted to that end! Man is honored only by human, self-conscious labor, only by the labor that has for its end no "egoistic" purpose, but Man, and is Man's self-revelation; so that the saying should be laboro, ergo sum, I labor, therefore I am a man. The humane liberal wants that labor of the mind which works up all material; he wants the mind, that leaves no thing quiet or in its existing condition, that acquiesces in nothing, analyzes everything, criticises anew every result that has been gained. This restless mind is the true laborer, it obliterates prejudices, shatters limits and narrownesses, and raises man above everything that would like to dominate over him, while the Communist labors only for himself, and not even freely, but from necessity, --
**"Lit. Ztg." ibid.
174 THE EGO AND HIS OWN
in short, represents a man condemned to hard labor.
The laborer of such a type is not "egoistic," because he does not labor for individuals, neither for himself nor for other individuals, not for private men therefore, but for humanity and its progress: he does not ease individual pains, does not care for individual wants, but removes limits within which humanity is pressed, dispels prejudices which dominate an entire time, vanquishes hindrances that obstruct the path of all, clears away errors in which men entangle themselves, discovers truths which are found through him for all and for all time; in short -- he lives and labors for humanity.
Now, in the first place, the discoverer of a great truth doubtless knows that it can be useful to the rest of men, and, as a jealous withholding furnishes him no enjoyment, he communicates it; but, even though he has the consciousness that his communication is highly valuable to the rest, yet he has in no wise sought and found his truth for the sake of the rest, but for his own sake, because he himself desired it, because darkness and fancies left him no rest till he had procured for himself light and enlightenment to the best of his powers.
He labors, therefore, for his own sake and for the satisfaction of his want. That along with this he was also useful to others, yes, to posterity, does not take from his labor the egoistic character.
In the next place, if he did labor only on his own account, like the rest, why should his act be human, those of the rest unhuman, i. e., egoistic? Perhaps because this book, painting, symphony, etc., is the
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labor of his whole being, because he has done his best in it, has spread himself out wholly and is wholly to be known from it, while the work of a handicraftsman mirrors only the handicraftsman, i.e. the skill in handicraft, not "the man?" In his poems we have the whole Schiller; in so many hundred stoves, on the other hand, we have before us only the stove-maker, not "the man."
But does this mean more than "in the one work you see me as completely as possible, in the other only my skill?" Is it not me again that the act expresses? And is it not more egoistic to offer oneself to the world in a work, to work out and shape oneself, than to remain concealed behind one's labor? You say, to be sure, that you are revealing Man. But the Man that you reveal is you; you reveal only yourself, yet with this distinction from the handicraftsman -- that he does not understand how to compress himself into one labor, but, in order to be known as himself, must be searched out in his other relations of life, and that your want, through whose satisfaction that work came into being, was a -- theoretical want.
But you will reply that you reveal quite another man, a worthier, higher, greater, a man that is more man than that other. I will assume that you accomplish all that is possible to man, that you bring to pass what no other succeeds in. Wherein, then, does your greatness consist? Precisely in this, that you are more than other men (the "masses"), more than men ordinarily are, more than "ordinary men"; precisely in your elevation above men. You are distinguished beyond other men not by being man, but be-
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