Alexander Hope

Max Stirner — ‘‘Antitheist not Atheist’’

It is taken for granted that Max Stirner was an atheist and that he considered God, like any other abstraction such as the state, religion, morality, humanism to be a spook of the highest degree.

While this view of Stirner may not be incorrect, it is also jumping to certain conclusions that Stirner was a dedicated atheist of his age. In this essay, I shall be looking over the Ego and Its Own about what Stirner has to say about ‘‘Atheism, Theism and God’’ and I will also gloss over Stirner’s views on catholicism compared to his impressions of protestantism.

For instance his opinions on catholicism is as follows:

‘‘Even the last vestige of cheerfulness in Catholic life must perish in this Protestant legality. Here at last the domination of the law is for the first time complete. “Not I live, but the law lives in me.” Thus I have really come so far to be only the “vessel of its glory.” “Every Prussian carries his gendarme in his breast,” says a high Prussian officer.’’

In this quotation, Stirner seems to indicate that catholicism was a more materialist form of christanity. That pleasure and delight in the material world were not as mocked as they are in protestantism. All sensual delights which existed in the catholic life must necessarily perish in the protestant life. This is very true, — for instance the women in the medeival ages under a catholic life were much freer than the protestant victorian women who were constrained to the boundaries of domestic life. The catholic medieval women was a farmer together with her husband and provided for the family as much as her husband, she also held an important ecclesiastical role, that of being a ‘‘Nun’’ — and women were generally allowed to write books, such as Hildegard of Bingen, Heloise of Paris, Marie de France, Christine de Pizan, Joan of Arc and Margery Kempe. This can be contrasted with the victorian women who was generally ashamed to publish anything under her name lest she be criticized, we can speak for example of Mary Ann Evans, who felt the need to publish under the masculine name of ‘‘George Eliot’’. Protestantism in the history of religion is observed as the most advanced and reformed religion, but also a most tyrannical one. In the following quote, Stirer mentioned how Jesuits gave aid to egoism.

‘‘Catholicism, especially the Jesuits, gave aid to egoism in this way, found involuntary and unconscious adherents within Protestantism itself, and saved us from the subversion and extinction of sensuality. Nevertheless the Protestant spirit spreads its dominion farther and farther; and, as, beside it the “divine,” the Jesuit spirit represents only the “diabolic” which is inseparable from everything divine, the latter can never assert itself alone, but must look on and see how in France, for example, the philistinism of Protestantism wins at last, and mind is on top.’’

Catholic Jesuits gave aid to egoism because there where involuntary and unconscious adherents of egoism within protestantism itself, saving us from the extinction of the sensous. Sensuality was being destroyed in victorian society, it would take two world wars before sensuality could be regained again, and needless to say that after two world wars the sensuality that was regained was rather artifical, pessimistic and consumerist-oriented. The sensuality that Stirner speaks off, might be already extinct and the sensuality we have today is merely an animation, an artificial sensuality, a mere reproduction of sensous experience.

Max Stirner’s philosophy has also been noted to be somewhat similiar to that of Kierkegaard and vice-versa, although Stirner would take the anti-theist point of view, Kierkegaard was obviously a theist, — despite them being almost polar opposite on this notion, their argumentation and conclusion sometimes are similar. for instance,

‘‘ Stirner exalts the absolute character of uniqueness, Kierkegaard glorifies absolute existence’’ — Alfredo M. Bonanno , Max Stirner, Second edition revised and corrected with the addition of the Bergamo Annotations

After brushing on Stirner’s impressions on catholicism, protestantism and relations to Kierkegaard we shall now grapple with the main question at hand, ‘‘Was Stirner an atheist?’’ At a primitive observation, one would immediately jump to the conclusion that indeed Stirner was an atheist, but when one gives more attention to Stirner’s words, one quickly realizes that Stirner is just as much critical of atheism as he is of theism.

The word ‘‘Atheism’’ appears only 3 times in the ego and its own, and in all these instances, Stirner’s impressions of egoism are negative. Let us quote these instances,

‘‘But, even granted that doubts, raised in the course of time against the tenets of the Christian faith, have long since robbed you of faith in the immortality of your spirit, you have nevertheless left one tenet undisturbed, and still ingenuously adhere to the one truth, that the spirit is your better part, and that the spiritual has greater claims on you than anything else. Despite all your atheism, in zeal against egoism you concur with the believers in immortality.’’

In the first quotation regarding atheism, he’s critiquing those atheist who although don’t believe in God and have rejected the christian faith, they have nonetheless still not rejected the ‘‘spirit’’ and therefore despite all their atheism, they still oppose egoism and agree with their christian counterparts in regards to the belief of immortality and morality.

Let us quote the second quotation,

‘‘Man is free when “Man is to man the supreme being.” So it belongs to the completion of liberalism that every other supreme being be annulled, theology overturned by anthropology, God and his grace laughed down, “atheism” universal.’’

Here stirner mocks the anthropological atheism that has been ‘‘universalised’’ — another abstraction that has merely replaced theology with anthropology.

On the third and last question that mentions the word Atheism, we are told that,

‘‘The fear of God in the proper sense was shaken long ago, and a more or less conscious “atheism,” externally recognizable by a wide-spread “unchurchliness,” has involuntarily become the mode. But what was taken from God has been superadded to Man, and the power of humanity grew greater in just the degree that that of piety lost weight: “Man” is the God of today, and fear of Man has taken the place of the old fear of God. But, because Man represents only another Supreme Being, nothing in fact has taken place but a metamorphosis in the Supreme Being, and the fear of Man is merely an altered form of the fear of God.’’

This paragraph is of course illustrating how the fear of God has been shaken by this conscious atheism as the recognition of wide-spread unchurchliness. Even in Stirner’s time, the notion of God’s hold on society has always been observed from the ‘‘Church and State Dynamic’’. Stirner looks at the church’s dominance far more deeper than merely the church and state. For Stirner, it is not merely enough to separate the church and state from each other, but for Stirner, they both need abolishing, and even this secular atheism that has become the new involuntary mode of morality shall also be abolished. Anything that limits Stirner’s uniqueness must be destroyed. In Stirner’s time Mankind as a totality has become God, and the fear of man has merely replaced the old fear of God. In our modern age, this secular univeralist atheism has completely materialized in society and it has become a new religion entirerly that places not the fear of God in one’s heart, but the fear of man. If one does a crime against man, he is blasphemous, he is a shameful egoist, if one does a crime against God, he is praised as holy and a brave martyr of mankind.

What Stirner seems to be critical of, isn’t ‘‘the lack of belief in God’’ but the fact that atheism at large, even today has merely replaced one God with another. Therefore Stirner distances himself from such atheists and never calls himself an atheist in his life nor in his book.

Now let us analyse what Stirner says regarding ‘‘Atheists’’, the first mention of the word ‘‘Atheist or atheists’’ in the book claims that,

‘‘Atheists keep up their scoffing at the higher being, which was also honoured under the name of the “highest” or être suprême, and trample in the dust one “proof of his existence” after another, without noticing that they themselves, out of need for a higher being, only annihilate the old to make room for a new.’’

It seems as if Stirner has a very negative opinion of atheists, and ridicules them for scoffing up to their new higher being which they call ‘‘Man’’, they prattle about in regard’s to proof of God’s existence without realizing that they themselves are creating their own God without any a proof of its existence. They annihilate the old God, to make room for the the new God of humanism. It seems that atheists in Stirner’s time and our contemporary time haven’t changed that much in their character — they prattled about God’s existence back then, and are constantly searching for ‘‘proof’’ or ‘‘evidence’’ and they are still doing the same thing in 2021 (At the time I’m writing this article). Stirner is bitter towards the fact, that even although atheists recquire proof in order to believe in God’s existence, they become totally faithful when it comes to human morality and they quite simply stop asking for evidence regarding their new God of mankind. If we transported Stirner into our future, our time, Stirner would certainly make an enemy of modern day atheists who believe in objective morality without God, such individuals are Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the Trotskyists Orwell fanboy Christopher Hitchens. These represent the atheist establishment, a new church of humanism, upholding humanity as a sacred focal point.

‘‘Whether then the one God or the three in one. whether the Lutheran God or the être suprême or not God at all, but “Man,” may represent the highest essence, that makes no difference at all for him who denies the highest essence itself, for in his eyes those servants of a highest essence are one and all — pious people, the most raging atheist not less than the most faith-filled Christian.’’

Stirner in this quotation makes absolutely no distinction between the raging atheists and the most faith-filled christian, for him they are merely two sides of the same coin. There are some other quotations in regards to Stirner’s opinion on atheists.

‘‘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.”

As long as one is still a christian in feeling, you are still ruled over by religion.

Stirner furthermore mocks the atheists as being pious,

‘‘Our atheists are pious people.’’

Can we therefore call Stirner an atheist, after being so bitter about atheism? — Perhaps we can call Stirner an anti-atheist, and also an anti-theist, but we cannot necessarily call him an ‘‘Atheist’’ — the objection to this argument of course, is that Stirner’s bitterness with atheism, has nothing to do with Stirner’s disbelief in God. Of course, this is a good objection to make, however we need to first analyze what Stirner says about ‘‘God’’ in order to realize whether he actually disbelieved in God or believed in God.

One of the most known paragraphs in the Ego and Its own is the following statement:

‘‘The divine is God’s concern; the human, man’s. My concern is neither the divine nor the human, not the true, good, just, free, etc., but solely what is ‘mine,’ and it is not a general one, but is — ‘unique,’ as I am unique. Nothing is more to me than myself!’’

‘‘You have much profound information to give about God, and have for thousands of years “searched the depths of the Godhead,” and looked into its heart, so that you can doubtless tell us how God himself attends to “God’s cause,” which we are called to serve. And you do not conceal the Lord’s doings, either. Now, what is his cause? Has he, as is demanded of us, made an alien cause, the cause of truth or love, his own? You are shocked by this misunderstanding, and you instruct us that God’s cause is indeed the cause of truth and love, but that this cause cannot be called alien to him, because God is himself truth and love; you are shocked by the assumption that God could be like us poor worms in furthering an alien cause as his own. “Should God take up the cause of truth if he were not himself truth?” He cares only for his cause, but, because he is all in all, therefore all is his cause! But we, we are not all in all, and our cause is altogether little and contemptible; therefore we must “serve a higher cause.” — Now it is clear, God cares only for what is his, busies himself only with himself, thinks only of himself, and has only himself before his eyes; woe to all that is not well pleasing to him. He serves no higher person, and satisfies only himself. His cause is — a purely egoistic cause.’’

Here Stirner remarks how even if God were to exists, he would be the most exemplary egoist, because God in the life of the trinity and within himself only busies himself with himself, and since humanity is the image of God himself, that houses the holy spirit since we are the temple of the holy spirit, therefore any moment which God decides to interact with humanity only highlights his egoism. This divine ‘‘love’’ is nothing but divine egoism, a love for himself. He serves no higher person, only serves himself. Therefore Stirner in this quotation is not only mocking the theist, but also opening up to the possibility, that even if God existed, his love for humanity stems from his egoism. Stirner, rather than telling us to disbelieve in God by using conventional atheistic arguments, or rather than advising us to hate God like some misotheist and dystheist, he’s opening up to the possibility of loving God. This idea is expanded upon, in the following quotation,

‘‘I can, no doubt, strive after rationality, I can love it, just as I can also love God and every other idea. I can be a philosopher, a lover of wisdom, as I love God. But what I love, what I strive for, is only in my idea, my conception, my thoughts; it is in my heart, my head, it is in me like the heart, but it is not I, I am not it.’’

Here Stirner is opening up the possibility for the egoist, that we can no doubt strive for rationality and love it, we can also love God and any other idea, we can love wisdom as we love God. I can love Jesus, not as an idea that is above and beyond me, but as the son of man, as my son, as my creature. Of course one must not make the mistake to confuse the ‘‘historical Jesus’’ Which is affirmed by historians to have existed and Jesus as an idea in the minds of people centuries after his death which historically and materially simply do not exist. There is evidence to show, that a person called Jesus existed, and that he spoke and preached, the egoist has no quarrel with this Jesus, our quarrel is with Jesus as an idea in the minds of people that haunts them like an evil spirit. when you ask the rabble, ‘‘Who was Jesus?’’ — the rabble usually answer with different ideas they have of christ, some orthodox, some heretical, some complete nonsensical illogical approaches. These kind of rabble give more importance to their petty idea of Jesus, without even investigating Jesus and the gospels and neither have any appreciation towards the historical Jesus. These rabble merely take it for granted, that Jesus is ‘‘love, truth, Justice’’, that Jesus was just a man, and that his mother wasn’t truly a virgin. Sometimes they descend to the level of conspiracy and claim that Jesus had a ‘‘brother’’ — the masses like a motley crew of Chimpanzees like to have their own ‘‘ideas’’ about Christ, and then they enslave themselves and reorient their lives on nonsensical tavern talk.

Stirner is not opposed to the love we have towards ideas or to strive in understanding them. Instead Stirner is opposed to seeing oneself as a slave to these ideas or equating one’s own uniqueness and limiting it by equating it with such ideas. What we love and strive for is merely our idea and conception, my thought in the heart and the mind, but it is only in my heart, but it is not I, I am not it! — Stirner like Nietzche critiques this idea of ‘‘rationalism’’ or reason. For stirner, rationalism will merely make the individual subserviant to his own thoughts. For example, If I think God is holy, truthful and just, — I might become a slave to these thoughts for the rest of my life. Our own reason can enslave us when we do not escape its boundaries and chain. Our own reason are like imaginary shackles of the mind telling us what is permissible and what is not permissible. Even the individualist anarchists who creates his own ‘‘law’’ and pretends to have the ‘‘Sovereignty of the individual’’ is admirable, but sadly mistaken. Law and Sovereignty are spooks, and therefore even the individualist anarchists who thinks he’s free because he uses reason to create his own individualist law outside parliamentary law, is still a slave to his own reason. An individual can be a slave to his passions and his reason — What are we left with then? — For Stirner, since we cannot be a slave to passions and reason, we can simply appeal to ourselves in the present moment for every decision we take. One can be a slave to reason, but it is impossible for one to be a slave to oneself. I can love God and ideas, but not because of passion or reason, not because of faith, but because I appeal to myself, that since I am unique, I have no bounds, and that the sensual, the emotional, the religious, the spiritual, the material is all mine. No sacred authority will stand in my way. The world and everything in it becomes solely my property.

Romans 13:1 tells us that all authority comes from God, ‘‘For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.’’ — This statement of course is incorrect from an egoist perspective, because God is produced by the unique one. Authority does not exist — but when the unique is extracted from oneself and placed on an idol, that idol becomes an authority on the individual. When the egoist asserts himself on the world, he doesn’t do it because there is some form of sacred authority, but precisely because the egoist has freed himself from any authority, allowing him to assert his egoism on the world. In fact all government and institutions of power assert themselves not because of authority that comes from God, but because they are free from any sacred authority itself.

Authority is a sacred thing, it doesn’t exist materally. When we look at authority, we simply look at it as something ‘‘sacred’’ — for example God. The problem with liberalism, is that man has rejected this God in the sky, but instead what they did was replaced the word ‘’God’’ with ‘‘Humanity’’ — so everything that once belonged to God, all his holy characteristics and his sacred authority has been implanted to ‘‘Humanity’’ — that is why for example people today respect the police officer as someone representative of sacred authority, more than they respect the priest in the church.

The police man has no power, has no divine characteristics, he’s just a paid slave forced to enforce the will of his masters, — his masters being ‘’humanity’’ itself which is now the new God, and the new authority.

Liberalism has replaced theology, with anthropology. Humanity in the most broad and universal sense has now become your God.

In the same way collectivism has the same flaw, this is why communism is the highest freedom of humanity, but the lowest freedom of the individual. Communism is the pinnacle of humanism which will eventually succumb to the egoist. Communism is just another stage that needs to be overcome in history.

I can ask the marxists the same thing

‘’Are you the people?’’

They will answer ‘’No’’ — because they are a sole individual

If you are not the people, and the people are free, then the individual must succumb to the people. Hence what is free is not you, her or him, but what is free, is the idea of the ‘‘people’s freedom’’. In a democracy, freedom does not belong to me, it belongs to humanity at large, and since I am not humanity at large, therefore I am not free. Therefore since every individual is not this thing we call ‘‘humanity’’, therefore every individual is oppressed under this abstractual idealist idea. The individual is not free under liberalism and communism, therefore ‘’democracy’’ as an idea is free, and all individuals must succumb to its authority whether its in liberal democracy or communist proletarian democracy.

The early christians thought that christanity could lead them to a life of perfection, Leo Tolstoy also thinks a similiar thing and makes the argument that if all follow Jesus, all will enter into a fellowship of friends and no state or government will ever be needed. The communists on the other hand believe that a proletariat revolution can lead towards this utopian life, but in all these experiments, the christian has failed in following christ, if christians were not sinful, they would have already lead us to the perfect way of life, on the other hand the communists failed also in bringing about communism. Perhaps humanity has failed in making these experiments come true because they are depending on something that is outside of them, and that is held as sacred. The egoist is certain, that when sacradness is put aside and all become aware of their unique, such a life of freedom would be possible. We do not promise a life of perfection or utopianism but rather a life free from all constraints. To free yourself from all chains is much easier than bringing about communism or trying to lead a sinless life devoid of physical pleasures.

So the question needs to be asked, ‘‘how can we get rid of this sacradness?’’

The answer is rather simple — The Union of egoists is needed to convince people to become egoists, and deny the need to work, and live an ascetic life or pleasurable life as long as the egoist is happy. They work only when they have too, nothing more, nothing less. Abandoning the old ways of their previous life, fully dedicated to the fulfillment of their ego. ‘’You might say’’ — It cannot be done, but you know as much as I, that people willing to sacrifice everything for their goal can overturn the empire. That’s how Christians became such a dominant force, not by revolution, but by insurrection and sacrifices. This is shown in Stirner’s admiration of Christ as being among the first of the insurrectionist, an egoist par excellence.

‘‘The time was politically so agitated that, as is said in the gospels, people thought they could not accuse the founder of Christianity more successfully than if they arraigned him for “political intrigue,” and yet the same gospels report that he was precisely the one who took least part in these political doings. But why was he not a revolutionist, not a demagogue, as the Jews would gladly have seen him? Why was he not a liberal? Because he expected no salvation from a change of conditions, and this whole business was indifferent to him. He was not a revolutionist, like Caesar, but an insurgent; not a state-overturner, but one who straightened himself up. That was why it was for him only a matter of “Be ye wise as serpents,” which expresses the same sense as, in the special case, that “Give to the emperor that which is the emperor’s”; for he was not carrying on any liberal or political fight against the established authorities, but wanted to walk his own way, untroubled about, and undisturbed by, these authorities. Not less indifferent to him than the government were its enemies, for neither understood what he wanted, and he had only to keep them off from him with the wisdom of the serpent. But, even though not a ringleader of popular mutiny, not a demagogue or revolutionist, he (and every one of the ancient Christians) was so much the more an insurgent, who lifted himself above everything that seemed sublime to the government and its opponents, and absolved himself from everything that they remained bound to, and who at the same time cut off the sources of life of the whole heathen world, with which the established state must wither away as a matter of course; precisely because he put from him the upsetting of the established, he was its deadly enemy and real annihilator; for he walled it in, confidently and recklessly carrying up the building of his temple over it, without heeding the pains of the immured.’’

The question still stands, ‘‘What shall the egoists sacrifice?’’ — He doesn’t sacrifice himself, he sacrifices his old life and leaves it behind. Of course, to leave your old life behind, sounds extremely ‘‘christian’’ and one must becareful not to conflate egoism with christanity, what I’m refering to is the practicality of insurrection. In a union of egoists, there is no such things as authority, no followers and no disciples of any kind. One of the things we must leave behind is precisely this ‘‘humanist atheism’’ that has replaced the old religion. God is too limiting, the unique one is limitless and cannot be accurately defined. When we look at a weed or a plant, we see potentiality for it to become bigger, when we see a seed, we observe that it has potentiality to become a grown plant in the future, but when I look at myself, I see nothing, and through this nothing I see an endless variety of possibilities of things that I can create from this endless nothing, this creative nothing is possible through the unique, in a way, I am endlessly and limitlessly unique. When I compare myself to the uniqueness of others, I am infinitely unique from everyone else. The christian God is the same God for every christian, they worship the same God, from the same scriptures, their ideas about God might differ from christian to christian, but essentially, all of them believe in the same tradition of God, whether protestant or catholic, it is Gehova , Jahweh, Jesus and the holy spirit, in other words it is a cultural, economical and political God, just as the Hindus have their own cultural Gods. The egoist rather than believing in Gods of cultures, he believes in himself. The cultural God is a fetter and a tie to our uniqueness, meanwhile the egoist who loves God as an idea, is merely asserting his own uniqueness in loving this idea. One can be an egoist and a christian, as long as he acknowledges the spectrality of these ideas and refuses to become subserviant to them.

So ultimately why do we say that Stirner is an anti-theist rather than an atheist? — Because atheism comes with a lot of ideological baggage that will limit Stirner’s uniqueness, in fact I refuse to call Stirner an atheist, because in so doing, I would be defining him. Stirner escapes meaning and definition, like a good post-structuralist. Whenever we speak of Stirner we must always speak of negation. In catholic theology there is this notion called ‘‘Apophatic theology’’ — Which is basically the idea that when we speak about God, to attain some truth about God, we must always speak of ‘‘What God is not, rather than what God is’’ — The fact that we can say what God is not, gives us an indication or a truth about God, this is known as ‘‘Negative theology’’ — as opposed to positive theology known as Cataphatic theology. Negative theology is used because God is considered to be so immense, that we can only say what God is not, rather than what he actually is. To use positive theology is to make vague assumptions about God which may or may not be true, therefore negative theology is more predominantly used as a way to arrive at truths about God’s nature. In the same way, when we speak about Stirner as a unique being, we must keep in mind that the uniqueness of Stirner has no limitation, therefore when speaking of Stirner we must speak of what he is not, rather than what he is. To say Stirner was an atheist, is to say what he is, to say Stirner was not a theist, therefore an anti-theist is to say what he isn’t. The most perfect word to describe what Stirner isn’t, is precisely, ‘‘Not a theist’’ — rather than anti-theist. In other words, Stirner is ‘‘Nothing’’ — Not this, not that, neither here and neither there, or in Sanskrit, ‘‘Neti neti’’ — the unique one who is endless and without limit.

God is not to be seen as creator, but rather as our own creature. It is through the potentiality of the individual that the idea of God’s infiteness can be manifested. Since the individual can think of the infinite, and can therefore think of God, therefore the individual is capable of that same infiniteness. That thing, we call the unique, however this is not to be confused with the idea that ‘‘God is within us’’ — like the deists and the pantheists do or like the Hinduist do. God is merely a reflection of our uniqueness, but we have been confused that this thing is ‘‘God’’ — we have taken our uniqueness outside of ourselves and propped it up in the sky and in ancient times we called it ‘‘Gods or the pantheon’’ — then we started calling it God, then Jesus and then humanity. It is time that we take this uniqueness back into ourselves. So as long as our uniqueness is extracted from our bodies and used as an abstract object outside of us, we are only being involuntary egoists. This is what Stirner meant when he said that the involuntary egoists gratifies himself,

‘‘Sacred things exist only for the egoist who does not acknowledge himself, the involuntary egoist , for him who is always looking after his own and yet does not count himself as the highest being, who serves only himself and at the same time always thinks he is serving a higher being, who knows nothing higher than himself and yet is infatuated about something higher; in short, for the egoist who would like not to be an egoist, and abases himself (combats his egoism), but at the same time abases himself only for the sake of “being exalted,” and therefore of gratifying his egoism. Because he would like to cease to be an egoist, he looks about in heaven and earth for higher beings to serve and sacrifice himself to; but, however much he shakes and disciplines himself, in the end he does all for his own sake, and the disreputable egoism will not come off him. On this account I call him the involuntary egoist.’’

That which we call ‘‘sacred’’ is the ‘‘displaced uniqueness’’ — when we as individuals extract our uniqueness and implement it within a material object like some Idol that is worshipped like a God, we are only worshipping the unique as something that is other than us, as something that is alien, distant from us. When we take away the sacred qualities from idols, our idols cease to be idols, and the idol becomes merely a ‘‘wooden block’’ with no special sacred values. When he take away these sacred values from these foreign objects and integret that uniqueness without ourselves as an ownness, we at last become free from all that is sacred. God can only be produced by human kind, even if God truly existed, he would necessarily need human kind to affirm and acknowledge his existence. If God is alone in the universe, who will affirm his existence except himself? and even if he does affirm himself to exist, he remains invisible and non-existant, just like if a hermit locked himself in a cave forever away from the eyes of the world and humanity, while the hermit may acknowledge that he exists, he would be non-existant to the rest of society that has never acknowledged his presence. These sacred things which Stirner speaks off, weren’t created from mid-air, they were created from individuals. These individuals failed to see the potentiality of their own uniqueness, and from the creative nothing, they created these things we call idols. This is evidence that each and every one of us has this limitless uniqueness, and that these so-called ‘‘Gods’’ are merely an expression of the unique. (Because this expression is too strong, sometimes it oppresses the unique one himself) — it is necessary for the egoist to come to this knowledge that he may no longer be oppressed by his expression, but regain mastery over his expression. The involuntary egoist rather than coming to the knowledge that he is the unique one, he instead props up an expression of the unique one and becomes a slave under it. In simple words, he chains himself with his own ideas. The involuntary egoist doesn’t see himself as the highest being, but rather maintains that his expression which is coming from the unique one is the highest cause. He becomes a slave to one expression of the unique, when the unique by defintion has an unlimited number of expressions.

The fact that we call Stirner a non-believer or ‘‘Not a theist’’ means that his non-believing is merely adding on to his uniqueness, likewise if there was a christian who has embraced egoism, yet has not parted with christanity, — that christian would not be a theist, but ‘‘Not an atheist’’ and that fact of not being an atheist would be added unto his uniqueness, to say that one is a theist or atheist, is to define oneself and reduce from one’s uniqueness.

In conclusion, any idea that is imposed on stirner will limit his uniqueness, even the fact that we define him as ‘‘egoist’’ from this perspective might be somewhat incorrect, hence it would be better to use the term ‘‘Unique’’ rather than egoist. When it comes to religion, one must realize that the christian God is the same God for every christian, this is why God limits our uniqueness, because he forces us to conform to one ethic. The egoist — every egoist that is has no conformity, no system of ethics, because every egoist is infinitely unique in their own way.

[1] Max Stirner, ‘‘The Ego and its Own’’, (1844)

[2] Alfredo M. Bonanno , ‘‘ Max Stirner’’ Second edition revised and corrected with the addition of the Bergamo Annotations, (11 July 2003)

I am a platformist anarcho-communist, a writer and student of political philosophy, specifically on anarchism.