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The Ego and his Own by Max Stirner
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The Ego and his Own (1845)

by Max Stirner

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This is a work of unabashed egoism, the sort of unrestrained self-interest that makes Ayn Rand look like a 'pinko hippie'. It's fascinating, even if you want to hate Stirner's guts afterwards. He cites Ancient Greek and ecclesiastic history, and uses puns and quotations as much as logical arguments.

The Ego and Its Own starts with a polemic on all collective institutions, all dogmas, all beliefs, all religions, all political philosophies. One of his most astonishing (and perhaps correct) assertions is that modern ideologies take the place of what religion was in the ancient world - see Communism, Fascism setting themselves up as semi-divine cults of a fundamentalist nature. All dying for an idea, a spirit, a dogma - which he dismisses as 'spooks'. Spooks which alienate the person from themselves.

He even attacks the most basic of social customs - whether or not it is right to marry your sister, and praising the benefits of lying. It is the ethical code of either superhumans or sociopaths.

Marx and Engels devoted some 300 pages to refuting him in The German Ideology. Stirner remains relatively unknown, but influential, being the precursor to modern nihilism, existentialism

How exactly would interpersonal relationships and society exist in an entirely egoistic world? He tenderly submits a few suggestions on love based on mutual interest - a step above the quasi-rape fantasies of Atlas Shrugged. Although there is a nagging thought that anarcho-capitalism might work in the same way - a billion weasels trying to screw each other.

And so both anarchists and Marxists can consider him an influence. He's fascinating enough to grapple with, and thus worth your time. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Anarcho-nihilism at its most cynical and fun, when you get over the Hegelian world. It has contributed to the thinking of Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and other artists. ( )
  marksmask | Oct 23, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Max Stirnerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Meyer, AhlrichAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 048644581X, Paperback)

Credited with influencing the philosophies of Nietzsche and Ayn Rand and the development of libertarianism and existentialism, this prophetic 1844 work challenges the very notion of a common good as the driving force of civilization. Stirner chronicles the battle of the individual against the collective to show how the latter invariably leads to oppression.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:18 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Credited with influencing the philosophies of Nietzsche and Ayn Rand and the development of libertarianism and existentialism, this prophetic 1844 work challenges the very notion of a common good as the driving force of civilization. Stirner chronicles the battle of the individual against the collective to show how the latter invariably leads to oppression.… (more)

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