Questa funzione di acquisto consentirà di continuare a caricare gli articoli. Per accedere agli articoli non presenti su questo nastro trasportatore, utilizza il tasto di scelta rapida relativo alle intestazioni per accedere all'intestazione precedente o successiva.
Splendid read and lucid translation. I came across Max Stirner through Safranski's intellectual biography of Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography
I was definitely intrigued by the short commentary on Stirner in Safranski's work but was hesitant about getting a copy of the classical translation "The Ego and His Own" because I wondered how accurate the translation of the German work could be when the term "ego", as I understand it, didn't come into popular usage in the English language until 60-70+ years after Max Stirner with Sigmund Freud.
I figured that even if my intellectual-fears were unfounded and that "ego" had in fact been in operational usage in the English language 150+ years ago. The whole influence of the psychoanalysis movement in the last century as well as various discourses around the philosophical subject from the last few centuries (from Rene Descartes' "cogito" to present day topics on cognition) all could have very easily resulted in a misleading and misrepresented of Stirner's major work.
Enter this translation (which was, thankfully, recommended and brought to my attention by another Amazon reviewer for one of the earlier translations). The new title alone "The Unique and Its Property" is a breath of fresh air. One that brings one of the main components of Stirner's thought, his individualism (particularly and specifically as an experience or something experienced aka one's living reality), to the fore.
(It's worth pointing out that in the Safranski book on Nietzsche mentioned above the translator of that work, Shelley Frisch, also translates the corresponding ideas of Stirner's about those things that are accessible-and-usable in the immanent domain of our experience as "property" -- so in that regard yay for symmetry and we'll revisit this idea later.)
I can't speak for other translations of Stirner’s classic work but this translated edition by Wolfi Landstreicher is very readable and lucid. I could be in my head here but the reader gets the impression that the translator is very conscientious of word choice and aims to be responsible with its usage -- that is, always attempting to find a balance between context of the given passage and the greater-whole meaning of the ideas expressed by Stirner throughout the whole book.
The translation itself offers plenty of footnotes where applicable, at times giving context to a rogue comment by Stirner and in other moments explaining or giving context to how Landstreicher (the translator) chose to translate a particular word and passage.
I also particularly like the translator's remark in the introduction that every translation is an interpretation -- kudos to them again, for self-responsibility.
The introduction given by (Apio Ludd aka) Wolfi Landstreicher is very informative and gives plenty of context. Before we're set off on reading Landstreicher's Max Stirner we're given the translator's final deliberating thoughts on their publication: "I made this translation first of all for my own pleasure, and secondly as a gift to other aware, willful, and rebellious self-creators as a tool and a weapon in their project of creating their lives on their own terms against all that would impose upon them." - page 20
With those words in mind, we can now move onto some of Stirner's ideas and their presentation by Landstreicher. A bare bones summary of Stirner's message as understood by the translator:
"Stirner emphasized the transience of each individual and rejected any crystallized, permanent 'I' as much as any other permanent idea, seeing it as yet another phantasm [i.e. a reality that haunts us]. He saw getting beyond the limits of thought as a necessary part of living fully as one's transient self here and now." - page 14 (my brackets)
This worldview of the subversion of the grammatical "I", the disapproval of blind devotion to reason as the one and only way of life, also includes a critical attitude towards religion:
"Without a god there is no basis for morality; without a god there is no basis for the sacred; without a god there is no universal meaning, no universal aim, no universal purpose; in fact, no universal <italics>universe</italics>. <i>The</i> universe is an absurdity. The only meanings, aims, purposes, and <i>universes</i> are the very ephemeral, transient ones that individuals create for themselves. " - page 15 (hence the translator’s comment above about providing readers with mental tools with which to fasten their realities)
This "transient self" that we all seem to be, these individually-created "universes" that we all possess via being alive are what:
"Stirner talked about [when referring to] property, he was talking about the <i>worlds</i> of experience, perception, imagination, and action that you and I take and create, devour, and destroy for ourselves." - page 18 (my brackets)
Thus we’re left with a very specific definition of "egoism" and "egoist":
"[T]here are a few dunderheads around who seem to think that egoism means a belief in something called 'the ego' and an egoist is a believer in this thing. No, egoism is acting as the center of your world, and an egoist is one who recognizes [themselves] as such. So aware, willful egoism is nothing other than facing your world <i>selfishly</i>, or better, in a shamelessly self-centered manner. [Footnote 20: This does not at all rule out generosity, love, friendship, association, etc. It simply means that I, as egoist, relate and interact, in whatever way I do, for the enjoyment I get out of it.]" - page 18 (my brackets)
Now that we have a basic -- hopefully not too overly simplified -- overview of what Stirner’s about, we can contemplate the (translated) words of the man, Max Stirner, himself. And unabashedly dive into one of his greatest gripes with our time:
“How can one try to maintain that modern philosophy or modern times have brought freedom, since they haven’t freed us from the power of objectivity? Or am I perhaps free from the despots when I am indeed not afraid of the personal ruler, but of every offense against the reverence which I imagine I owe him? It is no different with modern times. They only changed <i>existing</i> objects, the actual ruler, etc., into <i>imagined</i> imagined objects, i.e., into <i>concepts</i>, before which the old respect was not only not lost, but increased in intensity. Even if people outsmarted God and the devil in their former crass actuality, it was just to devote greater attention to their concepts. ‘They are rid of the Evil One, evil remains.’ [Ft. 85 omitted] People felt few reservations about revolting against the existing state or overturning existing laws, once they had decided to no longer let what exists and is tangible impose itself on them; but to sin against the <i>concept</i> of the state, to not submit to the <i>concept</i> of law, who would have dared that?”” - page 103
Stirner continuing his attack on general conceptions, now shifts from exposing the logic behind impersonal relations to ones of the personal variety:
“In all this, the object had only suffered a transformation, but had remained in their supremacy and sovereignty; in short, people were still stuck in obedience and in being possessed, live in <i>reflection</i>, and had an object on which they reflected, that they respected, and before which they felt reverence and fear. They had done nothing more than to transform <i>things</i> into <i>conceptions</i> of things, into thoughts and concepts, and their <i>dependence</i> thus became more intimate and indissoluble. So it isn’t hard, for example, to emancipate oneself from the commands of parents, or to evade the admonitions of one’s uncle and aunt, the entreaties of one’s brother and sister; but the revoked obedience easily gets into one’s conscience, and the less one gives in to individual demands, because rationalistically, through his own reason, he recognizes them as unreasonable, the more conscientiously he holds fast to the filial piety and family love and the harder it is for him to forgive himself for a trespass against the <i>conception</i> that he has formed of family love and filial duty. Released from dependence on the existing family, one falls into the more binding dependence on the concept of the family; one is ruled by the family spirit. The existing family of Hans, Greta, etc. whose rule has become powerless is only internalized, while it is left as family in general, to which one simply applies the old saying, ‘One must obey God rather than men,’ [Ft. 86 omitted] whose meaning here is: ‘I certainly can’t follow your senseless demands, but, as my ‘family,’ you remain the object of my love and care’; because ‘the family’ is a sacred concept, which the individual is never allowed to offend. -- And this family, and desensualized into a thought, a conception, now counts as the ‘sacred,’ whose despotism is ten times worse because it rumbles in my conscience.” - page 104
We, according to Stirner, find this problem of being enslaved to conceptual internalizations everywhere -- both in the little and the big and it's a Sisyphean task to boot:
“The ‘nature of the matter,’ the ‘concept of the relationship,’ is supposed to guide me in my treatment of the matter or consummation of the relationship. As if a concept of the matter existed in itself, and was not rather the concept one forms of the matter! As if a relationship which we enter into was not itself unique, because of the uniqueness of those who enter it! As if it depended on how others categorize it! But as people separated the ‘essence of the human being’ from actual human beings, and judged the latter according to the former, so they also separate his action from him, and assess it according to ‘human value.’ <i>Concepts</i> are to decide everywhere, concepts are to regulate life, concepts are to <i>rule</i>. [...]
Now nothing but <i>spirit</i> rules in the world. A countless multitude of concepts buzz about in people’s heads, and what are those who strive to get further doing? They negate these concepts to put new ones in their place!” pages 112-113
This enslavement to the “spirit”, the continual shaping of our worldviews by conceptions in their most general form, has a peculiar effect on the individual and how they both understand and engage with the world:
“[T]here is a great gap between the feelings and thoughts that are aroused in me by something else, and those which are given to me. God, immortality, freedom, humanity, etc., get impressed on us from childhood as thoughts and feelings that move our inner being more or less strongly [...] That an absolute existed and that we had to take in, feel and think this absolute, was established as a faith by those who devoted all the force of their mind to recognizing and depicting it. The feeling for the absolute exists then as an imparted one [...]
So the difference is whether feelings are imparted to me or only aroused in me. The latter are my own, egoistic, because as <i>feelings</i> they don’t get stamped into me, recited to me, imposed on me; but I open myself to the former, foster them in myself as a heritage, cultivate them, and am possessed by them. Who would never have noticed, more or less consciously, that our entire upbringing is aimed at producing <i>feelings</i> in us, i.e., imparting them to us, instead of leaving the production to ourselves however they may turn out? When we hear God’s name, we're supposed to feel the fear of God; when we hear that of the prince’s majesty, he’s supposed to be received with awe, deference, submission; when we hear that of morality, we are supposed to think we hear something inviolable; when we hear that of the Evil One or evil ones, we are supposed to shudder . . . and so on.” pages 81-82
These taken-for-granted value systems that we're born into set us up to be critics and judge ourselves and others in specific ways. Whats more they frame our ways of valuing things in advance, determining what's good & bad, human & the inhuman ahead of time. Thus Stirner asks:
"But what if the inhuman [that typically judged to be 'bad'], in turning its back on itself with resolute courage, also turned away from the worrisome critic and left him standing, untouched and unaffected by his objections? 'You call me the inhuman.' it might say to him, 'and I really am so -- for you; but I am so only because you bring me into opposition with the human, and I could only despise myself so long as I let myself be bewitched by this opposition; I was despicable because I sought my 'better self' outside myself; I was the inhuman because I dreamed of the 'human'; I was like the pious who hunger after their 'true <i>I</i>' and always remain 'poor sinners'; I thought of myself only in comparison to another; enough, I was not all in all, was not -- <i>unique</i>. But now I cease to appear to myself as inhuman, cease to measure myself and let myself be measured by the human, cease to be recognized anything over me [...] I have only been the inhuman, am now I am no longer this, but am the unique, indeed, to your disgust, the egoistic, but the egoistic not as it lets itself be measured by the human, humane and unselfish [aka predetermined ideologies], but the egoistic as the -- unique.'" page 163 (my brackets)
Thus with Stirner's individualism now at the fore, we can better understand the "unique" -- particularly with regard to unreachable ideals and impossible assumptions:
"I, for my part, start from an assumption in assuming <i>myself</i>; but my assumption does not struggle for its perfection, like the 'human being struggling for its perfection,' but only serves me to enjoy and consume it. I consume nothing but my assumption, and exist only by consuming it. But for this reason that assumption is no assumption at all; because since I am the unique, I know nothing of the duality of an assuming and an assumed <i>I</i> (an 'incomplete' and a 'complete' <i>I</i> or human being); but that I consume myself means only that I am. I do not assume myself, because in each moment I am really setting up or creating myself for the first time, and am only I, not by being assumed, but by being set up, and again set up only only in the moment when I set myself up; i.e., I am creator and creature in one." - page 167
The book suggests an online resource for further possible study:
I'm going to have to review this in two parts. Translation: The best English translation of the book I've come across so far. The original translation has a lot of problems because the translator had a hard time picking up on some of the satirical nature of Stirner's writing and often failed to translate when Stirner is satirizing Hegelian thought and when he was being serious. It would often leave you a bit confused at what Stirner was saying or arguing for. This one really fixed most of those issues. Sadly is gone the use of the word "spooks" to describe fixed ideas of the mind in place of "phantasms" so if you're hopping into this because of the Stirner memes, you will be left in the dust. However, that is the least important thing.
Content: Max Stirner is individualism taken to it's logical conclusion. It's bold, extreme, and off-putting to most but his ideas mustn't be ignored. I don't necessarily agree with Stirner but I can't say that I walked away from this book unchanged. It really did uproot a lot of my own spooks (higher causes or fixed ideas one holds over their own essence) and helped me focus on what it truly important in my own universe; my unique. The world he leaves you in is cold, bleak and desolate but far more fulfilling. This is by far one of the most influential books I've read so far. Even if it woulds like you'll disagree to be hostile to his ideas, you might want to give this a read to see a very different interpretation of the ideological landscape. Stirner is not a communist nor is he a libertarian. He is not an anarchist nor is he a statist. Max is his own. I am my own as well after reading this.
This publication: Sad to see some of the stupid drama that caused this to go out of print. It's a beautiful edition. A lot of time and care went into making this very aesthetically pleasing. The fonts and artwork really express where Max is coming from. I'm seeing this being resold at ridiculously high prices but that's not going to ever get me to give my copy up. I should really pick up more from Underworld Amusements if this is what I can expect from them.
Iscriviti ad Amazon Prime: consegne senza costi aggiuntivi in 1 giorno su 2 milioni di prodotti e in 2-3 giorni su molti altri milioni, accesso anticipato alle Offerte Lampo di Amazon.it e spazio di archiviazione per le foto illimitato