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Title: The Ego and His Own
Author: Stirner, Max, 1806-1856
Language: English
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                            THE EGO AND HIS


                              MAX STIRNER

                     TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY
                          STEVEN T. BYINGTON

                        WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

                             J. L. WALKER

                               NEW YORK
                      BENJ. R. TUCKER, PUBLISHER

                          Copyright. 1907, by
                          BENJAMIN R. TUCKER

                           TO MY SWEETHEART

                            MARIE DÄHNHARDT


  PUBLISHER'S PREFACE                                      vii

  INTRODUCTION                                             xii

  TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE                                     xix

  ALL THINGS ARE NOTHING TO ME                               3

  PART FIRST: _MAN_                                          7
      I.--A HUMAN LIFE                                       9
     II.--MEN OF THE OLD TIME AND THE NEW                   17
          I.--THE ANCIENTS                                  17
         II.--THE MODERNS                                   30
             § 1.--THE SPIRIT                               34
             § 2.--THE POSSESSED                            42
             § 3.--THE HIERARCHY                            85
        III.--THE FREE                                     127
             § 1.--POLITICAL LIBERALISM                    128
             § 2.--SOCIAL LIBERALISM                       152
             § 3.--HUMANE LIBERALISM                       163

  PART SECOND: _I_                                         201
      I.--OWNNESS                                          203
     II.--THE OWNER                                        225
          I.--MY POWER                                     242
         II.--MY INTERCOURSE                               275
        III.--MY SELF-ENJOYMENT                            425
    III.--THE UNIQUE ONE                                   484

  INDEX                                                    491


For more than twenty years I have entertained the design of publishing
an English translation of "_Der Einzige und sein Eigentum_." When I
formed this design, the number of English-speaking persons who had ever
heard of the book was very limited. The memory of Max Stirner had been
virtually extinct for an entire generation. But in the last two decades
there has been a remarkable revival of interest both in the book and in
its author. It began in this country with a discussion in the pages of
the Anarchist periodical, "Liberty," in which Stirner's thought was
clearly expounded and vigorously championed by Dr. James L. Walker, who
adopted for this discussion the pseudonym "Tak Kak." At that time Dr.
Walker was the chief editorial writer for the Galveston "News." Some
years later he became a practising physician in Mexico, where he died in
1904. A series of essays which he began in an Anarchist periodical,
"Egoism," and which he lived to complete, was published after his death
in a small volume, "The Philosophy of Egoism." It is a very able and
convincing exposition of Stirner's teachings, and almost the only one
that exists in the English language. But the chief instrument in the
revival of Stirnerism was and is the German poet, John Henry Mackay.
Very early in his career he met Stirner's name in Lange's "History of
Materialism," and was moved thereby to read his book. The work made such
an impression on him that he resolved to devote a portion of his life to
the rediscovery and rehabilitation of the lost and forgotten genius.
Through years of toil and correspondence and travel, and triumphing over
tremendous obstacles, he carried his task to completion, and his
biography of Stirner appeared in Berlin in 1898. It is a tribute to the
thoroughness of Mackay's work that since its publication not one
important fact about Stirner has been discovered by anybody. During his
years of investigation Mackay's advertising for information had created
a new interest in Stirner, which was enhanced by the sudden fame of the
writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, an author whose intellectual kinship
with Stirner has been a subject of much controversy. "_Der Einzige_,"
previously obtainable only in an expensive form, was included in Philipp
Reclam's Universal-Bibliothek, and this cheap edition has enjoyed a wide
and ever-increasing circulation. During the last dozen years the book
has been translated twice into French, once into Italian, once into
Russian, and possibly into other languages. The Scandinavian critic,
Brandes, has written on Stirner. A large and appreciative volume,
entitled "_L'Individualisme Anarchiste: Max Stirner_," from the pen of
Prof. Victor Basch, of the University of Rennes, has appeared in Paris.
Another large and sympathetic volume, "Max Stirner," written by Dr.
Anselm Ruest, has been published very recently in Berlin. Dr. Paul
Eltzbacher, in his work, "_Der Anarchismus_," gives a chapter to
Stirner, making him one of the seven typical Anarchists, beginning with
William Godwin and ending with Tolstoi, of whom his book treats. There
is hardly a notable magazine or a review on the Continent that has not
given at least one leading article to the subject of Stirner. Upon the
initiative of Mackay and with the aid of other admirers a suitable stone
has been placed above the philosopher's previously-neglected grave, and
a memorial tablet upon the house in Berlin where he died in 1856; and
this spring another is to be placed upon the house in Bayreuth where he
was born in 1806. As a result of these various efforts, and though but
little has been written about Stirner in the English language, his name
is now known at least to thousands in America and England where formerly
it was known only to hundreds. Therefore conditions are now more
favorable for the reception of this volume than they were when I formed
the design of publishing it, more than twenty years ago.

The problem of securing a reasonably good translation (for in the case
of a work presenting difficulties so enormous it was idle to hope for an
adequate translation) was finally solved by entrusting the task to
Steven T. Byington, a scholar of remarkable attainments, whose specialty
is philology, and who is also one of the ablest workers in the
propaganda of Anarchism. But, for further security from error, it was
agreed with Mr. Byington that his translation should have the benefit of
revision by Dr. Walker, the most thorough American student of Stirner,
and by Emma Heller Schumm and George Schumm, who are not only
sympathetic with Stirner, but familiar with the history of his time, and
who enjoy a knowledge of English and German that makes it difficult to
decide which is their native tongue. It was also agreed that, upon any
point of difference between the translator and his revisers which
consultation might fail to solve, the publisher should decide. This
method has been followed, and in a considerable number of instances it
has fallen to me to make a decision. It is only fair to say, therefore,
that the responsibility for special errors and imperfections properly
rests on my shoulders, whereas, on the other hand, the credit for
whatever general excellence the translation may possess belongs with the
same propriety to Mr. Byington and his coadjutors. One thing is certain:
its defects are due to no lack of loving care and pains. And I think I
may add with confidence, while realizing fully how far short of
perfection it necessarily falls, that it may safely challenge comparison
with the translations that have been made into other languages.

In particular, I am responsible for the admittedly erroneous rendering
of the title. "The Ego and His Own" is not an exact English equivalent
of "_Der Einzige und sein Eigentum_." But then, there is no exact
English equivalent. Perhaps the nearest is "The Unique One and His
Property." But the unique one is not strictly the _Einzige_, for
uniqueness connotes not only singleness but an admirable singleness,
while Stirner's _Einzigkeit_ is admirable in his eyes only as such, it
being no part of the purpose of his book to distinguish a particular
_Einzigkeit_ as more excellent than another. Moreover, "The Unique One
and His Property" has no graces to compel our forgiveness of its slight
inaccuracy. It is clumsy and unattractive. And the same objections may
be urged with still greater force against all the other renderings that
have been suggested,--"The Single One and His Property," "The Only One
and His Property," "The Lone One and His Property," "The Unit and His
Property," and, last and least and worst, "The Individual and His
Prerogative." "The Ego and His Own," on the other hand, if not a precise
rendering, is at least an excellent title in itself; excellent by its
euphony, its monosyllabic incisiveness, and its telling--_Einzigkeit_.
Another strong argument in its favor is the emphatic correspondence of
the phrase "his own" with Mr. Byington's renderings of the kindred
words, _Eigenheit_ and _Eigner_. Moreover, no reader will be led astray
who bears in mind Stirner's distinction: "I am not an ego along with
other egos, but the sole ego; I am unique." And, to help the reader to
bear this in mind, the various renderings of the word _Einzige_ that
occur through the volume are often accompanied by foot-notes showing
that, in the German, one and the same word does duty for all.

If the reader finds the first quarter of this book somewhat forbidding
and obscure, he is advised nevertheless not to falter. Close attention
will master almost every difficulty, and, if he will but give it, he
will find abundant reward in what follows. For his guidance I may
specify one defect in the author's style. When controverting a view
opposite to his own, he seldom distinguishes with sufficient clearness
his statement of his own view from his re-statement of the antagonistic
view. As a result, the reader is plunged into deeper and deeper
mystification, until something suddenly reveals the cause of his
misunderstanding, after which he must go back and read again. I
therefore put him on his guard. The other difficulties lie, as a rule,
in the structure of the work. As to these I can hardly do better than
translate the following passage from Prof. Basch's book, alluded to
above: "There is nothing more disconcerting than the first approach to
this strange work. Stirner does not condescend to inform us as to the
architecture of his edifice, or furnish us the slightest guiding thread.
The apparent divisions of the book are few and misleading. From the
first page to the last a _unique_ thought circulates, but it divides
itself among an infinity of vessels and arteries in each of which runs a
blood so rich in ferments that one is tempted to describe them all.
There is no progress in the development, and the repetitions are
innumerable.... The reader who is not deterred by this oddity, or rather
absence, of composition gives proof of genuine intellectual courage. At
first one seems to be confronted with a collection of essays strung
together, with a throng of aphorisms.... But, if you read this book
several times; if, after having penetrated the intimacy of each of its
parts, you then traverse it as a whole,--gradually the fragments weld
themselves together, and Stirner's thought is revealed in all its unity,
in all its force, and in all its depth."

A word about the dedication. Mackay's investigations have brought to
light that Marie Daehnhardt had nothing whatever in common with Stirner,
and so was unworthy of the honor conferred upon her. She was no
_Eigene_. I therefore reproduce the dedication merely in the interest of
historical accuracy.

Happy as I am in the appearance of this book, my joy is not unmixed with
sorrow. The cherished project was as dear to the heart of Dr. Walker as
to mine, and I deeply grieve that he is no longer with us to share our
delight in the fruition. Nothing, however, can rob us of the masterly
introduction that he wrote for this volume (in 1903, or perhaps
earlier), from which I will not longer keep the reader. This
introduction, no more than the book itself, shall that _Einzige_,
Death, make his _Eigentum_.

  _February, 1907._

                                                            B. R. T.


Fifty years sooner or later can make little difference in the case of a
book so revolutionary as this.

It saw the light when a so-called revolutionary movement was preparing
in men's minds, which agitation was, however, only a disturbance due to
desires to participate in government, and to govern and to be governed,
in a manner different to that which prevails. The "revolutionists" of
1848 were bewitched with an idea. They were not at all the masters of
ideas. Most of those who since that time have prided themselves upon
being revolutionists have been and are likewise but the bondmen of an
idea,--that of the different lodgment of authority.

The temptation is, of course, present to attempt an explanation of the
central thought of this work; but such an effort appears to be
unnecessary to one who has the volume in his hand. The author's care in
illustrating his meaning shows that he realized how prone the possessed
man is to misunderstand whatever is not moulded according to the
fashions in thinking. The author's learning was considerable, his
command of words and ideas may never be excelled by another, and he
judged it needful to develop his argument in manifold ways. So those who
enter into the spirit of it will scarcely hope to impress others with
the same conclusion in a more summary manner. Or, if one might deem that
possible after reading Stirner, still one cannot think that it could be
done so surely. The author has made certain work of it, even though he
has to wait for his public; but still, the reception of the book by its
critics amply proves the truth of the saying that one can give another
arguments, but not understanding. The system-makers and
system-believers thus far cannot get it out of their heads that any
discourse about the nature of an ego must turn upon the common
characteristics of egos, to make a systematic scheme of what they share
as a generality. The critics inquire what kind of man the author is
talking about. They repeat the question: What does he believe in? They
fail to grasp the purport of the recorded answer: "I believe in myself";
which is attributed to a common soldier long before the time of Stirner.
They ask, What is the principle of the self-conscious egoist,--the
_Einzige_? To this perplexity Stirner says: Change the question; put
"who?" instead of "what?" and an answer can then be given by naming him!

This, of course, is too simple for persons governed by ideas, and for
persons in quest of new governing ideas. They wish to classify the man.
Now, that in me which you can classify is not my distinguishing self.
"Man" is the horizon or zero of my existence as an individual. Over that
I rise as I can. At least I am something more than "man in general."
Pre-existing worship of ideals and disrespect for self had made of the
ego at the very most a Somebody, oftener an empty vessel to be filled
with the grace or the leavings of a tyrannous doctrine; thus a Nobody.
Stirner dispels the morbid subjection, and recognizes each one who knows
and feels himself as his own property to be neither humble Nobody nor
befogged Somebody, but henceforth flat-footed and level-headed Mr.
Thisbody, who has a character and good pleasure of his own, just as he
has a name of his own.

The critics who attacked this work and were answered in the author's
minor writings, rescued from oblivion by John Henry Mackay, nearly all
display the most astonishing triviality and impotent malice.

We owe to Dr. Eduard von Hartmann the unquestionable service which he
rendered by directing attention to this book in his "_Philosophie des
Unbewussten_," the first edition of which was published in 1869, and in
other writings. I do not begrudge Dr. von Hartmann the liberty of
criticism which he used; and I think the admirers of Stirner's teaching
must quite appreciate one thing which Von Hartmann did at a much later
date. In "_Der Eigene_" of August 10, 1896, there appeared a letter
written by him and giving, among other things, certain data from which
to judge that, when Friedrich Nietzsche wrote his later essays,
Nietzsche was not ignorant of Stirner's book.

Von Hartmann wishes that Stirner had gone on and developed his
principle. Von Hartmann suggests that you and I are really the same
spirit, looking out through two pairs of eyes. Then, one may reply, I
need not concern myself about you, for in myself I have--us; and at that
rate Von Hartmann is merely accusing himself of inconsistency: for, when
Stirner wrote this book, Von Hartmann's spirit was writing it; and it is
just the pity that Von Hartmann in his present form does not indorse
what he said in the form of Stirner,--that Stirner was different from
any other man; that his ego was not Fichte's transcendental generality,
but "this transitory ego of flesh and blood." It is not as a generality
that you and I differ, but as a couple of facts which are not to be
reasoned into one. "I" is somewise Hartmann, and thus Hartmann is "I";
but I am not Hartmann, and Hartmann is not--I. Neither am I the "I" of
Stirner; only Stirner himself was Stirner's "I." Note how comparatively
indifferent a matter it is with Stirner that one is an ego, but how
all-important it is that one be a self-conscious ego,--a self-conscious,
self-willed person.

Those not self-conscious and self-willed are constantly acting from
self-interested motives, but clothing these in various garbs. Watch
those people closely in the light of Stirner's teaching, and they seem
to be hypocrites, they have so many good moral and religious plans of
which self-interest is at the end and bottom; but they, we may believe,
do not know that this is more than a coincidence.

In Stirner we have the philosophical foundation for political liberty.
His interest in the practical development of egoism to the dissolution
of the State and the union of free men is clear and pronounced, and
harmonizes perfectly with the economic philosophy of Josiah Warren.
Allowing for difference of temperament and language, there is a
substantial agreement between Stirner and Proudhon. Each would be free,
and sees in every increase of the number of free people and their
intelligence an auxiliary force against the oppressor. But, on the other
hand, will any one for a moment seriously contend that Nietzsche and
Proudhon march together in general aim and tendency,--that they have
anything in common except the daring to profane the shrine and sepulchre
of superstition?

Nietzsche has been much spoken of as a disciple of Stirner, and, owing
to favorable cullings from Nietzsche's writings, it has occurred that
one of his books has been supposed to contain more sense than it really
does--so long as one had read only the extracts.

Nietzsche cites scores or hundreds of authors. Had he read everything,
and not read Stirner?

But Nietzsche is as unlike Stirner as a tight-rope performance is unlike
an algebraic equation.

Stirner loved liberty for himself, and loved to see any and all men and
women taking liberty, and he had no lust of power. Democracy to him was
sham liberty, egoism the genuine liberty.

Nietzsche, on the contrary, pours out his contempt upon democracy
because it is not aristocratic. He is predatory to the point of
demanding that those who must succumb to feline rapacity shall be taught
to submit with resignation. When he speaks of "Anarchistic dogs"
scouring the streets of great civilized cities, it is true, the context
shows that he means the Communists; but his worship of Napoleon, his
bathos of anxiety for the rise of an aristocracy that shall rule Europe
for thousands of years, his idea of treating women in the oriental
fashion, show that Nietzsche has struck out in a very old path--doing
the apotheosis of tyranny. We individual egoistic Anarchists, however,
may say to the Nietzsche school, so as not to be misunderstood: We do
not ask of the Napoleons to have pity, nor of the predatory barons to
do justice. They will find it convenient for their own welfare to make
terms with men who have learned of Stirner what a man can be who
worships nothing, bears allegiance to nothing. To Nietzsche's
rhodomontade of eagles in baronial form, born to prey on industrial
lambs, we rather tauntingly oppose the ironical question: Where are your
claws? What if the "eagles" are found to be plain barnyard fowls on
which more silly fowls have fastened steel spurs to hack the victims,
who, however, have the power to disarm the sham "eagles" between two

Stirner shows that men make their tyrants as they make their gods, and
his purpose is to unmake tyrants.

Nietzsche dearly loves a tyrant.

In style Stirner's work offers the greatest possible contrast to the
puerile, padded phraseology of Nietzsche's "_Zarathustra_" and its false
imagery. Who ever imagined such an unnatural conjuncture as an eagle
"toting" a serpent in friendship? which performance is told of in bare
words, but nothing comes of it. In Stirner we are treated to an
enlivening and earnest discussion addressed to serious minds, and every
reader feels that the word is to him, for his instruction and benefit,
so far as he has mental independence and courage to take it and use it.
The startling intrepidity of this book is infused with a whole-hearted
love for all mankind, as evidenced by the fact that the author shows not
one iota of prejudice or any idea of division of men into ranks. He
would lay aside government, but would establish any regulation deemed
convenient, and for this only _our_ convenience is consulted. Thus there
will be general liberty only when the disposition toward tyranny is met
by intelligent opposition that will no longer submit to such a rule.
Beyond this the manly sympathy and philosophical bent of Stirner are
such that rulership appears by contrast a vanity, an infatuation of
perverted pride. We know not whether we more admire our author or more
love him.

Stirner's attitude toward woman is not special. She is an individual if
she can be, not handicapped by anything he says, feels, thinks, or
plans. This was more fully exemplified in his life than even in this
book; but there is not a line in the book to put or keep woman in an
inferior position to man, neither is there anything of caste or
aristocracy in the book.

Likewise there is nothing of obscurantism or affected mysticism about
it. Everything in it is made as plain as the author could make it. He
who does not so is not Stirner's disciple nor successor nor co-worker.

Some one may ask: How does plumb-line Anarchism train with the unbridled
egoism proclaimed by Stirner? The plumb-line is not a fetish, but an
intellectual conviction, and egoism is a universal fact of animal life.
Nothing could seem clearer to my mind than that the reality of egoism
must first come into the consciousness of men, before we can have the
unbiased Einzige in place of the prejudiced biped who lends himself to
the support of tyrannies a million times stronger over me than the
natural self-interest of any individual. When plumb-line doctrine is
misconceived as duty between unequal-minded men,--as a religion of
humanity,--it is indeed the confusion of trying to read without knowing
the alphabet and of putting philanthropy in place of contract. But, if
the plumb-line be scientific, it is or can be my possession, my
property, and I choose it for its use--when circumstances admit of its
use. I do not feel bound to use it because it is scientific, in building
my house; but, as my will, to be intelligent, is not to be merely
wilful, the adoption of the plumb-line follows the discarding of
incantations. There is no plumb-line without the unvarying lead at the
end of the line; not a fluttering bird or a clawing cat.

On the practical side of the question of egoism _versus_ self-surrender
and for a trial of egoism in politics, this may be said: the belief that
men not moved by a sense of duty will be unkind or unjust to others is
but an indirect confession that those who hold that belief are greatly
interested in having others live for them rather than for themselves.
But I do not ask or expect so much. I am content if others individually
live for themselves, and thus cease in so many ways to act in opposition
to my living for myself,--to our living for ourselves.

If Christianity has failed to turn the world from evil, it is not to be
dreamed that rationalism of a pious moral stamp will succeed in the same
task. Christianity, or all philanthropic love, is tested in
non-resistance. It is a dream that example will change the hearts of
rulers, tyrants, mobs. If the extremest self-surrender fails, how can a
mixture of Christian love and worldly caution succeed? This at least
must be given up. The policy of Christ and Tolstoi can soon be tested,
but Tolstoi's belief is not satisfied with a present test and failure.
He has the infatuation of one who persists because this _ought_ to be.
The egoist who thinks "I should like this to be" still has the sense to
perceive that it is not accomplished by the fact of some believing and
submitting, inasmuch as others are alert to prey upon the unresisting.
The Pharaohs we have ever with us.

Several passages in this most remarkable book show the author as a man
full of sympathy. When we reflect upon his deliberately expressed
opinions and sentiments,--his spurning of the sense of moral obligation
as the last form of superstition,--may we not be warranted in thinking
that the total disappearance of the sentimental supposition of duty
liberates a quantity of nervous energy for the purest generosity and
clarifies the intellect for the more discriminating choice of objects of

                                                       J. L. WALKER.


If the style of this book is found unattractive, it will show that I
have done my work ill and not represented the author truly; but, if it
is found odd, I beg that I may not bear all the blame. I have simply
tried to reproduce the author's own mixture of colloquialisms and
technicalities, and his preference for the precise expression of his
thought rather than the word conventionally expected.

One especial feature of the style, however, gives the reason why this
preface should exist. It is characteristic of Stirner's writing that the
thread of thought is carried on largely by the repetition of the same
word in a modified form or sense. That connection of ideas which has
guided popular instinct in the formation of words is made to suggest the
line of thought which the writer wishes to follow. If this echoing of
words is missed, the bearing of the statements on each other is in a
measure lost; and, where the ideas are very new, one cannot afford to
throw away any help in following their connection. Therefore, where a
useful echo (and there are few useless ones in the book) could not be
reproduced in English, I have generally called attention to it in a
note. My notes are distinguished from the author's by being enclosed in

One or two of such coincidences of language, occurring in words which
are prominent throughout the book, should be borne constantly in mind as
a sort of _Keri perpetuum_: for instance, the identity in the original
of the words "spirit" and "mind," and of the phrases "supreme being" and
"highest essence." In such cases I have repeated the note where it
seemed that such repetition might be absolutely necessary, but have
trusted the reader to carry it in his head where a failure of his memory
would not be ruinous or likely.

For the same reason,--that is, in order not to miss any indication of
the drift of the thought,--I have followed the original in the very
liberal use of italics, and in the occasional eccentric use of a
punctuation mark, as I might not have done in translating a work of a
different nature.

I have set my face as a flint against the temptation to add notes that
were not part of the translation. There is no telling how much I might
have enlarged the book if I had put a note at every sentence which
deserved to have its truth brought out by fuller elucidation,--or even
at every one which I thought needed correction. It might have been
within my province, if I had been able, to explain all the allusions to
contemporary events, but I doubt whether any one could do that properly
without having access to the files of three or four well-chosen German
newspapers of Stirner's time. The allusions are clear enough, without
names and dates, to give a vivid picture of certain aspects of German
life then. The tone of some of them is explained by the fact that the
book was published under censorship.

I have usually preferred, for the sake of the connection, to translate
Biblical quotations somewhat as they stand in the German, rather than
conform them altogether to the English Bible. I am sometimes quite as
near the original Greek as if I had followed the current translation.

Where German books are referred to, the pages cited are those of the
German editions even when (usually because of some allusions in the
text) the titles of the books are translated.

                                                 STEVEN T. BYINGTON.


All Things are Nothing to Me[1]

What is not supposed, to be my concern[2]! First and foremost, the Good
Cause,[3] then God's cause, the cause of mankind, of truth, of freedom,
of humanity, of justice; further, the cause of my people, my prince, my
fatherland; finally, even the cause of Mind, and a thousand other
causes. Only _my_ cause is never to be my concern. "Shame on the egoist
who thinks only of himself!"

Let us look and see, then, how they manage _their_ concerns--they for
whose cause we are to labor, devote ourselves, and grow enthusiastic.

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.

How is it with mankind, whose cause we are to make our own? Is its cause
that of another, and does mankind serve a higher cause? No, mankind
looks only at itself, mankind will promote the interests of mankind
only, mankind is its own cause. That it may develop, it causes nations
and individuals to wear themselves out in its service, and, when they
have accomplished what mankind needs, it throws them on the dung-heap of
history in gratitude. Is not mankind's cause--a purely egoistic cause?

I have no need to take up each thing that wants to throw its cause on us
and show that it is occupied only with itself, not with us, only with
its good, not with ours. Look at the rest for yourselves. Do truth,
freedom, humanity, justice, desire anything else than that you grow
enthusiastic and serve them?

They all have an admirable time of it when they receive zealous homage.
Just observe the nation that is defended by devoted patriots. The
patriots fall in bloody battle or in the fight with hunger and want;
what does the nation care for that? Joy the manure of their corpses the
nation comes to "its bloom!" The individuals have died "for the great
cause of the nation," and the nation sends some words of thanks after
them and--has the profit of it. I call that a paying kind of egoism.

But only look at that Sultan who cares so lovingly for his people. Is he
not pure unselfishness itself, and does he not hourly sacrifice himself
for his people? Oh, yes, for "his people." Just try it; show yourself
not as his, but as your own; for breaking away from his egoism you will
take a trip to jail. The Sultan has set his cause on nothing but
himself; he is to himself all in all, he is to himself the only one, and
tolerates nobody who would dare not to be one of "his people."

And will you not learn by these brilliant examples that the egoist gets
on best? I for my part take a lesson from them, and propose, instead of
further unselfishly serving those great egoists, rather to be the egoist

God and mankind have concerned themselves for nothing, for nothing but
themselves. Let me then likewise concern myself for _myself_, who am
equally with God the nothing of all others, who am my all, who am the
only one.[4]

If God, if mankind, as you affirm, have substance enough in themselves
to be all in all to themselves, then I feel that _I_ shall still less
lack that, and that I shall have no complaint to make of my "emptiness."
I am nothing in the sense of emptiness, but I am the creative nothing,
the nothing out of which I myself as creator create everything.

Away, then, with every concern that is not altogether my concern! You
think at least the "good cause" must be my concern? What's good, what's
bad? Why, I myself am my concern, and I am neither good nor bad. Neither
has meaning for me.

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_,[5] as I
am unique.

Nothing is more to me than myself!

Part First


  _Man is to man the supreme being_, says Feuerbach.

  _Man has just been discovered_, says Burno Bauer.

  Then let us take a more careful look at this supreme being and
                                          this new discovery.



From the moment when he catches sight of the light of the world a man
seeks to find out _himself_ and get hold of _himself_ out of its
confusion, in which he, with everything else, is tossed about in motley

But everything that comes in contact with the child defends itself in
turn against his attacks, and asserts its own persistence.

Accordingly, because each thing _cares for itself_ and at the same time
comes into constant collision with other things, the _combat_ of
self-assertion is unavoidable.

_Victory_ or _defeat_--between the two alternatives the fate of the
combat wavers. The victor becomes the lord, the vanquished one the
_subject_: the former exercises _supremacy_ and "rights of supremacy,"
the latter fulfils in awe and deference the "duties of a subject."

But both remain _enemies_, and always lie in wait: they watch for each
other's _weaknesses_--children for those of their parents and parents
for those of their children (_e. g._ their fear); either the stick
conquers the man, or the man conquers the stick.

In childhood liberation takes the direction of trying to get to the
bottom of things, to get at what is "back of" things; therefore we spy
out the weak points of everybody, for which, it is well known, children
have a sure instinct; therefore we like to smash things, like to rummage
through hidden corners, pry after what is covered up or out of the way,
and try what we can do with everything. When we once get at what is back
of the things, we know we are safe; when, _e. g._, we have got at the
fact that the rod is too weak against our obduracy, then we no longer
fear it, "have outgrown it."

Back of the rod, mightier than it, stands our--obduracy, our obdurate
courage. By degrees we get at what is back of everything that was
mysterious and uncanny to us, the mysteriously-dreaded might of the rod,
the father's stern look, etc., and back of all we find our--ataraxy,
_i. e._ imperturbability, intrepidity, our counter force, our odds of
strength, our invincibility. Before that which formerly inspired in us
fear and deference we no longer retreat shyly, but take _courage_. Back
of everything we find our _courage_, our superiority; back of the sharp
command of parents and authorities stands, after all, our courageous
choice or our outwitting shrewdness. And the more we feel ourselves, the
smaller appears that which before seemed invincible. And what is our
trickery, shrewdness, courage, obduracy? What else but--_mind!_[6]

Through a considerable time we are spared a fight that is so exhausting
later--the fight against _reason_. The fairest part of childhood passes
without the necessity of coming to blows with reason. We care nothing
at all about it, do not meddle with it, admit no reason. We are not to
be persuaded to anything by _conviction_, and are deaf to good
arguments, principles, etc.; on the other hand, coaxing, punishment, and
the like are hard for us to resist.

This stern life-and-death combat with _reason_ enter later, and begins a
new phase; in childhood we scamper about without racking our brains

_Mind_ is the name of the _first_ self-discovery, the first
undeification of the divine, _i. e._ of the uncanny, the spooks, the
"powers above." Our fresh feeling of youth, this feeling of self, now
defers to nothing; the world is discredited, for we are above it, we are

Now for the first time we see that hitherto we have not looked at the
world _intelligently_ at all, but only stared at it.

We exercise the beginnings of our strength on _natural powers_. We defer
to parents as a natural power; later we say: Father and mother are to be
forsaken, all natural power to be counted as riven. They are vanquished.
For the rational, _i. e._ "intellectual" man there is no family as a
natural power; a renunciation of parents, brothers, etc., makes its
appearance. If these are "born again" as _intellectual, rational
powers_, they are no longer at all what they were before.

And not only parents, but _men in general_, are conquered by the young
man; they are no hindrance to him, and are no longer regarded; for now
he says: One must obey God rather than men.

From this high standpoint everything "_earthly_" recedes into
contemptible remoteness; for the standby point is--the _heavenly_.

The attitude is now altogether reversed; the youth takes up an
_intellectual_ position, while the boy, who did not yet feel himself as
mind, grew up in mindless learning. The former does not try to get hold
of _things_ (_e. g._ to get into his head the _data_ of history), but of
the _thoughts_ that lie hidden in things, and so, _e. g._, of the
_spirit_ of history. On the other hand, the boy understands
_connections_ no doubt, but not ideas, the spirit; therefore he strings
together whatever can be learned, without proceeding _a priori_ and
theoretically, _i. e._ without looking for ideas.

As in childhood one had to overcome the resistance of the _laws of the
world_, so now in everything that he proposes he is met by an objection
of the mind, of reason, of his _own conscience_. "That is unreasonable,
unchristian, unpatriotic," and the like, cries conscience to us,
and--frightens us away from it. Not the might of the avenging Eumenides,
not Poseidon's wrath, not God, far as he sees the hidden, not the
father's rod of punishment, do we fear, but--_conscience_.

We "run after our thoughts" now, and follow their commands just as
before we followed parental, human ones. Our course of action is
determined by our thoughts (ideas, conceptions, _faith_) as it is in
childhood by the commands of our parents.

For all that, we were already thinking when we were children, only our
thoughts were not fleshless, abstract, _absolute, i. e._ NOTHING BUT
THOUGHTS, a heaven in themselves, a pure world of thought, _logical_

On the contrary, they had been only thoughts that we had about a
_thing_; we thought of the thing so or so. Thus we may have thought "God
made the world that we see there," but we did not think of ("search")
the "depths of the Godhead itself"; we may have thought "that is the
truth about the matter," but we did not think of Truth itself, nor unite
into one sentence "God is truth." The "depths of the Godhead, who is
truth," we did not touch. Over such purely logical, _i. e._ theological
questions, "What is truth?" Pilate does not stop, though he does not
therefore hesitate to ascertain in an individual case "what truth there
is in the thing," _i. e._ whether the _thing_ is true.

Any thought bound to a _thing_ is not yet _nothing but a thought_,
absolute thought.

To bring to light _the pure thought_, or to be of its party, is the
delight of youth; and all the shapes of light in the world of thought,
like truth, freedom, humanity, Man, etc., illumine and inspire the
youthful soul.

But, when the spirit is recognized as the essential thing, it still
makes a difference whether the spirit is poor or rich, and therefore one
seeks to become rich in spirit; the spirit wants to spread out so as to
found its empire--an empire that is not of this world, the world just
conquered. Thus, then, it longs to become all in all to itself; _i. e._,
although I am spirit, I am not yet _perfected_ spirit, and must first
seek the complete spirit.

But with that I, who had just now found myself as spirit, lose myself
again at once, bowing before the complete spirit as one not my own but
_supernal_, and feeling my emptiness.

Spirit is the essential point for everything, to be sure; but then is
every spirit the "right" spirit? The right and true spirit is the ideal
of spirit, the "Holy Spirit." It is not my or your spirit, but just--an
ideal, supernal one, it is "God." "God is spirit." And this supernal
"Father in heaven gives it to those that pray to him."[7]

The man is distinguished from the youth by the fact that he takes the
world as it is, instead of everywhere fancying it amiss and wanting to
improve it, _i. e_. model it after his ideal; in him the view that one
must deal with the world according to his _interest_, not according to
his _ideals_, becomes confirmed.

So long as one knows himself only as _spirit_, and feels that all the
value of his existence consists in being spirit (it becomes easy for the
youth to give his life, the "bodily life," for a nothing, for the
silliest point of honor), so long it is only _thoughts_ that one has,
ideas that he hopes to be able to realize some day when he has found a
sphere of action; thus one has meanwhile only _ideals_, unexecuted ideas
or thoughts.

Not till one has fallen in love with his _corporeal_ self, and takes a
pleasure in himself as a living flesh-and-blood person,--but it is in
mature years, in the man, that we find it so,--not till then has one a
personal or _egoistic_ interest, _i. e._ an interest not only of our
spirit, for instance, but of total satisfaction, satisfaction of the
whole chap, a _selfish_ interest. Just compare a man with a youth, and
see if he will not appear to you harder, less magnanimous, more selfish.
Is he therefore worse? No, you say; he has only become more definite,
or, as you also call it, more "practical." But the main point is this,
that he makes _himself_ more the centre than does the youth, who is
infatuated about other things, _e. g._ God, fatherland, and so on.

Therefore the man shows a _second_ self-discovery. The youth found
himself as _spirit_ and lost himself again in the _general_ spirit, the
complete, holy spirit, Man, mankind,--in short, all ideals; the man
finds himself as _embodied_ spirit.

Boys had only _unintellectual_ interests (_i. e._ interests devoid of
thoughts and ideas), youths only _intellectual_ ones; the man has
bodily, personal, egoistic interests.

If the child has not an _object_ that it can occupy itself with, it
feels _ennui_; for it does not yet know how to occupy itself with
_itself_. The youth, on the contrary, throws the object aside, because
for him _thoughts_ arose out of the object; he occupies himself with his
_thoughts_, his dreams, occupies himself intellectually, or "his mind is

The young man includes everything not intellectual under the
contemptuous name of "externalities." If he nevertheless sticks to the
most trivial externalities (_e. g._ the customs of students' clubs and
other formalities), it is because, and when, he discovers _mind_ in
them, _i. e._ when they are _symbols_ to him.

As I find myself back of things, and that as mind, so I must later find
_myself_ also back of _thoughts_,--to wit, as their creator and _owner_.
In the time of spirits thoughts grew till they overtopped my head,
whose offspring they yet were; they hovered about me and convulsed me
like fever-phantasies--an awful power. The thoughts had become
_corporeal_ on their own account, were ghosts, such as God, Emperor,
Pope, Fatherland, etc. If I destroy their corporeity, then I take them
back into mine, and say: "I alone am corporeal." And now I take the
world as what it is to me, as _mine_, as my property; I refer all to

If as spirit I had thrust away the world in the deepest contempt, so as
owner I thrust spirits or ideas away into their "vanity." They have no
longer any power over me, as no "earthly might" has power over the

The child was realistic, taken up with the things of this world, till
little by little he succeeded in getting at what was back of these very
things; the youth was idealistic, inspired by thoughts, till he worked
his way up to where he became the man, the egoistic man, who deals with
things and thoughts according to his heart's pleasure, and sets his
personal interest above everything. Finally, the old man? When I become
one, there will still be time enough to speak of that.



How each of us developed himself, what he strove for, attained, or
missed, what objects he formerly pursued and what plans and wishes his
heart is now set on, what transformations his views have experienced,
what perturbations his principles,--in short, how he has to-day become
what yesterday or years ago he was not,--this he brings out again from
his memory with more or less ease, and he feels with especial vividness
what changes have taken place in himself when he has before his eyes the
unrolling of another's life.

Let us therefore look into the activities our fore-fathers busied
themselves with.


Custom having once given the name of "the ancients" to our pre-Christian
ancestors, we will not throw it up against them that, in comparison with
us experienced people, they ought properly to be called children, but
will rather continue to honor them as our good old fathers. But how have
they come to be antiquated, and who could displace them through his
pretended newness?

We know, of course, the revolutionary innovator and disrespectful heir,
who even took away the sanctity of the fathers' sabbath to hallow his
Sunday, and interrupted the course of time to begin at himself with a
new chronology; we know him, and know that it is--the Christian. But
does he remain forever young, and is he to-day still the new man, or
will he too be superseded, as he has superseded the "ancients"?

The fathers must doubtless have themselves begotten the young one who
entombed them. Let us then peep at this act of generation.

"To the ancients the world was a truth," says Feuerbach, but he forgets
to make the important addition, "a truth whose untruth they tried to get
back of, and at last really did." What is meant by those words of
Feuerbach will be easily recognized if they are put alongside the
Christian thesis of the "vanity and transitoriness of the world." For,
as the Christian can never convince himself of the vanity of the divine
word, but believes in its eternal and unshakeable truth, which, the more
its depths are searched, must all the more brilliantly come to light and
triumph, so the ancients on their side lived in the feeling that the
world and mundane relations (_e. g_. the natural ties of blood) were the
truth before which their powerless "I" must bow. The very thing on which
the ancients set the highest value is spurned by Christians as the
valueless, and what they recognized as truth these brand as idle lies;
the high significance of the fatherland disappears, and the Christian
must regard himself as "a stranger on earth";[8] the sanctity of
funeral rites, from which sprang a work of art like the Antigone of
Sophocles, is designated as a paltry thing ("Let the dead bury their
dead"); the infrangible truth of family ties is represented as an
untruth which one cannot promptly enough get clear of;[9] and so in

If we now see that to the two sides opposite things appear as truth, to
one the natural, to the other the intellectual, to one earthly things
and relations, to the other heavenly (the heavenly fatherland,
"Jerusalem that is above," etc.), it still remains to be considered how
the new time and that undeniable reversal could come out of antiquity.
But the ancients themselves worked toward making their truth a lie.

Let us plunge at once into the midst of the most brilliant years of the
ancients, into the Periclean century. Then the Sophistic culture was
spreading, and Greece made a pastime of what had hitherto been to her a
monstrously serious matter.

The fathers had been enslaved by the undisturbed power of existing
things too long for the posterity not to have to learn by bitter
experience to _feel themselves_. Therefore the Sophists, with courageous
sauciness, pronounce the reassuring words, "Don't be bluffed!" and
diffuse the rationalistic doctrine, "Use your understanding, your wit,
your mind, against everything; it is by having a good and well-drilled
understanding that one gets through the world best, provides for himself
the best lot, the pleasantest _life_." Thus they recognize in _mind_
man's true weapon against the world. This is why they lay such stress
on dialectic skill, command of language, the art of disputation, etc.
They announce that mind is to be used against everything; but they are
still far removed from the holiness of the Spirit, for to them it is a
_means_, a weapon, as trickery and defiance serve children for the same
purpose; their mind is the unbribable _understanding_.

To-day we should call that a one-sided culture of the understanding, and
add the warning, "Cultivate not only your understanding, but also, and
especially, your heart." Socrates did the same. For, if the heart did
not become free from its natural impulses, but remained filled with the
most fortuitous contents and, as an uncriticised _avidity_, altogether
in the power of things, _i. e._ nothing but a vessel of the most various
_appetites_,--then it was unavoidable that the free understanding must
serve the "bad heart" and was ready to justify everything that the
wicked heart desired.

Therefore Socrates says that it is not enough for one to use his
understanding in all things, but it is a question of what _cause_ one
exerts it for. We should now say, one must serve the "good cause." But
serving the good cause is--being moral. Hence Socrates is the founder of

Certainly the principle of the Sophistic doctrine must lead to the
possibility that the blindest and most dependent slave of his desires
might yet be an excellent sophist, and, with keen understanding, trim
and expound everything in favor of his coarse heart. What could there be
for which a "good reason" might not be found, or which might not be
defended through thick and thin?

Therefore Socrates says: "You must be 'pure-hearted' if your shrewdness
is to be valued." At this point begins the second period of Greek
liberation of the mind, the period of _purity of heart_. For the first
was brought to a close by the Sophists in their proclaiming the
omnipotence of the understanding. But the heart remained
_worldly-minded_, remained a servant of the world, always affected by
worldly wishes. This coarse heart was to be cultivated from now on--the
era of _culture of the heart_. But how is the heart to be cultivated?
What the understanding, this one side of the mind, has reached,--to wit,
the capability of playing freely with and over every concern,--awaits
the heart also; everything _worldly_ must come to grief before it, so
that at last family, commonwealth, fatherland, and the like, are given
up for the sake of the heart, _i. e._ of _blessedness_, the heart's

Daily experience confirms the truth that the understanding may have
renounced a thing many years before the heart has ceased to beat for it.
So the Sophistic understanding too had so far become master over the
dominant, ancient powers that they now needed only to be driven out of
the heart, in which they dwelt unmolested, to have at last no part at
all left in man.

This war is opened by Socrates, and not till the dying day of the old
world does it end in peace.

The examination of the heart takes its start with Socrates, and all the
contents of the heart are sifted. In their last and extremest struggles
the ancients threw all contents out of the heart and let it no longer
beat for anything; this was the deed of the Skeptics. The same purgation
of the heart was now achieved in the Skeptical age, as the understanding
had succeeded in establishing in the Sophistic age.

The Sophistic culture has brought it to pass that one's understanding no
longer _stands still_ before anything, and the Skeptical, that his heart
is no longer _moved_ by anything.

So long as man is entangled in the movements of the world and
embarrassed by relations to the world,--and he is so till the end of
antiquity, because his heart still has to struggle for independence from
the worldly,--so long he is not yet spirit; for spirit is without body,
and has no relations to the world and corporality; for it the world does
not exist, nor natural bonds, but only the spiritual, and spiritual
bonds. Therefore man must first become so completely unconcerned and
reckless, so altogether without relations, as the Skeptical culture
presents him,--so altogether indifferent to the world that even its
falling in ruins would not move him,--before he could feel himself as
worldless, _i. e._ as spirit. And this is the result of the gigantic
work of the ancients: that man knows himself as a being without
relations and without a world, as _spirit_.

Only now, after all worldly care has left him, is he all in all to
himself, is he only for himself, i. e. he is spirit for the spirit, or,
in plainer language, he cares only for the spiritual.

In the Christian wisdom of serpents and innocence of doves the two
sides--understanding and heart--of the ancient liberation of mind are
so completed that they appear young and new again, and neither the one
nor the other lets itself be bluffed any longer by the worldly and

Thus the ancients mounted to _spirit_, and strove to become _spiritual_.
But a man who wishes to be active as spirit is drawn to quite other
tasks than he was able to set himself formerly: to tasks which really
give something to do to the spirit and not to mere sense or
acuteness,[10] which exerts itself only to become master of _things_.
The spirit busies itself solely about the spiritual, and seeks out the
"traces of mind" in everything; to the _believing_ spirit "everything
comes from God," and interests him only to the extent that it reveals
this origin; to the _philosophic_ spirit everything appears with the
stamp of reason, and interests him only so far as he is able to discover
in it reason, _i. e._ spiritual content.

Not the spirit, then, which has to do with absolutely nothing
unspiritual, with no _thing_, but only with the essence which exists
behind and above things, with _thoughts_,--not that did the ancients
exert, for they did not yet have it; no, they had only reached the point
of struggling and longing for it, and therefore sharpened it against
their too-powerful foe, the world of sense (but what would not have been
sensuous for them, since Jehovah or the gods of the heathen were yet far
removed from the conception "God is _spirit_," since the "heavenly
fatherland" had not yet stepped into the place of the sensuous,
etc?)--they sharpened against the world of sense their _sense_, their
acuteness. To this day the Jews, those precocious children of antiquity,
have got no farther; and with all the subtlety and strength of their
prudence and understanding, which easily becomes master of things and
forces them to obey it, they cannot discover _spirit_, which _takes no
account whatever of things_.

The Christian has spiritual interests, because he allows himself to be a
_spiritual_ man; the Jew does not even understand these interests in
their purity, because he does not allow himself to assign _no value_ to
things. He does not arrive at pure _spirituality_, a spirituality such
as is religiously expressed, _e. g._, in the _faith_, of Christians,
which alone (_i. e._ without works) justifies. Their _unspirituality_
sets Jews forever apart from Christians; for the spiritual man is
incomprehensible to the unspiritual, as the unspiritual is contemptible
to the spiritual. But the Jews have only "the spirit of this world."

The ancient acuteness and profundity lies as far from the spirit and the
spirituality of the Christian world as earth from heaven.

He who feels himself as free spirit is not oppressed and made anxious by
the things of this world, because he does not care for them; if one is
still to feel their burden, he must be narrow enough to attach _weight_
to them,--as is evidently the case, for instance, when one is still
concerned for his "dear life." He to whom everything centres in knowing
and conducting himself as a free spirit gives little heed to how
scantily he is supplied meanwhile, and does not reflect at all on how he
must make his arrangements to have a thoroughly free or enjoyable
_life_. He is not disturbed by the inconveniences of the life that
depends on things, because he lives only spiritually and on spiritual
food, while aside from this he only gulps things down like a beast,
hardly knowing it, and dies bodily, to be sure, when his fodder gives
out, but knows himself immortal as spirit, and closes his eyes with an
adoration or a thought. His life is occupation with the spiritual,
is--_thinking_; the rest does not bother him; let him busy himself with
the spiritual in any way that he can and chooses,--in devotion, in
contemplation, or in philosophic cognition,--his doing is always
thinking; and therefore Descartes, to whom this had at last become quite
clear, could lay down the proposition: "I think, that is--I am." This
means, my thinking is my being or my life; only when I live spiritually
do I live; only as spirit am I really, or--I am spirit through and
through and nothing but spirit. Unlucky Peter Schlemihl, who has lost
his shadow, is the portrait of this man become a spirit; for the
spirit's body is shadowless.--Over against this, how different among the
ancients! Stoutly and manfully as they might bear themselves against the
might of things, they must yet acknowledge the might itself, and got no
farther than to protect their _life_ against it as well as possible.
Only at a late hour did they recognize that their "true life" was not
that which they led in the fight against the things of the world, but
the "spiritual life," "turned away" from these things; and, when they
saw this, they became--Christians, _i. e._ the moderns, and innovators
upon the ancients. But the life turned away from things, the spiritual
life, no longer draws any nourishment from nature, but "lives only on
thoughts," and therefore is no longer "life," but--_thinking_.

Yet it must not be supposed now that the ancients were _without
thoughts_, just as the most spiritual man is not to be conceived of as
if he could be without life. Rather, they had their thoughts about
everything, about the world, man, the gods, etc., and showed themselves
keenly active in bringing all this to their consciousness. But they did
not know _thought_, even though they thought of all sorts of things and
"worried themselves with their thoughts." Compare with their position
the Christian saying, "My thoughts are not your thoughts; as the heaven
is higher than the earth, so are my thoughts higher than your thoughts,"
and remember what was said above about our child-thoughts.

What is antiquity seeking, then? The true _enjoyment of life_! You will
find that at bottom it is all the same as "the true life."

The Greek poet Simonides sings: "Health is the noblest good for mortal
man, the next to this is beauty, the third riches acquired without
guile, the fourth the enjoyment of social pleasures in the company of
young friends." These are all _good things of life_, pleasures of life.
What else was Diogenes of Sinope seeking for than the true enjoyment of
life, which he discovered in having the least possible wants? What else
Aristippus, who found it in a cheery temper under all circumstances?
They are seeking for cheery, unclouded _life-courage_, for _cheeriness_;
they are seeking to "be of good _cheer_."

The Stoics want to realize the _wise man_, the man with _practical
philosophy_, the man who _knows how to live_,--a wise life, therefore;
they find him in contempt for the world, in a life without development,
without spreading out, without friendly relations with the world,
_i. e._ in the _isolated life_, in life as life, not in life with
others; only the Stoic _lives_, all else is dead for him. The
Epicureans, on the contrary, demand a moving life.

The ancients, as they want to be of good cheer, desire _good living_
(the Jews especially a long life, blessed with children and goods),
_eudaemonia_, well-being in the most various forms. Democritus, _e. g._,
praises as such the calm of the soul in which one "_lives_ smoothly,
without fear and without excitement."

So what he thinks is that with this he gets on best, provides for
himself the best lot, and gets through the world best. But as he cannot
get rid of the world,--and in fact cannot for the very reason that his
whole activity is taken up in the effort to get rid of it, that is, in
_repelling the world_ (for which it is yet necessary that what can be
and is repelled should remain existing, otherwise there would no longer
be anything to repel),--he reaches at most an extreme degree of
liberation, and is distinguishable only in degree from the less
liberated. If he even got as far as the deadening of the earthly sense,
which at last admits only the monotonous whisper of the word "Brahm," he
nevertheless would not be essentially distinguishable from the _sensual_

Even the Stoic attitude and manly virtue amounts only to this,--that
one must maintain and assert himself against the world; and the ethics
of the Stoics (their only science, since they could tell nothing about
the spirit but how it should behave toward the world, and of nature
[physics] only this, that the wise man must assert himself against it)
is not a doctrine of the spirit, but only a doctrine of the repelling of
the world and of self-assertion against the world. And this consists in
"imperturbability and equanimity of life," and so in the most explicit
Roman virtue.

The Romans too (Horace, Cicero, etc.) went no further than this
_practical philosophy_.

The _comfort (hedone)_ of the Epicureans is the same _practical
philosophy_ the Stoics teach, only trickier, more deceitful. They teach
only another _behavior_ toward the world, exhort us only to take a
shrewd attitude toward the world; the world must be deceived, for it is
my enemy.

The break with the world is completely carried through by the Skeptics.
My entire relation to the world is "worthless and truthless." Timon
says, "The feelings and thoughts which we draw from the world contain no
truth." "What is truth?" cries Pilate. According to Pyrrho's doctrine
the world is neither good nor bad, neither beautiful nor ugly, etc., but
these are _predicates_ which I give it. Timon says that "in itself
nothing is either good or bad, but man only _thinks_ of it thus or
thus"; to face the world only _ataraxia_ (unmovedness) and _aphasia_
(speechlessness--or, in other words, isolated _inwardness_) are left.
There is "no longer any truth to be recognized" in the world; things
contradict themselves; thoughts about things are without distinction
(good and bad are all the same, so that what one calls good another
finds bad); here the recognition of "truth" is at an end, and only the
_man without power of recognition_, the _man_ who finds in the world
nothing to recognize, is left, and this man just leaves the truth-vacant
world where it is and takes no account of it.

So antiquity gets trough with the _world of things_, the order of the
world, the world as a whole; but to the order of the world, or the
things of this world, belong not only nature, but all relations in which
man sees himself placed by nature, _e. g._ the family, the
community,--in short, the so-called "natural bonds." With the _world of
the spirit_ Christianity then begins. The man who still faces the world
_armed_ is the ancient, the--_heathen_ (to which class the Jew, too, as
non-Christian, belongs); the man who has come to be led by nothing but
his "heart's pleasure," the interest he takes, his fellow-feeling,
his--_spirit_, is the modern, the--Christian.

As the ancients worked toward the _conquest of the world_ and strove to
release man from the heavy trammels of connection with _other things_,
at last they came also to the dissolution of the State and giving
preference to everything private. Of course community, family, etc., as
_natural_ relations, are burdensome hindrances which diminish my
_spiritual freedom_.


"If any man be in Christ, he is a _new creature_; the old is passed
away, behold, all is become _new_."[11]

As it was said above, "To the ancients the world was a truth," we must
say here, "To the moderns the spirit was a truth"; but here, as there,
we must not omit the supplement, "a truth whose untruth they tried to
get back of, and at last they really do."

A course similar to that which antiquity took may be demonstrated in
Christianity also, in that the _understanding_ was held a prisoner under
the dominion of the Christian dogmas up to the time preparatory to the
Reformation, but in the pre-Reformation century asserted itself
_sophistically_ and played heretical pranks with all tenets of the
faith. And the talk then was, especially in Italy and at the Roman
court, "If only the heart remains Christian-minded, the understanding
may go right on taking its pleasure."

Long before the Reformation people were so thoroughly accustomed to
fine-spun "wranglings" that the pope, and most others, looked on
Luther's appearance too as a mere "wrangling of monks" at first.
Humanism corresponds to Sophisticism, and, as in the time of the
Sophists Greek life stood in its fullest bloom (the Periclean age), so
the most brilliant things happened in the time of Humanism, or, as one
might perhaps also say, of Machiavellianism (printing, the New World,
etc.). At this time the heart was still far from wanting to relieve
itself of its Christian contents.

But finally the Reformation, like Socrates, took hold seriously of the
_heart_ itself, and since then hearts have kept growing visibly--more
unchristian. As with Luther people began to take the matter to heart,
the outcome of this step of the Reformation must be that the heart also
gets lightened of the heavy burden of Christian faith. The heart, from
day to day more unchristian, loses the contents with which it had busied
itself, till at last nothing but empty _warm-heartedness_ is left it,
the quite general love of men, the love of Man, the consciousness of
freedom, "self-consciousness."

Only so is Christianity complete, because it has become bald, withered,
and void of contents. There are now no contents whatever against which
the heart does not mutiny, unless indeed the heart unconsciously or
without "self-consciousness" lets them slip in. The heart _criticises_
to death with _hard-hearted_ mercilessness everything that wants to make
its way in, and is capable (except, as before, unconsciously or taken by
surprise) of no friendship, no love. What could there be in men to love,
since they are all alike "egoists," none of them _man_ as such, _i. e._
none _spirit_ only? The Christian loves only the spirit; but where could
one be found who should be really nothing but spirit?

To have a liking for the corporeal man with hide and hair,--why, that
would no longer be a "spiritual" warm-heartedness, it would be treason
against "pure" warm-heartedness, the "theoretical regard." For pure
warm-heartedness is by no means to be conceived as like that kindliness
that gives everybody a friendly hand-shake; on the contrary, pure
warm-heartedness is warm-hearted toward nobody, it is only a theoretical
interest, concern for man as man, not as a person. The person is
repulsive to it because of being "egoistic," because of not being that
abstraction, Man. But it is only for the abstraction that one can have a
theoretical regard. To pure warm-heartedness or pure theory men exist
only to be criticised, scoffed at, and thoroughly despised; to it, no
less than to the fanatical parson, they are only "filth" and other such
nice things.

Pushed to this extremity of disinterested warm-heartedness, we must
finally become conscious that the spirit, which alone the Christian
loves, is nothing; in other words, that the spirit is--a lie.

What has here been set down roughly, summarily, and doubtless as yet
incomprehensibly, will, it is to be hoped, become clear as we go on.

Let us take up the inheritance left by the ancients, and, as active
workmen, do with it as much as--can be done with it! The world lies
despised at our feet, far beneath us and our heaven, into which its
mighty arms are no longer thrust and its stupefying breath does not
come. Seductively as it may pose, it can delude nothing but our _sense_;
it cannot lead astray the spirit--and spirit alone, after all, we really
are. Having once got _back_ of things, the spirit has also got _above_
them, and become free from their bonds, emancipated supernal, free. So
speaks "spiritual freedom."

To the spirit which, after long toil, has got rid of the world, the
worldless spirit, nothing is left after the loss of the world and the
worldly but--the spirit and the spiritual.

Yet, as it has only moved away from the world and made of itself a being
_free from the world_, without being able really to annihilate the
world, this remains to it a stumbling-block that cannot be cleared away,
a discredited existence; and, as, on the other hand, it knows and
recognizes nothing but the spirit and the spiritual, it must perpetually
carry about with it the longing to spiritualize the world, _i. e._ to
redeem it from the "black list." Therefore, like a youth, it goes about
with plans for the redemption or improvement of the world.

The ancients, we saw, served the natural, the worldly, the natural order
of the world, but they incessantly asked themselves whether they could
not, then, relieve themselves of this service; and, when they had tired
themselves to death in ever-renewed attempts at revolt, then, among
their last sighs, was born to them the _God_, the "conqueror of the
world." All their doing had been nothing but _wisdom of the world_, an
effort to get back of the world and above it. And what is the wisdom of
the many following centuries? What did the moderns try to get back of?
No longer to get back of the world, for the ancients had accomplished
that; but back of the God whom the ancients bequeathed to them, back of
the God who "is spirit," back of everything that is the spirit's, the
spiritual. But the activity of the spirit, which "searches even the
depths of the Godhead," is _theology_. If the ancients have nothing to
show but wisdom of the world, the moderns never did nor do make their
way further than to theology. We shall see later that even the newest
revolts against God are nothing but the extremest efforts of "theology,"
_i. e._ theological insurrections.


The realm of spirits is monstrously great, there is an infinite deal of
the spiritual; yet let us look and see what the spirit, this bequest of
the ancients, properly is.

Out of their birth-pangs it came forth, but they themselves could not
utter themselves as spirit; they could give birth to it, it itself must
speak. The "born God, the Son of Man," is the first to utter the word
that the spirit, _i. e._ he, God, has to do with nothing earthly and no
earthly relationship, but solely with the spirit and spiritual

Is my courage, indestructible under all the world's blows, my
inflexibility and my obduracy, perchance already spirit in the full
sense, because the world cannot touch it? Why, then it would not yet be
at enmity with the world, and all its action would consist merely in not
succumbing to the world! No, so long as it does not busy itself with
itself alone, so long as it does not have to do with _its_ world, the
spiritual, alone, it is not _free_ spirit, but only the "spirit of this
world," the spirit fettered to it. The spirit is free spirit, _i. e._
really spirit, only in a world of _its own_; in "this," the world, it is
a stranger. Only through a spiritual world is the spirit really spirit,
for "this" world does not understand it and does not know how to keep
"the maiden from a foreign land"[12] from departing.

But where is it to get this spiritual world? Where but out of itself? It
must reveal itself; and the words that it speaks, the revelations in
which it unveils itself, these are _its_ world. As a visionary lives and
has _his_ world only in the visionary pictures that he himself creates,
as a crazy man generates for himself his own dream-world, without which
he could not be crazy, so the spirit must create for itself its spirit
world, and is not spirit till it creates it.

Thus its creations make it spirit, and by its creatures we know it, the
creator; in them it lives, they are its world.

Now, what is the spirit? It is the creator of a spiritual world! Even in
you and me people do not recognize spirit till they see that we have
appropriated to ourselves something spiritual,--_i. e._, though thoughts
may have been set before us, we have at least brought them to life in
ourselves; for, as long as we were children, the most edifying thoughts
might have been laid before us without our wishing, or being able to
reproduce them in ourselves. So the spirit also exists only when it
creates something spiritual; it is real only together with the
spiritual, its creature.

As, then, we know it by its works, the question is what these works are.
But the works or children of the spirit are nothing else but--spirits:

If I had before me Jews, Jews of the true metal, I should have to stop
here and leave them standing before this mystery as for almost two
thousand years they have remained standing before it, unbelieving and
without knowledge. But, as you, my dear reader, are at least not a
full-blooded Jew,--for such a one will not go astray as far as this,--we
will still go along a bit of road together, till perhaps you too turn
your back on me because I laugh in your face.

If somebody told you you were altogether spirit, you would take hold of
your body and not believe him, but answer: "I _have_ a spirit, no doubt,
but do not exist only as spirit, but am a man with a body." You would
still distinguish _yourself_ from "your spirit." "But," replies he, "it
is your destiny, even though now you are yet going about in the fetters
of the body, to be one day a 'blessed spirit,' and, however you may
conceive of the future aspect of your spirit, so much is yet certain,
that in death you will put off this body and yet keep yourself, _i. e._
your spirit, for all eternity; accordingly your spirit is the eternal
and true in you, the body only a dwelling here below, which you may
leave and perhaps exchange for another."

Now you believe him! For the present, indeed, _you_ are not spirit only;
but, when you emigrate from the mortal body, as one day you must, then
you will have to help yourself without the body, and therefore it is
needful that you be prudent and care in time for your proper self. "What
should it profit a man if he gained the whole world and yet suffered
damage in his soul?"

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.

But whom do you think of under the name of egoist? A man who, instead of
living to an idea,--_i. e._ a spiritual thing--and sacrificing to it his
personal advantage, serves the latter. A good patriot, _e. g._, brings
his sacrifice to the altar of the fatherland; but it cannot be disputed
that the fatherland is an idea, since for beasts incapable of mind,[13]
or children as yet without mind, there is no fatherland and no
patriotism. Now, if any one does not approve himself as a good patriot,
he betrays his egoism with reference to the fatherland. And so the
matter stands in innumerable other cases: he who in human society takes
the benefit of a prerogative sins egoistically against the idea of
equality; he who exercises dominion is blamed as an egoist against the
idea of liberty,--etc.

You despise the egoist because he puts the spiritual in the background
as compared with the personal, and has his eyes on himself where you
would like to see him act to favor an idea. The distinction between you
is that he makes himself the central point, but you the spirit; or that
you cut your identity in two and exalt your "proper self," the spirit,
to be ruler of the paltrier remainder, while he will hear nothing of
this cutting in two, and pursues spiritual and material interests just
_as he pleases_. You think, to be sure, that you are falling foul of
those only who enter into no spiritual interest at all, but in fact you
curse at everybody who does not look on the spiritual interest as his
"true and highest" interest. You carry your knightly service for this
beauty so far that you affirm her to be the only beauty of the world.
You live not to _yourself_, but to your _spirit_ and to what is the
spirit's--_i. e._ ideas.

As the spirit exists only in its creating of the spiritual, let us take
a look about us for its first creation. If only it has accomplished
this, there follows thenceforth a natural propagation of creations, as
according to the myth only the first human beings needed to be created,
the rest of the race propagating of itself. The first creation, on the
other hand, must come forth "out of nothing,"--_i. e._, the spirit has
toward its realization nothing but itself, or rather it has not yet even
itself, but must create itself; hence its first creation is itself, _the
spirit_. Mystical as this sounds, we yet go through it as an every-day
experience. Are you a thinking being before you think? In creating the
first thought you create yourself, the thinking one; for you do not
think before you think a thought, _i. e._ have a thought. Is it not your
singing that first makes you a singer, your talking that makes you a
talker? Now, so too it is the production of the spiritual that first
makes you a spirit.

Meantime, as you distinguish _yourself_ from the thinker, singer, and
talker, so you no less distinguish yourself from the spirit, and feel
very clearly that you are something beside spirit. But, as in the
thinking ego hearing and sight easily vanish in the enthusiasm of
thought, so you also have been seized by the spirit-enthusiasm, and you
now long with all your might to become wholly spirit and to be dissolved
in spirit. The spirit is your _ideal_, the unattained, the otherworldly;
spirit is the name of your--god, "God is spirit."

Against all that is not spirit you are a zealot, and therefore you play
the zealot against _yourself_ who cannot get rid of a remainder of the
non-spiritual. Instead of saying, "I am _more_ than spirit," you say
with contrition, "I am less than spirit; and spirit, pure spirit, or the
spirit that is nothing but spirit, I can only think of, but am not; and,
since I am not it, it is another, exists as another, whom I call 'God'."

It lies in the nature of the case that the spirit that is to exist as
pure spirit must be an otherworldly one, for, since I am not it, it
follows that it can only be _outside_ me; since in any case a human
being is not fully comprehended in the concept "spirit," it follows that
the pure spirit, the spirit as such, can only be outside of men, beyond
the human world,--not earthly, but heavenly.

Only from this disunion in which I and the spirit lie; only because "I"
and "spirit" are not names for one and the same thing, but different
names for completely different things; only because I am not spirit and
spirit not I,--only from this do we get a quite tautological explanation
of the necessity that the spirit dwells in the other world, _i. e._ is

But from this it also appears how thoroughly theological is the
liberation that Feuerbach[14] is laboring to give us. What he says is
that we had only mistaken our own essence, and therefore looked for it
in the other world, but that now, when we see that God was only our
human essence, we must recognize it again as ours and move it back out
of the other world into this. To God, who is spirit, Feuerbach gives the
name "Our Essence." Can we put up with this, that "Our Essence" is
brought into opposition to _us_,--that we are split into an essential
and an unessential self? Do we not therewith go back into the dreary
misery of seeing ourselves banished out of ourselves?

What have we gained, then, when for a variation we have transferred into
ourselves the divine outside us? _Are we_ that which is in us? As little
as we are that which is outside us. I am as little my heart as I am my
sweetheart, this "other self" of mine. Just because we are not the
spirit that dwells in us, just for that reason we had to take it and set
it outside us; it was not we, did not coincide with us, and therefore we
could not think of it as existing otherwise than outside us, on the
other side from us, in the other world.

With the strength of _despair_ Feuerbach clutches at the total substance
of Christianity, not to throw it away, no, to drag it to himself, to
draw it, the long-yearned-for, ever-distant, out of its heaven with a
last effort, and keep it by him forever. Is not that a clutch of the
uttermost despair, a clutch for life or death, and is it not at the
same time the Christian yearning and hungering for the other world? The
hero wants not to go into the other world, but to draw the other world
to him, and compel it to become this world! And since then has not all
the world, with more or less consciousness, been crying that "this
world" is the vital point, and heaven must come down on earth and be
experienced even here?

Let us, in brief, set Feuerbach's theological view and our contradiction
over against each other!

"The essence of man is man's supreme being;[15] now by religion, to be
sure, the _supreme being_ is called _God_ and regarded as an _objective_
essence, but in truth it is only man's own essence; and therefore the
turning point of the world's history is that henceforth no longer _God_,
but man, is to appear to man as God."[16]

To this we reply: The supreme being is indeed the essence of man, but,
just because it is his _essence_ and not he himself, it remains quite
immaterial whether we see it outside him and view it as "God," or find
it in him and call it "Essence of Man" or "Man." _I_ am neither God nor
_Man_,[17] neither the supreme essence nor my essence, and therefore it
is all one in the main whether I think of the essence as in me or
outside me. Nay, we really do always think of the supreme being as in
both kinds of otherworldliness, the inward and outward, at once; for
the "Spirit of God" is, according to the Christian view, also "our
spirit," and "dwells in us."[18] It dwells in heaven and dwells in us;
we poor things are just its "dwelling," and, if Feuerbach goes on to
destroy its heavenly dwelling and force it to move to us bag and
baggage, then we, its earthly apartments, will be badly overcrowded.

But after this digression (which, if we were at all proposing to work by
line and level, we should have had to save for later pages in order to
avoid repetition) we return to the spirit's first creation, the spirit

The spirit is something other than myself. But this other, what is it?


Have you ever seen a spirit? "No, not I, but my grandmother." Now, you
see, it's just so with me too; I myself haven't seen any, but my
grandmother had them running between her feet all sorts of ways, and out
of confidence in our grandmothers' honesty we believe in the existence
of spirits.

But had we no grandfathers then, and did they not shrug their shoulders
every time our grandmothers told about their ghosts? Yes, those were
unbelieving men who have harmed our good religion much, those
rationalists! We shall feel that! What else lies at the bottom of this
warm faith in ghosts, if not the faith in "the existence of spiritual
beings in general," and is not this latter itself disastrously unsettled
if saucy men of the understanding may disturb the former? The
Romanticists were quite conscious what a blow the very belief in God
suffered by the laying aside of the belief in spirits or ghosts, and
they tried to help us out of the baleful consequences not only by their
reawakened fairy world, but at last, and especially, by the "intrusion
of a higher world," by their somnambulists, prophetesses of Prevorst,
etc. The good believers and fathers of the church did not suspect that
with the belief in ghosts the foundation of religion was withdrawn, and
that since then it had been floating in the air. He who no longer
believes in any ghost needs only to travel on consistently in his
unbelief to see that there is no separate being at all concealed behind
things, no ghost or--what is naively reckoned as synonymous even in our
use of words--no "_spirit_."

"Spirits exist!" Look about in the world, and say for yourself whether a
spirit does not gaze upon you out of everything. Out of the lovely
little flower there speaks to you the spirit of the Creator, who has
shaped it so wonderfully; the stars proclaim the spirit that established
their order; from the mountain-tops a spirit of sublimity breathes down;
out of the waters a spirit of yearning murmurs up; and--out of men
millions of spirits speak. The mountains may sink, the flowers fade, the
world of stars fall in ruins, the men die--what matters the wreck of
these visible bodies? The spirit, the "invisible spirit," abides

Yes, the whole world is haunted! Only _is_ haunted? Nay, it itself
"walks," it is uncanny through and through, it is the wandering
seeming-body of a spirit, it is a spook. What else should a ghost be,
then, than an apparent body, but real spirit? Well, the world is
"empty," is "naught," is only glamorous "semblance"; its truth is the
spirit alone; it is the seeming-body of a spirit.

Look out near or far, a _ghostly_ world surrounds you everywhere; you
are always having "apparitions" or visions. Everything that appears to
you is only the phantasm of an indwelling spirit, is a ghostly
"apparition"; the world is to you only a "world of appearances," behind
which the spirit walks. You "see spirits."

Are you perchance thinking of comparing yourself with the ancients, who
saw gods everywhere? Gods, my dear modern, are not spirits; gods do not
degrade the world to a semblance, and do not spiritualize it.

But to you the whole world is spiritualized, and has become an
enigmatical ghost; therefore do not wonder if you likewise find in
yourself nothing but a spook. Is not your body haunted by your spirit,
and is not the latter alone the true and real, the former only the
"transitory, naught" or a "semblance"? Are we not all ghosts, uncanny
beings that wait for "deliverance,"--to wit, "spirits"?

Since the spirit appeared in the world, since "the Word became flesh,"
since then the world has been spiritualized, enchanted, a spook.

You have spirit, for you have thoughts. What are your thoughts?
"Spiritual entities." Not things, then? "No, but the spirit of things,
the main point in all things, the inmost in them, their--idea."
Consequently what you think is not only your thought? "On the contrary,
it is that in the world which is most real, that which is properly to be
called true; it is the truth itself; if I only think truly, I think the
truth. I may, to be sure, err with regard to the truth, and _fail to
recognize_ it; but, if I _recognize_ truly, the object of my cognition
is the truth." So, I suppose, you strive at all times to recognize the
truth? "To me the truth is sacred. It may well happen that I find a
truth incomplete and replace it with a better, but _the_ truth I cannot
abrogate. I _believe_ in the truth, therefore I search in it; nothing
transcends it, it is eternal."

Sacred, eternal is the truth; it is the Sacred, the Eternal. But you,
who let yourself be filled and led by this sacred thing, are yourself
hallowed. Further, the sacred is not for your senses,--and you never as
a sensual man discover its trace,--but for your faith, or, more
definitely still, for your _spirit_; for it itself, you know, is a
spiritual thing, a spirit,--is spirit for the spirit.

The sacred is by no means so easily to be set aside as many at present
affirm, who no longer take this "unsuitable" word into their mouths. If
even in a single respect I am still _upbraided_ as an "egoist," there is
left the thought of something else which I should serve more than
myself, and which must be to me more important than everything; in
short, somewhat in which I should have to seek my true welfare,[19]
something--"sacred."[20] However human this sacred thing may look,
though it be the Human itself, that does not take away its sacredness,
but at most changes it from an unearthly to an earthly sacred thing,
from a divine one to a human.

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 (_i. e._ 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

His toil and care to get away from himself is nothing but the
misunderstood impulse to self-dissolution. If you are bound to your past
hour, if you must babble to-day because you babbled yesterday,[21] if
you can not transform yourself each instant, you feel yourself fettered
in slavery and benumbed. Therefore over each minute of your existence a
fresh minute of the future beckons to you, and, developing yourself, you
get away "from yourself,"--_i. e._ from the self that was at that
moment. As you are at each instant, you are your own creature, and in
this very "creature" you do not wish to lose yourself, the creator. You
are yourself a higher being than you are, and surpass yourself. But that
_you_ are the one who is higher than you,--_i. e._ that you are not only
creature, but likewise your creator,--just this, as an involuntary
egoist, you fail to recognize; and therefore the "higher essence" is to
you--an alien[22] essence. Every higher essence, such as truth, mankind,
etc., is an essence _over_ us.

Alienness is a criterion of the "sacred." In everything sacred there
lies something "uncanny," _i. e._ strange,[23] such as we are not quite
familiar and at home in. What is sacred to me is _not my own_; and if,
_e. g._ the property of others was not sacred to me, I should look on it
as _mine_, which I should take to myself when occasion offered. Or, on
the other side, if I regard the face of the Chinese emperor as sacred,
it remains strange to my eye, which I close at its appearance.

Why is an incontrovertible mathematical truth, which might even be
called eternal according to the common understanding of words,
not--sacred? Because it is not revealed, or not the revelation of a
higher being. If by revealed we understand only the so-called religious
truths, we go far astray, and entirely fail to recognize the breadth of
the concept "higher being." Atheists keep up their scoffing at the
higher being, which was also honored 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. Is "Man"
perchance not a higher essence than an individual man, and must not the
truths, rights, and ideas which result from the concept of him be
honored and--counted sacred, as revelations of this very concept? For,
even though we should abrogate again many a truth that seemed to be made
manifest by this concept, yet this would only evince a misunderstanding
on our part, without in the least degree harming the sacred concept
itself or taking their sacredness from those truths that must rightly be
looked upon as its revelations. _Man_ reaches beyond every individual
man, and yet--though he be "his essence"--is not in fact _his_ essence
(which rather would be as single[24] as he the individual himself), but
a general and "higher," yes, for atheists "the highest essence."[25]
And, as the divine revelations were not written down by God with his own
hand, but made public through "the Lord's instruments," so also the new
highest essence does not write out its revelations itself, but lets them
come to our knowledge through "true men." Only the new essence betrays,
in fact, a more spiritual style of conception than the old God, because
the latter was still represented in a sort of embodiedness or form,
while the undimmed spirituality of the new is retained, and no special
material body is fancied for it. And withal it does not lack corporeity,
which even takes on a yet more seductive appearance because it looks
more natural and mundane and consists in nothing less than in every
bodily man,--yes, or outright in "humanity" or "all men." Thereby the
spectralness of the spirit in a seeming-body has once again become
really solid and popular.

Sacred, then, is the highest essence and everything in which this
highest essence reveals or will reveal itself; but hallowed are they who
recognize this highest essence together with its own, _i. e._ together
with its revelations. The sacred hallows in turn its reverer, who by his
worship becomes himself a saint, as likewise what he does is saintly, a
saintly walk, saintly thoughts and actions, imaginations and
aspirations, etc.

It is easily understood that the conflict over what is revered as the
highest essence can be significant only so long as even the most
embittered opponents concede to each other the main point,--that there
is a highest essence to which worship or service is due. If one should
smile compassionately at the whole struggle over a highest essence, as a
Christian might at the war of words between a Shiite and a Sunnite or
between a Brahman and a Buddhist, then the hypothesis of a highest
essence would be null in his eyes, and the conflict on this basis an
idle play. 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.

In the foremost place of the sacred,[26] then, stands the highest
essence and the faith in this essence, our "holy[27] faith."


With ghosts we arrive in the spirit-realm, in the realm of _essences_.

What haunts the universe, and has its occult, "incomprehensible" being
there, is precisely the mysterious spook that we call highest essence.
And to get to the bottom of this _spook_, to _comprehend_ it, to
discover _reality_ in it (to prove "the existence of God")--this task
men set to themselves for thousands of years; with the horrible
impossibility, the endless Danaid-labor, of transforming the spook into
a non-spook, the unreal into something real, the _spirit_ into an entire
and _corporeal_ person,--with this they tormented themselves to death.
Behind the existing world they sought the "thing in itself," the
essence; behind the _thing_ they sought the _un-thing_.

When one looks to the _bottom_ of anything, _i. e._ searches out its
_essence_, one often discovers something quite other than what it
_seems_ to be; honeyed speech and a lying heart, pompous words and
beggarly thoughts, etc. By bringing the essence into prominence one
degrades the hitherto misapprehended appearance to a bare _semblance_, a
deception. The essence of the world, so attractive and splendid, is for
him who looks to the bottom of it--emptiness; emptiness is == world's
essence (world's doings). Now, he who is religious does not occupy
himself with the deceitful semblance, with the empty appearances, but
looks upon the essence, and in the essence has--the truth.

The essences which are deduced from some appearances are the evil
essences, and conversely from others the good. The essence of human
feeling, _e. g._, is love; the essence of human will is the good; that
of one's thinking, the true; etc.

What at first passed for existence, such as the world and its like,
appears now as bare semblance, and the _truly existent_ is much rather
the essence, whose realm is filled with gods, spirits, demons, _i. e._
with good or bad essences. Only this inverted world, the world of
essences, truly exists now. The human heart may be loveless, but its
essence exists, God, "who is love"; human thought may wander in error,
but its essence, truth, exists; "God is truth,"--etc.

To know and acknowledge essences alone and nothing but essences, that is
religion; its realm is a realm of essences, spooks, and ghosts.

The longing to make the spook comprehensible, or to realize _non-sense_,
has brought about a _corporeal ghost_, a ghost or spirit with a real
body, an embodied ghost. How the strongest and most talented Christians
have tortured themselves to get a conception of this ghostly apparition!
But there always remained the contradiction of two natures, the divine
and human, _i. e._ the ghostly and sensual; there remained the most
wondrous spook, a thing that was not a thing. Never yet was a ghost more
soul-torturing, and no shaman, who pricks himself to raving fury and
nerve-lacerating cramps to conjure a ghost, can endure such soul-torment
as Christians suffered from that most incomprehensible ghost.

But through Christ the truth of the matter had at the same time come to
light, that the veritable spirit or ghost is--man. The _corporeal_ or
embodied spirit is just man; he himself is the ghastly being and at the
same time the being's appearance and existence. Henceforth man no
longer, in typical cases, shudders at ghosts _outside_ him, but at
himself; he is terrified at himself. In the depth of his breast dwells
the _spirit of sin_; even the faintest _thought_ (and this is itself a
spirit, you know) may be a _devil_, etc.--The ghost has put on a body,
God has become man, but now man is himself the gruesome spook which he
seeks to get back of, to exorcise, to fathom, to bring to reality and to
speech; man is--_spirit_. What matter if the body wither, if only the
spirit is saved? everything rests on the spirit, and the spirit's or
"soul's" welfare becomes the exclusive goal. Man has become to himself a
ghost, an uncanny spook, to which there is even assigned a distinct seat
in the body (dispute over the seat of the soul, whether in the head,

You are not to me, and I am not to you, a higher essence. Nevertheless a
higher essence may be hidden in each of us, and call forth a mutual
reverence. To take at once the most general, Man lives in you and me.
If I did not see Man in you, what occasion should I have to respect you?
To be sure you are not Man and his true and adequate form, but only a
mortal veil of his, from which he can withdraw without himself ceasing;
but yet for the present this general and higher essence is housed in
you, and you present before me (because an imperishable spirit has in
you assumed a perishable body, so that really your form is only an
"assumed" one) a spirit that appears, appears in you, without being
bound to your body and to this particular mode of appearance,--therefore
a spook. Hence I do not regard you as a higher essence, but only respect
that higher essence which "walks" in you; I "respect Man in you." The
ancients did not observe anything of this sort in their slaves, and the
higher essence "Man" found as yet little response. To make up for this,
they saw in each other ghosts of another sort. The People is a higher
essence than an individual, and, like Man or the Spirit of Man, a spirit
haunting the individual,--the Spirit of the People. For this reason they
revered this spirit, and only so far as he served this or else a spirit
related to it (_e. g._ the Spirit of the Family, etc.) could the
individual appear significant; only for the sake of the higher essence,
the People, was consideration allowed to the "member of the people." As
you are hallowed to us by "Man" who haunts you, so at every time men
have been hallowed by some higher essence or other, like People, Family,
and such. Only for the sake of a higher essence has any one been honored
from of old, only as a ghost has he been regarded in the light of a
hallowed, _i. e._, protected and recognized person. If I cherish you
because I hold you dear, because in you my heart finds nourishment, my
need satisfaction, then it is not done for the sake of a higher essence
whose hallowed body you are, not on account of my beholding in you a
ghost, _i. e._ an appearing spirit, but from egoistic pleasure; you
yourself with _your_ essence are valuable to me, for your essence is not
a higher one, is not higher and more general than you, is unique[28]
like you yourself, because it is you.

But it is not only man that, "haunts"; so does everything. The higher
essence, the spirit, that walks in everything, is at the same time bound
to nothing, and only--"appears" in it. Ghosts in every corner!

Here would be the place to pass the haunting spirits in review, if they
were not to come before us again further on in order to vanish before
egoism. Hence let only a few of them be particularized by way of
example, in order to bring us at once to our attitude toward them.

Sacred above all, _e. g._, is the "holy Spirit," sacred the truth,
sacred are right, law, a good cause, majesty, marriage, the common good,
order, the fatherland, etc.


Man, your head is haunted; you have wheels in your head! You imagine
great things, and depict to yourself a whole world of gods that has an
existence for you, a spirit-realm to which you suppose yourself to be
called, an ideal that beckons to you. You have a fixed idea!

Do not think that I am jesting or speaking figuratively when I regard
those persons who cling to the Higher, and (because the vast majority
belongs under this head) almost the whole world of men, as veritable
fools, fools in a madhouse. What is it, then, that is called a "fixed
idea"? An idea that has subjected the man to itself. When you recognize,
with regard to such a fixed idea, that it is a folly, you shut its slave
up in an asylum. And is the truth of the faith, say, which we are not to
doubt; the majesty of (_e. g._) the people, which we are not to strike
at (he who does is guilty of--lese-majesty); virtue, against which the
censor is not to let a word pass, that morality may be kept pure;
etc.,--are these not "fixed ideas"? Is not all the stupid chatter of
(_e. g._) most of our newspapers the babble of fools who suffer from the
fixed idea of morality, legality, Christianity, etc., and only seem to
go about free because the madhouse in which they walk takes in so broad
a space? Touch the fixed idea of such a fool, and you will at once have
to guard your back against the lunatic's stealthy malice. For these
great lunatics are like the little so-called lunatics in this point
too,--that they assail by stealth him who touches their fixed idea. They
first steal his weapon, steal free speech from him, and then they fall
upon him with their nails. Every day now lays bare the cowardice and
vindictiveness of these maniacs, and the stupid populace hurrahs for
their crazy measures. One must read the journals of this period, and
must hear the Philistines talk, to get the horrible conviction that one
is shut up in a house with fools. "Thou shalt not call thy brother a
fool; if thou dost--etc." But I do not fear the curse, and I say, my
brothers are arch-fools. Whether a poor fool of the insane asylum is
possessed by the fancy that he is God the Father, Emperor of Japan, the
Holy Spirit, etc., or whether a citizen in comfortable circumstances
conceives that it is his mission to be a good Christian, a faithful
Protestant, a loyal citizen, a virtuous man, etc.,--both these are one
and the same "fixed idea." He who has never tried and dared not to be a
good Christian, a faithful Protestant, a virtuous man, etc., is
_possessed_ and prepossessed[29] by faith, virtuousness, etc. Just as
the schoolmen philosophized only _inside_ the belief of the church; as
Pope Benedict XIV wrote fat books _inside_ the papist superstition,
without ever throwing a doubt upon this belief; as authors fill whole
folios on the State without calling in question the fixed idea of the
State itself; as our newspapers are crammed with politics because they
are conjured into the fancy that man was created to be a _zoon
politicon_,--so also subjects vegetate in subjection, virtuous people in
virtue, liberals in humanity, etc., without ever putting to these fixed
ideas of theirs the searching knife of criticism. Undislodgeable, like a
madman's delusion, those thoughts stand on a firm footing, and he who
doubts them--lays hands on the _sacred_! Yes, the "fixed idea," that is
the truly sacred!

Is it perchance only people possessed by the devil that meet us, or do
we as often come upon people _possessed_ in the contrary way,--possessed
by "the good," by virtue, morality, the law, or some "principle" or
other? Possessions of the devil are not the only ones. God works on us,
and the devil does; the former "workings of grace," the latter "workings
of the devil." Possessed[30] people are _set_[31] in their opinions.

If the word "possession" displeases you, then call it prepossession;
yes, since the spirit possesses you, and all "inspirations" come from
it, call it--inspiration and enthusiasm. I add that complete
enthusiasm--for we cannot stop with the sluggish, half-way kind--is
called fanaticism.

It is precisely among cultured people that _fanaticism_ is at home; for
man is cultured so far as he takes an interest in spiritual things, and
interest in spiritual things, when it is alive, is and must be
_fanaticism_; it is a fanatical interest in the sacred (_fanum_).
Observe our liberals, look into the _Saechsischen Vaterlandsblaetter_,
hear what Schlosser says:[32] "Holbach's company constituted a regular
plot against the traditional doctrine and the existing system, and its
members were as fanatical on behalf of their unbelief as monks and
priests, Jesuits and Pietists, Methodists, missionary and Bible
societies, commonly are for mechanical worship and orthodoxy."

Take notice how a "moral man" behaves, who to-day often thinks he is
through with God and throws off Christianity as a bygone thing. If you
ask him whether he has ever doubted that the copulation of brother and
sister is incest, that monogamy is the truth of marriage, that filial
piety is a sacred duty, etc., then a moral shudder will come over him at
the conception of one's being allowed to touch his sister as wife also,
etc. And whence this shudder? Because he _believes_ in those moral
commandments. This moral _faith_ is deeply rooted in his breast. Much as
he rages against the _pious_ Christians, he himself has nevertheless as
thoroughly remained a Christian,--to wit, a _moral_ Christian. In the
form of morality Christianity holds him a prisoner, and a prisoner under
_faith_. Monogamy is to be something sacred, and he who may live in
bigamy is punished as a _criminal_; he who commits incest suffers as a
_criminal_. Those who are always crying that religion is not to be
regarded in the State, and the Jew is to be a citizen equally with the
Christian, show themselves in accord with this. Is not this of incest
and monogamy a _dogma of faith_? Touch it, and you will learn by
experience how this moral man is a _hero of faith_ too, not less than
Krummacher, not less than Philip II. These fight for the faith of the
Church, he for the faith of the State, or the moral laws of the State;
for articles of faith, both condemn him who acts otherwise than _their
faith_ will allow. The brand of "crime" is stamped upon him, and he may
languish in reformatories, in jails. Moral faith is as fanatical as
religious faith! They call that "liberty of faith" then, when brother
and sister, on account of a relation that they should have settled with
their "conscience," are thrown into prison. "But they set a pernicious
example." Yes, indeed: others might have taken the notion that the
State had no business to meddle with their relation, and thereupon
"purity of morals" would go to ruin. So then the religious heroes of
faith are zealous for the "sacred God," the moral ones for the "sacred

Those who are zealous for something sacred often look very little like
each other. How the strictly orthodox or old-style believers differ from
the fighters for "truth, light, and justice," from the Philalethes, the
Friends of Light, the Rationalists, etc. And yet, how utterly
unessential is this difference! If one buffets single traditional truths
(_e. g._ miracles, unlimited power of princes, etc.), then the
rationalists buffet them too, and only the old-style believers wail.
But, if one buffets truth itself, he immediately has both, as
_believers_, for opponents. So with moralities; the strict believers are
relentless, the clearer heads are more tolerant. But he who attacks
morality itself gets both to deal with. "Truth, morality, justice,
light, etc.," are to be and remain "sacred." What any one finds to
censure in Christianity is simply supposed to be "unchristian" according
to the view of these rationalists; but Christianity must remain a
fixture, to buffet it is outrageous, "an outrage." To be sure, the
heretic against pure faith no longer exposes himself to the earlier fury
of persecution, but so much the more does it now fall upon the heretic
against pure morals.

       *       *       *       *       *

Piety has for a century received so many blows, and had to hear its
superhuman essence reviled as an "inhuman" one so often, that one
cannot feel tempted to draw the sword against it again. And yet it has
almost always been only moral opponents that have appeared in the arena,
to assail the supreme essence in favor of--another supreme essence. So
Proudhon, unabashed, says:[33] "Man is destined to live without
religion, but the moral law is eternal and absolute. Who would dare
to-day to attack morality?" Moral people skimmed off the best fat from
religion, ate it themselves, and are now having a tough job to get rid
of the resulting scrofula. If, therefore, we point out that religion has
not by any means been hurt in its inmost part so long as people reproach
it only with its superhuman essence, and that it takes its final appeal
to the "spirit" alone (for God is spirit), then we have sufficiently
indicated its final accord with morality, and can leave its stubborn
conflict with the latter lying behind us. It is a question of a supreme
essence with both, and whether this is a superhuman or a human one can
make (since it is in any case an essence over me, a super-mine one, so
to speak) but little difference to me. In the end the relation to the
human essence, or to "Man," as soon as ever it has shed the snake-skin
of the old religion, will yet wear a religious snake-skin again.

So Feuerbach instructs us that, "if one only _inverts_ speculative
philosophy, _i. e._ always makes the predicate the subject, and so makes
the subject the object and principle, one has the undraped truth, pure
and clean."[34] Herewith, to be sure, we lose the narrow religious
standpoint, lose the _God_, who from this standpoint is subject; but we
take in exchange for it the other side of the religious standpoint, the
_moral_ standpoint. _E. g._, we no longer say "God is love," but "Love
is divine." If we further put in place of the predicate "divine" the
equivalent "sacred," then, as far as concerns the sense, all the old
comes back again. According to this, love is to be the _good_ in man,
his divineness, that which does him honor, his true _humanity_ (it
"makes him Man for the first time," makes for the first time a man out
of him). So then it would be more accurately worded thus: Love is what
is _human_ in man, and what is inhuman is the loveless egoist. But
precisely all that which Christianity and with it speculative philosophy
(_i. e._ theology) offers as the good, the absolute, is to
self-ownership simply not the good (or, what means the same, it is _only
the good_). Consequently, by the transformation of the predicate into
the subject, the Christian _essence_ (and it is the predicate that
contains the essence, you know) would only be fixed yet more
oppressively. God and the divine would entwine themselves all the more
inextricably with me. To expel God from his heaven and to rob him of his
"_transcendence_" cannot yet support a claim of complete victory, if
therein he is only chased into the human breast and gifted with
indelible _immanence_. Now they say, "The divine is the truly human!"

The same people who oppose Christianity as the basis of the State,
_i. e._ oppose the so-called Christian State, do not tire of repeating
that morality is "the fundamental pillar of social life and of the
State." As if the dominion of morality were not a complete dominion of
the sacred, a "hierarchy."

So we may here mention by the way that rationalist movement which, after
theologians had long insisted that only faith was capable of grasping
religious truths, that only to believers did God reveal himself, etc.,
and that therefore only the heart, the feelings, the believing fancy was
religious, broke out with the assertion that the "natural
understanding," human reason, was also capable of discerning God. What
does that mean but that the reason laid claim to be the same visionary
as the fancy?[35] In this sense Reimarus wrote his "Most Notable Truths
of Natural Religion." It had to come to this,--that the _whole_ man with
all his faculties was found to be _religious_; heart and affections,
understanding and reason, feeling, knowledge, and will,--in short,
everything in man,--appeared religious. Hegel has shown that even
philosophy is religious. And what is not called religion to-day? The
"religion of love," the "religion of freedom," "political religion,"--in
short, every enthusiasm. So it is, too, in fact.

To this day we use the Romance word "religion," which expresses the
concept of a condition of being _bound_. To be sure, we remain bound, so
far as religion takes possession of our inward parts; but is the mind
also bound? On the contrary, that is free, is sole lord, is not our
mind, but absolute. Therefore the correct affirmative translation of the
word religion would be "_freedom of mind_"! In whomsoever the mind is
free, he is religious in just the same way as he in whom the senses have
free course is called a sensual man. The mind binds the former, the
desires the latter. Religion, therefore, is boundness or _religio_ with
reference to me,--I am bound; it is freedom with reference to the
mind,--the mind is free, or has freedom of mind. Many know from
experience how hard it is on _us_ when the desires run away with us,
free and unbridled; but that the free mind, splendid intellectuality,
enthusiasm for intellectual interests, or however this jewel may in the
most various phrase be named, brings _us_ into yet more grievous straits
than even the wildest impropriety, people will not perceive; nor can
they perceive it without being consciously egoists.

Reimarus, and all who have shown that our reason, our heart, etc., also
lead to God, have therewithal shown that we are possessed through and
through. To be sure, they vexed the theologians, from whom they took
away the prerogative of religious exaltation; but for religion, for
freedom of mind, they thereby only conquered yet more ground. For, when
the mind is no longer limited to feeling or faith, but also, as
understanding, reason, and thought in general, belongs to itself the
mind,--when, therefore, it may take part in the spiritual[36] and
heavenly truths in the form of understanding, etc., as well as in its
other forms,--then the whole mind is occupied only with spiritual
things, _i. e._ with itself, and is therefore free. Now we are so
through-and-through religious that "jurors," _i. e._ "sworn men,"
condemn us to death, and every policeman, as a good Christian, takes us
to the lock-up by virtue of an "oath of office."

Morality could not come into opposition with piety till after the time
when in general the boisterous hate of everything that looked like an
"order" (decrees, commandments, etc.) spoke out in revolt, and the
personal "absolute lord" was scoffed at and persecuted; consequently it
could arrive at independence only through liberalism, whose first form
acquired significance in the world's history as "citizenship," and
weakened the specifically religious powers (see "Liberalism" below).
For, when morality not merely goes alongside of piety, but stands on
feet of its own, then its principle lies no longer in the divine
commandments, but in the law of reason, from which the commandments, so
far as they are still to remain valid, must first await justification
for their validity. In the law of reason man determines himself out of
himself, for "Man" is rational, and out of the "essence of Man" those
laws follow of necessity. Piety and morality part company in this,--that
the former makes God the lawgiver, the latter Man.

From a certain standpoint of morality people reason about as follows:
Either man is led by his sensuality, and is, following it, _immoral_, or
he is led by the good which, taken up into the will, is called moral
sentiment (sentiment and prepossession in favor of the good); then he
shows himself _moral_. From this point of view how, _e. g._, can Sand's
act against Kotzebue be called immoral? What is commonly understood by
unselfish it certainly was, in the same measure as (among other things)
St. Crispin's thieveries in favor of the poor. "He should not have
murdered, for it stands written, Thou shalt not murder!" Then to serve
the good, the welfare of the people, as Sand at least intended, or the
welfare of the poor, like Crispin,--is moral; but murder and theft are
immoral; the purpose moral, the means immoral. Why? "Because murder,
assassination, is something absolutely bad." When the Guerrillas enticed
the enemies of the country into ravines and shot them down unseen from
the bushes, do you suppose that was not assassination? According to the
principle of morality, which commands us to serve the good, you could
really ask only whether murder could never in any case be a realization
of the good, and would have to endorse that murder which realized the
good. You cannot condemn Sand's deed at all; it was moral, because in
the service of the good, because unselfish; it was an act of punishment,
which the individual inflicted, an--_execution_ inflicted at the risk of
the executioner's life. What else had his scheme been, after all, but
that he wanted to suppress writings by brute force? Are you not
acquainted with the same procedure as a "legal" and sanctioned one? And
what can be objected against it from your principle of morality?--"But
it was an illegal execution." So the immoral thing in it was the
illegality, the disobedience to law? Then you admit that the good is
nothing else than--law, morality nothing else than _loyalty_. And to
this externality of "loyalty" your morality must sink, to this
righteousness of works in the fulfilment of the law, only that the
latter is at once more tyrannical and more revolting than the old-time
righteousness of works. For in the latter only the _act_ is needed, but
you require the _disposition_ too; one must carry _in himself_ the law,
the statute; and he who is most legally disposed is the most moral. 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 as to be only the "vessel of its glory." "Every
Prussian carries his _gendarme_ in his breast," says a high Prussian

Why do certain _opposition parties_ fail to flourish? Solely for the
reason that they refuse to forsake the path of morality or legality.
Hence the measureless hypocrisy of devotion, love, etc., from whose
repulsiveness one may daily get the most thorough nausea at this rotten
and hypocritical relation of a "lawful opposition."--In the _moral_
relation of love and fidelity divided or opposed will cannot have place;
the beautiful relation is disturbed if the one wills this and the other
the reverse. But now, according to the practice hitherto and the old
prejudice of the opposition, the moral relation is to be preserved above
all. What is then left to the opposition? Perhaps the will to have a
liberty, if the beloved one sees fit to deny it? Not a bit! It may not
_will_ to have the freedom, it can only _wish_ for it, "petition" for
it, lisp a "Please, please!" What would come of it, if the opposition
really _willed_, willed with the full energy of the will? No, it must
renounce _will_ in order to live to _love_, renounce liberty--for love
of morality. It may never "claim as a right" what it is permitted only
to "beg as a favor." Love, devotion, etc., demand with undeviating
definiteness that there be only one will to which the others devote
themselves, which they serve, follow, love. Whether this will is
regarded as reasonable or as unreasonable, in both cases one acts
morally when one follows it, and immorally when one breaks away from it.
The will that commands the censorship seems to many unreasonable; but he
who in a land of censorship evades the censoring of his book acts
immorally, and he who submits it to the censorship acts morally. If some
one let his moral judgment go, and set up _e. g._ a secret press, one
would have to call him immoral, and imprudent into the bargain if he let
himself be caught; but will such a man lay claim to a value in the eyes
of the "moral"? Perhaps!--That is, if he fancied he was serving a
"higher morality."

The web of the hypocrisy of to-day hangs on the frontiers of two
domains, between which our time swings back and forth, attaching its
fine threads of deception and self-deception. No longer vigorous enough
to serve _morality_ without doubt or weakening, not yet reckless enough
to live wholly to egoism, it trembles now toward the one and now toward
the other in the spider-web of hypocrisy, and, crippled by the curse of
_halfness_, catches only miserable, stupid flies. If one has once dared
to make a "free" motion, immediately one waters it again with assurances
of love, and--_shams resignation_; if, on the other side, they have had
the face to reject the free motion with _moral_ appeals to confidence,
etc., immediately the moral courage also sinks, and they assure one how
they hear the free words with special pleasure, etc.; they--_sham
approval_. In short, people would like to have the one, but not go
without the other; they would like to have a _free will_, but not for
their lives lack the _moral will_. Just come in contact with a servile
loyalist, you Liberals. You will sweeten every word of freedom with a
look of the most loyal confidence, and he will clothe his servilism in
the most flattering phrases of freedom. Then you go apart, and he, like
you, thinks "I know you, fox!" He scents the devil in you as much as you
do the dark old Lord God in him.

A Nero is a "bad" man only in the eyes of the "good"; in mine he is
nothing but a _possessed_ man, as are the good too. The good see in him
an arch-villain, and relegate him to hell. Why did nothing hinder him in
his arbitrary course? Why did people put up with so much? Do you suppose
the tame Romans, who let all their will be bound by such a tyrant, were
a hair the better? In old Rome they would have put him to death
instantly, would never have been his slaves. But the contemporary "good"
among the Romans opposed to him only moral demands, not their _will_;
they sighed that their emperor did not do homage to morality, like them;
they themselves remained "moral subjects," till at last one found
courage to give up "moral, obedient subjection." And then the same "good
Romans" who, as "obedient subjects," had borne all the ignominy of
having no will, hurrahed over the nefarious, immoral act of the rebel.
Where then in the "good" was the courage for the _revolution_, that
courage which they now praised, after another had mustered it up? The
good could not have this courage, for a revolution, and an insurrection
into the bargain, is always something "immoral," which one can resolve
upon only when one ceases to be "good" and becomes either "bad"
or--neither of the two. Nero was no viler than his time, in which one
could only be one of the two, good or bad. The judgment of his time on
him had to be that he was bad, and this in the highest degree: not a
milksop, but an arch-scoundrel. All moral people can pronounce only this
judgment on him. Rascals such as he was are still living here and there
to-day (see _e. g._ the Memoirs of Ritter von Lang) in the midst of the
moral. It is not convenient to live among them certainly, as one is not
sure of his life for a moment; but can you say that it is more
convenient to live among the moral? One is just as little sure of his
life there, only that one is hanged "in the way of justice," but least
of all is one sure of his honor, and the national cockade is gone before
you can say Jack Robinson. The hard fist of morality treats the noble
nature of egoism altogether without compassion.

"But surely one cannot put a rascal and an honest man on the same
level!" Now, no human being does that oftener than you judges of morals;
yes, still more than that, you imprison as a criminal an honest man who
speaks openly against the existing constitution, against the hallowed
institutions, etc., and you entrust portfolios and still more important
things to a crafty rascal. So _in praxi_ you have nothing to reproach me
with. "But in theory!" Now there I do put both on the same level, as two
opposite poles,--to wit, both on the level of the moral law. Both have
meaning only in the "moral" world, just as in the pre-Christian time a
Jew who kept the law and one who broke it had meaning and significance
only in respect to the Jewish law; before Jesus Christ, on the contrary,
the Pharisee was no more than the "sinner and publican." So before
self-ownership the moral Pharisee amounts to as much as the immoral

Nero became very inconvenient by his possessedness. But a self-owning
man would not sillily oppose to him the "sacred," and whine if the
tyrant does not regard the sacred; he would oppose to him his will. How
often the sacredness of the inalienable rights of man has been held up
to their foes, and some liberty or other shown and demonstrated to be a
"sacred right of man"! Those who do that deserve to be laughed out of
court--as they actually are,--were it not that in truth they do, even
though unconsciously, take the road that leads to the goal. They have a
presentiment that, if only the majority is once won for that liberty, it
will also will the liberty, and will then take what it _will_ have. The
sacredness of the liberty, and all possible proofs of this sacredness,
will never procure it; lamenting and petitioning only shows beggars.

The moral man is necessarily narrow in that he knows no other enemy than
the "immoral" man. "He who is not moral is immoral!" and accordingly
reprobate, despicable, etc. Therefore the moral man can never comprehend
the egoist. Is not unwedded cohabitation an immorality? The moral man
may turn as he pleases, he will have to stand by this verdict; Emilia
Galotti gave up her life for this moral truth. And it is true, it is an
immorality. A virtuous girl may become an old maid; a virtuous man may
pass the time in fighting his natural impulses till he has perhaps
dulled them, he may castrate himself for the sake of virtue as St.
Origen did for the sake of heaven: he thereby honors sacred wedlock,
sacred chastity, as inviolable; he is--moral. Unchastity can never
become a moral act. However indulgently the moral man may judge and
excuse him who committed it, it remains a transgression, a sin against a
moral commandment; there clings to it an indelible stain. As chastity
once belonged to the monastic vow, so it does to moral conduct. Chastity
is a--good.--For the egoist, on the contrary, even chastity is not a
good without which he could not get along; he cares nothing at all about
it. What now follows from this for the judgment of the moral man? This:
that he throws the egoist into the only class of men that he knows
besides moral men, into that of the--immoral. He cannot do otherwise; he
must find the egoist immoral in everything in which the egoist
disregards morality. If he did not find him so, then he would already
have become an apostate from morality without confessing it to himself,
he would already no longer be a truly moral man. One should not let
himself be led astray by such phenomena, which at the present day are
certainly no longer to be classed as rare, but should reflect that he
who yields any point of morality can as little be counted among the
truly moral as Lessing was a pious Christian when, in the well-known
parable, he compared the Christian religion, as well as the Mohammedan
and Jewish, to a "counterfeit ring." Often people are already further
than they venture to confess to themselves. For Socrates, because in
culture he stood on the level of morality, it would have been an
immorality if he had been willing to follow Crito's seductive incitement
and escape from the dungeon; to remain was the only moral thing. But it
was solely because Socrates was--a moral man. The "unprincipled,
sacrilegious" men of the Revolution, on the contrary, had sworn fidelity
to Louis XVI, and decreed his deposition, yes, his death; but the act
was an immoral one, at which moral persons will be horrified to all

       *       *       *       *       *

Yet all this applies, more or less, only to "civic morality," on which
the freer look down with contempt. For it (like civism, its native
ground, in general) is still too little removed and free from the
religious heaven not to transplant the latter's laws without criticism
or further consideration to its domain instead of producing independent
doctrines of its own. Morality cuts a quite different figure when it
arrives at the consciousness of its dignity, and raises its principle,
the essence of man, or "Man," to be the only regulative power. Those who
have worked their way through to such a decided consciousness break
entirely with religion, whose God no longer finds any place alongside
their "Man," and, as they (see below) themselves scuttle the ship of
State, so too they crumble away that "morality" which flourishes only in
the State, and logically have no right to use even its name any further.
For what this "critical" party calls morality is very positively
distinguished from the so-called "civic or political morality," and
must appear to the citizen like an "insensate and unbridled liberty."
But at bottom it has only the advantage of the "purity of the
principle," which, freed from its defilement with the religious, has now
reached universal power in its clarified definiteness as "humanity."
Therefore one should not wonder that the name "morality" is retained
along with others, like freedom, benevolence, self-consciousness, etc.,
and is only garnished now and then with the addition, a "free"
morality,--just as, though the civic State is abused, yet the State is
to arise again as a "free State," or, if not even so, yet as a "free

Because this morality completed into humanity has fully settled its
accounts with the religion out of which it historically came forth,
nothing hinders it from becoming a religion on its own account. For a
distinction prevails between religion and morality only so long as our
dealings with the world of men are regulated and hallowed by our
relation to a superhuman being, or so long as our doing is a doing "for
God's sake." If, on the other hand, it comes to the point that "man is
to man the supreme being," then that distinction vanishes, and morality,
being removed from its subordinate position, is completed
into--religion. For then the higher being who had hitherto been
subordinated to the highest, Man, has ascended to absolute height, and
we are related to him as one is related to the highest being, _i. e._
religiously. Morality and piety are now as synonymous as in the
beginning of Christianity, and it is only because the supreme being has
come to be a different one that a holy walk is no longer called a
"holy" one, but a "human" one. If morality has conquered, then a
complete--_change of masters_ has taken place.

After the annihilation of faith Feuerbach thinks to put in to the
supposedly safe harbor of _love_. "The first and highest law must be the
love of man to man. _Homo homini Deus est_--this is the supreme
practical maxim, this the turning point of the world's history."[37]
But, properly speaking, only the god is changed,--the _deus_; love has
remained: there love to the superhuman God, here love to the human God,
to _homo_ as _Deus_. Therefore man is to me--sacred. And everything
"truly human" is to me--sacred! "Marriage is sacred of itself. And so it
is with all moral relations. Friendship is and must be _sacred_ for you,
and property, and marriage, and the good of every man, but sacred _in
and of itself_."[38] Haven't we the priest again there? Who is his God?
Man with a great M! What is the divine? The human! Then the predicate
has indeed only been changed into the subject, and, instead of the
sentence "God is love," they say "love is divine"; instead of "God has
become man," "Man has become God," etc. It is nothing more or less than
a new--_religion_. "All moral relations are ethical, are cultivated with
a moral mind, only where of themselves (without religious consecration
by the priest's blessing) they are counted _religious_." Feuerbach's
proposition, "Theology is anthropology," means only "religion must be
ethics, ethics alone is religion."

Altogether Feuerbach accomplishes only a transposition of subject and
predicate, a giving of preference to the latter. But, since he himself
says, "Love is not (and has never been considered by men) sacred through
being a predicate of God, but it is a predicate of God because it is
divine in and of itself," he might judge that the fight against the
predicates themselves, against love and all sanctities, must be
commenced. How could he hope to turn men away from God when he left them
the divine? And if, as Feuerbach says, God himself has never been the
main thing to them, but only his predicates, then he might have gone on
leaving them the tinsel longer yet, since the doll, the real kernel, was
left at any rate. He recognizes, too, that with him it is "only a matter
of annihilating an illusion";[39] he thinks, however, that the effect of
the illusion on men is "downright ruinous, since even love, in itself
the truest, most inward sentiment, becomes an obscure, illusory one
through religiousness, since religious love loves man[40] only for God's
sake, therefore loves man only apparently, but in truth God only." Is
this different with moral love? Does it love the man, _this_ man for
_this_ man's sake, or for morality's sake, for _Man's_ sake, and so--for
_homo homini Deus_--for God's sake?

       *       *       *       *       *

The wheels in the head have a number of other formal aspects, some of
which it may be useful to indicate here.

Thus _self-renunciation_ is common to the holy with the unholy, to the
pure and the impure. The impure man _renounces_ all "better feelings,"
all shame, even natural timidity, and follows only the appetite that
rules him. The pure man renounces his natural relation to the world
("renounces the world") and follows only the "desire" which rules him.
Driven by the thirst for money, the avaricious man renounces all
admonitions of conscience, all feeling of honor, all gentleness and all
compassion; he puts all considerations out of sight; the appetite drags
him along. The holy man behaves similarly. He makes himself the
"laughing-stock of the world," is hard-hearted and "strictly just"; for
the desire drags him along. As the unholy man renounces _himself_ before
Mammon, so the holy man renounces _himself_ before God and the divine
laws. We are now living in a time when the _shamelessness_ of the holy
is every day more and more felt and uncovered, whereby it is at the same
time compelled to unveil itself, and lay itself bare, more and more
every day. Have not the shamelessness and stupidity of the reasons with
which men antagonize the "progress of the age" long surpassed all
measure and all expectation? But it must be so. The self-renouncers
must, as holy men, take the same course that they do as unholy men;
as the latter little by little sink to the fullest measure of
self-renouncing vulgarity and _lowness_, so the former must ascend
to the most dishonorable _exaltation_. The mammon of the earth
and the _God_ of heaven both demand exactly the same degree
of--self-renunciation. The low man, like the exalted one, reaches out
for a "good,"--the former for the material good, the latter for the
ideal, the so-called "supreme good"; and at last both complete each
other again too, as the "materially-minded" man sacrifices everything to
an ideal phantasm, his _vanity_, and the "spiritually-minded" man to a
material gratification, the _life of enjoyment_.

Those who exhort men to "unselfishness"[41] think they are saying an
uncommon deal. What do they understand by it? Probably something like
what they understand by "self-renunciation." But who is this self that
is to be renounced and to have no benefit? It seems that _you_ yourself
are supposed to be it. And for whose benefit is unselfish
self-renunciation recommended to you? Again for _your_ benefit and
behoof, only that through unselfishness you are procuring your "true

You are to benefit _yourself_, and yet you are not seek _your_ benefit.

People regard as unselfish the _benefactor_ of men, a Franke who founded
the orphan asylum, an O'Connell who works tirelessly for his Irish
people; but also the _fanatic_ who, like St. Boniface, hazards his life
for the conversion of the heathen, or, like Robespierre, sacrifices
everything to virtue,--like Koerner, dies for God, king, and fatherland.
Hence, among others, O'Connell's opponents try to trump up against him
some selfishness or mercenariness, for which the O'Connell fund seemed
to give them a foundation; for, if they were successful in casting
suspicion on his "unselfishness," they would easily separate him from
his adherents.

Yet what could they show further than that O'Connell was working for
another _end_ than the ostensible one? But, whether he may aim at making
money or at liberating the people, it still remains certain, in one case
as in the other, that he is striving for an end, and that _his_ end;
selfishness here as there, only that his national self-interest would be
beneficial to _others too_, and so would be for the _common_ interest.

Now, do you suppose unselfishness is unreal and nowhere extant? On the
contrary, nothing is more ordinary! One may even call it an article of
fashion in the civilized world, which is considered so indispensable
that, if it costs too much in solid material, people at least adorn
themselves with its tinsel counterfeit and feign it. Where does
unselfishness begin? Right where an end ceases to be _our_ end and our
_property_, which we, as owners, can dispose of at pleasure; where it
becomes a fixed end or a--fixed idea; where it begins to inspire,
enthuse, fanaticize us; in short, where it passes into our
_stubbornness_ and becomes our--master. One is not unselfish so long as
he retains the end in his power; one becomes so only at that "Here I
stand, I cannot do otherwise," the fundamental maxim of all the
possessed; one becomes so in the case of a _sacred_ end, through the
corresponding sacred zeal.--

I am not unselfish so long as the end remains my _own_, and I, instead
of giving myself up to be the blind means of its fulfilment, leave it
always an open question. My zeal need not on that account be slacker
than the most fanatical, but at the same time I remain toward it
frostily cold, unbelieving, and its most irreconcilable enemy; I remain
its _judge_, because I am its owner.

Unselfishness grows rank as far as possessedness reaches, as much on
possessions of the devil as on those of a good spirit: there vice,
folly, etc.; here humility, devotion, etc.

Where could one look without meeting victims of self-renunciation? There
sits a girl opposite me, who perhaps has been making bloody sacrifices
to her soul for ten years already. Over the buxom form droops a
deathly-tired head, and pale cheeks betray the slow bleeding away of her
youth. Poor child, how often the passions may have beaten at your heart,
and the rich powers of youth have demanded their right! When your head
rolled in the soft pillow, how awakening nature quivered through your
limbs, the blood swelled your veins, and fiery fancies poured the gleam
of voluptuousness into your eyes! Then appeared the ghost of the soul
and its eternal bliss. You were terrified, your hands folded themselves,
your tormented eye turned its look upward, you--prayed. The storms of
nature were hushed, a calm glided over the ocean of your appetites.
Slowly the weary eyelids sank over the life extinguished under them, the
tension crept out unperceived from the rounded limbs, the boisterous
waves dried up in the heart, the folded hands themselves rested a
powerless weight on the unresisting bosom, one last faint "Oh dear!"
moaned itself away, and--_the soul was at rest_. You fell asleep, to
awake in the morning to a new combat and a new--prayer. Now the habit of
renunciation cools the heat of your desire, and the roses of your youth
are growing pale in the--chlorosis of your heavenliness. The soul is
saved, the body may perish! O Lais, O Ninon, how well you did to scorn
this pale virtue! One free _grisette_ against a thousand virgins grown
gray in virtue!

The fixed idea may also be perceived as "maxim," "principle,"
"standpoint," and the like. Archimedes, to move the earth, asked for a
standpoint _outside_ it. Men sought continually for this standpoint, and
every one seized upon it as well as he was able. This foreign standpoint
is the _world of mind_, of ideas, thoughts, concepts, essences, etc.; it
is _heaven_. Heaven is the "standpoint" from which the earth is moved,
earthly doings surveyed and--despised. To assure to themselves heaven,
to occupy the heavenly standpoint firmly and for ever,--how painfully
and tirelessly humanity struggled for this!

Christianity has aimed to deliver us from a life determined by nature,
from the appetites as actuating us, and so has meant that man should not
let himself be determined by his appetites. This does not involve the
idea that _he_ was not to _have_ appetites, but that the appetites were
not to have him, that they were not to become _fixed_, uncontrollable,
indissoluble. Now, could not what Christianity (religion) contrived
against the appetites be applied by us to its own precept that _mind_
(thought, conceptions, ideas, faith, etc.) must determine us; could we
not ask that neither should mind, or the conception, the idea, be
allowed to determine us, to become _fixed_ and inviolable or "sacred"?
Then it would end in the _dissolution of mind_, the dissolution of all
thoughts, of all conceptions. As we there had to say "We are indeed to
have appetites, but the appetites are not to have us," so we should now
say "We are indeed to have _mind_, but mind is not to have us." If the
latter seems lacking in sense, think _e. g._ of the fact that with so
many a man a thought becomes a "maxim," whereby he himself is made
prisoner to it, so that it is not he that has the maxim, but rather it
that has him. And with the maxim he has a "permanent standpoint" again.
The doctrines of the catechism become our _principles_ before we find it
out, and no longer brook rejection. Their thought, or--mind, has the
sole power, and no protest of the "flesh" is further listened to.
Nevertheless it is only through the "flesh" that I can break the tyranny
of mind; for it is only when a man hears his flesh along with the rest
of him that he hears himself wholly, and it is only when he wholly hears
_himself_ that he is a hearing or rational[42] being. The Christian does
not hear the agony of his enthralled nature, but lives in "humility";
therefore he does not grumble at the wrong which befalls his _person_;
he thinks himself satisfied with the "freedom of the spirit." But, if
the flesh once takes the floor, and its tone is "passionate,"
"indecorous," "not well-disposed," "spiteful," etc. (as it cannot be
otherwise), then he thinks he hears voices of devils, voices _against
the spirit_ (for decorum, passionlessness, kindly disposition, and the
like, is--spirit), and is justly zealous against them. He could not be a
Christian if he were willing to endure them. He listens only to
morality, and slaps immorality in the mouth; he listens only to
legality, and gags the lawless word. The _spirit_ of morality and
legality holds him a prisoner; a rigid, unbending _master_. They call
that the "mastery of the spirit,"--it is at the same time the
_standpoint_ of the spirit.

And now whom do the ordinary liberal gentlemen mean to make free? Whose
freedom is it that they cry out and thirst for? The _spirit's_! That of
the spirit of morality, legality, piety, the fear of God, etc. That is
what the anti-liberal gentlemen also want, and the whole contention
between the two turns on a matter of advantage,--whether the latter are
to be the only speakers, or the former are to receive a "share in the
enjoyment of the same advantage." The _spirit_ remains the absolute
_lord_ for both, and their only quarrel is over who shall occupy the
hierarchical throne that pertains to the "Vicegerent of the Lord." The
best of it is that one can calmly look upon the stir with the certainty
that the wild beasts of history will tear each other to pieces just like
those of nature; their putrefying corpses fertilize the ground for--our

We shall come back later to many another wheel in the head,--for
instance, those of vocation, truthfulness, love, etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

When one's own is contrasted with what is _imparted_ to him, there is no
use in objecting that we cannot have anything isolated, but receive
everything as a part of the universal order, and therefore through the
impression of what is around us, and that consequently we have it as
something "imparted"; for there is a great difference between the
feelings and thoughts which are _aroused_ in me by other things and
those which are _given_ to me. God, immortality, freedom, humanity,
etc., are drilled into us from childhood as thoughts and feelings which
move our inner being more or less strongly, either ruling us without our
knowing it, or sometimes in richer natures manifesting themselves in
systems and works of art; but are always not aroused, but imparted,
feelings, because we must believe in them and cling to them. That an
Absolute existed, and that it must be taken in, felt, and thought by us,
was settled as a faith in the minds of those who spent all the strength
of their mind on recognizing it and setting it forth. The _feeling_ for
the Absolute exists there as an imparted one, and thenceforth results
only in the most manifold revelations of its own self. So in Klopstock
the religious feeling was an imparted one, which in the "Messiad" simply
found artistic expression. If, on the other hand, the religion with
which he was confronted had been for him only an incitation to feeling
and thought, and if he had known how to take an attitude completely _his
own_ toward it, then there would have resulted, instead of religious
inspiration, a dissolution and consumption of the religion itself.
Instead of that, he only continued in mature years his childish feelings
received in childhood, and squandered the powers of his manhood in
decking out his childish trifles.

The difference is, then, whether feelings are imparted to me or only
aroused. Those which are aroused are my own, egoistic, because they are
not _as feelings_ drilled into me, dictated to me, and pressed upon me;
but those which are imparted to me I receive, with open arms,--I cherish
them in me as a heritage, cultivate them, and am _possessed_ by them.
Who is there that has never, more or less consciously, noticed that our
whole education is calculated to produce _feelings_ in us, _i. e._
impart them to us, instead of leaving their production to ourselves
however they may turn out? If we hear thee name of God, we are to feel
veneration; if we hear that of the prince's majesty, it is to be
received with reverence, deference, submission; if we hear that of
morality, we are to think that we hear something inviolable; if we hear
of the Evil One or evil ones, we are to shudder; etc. The intention is
directed to these _feelings_, and he who _e. g._ should hear with
pleasure the deeds of the "bad" would have to be "taught what's what"
with the rod of discipline. Thus stuffed with _imparted feelings_, we
appear before the bar of majority and are "pronounced of age." Our
equipment consists of "elevating feelings, lofty thoughts, inspiring
maxims, eternal principles," etc. The young are of age when they twitter
like the old; they are driven through school to learn the old song, and,
when they have this by heart, they are declared of age.

We _must not_ feel at every thing and every name that comes before us
what we could and would like to feel thereat; _e. g._, at the name of
God we must think of nothing laughable, feel nothing disrespectful, it
being prescribed and imparted to us what and how we are to feel and
think at mention of that name.

That is the meaning of the _care of souls_,--that my soul or my mind be
tuned as others think right, not as I myself would like it. How much
trouble does it not cost one, finally to secure to oneself a feeling of
one's _own_ at the mention of at least this or that name, and to laugh
in the face of many who expect from us a holy face and a composed
expression at their speeches. What is imparted is _alien_ to us, is not
our own, and therefore is "sacred," and it is hard work to lay aside the
"sacred dread of it."

To-day one again hears "seriousness" praised, "seriousness in the
presence of highly important subjects and discussions," "German
seriousness," etc. This sort of seriousness proclaims clearly how old
and grave lunacy and possession have already become. For there is
nothing more serious than a lunatic when he comes to the central point
of his lunacy; then his great earnestness incapacitates him for taking a
joke. (See madhouses.)


The historical reflections on our Mongolism which I propose to insert
episodically at this place are not given with the claim of thoroughness,
or even of approved soundness, but solely because it seems to me that
they may contribute toward making the rest clear.

The history of the world, whose shaping properly belongs altogether to
the Caucasian race, seems till now to have run through two Caucasian
ages, in the first of which we had to work out and work off our innate
_negroidity_; this was followed in the second by _Mongoloidity_
(Chineseness), which must likewise be terribly made an end of.
Negroidity represents _antiquity_, the time of dependence on _things_
(on cocks' eating, birds' flight, on sneezing, on thunder and lightning,
on the rustling of sacred trees, etc.); Mongoloidity the time of
dependence on thoughts, the _Christian_ time. Reserved for the future
are the words "I am owner of the world of things, and I am owner of the
world of mind."

In the negroid age fall the campaigns of Sesostris and the importance of
Egypt and of northern Africa in general. To the Mongoloid age belong the
invasions of the Huns and Mongols, up to the Russians.

The value of _me_ cannot possibly be rated high so long as the hard
diamond of the _not-me_ bears so enormous a price as was the case both
with God and with the world. The not-me is still too stony and
indomitable to be consumed and absorbed by me; rather, men only creep
about with extraordinary _bustle_ on this _immovable_ entity, _i. e._ on
this _substance_, like parasitic animals on a body from whose juices
they draw nourishment, yet without consuming it. It is the bustle of
vermin, the assiduity of Mongolians. Among the Chinese, we know,
everything remains as it used to be, and nothing "essential" or
"substantial" suffers a change; all the more actively do they work away
_at_ that which remains, which bears the name of the "old," "ancestors,"

Accordingly, in our Mongolian age all change has been only reformatory
or ameliorative, not destructive or consuming and annihilating. The
substance, the object, _remains_. All our assiduity was only the
activity of ants and the hopping of fleas, jugglers' tricks on the
immovable tight-rope of the objective, _corvée_-service under the
lordship of the unchangeable or "eternal." The Chinese are doubtless the
most _positive_ nation, because totally buried in precepts; but neither
has the Christian age come out from the _positive, i. e._ from "limited
freedom," freedom "within certain limits." In the most advanced stage of
civilization this activity earns the name of _scientific_ activity, of
working on a motionless presupposition, a _hypothesis_ that is not to be

In its first and most unintelligible form morality shows itself as
_habit_. To act according to the habit and usage (_morem_) of one's
country--is to be moral there. Therefore pure moral action, clear,
unadulterated morality, is most straightforwardly practised in China;
they keep to the old habit and usage, and hate each innovation as a
crime worthy of death. For _innovation_ is the deadly enemy of _habit_,
of the _old_, of _permanence_. In fact, too, it admits of no doubt that
through habit man secures himself against the obtrusiveness of things,
of the world, and founds a world of his own in which alone he is and
feels at home, _i. e._ builds himself a _heaven_. Why, heaven has no
other meaning than that it is man's proper home, in which nothing alien
regulates and rules him any longer, no influence of the earthly any
longer makes him himself alien; in short, in which the dross of the
earthly is thrown off, and the combat against the world has found an
end,--in which, therefore, nothing is any longer _denied_ him. Heaven is
the end of _abnegation_, it is _free enjoyment_. There man no longer
denies himself anything, because nothing is any longer alien and hostile
to him. But now habit is a "second nature," which detaches and frees man
from his first and original natural condition, in securing him against
every casualty of it. The fully elaborated habit of the Chinese has
provided for all emergencies, and everything is "looked out for";
whatever may come, the Chinaman always knows how he has to behave, and
does not need to decide first according to the circumstances; no
unforeseen case throws him down from the heaven of his rest. The morally
habituated and inured Chinaman is not surprised and taken off his guard;
he behaves with equanimity (i. e. with equal spirit or temper) toward
everything, because his temper, protected by the precaution of his
traditional usage, does not lose its balance. Hence, on the ladder of
culture or civilization humanity mounts the first round through habit;
and, as it conceives that, in climbing to culture, it is at the same
time climbing to heaven, the realm of culture or second nature, it
really mounts the first round of the--ladder to heaven.

If Mongoldom has settled the existence of spiritual beings,--if it has
created a world of spirits, a heaven,--the Caucasians have wrestled for
thousands of years with these spiritual beings, to get to the bottom of
them. What were they doing, then, but building on Mongolian ground? They
have not built on sand, but in the air; they have wrestled with
Mongolism, stormed the Mongolian heaven, Tien. When will they at last
annihilate this heaven? When will they at last become _really
Caucasians_, and find themselves? When will the "immortality of the
soul," which in these latter days thought it was giving itself still
more security if it presented itself as "immortality of mind," at last
change to the _mortality of mind_?

It was when, in the industrious struggle of the Mongolian race, men had
_built a heaven_, that those of the Caucasian race, since in their
Mongolian complexion they have to do with heaven, took upon themselves
the opposite task, the task of storming that heaven of custom,
_heaven-storming_[43] activity. To dig under all human ordinance, in
order to set up a new and--better one on the cleared site, to wreck all
customs in order to put new and better customs in their place,
etc.,--their act is limited to this. But is it thus already purely and
really what it aspires to be, and does it reach its final aim? No, in
this creation of a "_better_" it is tainted with Mongolism. It storms
heaven only to make a heaven again, it overthrows an old power only to
legitimate a new power, it only--_improves_. Nevertheless the point
aimed at, often as it may vanish from the eyes at every new attempt, is
the real, complete downfall of heaven, customs, etc.,--in short, of man
secured only against the world, of the _isolation_ or _inwardness_ of
man. Through the heaven of culture man seeks to isolate himself from the
world, to break its hostile power. But this isolation of heaven must
likewise be broken, and the true end of heaven-storming is the--downfall
of heaven, the annihilation of heaven. _Improving_ and _reforming_ is
the Mongolism of the Caucasian, because thereby he is always setting up
again what already existed,--to wit, a _precept_, a generality, a
heaven. He harbors the most irreconcilable enmity to heaven, and yet
builds new heavens daily; piling heaven on heaven, he only crushes one
by another; the Jews' heaven destroys the Greeks', the Christians' the
Jews', the Protestants' the Catholics', etc.--If the _heaven-storming_
men of Caucasian blood throw on their Mongolian skin, they will bury the
emotional man under the ruins of the monstrous world of emotion, the
isolated man under his isolated world, the paradisiacal man under his
heaven. And heaven is the _realm of spirits_, the realm _of freedom of
the spirit_.

The realm of heaven, the realm of spirits and ghosts, has found its
right standing in the speculative philosophy. Here it was stated as the
realm of thoughts, concepts, and ideas; heaven is peopled with thoughts
and ideas, and this "realm of spirits" is then the true reality.

To want to win freedom for the _spirit_ is Mongolism; freedom of the
spirit is Mongolian freedom, freedom of feeling, moral freedom, etc.

We may find the word "morality" taken as synonymous with spontaneity,
self-determination. But that is not involved in it; rather has the
Caucasian shown himself spontaneous only _in spite of_ his Mongolian
morality. The Mongolian heaven, or morals,[44] remained the strong
castle, and only by storming incessantly at this castle did the
Caucasian show himself moral; if he had not had to do with morals at
all any longer, if he had not had therein his indomitable, continual
enemy, the relation to morals would cease, and consequently morality
would cease. That his spontaneity is still a moral spontaneity,
therefore, is just the Mongoloidity of it,--is a sign that in it he has
not arrived at himself. "Moral spontaneity" corresponds entirely with
"religious and orthodox philosophy," "constitutional monarchy," "the
Christian State," "freedom within certain limits," "the limited freedom
of the press," or, in a figure, to the hero fettered to a sick-bed.

Man has not really vanquished Shamanism and its spooks till he possesses
the strength to lay aside not only the belief in ghosts or in spirits,
but also the belief in the spirit.

He who believes in a spook no more assumes the "introduction of a higher
world" than he who believes in the spirit, and both seek behind the
sensual world a supersensual one; in short, they produce and believe
_another_ world, and this other _world, the product of their mind_, is a
spiritual world; for their senses grasp and know nothing of another, a
non-sensual world, only their spirit lives in it. Going on from this
Mongolian belief in the _existence of spiritual beings_ to the point
that the _proper being_ of man too is his _spirit_, and that all care
must be directed to this alone, to the "welfare of his soul," is not
hard. Influence on the spirit, so-called "moral influence," is hereby

Hence it is manifest that Mongolism represents utter absence of any
rights of the sensuous, represents non-sensuousness and unnature, and
that sin and the consciousness of sin was our Mongolian torment that
lasted thousands of years.

But who, then, will dissolve the spirit into its _nothing_? He who by
means of the spirit set forth nature as the _null_, finite, transitory,
he alone can bring down the spirit too to like nullity. _I_ can; each
one among you can, who does his will as an absolute I; in a word, the
_egoist_ can.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before the sacred, people lose all sense of power and all confidence;
they occupy a _powerless_ and _humble_ attitude toward it. And yet no
thing is sacred of itself, but by my _declaring it sacred_, by my
declaration, my judgment, my bending the knee; in short, by

Sacred is everything which for the egoist is to be unapproachable, not
to be touched, outside his _power_,--_i. e._ above _him_; sacred, in a
word, is every _matter of conscience_, for "this is a matter of
conscience to me" means simply "I hold this sacred."

For little children, just as for animals, nothing sacred exists,
because, in order to make room for this conception, one must already
have progressed so far in understanding that he can make distinctions
like "good and bad," "warranted and unwarranted," etc.; only at such a
level of reflection or intelligence--the proper standpoint of
religion--can unnatural (_i. e._ brought into existence by thinking)
_reverence_, "sacred dread," step into the place of natural _fear_. To
this sacred dread belongs holding something outside oneself for
mightier, greater, better warranted, better, etc.; _i. e._ the attitude
in which one acknowledges the might of something alien--not merely
feels it, then, but expressly acknowledges it, _i. e._ admits it,
yields, surrenders, lets himself be tied (devotion, humility, servility,
submission, etc.) Here walks the whole ghostly troop of the "Christian

Everything toward which you cherish any respect or reverence deserves
the name of sacred; you yourselves, too, say that you would feel a
"_sacred dread_" of laying hands on it. And you give this tinge even to
the unholy (gallows, crime, etc.) You have a horror of touching it.
There lies in it something uncanny, _i. e._ unfamiliar or _not your

"If something or other did not rank as sacred in a man's mind, why, then
all bars would be let down to self-will, to unlimited subjectivity!"
Fear makes the beginning, and one can make himself fearful to the
coarsest man; already, therefore, a barrier against his insolence. But
in fear there always remains the attempt to liberate oneself from what
is feared, by guile, deception, tricks, etc. In reverence,[45] on the
contrary, it is quite otherwise. Here something is not only feared,[46]
but also honored[47]: what is feared has become an inward power which I
can no longer get clear of; I honor it, am captivated by it and devoted
to it, belong to it; by the honor which I pay it I am completely in its
power, and do not even attempt liberation any longer. Now I am attached
to it with all the strength of faith; I _believe_. I and what I fear are
one; "not I live, but the respected lives in me!" Because the spirit,
the infinite, does not allow of coming to any end, therefore it is
stationary; it fears _dying_, it cannot let go its dear Jesus, the
greatness of finiteness is no longer recognized by its blinded eye; the
object of fear, now raised to veneration, may no longer be handled;
reverence is made eternal, the respected is deified. The man is now no
longer employed in creating, but in _learning_ (knowing, investigating,
etc.), _i. e._ occupied with a fixed _object_, losing himself in its
depths, without return to himself. The relation to this object is that
of knowing, fathoming, basing, etc., not that of _dissolution_
(abrogation, etc.) "Man is to be religious," that is settled; therefore
people busy themselves only with the question how this is to be
attained, what is the right meaning of religiousness, etc. Quite
otherwise when one makes the axiom itself doubtful and calls it in
question, even though it should go to smash. Morality too is such sacred
conception; one must be moral, and must look only for the right "how,"
the right way to be so. One dares not go at morality itself with the
question whether it is not itself an illusion; it remains exalted above
all doubt, unchangeable. And so we go on with the sacred, grade after
grade, from the "holy" to the "holy of holies."

       *       *       *       *       *

Men are sometimes divided into two classes, _cultured_ and _uncultured_.
The former, so far as they were worthy of their name, occupied
themselves with thoughts, with mind, and (because in the time since
Christ, of which the very principle is thought, they were the ruling
ones) demanded a servile respect for the thoughts recognized by them.
State, emperor, church, God, morality, order, etc., are such thoughts
or spirits, that exist only for the mind. A merely living being, an
animal, cares as little for them as a child. But the uncultured are
really nothing but children, and he who attends only to the necessities
of his life is indifferent to those spirits; but, because he is also
weak before them, he succumbs to their power, and is ruled by--thoughts.
This is the meaning of hierarchy.

_Hierarchy is dominion of thoughts, dominion of mind!_

We are hierarchic to this day, kept down by those who are supported by
thoughts. Thoughts are the sacred.

But the two are always clashing, now one and now the other giving the
offence; and this clash occurs, not only in the collision of two men,
but in one and the same man. For no cultured man is so cultured as not
to find enjoyment in things too, and so be uncultured; and no uncultured
man is totally without thoughts. In Hegel it comes to light at last what
a longing for _things_ even the most cultured man has, and what a horror
of every "hollow theory" he harbors. With him reality, the world of
things, is altogether to correspond to the thought, and no concept to be
without reality. This caused Hegel's system to be known as the most
objective, as if in it thought and thing celebrated their union. But
this was simply the extremest case of violence on the part of thought,
its highest pitch of despotism and sole dominion, the triumph of mind,
and with it the triumph of _philosophy_. Philosophy cannot hereafter
achieve anything higher, for its highest is the _omnipotence of mind_,
the almightiness of mind.[48]

Spiritual men have _taken into their head_ something that is to be
realized. They have _concepts_ of love, goodness, and the like, which
they would like to see _realized_; therefore they want to set up a
kingdom of love on earth, in which no one any longer acts from
selfishness, but each one "from love." Love is to _rule_. What they have
taken into their head, what shall we call it but--_fixed idea_? Why,
"their head is _haunted_." The most oppressive spook is _Man_. Think of
the proverb, "The road to ruin is paved with good intentions." The
intention to realize humanity altogether in oneself, to become
altogether man, is of such ruinous kind; here belong the intentions to
become good, noble, loving, etc.

In the sixth part of the "_Denkwuerdigkeiten_" p. 7, Bruno Bauer says:
"That middle class, which was to receive such a terrible importance for
modern history is capable of no self-sacrificing action, no enthusiasm
for an idea, no exaltation; it devotes itself to nothing but the
interests of its mediocrity; _i. e._ it remains always limited to
itself, and conquers at last only through its bulk, with which it has
succeeded in tiring out the efforts of passion, enthusiasm,
consistency,--through its surface, into which it absorbs a part of the
new ideas." And (p. 6) "It has turned the revolutionary ideas, for which
not it, but unselfish or impassioned men sacrificed themselves, solely
to its own profit, has turned spirit into money.--That is, to be sure,
after it had taken away from those ideas their point, their consistency,
their destructive seriousness, fanatical against all egoism." These
people, then, are not self-sacrificing, not enthusiastic, not
idealistic, not consistent, not zealots; they are egoists in the usual
sense, selfish people, looking out for their advantage, sober,
calculating, etc.

Who, then, is "self-sacrificing"?[49] In the full sense, surely, he who
ventures everything else for _one thing_, one object, one will, one
passion, etc. Is not the lover self-sacrificing who forsakes father and
mother, endures all dangers and privations, to reach his goal? Or the
ambitious man, who offers up all his desires, wishes, and satisfactions
to the single passion, or the avaricious man who denies himself
everything to gather treasures, or the pleasure-seeker, etc.? He is
ruled by a passion to which he brings the rest as sacrifices.

And are these self-sacrificing people perchance not selfish, not
egoists? As they have only one ruling passion, so they provide for only
one satisfaction, but for this the more strenuously; they are wholly
absorbed in it. Their entire activity is egoistic, but it is a
one-sided, unopened, narrow egoism; it is possessedness.

"Why, those are petty passions, by which, on the contrary, man must not
let himself be enthralled. Man must make sacrifices for a great idea, a
great cause!" A "great idea," a "good cause," is, it may be, the honor
of God, for which innumerable people have met death; Christianity, which
has found its willing martyrs; the Holy Catholic Church, which has
greedily demanded sacrifices of heretics; liberty and equality, which
were waited on by bloody guillotines.

He who lives for a great idea, a good cause, a doctrine, a system, a
lofty calling, may not let any worldly lusts, any self-seeking interest,
spring up in him. Here we have the concept of _clericalism_, or, as it
may also be called in its pedagogic activity, school-masterliness; for
the idealists play the schoolmaster over us. The clergyman is especially
called to live to the idea and to work for the idea, the truly good
cause. Therefore the people feel how little it befits him to show
worldly haughtiness, to desire good living, to join in such pleasures as
dancing and gaming,--in short, to have any other than a "sacred
interest." Hence too, doubtless, is derived the scanty salary of
teachers, who are to feel themselves repaid by the sacredness of their
calling alone, and to "renounce" other enjoyments.

Even a directory of the sacred ideas, one or more of which man is to
look upon as his calling, is not lacking. Family, fatherland, science,
etc., may find in man a servant faithful to his calling.

Here we come upon the old, old craze of the world which has not yet
learned to do without clericalism,--that to live and work _for an idea_
is man's calling, and according to the faithfulness of its fulfilment
his _human_ worth is measured.

This is the dominion of the idea; in other words, it is clericalism.
_E. g._, Robespierre, St. Just, etc., were priests through and through,
inspired by the idea, enthusiasts, consistent instruments of this idea,
idealistic men. So St. Just exclaims in a speech, "There is something
terrible in the sacred love of country; it is so exclusive that it
sacrifices everything to the public interest without mercy, without
fear, without human consideration. It hurls Manlius down the precipice;
it sacrifices its private inclinations; it leads Regulus to Carthage,
throws a Roman into the chasm, and sets Marat, as a victim of his
devotion, in the Pantheon."

Now, over against these representatives of ideal or sacred interests
stands a world of innumerable "personal" profane interests. No idea, no
system, no sacred cause is so great as never to be outrivaled and
modified by these personal interests. Even if they are silent
momentarily, and in times of rage and fanaticism, yet they soon come
uppermost again through "the sound sense of the people." Those ideas do
not completely conquer till they are no longer hostile to personal
interests, _i. e._ till they satisfy egoism.

The man who is just now crying herrings in front of my window has a
personal interest in good sales, and, if his wife or anybody else wishes
him the like, this remains a personal interest all the same. If, on the
other hand, a thief deprived him of his basket, then there would at once
arise an interest of many, of the whole city, of the whole country, or,
in a word, of all who abhor theft; an interest in which the
herring-seller's person would become indifferent, and in its place the
category of the "robbed man" would come into the foreground. But even
here all might yet resolve itself into a personal interest, each of the
partakers reflecting that he must concur in the punishment of the thief
because unpunished stealing might otherwise become general and cause him
too to lose his own. Such a calculation, however, can hardly be assumed
on the part of many, and we shall rather hear the cry that the thief is
a "criminal." Here we have before us a judgment, the thief's action
receiving its expression in the concept "crime." Now the matter stands
thus: even if a crime did not cause the slightest damage either to me or
to any of those in whom I take an interest, I should nevertheless
_denounce_ it. Why? Because I am enthusiastic for _morality_, filled
with the _idea_ of morality; what is hostile to it I everywhere assail.
Because in his mind theft ranks as abominable without any question,
Proudhon, _e. g._, thinks that with the sentence "Property is theft" he
has at once put a brand on property. In the sense of the priestly, theft
is always a _crime_, or at least a misdeed.

Here the personal interest is at an end. This particular person who has
stolen the basket is perfectly indifferent to my person; it is only the
thief, this concept of which that person presents a specimen, that I
take an interest in. The thief and man are in my mind irreconcilable
opposites; for one is not truly man when one is a thief; one degrades
_Man_ or "humanity" in himself when one steals. Dropping out of personal
concern, one gets into _philanthropism_, friendliness to man, which is
usually misunderstood as if it was a love to men, to each individual,
while it is nothing but a love of Man, the unreal concept, the spook.
It is not [Greek: tous anthrôpous], men, but [Greek: ton anthrôpon],
Man, that the philanthropist carries in his heart. To be sure, he cares
for each individual, but only because he wants to see his beloved ideal
realized everywhere.

So there is nothing said here of care for me, you, us; that would be
personal interest, and belongs under the head of "worldly love."
Philanthropism is a heavenly, spiritual, a--priestly love. _Man_ must be
restored in us, even if thereby we poor devils should come to grief. It
is the same priestly principle as that famous _fiat justitia, pereat
mundus_; man and justice are ideas, ghosts, for love of which everything
is sacrificed; therefore the priestly spirits are the "self-sacrificing"

He who is infatuated with _Man_ leaves persons out of account so far as
that infatuation extends, and floats in an ideal, sacred interest.
_Man_, you see, is not a person, but an ideal, a spook.

Now, things as different as possible can belong to _Man_ and be so
regarded. If one finds Man's chief requirement in piety, there arises
religious clericalism; if one sees it in morality, then moral
clericalism raises its head. On this account the priestly spirits of our
day want to make a "religion" of everything, a "religion of liberty,"
"religion of equality," etc., and for them every idea becomes a "sacred
cause," _e. g._ even citizenship, politics, publicity, freedom of the
press, trial by jury, etc.

Now, what does "unselfishness" mean in this sense? Having only an ideal
interest, before which no respect of persons avails!

The stiff head of the worldly man opposes this, but for centuries has
always been worsted at least so far as to have to bend the unruly neck
and "honor the higher power"; clericalism pressed it down. When the
worldly egoist had shaken off a higher power (_e. g._ the Old Testament
law, the Roman pope, etc.), then at once a seven times higher one was
over him again, _e. g._ faith in the place of the law, the
transformation of all laymen into divines in place of the limited body
of clergy, etc. His experience was like that of the possessed man into
whom seven devils passed when he thought he had freed himself from one.

In the passage quoted above all ideality, etc., is denied to the middle
class. It certainly schemed against the ideal consistency with which
Robespierre wanted to carry out the principle. The instinct of its
interest told it that this consistency harmonized too little with what
its mind was set on, and that it would be acting against itself if it
were willing to further the enthusiasm for principle. Was it to behave
so unselfishly as to abandon all its aims in order to bring a harsh
theory to its triumph? It suits the priests admirably, to be sure, when
people listen to their summons, "Cast away everything and follow me," or
"Sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have
treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Some decided idealists obey
this call; but most act like Ananias and Sapphira, maintaining a
behavior half clerical or religious and half worldly, serving God and

I do not blame the middle class for not wanting to let its aims be
frustrated by Robespierre, _i. e._ for inquiring of its egoism how far
it might give the revolutionary idea a chance. But one might blame (if
blame were in place here anyhow) those who let their own interests be
frustrated by the interests of the middle class. However, will not they
likewise sooner or later learn to understand what is to their advantage?
August Becker says:[50] "To win the producers (proletarians) a negation
of the traditional conception of right is by no means enough. Folks
unfortunately care little for the theoretical victory of the idea. One
must demonstrate to them _ad oculos_ how this victory can be practically
utilized in life." And (p. 32): "You must get hold of folks by their
real interests if you want to work upon them." Immediately after this he
shows how a fine looseness of morals is already spreading among our
peasants, because they prefer to follow their real interests rather than
the commands of morality.

Because the revolutionary priests or schoolmasters served _Man_, they
cut off the heads of _men_. The revolutionary laymen, those outside the
sacred circle, did not feel any greater horror of cutting off heads, but
were less anxious about the rights of Man than about their own.

How comes it, though, that the egoism of those who affirm personal
interest, and always inquire of it, is nevertheless forever succumbing
to a priestly or schoolmasterly (_i. e._ an ideal) interest? Their
person seems to them too small, too insignificant,--and is so in
fact,--to lay claim to everything and be able to put itself completely
in force. There is a sure sign of this in their dividing themselves into
two persons, an eternal and a temporal, and always caring either only
for the one or only for the other, on Sunday for the eternal, on the
work-day for the temporal, in prayer for the former, in work for the
latter. They have the priest in themselves, therefore they do not get
rid of him, but hear themselves lectured inwardly every Sunday.

How men have struggled and calculated to get at a solution regarding
these dualistic essences! Idea followed upon idea, principle upon
principle, system upon system, and none knew how to keep down
permanently the contradiction of the "worldly" man, the so-called
"egoist." Does not this prove that all those ideas were too feeble to
take up my whole will into themselves and satisfy it? They were and
remained hostile to me, even if the hostility lay concealed for a
considerable time. Will it be the same with _self-ownership_? Is it too
only an attempt at mediation? Whatever principle I turned to, it might
be to that of _reason_, I always had to turn away from it again. Or can
I always be rational, arrange my life according to reason in everything?
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.

To the activity of priestly minds belongs especially what one often
hears called "_moral influence_."

Moral influence takes its start where _humiliation_ begins; yes, it is
nothing else than this humiliation itself, the breaking and bending of
the temper[51] down to _humility_.[52] If I call to some one to run away
when a rock is to be blasted, I exert no moral influence by this demand;
if I say to a child "You will go hungry if you will not eat what is put
on the table," this is not moral influence. But, if I say to it "You
will pray, honor your parents, respect the crucifix, speak the truth,
etc., for this belongs to man and is man's calling," or even "this is
God's will," then moral influence is complete; then a man is to bend
before the _calling_ of man, be tractable, become humble, give up his
will for an alien one which is set up as rule and law; he is to _abase_
himself before something _higher_: self-abasement. "He that abaseth
himself shall be exalted." Yes, yes, children must early be _made_ to
practise piety, godliness, and propriety; a person of good breeding is
one into whom "good maxims" have been _instilled_ and _impressed_,
poured in through a funnel, thrashed in and preached in.

If one shrugs his shoulders at this, at once the good wring their hands
despairingly, and cry: "But, for heaven's sake, if one is to give
children no good instruction, why, then they will run straight into the
jaws of sin, and become good-for-nothing hoodlums!" Gently, you prophets
of evil. Good-for-nothing in your sense they certainly will become; but
your sense happens to be a very good-for-nothing sense. The impudent
lads will no longer let anything be whined and chattered into them by
you, and will have no sympathy for all the follies for which you have
been raving and driveling since the memory of man began; they will
abolish the law of inheritance, _i. e._ they will not be willing to
_inherit_ your stupidities as you inherited them from your fathers; they
destroy _inherited sin_.[53] If you command them, "Bend before the Most
High," they will answer: "If he wants to bend us, let him come himself
and do it; we, at least, will not bend of our own accord." And, if you
threaten them with his wrath and his punishment, they will take it like
being threatened with the bogie-man. If you are no longer successful in
making them afraid of ghosts, then the dominion of ghosts is at an end,
and nurses' tales find no--_faith_.

And is it not precisely the liberals again that press for good education
and improvement of the educational system? For how could their
liberalism, their "liberty within the bounds of law," come about without
discipline? Even if they do not exactly educate to the fear of God, yet
they demand the _fear of Man_ all the more strictly, and awaken
"enthusiasm for the truly human calling" by discipline.

       *       *       *       *       *

A long time passed away, in which people were satisfied with the fancy
that they had the _truth_, without thinking seriously whether perhaps
they themselves must be true to possess the truth. This time was the
_Middle Ages_. With the common consciousness--_i. e._ the consciousness
which deals with things, that consciousness which has receptivity only
for things, or for what is sensuous and sense-moving--they thought to
grasp what did not deal with things and was not perceptible by the
senses. As one does indeed also exert his eye to see the remote, or
laboriously exercise his hand till its fingers have become dexterous
enough to press the keys correctly, so they chastened themselves in the
most manifold ways, in order to become capable of receiving the
supersensual wholly into themselves. But what they chastened was, after
all, only the sensual man, the common consciousness, so-called finite or
objective thought. Yet as this thought, this understanding, which Luther
decries under the name of reason, is incapable of comprehending the
divine, its chastening contributed just as much to the understanding of
the truth as if one exercised the feet year in and year out in dancing,
and hoped that in this way they would finally learn to play the flute.
Luther, with whom the so-called Middle Ages end, was the first who
understood that the man himself must become other than he was if he
wanted to comprehend truth,--must become as true as truth itself. Only
he who already has truth in his belief, only he who _believes_ in it,
can become a partaker of it; _i. e._, only the believer finds it
accessible and sounds its depths. Only that organ of man which is able
to blow can attain the further capacity of flute-playing, and only that
man can become a partaker of truth who has the right organ for it. He
who is capable of thinking only what is sensuous, objective, pertaining
to things, figures to himself in truth only what pertains to things. But
truth is spirit, stuff altogether inappreciable by the senses, and
therefore only for the "higher consciousness," not for that which is

With Luther, accordingly, dawns the perception that truth, because it is
a _thought_, is only for the _thinking_ man. And this is to say that man
must henceforth take an utterly different standpoint, viz., the
heavenly, believing, scientific standpoint, or that of _thought_ in
relation to its object, the--_thought_,--that of mind in relation to
mind. Consequently: only the like apprehend the like. "You are like the
spirit that you understand."[54]

Because Protestantism broke the mediæval hierarchy, the opinion could
take root that hierarchy in general had been shattered by it, and it
could be wholly overlooked that it was precisely a "reformation," and so
a reinvigoration of the antiquated hierarchy. That mediæval hierarchy
had been only a weakly one, as it had to let all possible barbarism of
unsanctified things run on uncoerced beside it, and it was the
Reformation that first steeled the power of hierarchy. If Bruno Bauer
thinks:[55] "As the Reformation was mainly the abstract rending of the
religious principle from art, State, and science, and so its liberation
from those powers with which it had joined itself in the antiquity of
the church and in the hierarchy of the Middle Ages, so too the
theological and ecclesiastical movements which proceeded from the
Reformation are only the consistent carrying out of this abstraction of
the religious principle from the other powers of humanity," I regard
precisely the opposite as correct, and think that the dominion of
spirits, or freedom of mind (which comes to the same thing), was never
before so all-embracing and all-powerful, because the present one,
instead of rending the religious principle from art, State, and science,
lifted the latter altogether out of secularity into the "realm of
spirit" and made them religious.

Luther and Descartes have been appropriately put side by side in their
"He who believes is a God" and "I think, therefore I am" (_cogito, ergo
sum_). Man's heaven is _thought_,--mind. Everything can be wrested from
him, except thought, except faith. _Particular_ faith, like faith in
Zeus, Astarte, Jehovah, Allah, etc., may be destroyed, but faith itself
is indestructible. In thought is freedom. What I need and what I hunger
for is no longer granted to me by any _grace_, by the Virgin Mary, by
intercession of the saints, or by the binding and loosing church, but I
procure it for myself. In short, my being (the _sum_) is a living in the
heaven of thought, of mind, a _cogitare_. But I myself am nothing else
than mind, thinking mind (according to Descartes), believing mind
(according to Luther). My body I am not; my flesh may _suffer_ from
appetites or pains. I am not my flesh, but _I_ am _mind_, only mind.

This thought runs through the history of the Reformation till to-day.

Only by the more modern philosophy since Descartes has a serious effort
been made to bring Christianity to complete efficacy, by exalting the
"scientific consciousness" to be the only true and valid one. Hence it
begins with absolute _doubt_, _dubitare_, with grinding common
consciousness to atoms, with turning away from everything that "mind,"
"thought," does not legitimate. To it _Nature_ counts for nothing; the
opinion of men, their "human precepts," for nothing: and it does not
rest till it has brought reason into everything, and can say "The real
is the rational, and only the rational is the real." Thus it has at last
brought mind, reason, to victory; and everything is mind, because
everything is rational, because all nature, as well as even the
perversest opinions of men, contains reason; for "all must serve for the
best," _i. e._ lead to the victory of reason.

Descartes's _dubitare_ contains the decided statement that only
_cogitare_, thought, mind--_is_. A complete break with "common"
consciousness, which ascribes reality to _irrational_ things! Only the
rational is, only mind is! This is the principle of modern philosophy,
the genuine Christian principle. Descartes in his own time discriminated
the body sharply from the mind, and "the spirit 'tis that builds itself
the body," says Goethe.

But this philosophy itself, Christian philosophy, still does not get rid
of the rational, and therefore inveighs against the "merely subjective,"
against "fancies, fortuities, arbitrariness," etc. What it wants is that
the _divine_ should become visible in everything, and all consciousness
become a knowing of the divine, and man behold God everywhere; but God
never is, without the _devil_.

For this very reason the name of philosopher is not to be given to him
who has indeed open eyes for the things of the world, a clear and
undazzled gaze, a correct judgment about the world, but who sees in the
world just the world, in objects only objects, and, in short, everything
prosaically as it is; but he alone is a philosopher who sees, and points
out or demonstrates, heaven in the world, the supernal in the earthly,
the--_divine_ in the mundane. The former may be ever so wise, there is
no getting away from this:

  What wise men see not by their wisdom's art
  Is practised simply by a childlike heart.[56]

It takes this childlike heart, this eye for the divine, to make a
philosopher. The first-named man has only a "common" consciousness, but
he who knows the divine, and knows how to tell it, has a "scientific"
one. On this ground Bacon was turned out of the realm of philosophers.
And certainly what is called English philosophy seems to have got no
further than to the discoveries of so-called "clear heads", such as
Bacon and Hume. The English did not know how to exalt the simplicity of
the childlike heart to philosophic significance, did not know how to
make--philosophers out of childlike hearts. This is as much as to say,
their philosophy was not able to become _theological_ or _theology_, and
yet it is only as theology that it can really _live itself out_,
complete itself. The field of its battle to the death is in theology.
Bacon did not trouble himself about theological questions and cardinal

Cognition has its object in life. German thought seeks, more than that
of others, to reach the beginnings and fountain-heads of life, and sees
no life till it sees it in cognition itself. Descartes's _cogito, ergo
sum_ has the meaning "One lives only when one thinks." Thinking life is
called "intellectual life"! Only mind lives, its life is the true life.
Then, just so in nature only the "eternal laws," the mind or the reason
of nature, are its true life. In man, as in nature, only the thought
lives; everything else is dead! To this abstraction, to the life of
generalities or of that which is _lifeless_, the history of mind had to
come. God, who is spirit, alone lives. Nothing lives but the ghost.

How can one try to assert of modern philosophy or modern times that they
have reached freedom, since they have not freed us from the power of
objectivity? Or am I perhaps free from a despot when I am not afraid of
the personal potentate, to be sure, but of every infraction of the
loving reverence which I fancy I owe him? The case is the same with
modern times. They only changed the _existing_ objects, the real ruler,
etc., into _conceived_ objects, _i. e._ into _ideas_, before which the
old respect not only was not lost, but increased in intensity. Even if
people snapped their fingers at God and the devil in their former crass
reality, people devoted only the greater attention to their ideas. "They
are rid of the Evil One; evil is left."[57] The decision having once
been made not to let oneself be imposed on any longer by the extant and
palpable, little scruple was felt about revolting against the existing
State or overturning the existing laws; but to sin against the _idea_ of
the State, not to submit to the _idea_ of law, who would have dared
that? So one remained a "citizen" and a "law-respecting," loyal man;
yes, one seemed to himself to be only so much more law-respecting, the
more rationalistically one abrogated the former defective law in order
to do homage to the "spirit of the law." In all this the objects had
only suffered a change of form; they had remained in their prepollence
and pre-eminence; in short, one was still involved in obedience and
possessedness, lived in _refection_, and had an object on which one
reflected, which one respected, and before which one felt reverence and
fear. One had done nothing but transform the _things_ into _conceptions_
of the things, into thoughts and ideas, whereby one's _dependence_
became all the more intimate and indissoluble. So, _e. g._, it is not
hard to emancipate oneself from the commands of parents, or to set aside
the admonitions of uncle and aunt, the entreaties of brother and sister;
but the renounced obedience easily gets into one's conscience, and the
less one does give way to the individual demands, because he
rationalistically, by his own reason, recognizes them to be
unreasonable, so much the more conscientiously does he hold fast to
filial piety and family love, and so much the harder is it for him to
forgive himself a trespass against the _conception_ which he has formed
of family love and of filial duty. Released from dependence as regards
the existing family, one falls into the more binding dependence on the
idea of the family; one is ruled by the spirit of the family. The
family consisting of John, Maggie, etc., whose dominion has become
powerless, is only internalized, being left as "family" in general, to
which one just applies the old saying, "We must obey God rather than
man," whose significance here is this: "I cannot, to be sure,
accommodate myself to your senseless requirements, but, as my 'family,'
you still remain the object of my love and care"; for "the family" is a
sacred idea, which the individual must never offend against.--And this
family internalized and desensualized into a thought, a conception, now
ranks as the "sacred," whose despotism is tenfold more grievous because
it makes a racket in my conscience. This despotism is broken only when
the conception, family, also becomes a _nothing_ to me. The Christian
dicta, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?"[58] "I am come to stir up a
man against his father, and a daughter against her mother,"[59] and
others, are accompanied by something that refers us to the heavenly or
true family, and mean no more than the State's demand, in case of a
collision between it and the family, that we obey _its_ commands.

The case of morality is like that of the family. Many a man renounces
morals, but with great difficulty the conception, "morality." Morality
is the "idea" of morals, their intellectual power, their power over the
conscience; on the other hand, morals are too material to rule the mind,
and do not fetter an "intellectual" man, a so-called independent, a

The Protestant may put it as he will, the "holy[60] Scripture," the
"Word of God," still remains sacred[61] for him. He for whom this is no
longer "holy" has ceased to--be a Protestant. But herewith what is
"ordained" in it, the public authorities appointed by God, etc., also
remain sacred for him. For him these things remain indissoluble,
unapproachable, "raised above all doubt"; and, as _doubt_, which in
practice becomes a _buffeting_, is what is most man's own, these things
remain "raised" above himself. He who cannot _get away_ from them
will--_believe_; for to believe in them is to be _bound_ to them.
Through the fact that in Protestantism the _faith_ became a more inward
faith, the _servitude_ has also become a more inward servitude; one has
taken those sanctities up into himself, entwined them with all his
thoughts and endeavors, made them a "_matter of conscience_,"
constructed out of them a "_sacred duty_" for himself. Therefore what
the Protestant's conscience cannot get away from is sacred to him, and
_conscientiousness_ most clearly designates his character.

Protestantism has actually put a man in the position of a country
governed by secret police. The spy and eavesdropper, "conscience,"
watches over every motion of the mind, and all thought and action is for
it a "matter of conscience," _i. e._ police business. This tearing apart
of man into "natural impulse" and "conscience" (inner populace and inner
police) is what constitutes the Protestant. The reason of the Bible (in
place of the Catholic "reason of the church") ranks as sacred, and this
feeling and consciousness that the word of the Bible is sacred is
called--conscience. With this, then, sacredness is "laid upon one's
conscience." If one does not free himself from conscience, the
consciousness of the sacred, he may act unconscientiously indeed, but
never consciencelessly.

The Catholic finds himself satisfied when he fulfils the _command_; the
Protestant acts according to his "best judgment and conscience." For the
Catholic is only a _layman_; the Protestant is himself a
_clergyman_.[62] Just this is the progress of the Reformation period
beyond the Middle Ages, and at the same time its curse,--that _the
spiritual_ became complete.

What else was the Jesuit moral philosophy than a continuation of the
sale of indulgences? only that the man who was relieved of his burden of
sin now gained also an _insight_ into the remission of sins, and
convinced himself how really his sin was taken from him, since in this
or that particular case (Casuists) it was so clearly no sin at all that
he committed. The sale of indulgences had made all sins and
transgressions permissible, and silenced every movement of conscience.
All sensuality might hold sway, if it was only purchased from the
church. This favoring of sensuality was continued by the Jesuits, while
the strictly moral, dark, fanatical, repentant, contrite, praying
Protestants (as the true completers of Christianity, to be sure)
acknowledged only the intellectual and spiritual man. 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, _e. g._, the Philistinism of Protestantism wins at last, and
mind is on top.

Protestantism is usually complimented on having brought the mundane into
repute again, _e. g._ marriage, the State, etc. But the mundane itself
as mundane, the secular, is even more indifferent to it than to
Catholicism, which lets the profane world stand, yes, and relishes its
pleasures, while the rational, consistent Protestant sets about
annihilating the mundane altogether, and that simply by _hallowing_ it.
So marriage has been deprived of its naturalness by becoming sacred, not
in the sense of the Catholic sacrament, where it only receives its
consecration from the church and so is unholy at bottom, but in the
sense of being something sacred in itself to begin with, a sacred
relation. Just so the State, etc. Formerly the pope gave consecration
and his blessing to it and its princes; now the State is intrinsically
sacred, majesty is sacred without needing the priest's blessing. The
order of nature, or natural law, was altogether hallowed as "God's
ordinance." Hence it is said _e. g._ in the Augsburg Confession, Art.
11: "So now we reasonably abide by the saying, as the jurisconsults
have wisely and rightly said: that man and woman should be with each
other is a natural law. Now, if it is a _natural law, then it is God's
ordinance_, therefore implanted in nature, and therefore a _divine_ law
also." And is it anything more than Protestantism brought up to date,
when Feuerbach pronounces moral relations sacred, not as God's ordinance
indeed, but, instead, for the sake of the _spirit_ that dwells in them?
"But marriage--as a free alliance of love, of course--is _sacred of
itself_, by the _nature_ of the union that is formed here. _That_
marriage alone is a _religious_ one that is a _true_ one, that
corresponds to the _essence_ of marriage, love. And so it is with all
moral relations. They are _ethical_, are cultivated with a moral mind,
only where they rank as _religious of themselves_. True friendship is
only where the _limits_ of friendship are preserved with religious
conscientiousness, with the same conscientiousness with which the
believer guards the dignity of his God. Friendship is and must be
_sacred_ for you, and property, and marriage, and the good of every man,
but sacred _in and of itself_."[63]

That is a very essential consideration. In Catholicism the mundane can
indeed be _consecrated_ or _hallowed_, but it is not sacred without this
priestly blessing; in Protestantism, on the contrary, mundane relations
are sacred _of themselves_, sacred by their mere existence. The Jesuit
maxim, "the end hallows the means," corresponds precisely to the
consecration by which sanctity is bestowed. No means are holy or unholy
in themselves, but their relation to the church, their use for the
church, hallows the means. Regicide was named as such; if it was
committed for the church's behoof, it could be certain of being hallowed
by the church, even if the hallowing was not openly pronounced. To the
Protestant, majesty ranks as sacred; to the Catholic only that majesty
which is consecrated by the pontiff can rank as such; and it does rank
as such to him only because the pope, even though it be without a
special act, confers this sacredness on it once for all. If he retracted
his consecration, the king would be left only a "man of the world or
layman," an "unconsecrated" man, to the Catholic.

If the Protestant seeks to discover a sacredness in the sensual itself,
that he may then be linked only to what is holy, the Catholic strives
rather to banish the sensual from himself into a separate domain, where
it, like the rest of nature, keeps its value for itself. The Catholic
church eliminated mundane marriage from its consecrated order, and
withdrew those who were its own from the mundane family; the Protestant
church declared marriage and family ties to be holy, and therefore not
unsuitable for its clergymen.

A Jesuit may, as a good Catholic, hallow everything. He needs only
_e. g._ to say to himself: "I as a priest am necessary to the church,
but serve it more zealously when I appease my desires properly;
consequently I will seduce this girl, have my enemy there poisoned,
etc.; my end is holy because it is a priest's, consequently it hallows
the means." For in the end it is still done for the benefit of the
church. Why should the Catholic priest shrink from handing Emperor
Henry VII the poisoned wafer for the--church's welfare?

The genuinely--churchly Protestants inveighed against every "innocent
pleasure," because only the sacred, the spiritual, could be innocent.
What they could not point out the holy spirit in, the Protestants had to
reject,--dancing, the theatre, ostentation (_e. g._ in the church), and
the like.

Compared with this puritanical Calvinism, Lutheranism is again more on
the religious, _i. e._ spiritual, track,--is more radical. For the
former excludes at once a great number of things as sensual and worldly,
and _purifies_ the church; Lutheranism, on the contrary, tries to bring
_spirit_ into all things as far as possible, to recognize the holy
spirit as an essence in everything, and so to _hallow_ everything
worldly. ("No one can forbid a kiss in honor." The spirit of honor
hallows it.) Hence it was that the Lutheran Hegel (he declares himself
such in some passage or other: he "wants to remain a Lutheran") was
completely successful in carrying the idea through everything. In
everything there is reason, _i. e._ holy spirit, or "the real is
rational." For the real is in fact everything, as in each thing, _e. g._
each lie, the truth can be detected: there is no absolute lie, no
absolute evil, and the like.

Great "works of mind" were created almost solely by Protestants, as they
alone were the true disciples and consummators of _mind_.

       *       *       *       *       *

How little man is able to control! He must let the sun run its course,
the sea roll its waves, the mountains rise to heaven. Thus he stands
powerless before the _uncontrollable_. Can he keep off the impression
that he is _helpless_ against this gigantic world? It is a fixed _law_
to which he must submit, it determines his _fate_. Now, what did
pre-Christian humanity work toward? Toward getting rid of the irruptions
of the destinies, not letting oneself be vexed by them. The Stoics
attained this in apathy, declaring the attacks of nature _indifferent_,
and not letting themselves be affected by them. Horace utters the famous
_Nil admirari_, by which he likewise announces the indifference of the
_other_, the world; it is not to influence us, not to arouse our
astonishment. And that _impavidum ferient ruinae_ expresses the very
same _imperturbability_ as Ps. 46.3: "We do not fear, though the earth
should perish." In all this there is room made for the Christian
proposition that the world is empty, for the Christian _contempt of the

The _imperturbable_ spirit of "the wise man," with which the old world
worked to prepare its end, now underwent an _inner perturbation_ against
which no ataraxy, no Stoic courage, was able to protect it. The spirit,
secured against all influence of the world, insensible to its shocks and
_exalted_ above its attacks, admiring nothing, not to be disconcerted by
any downfall of the world,--foamed over irrepressibly again, because
gases (spirits) were evolved in its own interior, and, after the
_mechanical shock_ that comes from without had become ineffective,
_chemical tensions_, that agitate within, began their wonderful play.

In fact, ancient history ends with this,--that _I_ have struggled till I
won my ownership of the world. "All things have been delivered, to me
by my Father" (Matt. 11.27). It has ceased to be overpowering,
unapproachable, sacred, divine, etc., for me; it is _undeified_, and now
I treat it so entirely as I please that, if I cared, I could exert on it
all miracle-working power, _i. e._ power of mind,--remove mountains,
command mulberry trees to tear themselves up and transplant themselves
into the sea (Luke 17.6), and do everything possible, _i. e. thinkable_:
"All things are possible to him who believes."[64] I am the _lord_ of
the world, mine is the "_glory_."[65] The world has become _prosaic_,
for the divine has vanished from it: it is my property, which I dispose
of as I (to wit, the mind) choose.

When I had exalted myself to be the _owner of the world_, egoism had won
its first complete victory, had vanquished the world, had become
_worldless_, and put the acquisitions of a long age under lock and key.

The first property, the first "glory," has been acquired!

But the lord of the world is not yet lord of his thoughts, his feelings,
his will: he is not lord and owner of the spirit, for the spirit is
still sacred, the "Holy Spirit," and the "worldless" Christian is not
able to become "godless." If the ancient struggle was a struggle against
the _world_, the mediæval (Christian) struggle is a struggle against
_self_, the mind; the former against the outer world, the latter against
the inner world. The mediæval man is the man "whose gaze is turned
inward," the thinking, meditative man.

All wisdom of the ancients is _the science of the world_, all wisdom of
the moderns is _the science of God_.

The heathen (Jews included) got through with the _world_; but now the
thing was to get through with self, the _spirit_, too; _i. e._ to become
spiritless or godless.

For almost two thousand years we have been working at subjecting the
Holy Spirit to ourselves, and little by little we have torn off and
trodden under foot many bits of sacredness; but the gigantic opponent is
constantly rising anew under a changed form and name. The spirit has not
yet lost its divinity, its holiness, its sacredness. To be sure, it has
long ceased to flutter over our heads as a dove; to be sure, it no
longer gladdens its saints alone, but lets itself be caught by the laity
too, etc.; but as spirit of humanity, as spirit of Man, it remains still
an _alien_ spirit to me or you, still far from becoming our unrestricted
_property_, which we dispose of at our pleasure. However, one thing
certainly happened, and visibly guided the progress of post-Christian
history: this one thing was the endeavor to make the Holy Spirit _more
human_, and bring it nearer to men, or men to it. Through this it came
about that at last it could be conceived as the "spirit of humanity,"
and, under different expressions like "idea of humanity, mankind,
humaneness, general philanthropy," etc., appeared more attractive, more
familiar, and more accessible.

Would not one think that now everybody could possess the Holy Spirit,
take up into himself the idea of humanity, bring mankind to form and
existence in himself?

No, the spirit is not stripped of its holiness and robbed of its
unapproachableness, is not accessible to us, not our property; for the
spirit of humanity is not _my_ spirit. My _ideal_ it may be, and as a
thought I call it mine; the _thought_ of humanity is my property, and I
prove this sufficiently by propounding it quite according to my views,
and shaping it to-day so, to-morrow otherwise; we represent it to
ourselves in the most manifold ways. But it is at the same time an
entail, which I cannot alienate nor get rid of.

Among many transformations, the Holy Spirit became in time the
"_absolute idea_," which again in manifold refractions split into the
different ideas of philanthropy, reasonableness, civic virtue, etc.

But can I call the idea my property if it is the idea of humanity, and
can I consider the Spirit as vanquished if I am to serve it, "sacrifice
myself" to it? Antiquity, at its close, had gained its ownership of the
world only when it had broken the world's overpoweringness and
"divinity," recognized the world's powerlessness and "vanity."

The case with regard to the _spirit_ corresponds. When I have degraded
it to a _spook_ and its control over me to a _cranky notion_, then it is
to be looked upon as having lost its sacredness, its holiness, its
divinity, and then I _use_ it, as one uses _nature_ at pleasure without

The "nature of the case," the "concept of the relationship," is to guide
me in dealing with the case or in contracting the relation. As if a
concept of the case existed on its own account, and was not rather the
concept that one forms of the case! As if a relation which we enter into
was not, by the uniqueness of those who enter into it, itself unique! As
if it depended on how others stamp it! But, as people separated the
"essence of Man" from the real man, and judged the latter by the former,
so they also separate his action from him, and appraise it by "human
value." _Concepts_ are to decide everywhere, concepts to regulate life,
concepts to _rule_. This is the religious world, to which Hegel gave a
systematic expression, bringing method into the nonsense and completing
the conceptual precepts into a rounded, firmly-based dogmatic.
Everything is sung according to concepts, and the real man, _i. e._ I,
am compelled to live according to these conceptual laws. Can there be a
more grievous dominion of law, and did not Christianity confess at the
very beginning that it meant only to draw Judaism's dominion of law
tighter? ("Not a letter of the law shall be lost!")

Liberalism simply brought other concepts on the carpet, _viz._, human
instead of divine, political instead of ecclesiastical, "scientific"
instead of doctrinal, or, more generally, real concepts and eternal laws
instead of "crude dogmas" and precepts.

Now nothing but _mind_ rules in the world. An innumerable multitude of
concepts buzz about in people's heads, and what are those doing who
endeavor to get further? They are negating these concepts to put new
ones in their place! They are saying: "You form a false concept of
right, of the State, of man, of liberty, of truth, of marriage, etc.;
the concept of right, etc., is rather that one which we now set up."
Thus the confusion of concepts moves forward.

The history of the world has dealt cruelly with us, and the spirit has
obtained an almighty power. You must have regard for my miserable shoes,
which could protect your naked foot, my salt, by which your potatoes
would become palatable, and my state-carriage, whose possession would
relieve you of all need at once; you must not reach out after them. Man
is to recognize the _independence_ of all these and innumerable other
things: they are to rank in his mind as something that cannot be seized
or approached, are to be kept away from him. He must have regard for it,
respect it; woe to him if he stretches out his fingers desirously; we
call that "being light-fingered!"

How beggarly little is left us, yes, how really nothing! Everything has
been removed, we must not venture on anything unless it is given us; we
continue to live only by the _grace_ of the giver. You must not pick up
a pin, unless indeed you have got _leave_ to do so. And got it from
whom? From _respect_! Only when this lets you have it as property, only
when you can _respect_ it as property, only then may you take it. And
again, you are not to conceive a thought, speak a syllable, commit an
action, that should have their warrant in you alone, instead of
receiving it from morality or reason or humanity. Happy _unconstraint_
of the desirous man, how mercilessly people have tried to slay you on
the altar of _constraint_!

But around the altar rise the arches of a church, and its walls keep
moving further and further out. What they enclose is--_sacred_. You can
no longer get to it, no longer touch it. Shrieking with the hunger that
devours you, you wander round about these walls in search of the little
that is profane, and the circles of your course keep growing more and
more extended. Soon that church will embrace the whole world, and you be
driven out to the extreme edge; another step, and the _world of the
sacred_ has conquered: you sink into the abyss. Therefore take courage
while it is yet time, wander about no longer in the profane where now it
is dry feeding, dare the leap, and rush in through the gates into the
sanctuary itself. If you _devour the sacred_, you have made it your
_own_! Digest the sacramental wafer, and you are rid of it!


The ancients and the moderns having been presented above in two
divisions, it may seem as if the free were here to be described in a
third division as independent and distinct. This is not so. The free are
only the more modern and most modern among the "moderns," and are put in
a separate division merely because they belong to the present, and what
is present, above all, claims our attention here. I give "the free" only
as a translation of "the liberals," but must with regard to the concept
of freedom (as in general with regard to so many other things whose
anticipatory introduction cannot be avoided) refer to what comes later.


After the chalice of so-called absolute monarchy had been drained down
to the dregs, in the eighteenth century people became aware that their
drink did not taste human--too clearly aware not to begin to crave a
different cup. Since our fathers were "human beings" after all, they at
last desired also to be regarded as such.

Whoever sees in us something else than human beings, in him we likewise
will not see a human being, but an inhuman being, and will meet him as
an unhuman being; on the other hand, whoever recognizes us as human
beings and protects us against the danger of being treated inhumanly,
him we will honor as our true protector and guardian.

Let us then hold together and protect the man in each other; then we
find the necessary protection in our _holding together_, and in
ourselves, _those who hold together_, a fellowship of those who know
their human dignity and hold together as "human beings." Our holding
together is the _State_; we who hold together are the _nation_.

In our being together as nation or State we are only human beings. How
we deport ourselves in other respects as individuals, and what
self-seeking impulses we may there succumb to, belongs solely to our
_private_ life; our _public_ or State life is a _purely human_ one.
Everything un-human or "egoistic" that clings to us is degraded to a
"private matter" and we distinguish the State definitely from "civil
society," which is the sphere of "egoism's" activity.

The true man is the nation, but the individual is always an egoist.
Therefore strip off your individuality or isolation wherein dwells
discord and egoistic inequality, and consecrate yourselves wholly to the
true man,--the nation or the State. Then you will rank as men, and have
all that is man's; the State, the true man, will entitle you to what
belongs to it, and give you the "rights of man"; Man gives you his

So runs the speech of the commonalty.

The commonalty[66] is nothing else than the thought that the State is
all in all, the true man, and that the individual's human value consists
in being a citizen of the State. In being a good citizen he seeks his
highest honor; beyond that he knows nothing higher than at most the
antiquated--"being a good Christian."

The commonalty developed itself in the struggle against the privileged
classes, by whom it was cavalierly treated as "third estate" and
confounded with the _canaille_. In other words, up to this time the
State had recognized caste.[67] The son of a nobleman was selected for
posts to which the most distinguished commoners aspired in vain, etc.
The civic feeling revolted against this. No more distinction, no giving
preference to persons, no difference of classes! Let all be alike! No
_separate interest_ is to be pursued longer, but the _general interest
of all_. The State is to be a fellowship of free and equal men, and
every one is to devote himself to the "welfare of the whole," to be
dissolved in the _State_, to make the State his end and ideal. State!
State! so ran the general cry, and thenceforth people sought for the
"right form of State," the best constitution, and so the State in its
best conception. The thought of the State passed into all hearts and
awakened enthusiasm; to serve it, this mundane god, became the new
divine service and worship. The properly _political_ epoch had dawned.
To serve the State or the nation became the highest ideal, the State's
interest the highest interest, State service (for which one does not by
any means need to be an official) the highest honor.

So then the separate interests and personalities had been scared away,
and sacrifice for the State had become the shibboleth. One must give up
_himself_, and live only for the State. One must act "disinterestedly,"
not want to benefit _himself_, but the State. Hereby the latter has
become the true person, before whom the individual personality vanishes;
not I live, but it lives in me. Therefore, in comparison with the former
self-seeking, this was unselfishness and _impersonality_ itself. Before
this god--State--all egoism vanished, and before it all were equal; they
were without any other distinction--men, nothing but men.

The Revolution took fire from the inflammable material of _property_.
The government needed money. Now it must prove the proposition that it
is _absolute_, and so master of all property, sole proprietor; it must
_take_ to itself _its_ money, which was only in the possession of the
subjects, not their property. Instead of this, it calls States-general,
to have this money _granted_ to it. The shrinking from strictly logical
action destroyed the illusion of an _absolute_ government; he who must
have something "granted" to him cannot be regarded as absolute. The
subjects recognized that they were _real proprietors_, and that it was
_their_ money that was demanded. Those who had hitherto been subjects
attained the consciousness that they were _proprietors_. Bailly depicts
this in a few words: "If you cannot dispose of my property without my
assent, how much less can you of my person, of all that concerns my
mental and social position? All this is my property, like the piece of
land that I till; and I have a right, an interest, to make the laws
myself." Bailly's words sound, certainly, as if _every one_ was a
proprietor now. However, instead of the government, instead of the
prince, the--_nation_ now became proprietor and master. From this time
on the ideal is spoken of as--"popular liberty"--"a free people," etc.

As early as July 8, 1789, the declaration of the bishop of Autun and
Barrère took away all semblance of the importance of each and every
_individual_ in legislation; it showed the complete _powerlessness_ of
the constituents; the _majority of the representatives_ has become
_master_. When on July 9 the plan for division of the work on the
constitution is proposed, Mirabeau remarks that "the government has only
power, no rights; only in the _people_ is the source of all _right_ to
be found." On July 16 this same Mirabeau exclaims: "Is not the people
the source of all _power_?" The source, therefore, of all right, and the
source of all--power![68] By the way, here the substance of "right"
becomes visible; it is--_power_. "He who has power has right."

The commonalty is the heir of the privileged classes. In fact, the
rights of the barons, which were taken from them as "usurpations," only
passed over to the commonalty. For the commonalty was now called the
"nation." "Into the hands of the nation" all _prerogatives_ were given
back. Thereby they ceased to be "prerogatives":[69] they became
"rights."[70] From this time on the nation demands tithes, compulsory
services; it has inherited the lord's court, the rights of vert and
venison, the--serfs. The night of August 4 was the death-night of
privileges or "prerogatives" (cities, communes, boards of magistrates,
were also privileged, furnished with prerogatives and seigniorial
rights), and ended with the new morning of "right," the "rights of the
State," the "rights of the nation."

The monarch in the person of the "royal master" had been a paltry
monarch compared with this new monarch, the "sovereign nation." This
_monarchy_ was a thousand times severer, stricter, and more consistent.
Against the new monarch there was no longer any right, any privilege at
all; how limited the "absolute king" of the _ancien régime_ looks in
comparison! The Revolution effected the transformation of _limited
monarchy_ into _absolute monarchy_. From this time on every right that
is not conferred by this monarch is an "assumption"; but every
prerogative that he bestows, a "right." The times demanded _absolute
royalty_, absolute monarchy; therefore down fell that so-called absolute
royalty which had so little understood how to become absolute that it
remained limited by a thousand little lords.

What was longed for and striven for through thousands of years,--to wit,
to find that absolute lord beside whom no other lords and lordlings any
longer exist to clip his power,--the _bourgeoisie_ has brought to pass.
It has revealed the Lord who alone confers "rightful titles," and
without whose warrant _nothing is justified_. "So now we know that an
idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other god save the

Against _right_ one can no longer, as against a right, come forward with
the assertion that it is "a wrong." One can say now only that it is a
piece of nonsense, an illusion. If one called it wrong, one would have
to set up _another right_ in opposition to it, and measure it by this.
If, on the contrary, one rejects right as such, right in and of itself,
altogether, then one also rejects the concept of wrong, and dissolves
the whole concept of right (to which the concept of wrong belongs).

What is the meaning of the doctrine that we all enjoy "equality of
political rights"? Only this,--that the State has no regard for my
person, that to it I, like every other, am only a man, without having
another significance that commands its deference. I do not command its
deference as an aristocrat, a nobleman's son, or even as heir of an
official whose office belongs to me by inheritance (as in the Middle
Ages countships, etc., and later under absolute royalty, where
hereditary offices occur). Now the State has an innumerable multitude of
rights to give away, _e. g._ the right to lead a battalion, a company,
etc.; the right to lecture at a university; and so forth; it has them to
give away because they are its own, _i. e._ State rights or "political"
rights. Withal, it makes no difference to it to whom it gives them, if
the receiver only fulfils the duties that spring from the delegated
rights. To it we are all of us all right, and--_equal_,--one worth no
more and no less than another. It is indifferent to me who receives the
command of the army, says the sovereign State, provided the grantee
understands the matter properly. "Equality of political rights" has,
consequently, the meaning that every one may acquire every right that
the State has to give away, if only he fulfils the conditions annexed
thereto,--conditions which are to be sought only in the nature of the
particular right, not in a predilection for the person (_persona
grata_): the nature of the right to become an officer brings with it,
_e. g._, the necessity that one possess sound limbs and a suitable
measure of knowledge, but it does not have noble birth as a condition;
if, on the other hand, even the most deserving commoner could not reach
that station, then an inequality of political rights would exist. Among
the States of to-day one has carried out that maxim of equality more,
another less.

The monarchy of estates (so I will call absolute royalty, the time of
the kings _before_ the revolution) kept the individual in dependence on
a lot of little monarchies. These were fellowships (societies) like the
guilds, the nobility, the priesthood, the burgher class, cities,
communes, etc. Everywhere the individual must regard himself _first_ as
a member of this little society, and yield unconditional obedience to
its spirit, the _esprit de corps_, as his monarch. More, _e. g._, than
the individual nobleman himself must his family, the honor of his race,
be to him. Only by means of his _corporation_, his estate, did the
individual have relation to the greater corporation, the State,--as in
Catholicism the individual deals with God only through the priest. To
this the third estate now, showing courage to negate _itself as an
estate_, made an end. It decided no longer to be and be called an
_estate_ beside other estates, but to glorify and generalize itself into
the "_nation_." Hereby it created a much more complete and absolute
monarchy, and the entire previously ruling _principle of estates_, the
principle of little monarchies inside the great, went down. Therefore it
cannot be said that the Revolution was a revolution against the first
two privileged estates: it was against the little monarchies of estates
in general. But, if the estates and their despotism were broken (the
king too, we know, was only a king of estates, not a citizen-king), the
individuals freed from the inequality of estate were left. Were they now
really to be without estate and "out of gear," no longer bound by any
estate, without a general bond of union? No, for the third estate had
declared itself the nation only in order not to remain an estate
_beside_ other estates, but to become the _sole estate_. This sole
_estate_ is the nation, the "_State_." What had the individual now
become? A political Protestant, for he had come into immediate
connection with his God, the State. He was no longer, as an aristocrat,
in the monarchy of the nobility; as a mechanic, in the monarchy of the
guild; but he, like all, recognized and acknowledged only--_one lord_,
the State, as whose servants they all received the equal title of honor,

The _bourgeoisie_ is the _aristocracy of_ DESERT; its motto, "Let desert
wear its crowns." It fought against the "lazy" aristocracy, for
according to it (the industrious aristocracy acquired by industry and
desert) it is not the "born" who is free, nor yet I who am free either,
but the "deserving" man, the honest _servant_ (of his king; of the
State; of the people in constitutional States). Through _service_ one
acquires freedom, _i. e._ acquires "deserts," even if one
served--mammon. One must deserve well of the State, _i. e._ of the
principle of the State, of its moral spirit. He who _serves_ this spirit
of the State is a good citizen, let him live to whatever honest branch
of industry he will. In its eyes innovators practise a "breadless art."
Only the "shopkeeper" is "practical," and the spirit that chases after
public offices is as much the shopkeeping spirit as is that which tries
in trade to feather its nest or otherwise to become useful to itself and
anybody else.

But, if the deserving count as the free (for what does the comfortable
commoner, the faithful office-holder, lack of that freedom that his
heart desires?), then the "servants" are the--free. The obedient
servant is the free man! What glaring nonsense! Yet this is the sense of
the _bourgeoisie_, and its poet, Goethe, as well as its philosopher,
Hegel, succeeded in glorifying the dependence of the subject on the
object, obedience to the objective world, etc. He who only serves the
cause, "devotes himself entirely to it," has the true freedom. And among
thinkers the cause was--_reason_, that which, like State and Church,
gives--general laws, and puts the individual man in irons by the
_thought of humanity_. It determines what is "true," according to which
one must then act. No more "rational" people than the honest servants,
who primarily are called good citizens as servants of the State.

Be rich as Croesus or poor as Job--the State of the commonalty leaves
that to your option; but only have a "good disposition." This it demands
of you, and counts it its most urgent task to establish this in all.
Therefore it will keep you from "evil promptings," holding the
"ill-disposed" in check and silencing their inflammatory discourses
under censors' cancelling-marks or press-penalties and behind dungeon
walls, and will, on the other hand, appoint people of "good disposition"
as censors, and in every way have a _moral influence_ exerted on you by
"well-disposed and well-meaning" people. If it has made you deaf to evil
promptings, then it opens your ears again all the more diligently to
good _promptings_.

With the time of the _bourgeoisie_ begins that of _liberalism_. People
want to see what is "rational," "suited to the times," etc., established
everywhere. The following definition of liberalism, which is supposed
to be pronounced in its honor, characterizes it completely: "Liberalism
is nothing else than the knowledge of reason, applied to our existing
relations."[72] Its aim is a "rational order," a "moral behavior," a
"limited freedom," not anarchy, lawlessness, selfhood. But, if reason
rules, then the _person_ succumbs. Art has for a long time not only
acknowledged the ugly, but considered the ugly as necessary to its
existence, and taken it up into itself; it needs the villain, etc. In
the religious domain, too, the extremest liberals go so far that they
want to see the most religious man regarded as a citizen--_i. e._ the
religious villain; they want to see no more of trials for heresy. But
against the "rational law" no one is to rebel, otherwise he is
threatened with the severest--penalty. What is wanted is not free
movement and realization of the person or of me, but of reason,--_i. e._
a dominion of reason, a dominion. The liberals are _zealots_, not
exactly for the faith, for God, etc., but certainly for _reason_, their
master. They brook no lack of breeding, and therefore no
self-development and self-determination; they _play the guardian_ as
effectively as the most absolute rulers.

"Political liberty," what are we to understand by that? Perhaps the
individual's independence of the State and its laws? No; on the
contrary, the individual's _subjection_ in the State and to the State's
laws. But why "liberty"? Because one is no longer separated from the
State by intermediaries, but stands in direct and immediate relation to
it; because one is a--citizen, not the subject of another, not even of
the king as a person, but only in his quality as "supreme head of the
State." Political liberty, this fundamental doctrine of liberalism, is
nothing but a second phase of--Protestantism, and runs quite parallel
with "religious liberty."[73] Or would it perhaps be right to understand
by the latter an independence of religion? Anything but that.
Independence of intermediaries is all that it is intended to express,
independence of mediating priests, the abolition of the "laity," and so
direct and immediate relation to religion or to God. Only on the
supposition that one has religion can he enjoy freedom of religion;
freedom of religion does not mean being without religion, but inwardness
of faith, unmediated intercourse with God. To him who is "religiously
free" religion is an affair of the heart, it is to him his _own affair_,
it is to him a "sacredly serious matter." So, too, to the "politically
free" man the State is a sacredly serious matter; it is his heart's
affair, his chief affair, his own affair.

Political liberty means that the _polis_, the State, is free; freedom of
religion that religion is free, as freedom of conscience signifies that
conscience is free; not, therefore, that I am free from the State, from
religion, from conscience, or that I am _rid_ of them. It does not mean
_my_ liberty, but the liberty of a power that rules and subjugates me;
it means that one of my _despots_, like State, religion, conscience, is
free. State, religion, conscience, these despots, make me a slave, and
_their_ liberty is _my_ slavery. That in this they necessarily follow
the principle, "the end hallows the means," is self-evident. If the
welfare of the State is the end, war is a hallowed means; if justice is
the State's end, homicide is a hallowed means, and is called by its
sacred name, "execution," etc.; the sacred State _hallows_ everything
that is serviceable to it.

"Individual liberty," over which civic liberalism keeps jealous watch,
does not by any means signify a completely free self-determination, by
which actions become altogether _mine_, but only independence of
_persons_. Individually free is he who is responsible to no _man_. Taken
in this sense,--and we are not allowed to understand it otherwise,--not
only the ruler is individually free, _i. e., irresponsible toward men_
("before God," we know, he acknowledges himself responsible), but all
who are "responsible only to the law." This kind of liberty was won
through the revolutionary movement of the century,--to wit, independence
of arbitrary will, of _tel est notre plaisir_. Hence the constitutional
prince must himself be stripped of all personality, deprived of all
individual decision, that he may not as a person, as an _individual
man_, violate the "individual liberty" of others. The _personal will of
the ruler_ has disappeared in the constitutional prince; it is with a
right feeling, therefore, that absolute princes resist this.
Nevertheless these very ones profess to be in the best sense "Christian
princes." For this, however, they must become a _purely spiritual_
power, as the Christian is subject only to _spirit_ ("God is spirit").
The purely spiritual power is consistently represented only by the
constitutional prince, he who, without any personal significance, stands
there spiritualized to the degree that he can rank as a sheer, uncanny
"spirit," as an _idea_. The constitutional king is the truly _Christian_
king, the genuine, consistent carrying-out of the Christian principle.
In the constitutional monarchy individual dominion,--_i. e._, a real
ruler that _wills_--has found its end; here, therefore, _individual
liberty_ prevails, independence of every individual dictator, of every
one who could dictate to me with a _tel est notre plaisir_. It is the
completed _Christian_ State-life, a spiritualized life.

The behavior of the commonalty is _liberal_ through and through. Every
_personal_ invasion of another's sphere revolts the civic sense; if the
citizen sees that one is dependent on the humor, the pleasure, the will
of a man as individual (_i. e._ as not authorized by a "higher power"),
at once he brings his liberalism to the front and shrieks about
"arbitrariness." In fine, the citizen asserts his freedom from what is
called _orders_ (_ordonnance_): "No one has any business to give
me--orders!" _Orders_ carries the idea that what I am to do is another
man's will, while _law_ does not express a personal authority of
another. The liberty of the commonalty is liberty or independence from
the will of another person, so-called personal or individual liberty;
for being personally free means being only so free that no other person
can dispose of mine, or that what I may or may not do does not depend on
the personal decree of another. The liberty of the press, for instance,
is such a liberty of liberalism, liberalism fighting only against the
coercion of the censorship as that of personal wilfulness, but
otherwise showing itself extremely inclined and willing to tyrannize
over the press by "press laws"; _i. e._, the civic liberals want liberty
of writing _for themselves_; for, as they are _law-abiding_, their
writings will not bring them under the law. Only liberal matter, _i. e._
only lawful matter, is to be allowed to be printed; otherwise the "press
laws" threaten "press-penalties." If one sees personal liberty assured,
one does not notice at all how, if a new issue happens to arise, the
most glaring unfreedom becomes dominant. For one is rid of _orders_
indeed, and "no one has any business to give us orders," but one has
become so much the more submissive to the--_law_. One is enthralled now
in due legal form.

In the citizen-State there are only "free people," who are _compelled_
to thousands of things (_e. g._ to deference, to a confession of faith,
and the like). But what does that amount to? Why, it is only the--State,
the law, not any man, that compels them!

What does the commonalty mean by inveighing against every personal
order, _i. e._ every order not founded on the "cause," on "reason,"
etc.? It is simply fighting in the interest of the "cause"[74] against
the dominion of "persons"! But the mind's cause is the rational, good,
lawful, etc.; that is the "good cause." The commonalty wants an
_impersonal_ ruler.

Furthermore, if the principle is this, that only the cause is to rule
man--to wit, the cause of morality, the cause of legality, etc.,--then
no personal balking of one by the other may be authorized either (as
formerly, _e. g._, the commoner was balked of the aristocratic offices,
the aristocrat of common mechanical trades, etc.); _i. e. free
competition_ must exist. Only through the thing[75] can one balk another
(_e. g._ the rich man balking the impecunious man by money, a thing),
not as a person. Henceforth only one lordship, the lordship of the
_State_, is admitted; personally no one is any longer lord of another.
Even at birth the children belong to the State, and to the parents only
in the name of the State, which, _e. g._, does not allow infanticide,
demands their baptism, etc.

But all the State's children, furthermore, are of quite equal account in
its eyes ("civic or political equality"), and they may see to it
themselves how they get along with each other; they may _compete_.

Free competition means nothing else than that every one can present
himself, assert himself, fight, against another. Of course the feudal
party set itself against this, as its existence depended on an absence
of competition. The contests in the time of the Restoration in France
had no other substance than this,--that the _bourgeoisie_ was struggling
for free competition, and the feudalists were seeking to bring back the
guild system.

Now, free competition has won, and against the guild system it had to
win. (See below for the further discussion.)

If the Revolution ended in a reaction, this only showed what the
Revolution _really_ was. For every effort arrives at reaction when it
_comes to discreet reflection_, and storms forward in the original
action only so long as it is an _intoxication_, an "indiscretion."
"Discretion" will always be the cue of the reaction, because discretion
sets limits, and liberates what was really wanted, _i. e._ the
principle, from the initial "unbridledness" and "unrestrainedness." Wild
young fellows, bumptious students, who set aside all considerations, are
_really_ Philistines, since with them, as with the latter,
considerations form the substance of their conduct; only that as
swaggerers they are mutinous against considerations and in negative
relations to them, but as Philistines, later, they give themselves up to
considerations and have positive relations to them. In both cases all
their doing and thinking turns upon "considerations," but the Philistine
is _reactionary_ in relation to the student; he is the wild fellow come
to discreet reflection, as the latter is the unreflecting Philistine.
Daily experience confirms the truth of this transformation, and shows
how the swaggerers turn to Philistines in turning gray.

So too the so-called reaction in Germany gives proof that it was only
the _discreet_ continuation of the warlike jubilation of liberty.

The Revolution was not directed against _the established_, but against
_the establishment in question_, against a _particular_ establishment.
It did away with _this_ ruler, not with _the_ ruler--on the contrary,
the French were ruled most inexorably; it killed the old vicious rulers,
but wanted to confer on the virtuous ones a securely established
position, _i. e._ it simply set virtue in the place of vice. (Vice and
virtue, again, are on their part distinguished from each other only as a
wild young fellow from a Philistine.) Etc.

To this day the revolutionary principle has gone no farther than to
assail only _one_ or _another_ particular establishment, _i. e._ be
_reformatory_. Much as may be _improved_, strongly as "discreet
progress" may be adhered to, always there is only a _new master_ set in
the old one's place, and the overturning is a--building up. We are still
at the distinction of the young Philistine from the old one. The
Revolution began in _bourgeois_ fashion with the uprising of the third
estate, the middle class; in _bourgeois_ fashion it dries away. It was
not the _individual man_--and he alone is _Man_--that became free, but
the _citizen_, the _citoyen_, the _political_ man, who for that very
reason is not _Man_ but a specimen of the human species, and more
particularly a specimen of the species Citizen, a _free citizen_.

In the Revolution it was not the _individual_ who acted so as to affect
the world's history, but a _people_; the _nation_, the sovereign nation,
wanted to effect everything. A fancied _I_, an idea, such as the nation
is, appears acting; _i. e._, the individuals contribute themselves as
tools of this idea, and act as "citizens."

The commonalty has its power, and at the same time its limits, in the
_fundamental law of the State_, in a charter, in a legitimate[76] or
"just"[77] prince who himself is guided, and rules, according to
"rational laws"; in short, in _legality_. The period of the
_bourgeoisie_ is ruled by the British spirit of legality. An assembly
of provincial estates, _e. g._, is ever recalling that its authorization
goes only so and so far, and that it is called at all only through favor
and can be thrown out again through disfavor. It is always reminding
itself of its--_vocation_. It is certainly not to be denied that my
father begot me; but, now that I am once begotten, surely his purposes
in begetting do not concern me a bit and, whatever he may have _called_
me to, I do what I myself will. Therefore even a called assembly of
estates, the French assembly in the beginning of the Revolution,
recognized quite rightly that it was independent of the caller. It
_existed_, and would have been stupid if it did not avail itself of the
right of existence, but fancied itself dependent as on a father. The
called one no longer has to ask "what did the caller want when he
created me?" but "what do I want after I have once followed the call?"
Not the caller, not the constituents, not the charter according to which
their meeting was called out, nothing will be to him a sacred,
inviolable power. He is _authorized_ for everything that is in his
power; he will know no restrictive "authorization," will not want to be
_loyal_. This, if any such thing could be expected from chambers at all,
would give a completely _egoistic_ chamber, severed from all
navel-string and without consideration. But chambers are always devout,
and therefore one cannot be surprised if so much half-way or undecided,
_i. e._ hypocritical, "egoism" parades in them.

The members of the estates are to remain within the _limits_ that are
traced for them by the charter, by the king's will, and the like. If
they will not or can not do that, then they are to "step out." What
dutiful man could act otherwise, could put himself, his conviction, and
his will as the _first_ thing? who could be so immoral as to want to
assert _himself_, even if the body corporate and everything should go to
ruin over it? People keep carefully within the limits of their
_authorization_; of course one must remain within the limits of his
_power_ anyhow, because no one can do more than he can. "My power, or,
if it be so, powerlessness, be my sole limit, but authorizations only
restraining--precepts? Should I profess this all-subversive view? No, I
am a--law-abiding citizen!"

The commonalty professes a morality which is most closely connected with
its essence. The first demand of this morality is to the effect that one
should carry on a solid business, an honorable trade, lead a moral life.
Immoral, to it, is the sharper, the demirep, the thief, robber, and
murderer, the gamester, the penniless man without a situation, the
frivolous man. The doughty commoner designates the feeling against these
"immoral" people as his "deepest indignation." All these lack
settlement, the _solid_ quality of business, a solid, seemly life, a
fixed income, etc.; in short, they belong, because their existence does
not rest on a _secure basis_, to the dangerous "individuals or isolated
persons," to the dangerous _prolétariat_; they are "individual bawlers"
who offer no "guarantee" and have "nothing to lose," and so nothing to
risk. The forming of family ties, _e. g., binds_ a man: he who is bound
furnishes security, can be taken hold of; not so the street-walker. The
gamester stakes everything on the game, ruins himself and others;--no
guarantee. All who appear to the commoner suspicious, hostile, and
dangerous might be comprised under the name "vagabonds"; every
vagabondish way of living displeases him. For there are intellectual
vagabonds too, to whom the hereditary dwelling-place of their fathers
seems too cramped and oppressive for them to be willing to satisfy
themselves with the limited space any more: instead of keeping within
the limits of a temperate style of thinking, and taking as inviolable
truth what furnishes comfort and tranquillity to thousands, they
overleap all bounds of the traditional and run wild with their impudent
criticism and untamed mania for doubt, these extravagating vagabonds.
They form the class of the unstable, restless, changeable, _i. e._ of
the _prolétariat_, and, if they give voice to their unsettled nature,
are called "unruly fellows."

Such a broad sense has the so-called _prolétariat_, or pauperism. How
much one would err if one believed the commonalty to be desirous of
doing away with poverty (pauperism) to the best of its ability! On the
contrary, the good citizen helps himself with the incomparably
comforting conviction that "the fact is that the good things of fortune
are unequally divided and will always remain so--according to God's wise
decree." The poverty which surrounds him in every alley does not disturb
the true commoner further than that at most he clears his account with
it by throwing an alms, or finds work and food for an "honest and
serviceable" fellow. But so much the more does he feel his quiet
enjoyment clouded by _innovating_ and _discontented_ poverty, by those
poor who no longer behave _quietly_ and endure, but begin to _run wild_
and become restless. Lock up the vagabond, thrust the breeder of unrest
into the darkest dungeon! He wants to "arouse dissatisfaction and incite
people against existing institutions" in the State--stone him, stone

But from these identical discontented ones comes a reasoning somewhat as
follows: It need not make any difference to the "good citizens" who
protects them and their principles, whether an absolute king or a
constitutional one, a republic, etc., if only they are protected. And
what is their principle, whose protector they always "love"? Not that of
labor; not that of birth either. But that of _mediocrity_, of the golden
mean: a little birth and a little labor, _i. e._, an _interest-bearing
possession_. Possession is here the fixed, the given, inherited (birth);
interest-drawing is the exertion about it (labor); _laboring capital_,
therefore. Only no immoderation, no ultra, no radicalism! Right of birth
certainly, but only hereditary possessions; labor certainly, yet little
or none at all of one's own, but labor of capital and of the--subject

If an age is imbued with an error, some always derive advantage from the
error, while the rest have to suffer from it. In the Middle Ages the
error was general among Christians that the church must have all power,
or the supreme lordship on earth; the hierarchs believed in this "truth"
not less than the laymen, and both were spellbound in the like error.
But by it the hierarchs had the _advantage_ of power, the laymen had to
_suffer_ subjection. However, as the saying goes, "one learns wisdom by
suffering"; and so the laymen at last learned wisdom and no longer
believed in the mediæval "truth."--A like relation exists between the
commonalty and the laboring class. Commoner and laborer believe in the
"truth" of _money_; they who do not possess it believe in it no less
than those who possess it: the laymen, therefore, as well as the

"Money governs the world" is the keynote of the civic epoch. A destitute
aristocrat and a destitute laborer, as "starvelings," amount to nothing
so far as political consideration is concerned; birth and labor do not
do it, but _money_ brings _consideration_.[78] The possessors rule, but
the State trains up from the destitute its "servants," to whom, in
proportion as they are to rule (govern) in its name, it gives money (a

I receive everything from the State. Have I anything without the
_State's assent_? What I have without this it _takes_ from me as soon as
it discovers the lack of a "legal title." Do I not, therefore, have
everything through its grace, its assent?

On this alone, on the _legal title_, the commonalty rests. The commoner
is what he is through the _protection of the State_, through the State's
grace. He would necessarily be afraid of losing everything if the
State's power were broken.

But how is it with him who has nothing to lose, 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

Under the _régime_ of the commonalty the laborers always fall into the
hands of the possessors,--_i. e._ of those who have at their disposal
some bit of the State domains (and everything possessible is 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") 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,[79] a _spoil_[80]
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.

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

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 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 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
honorable 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 in the
lower regions of society, think they find 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

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 a _state of need_. Hence
the present _state_ of things, _i. e._ the State, 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 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._,
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_ (_viz._, citizens), not our _citizenship_ therefore,
but what we are _for each other_,--_viz._, 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, etc.), he for my food
(farmer, etc.), I for his instruction (scientist, etc.). 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_ either, but only for what you are _for us_. By what have
you claims on us? Perhaps by your high birth, etc.? 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,[81] 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, etc., 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 taken by itself, has no object _in 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

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 powerless, 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 honorable modesty.

The Socialists want to put a stop to this activity of chance, and to
form a society in which men are no longer dependent on _fortune_, but

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 "lazybones," 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 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 practises 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

By the principle of labor that of fortune or competition 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.[82] 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, such as 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.


As liberalism is completed in self-criticising, "critical"[83]
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 "humane."

The laborer is counted as the most material and egoistical man. He does
nothing at all _for humanity_, does everything for _himself_, for his

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 _régime_ 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 his own want, a labor day
by day."[84] In opposition to this one might, for instance, consider the
fact that Gutenberg's labor did not remain individual, but begot
innumerable children, and still lives to-day; 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_ ("lazybones")
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 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_, for Man!"

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 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"[85] 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, criticise it away! Be not a Jew, not
a Christian, etc., 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 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 to-day? Because you have discovered the idea of humanity, does
it follow 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
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_[86] our
_self-will_[87] 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 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

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

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
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 _humane_ 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 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,"[88] 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 "egoist."

Such is the attitude of criticism toward labor. It points to "mind,"
wages the war "of mind with the masses,"[89] 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 to-day
furnished in mass, this aversion to labor begets the universally-known
_superficiality_, which puts from it "the toil of research."[90]

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,--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
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 because you are a "unique"[91] man. Doubtless you show what a
man can do; but because you, a man, do it, this by no means shows that
others, also men, are able to do as much; you have executed it only as a
_unique_ man, and are unique therein.

It is not man that makes up your greatness, but you create it, because
you are more than man, and mightier than other--men.

It is believed that one cannot be more than man. Rather, one cannot be

It is believed further that whatever one attains is good for Man. In so
far as I remain at all times a man--or, like Schiller, a Swabian; like
Kant, a Prussian; like Gustavus Adolphus, a near-sighted person--I
certainly become by my superior qualities a notable man, Swabian,
Prussian, or near-sighted person. But the case is not much better with
that than with Frederick the Great's cane, which became famous for
Frederick's sake.

To "Give God the glory" corresponds the modern "Give Man the glory." But
I mean to keep it for myself.

Criticism, issuing the summons to man to be "human," enunciates the
necessary condition of sociability; for only as a man among men is one
_companionable_. Herewith it makes known its _social_ object, the
establishment of "human society."

Among social theories criticism is indisputably the most complete,
because it removes and deprives of value everything that _separates_ man
from man: all prerogatives, down to the prerogative of faith. In it the
love-principle of Christianity, the true social principle, comes to the
purest fulfilment, and the last possible experiment is tried to take
away exclusiveness and repulsion from men: a fight against egoism in its
simplest and therefore hardest form, in the form of singleness,[92]
exclusiveness, itself.

"How can you live a truly social life so long as even one exclusiveness
still exists between you?"

I ask conversely, How can you be truly single so long as even one
connection still exists between you? If you are connected, you cannot
leave each other; if a "tie" clasps you, you are something only _with
another_, and twelve of you make a dozen, thousands of you a people,
millions of you humanity.

"Only when you are human can you keep company with each other as men,
just as you can understand each other as patriots only when you are

All right; then I answer, Only when you are single can you have
intercourse with each other as what you are.

It is precisely the keenest critic who is hit hardest by the curse of
his principle. Putting from him one exclusive thing after another,
shaking off churchliness, patriotism, etc., he undoes one tie after
another and separates himself from the churchly man, from the patriot,
etc., till at last, when all ties are undone, he stands--alone. He, of
all men, must exclude all that have anything exclusive or private; and,
when you get to the bottom, what can be more exclusive than the
exclusive, single person himself!

Or does he perhaps think that the situation would be better if _all_
became men and gave up exclusiveness? Why, for the very reason that
"all" means "every individual" the most glaring contradiction is still
maintained, for the "individual" is exclusiveness itself. If the humane
liberal no longer concedes to the individual anything private or
exclusive, any private thought, any private folly; if he criticises
everything away from him before his face, since his hatred of the
private is an absolute and fanatical hatred; if he knows no tolerance
toward what is private, because everything private is _unhuman_,--yet he
cannot criticise away the private person himself, since the hardness of
the individual person resists his criticism, and he must be satisfied
with declaring this person a "private person" and really leaving
everything private to him again.

What will the society that no longer cares about anything private do?
Make the private impossible? No, but "subordinate it to the interests of
society, and, _e. g._, leave it to private will to institute holidays,
as many as it chooses, if only it does not come in collision with the
general interest."[93] Everything private is _left free_; _i. e._ it has
no interest for society.

"By their raising of barriers against science the church and
religiousness have declared that they are what they always were, only
that this was hidden under another semblance when they were proclaimed
to be the basis and necessary foundation of the State----a matter of
purely private concern. Even when they were connected with the State and
made it Christian, they were only the proof that the State had not yet
developed its general political idea, that it was only instituting
private rights----they were only the highest expression for the fact
that the State was a private affair and had to do only with private
affairs. When the State shall at last have the courage and strength to
fulfil its general destiny and to be free; when, therefore, it is also
able to give separate interests and private concerns their true
position,--then religion and the church will be free as they have never
been hitherto. As a matter of the most purely private concern, and a
satisfaction of purely personal want, they will be left to themselves;
and every individual, every congregation and ecclesiastical communion,
will be able to care for the blessedness of their souls as they choose
and as they think necessary. Every one will care for his soul's
blessedness so far as it is to him a personal want, and will accept and
pay as spiritual caretaker the one who seems to him to offer the best
guarantee for the satisfaction of his want. Science is at last left
entirely out of the game."[94]

What is to happen, though? Is social life to have an end, and all
companionableness, all fraternization, everything that is created by the
love or society principle, to disappear?

As if one will not always seek the other because he _needs_ him; as if
one must not accommodate himself to the other when he _needs_ him. But
the difference is this, that then the individual really _unites_ with
the individual, while formerly they were _bound together_ by a tie; son
and father are bound together before majority, after it they can come
together independently; before it they _belonged_ together as members of
the family, after it they unite as egoists; sonship and fatherhood
remain, but son and father no longer pin themselves down to these.

The last privilege, in truth, is "Man"; with it all are privileged or
invested. For, as Bruno Bauer himself says, "privilege remains even when
it is extended to all."[95]

Thus liberalism runs its course in the following transformations:
"First, the individual _is_ not man, therefore his individual
personality is of no account: no personal will, no arbitrariness, no
orders or mandates!

"Second, the individual _has_ nothing human, therefore no mine and
thine, or property, is valid.

"Third, as the individual neither is man nor has anything human, he
shall not exist at all: he shall, as an egoist with his egoistic
belongings, be annihilated by criticism to make room for Man, 'Man, just

But, although the individual is not Man, Man is yet present in the
individual, and, like every spook and everything divine, has its
existence in him. Hence political liberalism awards to the individual
everything that pertains to him as "a man by birth," as a born man,
among which there are counted liberty of conscience, the possession of
goods, etc.,--in short, the "rights of man"; Socialism grants to the
individual what pertains to him as an _active_ man, as a "laboring" man;
finally, humane liberalism gives the individual what he has as "a man,"
_i. e._ everything that belongs to humanity. Accordingly the single
one[96] has nothing at all, humanity everything; and the necessity of
the "regeneration" preached in Christianity is demanded unambiguously
and in the completest measure. Become a new creature, become "man"!

One might even think himself reminded of the close of the Lord's Prayer.
To Man belongs the _lordship_ (the "power" or _dynamis_); therefore no
individual may be lord, but Man is the lord of individuals;--Man's is
the _kingdom_, _i. e._ the world, consequently the individual is not to
be proprietor, but Man, "all," commands the world as property;--to Man
is due renown, _glorification_ or "glory" (_doxa_) from all, for Man or
humanity is the individual's end, for which he labors, thinks, lives,
and for whose glorification he must become "man."

Hitherto men have always striven to find out a fellowship in which their
inequalities in other respects should become "non-essential"; they
strove for equalization, consequently for _equality_, and wanted to come
all under one hat, which means nothing less than that they were seeking
for one lord, one tie, one faith ("'Tis in one God we all believe").
There cannot be for men anything more fellowly or more equal than Man
himself, and in this fellowship the love-craving has found its
contentment: it did not rest till it had brought on this last
equalization, leveled all inequality, laid man on the breast of man. But
under this very fellowship decay and ruin become most glaring. In a more
limited fellowship the Frenchman still stood against the German, the
Christian against the Mohammedan, etc. Now, on the contrary, _man_
stands against men, or, as men are not man, man stands against the

The sentence "God has become man" is now followed by the other, "Man has
become I." This is _the human I_. But we invert it and say: I was not
able to find myself so long as I sought myself as Man. But, now that it
appears that Man is aspiring to become I and to gain a corporeity in me,
I note that, after all, everything depends on me, and Man is lost
without me. But I do not care to give myself up to be the shrine of this
most holy thing, and shall not ask henceforward whether I am man or
un-man in what I set about; let this _spirit_ keep off my neck!

Humane liberalism goes to work radically. If you want to be or have
anything especial even in one point, if you want to retain for yourself
even one prerogative above others, to claim even one right that is not a
general "right of man," you are an egoist.

Very good! I do not want to have or be anything especial above others, I
do not want to claim any prerogative against them, but--I do not measure
myself by others either, and do not want to have any _right_ whatever. I
want to be all and have all that I can be and have. Whether others are
and have anything _similar_, what do I care? The equal, the same, they
can neither be nor have. I cause no _detriment_ to them, as I cause no
detriment to the rock by being "ahead of it" in having motion. If they
_could_ have it, they would have it.

To cause other men no _detriment_ is the point of the demand to possess
no prerogative; to renounce all "being ahead," the strictest theory of
_renunciation_. One is not to count himself as "anything especial," such
as _e. g._ a Jew or a Christian. Well, I do not count myself as anything
especial, but as _unique_.[97] Doubtless I have _similarity_ with
others; yet that holds good only for comparison or reflection; in fact I
am incomparable, unique. My flesh is not their flesh, my mind is not
their mind. If you bring them under the generalities "flesh, mind,"
those are your _thoughts_, which have nothing to do with _my_ flesh,
_my_ mind, and can least of all issue a "call" to mine.

I do not want to recognize or respect in you anything, neither the
proprietor nor the ragamuffin, nor even the man, but to _use you_. In
salt I find that it makes food palatable to me, therefore I dissolve it;
in the fish I recognize an aliment, therefore I eat it; in you I
discover the gift of making my life agreeable, therefore I choose you as
a companion. Or, in salt I study crystallization, in the fish animality,
in you men, etc. But to me you are only what you are for me,--to wit, my
object; and, because _my_ object, therefore my property.

In humane liberalism ragamuffinhood is completed. We must first come
down to the most ragamuffin-like, most poverty-stricken condition if we
want to arrive at _ownness_, for we must strip off everything alien. But
nothing seems more ragamuffin-like than naked--Man.

It is more than ragamuffinhood, however, when I throw away Man too
because I feel that he too is alien to me and that I can make no
pretensions on that basis. This is no longer mere ragamuffinhood:
because even the last rag has fallen off, here stands real nakedness,
denudation of everything alien. The ragamuffin has stripped off
ragamuffinhood itself, and therewith has ceased, to be what he was, a

I am no longer a ragamuffin, but have been one.

       *       *       *       *       *

Up to this time the discord could not come to an outbreak, because
properly there is current only a contention of modern liberals with
antiquated liberals, a contention of those who understand "freedom" in a
small measure and those who want the "full measure" of freedom; of the
_moderate_ and _measureless_, therefore. Everything turns on the
question, _how free_ must _man_ be? That man must be free, in this all
believe; therefore all are liberal too. But the un-man[98] who is
somewhere in every individual, how is he blocked? flow can it be
arranged not to leave the un-man free at the same time with man?

Liberalism as a whole has a deadly enemy, an invincible opposite, as God
has the devil: by the side of man stands always the un-man, the
individual, the egoist. State, society, humanity, do not master this

Humane liberalism has undertaken the task of showing the other liberals
that they still do not want "freedom."

If the other liberals had before their eyes only isolated egoism and
were for the most part blind, radical liberalism has against it egoism
"in mass," throws among the masses all who do not make the cause of
freedom their own as it does, so that now man and un-man, rigorously
separated, stand over against each other as enemies, to wit, the
"masses" and "criticism";[99] namely, "free, human criticism," as it is
called ("_Judenfrage_," p. 114), in opposition to crude, _e. g._
religious, criticism.

Criticism expresses the hope that it will be victorious over all the
masses and "give them a general certificate of insolvency."[100] So it
means finally to make itself out in the right, and to represent all
contention of the "faint-hearted and timorous" as an egoistic
_stubbornness_,[101] as pettiness, paltriness. All wrangling loses
significance, and petty dissensions are given up, because in criticism a
common enemy enters the field. "You are egoists altogether, one no
better than another!" Now the egoists stand together against criticism.

Really the egoists? No, they fight against criticism precisely because
it accuses them of egoism; they do not plead guilty to egoism.
Accordingly criticism and the masses stand on the same basis: both fight
against egoism, both repudiate it for themselves and charge it to each

Criticism and the masses pursue the same goal, freedom from egoism, and
wrangle only over which of them approaches nearest to the goal or even
attains it.

The Jews, the Christians, the absolutists, the men of darkness and men
of light, politicians, Communists,--all, in short,--hold the reproach of
egoism far from them; and, as criticism brings against them this
reproach in plain terms and in the most extended sense, all _justify_
themselves against the accusation of egoism, and combat--egoism, the
same enemy with whom criticism wages war.

Both, criticism and masses, are enemies of egoists, and both seek to
liberate themselves from egoism, as well by clearing or whitewashing
_themselves_ as by ascribing it to the opposite party.

The critic is the true "spokesman of the masses" who gives them the
"simple concept and the phrase" of egoism, while the spokesmen to whom
the triumph is denied in "_Lit. Ztg._" V. 24 were only bunglers. He is
their prince and general in the war against egoism for freedom; what he
fights against they fight against. But at the same time he is their
enemy too, only not the enemy before them, but the friendly enemy who
wields the knout behind the timorous to force courage into them.

Hereby the opposition of criticism and the masses is reduced to the
following contradiction: "You are egoists"! "No, we are not"! "I will
prove it to you"! "You shall have our justification"!

Let us then take both for what they give themselves out for,
non-egoists, and what they take each other for, egoists. They are
egoists and are not.

Properly criticism says: You must liberate your ego from all limitedness
so entirely that it becomes a _human_ ego. I say: Liberate yourself as
far as you can, and you have done your part; for it is not given to
every one to break through all limits, or, more expressively: not to
every one is that a limit which is a limit for the rest. Consequently,
do not tire yourself with toiling at the limits of others; enough if you
tear down yours. Who has ever succeeded in tearing down even one limit
_for all men_? Are not countless persons to-day, as at all times,
running about with all the "limitations of humanity"? He who overturns
one of _his_ limits may have shown others the way and the means; the
overturning of _their_ limits remains their affair. Nobody does anything
else either. To demand of people that they become wholly men is to call
on them to cast down all human limits. That is impossible, because _Man_
has no limits. I have some indeed, but then it is only _mine_ that
concern me any, and only they can be overcome by me. A _human_ ego I
cannot become, just because I am I and not merely man.

Yet let us still see whether criticism has not taught us something that
we can lay to heart! I am not free if I am not without interests, not
man if I am not disinterested? Well, even if it makes little difference
to me to be free or man, yet I do not want to leave unused any occasion
to realize _myself_ or make myself count. Criticism offers me this
occasion by the teaching that, if anything plants itself firmly in me,
and becomes indissoluble, I become its prisoner and servant, _i. e._ a
possessed man. An interest, be it for what it may, has kidnapped a slave
in me if I cannot get away from it, and is no longer my property, but I
I am its. Let us therefore accept criticism's lesson to let no part of
our property become stable, and to feel comfortable only
in--_dissolving_ it.

So, if criticism says: You are man only when you are restlessly
criticising and dissolving! then we say: Man I am without that, and I am
I likewise; therefore I want only to be careful to secure my property to
myself; and, in order to secure it, I continually take it back into
myself, annihilate in it every movement toward independence, and swallow
it before it can fix itself and become a "fixed idea" or a "mania."

But I do that not for the sake of my "human calling," but because I call
myself to it. I do not strut about dissolving everything that it is
possible for a man to dissolve, and, _e. g._, while not yet ten years
old I do not criticise the nonsense of the Commandments, but I am man
all the same, and act humanly in just this,--that I still leave them
uncriticised. In short, I have no calling, and follow none, not even
that to be a man.

Do I now reject what liberalism has won in its various exertions? Far be
the day that anything won should be lost! Only, after "Man" has become
free through liberalism, I turn my gaze back upon myself and confess to
myself openly: What Man seems to have gained, _I_ alone have gained.

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.

The egoism of property has given up the last that it had to give when
even the "My God" has become senseless; for God exists only when he has
at heart the individual's welfare, as the latter seeks his welfare in

Political liberalism abolished, the inequality of masters and servants:
it made people _masterless_, anarchic. The master was now removed from
the individual, the "egoist," to become a ghost,--the law or the State.
Social liberalism abolishes the inequality of possession, of the poor
and rich, and makes people _possessionless_ or propertyless. Property is
withdrawn from the individual and surrendered to ghostly society. Humane
liberalism makes people _godless_, atheistic. Therefore the individual's
God, "my God", must be put an end to. Now masterlessness is indeed at
the same time freedom from service, possessionlessness at the same time
freedom from care, and godlessness at the same time freedom from
prejudice: for with the master the servant falls away; with possession,
the care about it; with the firmly-rooted God, prejudice. But, since the
master rises again as State, the servant appears again as subject; since
possession becomes the property of society, care is begotten anew as
labor; and, since God as Man becomes a prejudice, there arises a new
faith, faith in humanity or liberty. For the individual's God the God of
all, _viz._, "Man," is now exalted; "for it is the highest thing in us
all to be man." But, as nobody can become entirely what the idea "man"
imports, Man remains to the individual a lofty other world, an
unattained supreme being, a God. But at the same time this is the "true
God," because he is fully adequate to us,--to wit, our own "_self_"; we
ourselves, but separated from us and lifted above us.


The foregoing review of "free human criticism" was written by bits
immediately after the appearance of the books in question, as was also
that which elsewhere refers to writings of this tendency, and I did
little more than bring together the fragments. But criticism is
restlessly pressing forward, and thereby makes it necessary for me to
come back to it once more, now that my book is finished, and insert this
concluding note.

I have before me the latest (eighth) number of the "_Allgemeine
Literatur-Zeitung_" of Bruno Bauer.

There again "the general interests of society" stand at the top. But
criticism has reflected, and given this "society" a specification by
which it is discriminated from a form which previously had still been
confused with it: the "State," in former passages still celebrated as
"free State," is quite given up because it can in no wise fulfil the
task of "human society." Criticism only "saw itself compelled to
identify for a moment human and political affairs" in 1842; but now it
has found that the State, even as "free State," is not human society,
or, as it could likewise say, that the people is not "man." We saw how
it got through with theology and showed clearly that God sinks into dust
before Man; we see it now come to a clearance with politics in the same
way, and show that before Man peoples and nationalities fall: so we see
how it has its explanation with Church and State, declaring them both
unhuman, and we shall see--for it betrays this to us already--how it can
also give proof that before Man the "masses," which it even calls a
"spiritual being," appear worthless. And how should the lesser
"spiritual beings" be able to maintain themselves before the supreme
spirit? "Man" casts down the false idols.

So what the critic has in view for the present is the scrutiny of the
"masses," which he will place before "Man" in order to combat them from
the standpoint of Man. "What is now the object of criticism?" "The
masses, a spiritual being!" These the critic will "learn to know," and
will find that they are in contradiction with Man; he will demonstrate
that they are unhuman, and will succeed just as well in this
demonstration as in the former ones, that the divine and the national,
or the concerns of Church and of State, were the unhuman.

The masses are defined as "the most significant product of the
Revolution, as the deceived multitude which the illusions of political
Illumination, and in general the entire Illumination movement of the
eighteenth century, have given over to boundless disgruntlement." The
Revolution satisfied some by its result, and left others unsatisfied;
the satisfied part is the commonalty (_bourgeoisie_, etc.), the
unsatisfied is the--masses. Does not the critic, so placed, himself
belong to the "masses"?

But the unsatisfied are still in great mistiness, and their discontent
utters itself only in a "boundless disgruntlement." This the likewise
unsatisfied critic now wants to master: he cannot want and attain more
than to bring that "spiritual being," the masses, out of its
disgruntlement, and to "uplift" those who were only disgruntled, _i. e._
to give them the right attitude toward those results of the Revolution
which are to be overcome;--he can become the head of the masses, their
decided spokesman. Therefore he wants also to "abolish the deep chasm
which parts him from the multitude." From those who want to "uplift the
lower classes of the people" he is distinguished by wanting to deliver
from "disgruntlement," not merely these, but himself too.

But assuredly his consciousness does not deceive him either, when he
takes the masses to be the "natural opponents of theory," and foresees
that, "the more this theory shall develop itself, so much the more will
it make the masses compact." For the critic cannot enlighten or satisfy
the masses with his _presupposition_, Man. If over against the
commonalty they are only the "lower classes of the people," politically
insignificant masses, over against "Man" they must still more be mere
"masses," humanly insignificant--yes, unhuman--masses, or a multitude of

The critic clears away everything human; and, starting from the
presupposition that the human is the true, he works against himself,
denying it wherever it had been hitherto found. He proves only that the
human is to be found nowhere except in his head, but the unhuman
everywhere. The unhuman is the real, the extant on all hands, and by the
proof that it is "not human" the critic only enunciates plainly the
tautological sentence that it is the unhuman.

But what if the unhuman, turning its back on itself with resolute heart,
should at the same time turn away from the disturbing critic and leave
him standing, untouched and unstung by his remonstrance?

"You call me the unhuman," it might say to him, "and so I really am--for
you; but I am so only because you bring me into opposition to the human,
and I could despise myself only so long as I let myself be hypnotized
into this opposition. I was contemptible because I sought my 'better
self' outside me; I was the unhuman because I dreamed of the 'human'; I
resembled the pious who hunger for their 'true self' and always remain
'poor sinners'; I thought of myself only in comparison to another;
enough, I was not all in all, was not--_unique_.[102] But now I cease to
appear to myself as the unhuman, cease to measure myself and let myself
be measured by man, cease to recognize anything above me:
consequently--adieu, humane critic! I only have been the unhuman, am it
now no longer, but am the unique, yes, to your loathing, the egoistic;
yet not the egoistic as it lets itself be measured by the human,
humane, and unselfish, but the egoistic as the--unique."

We have to pay attention to still another sentence of the same number.
"Criticism sets up no dogmas, and wants to learn to know nothing but

The critic is afraid of becoming "dogmatic" or setting up dogmas. Of
course: why, thereby he would become the opposite of the critic,--the
dogmatist; he would now become bad, as he is good as critic, or would
become from an unselfish man an egoist, etc. "Of all things, no dogma!"
this is his--dogma. For the critic remains on one and the same ground
with the dogmatist,--that of _thoughts_. Like the latter he always
starts from a thought, but varies in this, that he never ceases to keep
the principle-thought in the _process of thinking_, and so does not let
it become stable. He only asserts the thought-process against
stationariness in it. From criticism no thought is safe, since criticism
is thought or the thinking mind itself.

Therefore I repeat that the religious world--and this is the world of
thoughts--reaches its completion in criticism, where thinking extends
its encroachments over every thought, no one of which may "egoistically"
establish itself. Where would the "purity of criticism," the purity of
thinking, be left if even one thought escaped the process of thinking?
This explains the fact that the critic has even begun already to gibe
gently here and there at the thought of Man, of humanity and humaneness,
because he suspects that here a thought is approaching dogmatic fixity.
But yet he cannot decompose this thought till he has found a--"higher"
in which it dissolves; for he moves only--in thoughts. This higher
thought might be enunciated as that of the movement or process of
thinking itself, _i. e._ as the thought of thinking or of criticism.

Freedom of thinking has in fact become complete hereby, freedom of mind
celebrates its triumph: for the individual, "egoistic" thoughts have
lost their dogmatic truculence. There is nothing left but the--dogma of
free thinking or of criticism.

Against everything that belongs to the world of thought, criticism is in
the right, _i. e._ in might: it is the victor. Criticism, and criticism
alone, is "up to date." From the standpoint of thought there is no power
capable of being an overmatch for criticism's, and it is a pleasure to
see how easily and sportively this dragon swallows all other serpents of
thought. Each serpent twists, to be sure, but criticism crushes it in
all its "turns."

I am no opponent of criticism, _i. e._ I am no dogmatist, and do not
feel myself touched by the critic's tooth with which he tears the
dogmatist to pieces. If I were a "dogmatist," I should place at the head
a dogma, _i. e._ a thought, an idea, a principle, and should complete
this as a "systematist," spinning it out to a system, _i. e._ a
structure of thought. Conversely, if I were a critic, _viz._, an
opponent of the dogmatist, I should carry on the fight of free thinking
against the enthralling thought, I should defend thinking against what
was thought. But I am neither the champion of a thought nor the champion
of thinking; for "I," from whom I start, am not a thought, nor do I
consist in thinking. Against me, the unnameable, the realm of thoughts,
thinking, and mind is shattered.

Criticism is the possessed man's fight against possession as such,
against all possession: a fight which is founded in the consciousness
that everywhere possession, or, as the critic calls it, a religious and
theological attitude, is extant. He knows that people stand in a
religious or believing attitude not only toward God, but toward other
ideas as well, like right, the State, law, etc.; _i. e._ he recognizes
possession in all places. So he wants to break up thoughts by thinking;
but I say, only thoughtlessness really saves me from thoughts. It it not
thinking, but my thoughtlessness, or I the unthinkable,
incomprehensible, that frees me from possession.

A jerk does me the service of the most anxious thinking, a stretching of
the limbs shakes off the torment of thoughts, a leap upward hurls from
my breast the nightmare of the religious world, a jubilant Hoopla throws
off year-long burdens. But the monstrous significance of unthinking
jubilation could not be recognized in the long night of thinking and

"What clumsiness and frivolity, to want to solve the most difficult
problems, acquit yourself of the most comprehensive tasks, by a
_breaking off_!"

But have you tasks if you do not set them to yourself? So long as you
set them, you will not give them up, and I certainly do not care if you
think, and, thinking, create a thousand thoughts. But you who have set
the tasks, are you not to be able to upset them again? Must you be bound
to these tasks, and must they become absolute tasks?

To cite only one thing, the government has been disparaged on account of
its resorting to forcible means against thoughts, interfering against
the press by means of the police power of the censorship, and making a
personal fight out of a literary one. As if it were solely a matter of
thoughts, and as if one's attitude toward thoughts must be unselfish,
self-denying, and self-sacrificing! Do not those thoughts attack the
governing parties themselves, and so call out egoism? And do the
thinkers not set before the attacked ones the _religious_ demand to
reverence the power of thought, of ideas? They are to succumb
voluntarily and resignedly, because the divine power of thought,
Minerva, fights on their enemies' side. Why, that would be an act of
possession, a religious sacrifice. To be sure, the governing parties are
themselves held fast in a religious bias, and follow the leading power
of an idea or a faith; but they are at the same time unconfessed
egoists, and right here, against the enemy, their pent-up egoism breaks
loose: possessed in their faith, they are at the same time unpossessed
by their opponents' faith, _i. e._ they are egoists toward this. If one
wants to make them a reproach, it could only be the converse,--to wit,
that they are possessed by their ideas.

Against thoughts no egoistic power is to appear, no police power and the
like. So the believers in thinking believe. But thinking and its
thoughts are not sacred to _me_, and I defend _my skin_ against them as
against other things. That may be an unreasonable defence; but, if I am
in duty bound to reason, then I, like Abraham, must sacrifice my dearest
to it!

In the kingdom of thought, which, like that of faith, is the kingdom of
heaven, every one is assuredly wrong who uses _unthinking_ force, just
as every one is wrong who in the kingdom of love behaves unlovingly, or,
although he is a Christian and therefore lives in the kingdom of love,
yet acts unchristianly; in these kingdoms, to which he supposes himself
to belong though he nevertheless throws off their laws, he is a "sinner"
or "egoist." But it is only when he becomes a _criminal_ against these
kingdoms that he can throw off their dominion.

Here too the result is this, that the fight of the thinkers against the
government is indeed in the right, _viz___., in might,--so far as it is
carried on against the government's thoughts (the government is dumb,
and does not succeed in making any literary rejoinder to speak of), but
is, on the other hand, in the wrong, _viz._, in impotence, so far as it
does not succeed in bringing into the field anything but thoughts
against a personal power (the egoistic power stops the mouths of the
thinkers). The theoretical fight cannot complete the victory, and the
sacred power of thought succumbs to the might of egoism. Only the
egoistic fight, the fight of egoists on both sides, clears up

This last now, to make thinking an affair of egoistic option, an
affair of the single person,[103] a mere pastime or hobby as it were,
and to take from it the importance of "being the last decisive
power"; this degradation and desecration of thinking; this equalization
of the unthinking and thoughtful ego; this clumsy but real
"equality,"--criticism is not able to produce, because it itself is only
the priest of thinking, and sees nothing beyond thinking but--the

Criticism does indeed affirm, _e. g._, that free criticism may overcome
the State, but at the same time it defends itself against the reproach
which is laid upon it by the State government, that it is "self-will and
impudence"; it thinks, then, that "self-will and impudence" may not
overcome, it alone may. The truth is rather the reverse: the State can
be really overcome only by impudent self-will.

It may now, to conclude with this, be clear that in the critic's new
change of front he has not transformed himself, but only "made good an
oversight," "disentangled a subject," and is saying too much when he
speaks of "criticism criticising itself": it, or rather he, has only
criticised its "oversight" and cleared it of its "inconsistencies." If
he wanted to criticise criticism, he would have to look and see if there
was anything in its presupposition.

I on my part start from a presupposition in presupposing _myself_; but
my presupposition does not struggle for its perfection like "Man
struggling for his perfection," but only serves me to enjoy it and
consume it. I consume my presupposition, and nothing else, and exist
only in consuming it. But that presupposition is therefore not a
presupposition at all: for, as I am the Unique, I know nothing of the
duality of a presupposing and a presupposed ego (an "incomplete" and a
"complete" ego or man); but this, that I consume myself, means only that
I am. I do not presuppose myself, because I am every moment just
positing or creating myself, and am I only by being not presupposed but
posited, and, again, posited only in the moment when I posit myself;
_i. e._, I am creator and creature in one.

If the presuppositions that have hitherto been current are to melt away
in a full dissolution, they must not be dissolved into a higher
presupposition again,--_i. e._ a thought, or thinking itself, criticism.
For that dissolution is to be for _my_ good; otherwise it would belong
only in the series of the innumerable dissolutions which, in favor of
others, (_e. g._ this very Man, God, the State, pure morality, etc.),
declared old truths to be untruths and did away with long-fostered

Part Second


     At the entrance of the modern time stands the "God-man." At its
     exit will only the God in the God-man evaporate? and can the
     God-man really die if only the God in him dies? They did not
     think of this question, and thought they were through when in
     our days they brought to a victorious end the work of the
     Illumination, the vanquishing of God; they did not notice that
     Man has killed God in order to become now--"sole God on high."
     The _other world outside us_ is indeed brushed away, and the
     great undertaking of the Illuminators completed; but the _other
     world in us_ has become a new heaven and calls us forth to
     renewed heaven-storming: God has had to give place, yet not to
     us, but to--Man. How can you believe that the God-man is dead
     before the Man in him, besides the God, is dead?



"Does not the spirit thirst for freedom?"--Alas, not my spirit alone, my
body too thirsts for it hourly! When before the odorous castle-kitchen
my nose tells my palate of the savory dishes that are being prepared
therein, it feels a fearful pining at its dry bread; when my eyes tell
the hardened back about soft down on which one may lie more delightfully
than on its compressed straw, a suppressed rage seizes it; when--but let
us not follow the pains further.--And you call that a longing for
freedom? What do you want to become free from, then? From your hardtack
and your straw bed? Then throw them away!--But that seems not to serve
you: you want rather to have the freedom to enjoy delicious foods and
downy beds. Are men to give you this "freedom,"--are they to permit it
to you? You do not hope that from their philanthropy, because you know
they all think like--you: each is the nearest to himself! How,
therefore, do you mean to come to the enjoyment of those foods and beds?
Evidently not otherwise than in making them your property!

If you think it over rightly, you do not want the freedom to have all
these fine things, for with this freedom you still do not have them; you
want really to have them, to call them _yours_ and possess them as _your
property_. Of what use is a freedom to you, indeed, if it brings in
nothing? And, if you became free from everything, you would no longer
have anything; for freedom is empty of substance. Whoso knows not how to
make use of it, for him it has no value this useless permission; but how
I make use of it depends on my personality.[105]

I have no objection to freedom, but I wish more than freedom for you:
you should not merely _be rid_ of what you do not want, you should also
_have_ what you want; you should not only be a "freeman," you should be
an "owner" too.

Free--from what? Oh! what is there that cannot be shaken off? The yoke
of serfdom, of sovereignty, of aristocracy and princes, the dominion of
the desires and passions; yes, even the dominion of one's own will, of
self-will, for the completest self-denial is nothing but
freedom--freedom, to wit, from self-determination, from one's own self.
And the craving for freedom as for something absolute, worthy of every
praise, deprived us of ownness: it created self-denial. However, the
freer I become, the more compulsion piles up before my eyes; and the
more impotent I feel myself. The unfree son of the wilderness does not
yet feel anything of all the limits that crowd a civilized man: he seems
to himself freer than this latter. In the measure that I conquer freedom
for myself I create for myself new bounds and new tasks: if I have
invented railroads, I feel myself weak again because I cannot yet sail
through the skies like the bird; and, if I have solved a problem whose
obscurity disturbed my mind, at once there await me innumerable others,
whose perplexities impede my progress, dim my free gaze, make the limits
of my _freedom_ painfully sensible to me. "Now that you have become free
from sin, you have become _servants_ of righteousness."[106] Republicans
in their broad freedom, do they not become servants of the law? How true
Christian hearts at all times longed to "become free," how they pined to
see themselves delivered from the "bonds of this earth-life"! they
looked out toward the land of freedom. ("The Jerusalem that is above is
the freewoman; she is the mother of us all." Gal. 4. 26.)

Being free from anything--means only being clear or rid. "He is free
from headache" is equal to "he is rid of it." "He is free from this
prejudice" is equal to "he has never conceived it" or "he has got rid of
it." In "less" we complete the freedom recommended by Christianity, in
sinless, godless, moralityless, etc.

Freedom is the doctrine of Christianity. "Ye, dear brethren, are called
to freedom."[107] "So speak and so do, as those who are to be judged by
the law of freedom."[108]

Must we then, because freedom betrays itself as a Christian ideal, give
it up? No, nothing is to be lost, freedom no more than the rest; but it
is to become our own, and in the form of freedom it cannot.

What a difference between freedom and ownness! One can get _rid_ of a
great many things, one yet does not get rid of all; one becomes free
from much, not from everything. Inwardly one may be free in spite of the
condition of slavery, although, too, it is again only from all sorts of
things, not from everything; but from the whip, the domineering temper,
etc., of the master, one does not as slave become _free_. "Freedom lives
only in the realm of dreams!" Ownness, on the contrary, is my whole
being and existence, it is I myself. I am free from what I am _rid_ of,
owner of what I have in my _power_ or what I _control_. _My own_ I am at
all times and under all circumstances, if I know how to have myself and
do not throw myself away on others. To be free is something that I
cannot truly _will_, because I cannot make it, cannot create it: I can
only wish it and--aspire toward it, for it remains an ideal, a spook.
The fetters of reality cut the sharpest welts in my flesh every moment.
But _my own_ I remain. Given up as serf to a master, I think only of
myself and my advantage; his blows strike me indeed, I am not _free_
from them; but I endure them only for _my benefit_, perhaps in order to
deceive him and make him secure by the semblance of patience, or,
again, not to draw worse upon myself by contumacy. But, as I keep my eye
on myself and my selfishness, I take by the forelock the first good
opportunity to trample the slaveholder into the dust. That I then become
_free_ from him and his whip is only the consequence of my antecedent
egoism. Here one perhaps says I was "free" even in the condition of
slavery,--to wit, "intrinsically" or "inwardly." But "intrinsically
free" is not "really free," and "inwardly" is not "outwardly." I was
own, on the other hand, _my own_, altogether, inwardly and outwardly.
Under the dominion of a cruel master my body is not "free" from torments
and lashes; but it is _my_ bones that moan under the torture, _my_
fibres that quiver under the blows, and _I_ moan because _my_ body
moans. That _I_ sigh and shiver proves that I have not yet lost
_myself_, that I am still my own. My _leg_ is not "free" from the
master's stick, but it is _my_ leg and is inseparable. Let him tear it
off me and look and see if he still has my leg! He retains in his hand
nothing but the--corpse of my leg, which is as little my leg as a dead
dog is still a dog: a dog has a pulsating heart, a so-called dead dog
has none and is therefore no longer a dog.

If one opines that a slave may yet be inwardly free, he says in fact
only the most indisputable and trivial thing. For who is going to assert
that any man is _wholly_ without freedom? If I am an eye-servant, can I
therefore not be free from innumerable things, _e. g._ from faith in
Zeus, from the desire for fame, and the like? Why then should not a
whipped slave also be able to be inwardly free from unchristian
sentiments, from hatred, of his enemy, etc.? He then has "Christian
freedom," is rid of the unchristian; but has he absolute freedom,
freedom from everything, _e. g._ from the Christian delusion, or from
bodily pain, etc.?

In the meantime, all this seems to be said more against names than
against the thing. But is the name indifferent, and has not a word, a
shibboleth, always inspired and--fooled men? Yet between freedom and
ownness there lies still a deeper chasm than the mere difference of the

All the world desires freedom, all long for its reign to come. O
enchantingly beautiful dream of a blooming "reign of freedom," a "free
human race"!--who has not dreamed it? So men shall become free, entirely
free, free from all constraint! From all constraint, really from all?
Are they never to put constraint on themselves any more? "Oh yes, that,
of course; don't you see, that is no constraint at all?" Well, then at
any rate they are to become free from religious faith, from the strict
duties of morality, from the inexorability of the law, from--"What a
fearful misunderstanding!" Well, _what_ are they to be free from then,
and what not?

The lovely dream is dissipated; awakened, one rubs his half-opened eyes
and stares at the prosaic questioner. "What men are to be free
from?"--From blind credulity, cries one. What's that? exclaims another,
all faith is blind credulity; they must become free from all faith. No,
no, for God's sake,--inveighs the first again,--do not cast all faith
from you, else the power of brutality breaks in. We must have the
republic,--a third makes himself heard,--and become--free from all
commanding lords. There is no help in that, says a fourth: we only get a
new lord then, a "dominant majority"; let us rather free ourselves from
this dreadful inequality.--O hapless equality, already I hear your
plebeian roar again! How I had dreamed so beautifully just now of a
paradise of _freedom_, and what impudence and licentiousness now raises
its wild clamor! Thus the first laments, and gets on his feet to grasp
the sword against "unmeasured freedom." Soon we no longer hear anything
but the clashing of the swords of the disagreeing dreamers of freedom.

What the craving for freedom has always come to has been the desire for
a _particular_ freedom, _e. g._ freedom of faith; _i. e._, the believing
man wanted to be free and independent; of what? of faith perhaps? no!
but of the inquisitors of faith. So now "political or civil" freedom.
The citizen wants to become free not from citizenhood, but from
bureaucracy, the arbitrariness of princes, and the like. Prince
Metternich once said he had "found a way that was adapted to guide men
in the path of _genuine_ freedom for all the future." The Count of
Provence ran away from France precisely at the time when she was
preparing the "reign of freedom," and said: "My imprisonment had become
intolerable to me; I had only one passion, the desire for--_freedom_; I
thought only of it."

The craving for a _particular_ freedom always includes the purpose of a
new _dominion_, as it was with the Revolution, which indeed "could give
its defenders the uplifting feeling that they were fighting for
freedom," but in truth only because they were after a particular
freedom, therefore a new _dominion_, the "dominion of the law."

Freedom you all want, you want _freedom_. Why then do you higgle
over a more or less? _Freedom_ can only be the whole of freedom; a
piece of freedom is not _freedom_. You despair of the possibility of
obtaining the whole of freedom, freedom from everything,--yes, you
consider it insanity even to wish this?--Well, then leave off chasing
after the phantom, and spend your pains on something better than

"Ah, but there is nothing better than freedom!"

What have you then when you have freedom, _viz._,--for I will not speak
here of your piecemeal bits of freedom,--complete freedom? Then you are
rid of everything that embarrasses you, everything, and there is
probably nothing that does not once in your life embarrass you and cause
you inconvenience. And for whose sake, then, did you want to be rid of
it? Doubtless _for your sake_, because it is in _your_ way! But, if
something were not inconvenient to you; if, on the contrary, it were
quite to your mind (_e. g._ the gently but _irresistibly commanding_
look of your loved one),--then you would not want to be rid of it and
free from it. Why not? _For your sake_ again! So you take _yourselves_
as measure and judge over all. You gladly let freedom go when unfreedom,
the "sweet _service_ of love," suits _you_; and you take up your freedom
again on occasion when it begins to suit _you_ better,--that is,
supposing, which is not the point here, that you are not afraid of such
a Repeal of the Union for other (perhaps religious) reasons.

Why will you not take courage now to really make _yourselves_ the
central point and the main thing altogether? Why grasp in the air at
freedom, your dream? Are you your dream? Do not begin by inquiring of
your dreams, your notions, your thoughts, for that is all "hollow
theory." Ask yourselves and ask after yourselves--that is _practical_
and you know you want very much to be "practical." But there the one
hearkens what his God (of course what he thinks of at the name God is
his God) may be going to say to it, and another what his moral feelings,
his conscience, his feeling of duty, may determine about it, and a third
calculates what folks will think of it,--and, when each has thus asked
his Lord God (folks are a Lord God just as good as, nay, even more
compact than, the other-worldly and imaginary one: _vox populi, vox
dei_), then he accommodates himself to his Lord's will and listens no
more at all for what _he himself_ would like to say and decide.

Therefore turn to yourselves rather than to your gods or idols. Bring
out from yourselves what is in you, bring it to the light, bring
yourselves to revelation.

How one acts only from himself, and asks after nothing further, the
Christians have realized in the notion "God." He acts "as it pleases
him." And foolish man, who could do just so, is to act as it "pleases
God" instead.--If it is said that even God proceeds according to eternal
laws, that too fits me, since I too cannot get out of my skin, but have
my law in my whole nature, _i. e._ in myself.

But one needs only admonish you of yourselves to bring you to despair
at once. "What am I?" each of you asks himself. An abyss of lawless and
unregulated impulses, desires, wishes, passions, a chaos without light
or guiding star! How am I to obtain a correct answer, if, without regard
to God's commandments or to the duties which morality prescribes,
without regard to the voice of reason, which in the course of history,
after bitter experiences, has exalted the best and most reasonable thing
into law, I simply appeal to myself? My passion would advise me to do
the most senseless thing possible.--Thus each deems himself
the--_devil_; for, if, so far as he is unconcerned about religion, etc.,
he only deemed himself a beast, he would easily find that the beast,
which does follow only _its_ impulse (as it were, its advice), does not
advise and impel itself to do the "most senseless" things, but takes
very correct steps. But the habit of the religious way of thinking has
biased our mind so grievously that we are--terrified at _ourselves_ in
our nakedness and naturalness; it has degraded us so that we deem
ourselves depraved by nature, born devils. Of course it comes into your
head at once that your calling requires you to do the "good," the moral,
the right. Now, if you ask _yourselves_ what is to be done, how can the
right voice sound forth from you, the voice which points the way of the
good, the right, the true, etc.? What concord have God and Belial?

But what would you think if one answered you by saying: "That one is to
listen to God, conscience, duties, laws, etc., is flim-flam with which
people have stuffed your head and heart and made you crazy"? And if he
asked you how it is that you know so surely that the voice of nature is
a seducer? And if he even demanded of you to turn the thing about and
actually to deem the voice of God and conscience to be the devil's work?
There are such graceless men; how will you settle them? You cannot
appeal to your parsons, parents, and good men, for precisely these are
designated by them as your _seducers_, as the true seducers and
corrupters of youth, who busily sow broadcast the tares of self-contempt
and reverence to God, who fill young hearts with mud and young heads
with stupidity.

But now those people go on and ask: For whose sake do you care about
God's and the other commandments? You surely do not suppose that this is
done merely out of complaisance toward God? No, you are doing it--_for
your sake_ again.--Here too, therefore, _you_ are the main thing, and
each must say to himself, _I_ am everything to myself and I do
everything _on my account_. If it ever became clear to you that God, the
commandments, etc., only harm you, that they reduce and ruin _you_, to a
certainty you would throw them from you just as the Christians once
condemned Apollo or Minerva or heathen morality. They did indeed put in
the place of these Christ and afterward Mary, as well as a Christian
morality; but they did this for the sake of _their_ souls' welfare too,
therefore out of egoism or ownness.

And it was by this egoism, this ownness, that they got _rid_ of the old
world of gods and became _free_ from it. Ownness _created_ a new
_freedom_; for ownness is the creator of everything, as genius (a
definite ownness), which is always originality, has for a long time
already been looked upon as the creator of new productions that have a
place in the history of the world.

If your efforts are ever to make "freedom" the issue, then exhaust
freedom's demands. Who is it that is to become free? You, I, we. Free
from what? From everything that is not you, not I, not we. I, therefore,
am the kernel that is to be delivered from all wrappings and--freed from
all cramping shells. What is left when I have been freed from everything
that is not I? Only I; nothing but I. But freedom has nothing to offer
to this I himself. As to what is now to happen further after I have
become free, freedom is silent,--as our governments, when the prisoner's
time is up, merely let him go, thrusting him out into abandonment.

Now why, if freedom is striven after for love of the I after all,--why
not choose the I himself as beginning, middle, and end? Am I not worth
more than freedom? Is it not I that make myself free, am not I the
first? Even unfree, even laid in a thousand fetters, I yet am; and I am
not, like freedom, extant only in the future and in hopes, but even as
the most abject of slaves I am--present.

Think that over well, and decide whether you will place on your banner
the dream of "freedom" or the resolution of "egoism," of "ownness."
"Freedom" awakens your _rage_ against everything that is not you;
"egoism" calls you to _joy_ over yourselves, to self-enjoyment;
"freedom" is and remains a _longing_, a romantic plaint, a Christian
hope for unearthliness and futurity; "ownness" is a reality, which _of
itself_ removes just so much unfreedom as by barring your own way
hinders you. What does not disturb you, you will not want to renounce;
and, if it begins to disturb you, why, you know that "you must obey
_yourselves_ rather than men!"

Freedom teaches only: Get yourselves rid, relieve yourselves, of
everything burdensome; it does not teach you who you yourselves are.
Rid, rid! so rings its rallying-cry, and you, eagerly following its
call, get rid even of yourselves, "deny yourselves." But ownness calls
you back to yourselves, it says "Come to yourself!" Under the ægis of
freedom you get rid of many kinds of things, but something new pinches
you again: "you are rid of the Evil One; evil is left."[109] As _own_
you are _really rid of everything_, and what clings to you _you have
accepted_; it is your choice and your pleasure. The _own_ man is the
_freeborn_, the man free to begin with; the free man, on the contrary,
is only the _eleutheromaniac_, the dreamer and enthusiast.

The former is _originally free_, because he recognizes nothing but
himself; he does not need to free himself first, because at the start he
rejects everything outside himself, because he prizes nothing more than
himself, rates nothing higher, because, in short, he starts from himself
and "comes to himself." Constrained by childish respect, he is
nevertheless already working at "freeing" himself from this constraint.
Ownness works in the little egoist, and procures him the

Thousands of years of civilization have obscured to you what you are,
have made you believe you are not egoists but are _called_ to be
idealists ("good men"). Shake that off! Do not seek for freedom, which
does precisely deprive you of yourselves, in "self-denial"; but seek for
_yourselves_, become egoists, become each of you an _almighty ego_. Or,
more clearly: Just recognize yourselves again, just recognize what you
really are, and let go your hypocritical endeavors, your foolish mania
to be something else than you are. Hypocritical I call them because you
have yet remained egoists all these thousands of years, but sleeping,
self-deceiving, crazy egoists, you Heautontimorumenoses, you
self-tormentors. Never yet has a religion been able to dispense with
"promises," whether they referred us to the other world or to this
("long life," etc.); for man is _mercenary_ and does nothing "gratis."
But how about that "doing the good for the good's sake without prospect
of reward? As if here too the pay was not contained in the satisfaction
that it is to afford. Even religion, therefore, is founded on our egoism
and--exploits it; calculated for our _desires_, it stifles many others
for the sake of one. This then gives the phenomenon of _cheated_ egoism,
where I satisfy, not myself, but one of my desires, _e. g._ the impulse
toward blessedness. Religion promises me the--"supreme good"; to gain
this I no longer regard any other of my desires, and do not slake
them.--All your doings are _unconfessed_, secret, covert, and concealed
egoism. But because they are egoism that you are unwilling to confess to
yourselves, that you keep secret from yourselves, hence not manifest
and public egoism, consequently unconscious egoism,--therefore they are
_not egoism_, but thraldom, service, self-renunciation; you are egoists,
and you are not, since you renounce egoism. Where you seem most to be
such, you have drawn upon the word "egoist"--loathing and contempt.

I secure my freedom with regard to the world in the degree that I make
the world my own, _i. e._ "gain it and take possession of it" for
myself, by whatever might, by that of persuasion, of petition, of
categorical demand, yes, even by hypocrisy, cheating, etc.; for the
means that I use for it are determined by what I am. If I am weak, I
have only weak means, like the aforesaid, which yet are good enough for
a considerable part of the world. Besides, cheating, hypocrisy, lying,
look worse than they are. Who has not cheated the police, the law? who
has not quickly taken on an air of honorable loyalty before the
sheriff's officer who meets him, in order to conceal an illegality that
may have been committed, etc.? He who has not done it has simply let
violence be done to him; he was a _weakling_ from--conscience. I know
that my freedom is diminished even by my not being able to carry out my
will on another object, be this other something without will, like a
rock, or something with will, like a government, an individual, etc.; I
deny my ownness when--in presence of another--I give myself up, _i. e._
give way, desist, submit; therefore by _loyalty_, _submission_. For it
is one thing when I give up my previous course because it does not lead
to the goal, and therefore turn out of a wrong road; it is another when
I yield myself a prisoner. I get around a rock that stands in my way,
till I have powder enough to blast it; I get around the laws of a
people, till I have gathered strength to overthrow them. Because I
cannot grasp the moon, is it therefore to be "sacred" to me, an Astarte?
If I only could grasp you, I surely would, and, if I only find a means
to get up to you, you shall not frighten me! You inapprehensible one,
you shall remain inapprehensible to me only till I have acquired the
might for apprehension and call you my _own_; I do not give myself up
before you, but only bide my time. Even if for the present I put up with
my inability to touch you, I yet remember it against you.

Vigorous men have always done so. When the "loyal" had exalted an
unsubdued power to be their master and had adored it, when they had
demanded adoration from all, then there came some such son of nature who
would not loyally submit, and drove the adored power from its
inaccessible Olympus. He cried his "Stand still" to the rolling sun, and
made the earth go round; the loyal had to make the best of it; he laid
his axe to the sacred oaks, and the "loyal" were astonished that no
heavenly fire consumed him; he threw the pope off Peter's chair, and the
"loyal" had no way to hinder it; he is tearing down the divine-right
business, and the "loyal" croak in vain, and at last are silent.

My freedom becomes complete only when it is my--_might_; but by this I
cease to be a merely free man, and become an own man. Why is the freedom
of the peoples a "hollow word"? Because the peoples have no might! With
a breath of the living ego I blow peoples over, be it the breath of a
Nero, a Chinese emperor, or a poor writer. Why is it that the
G.....[110] legislatures pine in vain for freedom, and are lectured for
it by the cabinet ministers? Because they are not of the "mighty"! Might
is a fine thing, and useful for many purposes; for "one goes further
with a handful of might than with a bagful of right." You long for
freedom? You fools! If you took might, freedom would come of itself.
See, he who has might "stands above the law." How does this prospect
taste to you, you "law-abiding" people? But you have no taste!

The cry for "freedom" rings loudly all around. But is it felt
and known what a donated or chartered freedom must mean? It is not
recognized in the full amplitude of the word that all freedom is
essentially--self-liberation,--_i. e._, that I can have only so much
freedom as I procure for myself by my ownness. Of what use is it to
sheep that no one abridges their freedom of speech? They stick to
bleating. Give one who is inwardly a Mohammedan, a Jew, or a Christian,
permission to speak what he likes: he will yet utter only narrow-minded
stuff. If, on the contrary, certain others rob you of the freedom of
speaking and hearing, they know quite rightly wherein lies their
temporary advantage, as you would perhaps be able to say and hear
something whereby those "certain" persons would lose their credit.

If they nevertheless give you freedom, they are simply knaves who give
more than they have. For then they give you nothing of their own, but
stolen wares: they give you your own freedom, the freedom that you must
take for yourselves; and they _give_ it to you only that you may not
take it and call the thieves and cheats to an account to boot. In their
slyness they know well that given (chartered) freedom is no freedom,
since only the freedom one _takes_ for himself, therefore the egoist's
freedom, rides with full sails. Donated freedom strikes its sails as
soon as there comes a storm--or calm; it requires always a--gentle and
moderate breeze.

Here lies the difference between self-liberation and emancipation
(manumission, setting free). Those who to-day "stand in the opposition"
are thirsting and screaming to be "set free." The princes are to
"declare their peoples of age," _i. e._ emancipate them! Behave as if
you were of age, and you are so without any declaration of majority; if
you do not behave accordingly, you are not worthy of it, and would never
be of age even by a declaration of majority. When the Greeks were of
age, they drove out their tyrants, and, when the son is of age, he makes
himself independent of his father. If the Greeks had waited till their
tyrants graciously allowed them their majority, they might have waited
long. A sensible father throws out a son who will not come of age, and
keeps the house to himself; it serves the noodle right.

The man who is set free is nothing but a freedman, a _libertinus_, a dog
dragging a piece of chain with him: he is an unfree man in the garment
of freedom, like the ass in the lion's skin. Emancipated Jews are
nothing bettered in themselves, but only relieved as Jews, although he
who relieves their condition is certainly more than a churchly
Christian, as the latter cannot do this without inconsistency. But,
emancipated or not emancipated, Jew remains Jew; he who is not
self-freed is merely an--emancipated man. The Protestant State can
certainly set free (emancipate) the Catholics; but, because they do not
make themselves free, they remain simply--Catholics.

Selfishness and unselfishness have already been spoken of. The friends
of freedom are exasperated against selfishness because in their
religious striving after freedom they cannot--free themselves from that
sublime thing, "self-renunciation." The liberal's anger is directed
against egoism, for the egoist, you know, never takes trouble about a
thing for the sake of the thing, but for his sake: the thing must serve
him. It is egoistic to ascribe to no thing a value of its own, an
"absolute" value, but to seek its value in me. One often hears that
pot-boiling study which is so common counted among the most repulsive
traits of egoistic behavior, because it manifests the most shameful
desecration of science; but what is science for but to be consumed? If
one does not know how to use it for anything better than to keep the pot
boiling, then his egoism is a petty one indeed, because this egoist's
power is a limited power; but the egoistic element in it, and the
desecration of science, only a possessed man can blame.

Because Christianity, incapable of letting the individual count as an
ego,[111] thought of him only as a dependent, and was properly nothing
but a _social theory_,--a doctrine of living together, and that of man
with God as well as of man with man,--therefore in it everything "own"
must fall into most woeful disrepute: selfishness, self-will, ownness,
self-love, etc. The Christian way of looking at things has on all sides
gradually re-stamped honorable words into dishonorable; why should they
not be brought into honor again? So _Schimpf_ (contumely) is in its old
sense equivalent to jest, but for Christian seriousness pastime became a
dishonor,[112] for that seriousness cannot take a joke; _frech_
(impudent) formerly meant only bold, brave; _Frevel_ (wanton outrage)
was only daring. It is well known how askance the word "reason" was
looked at for a long time.

Our language has settled itself pretty well to the Christian standpoint,
and the general consciousness is still too Christian not to shrink in
terror from everything unchristian as from something incomplete or evil.
Therefore "selfishness" is in a bad way too.

Selfishness,[113] in the Christian sense, means something like this: I
look only to see whether anything is of use to me as a sensual man. But
is sensuality then the whole of my ownness? Am I in my own senses when I
am given up to sensuality? Do I follow myself, my _own_ determination,
when I follow that? I am _my own_ only when I am master of myself,
instead of being mastered either by sensuality or by anything else (God,
man, authority, law, State, Church, etc.); what is of use to me, this
self-owned or self-appertaining one, _my selfishness_ pursues.

Besides, one sees himself every moment compelled to believe in that
constantly-blasphemed selfishness as an all-controlling power. In the
session of February 10, 1844, Welcker argues a motion on the dependence
of the judges, and sets forth in a detailed speech that removable,
dismissable, transferable, and pensionable judges--in short, such
members of a court of justice as can by mere administrative process be
damaged and endangered,--are wholly without reliability, yes, lose all
respect and all confidence among the people. The whole bench, Welcker
cries, is demoralized by this dependence! In blunt words this means
nothing else than that the judges find it more to their advantage to
give judgment as the ministers would have them than to give it as the
law would have them. How is that to be helped? Perhaps by bringing home
to the judges' hearts the ignominiousness of their venality, and then
cherishing the confidence that they will repent and henceforth prize
justice more highly than their selfishness? No, the people does not soar
to this romantic confidence, for it feels that selfishness is mightier
than any other motive. Therefore the same persons who have been judges
hitherto may remain so, however thoroughly one has convinced himself
that they behaved as egoists; only they must not any longer find their
selfishness favored by the venality of justice, but must stand so
independent of the government that by a judgment in conformity with the
facts they do not throw into the shade their own cause, their
"well-understood interest," but rather secure a comfortable combination
of a good salary with respect among the citizens.

So Welcker and the commoners of Baden consider themselves secured only
when they can count on selfishness. What is one to think, then, of the
countless phrases of unselfishness with which their mouths overflow at
other times?

To a cause which I am pushing selfishly I have another relation than to
one which I am serving unselfishly. The following criterion might be
cited for it: against the one I can _sin_ or commit a _sin_, the other I
can only _trifle away_, push from me, deprive myself of,--_i. e._ commit
an imprudence. Free trade is looked at in both ways, being regarded
partly as a freedom which may _under certain circumstances_ be granted
or withdrawn, partly as one which is to be held _sacred under all

If I am not concerned about a thing in and for itself, and do not desire
it for its own sake, then I desire it solely as a _means to an end_, for
its usefulness; for the sake of another end; _e. g._, oysters for a
pleasant flavor. Now will not every thing whose final end he himself is
serve the egoist as means? and is he to protect a thing that serves him
for nothing,--_e. g._, the proletarian to protect the State?

Ownness includes in itself everything own, and brings to honor again
what Christian language dishonored. But ownness has not any alien
standard either, as it is not in any sense an _idea_ like freedom,
morality, humanity, and the like: it is only a description of



I--do I come to myself and mine through liberalism?

Whom does the liberal look upon as his equal? Man! Be only man, and that
you are anyway,--and the liberal calls you his brother. He asks very
little about your private opinions and private follies, if only he can
espy "Man" in you.

But, as he takes little heed of what you are _privatim_,--nay, in a
strict following out of his principle sets no value at all on it,--he
sees in you only what you are _generatim_. In other words, he sees in
you, not _you_, but the _species_; not Tom or Jim, but Man; not the real
or unique one,[114] but your essence or your concept; not the bodily
man, but the _spirit_.

As Tom you would not be his equal, because he is Jim, therefore not Tom;
as man you are the same that he is. And, since as Tom you virtually do
not exist at all for him (so far, to wit, as he is a liberal and not
unconsciously an egoist), he has really made "brother-love" very easy
for himself: he loves in you not Tom, of whom he knows nothing and wants
to know nothing, but Man.

To see in you and me nothing further than "men," that is running the
Christian way of looking at things, according to which one is for the
other nothing but a _concept_ (_e. g._ a man called to salvation, etc.),
into the ground.

Christianity properly so called gathers us under a less utterly general
concept: there we are "sons of God" and "led by the Spirit of God."[115]
Yet not all can boast of being God's sons, but "the same Spirit which
witnesses to our spirit that we are sons of God reveals also who are the
sons of the devil."[116] Consequently, to be a son of God one must not
be a son of the devil; the sonship of God excluded certain men. To be
_sons of men_,--_i. e._ men,--on the contrary, we need nothing but to
belong to the human _species_, need only to be specimens of the same
species. What I am as this I is no concern of yours as a good liberal,
but is my _private affair_ alone; enough that we are both sons of one
and the same mother, to wit, the human species: as "a son of man" I am
your equal.

What am I now to you? Perhaps this _bodily I_ as I walk and stand?
Anything but that. This bodily I, with its thoughts, decisions, and
passions, is in your eyes a "private affair" which is no concern of
yours: it is an "affair by itself." As an "affair for you" there exists
only my concept, my generic concept, only _the Man_, who, as he is
called Tom, could just as well be Joe or Dick. You see in me not me, the
bodily man, but an unreal thing, the spook, _i. e._ a _Man_.

In the course of the Christian centuries we declared the most various
persons to be "our equals," but each time in the measure of that
_spirit_ which we expected from them,--_e. g._ each one in whom the
spirit of the need of redemption may be assumed, then later each one who
has the spirit of integrity, finally each one who shows a human spirit
and a human face. Thus the fundamental principle of "equality" varied.

Equality being now conceived as equality of the _human spirit_, there
has certainly been discovered an equality that includes _all_ men; for
who could deny that we men have a human spirit, _i. e._ no other than a

But are we on that account further on now than in the beginning of
Christianity? Then we were to have a _divine spirit_, now a _human_;
but, if the divine did not exhaust us, how should the human wholly
express what we are? Feuerbach, _e. g._, thinks that, if he humanizes
the divine, he has found the truth. No, if God has given us pain, "Man"
is capable of pinching us still more torturingly. The long and the short
of it is this: that we are men is the slightest thing about us, and has
significance only in so far as it is one of our _qualities_,[117]
_i. e._ our property.[118] I am indeed among other things a man, as I
am, _e. g._, a living being, therefore an animal, or a European, a
Berliner, and the like; but he who chose to have regard for me only as a
man, or as a Berliner, would pay me a regard that would be very
unimportant to me. And wherefore? Because he would have regard only for
one of my _qualities_, not for _me_.

It is just so with the _spirit_ too. A Christian spirit, an upright
spirit, and the like may well be my acquired quality, _i. e._ my
property, but I am not this spirit: it is mine, not I its.

Hence we have in liberalism only the continuation of the old Christian
depreciation of the I, the bodily Tom. Instead of taking me as I am, one
looks solely at my property, my qualities, and enters into marriage
bonds with me only for the sake of my--possessions; one marries, as it
were, what I have, not what I am. The Christian takes hold of my spirit,
the liberal of my humanity.

But, if the spirit, which is not regarded as the _property_ of the
bodily ego but as the proper ego itself, is a ghost, then the Man too,
who is not recognized as my quality but as the proper I, is nothing but
a spook, a thought, a concept.

Therefore the liberal too revolves in the same circle as the Christian.
Because the spirit of mankind, _i. e._ Man, dwells in you, you are a
man, as when the spirit of Christ dwells in you you are a Christian;
but, because it dwells in you only as a second ego, even though it be as
your proper or "better" ego, it remains otherworldly to you, and you
have to strive to become wholly man. A striving just as fruitless as the
Christian's to become wholly a blessed spirit!

One can now, after liberalism has proclaimed Man, declare openly that
herewith was only completed the consistent carrying out of Christianity,
and that in truth Christianity set itself no other task from the start
than to realize "man," the "true man." Hence, then, the illusion that
Christianity ascribes an infinite value to the _ego_ (as _e. g._ in the
doctrine of immortality, in the cure of souls, etc.) comes to light. No,
it assigns this value to _Man_ alone. Only _Man_ is immortal, and only
because I am man am I too immortal. In fact, Christianity had to teach
that no one is lost, just as liberalism too puts all on an equality as
men; but that eternity, like this equality, applied only to the _Man_ in
me, not to me. Only as the bearer and harborer of Man do I not die, as
notoriously "the king never dies." Louis dies, but the king remains; I
die, but my spirit, Man, remains. To identify me now entirely with Man
the demand has been invented, and stated, that I must become a "real
generic being."[119]

The HUMAN _religion_ is only the last metamorphosis of the Christian
religion. For liberalism is a religion because it separates my essence
from me and sets it above me, because it exalts "Man" to the same extent
as any other religion does its God or idol, because it makes what is
mine into something otherworldly, because in general it makes out of
what is mine, out of my qualities and my property, something alien,--to
wit, an "essence"; in short, because it sets me beneath Man, and thereby
creates for me a "vocation." But liberalism declares itself a religion
in form too when it demands for this supreme being, Man, a zeal of
faith, "a faith that some day will at last prove its fiery zeal too, a
zeal that will be invincible."[120] But, as liberalism is a human
religion, its professor takes a _tolerant_ attitude toward the professor
of any other (Catholic, Jewish, etc.), as Frederick the Great did
toward every one who performed his duties as a subject, whatever fashion
of becoming blest he might be inclined toward. This religion is now to
be raised to the rank of the generally customary one, and separated from
the others as mere "private follies," toward which, besides, one takes a
highly _liberal_ attitude on account of their unessentialness.

One may call it the _State-religion_, the religion of the "free State,"
not in the sense hitherto current that it is the one favored or
privileged by the State, but as that religion which the "free State" not
only has the right, but is compelled, to demand from each of those who
belong to it, let him be _privatim_ a Jew, a Christian, or anything
else. For it does the same service to the State as filial piety to the
family. If the family is to be recognized and maintained, in its
existing condition, by each one of those who belong to it, then to him
the tie of blood must be sacred, and his feeling for it must be that of
piety, of respect for the ties of blood, by which every blood-relation
becomes to him a consecrated person. So also to every member of the
State-community this community must be sacred, and the concept which is
the highest to the State must likewise be the highest to him.

But what concept is the highest to the State? Doubtless that of being a
really human society, a society in which every one who is really a man,
_i. e. not an un-man_, can obtain admission as a member. Let a State's
tolerance go ever so far, toward an un-man and toward what is inhuman it
ceases. And yet this "un-man" is a man, yet the "inhuman" itself is
something human, yes, possible only to a man, not to any beast; it is,
in fact, something "possible to man." But, although every un-man is a
man, yet the State excludes him; _i. e._, it locks him up, or transforms
him from a fellow of the State into a fellow of the prison (fellow of
the lunatic asylum or hospital, according to Communism).

To say in blunt words what an un-man is is not particularly hard: it is
a man who does not correspond to the _concept_ man, as the inhuman is
something human which is not conformed to the concept of the human.
Logic calls this a "self-contradictory judgment." Would it be
permissible for one to pronounce this judgment, that one can be a man
without being a man, if he did not admit the hypothesis that the concept
of man can be separated from the existence, the essence from the
appearance? They say, he _appears_ indeed as a man, but _is_ not a man.

Men have passed this "self-contradictory judgment" through a long line
of centuries! Nay, what is still more, in this long time there were
only--_un-men_. What individual can have corresponded to his concept?
Christianity knows only one Man, and this one--Christ--is at once an
un-man again in the reverse sense, to wit, a superhuman man, a "God."
Only the--un-man is a _real_ man.

Men that are not men, what should they be but _ghosts_? Every real man,
because he does not correspond to the concept "man," or because he is
not a "generic man," is a spook. But do I still remain an un-man even if
I bring Man (who towered above me and remained otherworldly to me only
as my ideal, my task, my essence or concept) down to be my _quality_,
my own and inherent in me; so that Man is nothing else than my humanity,
my human existence, and everything that I do is human precisely because
_I_ do it, but not because it corresponds to the _concept_ "man"? _I_ am
really Man and the un-man in one; for I am a man and at the same time
more than a man; _i. e._, I am the ego of this my mere quality.

It had to come to this at last, that it was no longer merely demanded of
us to be Christians, but to become men; for, though we could never
really become even Christians, but always remained "poor sinners" (for
the Christian was an unattainable ideal too), yet in this the
contradictoriness did not come before our consciousness so, and the
illusion was easier than now when of us, who are men and act humanly
(yes, cannot do otherwise than be such and act so), the demand is made
that we are to be men, "real men."

Our States of to-day, because they still have all sorts of things
sticking to them, left from their churchly mother, do indeed load those
who belong to them with various obligations (_e. g._ churchly
religiousness) which properly do not a bit concern them, the States; yet
on the whole they do not deny their significance, since they want to be
looked upon as _human societies_, in which man as man can be a member,
even if he is less privileged than other members; most of them admit
adherents of every religious sect, and receive people without
distinction of race or nation: Jews, Turks, Moors, etc., can become
French citizens. In the act of reception, therefore, the State looks
only to see whether one is a _man_. The Church, as a society of
believers, could not receive every man into her bosom; the State, as a
society of men, can. But, when the State has carried its principle clear
through, of presupposing in its constituents nothing but that they are
men (even the North Americans still presuppose in theirs that they have
religion, at least the religion of integrity, of respectability), then
it has dug its grave. While it will fancy that those whom it possesses
are without exception men, these have meanwhile become without exception
_egoists_, each of whom utilizes it according to his egoistic powers and
ends. Against the egoists "human society" is wrecked; for they no longer
have to do with each other as _men_, but appear egoistically as an _I_
against a You altogether different from me and in opposition to me.

If the State must count on our humanity, it is the same if one says it
must count on our _morality_. Seeing Man in each other, and acting as
men toward each other, is called moral behavior. This is every whit the
"spiritual love" of Christianity. For, if I see Man in you, as in myself
I see Man and nothing but Man, then I care for you as I would care for
myself; for we represent, you see, nothing but the mathematical
proposition: A = C and B = C, consequently A = B,--_i. e._, I nothing
but man and you nothing but man, consequently I and you the same.
Morality is incompatible with egoism, because the former does not allow
validity to _me_, but only to the Man in me. But, if the State is a
_society of men_, not a union of egos each of whom has only himself
before his eyes, then it cannot last without morality, and must insist
on morality.

Therefore we two, the State and I, are enemies. I, the egoist, have not
at heart the welfare of this "human society," I sacrifice nothing to it,
I only utilize it; but to be able to utilize it completely I transform
it rather into my property and my creature,--_i. e._ I annihilate it,
and form in its place the _Union of Egoists_.

So the State betrays its enmity to me by demanding that I be a man,
which presupposes that I may also not be a man, but rank for it as an
"un-man"; it imposes being a man upon me as a _duty_. Further, it
desires me to do nothing along with which _it_ cannot last; so _its
permanence_ is to be sacred for me. Then I am not to be an egoist, but a
"respectable, upright," _i. e._ moral, man. Enough, before it and its
permanence I am to be impotent and respectful,--etc.

This State, not a present one indeed, but still in need of being first
created, is the ideal of advancing liberalism. There is to come into
existence a true "society of men," in which every "man" finds room.
Liberalism means to realize "Man," _i. e._ create a world for him; and
this should be the _human_ world or the general (Communistic) society of
men. It was said, "The Church could regard only the spirit, the State is
to regard the whole man."[121] But is not "Man" "spirit"? The kernel of
the State is simply "Man," this unreality, and it itself is only a
"society of men." The world which the believer (believing spirit)
creates is called Church, the world which the man (human or humane
spirit) creates is called State. But that is not _my_ world. I never
execute anything _human_ in the abstract, but always my _own_ things;
_i. e._, _my_ human act is diverse from every other human act, and only
by this diversity is it a real act belonging to me. The human in it is
an abstraction, and, as such, spirit, _i. e._ abstracted essence.

Br. Bauer states (_e. g._ "_Judenfrage_," p. 84) that the truth of
criticism is the final truth, and in fact the truth sought for by
Christianity itself,--to wit, "Man." He says, "The history of the
Christian world is the history of the supreme fight for truth, for in
it--and in it only!--the thing at issue is the discovery of the final or
the primal truth--man and freedom."

All right, let us accept this gain, and let us take _man_ as the
ultimately found result of Christian history and of the religious or
ideal efforts of man in general. Now, who is Man? _I_ am! _Man_, the end
and outcome of Christianity, is, as _I_, the beginning and raw material
of the new history, a history of enjoyment after the history of
sacrifices, a history not of man or humanity, but of--_me_. _Man_ ranks
as the general. Now then, I and the egoistic are the really general,
since every one is an egoist and of paramount importance to himself. The
Jewish is not the purely egoistic, because the Jew still devotes
_himself_ to Jehovah; the Christian is not, because the Christian lives
on the grace of God and subjects _himself_ to him. As Jew and as
Christian alike a man satisfies only certain of his wants, only a
certain need, not _himself_: a _half_-egoism, because the egoism of a
half-man, who is half he, half Jew, or half his own proprietor, half a
slave. Therefore, too, Jew and Christian always half-way exclude each
other; _i. e._, as men they recognize each other, as slaves they
exclude each other, because they are servants of two different masters.
If they could be complete egoists, they would exclude each other
_wholly_ and hold together so much the more firmly. Their ignominy is
not that they exclude each other, but that this is done only _half-way_.
Br. Bauer, on the contrary, thinks Jews and Christians cannot regard and
treat each other as "men" till they give up the separate essence which
parts them and obligates them to eternal separation, recognize the
general essence of "Man," and regard this as their "true essence."

According to his representation the defect of the Jews and the
Christians alike lies in their wanting to be and have something
"particular" instead of only being men and endeavoring after what is
human,--to wit, the "general rights of man." He thinks their fundamental
error consists in the belief that they are "privileged," possess
"prerogatives"; in general, in the belief in _prerogative_.[122] In
opposition to this he holds up to them the general rights of man. The
rights of man!--

_Man is man in general_, and in so far every one who is a man. Now every
one is to have the eternal rights of man, and, according to the opinion
of Communism, enjoy them in the complete "democracy," or, as it ought
more correctly to be called,--anthropocracy. But it is I alone who have
everything that I--procure for myself; as man I have nothing. People
would like to give every man an affluence of all good, merely because
he has the title "man." But I put the accent on me, not on my being

Man is something only as _my quality_[123] (property[124]), like
masculinity or femininity. The ancients found the ideal in one's being
_male_ in the full sense; their virtue is _virtus_ and _arete_,--_i. e._
manliness. What is one to think of a woman who should want only to be
perfectly "woman"? That is not given to all, and many a one would
therein be fixing for herself an unattainable goal. _Feminine_, on the
other hand, she is anyhow, by nature; femininity is her quality, and she
does not need "true femininity." I am a man just as the earth is a star.
As ridiculous as it would be to set the earth the task of being a
"thorough star," so ridiculous it is to burden me with the call to be a
"thorough man."

When Fichte says, "The ego is all," this seems to harmonize perfectly
with my theses. But it is not that the ego _is_ all, but the ego
_destroys_ all, and only the self-dissolving ego, the never-being ego,
the--_finite_ ego is really I. Fichte speaks of the "absolute" ego, but
I speak of me, the transitory ego.

How natural is the supposition that _man_ and _ego_ mean the same! and
yet one sees, _e. g._, by Feuerbach, that the expression "man" is to
designate the absolute ego, the _species_, not the transitory,
individual ego. Egoism and humanity (humaneness) ought to mean the same,
but according to Feuerbach the individual can "only lift himself above
the limits of his individuality, but not above the laws, the positive
ordinances, of his species."[125] But the species is nothing, and, if
the individual lifts himself above the limits of his individuality, this
is rather his very self as an individual; he exists only in raising
himself, he exists only in not remaining what he is; otherwise he would
be done, dead. Man with the great M is only an ideal, the species only
something thought of. To be _a_ man is not to realize the ideal of
_Man_, but to present _oneself_, the individual. It is not how I realize
the _generally human_ that needs to be my task, but how I satisfy
myself. _I_ am my species, am without norm, without law, without model,
and the like. It is possible that I can make very little out of myself;
but this little is everything, and is better than what I allow to be
made out of me by the might of others, by the training of custom,
religion, the laws, the State, etc. Better--if the talk is to be of
better at all--better an unmannerly child than an old head on young
shoulders, better a mulish man than a man compliant in everything. The
unmannerly and mulish fellow is still on the way to form himself
according to his own will; the prematurely knowing and compliant one is
determined by the "species," the general demands, etc.,--the species is
law to him. He is _determined_[126] by it; for what else is the species
to him but his "destiny,"[127] his "calling"? Whether I look to
"humanity," the species, in order to strive toward this ideal, or to God
and Christ with like endeavor, where is the essential dissimilarity? At
most the former is more washed-out than the latter. As the individual
is the whole of nature, so he is the whole of the species too.

Everything that I do, think, etc.,--in short, my expression or
manifestation--is indeed _conditioned_ by what I am. The Jew, _e. g._,
can will only thus or thus, can "present himself" only thus; the
Christian can present and manifest himself only christianly, etc. If it
were possible that you could be a Jew or Christian, you would indeed
bring out only what was Jewish or Christian; but it is not possible; in
the most rigorous conduct you yet remain an _egoist_, a sinner against
that concept--_i. e._, _you_ are not the precise equivalent of Jew. Now,
because the egoistic always keeps peeping through, people have inquired
for a more perfect concept which should really wholly express what you
are, and which, because it is your true nature, should contain all the
laws of your activity. The most perfect thing of the kind has been
attained in "Man." As a Jew you are too little, and the Jewish is not
your task; to be a Greek, a German, does not suffice. But be a--man,
then you have everything; look upon the human as your calling.

Now I know what is expected of me, and the new catechism can be written.
The subject is again subjected to the predicate, the individual to
something general; the dominion is again secured to an _idea_, and the
foundation laid for a new _religion_. This is a _step forward_ in the
domain of religion, and in particular of Christianity; not a step out
beyond it.

The step out beyond it leads into the _unspeakable_. For me paltry
language has no word, and "the Word," the Logos, is to me a "mere

_My essence_ is sought for. If not the Jew, the German, etc., then at
any rate it is--the man. "Man is my essence."

I am repulsive or repugnant to myself; I have a horror and loathing of
myself, I am a horror to myself, or, I am never enough for myself and
never do enough to satisfy myself. From such feelings springs
self-dissolution or self-criticism. Religiousness begins with
self-renunciation, ends with completed criticism.

I am possessed, and want to get rid of the "evil spirit." How do I set
about it? I fearlessly commit the sin that seems to the Christian the
direst, the sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. "He who
blasphemes the Holy Spirit has no forgiveness forever, but is liable to
the eternal judgment!"[128] I want no forgiveness, and am not afraid of
the judgment.

_Man_ is the last evil _spirit_ or spook, the most deceptive or most
intimate, the craftiest liar with honest mien, the father of lies.

The egoist, turning against the demands and concepts of the present,
executes pitilessly the most measureless--_desecration_. Nothing is holy
to him!

It would be foolish to assert that there is no power above mine. Only
the attitude that I take toward it will be quite another than that of
the religious age: I shall be the _enemy_ of every higher power, while
religion teaches us to make it our friend and be humble toward it.

The _desecrator_ puts forth his strength against every _fear of God_,
for fear of God would determine him in everything that he left standing
as sacred. Whether it is the God or the Man that exercises the hallowing
power in the God-man,--whether, therefore, anything is held sacred for
God's sake or for Man's (Humanity's),--this does not change the fear of
God, since Man is revered as "supreme essence," as much as on the
specifically religious standpoint God as "supreme essence" calls for our
fear and reverence; both overawe us.

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 to-day, and fear of Man has taken the place of the old fear of

But, because Man represents only another Supreme Being, nothing has in
fact taken place but a metamorphosis in the Supreme Being, and the fear
of Man is merely an altered form of the fear of God.

Our atheists are pious people.

If in the so-called feudal times we held everything as a fief from God,
in the liberal period the same feudal relation exists with Man. God was
the Lord, now Man is the Lord; God was the Mediator, now Man is; God was
the Spirit, now Man is. In this threefold regard the feudal relation has
experienced a transformation. For now, firstly, we hold as a fief from
all-powerful Man our _power_, which, because it comes from a higher, is
not called power or might, but "right,"--the "rights of man"; we further
hold as a fief from him our position in the world, for he, the mediator,
mediates our _intercourse_ with others, which therefore may not be
otherwise than "human"; finally, we hold as a fief from him
_ourselves_,--to wit, our own value, or all that we are worth,--inasmuch
as we are worth nothing when _he_ does not dwell in us, and when or
where we are not "human." The power is Man's, the world is Man's, I am

But am I not still unrestrained from declaring _myself_ the entitler,
the mediator, and the own self? Then it runs thus:

My power _is_ my property.

My power _gives_ me property.

My power _am_ I myself, and through it am I my property.


_Right_[129] is the _spirit of society_. If society has a _will_, this
will is simply right: society exists only through right. But, as it
endures only by exercising a _sovereignty_ over individuals, right is
its SOVEREIGN WILL. Aristotle says justice is the advantage of

All existing right is--_foreign law_; some one makes me out to be in the
right, "does right by me." But should I therefore be in the right if all
the world made me out so? And yet what else is the right that I obtain
in the State, in society, but a right of those _foreign_ to me? When a
blockhead makes me out in the right, I grow distrustful of my rightness;
I don't like to receive it from him. But, even when a wise man makes me
out in the right, I nevertheless am not in the right on that account.
Whether _I_ am in the right is completely independent of the fool's
making out and of the wise man's.

All the same, we have coveted this right till now. We seek for right,
and turn to the court for that purpose. To what? To a royal, a papal, a
popular court, etc. Can a sultanic court declare another right than that
which the sultan has ordained to be right? Can it make me out in the
right if I seek for a right that does not agree with the sultan's law?
Can it, _e. g._, concede to me high treason as a right, since it is
assuredly not a right according to the sultan's mind? Can it as a court
of censorship allow me the free utterance of opinion as a right, since
the sultan will hear nothing of this _my_ right? What am I seeking for
in this court, then? I am seeking for sultanic right, not _my_ right; I
am seeking for--_foreign_ right. As long as this foreign right
harmonizes with mine, to be sure, I shall find in it the latter too.

The State does not permit pitching into each other man to man; it
opposes the _duel_. Even every ordinary appeal to blows, notwithstanding
that neither of the fighters calls the police to it, is punished; except
when it is not an I whacking away at a you, but, say, the _head of a
family_ at the child. The _family_ is entitled to this, and in its name
the father; I as Ego am not.

The "_Vossische Zeitung_" presents to us the "commonwealth of right."
There everything is to be decided by the judge and a _court_. It ranks
the supreme court of censorship as a "court" where "right is declared"
What sort of a right? The right of the censorship. To recognize the
sentences of that court as right one must regard the censorship as
right. But it is thought nevertheless that this court offers a
protection. Yes, protection against an individual censor's error: it
protects only the censorship-legislator against false interpretation of
his will, at the same time making his statute, by the "sacred power of
right," all the firmer against writers.

Whether I am in the right or not there is no judge but myself. Others
can judge only whether they endorse my right, and whether it exists as
right for them too.

In the meantime let us take the matter yet another way. I am to
reverence sultanic law in the sultanate, popular law in republics, canon
law in Catholic communities, etc. To these laws I am to subordinate
myself; I am to regard them as sacred. A "sense of right" and
"law-abiding mind" of such a sort is so firmly planted in people's heads
that the most revolutionary persons of our days want to subject us to a
new "sacred law," the "law of society," the law of mankind, the "right
of all," and the like. The right of "all" is to go before _my_ right. As
a right of all it would indeed be my right among the rest, since I, with
the rest, am included in all; but that it is at the same time a right of
others, or even of all others, does not move me to its upholding. Not as
a _right of all_ will I defend it, but as _my_ right; and then every
other may see to it how he shall likewise maintain it for himself. The
right of all (_e. g._ to eat) is a right of every individual. Let each
keep this right unabridged for _himself_, then all exercise it
spontaneously; let him not take care for all though,--let him not grow
zealous for it as for a right of all.

But the social reformers preach to us a "_law of society_." There the
individual becomes society's slave, and is in the right only when
society _makes him out_ in the right, _i. e._ when he lives according to
society's _statutes_ and so is--_loyal_. Whether I am loyal under a
despotism or in a "society" _à la_ Weitling, it is the same absence of
right in so far as in both cases I have not _my_ right but _foreign_

In considerations of right the question is always asked, "What or who
gives me the right to it?" Answer: God, love, reason, nature, humanity,
etc. No, only _your might_, _your_ power gives you the right (your
reason, _e. g._, may give it to you).

Communism, which assumes that men "have equal rights by nature,"
contradicts its own proposition till it comes to this, that men have no
right at all by nature. For it is not willing to recognize, _e. g._,
that parents have "by nature" rights as against their children, or the
children as against the parents: it abolishes the family. Nature gives
parents, brothers, etc., no right at all. Altogether, this entire
revolutionary or Babouvist principle[130] rests on a religious, _i. e._
false, view of things. Who can ask after "right" if he does not occupy
the religious standpoint himself? Is not "right" a religious concept,
_i. e._ something sacred? Why, "_equality of rights_," as the Revolution
propounded it, is only another name for "Christian equality," the
"equality of the brethren," "of God's children," "of Christians," etc.:
in short _fraternité_. Each and every inquiry after right deserves to be
lashed with Schillers words:

  Many a year I've used my nose
  To smell the onion and the rose;
  Is there any proof which shows
  That I've a right to that same nose?

When the Revolution stamped equality as a "right," it took flight into
the religious domain, into the region of the sacred, of the ideal.
Hence, since then, the fight for the "sacred, inalienable rights of
man." Against the "eternal rights of man" the "well-earned rights of the
established order" are quite naturally, and with equal right, brought to
bear: right against right, where of course one is decried by the other
as "wrong." This has been the _contest of rights_[131] since the

You want to be "in the right" as against the rest. That you cannot; as
against them you remain forever "in the wrong"; for they surely would
not be your opponents if they were not in "their right" too; they will
always make you out "in the wrong." But, as against the right of the
rest, yours is a higher, greater, _more powerful_ right, is it not? No
such thing! Your right is not more powerful if you are not more
powerful. Have Chinese subjects a right to freedom? Just bestow it on
them, and then look how far you have gone wrong in your attempt: because
they do not know how to use freedom they have no right to it, or, in
clearer terms, because they have not freedom they have not the right to
it. Children have no right to the condition of majority because they are
not of age, _i. e._ because they are children. Peoples that let
themselves be kept in nonage have no right to the condition of majority;
if they ceased to be in nonage, then only would they have the right to
be of age. This means nothing else than "What you have the _power_ to be
you have the _right_ to." I derive all right and all warrant from _me_;
I am _entitled_ to everything that I have in my power. I am entitled to
overthrow Zeus, Jehovah, God, etc., if I _can_; if I cannot, then these
gods will always remain in the right and in power as against me, and
what I do will be to fear their right and their power in impotent
"god-fearingness," to keep their commandments and believe that I do
right in everything that I do according to _their_ right, about as the
Russian boundary-sentinels think themselves rightfully entitled to shoot
dead the suspicious persons who are escaping, since they murder "by
superior authority," _i. e._ "with right." But I am entitled by myself
to murder if I myself do not forbid it to myself, if I myself do not
fear murder as a "wrong." This view of things lies at the foundation of
Chamisso's poem, "The Valley of Murder," where the gray-haired Indian
murderer compels reverence from the white man whose brethren he has
murdered. The only thing I am not entitled to is what I do not do with
a free cheer, _i. e._ what _I_ do not entitle myself to.

_I_ decide whether it is the _right thing_ in _me_; there is no right
_outside_ me. If it is right for _me_,[132] it is right. Possibly this
may not suffice to make it right for the rest; that is their care, not
mine: let them defend themselves. And if for the whole world something
were not right, but it were right for me, _i. e._ I wanted it, then I
would ask nothing about the whole world. So every one does who knows how
to value _himself_, every one in the degree that he is an egoist; for
might goes before right, and that--with perfect right.

Because I am "by nature" a man I have an equal right to the enjoyment of
all goods, says Babeuf. Must he not also say: because I am "by nature" a
first-born prince I have a right to the throne? The rights of man and
the "well-earned rights" come to the same thing in the end, to wit, to
_nature_, which _gives_ me a right, _i. e._ to _birth_ (and, further,
inheritance, etc.). "I am born as a man" is equal to "I am born as a
king's son." The natural man has only a natural right (because he has
only a natural power) and natural claims: he has right of birth and
claims of birth. But _nature_ cannot entitle me, _i. e._ give me
capacity or might, to that to which only my act entitles me. That the
king's child sets himself above other children, even this is his act,
which secures to him the precedence; and that the other children approve
and recognize this act is their act, which makes them worthy to

Whether nature gives me a right, or whether God, the people's choice,
etc., does so, all of that is the same _foreign_ right, a right that _I_
do not give or take to myself.

Thus the Communists say, equal labor entitles man to equal enjoyment.
Formerly the question was raised whether the "virtuous" man must not be
"happy" on earth. The Jews actually drew this inference: "That it may go
well with thee on earth." No, equal labor does not entitle you to it,
but equal enjoyment alone entitles you to equal enjoyment. Enjoy, then
you are entitled to enjoyment. But, if you have labored and let the
enjoyment be taken from you, then--"it serves you right."

If you _take_ the enjoyment, it is your right; if, on the contrary, you
only pine for it without laying hands on it, it remains as before, a
"well-earned right" of those who are privileged for enjoyment. It is
_their_ right, as by laying hands on it it would become _your_ right.

The conflict over the "right of property" wavers in vehement commotion.
The Communists affirm[133] that "the earth belongs rightfully to him who
tills it, and its products to those who bring them out." I think it
belongs to him who knows how to take it, or who does not let it be taken
from him, does not let himself be deprived of it. If he appropriates it,
then not only the earth, but the right to it too, belongs to him. This
is _egoistic right_: _i. e._, it is right for _me_, therefore it is

Aside from this, right does have "a wax nose." The tiger that assails me
is in the right, and I who strike him down am also in the right. I
defend against him not my _right_, but _myself_.

As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces
to the right which men give. _i. e._ "concede," to each other. If the
right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the
right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans
and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give
or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to
themselves. It will be objected, the children had nevertheless "by
nature" the right to exist; only the Spartans refused _recognition_ to
this right. But then they simply had no right to this recognition,--no
more than they had to recognition of their life by the wild beasts to
which they were thrown.

People talk so much about _birthright_, and complain:

  There is--alas!--no mention of the rights
  That were born with us.[134]

What sort of right, then, is there that was born with me? The right to
receive an entailed estate, to inherit a throne, to enjoy a princely or
noble education; or, again, because poor parents begot me, to--get free
schooling, be clothed out of contributions of alms, and at last earn my
bread and my herring in the coal-mines or at the loom? Are these not
birthrights, rights that have come down to me from my parents through
_birth_? You think--no; you think these are only rights improperly so
called, it is just these rights that you aim to abolish through the
_real birthright_. To give a basis for this you go back to the simplest
thing and affirm that every one is by birth _equal_ to another,--to wit,
a _man_. I will grant you that every one is born as man, hence the
new-born are therein _equal_ to each other. Why are they? Only because
they do not yet show and exert themselves as anything but
bare--_children of men_, naked little human beings. But thereby they are
at once different from those who have already made something out of
themselves, who thus are no longer bare "children of men," but--children
of their own creation. The latter possess more than bare birthrights:
they have _earned_ rights. What an antithesis, what a field of combat!
The old combat of the birthrights of man and well-earned rights. Go
right on appealing to your birthrights; people will not fail to oppose
to you the well-earned. Both stand on the "ground of right"; for each of
the two has a "right" against the other, the one the birthright or
natural right, the other the earned or "well-earned" right.

If you remain on the ground of right, you remain
in--_Rechthaberei_.[135] The other cannot give you your right; he cannot
"mete out right" to you. He who has might has--right; if you have not
the former, neither have you the latter. Is this wisdom so hard to
attain? Just look at the mighty and their doings! We are talking here
only of China and Japan, of course. Just try it once, you Chinese and
Japanese, to make them out in the wrong, and learn by experience how
they throw you into jail. (Only do not confuse with this the
"well-meaning counsels" which--in China and Japan--are permitted,
because they do not hinder the mighty one, but possibly _help him on_.)
For him who should want to make them out in the wrong there would stand
open only one way thereto, that of might. If he deprives them of their
_might_, then he has _really_ made them out in the wrong, deprived them
of their right; in any other case he can do nothing but clench his
little fist in his pocket, or fall a victim as an obtrusive fool.

In short, if you Chinese and Japanese did not ask after right, and in
particular if you did not ask after the rights "that were born with
you," then you would not need to ask at all after the well-earned rights

You start back in fright before others, because you think you see beside
them the _ghost of right_, which, as in the Homeric combats, seems to
fight as a goddess at their side, helping them. What do you do? Do you
throw the spear? No, you creep around to gain the spook over to
yourselves, that it may fight on your side: you woo for the ghost's
favor. Another would simply ask thus: Do I will what my opponent wills?
"No!" Now then, there may fight for him a thousand devils or gods, I go
at him all the same!

The "commonwealth of right," as the "_Vossische Zeitung_" among others
stands for it, asks that office-holders be removable only by the
_judge_, not by the _administration_. Vain illusion! If it were settled
by law that an office-holder who is once seen drunken shall lose his
office, then the judges would have to condemn him on the word of the
witnesses, etc. In short, the lawgiver would only have to state
precisely all the possible grounds which entail the loss of office,
however laughable they might be (_e. g._ he who laughs in his superiors'
faces, who does not go to church every Sunday, who does not take the
communion every four weeks, who runs in debt, who has disreputable
associates, who shows no determination, etc., shall be removed. These
things the lawgiver might take it into his head to prescribe, _e. g._,
for a court of honor); then the judge would solely have to investigate
whether the accused had "become guilty" of those "offences," and, on
presentation of the proof, pronounce sentence of removal against him "in
the name of the law."

The judge is lost when he ceases to be _mechanical_, when he "is
forsaken by the rules of evidence." Then he no longer has anything but
an opinion like everybody else; and, if he decides according to this
_opinion_, his action is _no longer an official action_. As judge he
must decide only according to the law. Commend me rather to the old
French parliaments, which wanted to examine for themselves what was to
be matter of right, and to register it only after their own approval.
They at least judged according to a right of their own, and were not
willing to give themselves up to be machines of the lawgiver, although
as judges they must, to be sure, become their own machines.

It is said that punishment is the criminal's right. But impunity is just
as much his right. If his undertaking succeeds, it serves him right,
and, if it does not succeed, it likewise serves him right. You make your
bed and lie in it. If some one goes foolhardily into dangers and
perishes in them, we are apt to say, "It serves him right; he would have
it so." But, if he conquered the dangers, _i. e._ if his _might_ was
victorious, then he would be in the _right_ too. If a child plays with
the knife and gets cut, it is served right; but, if it doesn't get cut,
it is served right too. Hence right befalls the criminal, doubtless,
when he suffers what he risked; why, what did he risk it for, since he
knew the possible consequences? But the punishment that we decree
against him is only our right, not his. Our right reacts against his,
and he is "in the wrong at last" because--we get the upper hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

But what is right, what is matter of right in a society, is voiced
too--in the _law_.[136]

Whatever the law may be, it must be respected by the--loyal citizen.
Thus the law-abiding mind of Old England is eulogized. To this that
Euripidean sentiment (Orestes, 418) entirely corresponds: "We serve the
gods, whatever the gods are." _Law as such, God as such_, thus far we
are to-day.

People are at pains to distinguish _law_ from arbitrary _orders_, from
an ordinance: the former comes from a duly entitled authority. But a law
over human action (ethical law, State law, etc.) is always a
_declaration of will_, and so an order. Yes, even if I myself gave
myself the law, it would yet be only my order, to which in the next
moment I can refuse obedience. One may well enough declare what he will
put up with, and so deprecate the opposite by a law, making known that
in the contrary case he will treat the transgressor as his enemy; but no
one has any business to command _my_ actions, to say what course I shall
pursue and set up a code to govern it. I must put up with it that he
treats me as his _enemy_, but never that he makes free with me as his
_creature_, and that he makes _his_ reason, or even unreason, my

States last only so long as there is a _ruling will_ and this ruling
will is looked upon as tantamount to the own will. The lord's will
is--law. What do your laws amount to if no one obeys them? what your
orders, if nobody lets himself be ordered? The State cannot forbear the
claim to determine the individual's will, to speculate and count on
this. For the State it is indispensable that nobody have an _own will_;
if one had, the State would have to exclude (lock up, banish, etc.) this
one; if all had, they would do away with the State. The State is not
thinkable without lordship and servitude (subjection); for the State
must will to be the lord of all that it embraces, and this will is
called the "will of the State."

He who, to hold his own, must count on the absence of will in others is
a thing made by these others, as the master is a thing made by the
servant. If submissiveness ceased, it would be all over with lordship.

The _own will_ of Me is the State's destroyer; it is therefore branded
by the State as "self-will." Own will and the State are powers in deadly
hostility, between which no "eternal peace" is possible. As long as the
State asserts itself, it represents own will, its ever-hostile opponent,
as unreasonable, evil, etc.; and the latter lets itself be talked into
believing this,--nay, it really is such, for no more reason than this,
that it still lets itself be talked into such belief: it has not yet
come to itself and to the consciousness of its dignity; hence it is
still incomplete, still amenable to fine words, etc.

Every State is a _despotism_, be the despot one or many, or (as one is
likely to imagine about a republic) if all be lords, _i. e._ despotize
one over another. For this is the case when the law given at any time,
the expressed volition of (it may be) a popular assembly, is thenceforth
to be _law_ for the individual, to which _obedience is due_ from him, or
toward which he has the _duty_ of obedience. If one were even to
conceive the case that every individual in the people had expressed the
same will, and hereby a complete "collective will" had come into being,
the matter would still remain the same. Would I not be bound to-day and
henceforth to my will of yesterday? My will would in this case be
_frozen_. Wretched _stability_! My creature--to wit, a particular
expression of will--would have become my commander. But I in my will, I
the creator, should be hindered in my flow and my dissolution. Because I
was a fool yesterday I must remain such my life long. So in the
State-life I am at best--I might just as well say, at worst--a bondman
of myself. Because I was a willer yesterday, I am to-day without will:
yesterday voluntary, to-day involuntary.

How change it? Only by recognizing no _duty_, _i. e._ not _binding_
myself nor letting myself be bound. If I have no duty, then I know no
law either.

"But they will bind me!" My will nobody can bind, and my disinclination
remains free.

"Why, everything must go topsy-turvy if every one could do what he
would!" Well, who says that every one can do everything? What are you
there for, pray, you who do not need to put up with everything? Defend
yourself, and no one will do anything to you! He who would break your
will has to do with you, and is your _enemy_. Deal with him as such. If
there stand behind you for your protection some millions more, then you
are an imposing power and will have an easy victory. But, even if as a
power you overawe your opponent, still you are not on that account a
hallowed authority to him, unless he be a simpleton. He does not owe you
respect and regard, even though he will have to consider your might.

We are accustomed to classify States according to the different ways in
which "the supreme might" is distributed. If an individual has
it--monarchy; if all have it--democracy; etc. Supreme might then! Might
against whom? Against the individual and his "self-will." The State
practises "violence," the individual must not do so. The State's
behavior is violence, and it calls its violence "law"; that of the
individual, "crime." Crime,[137] then,--so the individual's violence is
called; and only by crime does he overcome[138] the State's violence
when he thinks that the State is not above him, but he above the State.

Now, if I wanted to act ridiculously, I might, as a well-meaning person,
admonish you not to make laws which impair my self-development,
self-activity, self-creation. I do not give this advice. For, if you
should follow it, you would be unwise, and I should have been cheated of
my entire profit. I request nothing at all from you; for, whatever I
might demand, you would still be dictatorial lawgivers, and must be so,
because a raven cannot sing, nor a robber live without robbery. Rather
do I ask those who would be egoists what they think the more
egoistic,--to let laws be given them by you, and to respect those that
are given, or to practise _refractoriness_, yes, complete disobedience.
Good-hearted people think the laws ought to prescribe only what is
accepted in the people's feeling as right and proper. But what concern
is it of mine what is accepted in the nation and by the nation? The
nation will perhaps be against the blasphemer; therefore a law against
blasphemy. Am I not to blaspheme on that account? Is this law to be more
than an "order" to me? I put the question.

Solely from the principle that all _right_ and all _authority_ belong to
the _collectivity of the people_ do all forms of government arise. For
none of them lacks this appeal to the collectivity, and the despot, as
well as the president or any aristocracy, etc., acts and commands "in
the name of the State." They are in possession of the "authority of the
State," and it is perfectly indifferent whether, were this possible, the
people as a _collectivity_ (all individuals) exercise this
State-_authority_, or whether it is only the representatives of this
collectivity, be there many of them as in aristocracies or one as in
monarchies. Always the collectivity is above the individual, and has a
power which is called _legitimate_, _i. e._ which is _law_.

Over against the sacredness of the State, the individual is only a
vessel of dishonor, in which "exuberance, malevolence, mania for
ridicule and slander, frivolity," etc., are left as soon as he does not
deem that object of veneration, the State, to be worthy of recognition.
The spiritual _haughtiness_ of the servants and subjects of the State
has fine penalties against unspiritual "exuberance."

When the government designates as punishable an play of mind _against_
the State, the moderate liberals come and opine that fun, satire, wit,
humor, etc., must have free play anyhow, and _genius_ must enjoy
freedom. So not the _individual man_ indeed, but still _genius_, is to
be free. Here the State, or in its name the government, says with
perfect right: He who is not for me is against me. Fun, wit, etc.,--in
short, the turning of State affairs into a comedy,--have undermined
States from of old: they are not "innocent." And, further, what
boundaries are to be drawn between guilty and innocent wit, etc.? At
this question the moderates fall into great perplexity, and everything
reduces itself to the prayer that the State (government) would please
not be so _sensitive_, so _ticklish_; that it would not immediately
scent malevolence in "harmless" things, and would in general be a little
"more tolerant." Exaggerated sensitiveness is certainly a weakness, its
avoidance may be a praiseworthy virtue; but in time of war one cannot be
sparing, and what may be allowed under peaceable circumstances ceases to
be permitted as soon as a state of siege is declared. Because the
well-meaning liberals feel this plainly, they hasten to declare that,
considering "the devotion of the people," there is assuredly no danger
to be feared. But the government will be wiser, and not let itself be
talked into believing anything of that sort. It knows too well how
people stuff one with fine words, and will not let itself be satisfied
with this Barmecide dish.

But they are bound to have their play-ground, for they are children, you
know, and cannot be so staid as old folks; boys will be boys.

Only for this play-ground, only for a few hours of jolly running about,
they bargain. They ask only that the State should not, like a splenetic
papa, be too cross. It should permit some Processions of the Ass and
plays of fools, as the church allowed them in the Middle Ages. But the
times when it could grant this without danger are past. Children that
now once come _into the open_, and live through an hour without the rod
of discipline, are no longer willing to go into the _cell_. For the open
is now no longer a _supplement_ to the cell, no longer a refreshing
_recreation_, but its _opposite_, an _aut--aut_. In short, the State
must either no longer put up with anything, or put up with everything
and perish; it must be either sensitive through and through, or, like a
dead man, insensitive. Tolerance is done with. If the State but gives a
finger, they take the whole hand at once. There can be no more
"jesting," and all jest, such as fun, wit, humor, etc., becomes bitter

The clamor of the Liberals for freedom of the press runs counter to
their own principle, their proper _will_. They will what they _do not
will_, _i. e._ they wish, they would like. Hence it is too that they
fall away so easily when once so-called freedom of the press appears;
then they would like censorship. Quite naturally. The State is sacred
even to them; likewise morals, etc. They behave toward it only as
ill-bred brats, as tricky children who seek to utilize the weaknesses of
their parents. Papa State is to permit them to say many things that do
not please him, but papa has the right, by a stern look, to blue-pencil
their impertinent gabble. If they recognize in him their papa, they must
in his presence put up with the censorship of speech, like every child.

       *       *       *       *       *

If you let yourself be made out in the right by another, you must no
less let yourself be made out in the wrong by him; if justification and
reward come to you from him, expect also his arraignment and punishment.
Alongside right goes wrong, alongside legality _crime_. What are
_you_?--_You_ are a----_criminal_!

"The criminal is in the utmost degree the State's own crime!" says
Bettina.[139] One may let this sentiment pass, even if Bettina herself
does not understand it exactly so. For in the State the unbridled I--I,
as I belong to myself alone--cannot come to my fulfilment and
realization. Every ego is from birth a criminal to begin with against
the people, the State. Hence it is that it does really keep watch over
all; it sees in each one an--egoist, and it is afraid of the egoist. It
presumes the worst about each one, and takes care, police-care, that "no
harm happens to the State," _ne quid respublica detrimenti capiat_. The
unbridled ego--and this we originally are, and in our secret inward
parts we remain so always--is the never-ceasing criminal in the State.
The man whom his boldness, his will, his inconsiderateness and
fearlessness lead is surrounded with spies by the State, by the people.
I say, by the people! The people (think it something wonderful, you
good-hearted folks, what you have in the people)--the people is full of
police sentiments through and through.--Only he who renounces his ego,
who practises "self-renunciation," is acceptable to the people.

In the book cited Bettina is throughout good-natured enough to regard
the State as only sick, and to hope for its recovery, a recovery which
she would bring about through the "demagogues";[140] but it is not sick;
rather is it in its full strength, when it puts from it the demagogues
who want to acquire something for the individuals, for "all." In its
believers it is provided with the best demagogues (leaders of the
people). According to Bettina, the State is to[141] "develop mankind's
germ of freedom; otherwise it is a raven-mother[142] and caring for
raven-fodder!" It cannot do otherwise, for in its very caring for
"mankind" (which, besides, would have to be the "humane" or "free" State
to begin with) the "individual" is raven-fodder for it. How rightly
speaks the burgomaster, on the other hand:[143] "What? the State has no
other duty than to be merely the attendant of incurable invalids?--That
isn't to the point. From of old the healthy State has relieved itself of
the diseased matter, and not mixed itself with it. It does not need to
be so economical with its juices. Cut off the robber-branches without
hesitation, that the others may bloom.--Do not shiver at the State's
harshness; its morality, its policy and religion, point it to that.
Accuse it of no want of feeling; its sympathy revolts against this, but
its experience finds safety only in this severity! There are diseases in
which only drastic remedies will help. The physician who recognizes the
disease as such, but timidly turns to palliatives, will never remove the
disease, but may well cause the patient to succumb after a shorter or
longer sickness!" Frau Rat's question, "If you apply death as a drastic
remedy, how is the cure to be wrought then?" isn't to the point. Why,
the State does not apply death against itself, but against an offensive
member; it tears out an eye that offends it, etc.

"For the invalid State the only way of salvation is to make man flourish
in it."[144] If one here, like Bettina, understands by man the concept
"Man," she is right; the "invalid" State will recover by the
flourishing of "Man," for, the more infatuated the individuals are with
"Man," the better it serves the State's turn. But, if one referred it to
the individuals, to "all" (and the authoress half does this too, because
about "Man" she is still involved in vagueness), then it would sound
somewhat like the following: For an invalid band of robbers the only way
of salvation is to make the loyal citizen flourish in it! Why, thereby
the band of robbers would simply go to ruin as a band of robbers; and,
because it perceives this, it prefers to shoot every one who has a
leaning toward becoming a "steady man."

In this book Bettina is a patriot, or, what is little more, a
philanthropist, a worker for human happiness. She is discontented with
the existing order in quite the same way as is the title-ghost of her
book, along with all who would like to bring back the good old faith and
what goes with it. Only she thinks, contrariwise, that the politicians,
place-holders, and diplomats ruined the State, while those lay it at the
door of the malevolent, the "seducers of the people."

What is the ordinary criminal but one who has committed the fatal
mistake of endeavoring after what is the people's instead of seeking for
what is his? He has sought despicable _alien_ goods, has done what
believers do who seek after what is God's. What does the priest who
admonishes the criminal do? He sets before him the great wrong of having
desecrated by his act what was hallowed by the State, its property (in
which, of course, must be included even the life of those who belong to
the State); instead of this, he might rather hold up to him the fact
that he has befouled _himself_ in not _despising_ the alien thing, but
thinking it worth stealing; he could, if he were not a parson. Talk with
the so-called criminal as with an egoist, and he will be ashamed, not
that he transgressed against your laws and goods, but that he considered
your laws worth evading, your goods worth desiring; he will be ashamed
that he did not--despise you and yours together, that he was too little
an egoist. But you cannot talk egoistically with him, for you are not so
great as a criminal, you--commit no crime! You do not know that an ego
who is his own cannot desist from being a criminal, that crime is his
life. And yet you should know it, since you believe that "we are all
miserable sinners"; but you think surreptitiously to get beyond sin, you
do not comprehend--for you are devil-fearing--that guilt is the value of
a man. Oh, if you were guilty! But now you are "righteous."[145]
Well,--just put every thing nicely to rights[146] for your master!

When the Christian consciousness, or the Christian man, draws up a
criminal code, what can the concept of _crime_ be there but
simply--_heartlessness_? Each severing and wounding of a _heart
relation_, each _heartless behavior_ toward a sacred being, is crime.
The more heartfelt the relation is supposed to be, the more scandalous
is the deriding of it, and the more worthy of punishment the crime.
Every one who is subject to the lord should love him; to deny this love
is a high treason worthy of death. Adultery is a heartlessness worthy
of punishment; one has no heart, no enthusiasm, no pathetic feeling for
the sacredness of marriage. So long as the heart or soul dictates laws,
only the heartful or soulful man enjoys the protection of the laws. That
the man of soul makes laws means properly only that the _moral_ man
makes them: what contradicts these men's "moral feeling," this they
penalize. How, _e. g._, should disloyalty, secession, breach of
oaths,--in short, all _radical breaking off_, all tearing asunder of
venerable _ties_,--not be flagitious and criminal in their eyes? He who
breaks with these demands of the soul has for enemies all the moral, all
the men of soul. Only Krummacher and his mates are the right people to
set up consistently a penal code of the heart, as a certain bill
sufficiently proves. The consistent legislation of the Christian State
must be placed wholly in the hands of the--_parsons_, and will not
become pure and coherent so long as it is worked out only by--the
_parson-ridden_, who are always only _half-parsons_. Only then will
every lack of soulfulness, every heartlessness, be certified as an
unpardonable crime, only then will every agitation of the soul become
condemnable, every objection of criticism and doubt be anathematized;
only then is the own man, before the Christian consciousness, a
convicted--_criminal_ to begin with.

The men of the Revolution often talked of the people's "just revenge" as
its "right." Revenge and right coincide here. Is this an attitude of an
ego to an ego? The people cries that the opposite party has committed
"crimes" against it. Can I assume that one commits a crime against me,
without assuming that he has to act as I see fit? And this action I
call the right, the good, etc.; the divergent action, a crime. So I
think that the others must aim at the _same_ goal with me; _i. e._, I do
not treat them as unique beings[147] who bear their law in themselves
and live according to it, but as beings who are to obey some "rational"
law. I set up what "Man" is and what acting in a "truly human" way is,
and I demand of every one that this law become norm and ideal to him;
otherwise he will expose himself as a "sinner and criminal." But upon
the "guilty" falls the "penalty of the law"!

One sees here how it is "Man" again who sets on foot even the concept of
crime, of sin, and therewith that of right. A man in whom I do not
recognize "Man" is "a sinner, a guilty one."

Only against a sacred thing are there criminals; you against me can
never be a criminal, but only an opponent. But not to hate him who
injures a sacred thing is in itself a crime, as St. Just cries out
against Danton: "Are you not a criminal and responsible for not having
hated the enemies of the fatherland?"--

If, as in the Revolution, what "Man" is is apprehended as "good
citizen," then from this concept of "Man" we have the well-known
"political offences and crimes."

In all this the individual, the individual man, is regarded as refuse,
and on the other hand the general man, "Man," is honored. Now, according
to how this ghost is named,--as Christian, Jew, Mussulman, good
citizen, loyal subject, freeman, patriot, etc.,--just so do those who
would like to carry through a divergent concept of man, as well as those
who want to put _themselves_ through, fall before victorious "Man."

And with what unction the butchery goes on here in the name of the law,
of the sovereign people, of God, etc.!

Now, if the persecuted trickily conceal and protect themselves from the
stern parsonical judges, people stigmatize them as "hypocrites," as St.
Just, _e. g._, does those whom he accuses in the speech against
Danton.[148] One is to be a fool, and deliver himself up to their

Crimes spring from _fixed ideas_. The sacredness of marriage is a fixed
idea. From the sacredness it follows that infidelity is a _crime_, and
therefore a certain marriage law imposes upon it a shorter or longer
_penalty_. But by those who proclaim "freedom as sacred" this penalty
must be regarded as a crime against freedom, and only in this sense has
public opinion in fact branded the marriage law.

Society would have _every one_ come to his right indeed, but yet only to
that which is sanctioned by society, to the society-right, not really to
_his_ right. But _I_ give or take to myself the right out of my own
plenitude of power, and against every superior power I am the most
impenitent criminal. Owner and creator of my right, I recognize no other
source of right than--me, neither God nor the State nor nature nor even
man himself with his "eternal rights of man," neither divine nor human

Right "in and for itself." Without relation to me, therefore! "Absolute
right." Separated from me, therefore! A thing that exists in and for
itself! An absolute! An eternal right, like an eternal truth!

According to the liberal way of thinking, right is to be obligatory for
me because it is thus established by _human reason_, against which _my
reason_ is "unreason." Formerly people inveighed in the name of divine
reason against weak human reason; now, in the name of strong human
reason, against egoistic reason, which is rejected as "unreason." And
yet none is real but this very "unreason." Neither divine nor human
reason, but only your and my reason existing at any given time, is real,
as and because you and I are real.

The thought of right is originally my thought; or, it has its origin in
me. But, when it has sprung from me, when the "Word" is out, then it has
"become flesh," it is a _fixed idea_. Now I no longer get rid of the
thought; however I turn, it stands before me. Thus men have not become
masters again of the thought "right," which they themselves created;
their creature is running away with them. This is absolute right, that
which is absolved or unfastened from me. We, revering it as absolute,
cannot devour it again, and it takes from us the creative power; the
creature is more than the creator, it is "in and for itself."

Once you no longer let right run around free, once you draw it back into
its origin, into you, it is _your_ right; and that is right which suits

       *       *       *       *       *

Right has had to suffer an attack within itself, i. e. from the
standpoint of right; war being declared on the part of liberalism
against "privilege."[149]

_Privileged_ and _endowed with equal rights_--on these two concepts
turns a stubborn fight. Excluded or admitted--would mean the same. But
where should there be a power--be it an imaginary one like God, law, or
a real one like I, you--of which it should not be true that before it
all are "endowed with equal rights," _i. e._ no respect of persons
holds? Every one is equally dear to God if he adores him, equally
agreeable to the law if only he is a law-abiding person; whether the
lover of God and the law is humpbacked and lame, whether poor or rich,
and the like, that amounts to nothing for God and the law; just so, when
you are at the point of drowning, you like a negro as rescuer as well as
the most excellent Caucasian,--yes, in this situation you esteem a dog
not less than a man. But to whom will not every one be also,
contrariwise, a preferred or disregarded person? God punishes the wicked
with his wrath, the law chastises the lawless, you let one visit you
every moment and show the other the door.

The "equality of right" is a phantom just because right is nothing more
and nothing less than admission, _i. e._ a _matter of grace_, which, be
it said, one may also acquire by his desert; for desert and grace are
not contradictory, since even grace wishes to be "deserved" and our
gracious smile falls only to him who knows how to force it from us.

So people dream of "all citizens of the State having to stand side by
side, with equal rights." As citizens of the State they are certainly
all equal for the State. But it will divide them, and advance them or
put them in the rear, according to its special ends, if on no other
account; and still more must it distinguish them from one another as
good and bad citizens.

Bruno Bauer disposes of the Jew question from the standpoint that
"privilege" is not justified. Because Jew and Christian have each some
point of advantage over the other, and in having this point of advantage
are exclusive, therefore before the critic's gaze they crumble into
nothingness. With them the State lies under the like blame, since it
justifies their having advantages and stamps it as a "privilege" or
prerogative, but thereby derogates from its calling to become a "free

But now every one has something of advantage over another,--_viz._,
himself or his individuality; in this everybody remains exclusive.

And, again, before a third party every one makes his peculiarity count
for as much as possible, and (if he wants to win him at all) tries to
make it appear attractive before him.

Now, is the third party to be insensible to the difference of the one
from the other? Do they ask that of the free State or of humanity? Then
these would have to be absolutely without self-interest, and incapable
of taking an interest in any one whatever. Neither God (who divides his
own from the wicked) nor the State (which knows how to separate good
citizens from bad) was thought of as so indifferent.

But they are looking for this very third party that bestows no more
"privilege." Then it is called perhaps the free State, or humanity, or
whatever else it may be.

As Christian and Jew are ranked low by Br. Bauer on account of their
asserting privileges, it must be that they could and should free
themselves from their narrow standpoint by self-renunciation or
unselfishness. If they threw off their "egoism," the mutual wrong would
cease, and with it Christian and Jewish religiousness in general; it
would be necessary only that neither of them should any longer want to
be anything peculiar.

But, if they gave up this exclusiveness, with that the ground on which
their hostilities were waged would in truth not yet be forsaken. In case
of need they would indeed find a third thing on which they could unite,
a "general religion," a "religion of humanity," and the like; in short,
an equalization, which need not be better than that which would result
if all Jews became Christians, by which likewise the "privilege" of one
over the other would have an end. The _tension_[150] would indeed be
done away, but in this consisted not the essence of the two, but only
their neighborhood. As being distinguished from each other they must
necessarily be mutually resistant,[151] and the disparity will always
remain. Truly it is not a failing in you that you stiffen[152] yourself
against me and assert your distinctness or peculiarity: you need not
give way or renounce yourself.

People conceive the significance of the opposition too _formally_ and
weakly when they want only to "dissolve" it in order to make room for a
third thing that shall "unite." The opposition deserves rather to be
_sharpened_. As Jew and Christian you are in too slight an opposition,
and are contending only about religion, as it were about the emperor's
beard, about a fiddlestick's end. Enemies in religion indeed, _in the
rest_ you still remain good friends, and equal to each other, _e. g_. as
men. Nevertheless the rest too is unlike in each; and the time when you
no longer merely _dissemble_ your opposition will be only when you
entirely recognize it, and everybody asserts himself from top to toe as
_unique_.[153] Then the former opposition will assuredly be dissolved,
but only because a stronger has taken it up into itself.

Our weakness consists not in this, that we are in opposition to others,
but in this, that we are not completely so; _i. e._ that we are not
entirely _severed_ from them, or that we seek a "communion," a "bond,"
that in communion we have an ideal. One faith, one God, one idea, one
hat, for all! If all were brought under one hat, certainly no one would
any longer need to take off his hat before another.

The last and most decided opposition, that of unique against unique, is
at bottom beyond what is called opposition, but without having sunk back
into "unity" and unison. As unique you have nothing in common with the
other any longer, and therefore nothing divisive or hostile either; you
are not seeking to be in the right against him before a _third_ party,
and are standing with him neither "on the ground of right" nor on any
other common ground. The opposition vanishes in complete--_severance_ or
singleness.[154] This might indeed be regarded as the new point in
common or a new parity, but here the parity consists precisely in the
disparity, and is itself nothing but disparity, a par of disparity, and
that only for him who institutes a "comparison."

The polemic against privilege forms a characteristic feature of
liberalism, which fumes against "privilege" because it itself appeals to
"right." Further than to fuming it cannot carry this; for privileges do
not fall before right falls, as they are only forms of right. But right
falls apart into its nothingness when it is swallowed up by might,
_i. e._ when one understands what is meant by "Might goes before right."
All right explains itself then as privilege, and privilege itself as
power, as--_superior power_.

But must not the mighty combat against superior power show quite another
face than the modest combat against privilege, which is to be fought out
before a first judge, "Right," according to the judge's mind?

       *       *       *       *       *

Now, in conclusion, I have still to take back the half-way form of
expression of which I was willing to make use only so long as I was
still rooting among the entrails of right, and letting the word at least
stand. But, in fact, with the concept the word too loses its meaning.
What I called "my right" is no longer "right" at all, because right can
be bestowed only by a spirit, be it the spirit of nature or that of the
species, of mankind, the Spirit of God or that of His Holiness or His
Highness, etc. What I have without an entitling spirit I have without
right; I have it solely and alone through my _power_.

I do not demand any right, therefore I need not recognize any either.
What I can get by force I get by force, and what I do not get by force I
have no right to, nor do I give myself airs, or consolation, with my
imprescriptible right.

With absolute right, right itself passes away; the dominion of the
"concept of right" is canceled at the same time. For it is not to be
forgotten that hitherto concepts, ideas, or principles ruled us, and
that among these rulers the concept of right, or of justice, played one
of the most important parts.

Entitled or unentitled--that does not concern me; if I am only
_powerful_, I am of myself _empowered_, and need no other empowering or

Right--is a wheel in the head, put there by a spook; power--that am I
myself, I am the powerful one and owner of power. Right is above me, is
absolute, and exists in one higher, as whose grace it flows to me: right
is a gift of grace from the judge; power and might exist only in me the
powerful and mighty.


In society the human demand at most can be satisfied, while the egoistic
must always come short.

Because it can hardly escape anybody that the present shows no such
living interest in any question as in the "social," one has to direct
his gaze especially to society. Nay, if the interest felt in it were
less passionate and dazzled, people would not so much, in looking at
society, lose sight of the individuals in it, and would recognize that a
society cannot become new so long as those who form and constitute it
remain the old ones. If, _e. g._, there was to arise in the Jewish
people a society which should spread a new faith over the earth, these
apostles could in no case remain Pharisees.

As you are, so you present yourself, so you behave toward men: a
hypocrite as a hypocrite, a Christian as a Christian. Therefore the
character of a society is determined by the character of its members:
they are its creators. So much at least one must perceive even if one
were not willing to put to the test the concept "society" itself.

Ever far from letting _themselves_ come to their full development and
consequence, men have hitherto not been able to found their societies on
_themselves_; or rather, they have been able only to found "societies"
and to live in societies. The societies were always persons, powerful
persons, so-called "moral persons," _i. e._ ghosts, before which the
individual had the appropriate wheel in his head, the fear of ghosts. As
such ghosts they may most suitably be designated by the respective names
"people" and "peoplet": the people of the patriarchs, the people of the
Hellenes, etc., at last the--people of men, Mankind (Anacharsis Clootz
was enthusiastic for the "nation" of mankind); then every subdivision
of this "people," which could and must have its special societies, the
Spanish, French people, etc.; within it again classes, cities, in short
all kinds of corporations; lastly, tapering to the finest point, the
little people of the--_family_. Hence, instead of saying that the person
that walked as ghost in all societies hitherto has been the people,
there might also have been named the two extremes,--to wit, either
"mankind" or the "family," both the most "natural-born units." We choose
the word "people"[155] because its derivation has been brought into
connection with the Greek _polloi_, the "many" or "the masses," but
still more because "national efforts" are at present the order of the
day, and because even the newest mutineers have not yet shaken off this
deceptive person, although on the other hand the latter consideration
must give the preference to the expression "mankind," since on all sides
they are going in for enthusiasm over "mankind."

The people, then,--mankind or the family,--have hitherto, as it seems,
played history: no _egoistic_ interest was to come up in these
societies, but solely general ones, national or popular interests, class
interests, family interests, and "general human interests." But who has
brought to their fall the peoples whose decline history relates? Who but
the egoist, who was seeking _his_ satisfaction! If once an egoistic
interest crept in, the society was "corrupted" and moved toward its
dissolution, as Rome, _e. g._, proves with its highly developed system
of private rights, or Christianity with the incessantly-breaking-in
"rational self-determination," "self-consciousness," the "autonomy of
the spirit," etc.

The Christian people has produced two societies whose duration will keep
equal measure with the permanence of that people: these are the
societies _State_ and _Church_. Can they be called a union of egoists?
Do we in them pursue an egoistic, personal, own interest, or do we
pursue a popular (_i. e._ an interest of the Christian _people_), to
wit, a State and Church interest? Can I and may I be myself in them? May
I think and act as I will, may I reveal myself, live myself out, busy
myself? Must I not leave untouched the majesty of the State, the
sanctity of the Church?

Well, I may not do as I will. But shall I find in any society such an
unmeasured freedom of maying? Certainly no! Accordingly we might be
content? Not a bit! It is a different thing whether I rebound from an
ego or from a people, a generalization. There I am my opponent's
opponent, born his equal; here I am a despised opponent, bound and under
a guardian: there I stand man to man; here I am a schoolboy who can
accomplish nothing against his comrade because the latter has called
father and mother to aid and has crept under the apron, while I am well
scolded as an ill-bred brat, and I must not "argue": there I fight
against a bodily enemy; here against mankind, against a generalization,
against a "majesty," against a spook. But to me no majesty, nothing
sacred, is a limit; nothing that I know how to overpower. Only that
which I cannot overpower still limits my might; and I of limited might
am temporarily a limited I, not limited by the might _outside_ me, but
limited by my _own_ still deficient might, by my _own impotence_.
However, "the Guard dies, but does not surrender!" Above all, only a
bodily opponent!

          I dare meet every foeman
  Whom I can see and measure with my eye,
  Whose mettle fires my mettle for the fight,--etc.

Many privileges have indeed been cancelled with time, but solely for the
sake of the common weal, of the State and the State's weal, by no means
for the strengthening of me. Vassalage, _e. g._, was abrogated only that
a single liege lord, the lord of the people, the monarchical power,
might be strengthened: vassalage under the one became yet more rigorous
thereby. Only in favor of the monarch, be he called "prince" or "law,"
have privileges fallen. In France the citizens are not, indeed, vassals
of the king, but are instead vassals of the "law" (the Charter).
_Subordination_ was retained, only the Christian State recognized that
man cannot serve two masters (the lord of the manor and the prince,
etc.); therefore one obtained all the prerogatives; now he can again
_place_ one above another, he can make "men in high place."

But of what concern to me is the common weal? The common weal as such is
not _my weal_, but only the furthest extremity of _self-renunciation_.
The common weal may cheer aloud while I must "down";[156] the State may
shine while I starve. In what lies the folly of the political liberals
but in their opposing the people to the government and talking of
people's rights? So there is the people going to be of age, etc. As if
one who has no mouth could be _muendig_![157] Only the individual is
able to be _muendig_. Thus the whole question of the liberty of the
press is turned upside down when it is laid claim to as a "right of the
people." It is only a right, or better the might, of the _individual_.
If a people has liberty of the press, then _I_, although in the midst of
this people, have it not; a liberty of the people is not _my_ liberty,
and the liberty of the press as a liberty of the people must have at its
side a press law directed against _me_.

This must be insisted on all around against the present-day efforts for

Liberty of the _people_ is not _my_ liberty!

Let us admit these categories, liberty of the people and right of the
people: _e. g._ the right of the people that everybody may bear arms.
Does one not forfeit such a right? One cannot forfeit his own right, but
may well forfeit a right that belongs not to me but to the people. I may
be locked, up for the sake of the liberty of the people; I may, under
sentence, incur the loss of the right to bear arms.

Liberalism appears as the last attempt at a creation of the liberty of
the people, a liberty of the commune, of "society," of the general, of
mankind; the dream of a humanity, a people, a commune, a "society,"
that shall be of age.

A people cannot be free otherwise than at the individual's expense; for
it is not the individual that is the main point in this liberty, but the
people. The freer the people, the more bound the individual; the
Athenian people, precisely at its freest time, created ostracism,
banished the atheists, poisoned the most honest thinker.

How they do praise Socrates for his conscientiousness, which makes nun
resist the advice to get away from the dungeon! He is a fool that he
concedes to the Athenians a right to condemn him. Therefore it certainly
serves him right; why then does he remain standing on an equal footing
with the Athenians? Why does he not break with them? Had he known, and
been able to know, what he was, he would have conceded to such judges no
claim, no right. That _he did not escape_ was just his weakness, his
delusion of still having something in common with the Athenians, or the
opinion that he was a member, a mere member of this people. But he was
rather this people itself in person, and could only be his own judge.
There was no _judge over him_, as he himself had really pronounced a
public sentence on himself and rated himself worthy of the Prytaneum. He
should have stuck to that, and, as he had uttered no sentence of death
against himself, should have despised that of the Athenians too and
escaped. But he subordinated himself and recognized in the _people_ his
_judge_; he seemed little to himself before the majesty of the people.
That he subjected himself to _might_ (to which alone he could succumb)
as to a "right" was treason against himself: it was _virtue_. To
Christ, who, it is alleged, refrained from using the power over his
heavenly legions, the same scrupulousness is thereby ascribed by the
narrators. Luther did very well and wisely to have the safety of his
journey to Worms warranted to him in black and white, and Socrates
should have known that the Athenians were his _enemies_, he alone his
judge. The self-deception of a "reign of law," etc., should have given
way to the perception that the relation was a relation of _might_.

It was with pettifoggery and intrigues that Greek liberty ended. Why?
Because the ordinary Greeks could still less attain that logical
conclusion which not even their hero of thought, Socrates, was able to
draw. What then is pettifoggery but a way of utilizing something
established without doing away with it? I might add "for one's own
advantage," but, you see, that lies in "utilizing." Such pettifoggers
are the theologians who "wrest" and "force" God's word; what would they
have to wrest if it were not for the "established" Word of God? So those
liberals who only shake and wrest the "established order." They are all
perverters, like those perverters of the law. Socrates recognized law,
right; the Greeks constantly retained the authority of right and law. If
with this recognition they wanted nevertheless to assert their
advantage, every one his own, then they had to seek it in perversion of
the law, or intrigue. Alcibiades, an intriguer of genius, introduces the
period of Athenian "decay"; the Spartan Lysander and others show that
intrigue had become universally Greek. Greek _law_, on which the Greek
_States_ rested, had to be perverted and undermined by the egoists
within these States, and the _States_ went down that the _individuals_
might become free, the Greek people fell because the individuals cared
less for this people than for themselves. In general, all States,
constitutions, churches, etc., have sunk by the _secession_ of
individuals; for the individual is the irreconcilable enemy of every
_generality_, every _tie_, _i. e._ every fetter. Yet people fancy to
this day that man needs "sacred ties": he, the deadly enemy of every
"tie." The history of the world shows that no tie has yet remained
unrent, shows that man tirelessly defends himself against ties of every
sort; and yet, blinded, people think up new ties again and again, and
think, _e. g._, that they have arrived at the right one if one puts upon
them the tie of a so-called free constitution, a beautiful,
constitutional tie; decoration ribbons, the ties of confidence between
"---- ---- ----," do seem gradually to have become somewhat infirm, but
people have made no further progress than from apron-strings to garters
and collars.

_Everything sacred is a tie, a fetter._

Everything sacred is and must be perverted by perverters of the law;
therefore our present time has multitudes of such perverters in all
spheres. They are preparing the way for the break-up of law, for

Poor Athenians who are accused of pettifoggery and sophistry! poor
Alcibiades, of intrigue! Why, that was just your best point, your first
step in freedom. Your Æschylus, Herodotus, etc., only wanted to have a
free Greek _people_; you were the first to surmise something of _your_

A people represses those who tower above _its majesty_, by ostracism
against too-powerful citizens, by the Inquisition against the heretics
of the Church, by the--Inquisition against traitors in the State, etc.

For the people is concerned only with its self-assertion; it demands
"patriotic self-sacrifice" from everybody. To it, accordingly, every one
_in himself_ is indifferent, a nothing, and it cannot do, not even
suffer, what the individual and he alone must do,--to wit, _turn him to
account_. Every people, every State, is unjust toward the _egoist_.

As long as there still exists even one institution which the individual
may not dissolve, the ownness and self-appurtenance of Me is still very
remote. How can I, _e. g._, be free when I must bind myself by oath to a
constitution, a charter, a law, "vow body and soul" to my people? How
can I be my own when my faculties may develop only so far as they "do
not disturb the harmony of society" (Weitling)?

The fall of peoples and mankind will invite _me_ to my rise.

Listen, even as I am writing this, the bells begin to sound, that they
may jingle in for to-morrow the festival of the thousand years existence
of our dear Germany. Sound, sound its knell! You do sound solemn enough,
as if your tongue was moved by the presentiment that it is giving convoy
to a corpse. The German people and German peoples have behind them a
history of a thousand years: what a long life! O, go to rest, never to
rise again,--that all may become free whom you so long have held in
fetters.--The _people_ is dead.--Up with _me_!

O thou my much-tormented German people--what was thy torment? It was the
torment of a thought that cannot create itself a body, the torment of a
walking spirit that dissolves into nothing at every cock-crow and yet
pines for deliverance and fulfilment. In me too thou hast lived long,
thou dear--thought, thou dear--spook. Already I almost fancied I had
found the word of thy deliverance, discovered flesh and bones for the
wandering spirit; then I hear them sound, the bells that usher thee into
eternal rest; then the last hope fades out, then the notes of the last
love die away, then I depart from the desolate house of those who now
are dead and enter at the door of the--living one:

  For only he who is alive is in the right.

Farewell, thou dream of so many millions; farewell, thou who hast
tyrannized over thy children for a thousand years!

To-morrow they carry thee to the grave; soon thy sisters, the peoples,
will follow thee. But, when they have all followed, then----mankind is
buried, and I am my own, I am the laughing heir!

       *       *       *       *       *

The word _Gesellschaft_ (society) has its origin in the word _Sal_
(hall). If one hall encloses many persons, then the hall causes these
persons to be in society. They _are_ in society, and at most constitute
a parlor-society by talking in the traditional forms of parlor speech.
When it comes to real _intercourse_, this is to be regarded as
independent of society: it may occur or be lacking, without altering
the nature of what is named society. Those who are in the hall are a
society even as mute persons, or when they put each other off solely
with empty phrases of courtesy. Intercourse is mutuality, it is the
action, the _commercium_, of individuals; society is only community of
the hall, and even the statues of a museum-hall are in society, they are
"grouped." People are accustomed to say "they _haben inne_[158] this
hall in common," but the case is rather that the hall has us _inne_ or
in it. So far the natural signification of the word society. In this it
comes out that society is not generated by me and you, but by a third
factor which makes associates out of us two, and that it is just this
third factor that is the creative one, that which creates society.

Just so a prison society or prison companionship (those who enjoy[159]
the same prison). Here we already hit upon a third factor fuller of
significance than was that merely local one, the hall. Prison no longer
means a space only, but a space with express reference to its
inhabitants: for it is a prison only through being destined for
prisoners, without whom it would be a mere building. What gives a common
stamp to those who are gathered in it? Evidently the prison, since it is
only by means of the prison that they are prisoners. What, then,
determines the _manner of life_ of the prison society? The prison! What
determines their intercourse? The prison too, perhaps? Certainly they
can enter upon intercourse only as prisoners, _i. e._ only so far as
the prison laws allow it; but that _they themselves_ hold intercourse, I
with you, this the prison cannot bring to pass; on the contrary, it must
have an eye to guarding against such egoistic, purely personal
intercourse (and only as such is it really intercourse between me and
you). That we _jointly_ execute a job, run a machine, effectuate
anything in general,--for this a prison will indeed provide; but that I
forget that I am a prisoner, and engage in intercourse with you who
likewise disregard it, brings danger to the prison, and not only cannot
be caused by it, but must not even be permitted. For this reason the
saintly and moral-minded French chamber decides to introduce solitary
confinement, and other saints will do the like in order to cut off
"demoralizing intercourse." Imprisonment is the established and--sacred
condition, to injure which no attempt must be made. The slightest push
of that kind is punishable, as is every uprising against a sacred thing
by which man is to be charmed and chained.

Like the hall, the prison does form a society, a companionship, a
communion (_e. g._ communion of labor), but no _intercourse_, no
reciprocity, no _union_. On the contrary, every union in the prison
bears within it the dangerous seed of a "plot," which under favorable
circumstances might spring up and bear fruit.

Yet one does not usually enter the prison voluntarily, and seldom
remains in it voluntarily either, but cherishes the egoistic desire for
liberty. Here, therefore, it sooner becomes manifest that personal
intercourse is in hostile relations to the prison society and tends to
the dissolution of this very society, this joint incarceration.

Let us therefore look about for such communions as, it seems, we remain
in gladly and voluntarily, without wanting to endanger them by our
egoistic impulses.

As a communion of the required sort the _family_ offers itself in the
first place. Parents, husband and wife, children, brothers and sisters,
represent a whole or form a family, for the further widening of which
the collateral relatives also may be made to serve if taken into
account. The family is a true communion only when the law of the family,
piety[160] or family love, is observed by its members. A son to whom
parents, brothers, and sisters have become indifferent _has been_ a son;
for, as the sonship no longer shows itself efficacious, it has no
greater significance than the long-past connection of mother and child
by the navel-string. That one has once lived in this bodily juncture
cannot as a fact be undone; and so far one remains irrevocably this
mother's son and the brother of the rest of her children; but it would
come to a lasting connection only by lasting piety, this spirit of the
family. Individuals are members of a family in the full sense only when
they make the _persistence_ of the family their task; only as
_conservative_ do they keep aloof from doubting their basis, the family.
To every member of the family one thing must be fixed and
sacred,--_viz._, the family itself, or, more expressively, piety. That
the family is to _persist_ remains to its member, so long as he keeps
himself free from that egoism which is hostile to the family, an
unassailable truth. In a word:--If the family is sacred, then nobody who
belongs to it may secede from it; else he becomes a "criminal" against
the family: he may never pursue an interest hostile to the family,
_e. g._ form a misalliance. He who does this has "dishonored the
family," "put it to shame," etc.

Now, if in an individual the egoistic impulse has not force enough, he
complies and makes a marriage which suits the claims of the family,
takes a rank which harmonizes with its position, and the like; in short,
he "does honor to the family."

If, on the contrary, the egoistic blood flows fierily enough in his
veins, he prefers to become a "criminal" against the family and to throw
off its laws.

Which of the two lies nearer my heart, the good of the family or my
good? In innumerable cases both go peacefully together; the advantage of
the family is at the same time mine, and _vice versa_. Then it is hard
to decide whether I am thinking _selfishly_ or _for the common benefit_,
and perhaps I complacently flatter myself with my unselfishness. But
there comes the day when a necessity of choice makes me tremble, when I
have it in mind to dishonor my family tree, to affront parents,
brothers, and kindred. What then? Now it will appear how I am disposed
at the bottom of my heart; now it will be revealed whether piety ever
stood above egoism for me, now the selfish one can no longer skulk
behind the semblance of unselfishness. A wish rises in my soul, and,
growing from hour to hour, becomes a passion. To whom does it occur at
first blush that the slightest thought which may result adversely to the
spirit of the family (piety) bears within it a transgression against
this? nay, who at once, in the first moment, becomes completely
conscious of the matter? It happens so with Juliet in "Romeo and
Juliet." The unruly passion can at last no longer be tamed, and
undermines the building of piety. You will say, indeed, it is from
self-will that the family casts out of its bosom those wilful ones that
grant more of a hearing to their passion than to piety; the good
Protestants used the same excuse with much success against the
Catholics, and believed in it themselves. But it is just a subterfuge to
roll the fault off oneself, nothing more. The Catholics had regard for
the common bond of the church, and thrust those heretics from them only
because these did not have so much regard for the bond of the church as
to sacrifice their convictions to it; the former, therefore, held the
bond fast, because the bond, the Catholic (_i. e._ common and united)
church, was sacred to them; the latter, on the contrary, disregarded the
bond. Just so those who lack piety. They are not thrust out, but thrust
themselves out, prizing their passion, their wilfulness, higher than the
bond of the family.

But now sometimes a wish glimmers in a less passionate and wilful heart
than Juliet's. The pliable girl brings herself as a _sacrifice_ to the
peace of the family. One might say that here too selfishness prevailed,
for the decision came from the feeling that the pliable girl felt
herself more satisfied by the unity of the family than by the fulfilment
of her wish. That might be; but what if there remained a sure sign that
egoism had been sacrificed to piety? What if, even after the wish that
had been directed against the peace of the family was sacrificed, it
remained at least as a recollection of a "sacrifice" brought to a sacred
tie? What if the pliable girl were conscious of having left her
self-will unsatisfied and humbly subjected herself to a higher power?
Subjected and sacrificed, because the superstition of piety exercised
its dominion over her!

There egoism won, here piety wins and the egoistic heart bleeds; there
egoism was strong, here it was--weak. But the weak, as we have long
known, are the--unselfish. For them, for these its weak members, the
family cares, because they _belong_ to the family, do not belong to
themselves and care for themselves. This weakness Hegel, _e. g._,
praises when he wants to have match-making left to the choice of the

As a sacred communion to which, among the rest, the individual owes
obedience, the family has the judicial function too vested in it; such a
"family court" is described _e. g._ in the "Cabanis" of Wilibald Alexis.
There the father, in the name of the "family council," puts the
intractable son among the soldiers and thrusts him out of the family, in
order to cleanse the smirched family again by means of this act of
punishment.--The most consistent development of family responsibility is
contained in Chinese law, according to which the whole family has to
expiate the individual's fault.

To-day, however, the arm of family power seldom reaches far enough to
take seriously in hand the punishment of apostates (in most cases the
State protects even against disinheritance). The criminal against the
family (family-criminal) flees into the domain of the State and is free,
as the State-criminal who gets away to America is no longer reached by
the punishments of his State. He who has shamed his family, the
graceless son, is protected against the family's punishment because the
State, this protecting lord, takes away from family punishment its
"sacredness" and profanes it, decreeing that it is only--"revenge": it
restrains punishment, this sacred family right, because before its, the
State's, "sacredness" the subordinate sacredness of the family always
pales and loses its sanctity as soon as it comes in conflict with this
higher sacredness. Without the conflict, the State lets pass the lesser
sacredness of the family; but in the opposite case it even commands
crime against the family, charging, _e. g._, the son to refuse obedience
to his parents as soon as they want to beguile him to a crime against
the State.

Well, the egoist has broken the ties of the family and found in the
State a lord to shelter him against the grievously affronted spirit of
the family. But where has he run now? Straight into a new _society_, in
which his egoism is awaited by the same snares and nets that it has just
escaped. For the State is likewise a society, not a union; it is the
broadened _family_ ("Father of the Country--Mother of the
Country--children of the country").

       *       *       *       *       *

What is called a State is a tissue and plexus of dependence and
adherence; it is a _belonging together_, a holding together, in which
those who are placed together fit themselves to each other, or, in
short, mutually depend on each other: it is the _order_ of this
_dependence_. Suppose the king, whose authority lends authority to all
down to the beadle, should vanish: still all in whom the will for order
was awake would keep order erect against the disorders of bestiality. If
disorder were victorious, the State would be at an end.

But is this thought of love, to fit ourselves to each other, to adhere
to each other and depend on each other, really capable of winning us?
According to this the State would be _love_ realized, the being for each
other and living for each other of all. Is not self-will being lost
while we attend to the will for order? Will people not be satisfied when
order is cared for by authority, _i. e._ when authority sees to it that
no one "gets in the way of" another; when, then, the _herd_ is
judiciously distributed or ordered? Why, then everything is in "the best
order," and it is this best order that is called--State!

Our societies and States _are_ without our _making_ them, are united
without our uniting, are predestined and established, or have an
independent standing[161] of their own, are the indissolubly established
against us egoists. The fight of the world to-day is, as it is said,
directed against the "established." Yet people are wont to misunderstand
this as if it were only that what is now established was to be
exchanged for another, a better, established system. But war might
rather be declared against establishment itself, _i. e._ the _State_,
not a particular State, not any such thing as the mere condition of the
State at the time; it is not another State (such as a "people's State")
that men aim at, but their _union_, uniting, this ever-fluid uniting of
everything standing.--A State exists even without my co-operation: I am
born in it, brought up in it, under obligations to it, and must "do it
homage."[162] It takes me up into its "favor,"[163] and I live by its
"grace." Thus the independent establishment of the State founds my lack
of independence; its condition as a "natural growth," its organism,
demands that my nature do not grow freely, but be cut to fit it. That
_it_ may be able to unfold in natural growth, it applies to me the
shears of "civilization"; it gives me an education and culture adapted
to it, not to me, and teaches me _e. g._ to respect the laws, to refrain
from injury to State property (_i. e._ private property), to reverence
divine and earthly highness, etc.; in short, it teaches me to
be--_unpunishable_, "sacrificing" my ownness to "sacredness" (everything
possible is sacred, _e. g._ property, others' life, etc.). In this
consists the sort of civilization and culture that the State is able to
give me: it brings me up to be a "serviceable instrument," a
"serviceable member of society."

This every State must do, the people's State as well as the absolute or
constitutional one. It must do so as long as we rest in the error that
it is an _I_, as which it then applies to itself the name of a "moral,
mystical, or political person." I, who really am I, must pull off this
lion-skin of the I from the stalking thistle-eater. What manifold
robbery have I not put up with in the history of the world! There I let
sun, moon, and stars, cats and crocodiles, receive the honor of ranking
as I; there Jehovah, Allah, and Our Father came and were invested with
the I; there families, tribes, peoples, and at last actually mankind,
came and were honored as I's; there the Church, the State, came with the
pretension to be I,--and I gazed calmly on all. What wonder if then
there was always a real I too that joined the company and affirmed in my
face that it was not my _you_ but my real _I_. Why, _the_ Son of Man
_par excellence_ had done the like; why should not a son of man do it
too? So I saw my I always above me and outside me, and could never
really come to myself.

I never believed in myself; I never believed in my present, I saw myself
only in the future. The boy believes he will be a proper I, a proper
fellow, only when he has become a man; the man thinks, only in the other
world will he be something proper. And, to enter more closely upon
reality at once, even the best are to-day still persuading each other
that one must have received into himself the State, his people, mankind,
and what not, in order to be a real I, a "free burgher," a "citizen," a
"free or true man"; they too see the truth and reality of me in the
reception of an alien I and devotion to it. And what sort of an I? An I
that is neither an I nor a you, a _fancied_ I, a spook.

While in the Middle Ages the church could well brook many States living
united in it, the States learned after the Reformation, especially after
the Thirty Years' War, to tolerate many churches (confessions) gathering
under one crown. But all States are religious and, as the case may be,
"Christian States," and make it their task to force the intractable, the
"egoists," under the bond of the unnatural, _i. e._ Christianize them.
All arrangements of the Christian State have the object of
_Christianizing the people_. Thus the court has the object of forcing
people to justice, the school that of forcing them to mental
culture,--in short, the object of protecting those who act Christianly
against those who act unchristianly, of bringing Christian action to
_dominion_, of making it _powerful_. Among these means of force the
State counted the _Church_, too, it demanded a--particular religion from
everybody. Dupin said lately against the clergy, "Instruction and
education belong to the State."

Certainly everything that regards the principle of morality is a State
affair. Hence it is that the Chinese State meddles so much in family
concerns, and one is nothing there if one is not first of all a good
child to his parents. Family concerns are altogether State concerns with
us too, only that our State--puts confidence in the families without
painful oversight; it holds the family bound by the marriage tie, and
this tie cannot be broken without it.

But that the State makes me responsible for my principles, and demands
certain ones from me, might make me ask, what concern has it with the
"wheel in my head" (principle)? Very much, for the State is the--_ruling
principle_. It is supposed that in divorce matters, in marriage law in
general, the question is of the proportion of rights between Church and
State. Rather, the question is of whether anything sacred is to rule
over man, be it called faith or ethical law (morality). The State
behaves as the same ruler that the Church was. The latter rests on
godliness, the former on morality.

People talk of the tolerance, the leaving opposite tendencies free, and
the like, by which civilized States are distinguished. Certainly some
are strong enough to look with complacency on even the most unrestrained
meetings, while others charge their catchpolls to go hunting for
tobacco-pipes. Yet for one State as for another the play of individuals
among themselves, their buzzing to and fro, their daily life, is an
_incident_ which it must be content to leave to themselves because it
can do nothing with this. Many, indeed, still strain out gnats and
swallow camels, while others are shrewder. Individuals are "freer" in
the latter, because less pestered. But _I_ am free in _no_ State. The
lauded tolerance of States is simply a tolerating of the "harmless," the
"not dangerous"; it is only elevation above pettymindedness, only a more
estimable, grander, prouder--despotism. A certain State seemed for a
while to mean to be pretty well elevated above _literary_ combats, which
might be carried on with all heat; England is elevated above _popular
turmoil_ and--tobacco-smoking. But woe to the literature that deals
blows at the State itself, woe to the mobs that "endanger" the State.
In that certain State they dream of a "free science," in England of a
"free popular life."

The State does let individuals _play_ as freely as possible, only they
must not be in _earnest_, must not forget _it_. Man must not carry on
intercourse with man _unconcernedly_, not without "superior oversight
and mediation." I must not execute all that I am able to, but only so
much as the State allows; I must not turn to account _my_ thoughts, nor
_my_ work, nor, in general, anything of mine.

The State always has the sole purpose to limit, tame, subordinate, the
individual--to make him subject to some _generality_ or other; it lasts
only so long as the individual is not all in all, and it is only the
clearly-marked _restriction of me_, my limitation, my slavery. Never
does a State aim to bring in the free activity of individuals, but
always that which is bound to the _purpose of the State_. Through the
State nothing _in common_ comes to pass either, as little as one can
call a piece of cloth the common work of all the individual parts of a
machine; it is rather the work of the whole machine as a unit, _machine
work_. In the same style everything is done by the _State machine_ too;
for it moves the clockwork of the individual minds, none of which follow
their own impulse. The State seeks to hinder every free activity by its
censorship, its supervision, its police, and holds this hindering to be
its duty, because it is in truth a duty of self-preservation. The State
wants to make something out of man, therefore there live in it only
_made_ men; every one who wants to be his own self is its opponent and
is nothing. "He is nothing" means as much as, The State does not make
use of him, grants him no position, no office, no trade, and the like.

E. Bauer,[164] in the "_Liberale Bestrebungen_," II, 50, is still
dreaming of a "government which, proceeding out of the people, can never
stand in opposition to it." He does indeed (p. 69) himself take back the
word "government": "In the republic no government at all obtains, but
only an executive authority. An authority which proceeds purely and
alone out of the people; which has not an independent power, independent
principles, independent officers, over against the people; but which has
its foundation, the fountain of its power and of its principles, in the
sole, supreme authority of the State, in the people. The concept
government, therefore, is not at all suitable in the people's State."
But the thing remains the same. That which has "proceeded, been founded,
sprung from the fountain" becomes something "independent" and, like a
child delivered from the womb, enters upon opposition at once. The
government, if it were nothing independent and opposing, would be
nothing at all.

"In the free State there is no government," etc. (p. 94). This surely
means that the people, when it is the _sovereign_, does not let itself
be conducted by a superior authority. Is it perchance different in
absolute monarchy? Is there there for the _sovereign_, perchance, a
government standing over him? _Over_ the sovereign, be he called prince
or people, there never stands a government: that is understood of
itself. But over _me_ there will stand a government in every "State," in
the absolute as well as in the republican or "free." _I_ am as badly off
in one as in the other.

The republic is nothing whatever but--absolute monarchy; for it makes no
difference whether the monarch is called prince or people, both being a
"majesty." Constitutionalism itself proves that nobody is able and
willing to be only an instrument. The ministers domineer over their
master the prince, the deputies over their master the people. Here,
then, the _parties_ at least are already free,--_videlicet_, the
office-holders' party (so-called people's party). The prince must
conform to the will of the ministers, the people dance to the pipe of
the chambers. Constitutionalism is further than the republic, because it
is the _State_ in incipient _dissolution_.

E. Bauer denies (p. 56) that the people is a "personality" in the
constitutional State; _per contra_, then, in the republic? Well, in the
constitutional State the people is--a _party_, and a party is surely a
"personality" if one is once resolved to talk of a "political" (p. 76)
moral person anyhow. The fact is that a moral person, be it called
people's party or people or even "the Lord," is in no wise a person, but
a spook.

Further, E. Bauer goes on (p. 69): "guardianship is the characteristic
of a government." Truly, still more that of a people and "people's
State"; it is the characteristic of all _dominion_. A people's State,
which "unites in itself all completeness of power," the "absolute
master," cannot let me become powerful. And what a chimera, to be no
longer willing to call the "people's officials" "servants, instruments,"
because they "execute the free, rational law-will of the people!" (p.
73). He thinks (p. 74): "Only by all official circles subordinating
themselves to the government's views can unity be brought into the
State"; but his "people's State" is to have "unity" too; how will a lack
of subordination be allowable there? subordination to the--people's

"In the constitutional State it is the regent and his _disposition_ that
the whole structure of government rests on in the end." (_Ibid._, p.
130.) How would that be otherwise in the "people's State"? Shall _I_ not
there be governed by the people's _disposition_ too, and does it make a
difference _for me_ whether I see myself kept in dependence by the
prince's disposition or by the people's disposition, so-called "public
opinion"? If dependence means as much as "religious relation," as E.
Bauer rightly alleges, then in the people's State the people remains
_for me_ the superior power, the "majesty" (for God and prince have
their proper essence in "majesty") to which I stand in religious
relations.--Like the sovereign regent, the sovereign people too would be
reached by no _law_. E. Bauer's whole attempt comes to a _change of
masters_. Instead of wanting to make the _people_ free, he should have
had his mind on the sole realizable freedom, his own.

In the constitutional State _absolutism_ itself has at last come in
conflict with itself, as it has been shattered into a duality; the
government wants to be absolute, and the people wants to be absolute.
These two absolutes will wear out against each other.

E. Bauer inveighs against the determination of the regent by _birth_, by
_chance_. But, when "the people" have become "the sole power in the
State" (p. 132), have _we_ not then in it a master from _chance_? Why,
what is the people? The people has always been only the _body_ of the
government: it is many under one hat (a prince's hat) or many under one
constitution. And the constitution is the--prince. Princes and peoples
will persist so long as both do not _col_lapse, _i. e._ fall _together_.
If under one constitution there are many "peoples,"--_e. g._ in the
ancient Persian monarchy and to-day,--then these "peoples" rank only as
"provinces." For me the people is in any case an--accidental power, a
force of nature, an enemy that I must overcome.

What is one to think of under the name of an "organized" people
(_ibid._, p. 132)? A people "that no longer has a government," that
governs itself. In which, therefore, no ego stands out prominently; a
people organized by ostracism. The banishment of egos, ostracism, makes
the people autocrat.

If you speak of the people, you must speak of the prince; for the
people, if it is to be a subject[165] and make history, must, like
everything that acts, have a _head_, its "supreme head." Weitling sets
this forth in the "Trio," and Proudhon declares, "_une société, pour
ainsi dire acéphale, ne peut vivre_."[166]

The _vox populi_ is now always held up to us, and "public opinion" is to
rule our princes. Certainly the _vox populi_ is at the same time _vox
dei_; but is either of any use, and is not the _vox principis_ also _vox

At this point the "Nationals" may be brought to mind. To demand of the
thirty-eight States of Germany that they shall act as _one nation_ can
only be put alongside the senseless desire that thirty-eight swarms of
bees, led by thirty-eight queen-bees, shall unite themselves into one
swarm. _Bees_ they all remain; but it is not the bees as bees that
belong together and can join themselves together, it is only that the
_subject_ bees are connected with the _ruling_ queens. Bees and peoples
are destitute of will, and the _instinct_ of their queens leads them.

If one were to point the bees to their beehood, in which at any rate
they are all equal to each other, one would be doing the same thing that
they are now doing so stormily in pointing the Germans to their
Germanhood. Why, Germanhood is just like beehood in this very thing,
that it bears in itself the necessity of cleavages and separations, yet
without pushing on to the last separation, where, with the complete
carrying through of the process of separating, its end appears: I mean,
to the separation of man from man. Germanhood does indeed divide itself
into different peoples and tribes, _i. e._ beehives; but the individual
who has the quality of being a German is still as powerless as the
isolated bee. And yet only individuals can enter into union with each
other, and all alliances and leagues of peoples are and remain
mechanical compoundings, because those who come together, at least so
far as the "peoples" are regarded as the ones that have come together,
are _destitute of will_. Only with the last separation does separation
itself end and change to unification.

Now the Nationals are exerting themselves to set up the abstract,
lifeless unity of beehood; but the self-owned are going to fight for the
unity willed by their own will, for union. This is the token of all
reactionary wishes, that they want to set up something _general_,
abstract, an empty, lifeless _concept_, in distinction from which the
self-owned aspire to relieve the robust, lively _particular_ from the
trashy burden of generalities. The reactionaries would be glad to smite
a _people_, a _nation_, forth from the earth; the self-owned have before
their eyes only themselves. In essentials the two efforts that are just
now the order of the day--to wit, the restoration of provincial rights
and of the old tribal divisions (Franks, Bavarians, etc., Lusatia,
etc.), and the restoration of the entire nationality--coincide in one.
But the Germans will come into unison, _i. e._ unite _themselves_, only
when they knock over their beehood as well as all the beehives; in other
words, when they are more than--Germans: only then can they form a
"German Union." They must not want to turn back into their nationality,
into the womb, in order to be born again, but let every one turn in _to
himself_. How ridiculously sentimental when one German grasps another's
hand and presses it with sacred awe because "he too is a German"! With
that he is something great! But this will certainly still be thought
touching as long as people are enthusiastic for "brotherliness," _i. e._
as long as they have a "_family disposition_." From the superstition of
"piety," from "brotherliness" or "childlikeness" or however else the
soft-hearted piety-phrases run,--from the _family spirit_,--the
Nationals, who want to have a great _family of Germans_, cannot liberate

Aside from this, the so-called Nationals would only have to understand
themselves rightly in order to lift themselves out of their juncture
with the good-natured Teutomaniacs. For the uniting for material ends
and interests, which they demand of the Germans, comes to nothing else
than a voluntary union. Carriere, inspired, cries out,[167] "Railroads
are to the more penetrating eye the way to a _life of the people_ such
as has not yet anywhere appeared in such significance." Quite right, it
will be a life of the people that has nowhere appeared, because it is
not a--life of the people.--So Carriere then combats himself (p. 10):
"Pure humanity or manhood cannot be better represented than by a people
fulfilling its mission." Why, by this nationality only is represented.
"Washed-out generality is lower than the form complete in itself, which
is itself a whole, and lives as a living member of the truly general,
the organized." Why, the people is this very "washed-out generality,"
and it is only a man that is the "form complete in itself."

The impersonality of what they call "people, nation," is clear also from
this: that a people which wants to bring its I into view to the best of
its power puts at its head the ruler _without will_. It finds itself in
the alternative either to be subjected to a prince who realizes only
_himself, his individual_ pleasure--then it does not recognize in the
"absolute master" its own will, the so-called will of the people--, or
to seat on the throne a prince who gives effect to _no_ will of his
_own_--then it has a prince _without will_, whose place some ingenious
clockwork would perhaps fill just as well.--Therefore insight need go
only a step farther; then it becomes clear of itself that the I of the
people is an impersonal, "spiritual" power, the--law. The people's I,
therefore, is a--spook, not an I. I am I only by this, that I make
myself; _i. e._ that it is not another who makes me, but I must be my
own work. But how is it with this I of the people? _Chance_ plays it
into the people's hand, chance gives it this or that born lord,
accidents procure it the chosen one; he is not its (the "_sovereign_"
people's) product, as I am _my_ product. Conceive of one wanting to talk
you into believing that you were not your I, but Tom or Jack was your I!
But so it is with the people, and rightly. For the people has an I as
little as the eleven planets counted together have an _I_, though they
revolve around a common _centre_.

Bailly's utterance is representative of the slave-disposition that folks
manifest before the sovereign people, as before the prince. "I have,"
says he, "no longer any extra reason when the general reason has
pronounced itself. My first law was the nation's will; as soon as it had
assembled I knew nothing beyond its sovereign will." He would have no
"extra reason," and yet this extra reason alone accomplishes everything.
Just so Mirabeau inveighs in the words, "No power on earth has the
_right_ to say to the nation's representatives, It is my will!"

As with the Greeks, there is now a wish to make man a _zoon politicon_,
a citizen of the State or political man. So he ranked for a long time as
a "citizen of heaven." But the Greek fell into ignominy along with his
_State_, the citizen of heaven likewise falls with heaven; we, on the
other hand, are not willing to go down along with the _people_, the
nation and nationality, not willing to be merely _political_ men or
politicians. Since the Revolution they have striven to "make the people
happy," and in making the people happy, great, and the like, they make
Us unhappy: the people's good hap is--my mishap.

What empty talk the political liberals utter with emphatic decorum is
well seen again in Nauwerk's "On Taking Part in the State." There
complaint is made of those who are indifferent and do not take part, who
are not in the full sense citizens, and the author speaks as if one
could not be man at all if one did not take a lively part in State
affairs, _i. e._ if one were not a politician. In this he is right; for,
if the State ranks as the warder of everything "human," we can have
nothing human without taking part in it. But what does this make out
against the egoist? Nothing at all, because the egoist is to himself the
warder of the human, and has nothing to say to the State except "Get out
of my sunshine." Only when the State comes in contact with his ownness
does the egoist take an active interest in it. If the condition of the
State does not bear hard on the closet-philosopher, is he to occupy
himself with it because it is his "most sacred duty"? So long as the
State does according to his wish, what need has he to look up from his
studies? Let those who from an interest of their own want to have
conditions otherwise busy themselves with them. Not now, nor evermore,
will "sacred duty" bring folks to reflect about the State,--as little as
they become disciples of science, artists, etc., from "sacred duty."
Egoism alone can impel them to it, and will as soon as things have
become much worse. If you showed folks that their egoism demanded that
they busy themselves with State affairs, you would not have to call on
them long; if, on the other hand, you appeal to their love of fatherland
and the like, you will long preach to deaf hearts in behalf of this
"service of love." Certainly, in your sense the egoists will not
participate in State affairs at all.

Nauwerk utters a genuine liberal phrase on p. 16: "Man completely
fulfils his calling only in feeling and knowing himself as a member of
humanity, and being active as such. The individual cannot realize the
idea of _manhood_ if he does not stay himself upon all humanity, if he
does not draw his powers from it like Antæus."

In the same place it is said: "Man's relation to the _res publica_ is
degraded to a purely private matter by the theological view; is,
accordingly, made away with by denial." As if the political view did
otherwise with religion! There religion is a "private matter."

If, instead of "sacred duty," "man's destiny," the "calling to full
manhood," and similar commandments, it were held up to people that their
_self-interest_ was infringed on when they let everything in the State
go as it goes, then, without declamations, they would be addressed as
one will have to address them at the decisive moment if he wants to
attain his end. Instead of this, the theology-hating author says, "If
there has ever been a time when the _State_ laid claim to all that are
_hers_, such a time is ours.--The thinking man sees in participation in
the theory and practice of the State a _duty_, one of the most sacred
duties that rest upon him"--and then takes under closer consideration
the "unconditional necessity that everybody participate in the State."

He in whose head or heart or both the _State_ is seated, he who is
possessed by the State, or the _believer in the State_, is a politician,
and remains such to all eternity.

"The State is the most necessary means for the complete development of
mankind." It assuredly has been so as long as we wanted to develop
mankind; but, if we want to develop ourselves, it can be to us only a
means of hindrance.

Can State and people still be reformed and bettered now? As little as
the nobility, the clergy, the church, etc.: they can be abrogated,
annihilated, done away with, not reformed. Can I change a piece of
nonsense into sense by reforming it, or must I drop it outright?

Henceforth what is to be done is no longer about the _State_ (the form
of the State, etc.), but about me. With this all questions about the
prince's power, the constitution, etc., sink into their true abyss and
their true nothingness. I, this nothing, shall put forth my _creations_
from myself.

To the chapter of society belongs also "the party," whose praise has of
late been sung.

In the State the _party_ is current. "Party, party, who should not join
one!" But the individual is _unique_,[168] not a member of the party. He
unites freely, and separates freely again. The party is nothing but a
State in the State, and in this smaller bee-State "peace" is also to
rule just as in the greater. The very people who cry loudest that there
must be an _opposition_ in the State inveigh against every discord in
the party. A proof that they too want only a--State. All parties are
shattered not against the State, but against the ego.[169]

One hears nothing oftener now than the admonition to remain true to his
party; party men despise nothing so much as a mugwump. One must run with
his party through thick and thin, and unconditionally approve and
represent its chief principles. It does not indeed go quite so badly
here as with closed societies, because these bind their members to fixed
laws or statutes (_e. g._ the orders, the Society of Jesus, etc.). But
yet the party ceases to be a union at the same moment at which it makes
certain principles _binding_ and wants to have them assured against
attacks; but this moment is the very birth-act of the party. As party it
is already a _born society_, a dead union, an idea that has become
fixed. As party of absolutism it cannot will that its members should
doubt the irrefragable truth of this principle; they could cherish this
doubt only if they were egoistic enough to want still to be something
outside their party, _i. e._ non-partisans. Non-partisan they cannot be
as party-men, but only as egoists. If you are a Protestant and belong to
that party, you must only justify Protestantism, at most "purge" it, not
reject it; if you are a Christian and belong among men to the Christian
party, you cannot go beyond this as a member of this party, but only
when your egoism, _i. e._ non-partisanship, impels you to it. What
exertions the Christians, down to Hegel and the Communists, have put
forth to make their party strong! they stuck to it that Christianity
must contain the eternal truth, and that one needs only to get at it,
make sure of it, and justify it.

In short, the party cannot bear non-partisanship, and it is in this that
egoism appears. What matters the party to me? I shall find enough anyhow
who _unite_ with me without swearing allegiance to my flag.

He who passes over from one party to another is at once abused as a
"turncoat." Certainly _morality_ demands that one stand by his party,
and to become apostate from it is to spot oneself with the stain of
"faithlessness"; but ownness knows no commandment of "faithfulness,
adhesion, etc.," ownness permits everything, even apostasy, defection.
Unconsciously even the moral themselves let themselves be led by this
principle when they have to judge one who passes over to _their_
party,--nay, they are likely to be making proselytes; they should only
at the same time acquire a consciousness of the fact that one must
commit _immoral_ actions in order to commit his own,--_i. e._ here, that
one must break faith, yes, even his oath, in order to determine himself
instead of being determined by moral considerations. In the eyes of
people of strict moral judgment an apostate always shimmers in equivocal
colors, and will not easily obtain their confidence; for there sticks to
him the taint of "faithlessness," _i. e._ of an immorality. In the lower
man this view is found almost generally; advanced thinkers fall here
too, as always, into an uncertainty and bewilderment, and the
contradiction necessarily founded in the principle of morality does not,
on account of the confusion of their concepts, come clearly to their
consciousness. They do not venture to call the apostate immoral
downright, because they themselves entice to apostasy, to defection from
one religion to another, etc.; still, they cannot give up the standpoint
of morality either. And yet here the occasion was to be seized to step
outside of morality.

Are the Own or Unique[170] perchance a party? How could they be _own_ if
they were such as _belonged_ to a party?

Or is one to hold with no party? In the very act of joining them and
entering their circle one forms a _union_ with them that lasts as long
as party and I pursue one and the same goal. But to-day I still share
the party's tendency, and by to-morrow I can do so no longer and I
become "untrue" to it. The party has nothing _binding_ (obligatory) for
me, and I do not have respect for it; if it no longer pleases me, I
become its foe.

In every party that cares for itself and its persistence, the members
are unfree (or better, unown) in that degree, they lack egoism in that
degree, in which they serve this desire of the party. The independence
of the party conditions the lack of independence in the party-members.

A party, of whatever kind it may be, can never do without a _confession
of faith_. For those who belong to the party must _believe_ in its
principle, it must not be brought in doubt or put in question by them,
it must be the certain, indubitable thing for the party-member. That is:
One must belong to a party body and soul, else one is not truly a
party-man, but more or less--an egoist. Harbor a doubt of Christianity,
and you are already no longer a true Christian, you have lifted yourself
to the "effrontery" of putting a question beyond it and haling
Christianity before your egoistic judgment-seat. You have--_sinned_
against Christianity, this party cause (for it is surely not _e. g._ a
cause for the Jews, another party). But well for you if you do not let
yourself be affrighted: your effrontery helps you to ownness.

So then an egoist could never embrace a party or take up with a party?
Oh, yes, only he cannot let himself be embraced and taken up by the
party. For him the party remains all the time nothing but a _gathering_:
he is one of the party, he takes part.

       *       *       *       *       *

The best State will clearly be that which has the most loyal citizens,
and the more the devoted mind for _legality_ is lost, so much the more
will the State, this system of morality, this moral life itself, be
diminished in force and quality. With the "good citizens" the good State
too perishes and dissolves into anarchy and lawlessness. "Respect for
the law!" By this cement the total of the State is held together. "The
law is _sacred_, and he who affronts it a _criminal_." Without crime no
State: the moral world--and this the State is--is crammed full of
scamps, cheats, liars, thieves, etc. Since the State is the "lordship of
law," its hierarchy, it follows that the egoist, in all cases where
_his_ advantage runs against the State's, can satisfy himself only by

The State cannot give up the claim that its _laws_ and ordinances are
_sacred_.[171] At this the individual ranks as the _unholy_[172]
(barbarian, natural man, "egoist") over against the State, exactly as he
was once regarded by the Church; before the individual the State takes
on the nimbus of a saint.[173] Thus it issues a law against dueling. Two
men who are both at one in this, that they are willing to stake their
life for a cause (no matter what), are not to be allowed this, because
the State will not have it: it imposes a penalty on it. Where is the
liberty of self-determination then? It is at once quite another
situation if, as _e. g._ in North America, society determines to let the
duelists bear certain evil _consequences_ of their act, _e. g._
withdrawal of the credit hitherto enjoyed. To refuse credit is
everybody's affair, and, if a society wants to withdraw it for this or
that reason, the man who is hit cannot therefore complain of
encroachment on his liberty: the society is simply availing itself of
its own liberty. That is no penalty for sin, no penalty for a _crime_.
The duel is no crime there, but only an act against which the society
adopts counter-measures, resolves on a _defence_. The State, on the
contrary, stamps the duel as a crime, _i. e._ as an injury to its sacred
law: it makes it a _criminal case_. The society leaves it to the
individual's decision whether he will draw upon himself evil
consequences and inconveniences by his mode of action, and hereby
recognizes his free decision; the State behaves in exactly the reverse
way, denying all right to the individual's decision and, instead,
ascribing the sole right to its own decision, the law of the State, so
that he who transgresses the State's commandment is looked upon as if he
were acting against God's commandment,--a view which likewise was once
maintained by the Church. Here God is the Holy in and of himself, and
the commandments of the Church, as of the State, are the commandments of
this Holy One, which he transmits to the world through his anointed and
Lords-by-the-Grace-of-God. If the Church had _deadly sins_, the State
has _capital crimes_; if the one had _heretics_, the other has
_traitors_; the one _ecclesiastical penalties_, the other _criminal
penalties_; the one _inquisitorial_ processes, the other _fiscal_; in
short, there sins, here crimes, there sinners, here criminals, there
inquisition and here--inquisition. Will the sanctity of the State not
fall like the Church's? The awe of its laws, the reverence for its
highness, the humility of its "subjects," will this remain? Will the
"saint's" face not be stripped of its adornment?

What a folly, to ask of the State's authority that it should enter into
an honorable fight with the individual, and, as they express themselves
in the matter of freedom of the press, share sun and wind equally! If
the State, this thought, is to be a _de facto_ power, it simply must be
a superior power against the individual. The State is "sacred" and must
not expose itself to the "impudent attacks" of individuals. If the State
is _sacred_, there must be censorship. The political liberals admit the
former and dispute the inference. But in any case they concede
repressive measures to it, for--they stick to this, that State is _more_
than the individual and exercises a justified revenge, called

_Punishment_ has a meaning only when it is to afford expiation for the
injuring of a _sacred_ thing. If something is sacred to any one, he
certainly deserves punishment when he acts as its enemy. A man who lets
a man's life continue in existence _because_ to him it is sacred and he
has a _dread_ of touching it is simply a--_religious_ man.

Weitling lays crime at the door of "social disorder," and lives in the
expectation that under Communistic arrangements crimes will become
impossible, because the temptations to them, _e. g._ money, fall away.
As, however, his organized society is also exalted into a sacred and
inviolable one, he miscalculates in that good-hearted opinion. Such as
with their mouth professed allegiance to the Communistic society, but
worked underhand for its ruin, would not be lacking. Besides, Weitling
has to keep on with "curative means against the natural remainder of
human diseases and weaknesses," and "curative means" always announce to
begin with that individuals will be looked upon as "called" to a
particular "salvation" and hence treated according to the requirements
of this "human calling." _Curative means_ or _healing_ is only the
reverse side of _punishment_, the _theory of cure_ runs parallel with
the _theory of punishment_; if the latter sees in an action a sin
against right, the former takes it for a sin of the man _against
himself_, as a decadence from his health. But the correct thing is that
I regard it either as an action that _suits me_ or as one that _does not
suit me_, as hostile or friendly to _me_, _i. e._ that I treat it as my
_property_, which I cherish or demolish. "Crime" or "disease" are not
either of them an _egoistic_ view of the matter, _i. e._ a judgment
_starting from me_, but starting from _another_,--to wit, whether it
injures _right_, general right, or the _health_ partly of the individual
(the sick one), partly of the generality (_society_). "Crime" is treated
inexorably, "disease" with "loving gentleness, compassion," and the

Punishment follows crime. If crime falls because the sacred vanishes,
punishment must not less be drawn into its fall; for it too has
significance only over against something sacred. Ecclesiastical
punishments have been abolished. Why? Because how one behaves toward the
"holy God" is his own affair. But, as this one punishment,
_ecclesiastical punishment_, has fallen, so all _punishments_ must fall.
As sin against the so-called God is a man's own affair, so that against
every kind of the so-called sacred. According to our theories of penal
law, with whose "improvement in conformity to the times" people are
tormenting themselves in vain, they want to _punish_ men for this or
that "inhumanity"; and therein they make the silliness of these
theories especially plain by their consistency, hanging the little
thieves and letting the big ones run. For injury to property they have
the house of correction, and for "violence to thought," suppression of
"natural rights of man," only--representations and petitions.

The criminal code has continued existence only through the sacred, and
perishes of itself if punishment is given up. Now they want to create
everywhere a new penal law, without indulging in a misgiving about
punishment itself. But it is exactly punishment that must make room for
satisfaction, which, again, cannot aim at satisfying right or justice,
but at procuring _us_ a satisfactory outcome. If one does to us what we
_will not put up with_, we break his power and bring our own to bear: we
satisfy _ourselves_ on him, and do not fall into the folly of wanting to
satisfy right (the spook). It is not the _sacred_ that is to defend
itself against man, but man against man; as _God_ too, you know, no
longer defends himself against man, God to whom formerly (and in part,
indeed, even now) all the "servants of God" offered their hands to
punish the blasphemer, as they still at this very day lend their hands
to the sacred. This devotion to the sacred brings it to pass also that,
without lively participation of one's own, one only delivers misdoers
into the hands of the police and courts: a non-participating making over
to the authorities, "who, of course, will best administer sacred
matters." The people is quite crazy for hounding the police on against
everything that seems to it to be immoral, often only unseemly, and this
popular rage for the moral protects the police institution more than
the government could in any way protect it.

In crime the egoist has hitherto asserted himself and mocked at the
sacred; the break with the sacred, or rather of the sacred, may become
general. A revolution never returns, but a mighty, reckless, shameless,
conscienceless, proud--_crime_, does it not rumble in distant thunders,
and do you not see how the sky grows presciently silent and gloomy?

       *       *       *       *       *

He who refuses to spend his powers for such limited societies as family,
party, nation, is still always longing for a worthier society, and
thinks he has found the true object of love, perhaps, in "human society"
or "mankind," to sacrifice himself to which constitutes his honor; from
now on he "lives for and serves _mankind_."

_People_ is the name of the body, _State_ of the spirit, of that _ruling
person_ that has hitherto suppressed me. Some have wanted to transfigure
peoples and States by broadening them out to "mankind" and "general
reason"; but servitude would only become still more intense with this
widening, and philanthropists and humanitarians are as absolute masters
as politicians and diplomats.

Modern critics inveigh against religion because it sets God, the divine,
moral, etc., _outside_ of man, or makes them something objective, in
opposition to which the critics rather transfer these very subjects
_into_ man. But those critics none the less fall into the proper error
of religion, to give man a "destiny," in that they too want to have him
divine, human, and the like: morality, freedom and humanity, etc., are
his essence. And, like religion, politics too wanted to "_educate_" man,
to bring him to the realization of his "essence," his "destiny," to
_make_ something out of him,--to wit, a "true man," the one in the form
of the "true believer," the other in that of the "true citizen or
subject." In fact, it comes to the same whether one calls the destiny
the divine or human.

Under religion and politics man finds himself at the standpoint of
_should_: he _should_ become this and that, should be so and so. With
this postulate, this commandment, every one steps not only in front of
another but also in front of himself. Those critics say: You should be a
whole, free man. Thus they too stand in the temptation to proclaim a new
_religion_, to set up a new absolute, an ideal,--to wit, freedom. Men
_should_ be free. Then there might even arise _missionaries_ of freedom,
as Christianity, in the conviction that all were properly destined to
become Christians, sent out missionaries of the faith. Freedom would
then (as have hitherto faith as Church, morality as State) constitute
itself as a new _community_ and carry on a like "propaganda" therefrom.
Certainly no objection can be raised against a getting together; but so
much the more must one oppose every renewal of the old _care_ for us, of
culture directed toward an end,--in short, the principle of _making
something_ out of us, no matter whether Christians, subjects, or freemen
and men.

One may well say with Feuerbach and others that religion has displaced
the human from man, and has transferred it so into another world that,
unattainable, it went on with its own existence there as something
personal in itself, as a "God": but the error of religion is by no means
exhausted with this. One might very well let fall the personality of the
displaced human, might transform God into the divine, and still remain
religious. For the religious consists in discontent with the _present_
man, _i. e._ in the setting up of a "perfection" to be striven for, in
"man wrestling for his completion."[174] ("Ye therefore _should_ be
perfect as your father in heaven is perfect." Matt. 5. 48): it consists
in the fixation of an _ideal_, an absolute. Perfection is the "supreme
good," the _finis bonorum_; every one's ideal is the perfect man, the
true, the free man, etc.

The efforts of modern times aim to set up the ideal of the "free man."
If one could find it, there would be a new--religion, because a new
ideal; there would be a new longing, a new torment, a new devotion, a
new deity, a new contrition.

With the ideal of "absolute liberty," the same turmoil is made as with
everything absolute, and according to Hess, _e. g._, it is said to "be
realizable in absolute human society."[175] Nay, this realization is
immediately afterward styled a "vocation"; just so he then defines
liberty as "morality": the kingdom of "justice" (_i. e._ equality) and
"morality" (_i. e._ liberty) is to begin, etc.

Ridiculous is he who, while fellows of his tribe, family, nation, etc.,
rank high, is--nothing but "puffed up" over the merit of his fellows;
but blinded too is he who wants only to be "man." Neither of them puts
his worth in _exclusiveness_, but in _connectedness_, or in the "tie"
that conjoins him with others, in the ties of blood, of nationality, of

Through the "Nationals" of to-day the conflict has again been stirred up
between those who think themselves to have merely human blood and human
ties of blood, and the others who brag of their special blood and the
special ties of blood.

If we disregard the fact that pride may mean conceit, and take it for
consciousness alone, there is found to be a vast difference between
pride in "belonging to" a nation and therefore being its property, and
that in calling a nationality one's property. Nationality is my quality,
but the nation my owner and mistress. If you have bodily strength, you
can apply it at a suitable place and have a self-consciousness or pride
of it; if, on the contrary, your strong body has you, then it pricks you
everywhere, and at the most unsuitable place, to show its strength: you
can give nobody your hand without squeezing his.

The perception that one is more than a member of the family, more than a
fellow of the tribe, more than an individual of the people, etc., has
finally led to saying, one is more than all this because one is man, or,
the man is more than the Jew, German, etc. "Therefore be every one
wholly and solely--man!" Could one not rather say: Because we are more
than what has been stated, therefore we will be this, as well as that
"more" also? Man and German, then, man and Guelph, etc.? The Nationals
are in the right; one cannot deny his nationality: and the
humanitarians are in the right; one must not remain in the narrowness of
the national. In _uniqueness_[176] the contradiction is solved; the
national is my quality. But I am not swallowed up in my quality,--as the
human too is my quality, but I give to man his existence first through
my uniqueness.

History seeks for Man: but he is I, you, we. Sought as a mysterious
_essence_, as the divine, first as _God_, then as _Man_ (humanity,
humaneness, and mankind), he is found as the individual, the finite, the
unique one.

I am owner of humanity, am humanity, and do nothing for the good of
another humanity. Fool, you who are a unique humanity, that you make a
merit of wanting to live for another than you are.

The hitherto-considered relation of me to the _world of men_ offers such
a wealth of phenomena that it will have to be taken up again and again
on other occasions, but here, where it was only to have its chief
outlines made clear to the eye, it must be broken off to make place for
an apprehension of two other sides toward which it radiates. For, as I
find myself in relation not merely to men so far as they present in
themselves the concept "man" or are children of men (children of _Man_,
as children of God are spoken of), but also to that which they have of
man and call their own, and as therefore I relate myself not only to
that which they _are_ through man, but also to their human
_possessions_: so, besides the world of men, the world of the senses
and of ideas will have to be included in our survey, and somewhat said
of what men call their own of sensuous goods, and of spiritual as well.

According as one had developed and clearly grasped the concept of man,
he gave it to us to respect as this or that _person of respect_, and
from the broadest understanding of this concept there proceeded at last
the command "to respect Man in every one." But, if I respect Man, my
respect must likewise extend to the human, or what is Man's.

Men have somewhat of their _own_, and _I_ am to recognize this own and
hold it sacred. Their own consists partly in outward, partly in inward
_possessions_. The former are things, the latter spiritualities,
thoughts, convictions, noble feelings, etc. But I am always to respect
only _rightful_ or _human_ possessions; the wrongful and unhuman I need
not spare, for only _Man's_ own is men's real own. An inward possession
of this sort is, _e. g._, religion; because _religion_ is free, _i. e._
is Man's, _I_ must not strike at it. Just so _honor_ is an inward
possession; it is free and must not be struck at by me. (Action for
insult, caricatures, etc.) Religion and honor are "spiritual property."
In tangible property the person stands foremost: my person is my first
property. Hence freedom of the person; but only the _rightful_ or human
person is free, the other is locked up. Your life is your property; but
it is sacred for men only if it is not that of an inhuman monster.

What a man as such cannot defend of bodily goods, we may take from him:
this is the meaning of competition, of freedom of occupation. What he
cannot defend of spiritual goods falls a prey to us likewise: so far
goes the liberty of discussion, of science, of criticism.

But _consecrated_ goods are inviolable. Consecrated and guaranteed by
whom? Proximately by the State, society, but properly by man or the
"concept," the "concept of the thing": for the concept of consecrated
goods is this, that they are truly human, or rather that the holder
possesses them as man and not as un-man.[177]

On the spiritual side man's faith is such goods, his honor, his moral
feeling,--yes, his feeling of decency, modesty, etc. Actions (speeches,
writings) that touch honor are punishable; attacks on "the foundation of
all religion"; attacks on political faith; in short, attacks on
everything that a man "rightly" has.

How far critical liberalism would extend, the sanctity of goods,--on
this point it has not yet made any pronouncement, and doubtless fancies
itself to be ill-disposed toward all sanctity; but, as it combats
egoism, it must set limits to it, and must not let the un-man pounce on
the human. To its theoretical contempt for the "masses" there must
correspond a practical snub if it should get into power.

What extension the concept "man" receives, and what comes to the
individual man through it,--what, therefore, man and the human are,--on
this point the various grades of liberalism differ, and the political,
the social, the humane man are each always claiming more than the other
for "man." He who has best grasped this concept knows best what is
"man's." The State still grasps this concept in political restriction,
society in social; mankind, so it is said, is the first to comprehend it
entirely, or "the history of mankind develops it." But, if "man is
discovered," then we know also what pertains to man as his own, man's
property, the human.

But let the individual man lay claim to ever so many rights because Man
or the concept man "entitles" him to them, _i. e._ because his being man
does it: what do _I_ care for his right and his claim? If he has his
right only from Man and does not have it from _me_, then for _me_ he has
no right. His life, _e. g._, counts to _me_ only for what it is _worth
to me_. I respect neither a so-called right of property (or his claim to
tangible goods) nor yet his right to the "sanctuary of his inner nature"
(or his right to have the spiritual goods and divinities, his gods,
remain unaggrieved). His goods, the sensuous as well as the spiritual,
are _mine_, and I dispose of them as proprietor, in the measure of

In the _property question_ lies a broader meaning than the limited
statement of the question allows to be brought out. Referred solely to
what men call our possessions, it is capable of no solution; the
decision is to be found only in him "from whom we have everything."
Property depends on the _owner_.

The Revolution directed its weapons against everything which came "from
the grace of God," _e. g._, against divine right, in whose place the
human was confirmed. To that which is granted by the grace of God,
there is opposed that which is derived "from the essence of man."

Now, as men's relation to each other, in opposition to the religious
dogma which commands a "Love one another for God's sake," had to receive
its human position by a "Love each other for man's sake," so the
revolutionary teaching could not do otherwise than, first as to what
concerns the relation of men to the things of this world, settle it that
the world, which hitherto was arranged according to God's ordinance,
henceforth belongs to "Man."

The world belongs to "Man," and is to be respected by me as his

Property is what is mine!

Property in the civic sense means _sacred_ property, such that I must
_respect_ your property. "Respect for property!" Hence the politicians
would like to have every one possess his little bit of property, and
they have in part brought about an incredible parcellation by this
effort. Each must have his bone on which he may find something to bite.

The position of affairs is different in the egoistic sense. I do not
step shyly back from your property, but look upon it always as _my_
property, in which I need to "respect" nothing. Pray do the like with
what you call my property!

With this view we shall most easily come to an understanding with each

The political liberals are anxious that, if possible, all servitudes be
dissolved, and every one be free lord on his ground, even if this ground
has only so much area as can have its requirements adequately filled by
the manure of one person. (The farmer in the story married even in his
old age "that he might profit by his wife's dung.") Be it ever so
little, if one only has somewhat of his own,--to wit, a _respected_
property! The more such owners, such cotters,[178] the more "free people
and good patriots" has the State.

Political liberalism, like everything religious, counts on _respect_,
humaneness, the virtues of love. Therefore does it live in incessant
vexation. For in practice people respect nothing, and every day the
small possessions are bought up again by greater proprietors, and the
"free people" change into day-laborers.

If, on the contrary, the "small proprietors" had reflected that the
great property was also theirs, they would not have respectfully shut
themselves out from it, and would not have been shut out.

Property as the civic liberals understand it deserves the attacks of the
Communists and Proudhon: it is untenable, because the civic proprietor
is in truth nothing but a propertyless man, one who is everywhere _shut
out_. Instead of owning the world, as he might, he does not own even the
paltry point on which he turns around.

Proudhon wants not the _propriétaire_ but the _possesseur_ or
_usufruitier_.[179] What does that mean? He wants no one to own the
land; but the benefit of it--even though one were allowed only the
hundredth part of this benefit, this fruit--is at any rate one's
property, which he can dispose of at will. He who has only the benefit
of a field is assuredly not the proprietor of it; still less he who, as
Proudhon would have it, must give up so much of this benefit as is not
required for his wants; but he is the proprietor of the share that is
left him. Proudhon, therefore, denies only such and such property, not
_property_ itself. If we want no longer to leave the land to the landed
proprietors, but to appropriate it to _ourselves_, we unite ourselves to
this end, form a union, a _société_, that makes _itself_ proprietor; if
we have good luck in this, then those persons cease to be landed
proprietors. And, as from the land, so we can drive them out of many
another property yet, in order to make it _our_ property, the property
of the--_conquerors_. The conquerors form a society which one may
imagine so great that it by degrees embraces all humanity; but so-called
humanity too is as such only a thought (spook); the individuals are its
reality. And these individuals as a collective mass will treat land and
earth not less arbitrarily than an isolated individual or so-called
_propriétaire_. Even so, therefore, _property_ remains standing, and
that as "exclusive" too, in that _humanity_, this great society,
excludes the _individual_ from its property (perhaps only leases to him,
gives him as a fief, a piece of it) as it besides excludes everything
that is not humanity, _e. g._ does not allow animals to have
property.--So too it will remain, and will grow to be. That in which
_all_ want to have a _share_ will be withdrawn from that individual who
wants to have it for himself alone: it is made a _common estate_. As a
_common estate_ every one has his _share_ in it, and this share is his
_property_. Why, so in our old relations a house which belongs to five
heirs is their common estate; but the fifth part of the revenue is each
one's property. Proudhon might spare his prolix pathos if he said:
"There are some things that belong only to a few, and to which we others
will from now on lay claim or--siege. Let us take them, because one
comes to property by taking, and the property of which for the present
we are still deprived came to the proprietors likewise only by taking.
It can be utilized better if it is in the hands of _us all_ than if the
few control it. Let us therefore associate ourselves for the purpose of
this robbery (_vol_)."--Instead of this, he tries to get us to believe
that society is the original possessor and the sole proprietor, of
imprescriptible right; against it the so-called proprietors have become
thieves (_La propriété c'est le vol_); if it now deprives of his
property the present proprietor, it robs him of nothing, as it is only
availing itself of its imprescriptible right.--So far one comes with the
spook of society as a _moral person_. On the contrary, what man can
obtain belongs to him: the world belongs to _me_. Do you say anything
else by your opposite proposition, "The world belongs to _all_"? All are
I and again I, etc. But you make out of the "all" a spook, and make it
sacred, so that then the "all" become the individual's fearful _master_.
Then the ghost of "right" places itself on their side.

Proudhon, like the Communists, fights against _egoism_. Therefore they
are continuations and consistent carryings-out of the Christian
principle, the principle of love, of sacrifice for something general,
something alien. They complete in property, _e. g._, only what has long
been extant as a matter of fact,--_viz._, the propertylessness of the
individual. When the law says, _Ad reges potestas omnium pertinet, ad
singulos proprietas; omnia rex imperio possidet, singuli dominio_,
this means: The king is proprietor, for he alone can control and
dispose of "everything," he has _potestas_ and _imperium_ over it.
The Communists make this clearer, transferring that _imperium_ to the
"society of all." Therefore: Because enemies of egoism, they are on
that account--Christians, or, more generally speaking, religious men,
believers in ghosts, dependents, servants of some generality (God,
society, etc.). In this too Proudhon is like the Christians, that he
ascribes to God that which he denies to men. He names him (_e. g._, page
90) the Propriétaire of the earth. Herewith he proves that he cannot
think away the _proprietor as such_; he comes to a proprietor at last,
but removes him to the other world.

Neither God nor Man ("human society") is proprietor, but the individual.

       *       *       *       *       *

Proudhon (Weitling too) thinks he is telling the worst about property
when he calls it theft (_vol_). Passing quite over the embarrassing
question, what well-founded objection could be made against theft, we
only ask: Is the concept "theft" at all possible unless one allows
validity to the concept "property"? How can one steal if property is not
already extant? What belongs to no one cannot be _stolen_; the water
that one draws out of the sea he does _not steal_. Accordingly property
is not theft, but a theft becomes possible only through property.
Weitling has to come to this too, as he does regard everything as the
_property of all_: if something is "the property of all," then indeed
the individual who appropriates it to himself steals.

Private property lives by grace of the _law_. Only in the law has it its
warrant--for possession is not yet property, it becomes "mine" only by
assent of the law--; it is not a fact, not _un fait_ as Proudhon thinks,
but a fiction, a thought. This is legal property, legitimate property,
guaranteed property. It is mine not through _me_ but through the--_law_.

Nevertheless, property is the expression for _unlimited dominion_ over
somewhat (thing, beast, man) which "I can judge and dispose of as seems
good to me." According to Roman law, indeed, _jus utendi et abutendi re
sua, quatenus juris ratio patitur_, an _exclusive_ and _unlimited
right_; but property is conditioned by might. What I have in my power,
that is my own. So long as I assert myself as holder, I am the
proprietor of the thing; if it gets away from me again, no matter by
what power, _e. g._ through my recognition of a title of others to the
thing,--then the property is extinct. Thus property and possession
coincide. It is not a right lying outside my might that legitimizes me,
but solely my might: if I no longer have this, the thing vanishes away
from me. When the Romans no longer had any might against the Germans,
the world-empire of Rome _belonged_ to the latter, and it would sound
ridiculous to insist that the Romans had nevertheless remained properly
the proprietors. Whoever knows how to take and to defend the thing, to
him it belongs till it is again taken from him, as liberty belongs to
him who _takes_ it.--

Only might decides about property, and, as the State (no matter whether
State of well-to-do citizens or of ragamuffins or of men in the
absolute) is the sole mighty one, it alone is proprietor; I, the
unique,[180] have nothing, and am only enfeoffed, am vassal and, as
such, servitor. Under the dominion of the State there is no property of

I want to raise the value of myself, the value of ownness, and should I
cheapen property? No, as I was not respected hitherto because people,
mankind, and a thousand other generalities were put higher, so property
too has to this day not yet been recognized in its full value. Property
too was only the property of a ghost, _e. g._ the people's property; my
whole existence "belonged to the fatherland": _I_ belonged to the
fatherland, the people, the State, and therefore also everything that I
called _my own_. It is demanded of States that they make away with
pauperism. It seems to me this is asking that the State should cut off
its own head and lay it at its feet; for so long as the State is the ego
the individual ego must remain a poor devil, a non-ego. The State has an
interest only in being itself rich; whether Michael is rich and Peter
poor is alike to it; Peter might also be rich and Michael poor. It looks
on indifferently as one grows poor and the other rich, unruffled by this
alternation. As _individuals_ they are really equal before its face; in
this it is just: before it both of them are--nothing, as we "are
altogether sinners before God"; on the other hand, it has a very great
interest in this, that those individuals who make it their ego should
have a part in its wealth; it makes them partakers in _its property_.
Through property, with which it rewards the individuals, it tames them;
but this remains _its_ property, and every one has the usufruct of it
only so long as he bears in himself the ego of the State, or is a "loyal
member of society"; in the opposite case the property is confiscated, or
made to melt away by vexatious lawsuits. The property, then, is and
remains _State property_, not property of the ego. That the State does
not arbitrarily deprive the individual of what he has from the State
means simply that the State does not rob itself. He who is a State-ego,
_i. e._ a good citizen or subject, holds his fief undisturbed as _such
an ego_, not as being an ego of his own. According to the code, property
is what I call mine "by virtue of God and law." But it is mine by virtue
of God and law only so long as--the State has nothing against it.

In expropriations, disarmaments, and the like (as, _e. g._, the
exchequer confiscates inheritances if the heirs do not put in an
appearance early enough) how plainly the else-veiled principle that only
the _people_, "the State," is proprietor, while the individual is
feoffee, strikes the eye!

The State, I mean to say, cannot intend that anybody should _for his own
sake_ have property or actually be rich, nay, even well-to-do; it can
acknowledge nothing, grant nothing to me as me. The State cannot check
pauperism, because the poverty of possession is a poverty of me. He who
_is_ nothing but what chance or another--to wit, the State--makes out
of him also _has_ quite rightly nothing but what another gives him. And
this other will give him only what he _deserves_, _i. e._ what he is
worth by _service_. It is not he that realizes a value from himself; the
State realizes a value from him.

National economy busies itself much with this subject. It lies far out
beyond the "national," however, and goes beyond the concepts and horizon
of the State, which knows only State property and can distribute nothing
else. For this reason it binds the possession of property to
_conditions_,--as it binds everything to them, _e. g._ marriage,
allowing validity only to the marriage sanctioned by it, and wresting
this out of my power. But property is _my_ property only when I hold it
_unconditionally_: only I, as _unconditioned_ ego, have property, enter
a relation of love, carry on free trade.

The State has no anxiety about me and mine, but about itself and its: I
count for something to it only as _its child_, as "a son of the
country"; as _ego_ I am nothing at all for it. For the State's
understanding, what befalls me as ego is something accidental, my wealth
as well as my impoverishment. But, if I with all that is mine am an
accident in the State's eyes, this proves that it cannot comprehend
_me_: _I_ go beyond its concepts, or, its understanding is too limited
to comprehend me. Therefore it cannot do anything for me either.

Pauperism is the _valuelessness of me_, the phenomenon that I cannot
realize value from myself. For this reason State and pauperism are one
and the same. The State does not let me come to my value, and continues
in existence only through my valuelessness: it is forever intent on
_getting benefit_ from me, _i. e._ exploiting me, turning me to account,
using me up, even if the use it gets from me consists only in my
supplying a _proles_ (_prolétariat_); it wants me to be "its creature."

Pauperism can be removed only when I as ego _realize value_ from myself,
when I give my own self value, and make my price myself. I must rise in
revolt to rise in the world.

What I produce, flour, linen, or iron and coal, which I toilsomely win
from the earth, etc., is _my_ work that I want to realize value from.
But then I may long complain that I am not paid for my work according to
its value: the payer will not listen to me, and the State likewise will
maintain an apathetic attitude so long as it does not think it must
"appease" me that _I_ may not break out with my dreaded might. But this
"appeasing" will be all, and, if it comes into my head to ask for more,
the State turns against me with all the force of its lion-paws and
eagle-claws: for it is the king of beasts, it is lion and eagle. If I
refuse to be content with the price that it fixes for my ware and labor,
if I rather aspire to determine the price of my ware myself, _i. e._ "to
pay myself," in the first place I come into a conflict with the buyers
of the ware. If this were stilled by a mutual understanding, the State
would not readily make objections; for how individuals get along with
each other troubles it little, so long as therein they do not get in its
way. Its damage and its danger begin only when they do not agree, but,
in the absence of a settlement, take each other by the hair. The State
cannot endure that man stand in a direct relation to man; it must step
between as--_mediator_, must--_intervene_. What Christ was, what the
saints, the Church were, the State has become,--to wit, "mediator." It
tears man from man to put itself between them as "spirit." The laborers
who ask for higher pay are treated as criminals as soon as they want to
_compel_ it. What are they to do? Without compulsion they don't get it,
and in compulsion the State sees a self-help, a determination of price
by the ego, a genuine, free realization of value from his property,
which it cannot admit of. What then are the laborers to do? Look to
themselves and ask nothing about the State?-- --

But, as is the situation with regard to my material work, so it is with
my intellectual too. The State allows me to realize value from all my
thoughts and to find customers for them (I do realize value from them,
_e. g._, in the very fact that they bring me honor from the listeners,
and the like); but only so long as my thoughts are--_its_ thoughts. If,
on the other hand, I harbor thoughts that it cannot approve (_i. e._
make its own), then it does not allow me at all to realize value from
them, to bring them into _exchange_, into _commerce_. _My_ thoughts are
free only if they are granted to me by the State's _grace_, _i. e._ if
they are the State's thoughts. It lets me philosophize freely only so
far as I approve myself a "philosopher of State"; _against_ the State I
must not philosophize, gladly as it tolerates my helping it out of its
"deficiencies," "furthering" it.--Therefore, as I may behave only as an
ego most graciously permitted by the State, provided with its
testimonial of legitimacy and police pass, so too it is not granted me
to realize value from what is mine, unless this proves to be its, which
I hold as fief from it. My ways must be its ways, else it distrains me;
my thoughts its thoughts, else it stops my mouth.

The State has nothing to be more afraid of than the value of me, and
nothing must it more carefully guard against than every occasion that
offers itself to me for _realizing value_ from myself. _I_ am the deadly
enemy of the State, which always hovers between the alternatives, it or
I. Therefore it strictly insists not only on not letting _me_ have a
standing, but also on keeping down what is _mine_. In the State there is
no--property, _i. e._ no property of the individual, but only State
property. Only through the State have I what I have, as I am only
through it what I am. My private property is only that which the State
leaves to me of _its, cutting off_ others from it (depriving them,
making it private); it is State property.

But, in opposition to the State, I feel more and more clearly that there
is still left me a great might, the might over myself, _i. e._ over
everything that pertains only to me and that _exists_ only in being my

What do I do if my ways are no longer its ways, my thoughts no longer
its thoughts? I look to myself, and ask nothing about it! In _my_
thoughts, which I get sanctioned by no assent, grant, or grace, I have
my real property, a property with which I can trade. For as mine they
are my _creatures_, and I am in a position to give them away in return
for _other_ thoughts: I give them up and take in exchange for them
others, which then are my new purchased property.

What then is _my_ property? Nothing but what is in my _power_! To what
property am I entitled? To every property to which I--_empower_
myself.[181] I give myself the right of property in taking property to
myself, or giving myself the proprietor's _power_, full power,

Everything over which I have might that cannot be torn from me remains
my property; well, then let might decide about property, and I will
expect everything from my might! Alien might, might that I leave to
another, makes me an owned slave: then let my own might make me an
owner. Let me then withdraw the might that I have conceded to others out
of ignorance regarding the strength of my _own_ might! Let me say to
myself, what my might reaches to is my property; and let me claim as
property everything that I feel myself strong enough to attain, and let
me extend my actual property as far as _I_ entitle, _i. e._--empower,
myself to take.

Here egoism, selfishness, must decide; not the principle of _love,_ not
love-motives like mercy, gentleness, good-nature, or even justice and
equity (for _justitia_ too is a phenomenon of--love, a product of love):
love knows only _sacrifices_ and demands "self-sacrifice."

Egoism does not think of sacrificing anything, giving away anything that
it wants; it simply decides, What I want I must have and will procure.

All attempts to enact rational laws about property have put out from the
bay of _love_ into a desolate sea of regulations. Even Socialism and
Communism cannot be excepted from this. Every one is to be provided with
adequate means, for which it is little to the point whether one
socialistically finds them still in a personal property, or
communistically draws them from the community of goods. The individual's
mind in this remains the same; it remains a mind of dependence. The
distributing _board of equity_ lets me have only what the sense of
equity, its _loving_ care for all, prescribes. For me, the individual,
there lies no less of a check in _collective wealth_ than in that of
_individual others_; neither that is mine, nor this: whether the wealth
belongs to the collectivity, which confers part of it on me, or to
individual possessors, is for me the same constraint, as I cannot decide
about either of the two. On the contrary, Communism, by the abolition of
all personal property, only presses me back still more into dependence
on another, _viz._, on the generality or collectivity; and, loudly as it
always attacks the "State," what it intends is itself again a State, a
_status_, a condition hindering my free movement, a sovereign power over
me. Communism rightly revolts against the pressure that I experience
from individual proprietors; but still more horrible is the might that
it puts in the hands of the collectivity.

Egoism takes another way to root out the non-possessing rabble. It does
not say: Wait for what the board of equity will--bestow on you in the
name of the collectivity (for such bestowal took place in "States" from
the most ancient times, each receiving "according to his desert," and
therefore according to the measure in which each was able to _deserve_
it, to acquire it by _service_), but: Take hold, and take what you
require! With this the war of all against all is declared. _I_ alone
decide what I will have.

"Now, that is truly no new wisdom, for self-seekers have acted so at all
times!" Not at all necessary either that the thing be new, if only
_consciousness_ of it is present. But this latter will not be able to
claim great age, unless perhaps one counts in the Egyptian and Spartan
law; for how little current it is appears even from the stricture above,
which speaks with contempt of "self-seekers." One is to know just this,
that the procedure of taking hold is not contemptible, but manifests the
pure deed of the egoist at one with himself.

Only when I expect neither from individuals nor from a collectivity what
I can give to myself, only then do I slip out of the snares of--love;
the rabble ceases to be rabble only when it _takes hold_. Only the dread
of taking hold, and the corresponding punishment thereof, makes it a
rabble. Only that taking hold is _sin_, crime,--only this dogma creates
a rabble. For the fact that the rabble remains what it is, it (because
it allows validity to that dogma) is to blame as well as, more
especially, those who "self-seekingly" (to give them back their favorite
word) demand that the dogma be respected. In short, the lack of
_consciousness_ of that "new wisdom," the old consciousness of sin,
alone bears the blame.

If men reach the point of losing respect for property, every one will
have property, as all slaves become free men as soon as they no longer
respect the master as master. _Unions_ will then, in this matter too,
multiply the individual's means and secure his assailed property.

According to the Communists' opinion the commune should be proprietor.
On the contrary, _I_ am proprietor, and I only come to an understanding
with others about my property. If the commune does not do what suits me,
I rise against it and defend my property. I am proprietor, but property
is _not sacred_. I should be merely possessor? No, hitherto one was only
possessor, secured in the possession of a parcel by leaving others also
in possession of a parcel; but now _everything_ belongs to me, I am
proprietor of _everything that I require_ and can get possession of. If
it is said socialistically, society gives me what I require,--then the
egoist says, I take what I require. If the Communists conduct themselves
as ragamuffins, the egoist behaves as proprietor.

All swan-fraternities,[182] and attempts at making the rabble happy,
that spring from the principle of love, must miscarry. Only from egoism
can the rabble get help, and this help it must give to itself and--will
give to itself. If it does not let itself be coerced into fear, it is a
power. "People would lose all respect if one did not coerce them so into
fear," says bugbear Law in "_Der gestiefelte Kater_."

Property, therefore, should not and cannot be abolished; it must rather
be torn from ghostly hands and become _my_ property; then the erroneous
consciousness, that I cannot entitle myself to as much as I require,
will vanish.--

"But what cannot man require!" Well, whoever requires much, and
understands how to get it, has at all times helped himself to it, as
Napoleon did with the Continent and France with Algiers. Hence the exact
point is that the respectful "rabble" should learn at last to help
itself to what it requires. If it reaches out too far for you, why, then
defend yourselves. You have no need at all to good-heartedly--bestow
anything on it; and, when it learns to know itself, it--or rather:
whoever of the rabble learns to know himself, he--casts off the
rabble-quality in refusing your alms with thanks. But it remains
ridiculous that you declare the rabble "sinful and criminal" if it is
not pleased to live from your favors because it can do something in its
own favor. Your bestowals cheat it and put it off. Defend your property,
then you will be strong; if, on the other hand, you want to retain your
ability to bestow, and perhaps actually have the more political rights
the more alms (poor-rates) you can give, this will work just as long as
the recipients let you work it.[183]

In short, the property question cannot be solved so amicably as the
Socialists, yes, even the Communists, dream. It is solved only by the
war of all against all. The poor become free and proprietors only when
they--_rise_. Bestow ever so much on them, they will still always want
more; for they want nothing less than that at last--nothing more be

It will be asked, But how then will it be when the have-nots take heart?
Of what sort is the settlement to be? One might as well ask that I cast
a child's nativity. What a slave will do as soon as he has broken his
fetters, one must--await.

In Kaiser's pamphlet, worthless for lack of form as well as substance
("_Die Persoenlichkeit des Eigentuemers in Bezug auf den Socialismus und
Communismus_," etc.), he hopes from the _State_ that it will bring about
a leveling of property. Always the State! Herr Papa! As the Church was
proclaimed and looked upon as the "mother" of believers, so the State
has altogether the face of the provident father.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Competition_ shows itself most strictly connected with the principle of
civism. Is it anything else than _equality_ (_égalité_)? And is not
equality a product of that same Revolution which was brought on by the
commonalty, the middle classes? As no one is barred from competing with
all in the State (except the prince, because he represents the State
itself) and working himself up to their height, yes, overthrowing or
exploiting them for his own advantage, soaring above them and by
stronger exertion depriving them of their favorable circumstances,--this
serves as a clear proof that before the State's judgment-seat every one
has only the value of a "simple individual" and may not count on any
favoritism. Outrun and outbid each other as much as you like and can;
that shall not trouble me, the State! Among yourselves you are free in
competing, you are competitors; that is your _social_ position. But
before me, the State, you are nothing but "simple individuals"![184]

What in the form of principle or theory was propounded as the equality
of all has found here in competition its realization and practical
carrying out; for _égalité_ is--free competition. All are, before the
State,--simple individuals; in society, or in relation to each

I need be nothing further than a simple individual to be able to compete
with all others aside from the prince and his family: a freedom which
formerly was made impossible by the fact that only by means of one's
corporation, and within it, did one enjoy any freedom of effort.

In the guild and feudality the State is in an intolerant and fastidious
attitude, granting _privileges_; in competition and liberalism it is in
a tolerant and indulgent attitude, granting only _patents_ (letters
assuring the applicant that the business stands open [patent] to him) or
"concessions." Now, as the State has thus left everything to the
_applicants_, it must come in conflict with _all_, because each and all
are entitled to make application. It will be "stormed," and will go down
in this storm.

Is "free competition" then really "free"? nay, is it really a
"competition,"--to wit, one of _persons_,--as it gives itself out to be
because on this title it bases its right? It originated, you know, in
persons becoming free of all personal rule. Is a competition "free"
which the State, this ruler in the civic principle, hems in by a
thousand barriers? There is a rich manufacturer doing a brilliant
business, and I should like to compete with him. "Go ahead," says the
State, "I have no objection to make to your _person_ as competitor."
Yes, I reply, but for that I need a space for buildings, I need money!
"That's bad; but, if you have no money, you cannot compete. You must not
take anything from anybody, for I protect property and grant it
privileges." Free competition is not "free," because I lack the THINGS
for competition. Against my _person_ no objection can be made, but
because I have not the things my person too must step to the rear. And
who has the necessary things? Perhaps that manufacturer? Why, from him I
could take them away! No, the State has them as property, the
manufacturer only as fief, as possession.

But, since it is no use trying it with the manufacturer, I will compete
with that professor of jurisprudence; the man is a booby, and I, who
know a hundred times more than he, shall make his class-room empty.
"Have you studied and graduated, friend?" No, but what of that? I
understand abundantly what is necessary for instruction in that
department. "Sorry, but competition is not 'free' here. Against your
person there is nothing to be said, but the _thing_, the doctor's
diploma, is lacking. And this diploma I, the State, demand. Ask me for
it respectfully first; then we will see what is to be done."

This, therefore, is the "freedom" of competition. The State, _my lord_,
first qualifies me to compete.

But do _persons_ really compete? No, again _things_ only! Moneys in the
first place, etc.

In the rivalry one will always be left behind another (_e. g._ a
poetaster behind a poet). But it makes a difference whether the means
that the unlucky competitor lacks are personal or material, and likewise
whether the material means can be won by _personal energy_ or are to be
obtained only by _grace_, only as a present; as when, _e. g._, the
poorer man must leave, _i. e._ present, to the rich man his riches. But,
if I must all along wait for the _State's approval_ to obtain or to use
(_e. g._ in the case of graduation) the means, I have the means by the
_grace of the State_.[185]

Free competition, therefore, has only the following meaning: To the
State all rank as its equal children, and every one can scud and run to
_earn the State's goods and largess_. Therefore all do chase after
havings, holdings, possessions (be it of money or offices, titles of
honor, etc.), after the _things_.

In the mind of the commonalty every one is possessor or "owner." Now,
whence comes it that the most have in fact next to nothing? From this,
that the most are already joyful over being possessors at all, even
though it be of some rags, as children are joyful in their first
trousers or even the first penny that is presented to them. More
precisely, however, the matter is to be taken as follows. Liberalism
came forward at once with the declaration that it belonged to man's
essence not to be property, but proprietor. As the consideration here
was about "man," not about the individual, the how-much (which formed
exactly the point of the individual's special interest) was left to him.
Hence the individual's egoism retained room for the freest play in this
how-much, and carried on an indefatigable competition.

However, the lucky egoism had to become a snag in the way of the less
fortunate, and the latter, still keeping its feet planted on the
principle of humanity, put forward the question as to the how-much of
possession, and answered it to the effect that "man must have as much as
he requires."

Will it be possible for _my_ egoism to let itself be satisfied with
that? What "man" requires furnishes by no means a scale for measuring me
and my needs; for I may have use for less or more. I must rather have so
much as I am competent to appropriate.

Competition suffers from the unfavorable circumstance that the _means_
for competing are not at every one's command, because they are not taken
from personality, but from accident. Most are _without means_, and for
this reason _without goods_.

Hence the Socialists demand the _means_ for all, and aim at a society
that shall offer means. Your money value, say they, we no longer
recognize as your "competence"; you must show another competence,--to
wit, your _working force_. In the possession of a property, or as
"possessor," man does certainly show himself as man; it was for this
reason that we let the possessor, whom we called "proprietor," keep his
standing so long. Yet you possess the things only so long as you are not
"put out of this property."

The possessor is competent, but only so far as the others are
incompetent. Since your ware forms your competence only so long as you
are competent to defend it (_i. e._, as _we_ are not competent to do
anything with it), look about you for another competence; for we now, by
our might, surpass your alleged competence.

It was an extraordinarily large gain made, when the point of being
regarded as possessors was put through. Therein bondservice was
abolished, and every one who till then had been bound to the lord's
service, and more or less had been his property, now became a "lord."
But henceforth your having, and what you have, are no longer adequate
and no longer recognized; _per contra_, your working and your work rise
in value. We now respect your _subduing_ things, as we formerly did your
possessing them. Your work is your competence! You are lord or possessor
only of what comes by _work_, not by _inheritance_. But as at the time
everything has come by inheritance, and every copper that you possess
bears not a labor-stamp but an inheritance stamp, everything must be
melted over.

But is my work then really, as the Communists suppose, my sole
competence? or does not this consist rather in everything that I am
competent for? And does not the workers society itself have to concede
this, _e. g._ in supporting also the sick, children, old men,--in short,
those who are incapable of work? These are still competent for a good
deal, _e. g._ to preserve their life instead of taking it. If they are
competent to cause you to desire their continued existence, they have a
power over you. To him who exercised utterly no power over you, you
would vouchsafe nothing; he might perish.

Therefore, what you are _competent_ for is your _competence_! If you are
competent to furnish pleasure to thousands, then thousands will pay you
an honorarium for it; for it would stand in your power to forbear doing
it, hence they must purchase your deed. If you are not competent to
_captivate_ any one, you may simply starve.

Now am I, who am competent for much, perchance to have no advantage over
the less competent?

We are all in the midst of abundance; now shall I not help myself as
well as I can, but only wait and see how much is left me in an equal

Against competition there rises up the principle of ragamuffin

To be looked upon as a mere _part_, part of society, the individual
cannot bear--because he is _more_; his uniqueness puts from it this
limited conception.

Hence he does not await his competence from the I sharing of others, and
even in the workers' society there arises the misgiving that in an equal
partition the strong will be exploited by the weak; he awaits his
competence rather from himself, and says now, What I am competent to
have, that is my competence. What competence does not the child possess
in its smiling, its playing, its screaming! in short, in its mere
existence! Are you capable of resisting its desire? or do you not hold
out to it, as mother, your breast; as father, as much of your
possessions as it needs? It compels you, therefore it possesses what you
call yours.

If your person is of consequence to me, you pay me with your very
existence; if I am concerned only with one of your qualities, then your
compliance, perhaps, or your aid, has a value (a money value) for me,
and I _purchase_ it.

If you do not know how to give yourself any other than a money value in
my estimation, there may arise the case of which history tells us, that
Germans, sons of the fatherland, were sold to America. Should those who
let themselves be traded in be worth more to the seller? He preferred
the cash to this living ware that did not understand how to make itself
precious to him. That he discovered nothing more valuable in it was
assuredly a defect of his competence; but it takes a rogue to give more
than he has. How should he show respect when he did not have it, nay,
hardly could have it for such a pack!

You behave egoistically when you respect each other neither as
possessors nor as ragamuffins or workers, but as a part of your
competence, as "_useful bodies_." Then you will neither give anything to
the possessor ("proprietor") for his possessions, nor to him who works,
but only to him whom _you require_. The North Americans ask themselves,
Do we require a king? and answer, Not a farthing are he and his work
worth to us.

If it is said that competition throws every thing open to all, the
expression is not accurate, and it is better put thus: competition makes
everything purchasable. In _abandoning_[186] it to them, competition
leaves it to their appraisal[187] or their estimation, and demands a
price[188] for it.

But the would-be buyers mostly lack the means to make themselves buyers:
they have no money. For money, then, the purchasable things are indeed
to be had ("For money everything is to be had!"), but it is exactly
money that is lacking. Where is one to get money, this current or
circulating property? Know then, you have as much money[189] as you
have--might; for you count[190] for as much as you make yourself count

One pays not with money, of which there may come a lack, but with his
competence, by which alone we are "competent";[191] for one is
proprietor only so far as the arm of our power reaches.

Weitling has thought out a new means of payment,--work. But the true
means of payment remains, as always, _competence_. With what you have
"within your competence" you pay. Therefore think on the enlargement of
your competence.

This being admitted, they are nevertheless right on hand again with the
motto, "To each according to his competence!" Who is to _give_ to me
according to my competence? Society? Then I should have to put up with
its estimation. Rather, I shall _take_ according to my competence.

"All belongs to all!" This proposition springs from the same
unsubstantial theory. To each belongs only what he is competent for. If
I say, The world belongs to me, properly that too is empty talk, which
has a meaning only in so far as I respect no alien property. But to me
belongs only as much as I am competent for, or have within my

One is not worthy to have what one, through weakness, lets be taken from
him; one is not worthy of it because one is not capable of it.

They raise a mighty uproar over the "wrong of a thousand years" which is
being committed by the rich against the poor. As if the rich were to
blame for poverty, and the poor were not in like manner responsible for
riches! Is there another difference between the two than that of
competence and incompetence, of the competent and incompetent? Wherein,
pray, does the crime of the rich consist? "In their hardheartedness."
But who then have maintained the poor? who have cared for their
nourishment? who have given alms, those alms that have even their name
from mercy (_eleemosyne_)? Have not the rich been "merciful" at all
times? are they not to this day "tender-hearted," as poor-taxes,
hospitals, foundations of all sorts, etc., prove?

But all this does not satisfy you! Doubtless, then, they are to _share_
with the poor? Now you are demanding that they shall abolish poverty.
Aside from the point that there might be hardly one among you who would
act so, and that this one would be a fool for it, do ask yourselves: why
should the rich let go their fleeces and give up _themselves_, thereby
pursuing the advantage of the poor rather than their own? You, who have
your thaler daily, are rich above thousands who live on four groschen.
Is it for your interest to share with the thousands, or is it not rather
for theirs?-- --

With competition is connected less the intention to do the thing _best_
than the intention to make it as _profitable_, as productive, as
possible. Hence people study to get into the civil service (pot-boiling
study), study cringing and flattery, routine and "acquaintance with
business," work "for appearances." Hence, while it is apparently a
matter of doing "good service," in truth only a "good business" and
earning of money are looked out for. The job is done only ostensibly for
the job's sake, but in fact on account of the gain that it yields. One
would indeed prefer not to be censor, but one wants to be--advanced; one
would like to judge, administer, etc., according to his best
convictions, but one is afraid of transference or even dismissal; one
must, above all things,--live.

Thus these goings-on are a fight for _dear life_, and, in gradation
upward, for more or less of a "good living."

And yet, withal, their whole round of toil and care brings in for most
only "bitter life" and "bitter poverty." All the bitter painstaking for

Restless acquisition does not let us take breath, take a calm
_enjoyment_: we do not get the comfort of our possessions.

But the organization of labor touches only such labors as others can do
for us, _e. g._ slaughtering, tillage, etc.; the rest remain egoistic,
because, _e. g._, no one can in your stead elaborate your musical
compositions, carry out your projects of painting, etc.; nobody can
replace Raphael's labors. The latter are labors of a unique person,[192]
which only he is competent to achieve, while the former deserved to be
called "human," since what is anybody's _own_ in them is of slight
account, and almost "any man" can be trained to it.

Now, as society can regard only labors for the common benefit, _human_
labors, he who does anything _unique_ remains without its care; nay, he
may find himself disturbed by its intervention. The unique person will
work himself forth out of society all right, but society brings forth no
unique person.

Hence it is at any rate helpful that we come to an agreement about
_human_ labors, that they may not, as under competition, claim all our
time and toil. So far Communism will bear its fruits. For before the
dominion of the commonalty even that for which all men are qualified, or
can be qualified, was tied up to a few and withheld from the rest: it
was a privilege. To the commonalty it looked equitable to leave free all
that seemed to exist for every "man." But, because left[193] free, it
was yet given to no one, but rather left to each to be got hold of by
his _human_ power. By this the mind was turned to the acquisition of the
human, which henceforth beckoned to every one; and there arose a
movement which one hears so loudly bemoaned under the name of

Communism seeks to check its course, spreading the belief that the human
is not worth so much discomfort, and, with sensible arrangements, could
be gained without the great expense of time and powers which has
hitherto seemed requisite.

But for whom is time to be gained? For what does man require more time
than is necessary to refresh his wearied powers of labor? Here Communism
is silent.

For what? To take comfort in himself as the unique, after he has done
his part as man!

In the first joy over being allowed to stretch out their hands toward
everything human, people forgot to want anything else; and they competed
away vigorously, as if the possession of the human were the goal of all
our wishes.

But they have run themselves tired, and are gradually noticing that
"possession does not give happiness." Therefore they are thinking of
obtaining the necessary by an easier bargain, and spending on it only so
much time and toil as its indispensableness exacts. Riches fall in
price, and contented poverty, the care-free ragamuffin, becomes the
seductive ideal.

Should such human activities, that every one is confident of his
capacity for, be highly salaried, and sought for with toil and
expenditure of all life-forces? Even in the every-day form of speech,
"If I were minister, or even the ..., then it should go quite
otherwise," that confidence expresses itself,--that one holds himself
capable of playing the part of such a dignitary; one does get a
perception that to things of this sort there belongs not uniqueness, but
only a culture which is attainable, even if not exactly by all, at any
rate by many; _i. e._ that for such a thing one need only be an ordinary

If we assume that, as _order_ belongs to the essence of the State, so
_subordination_ too is founded in its nature, then we see that the
subordinates, or those who have received preferment, disproportionately
_overcharge_ and _overreach_ those who are put in the lower ranks. But
the latter take heart (first from the Socialist standpoint, but
certainly with egoistic consciousness later, of which we will therefore
at once give their speech some coloring) for the question, By what then
is your property secure, you creatures of preferment?--and give
themselves the answer, By our refraining from interference! And so by
_our_ protection! And what do you give us for it? Kicks and disdain you
give to the "common people"; police supervision, and a catechism with
the chief sentence "Respect what is _not yours_, what belongs to
_others_! respect others, and especially your superiors!" But we reply,
"If you want our respect, _buy_ it for a price agreeable to us. We will
leave you your property, if you give a due equivalent for this leaving."
Really, what equivalent does the general in time of peace give for the
many thousands of his yearly income? another for the sheer
hundred-thousands and millions yearly? What equivalent do you give for
our chewing potatoes and looking calmly on while you swallow oysters?
Only buy the oysters of us as dear as we have to buy the potatoes of
you, then you may go on eating them. Or do you suppose the oysters do
not belong to us as much as to you? You will make an outcry over
_violence_ if we reach out our hands and help consume them, and you are
right. Without violence we do not get them, as you no less have them by
doing violence to us.

But take the oysters and have done with it, and let us consider our
nearer property, labor; for the other is only possession. We distress
ourselves twelve hours in the sweat of our face, and you offer us a few
groschen for it. Then take the like for your labor too. Are you not
willing? You fancy that our labor is richly repaid with that wage, while
yours on the other hand is worth a wage of many thousands. But, if you
did not rate yours so high, and gave us a better chance to realize value
from ours, then we might well, if the case demanded it, bring to pass
still more important things than you do for the many thousand thalers;
and, if you got only such wages as we, you would soon grow more
industrious in order to receive more. But, if you render any service
that seems to us worth ten and a hundred times more than our own labor,
why, then you shall get a hundred times more for it too; we, on the
other hand, think also to produce for you things for which you will
requite us more highly than with the ordinary day's wages. We shall be
willing to get along with each other all right, if only we have first
agreed on this,--that neither any longer needs to--_present_ anything to
the other. Then we may perhaps actually go so far as to pay even the
cripples and sick and old an appropriate price for not parting from us
by hunger and want; for, if we want them to live, it is fitting also
that we--purchase the fulfilment of our will. I say "purchase," and
therefore do not mean a wretched "alms." For their life is the property
even of those who cannot work; if we (no matter for what reason) want
them not to withdraw this life from us, we can mean to bring this to
pass only by purchase; nay, we shall perhaps (maybe because we like to
have friendly faces about us) even want a life of comfort for them. In
short, we want nothing presented by you, but neither will we present you
with anything. For centuries we have handed alms to you from
good-hearted--stupidity, have doled out the mite of the poor and given
to the masters the things that are--not the masters'; now just open your
wallet, for henceforth our ware rises in price quite enormously. We do
not want to take from you anything, anything at all, only you are to pay
better for what you want to have. What then have you? "I have an estate
of a thousand acres." And I am your plowman, and will henceforth attend
to your fields only for one thaler a day wages. "Then I'll take
another." You won't find any, for we plowmen are no longer doing
otherwise, and, if one puts in an appearance who takes less, then let
him beware of us. There is the housemaid, she too is now demanding as
much, and you will no longer find one below this price. "Why, then it is
all over with me." Not so fast! You will doubtless take in as much as
we; and, if it should not be so, we will take off so much that you shall
have wherewith to live like us. "But I am accustomed to live better." We
have nothing against that, but it is not our lookout; if you can clear
more, go ahead. Are we to hire out under rates, that you may have a good
living? The rich man always puts off the poor with the words, "What
does your want concern me? See to it how you make your way through the
world; that is _your affair_, not mine." Well, let us let it be our
affair, then, and let us not let the means that we have to realize value
from ourselves be pilfered from us by the rich. "But you uncultured
people really do not need so much." Well, we are taking somewhat more in
order that for it we may procure the culture that we perhaps need. "But,
if you thus bring down the rich, who is then to support the arts and
sciences hereafter?" Oh, well, we must make it up by numbers; we club
together, that gives a nice little sum,--besides, you rich men now buy
only the most tasteless books and the most lamentable Madonnas or a pair
of lively dancer's legs. "O ill-starred equality!" No, my good old sir,
nothing of equality. We only want to count for what we are worth, and,
if you are worth more, you shall count for more right along. We only
want to be _worth our price_, and think to show ourselves worth the
price that you will pay.

Is the State likely to be able to awaken so secure a temper and so
forceful a self-consciousness in the menial? Can it make man feel
himself? nay, may it even do so much as set this goal for itself? Can it
want the individual to recognize his value and realize this value from
himself? Let us keep the parts of the double question separate, and see
first whether the State can bring about such a thing. As the unanimity
of the plowmen is required, only this unanimity can bring it to pass,
and a State law would be evaded in a thousand ways by competition and in
secret. But can the State bear with it? The State cannot possibly bear
with people's suffering coercion from another than it; it could not,
therefore, admit the self-help of the unanimous plowmen against those
who want to engage for lower wages. Suppose, however, that the State
made the law, and all the plowmen were in accord with it: could the
State bear with it then?

In the isolated case--yes; but the isolated case is more than that, it
is a case of _principle_. The question therein is of the whole range of
_the ego's self-realization of value from himself_, and therefore also
of his self-consciousness _against_ the State. So far the Communists
keep company; but, as self-realization of value from self necessarily
directs itself against the State, so it does against _society_ too, and
therewith reaches out beyond the commune and the communistic--out of

Communism makes the maxim of the commonalty, that every one is a
possessor ("proprietor"), into an irrefragable truth, into a reality,
since the anxiety about _obtaining_ now ceases and every one _has_ from
the start what he requires. In his labor-force he _has_ his competence,
and, if he makes no use of it, that is his fault. The grasping and
hounding is at an end, and no competition is left (as so often now)
without fruit, because with every stroke of labor an adequate supply of
the needful is brought into the house. Now for the first time one is a
_real possessor_, because what one has in his labor-force can no longer
escape from him as it was continually threatening to do under the system
of competition. One is a _care-free_ and assured possessor. And one is
this precisely by seeking his competence no longer in a ware, but in his
own labor, his competence for labor; and therefore by being a
_ragamuffin_, a man of only ideal wealth. _I_, however, cannot content
myself with the little that I scrape up by my competence for labor,
because my competence does not consist merely in my labor.

By labor I can perform the official functions of a president, a
minister, etc.; these offices demand only a general culture,--to wit,
such a culture as is generally attainable (for general culture is not
merely that which every one has attained, but broadly that which every
one can attain, and therefore every special culture, _e. g._ medical,
military, philological, of which no "cultivated man" believes that they
surpass his powers), or, broadly, only a skill possible to all.

But, even if these offices may vest in every one, yet it is only the
individual's unique force, peculiar to him alone, that gives them, so to
speak, life and significance. That he does not manage his office like an
"ordinary man," but puts in the competence of his uniqueness, this he is
not yet paid for when he is paid only in general as an official or a
minister. If he has done it so as to earn your thanks, and you wish to
retain this thankworthy force of the unique one, you must not pay him
like a mere man who performed only what was human, but as one who
accomplishes what is unique. Do the like with your labor, do!

There cannot be a general schedule-price fixed for my uniqueness as
there can for what I do as man. Only for the latter can a schedule-price
be set.

Go right on, then, setting up a general appraisal for human labors, but
do not deprive your uniqueness of its desert.

_Human_ or _general_ needs can be satisfied through society; for
satisfaction of _unique_ needs you must do some seeking. A friend and a
friendly service, or even an individual's service, society cannot
procure you. And yet you will every moment be in need of such a service,
and on the slightest occasions require somebody who is helpful to you.
Therefore do not rely on society, but see to it that you have the
wherewithal to--purchase the fulfiment of your wishes.

Whether money is to be retained among egoists?--To the old stamp an
inherited possession adheres. If you no longer let yourselves be paid
with it, it is ruined: if you do nothing for this money, it loses all
power. Cancel the _inheritance_, and you have broken off the executor's
court-seal. For now everything is an inheritance, whether it be already
inherited or await its heir. If it is yours, wherefore do you let it be
sealed up from you? why do you respect the seal?

But why should you not create a new money? Do you then annihilate the
ware in taking from it the hereditary stamp? Now, money is a ware, and
an essential _means_ or competence. For it protects against the
ossification of resources, keeps them in flux and brings to pass their
exchange. If you know a better medium of exchange, go ahead; yet it will
be a "money" again. It is not the money that does you damage, but your
incompetence to take it. Let your competence take effect, collect
yourselves, and there will be no lack of money--of your money, the money
of _your_ stamp. But working I do not call "letting your competence
take effect." Those who are only "looking for work" and "willing to work
hard" are preparing for their own selves the infallible upshot--to be
out of work.

Good and bad luck depend on money. It is a power in the _bourgeois_
period for this reason, that it is only wooed on all hands like a girl,
indissolubly wedded by nobody. All the romance and chivalry of _wooing_
for a dear object come to life again in competition. Money, an object of
longing, is carried off by the bold "knights of industry."[194]

He who has luck takes home the bride. The ragamuffin has luck; he takes
her into his household, "society," and destroys the virgin. In his house
she is no longer bride, but wife; and with her virginity her family name
is also lost. As housewife the maiden Money is called "Labor," for
"Labor" is her husband's name. She is a possession of her husband's.

To bring this figure to an end, the child of Labor and Money is again a
girl, an unwedded one and therefore Money, but with the certain descent
from Labor, her father. The form of the face, the "effigy," bears
another stamp.

Finally, as regards competition once more, it has a continued existence
by this very means, that all do not attend to _their affair_ and come to
an _understanding_ with each other about it. Bread, _e. g._, is a need
of all the inhabitants of a city; therefore they might easily agree on
setting up a public bakery. Instead of this, they leave the furnishing
of the needful to the competing bakers. Just so meat to the butchers,
wine to the wine-dealers, etc.

Abolishing competition is not equivalent to favoring the guild. The
difference is this: In the _guild_ baking, etc., is the affair of the
guild-brothers; in _competition_, the affair of chance competitors; in
the _union_, of those who require baked goods, and therefore my affair,
yours, the affair of neither the guildic nor the concessionary baker,
but the affair of the _united_.

If _I_ do not trouble myself about _my_ affair, I must be _content_ with
what it pleases others to vouchsafe me. To have bread is my affair, my
wish and desire, and yet people leave that to the bakers and hope at
most to obtain through their wrangling, their getting ahead of each
other, their rivalry,--in short, their competition,--an advantage which
one could not count on in the case of the guild-brothers who were lodged
_entirely_ and _alone_ in the proprietorship of the baking
franchise.--What every one requires, every one should also take a hand
in procuring and producing; it is _his_ affair, his property, not the
property of the guildic or concessionary master.

Let us look back once more. The world belongs to the children of this
world, the children of men; it is no longer God's world, but man's. As
much as every man can procure of it, let him call his; only the true
man, the State, human society or mankind, will look to it that each
shall make nothing else his own than what he appropriates as man,
_i. e._ in human fashion. Unhuman appropriation is that which is not
consented to by man, _i. e._ it is a "criminal" appropriation, as the
human, _vice versa_, is a "rightful" one, one acquired in the "way of

So they talk since the Revolution.

But my property is not a thing, since this has an existence independent
of me; only my might is my own. Not this tree, but my might or control
over it, is what is mine.

Now, how is this might perversely expressed? They say I have a _right_
to this tree, or it is my _rightful_ property. So I have _earned_ it by
might. That the might must last in order that the tree may also be
_held_,--or better, that the might is not a thing existing of itself,
but has existence solely in the _mighty ego_, in me the mighty,--is
forgotten. Might, like other of my _qualities_ (_e. g._ humanity,
majesty, etc.), is exalted to something existing of itself, so that it
still exists long after it has ceased to be _my_ might. Thus transformed
into a ghost, might is--_right_. This _eternalized_ might is not
extinguished even with my death, but is transferred or "bequeathed."

Things now really belong not to me, but to right.

On the other side, this is nothing but a hallucination of vision. For
the individual's might becomes permanent and a right only by others
joining their might with his. The delusion consists in their believing
that they cannot withdraw their might. The same phenomenon over again;
might is separated from me. I cannot take back the might that I gave to
the possessor. One has "granted power of attorney," has given away his
power, has renounced coming to a better mind.

The proprietor can give up his might and his right to a thing by giving
the thing away, squandering it, and the like. And _we_ should not be
able likewise to let go the might that we lend to him?

The rightful man, the _just_, desires to call nothing his own that he
does not have "rightly" or have the right to, and therefore only
_legitimate property_.

Now, who is to be judge, and adjudge his right to him? At last, surely,
Man, who imparts to him the rights of man: then he can say, in an
infinitely broader sense than Terence, _humani nihil a me alienum puto_,
_i. e._ the _human is my property_. However he may go about it, so long
as he occupies this standpoint he cannot get clear of a judge; and in
our time the multifarious judges that had been selected have set
themselves against each other in two persons at deadly enmity,--to wit,
in God and Man. The one party appeal to divine right, the other to human
right or the rights of man.

So much is clear, that in neither case does the individual do the
entitling himself.

Just pick me out an action to-day that would not be a violation of
right! Every moment the rights of man are trampled under foot by one
side, while their opponents cannot open their mouth without uttering a
blasphemy against divine right. Give an alms, you mock at a right of
man, because the relation of beggar and benefactor is an inhuman
relation; utter a doubt, you sin against a divine right. Eat dry bread
with contentment, you violate the right of man by your equanimity; eat
it with discontent, you revile divine right by your repining. There is
not one among you who does not commit a crime at every moment; your
speeches are crimes, and every hindrance to your freedom of speech is no
less a crime. Ye are criminals altogether!

Yet you are so only in that you all stand on the _ground of right_;
_i. e._, in that you do not even know, and understand how to value, the
fact that you are criminals.

Inviolable or _sacred_ property has grown on this very ground: it is a
_juridical concept_.

A dog sees the bone in another's power, and stands off only if it feels
itself too weak. But man respects the other's _right_ to his bone. The
latter action, therefore, ranks as _human_, the former as _brutal_ or

And as here, so in general, it is called "_human_" when one sees in
everything something _spiritual_ (here right), _i. e._ makes everything
a ghost and takes his attitude toward it as toward a ghost, which one
can indeed scare away at its appearance, but cannot kill. It is human to
look at what is individual not as individual, but as a generality.

In nature as such I no longer respect anything, but know myself to be
entitled to everything against it; in the tree in that garden, on the
other hand, I must respect _alienness_ (they say in one-sided fashion
"property"), I must keep my hand off it. This comes to an end only when
I can indeed leave that tree to another as I leave my stick, etc., to
another, but do not in advance regard it as alien to me, _i. e._ sacred.
Rather, I make to myself no _crime_ of felling it if I will, and it
remains my property, however long I resign it to others: it is and
remains _mine_. In the banker's fortune I as little see anything alien
as Napoleon did in the territories of kings: we have no _dread_ of
"_conquering_" it, and we look about us also for the means thereto. We
strip off from it, therefore, the _spirit_ of _alienness_, of which we
had been afraid.

Therefore it is necessary that I do not lay claim to anything more _as
man_, but to everything as I, this I; and accordingly to nothing human,
but to mine; _i. e._ nothing that pertains to me as man, but--what I
will and because I will it.

Rightful, or legitimate, property of another will be only that which
_you_ are content to recognize as such. If your content ceases, then
this property has lost legitimacy for you, and you will laugh at
absolute right to it.

Besides the hitherto discussed property in the limited sense, there is
held up to our reverent heart another property against which we are far
less "to sin." This property consists in spiritual goods, in the
"sanctuary of the inner nature." What a man holds sacred, no other is to
gibe at; because, untrue as it may be, and zealously as one may "in
loving and modest wise" seek to convince of a true sanctity the man who
adheres to it and believes in it, yet _the sacred_ itself is always to
be honored in it: the mistaken man does believe in the sacred, even
though in an incorrect essence of it, and so his belief in the sacred
must at least be respected.

In ruder times than ours it was customary to demand a particular faith,
and devotion to a particular sacred essence, and they did not take the
gentlest way with those who believed otherwise; since, however,
"freedom of belief" spread itself more and more abroad, the "jealous God
and sole Lord" gradually melted into a pretty general "supreme being,"
and it satisfied humane tolerance if only every one revered "something

Reduces to the human expression, this sacred essence is "man himself"
and "the human." With the deceptive semblance as if the human were
altogether our own, and free from all the otherworldliness with which
that divine is tainted,--yes, as if Man were as much as I or you,--there
may arise even the proud fancy that the talk is no longer of a "sacred
essence" and that we now feel ourselves everywhere at home and no longer
in the uncanny,[195] _i. e._ in the sacred and in sacred awe: in the
ecstasy over "Man discovered at last" the egoistic cry of pain passes
unheard, and the spook that has become so intimate is taken for our true

But "Humanus is the saint's name" (see Goethe), and the humane is only
the most clarified sanctity.

The egoist makes the reverse declaration. For this precise reason,
because you hold something sacred, I gibe at you; and, even if I
respected everything in you, your sanctuary is precisely what I should
not respect.

With these opposed views there must also be assumed a contradictory
relation to spiritual goods: the egoist insults them, the religious man
(_i. e._ every one who puts his "essence" above himself) must
consistently--protect them. But what kind of spiritual goods are to be
protected, and what left unprotected, depends entirely on the concept
that one forms of the "supreme being"; and he who fears God, _e. g._,
has more to shelter than he (the liberal) who fears Man.

In spiritual goods we are (in distinction from the sensuous) injured in
a spiritual way, and the sin against them consists in a direct
_desecration_, while against the sensuous a purloining or alienation
takes place; the goods themselves are robbed of value and of
consecration, not merely taken away; the sacred is immediately
compromised. With the word "irreverence" or "flippancy" is designated
everything that can be committed as _crime_ against spiritual goods,
_i. e._ against everything that is sacred for us; and scoffing,
reviling, contempt, doubt, and the like, are only different shades of
_criminal flippancy_.

That desecration can be practised in the most manifold wise is here to
be passed over, and only that desecration is to be preferentially
mentioned which threatens the sacred with danger through an
_unrestricted press_.

As long as respect is demanded even for one spiritual essence, speech
and the press must be enthralled in the name of this essence; for just
so long the egoist might "trespass" against it by his _utterances_, from
which thing he must be hindered by "due punishment" at least, if one
does not prefer to take up the more correct means against it, the
preventive use of police authority, _e. g._ censorship.

What a sighing for liberty of the press! What then is the press to be
liberated from? Surely from a dependence, a belonging, and a liability
to service! But to liberate himself from that is every one's affair,
and it may with safety be assumed that, when you have delivered yourself
from liability to service, that which you compose and write will also
belong to you as your _own_ instead of having been thought and indited
_in the service_ of some power. What can a believer in Christ say and
have printed, that should be freer from that belief in Christ than he
himself is? If I cannot or may not write something, perhaps the primary
fault lies with _me_. Little as this seems to hit the point, so near is
the application nevertheless to be found. By a press-law I draw a
boundary for my publications, or let one be drawn, beyond which wrong
and its _punishment_ follows. I myself _limit_ myself.

If the press was to be free, nothing would be so important as precisely
its liberation from every coercion that could be put on it in the _name
of a law_. And, that it might come to that, I my own self should have to
have absolved myself from obedience to the law.

Certainly, the absolute liberty of the press is like every absolute
liberty, a nonentity. The press can become free from full many a thing,
but always only from what I too am free from. If we make ourselves free
from the sacred, if we have become _graceless_ and _lawless_, our words
too will become so.

As little as _we_ can be declared clear of every coercion in the world,
so little can our writing be withdrawn from it. But as free as we are,
so free we can make it too.

It must therefore become our _own_, instead of, as hitherto, serving a

People do not yet know what they mean by their cry for liberty of the
press. What they ostensibly ask is that the State shall set the press
free; but what they are really after, without knowing it themselves, is
that the press become free from the State, or clear of the State. The
former is a _petition_ to the State, the latter an _insurrection
against_ the State. As a "petition for right," even as a serious
demanding of the right of liberty of the press, it presupposes the State
as the _giver_, and can hope only for a _present_, a permission, a
chartering. Possible, no doubt, that a State acts so senselessly as to
grant the demanded present; but you may bet everything that those who
receive the present will not know how to use it so long as they regard
the State as a truth: they will not trespass against this "sacred
thing," and will call for a penal press-law against every one who would
be willing to dare this.

In a word, the press does not become free from what I am not free from.

Do I perhaps hereby show myself an opponent of the liberty of the press?
On the contrary, I only assert that one will never get it if one wants
only it, the liberty of the press; _i. e._ if one sets out only for an
unrestricted permission. Only beg right along for this permission: you
may wait forever for it, for there is no one in the world who could give
it to you. As long as you want to have yourselves "entitled" to the use
of the press by a permission, _i. e._ liberty of the press, you live in
vain hope and complaint.

"Nonsense! Why, you yourself, who harbor such thoughts as stand in your
book, can unfortunately bring them to publicity only through a lucky
chance or by stealth; nevertheless you will inveigh against one's
pressing and importuning his own State till it gives the refused
permission to print?" But an author thus addressed would perhaps--for
the impudence of such people goes far--give the following reply:
"Consider well what you say! What then do I do to procure myself liberty
of the press for my book? Do I ask for permission, or do I not rather,
without any question of legality, seek a favorable occasion and grasp it
in complete recklessness of the State and its wishes? I--the terrifying
word must be uttered--I cheat the State. You unconsciously do the same.
From your tribunes you talk it into the idea that it must give up its
sanctity and inviolability, it must lay itself bare to the attacks of
writers, without needing on that account to fear danger. But you are
imposing on it; for its existence is done for as soon as it loses its
unapproachableness. To _you_ indeed it might well accord liberty of
writing, as England has done; you are _believers in the State_ and
incapable of writing against the State, however much you would like to
reform it and 'remedy its defects.' But what if opponents of the State
availed themselves of free utterance, and stormed out against Church,
State, morals, and everything 'sacred' with inexorable reasons? You
would then be the first, in terrible agonies, to call into life the
_September laws_. Too late would you then rue the stupidity that earlier
made you so ready to fool and palaver into compliance the State, or the
government of the State.--But I prove by my act only two things. This
for one, that the liberty of the press is always bound to 'favorable
opportunities,' and accordingly will never be an absolute liberty; but
secondly this, that he who would enjoy it must seek out and, if
possible, create the favorable opportunity, availing himself of his _own
advantage_ against the State, and counting himself and his will more
than the State and every 'superior' power. Not in the State, but only
against it, can the liberty of the press be carried through; if it is to
be established, it is to be obtained not as the consequence of a
_petition_ but as the work of an _insurrection_. Every petition and
every motion for liberty of the press is already an insurrection, be it
conscious or unconscious: a thing which Philistine halfness alone will
not and cannot confess to itself until, with a shrinking shudder, it
shall see it clearly and irrefutably by the outcome. For the requested
liberty of the press has indeed a friendly and well-meaning face at the
beginning, as it is not in the least minded ever to let the 'insolence
of the press' come into vogue; but little by little its heart grows more
hardened, and the inference flatters its way in that really a liberty is
not a liberty if it stands in the _service_ of the State, of morals, or
of the law. A liberty indeed from the coercion of censorship, it is yet
not a liberty from the coercion of law. The press, once seized by the
lust for liberty, always wants to grow freer, till at last the writer
says to himself, Really I am not wholly free till I ask about nothing;
and writing is free only when it is my _own_, dictated to me by no power
or authority, by no faith, no dread; the press must not be free--that is
too little--it must be _mine_:--_ownness of the press_ or _property in
the press_, that is what I will take.

"Why, liberty of the press is only _permission of the press_, and the
State never will or can voluntarily permit me to grind it to nothingness
by the press.

"Let us now, in conclusion, bettering the above language, which is still
vague, owing to the phrase 'liberty of the press,' rather put it thus:
_Liberty of the press_, the liberals' loud demand, is assuredly possible
in the State; yes, it is possible only _in_ the State, because it is a
_permission_, and consequently the permitter (the State) must not be
lacking. But as permission it has its limit in this very State, which
surely should not in reason permit more than is compatible with itself
and its welfare: the State fixes for it this limit as the _law_ of its
existence and of its extension. That one State brooks more than another
is only a quantitative distinction, which alone, nevertheless, lies at
the heart of the political liberals: they want in Germany, _e. g._, only
a '_more extended, broader_ accordance of free utterance.' The liberty
of the press which is sought for is an affair of the _people's_, and
before the people (the State) possesses it I may make no use of it. From
the standpoint of property in the press, the situation is different. Let
my people, if they will, go without liberty of the press, I will manage
to print by force or ruse; I get my permission to print only
from--_myself_ and my strength.

"If the press is _my own_, I as little need a permission of the State
for employing it as I seek that permission in order to blow my nose. The
press is my _property_ from the moment when nothing is more to me than
myself; for from this moment State, Church, people, society, and the
like, cease, because they have to thank for their existence only the
disrespect that I have for myself, and with the vanishing of this
undervaluation they themselves are extinguished: they exist only when
they exist _above me_, exist only as _powers and power-holders_. Or can
you imagine a State whose citizens one and all think nothing of it? it
would be as certainly a dream, an existence in seeming, as 'united

"The press is my own as soon as I myself am my own, a self-owned man: to
the egoist belongs the world, because he belongs to no power of the

"With this my press might still be very _unfree_, as _e. g._, at this
moment. But the world is large, and one helps himself as well as he can.
If I were willing to abate from the _property_ of my press, I could
easily attain the point where I might everywhere have as much printed as
my fingers produced. But, as I want to assert my property, I must
necessarily swindle my enemies. 'Would you not accept their permission
if it were given you?' Certainly, with joy; for their permission would
be to me a proof that I had fooled them and started them on the road to
ruin. I am not concerned for their permission, but so much the more for
their folly and their overthrow. I do not sue for their permission as if
I flattered myself (like the political liberals) that we both, they and
I, could make out peaceably alongside and with each other, yes, probably
raise and prop each other; but I sue for it in order to make them bleed
to death by it, that the permitters themselves may cease at last. I act
as a conscious enemy, overreaching them and _utilizing_ their

"The press is _mine_ when I recognize outside myself no _judge_ whatever
over its utilization, _i. e._ when my writing is no longer determined by
morality or religion or respect for the State laws or the like, but by
me and my egoism!"--

Now, what have you to reply to him who gives you so impudent an
answer?--We shall perhaps put the question most strikingly by phrasing
it as follows: Whose is the press, the people's (State's) or mine? The
politicals on their side intend nothing further than to liberate the
press from personal and arbitrary interferences of the possessors of
power, without thinking of the point that to be really open for
everybody it would also have to be free from the laws, _i. e._ from the
people's (State's) will. They want to make a "people's affair" of it.

But, having become the people's property, it is still far from being
mine; rather, it retains for me the subordinate significance of a
_permission_. The people plays judge over my thoughts; it has the right
of calling me to account for them, or, I am responsible to it for them.
Jurors, when their fixed ideas are attacked, have just as hard heads and
hearts as the stiffest despots and their servile officials.

In the "_Liberale Bestrebungen_"[196] E. Bauer asserts that liberty of
the press is impossible in the absolutist and the constitutional State,
whereas in the "free State" it finds its place. "Here," the statement
is, "it is recognized that the individual, because he is no longer an
individual but a member of a true and rational generality, has the right
to utter his mind." So not the individual, but the "member," has liberty
of the press. But, if for the purpose of liberty of the press the
individual must first give proof of himself regarding his belief in the
generality, the people; if he does not have this liberty _through might
of his own_,--then it is a _people's liberty_, a liberty that he is
invested with for the sake of his faith, his "membership." The reverse
is the case: it is precisely as an individual that every one has open to
him the liberty to utter his mind. But he has not the "right": that
liberty is assuredly not his "sacred right." He has only the _might_;
but the might alone makes him owner. I need no concession for the
liberty of the press, do not need the people's consent to it, do not
need the "right" to it, nor any "justification." The liberty of the
press too, like every liberty, I must "take"; the people, "as being the
sole judge," cannot _give_ it to me. It can put up with the liberty that
I take, or defend itself against it; give, bestow, grant it it cannot. I
exercise it _despite_ the people, purely as an individual; _i. e._ I get
it by fighting the people, my--enemy, and obtain it only when I really
get it by such fighting, _i. e. take_ it. But I take it because it is my

Sander, against whom E. Bauer writes, lays claim (page 99) to the
liberty of the press "as the right and the liberty of the _citizen in
the State_." What else does E. Bauer do? To him also it is only a right
of the free _citizen_.

The liberty of the press is also demanded under the name of a "general
human right." Against this the objection was well-founded that not every
man knew how to use it rightly, for not every individual was truly man.
Never did a government refuse it to _Man_ as such; but _Man_ writes
nothing, for the reason that he is a ghost. It always refused it to
_individuals_ only, and gave it to others, _e. g._ its organs. If then
one would have it for all, one must assert outright that it is due to
the individual, me, not to man or to the individual so far as he is man.
Besides, another than a man (_e. g._ a beast) can make no use of it. The
French government, _e. g._, does not dispute the liberty of the press as
a right of man, but demands from the individual a security for his
really being man; for it assigns liberty of the press not to the
individual, but to man.

Under the exact pretence that it was _not human_, what was mine was
taken from me! what was human was left to me undiminished.

Liberty of the press can bring about only a _responsible_ press; the
_irresponsible_ proceeds solely from property in the press.

       *       *       *       *       *

For intercourse with men an express law (conformity to which one may
venture at times sinfully to forget, but the absolute value of which one
at no time ventures to deny) is placed foremost among all who live
religiously: this is the law--of _love_, to which not even those who
seem to fight against its principle, and who hate its name, have as yet
become untrue; for they also still have love, yes, they love with a
deeper and more sublimated love, they love "man and mankind."

If we formulate the sense of this law, it will be about as follows:
Every man must have a something that is more to him than himself. You
are to put your "private interest" in the background when it is a
question of the welfare of others, the weal of the fatherland, of
society, the common weal, the weal of mankind, the good cause, and the
like! Fatherland, society, mankind, etc., must be more to you than
yourself, and as against their interest your "private interest" must
stand back; for you must not be an--egoist.

Love is a far-reaching religious demand, which is not, as might be
supposed, limited to love to God and man, but stands foremost in every
regard. Whatever we do, think, will, the ground of it is always to be
love. Thus we may indeed judge, but only "with love." The Bible may
assuredly be criticised, and that very thoroughly, but the critic must
before all things _love_ it and see in it the sacred book. Is this
anything else than to say he must not criticise it to death, he must
leave it standing, and that as a sacred thing that cannot be upset?--In
our criticism on men too, love must remain the unchanged key-note.
Certainly judgments that hatred inspires are not at all our _own_
judgments, but judgments of the hatred that rules us, "rancorous
judgments." But are judgments that love inspires in us any more our
_own_? They are judgments of the love that rules us, they are "loving,
lenient" judgments, they are not our _own_, and accordingly not real
judgments at all. He who burns with love for justice cries out, _fiat
justitia, pereat mundus_! He can doubtless ask and investigate what
justice properly is or demands, and _in what_ it consists, but not
_whether_ it is anything.

It is very true, "He who abides in love abides in God, and God in him."
(I John 4. 16.) God abides in him, he does not get rid of God, does not
become godless; and he abides in God, does not come to himself and into
his own home, abides in love to God and does not become loveless.

"God is love! All times and all races recognize in this word the central
point of Christianity." God, who is love, is an officious God: he cannot
leave the world in peace, but wants to make it _blest_. "God became man
to make men divine."[197] He has his hand in the game everywhere, and
nothing happens without it; everywhere he has his "best purposes," his
"incomprehensible plans and decrees." Reason, which he himself is, is to
be forwarded and realized in the whole world. His fatherly care deprives
us of all independence. We can do nothing sensible without its being
said, God did that! and can bring upon ourselves no misfortune without
hearing, God ordained that; we have nothing that we have not from him,
he "gave" everything. But, as God does, so does Man. God wants perforce
to make the world _blest_, and Man wants to make it _happy_, to make all
men happy. Hence every "man" wants to awaken in all men the reason which
he supposes his own self to have: everything is to be rational
throughout. God torments himself with the devil, and the philosopher
does it with unreason and the accidental. God lets no being go _its
own_ gait, and Man likewise wants to make us walk only in human wise.

But whoso is full of sacred (religious, moral, humane) love loves only
the spook, the "true man," and persecutes with dull mercilessness the
individual, the real man, under the phlegmatic legal title of measures
against the "un-man." He finds it praiseworthy and indispensable to
exercise pitilessness in the harshest measure; for love to the spook or
generality commands him to hate him who is not ghostly, _i. e._ the
egoist or individual; such is the meaning of the renowned
love-phenomenon that is called "justice."

The criminally arraigned man can expect no forbearance, and no one
spreads a friendly veil over his unhappy nakedness. Without emotion the
stern judge tears the last rags of excuse from the body of the poor
accused; without compassion the jailer drags him into his damp abode;
without placability, when the time of punishment has expired, he thrusts
the branded man again among men, his good, Christian, loyal brethren!
who contemptuously spit on him. Yes, without grace a criminal "deserving
of death" is led to the scaffold, and before the eyes of a jubilating
crowd the appeased moral law celebrates its sublime--revenge. For only
one can live, the moral law or the criminal. Where criminals live
unpunished, the moral law has fallen; and, where this prevails, those
must go down. Their enmity is indestructible.

The Christian age is precisely that of _mercy, love_, solicitude to have
men receive what is due them, yes, to bring them to fulfil their human
(divine) calling. Therefore the principle has been put foremost for
intercourse, that this and that is man's essence and consequently his
calling, to which either God has called him or (according to the
concepts of to-day) his being man (the species) calls him. Hence the
zeal for conversion. That the Communists and the humane expect from man
more than the Christians do does not change the standpoint in the least.
Man shall get what is human! If it was enough for the pious that what
was divine became his part, the humane demand that he be not curtailed
of what is human. Both set themselves against what is egoistic. Of
course; for what is egoistic cannot be accorded to him or vested in him
(a fief); he must procure it for himself. Love imparts the former, the
latter can be given to me by myself alone.

Intercourse hitherto has rested on love, _regardful_ behavior, doing for
each other. As one owed it to himself to make himself blessed, or owed
himself the bliss of taking up into himself the supreme essence and
bringing it to a _vérité_ (a truth and reality), so one owed it to
_others_ to help them realize their essence and their calling: in both
cases one owed it to the essence of man to contribute to its

But one owes it neither to himself to make anything out of himself, nor
to others to make anything out of them; for one owes nothing to his
essence and that of others. Intercourse resting on essence is an
intercourse with the spook, not with anything real. If I hold
intercourse with the supreme essence, I am not holding intercourse with
myself, and, if I hold intercourse with the essence of man, I am not
holding intercourse with men.

The natural man's love becomes through culture a _commandment_. But as
commandment it belongs to _Man_ as such, not to _me_; it is my
_essence_,[198] about which much ado[199] is made, not my property.
_Man_, _i. e._ humanity, presents that demand to me; love is _demanded_,
it is my _duty_. Instead, therefore, of being really won for _me_, it
has been won for the generality, _Man_, as his property or peculiarity:
"it becomes man, _i. e._ every man, to love; love is the duty and
calling of man," etc.

Consequently I must again vindicate love for _myself_, and deliver it
out of the power of Man with the great M.

What was originally _mine_, but _accidentally_ mine, instinctively mine,
I was invested with as the property of Man; I became feoffee in loving,
I became the retainer of mankind, only a specimen of this species, and
acted, loving, not as _I_, but as _man_, as a specimen of man, _i. e._
humanly. The whole condition of civilization is the _feudal system_, the
property being Man's or mankind's, not _mine_. A monstrous feudal State
was founded, the individual robbed of everything, everything left to
"man." The individual had to appear at last as a "sinner through and

Am I perchance to have no lively interest in the person of another, are
_his_ joy and _his_ weal not to lie at my heart, is the enjoyment that I
furnish him not to be more to me than other enjoyments of my own? On the
contrary, I can with joy sacrifice to him numberless enjoyments, I can
deny myself numberless things for the enhancement of _his_ pleasure, and
I can hazard for him what without him was the dearest to me, my life, my
welfare, my freedom. Why, it constitutes my pleasure and my happiness to
refresh myself with his happiness and his pleasure. But _myself, my own
self_, I do not sacrifice to him, but remain an egoist and--enjoy him.
If I sacrifice to him everything that but for my love to him I should
keep, that is very simple, and even more usual in life than it seems to
be; but it proves nothing further than that this one passion is more
powerful in me than all the rest. Christianity too teaches us to
sacrifice all other passions to this. But, if to one passion I sacrifice
others, I do not on that account go so far as to sacrifice _myself_, nor
sacrifice anything of that whereby I truly am myself; I do not sacrifice
my peculiar value, my _ownness_. Where this bad case occurs, love cuts
no better figure than any other passion that I obey blindly. The
ambitious man, who is carried away by ambition and remains deaf to every
warning that a calm moment begets in him, has let this passion grow up
into a despot against whom he abandons all power of dissolution: he has
given up himself, because he cannot _dissolve_ himself, and consequently
cannot absolve himself from the passion: he is possessed.

I love men too,--not merely individuals, but every one. But I love them
with the consciousness of egoism; I love them because love makes _me_
happy, I love because loving is natural to me, because it pleases me. I
know no "commandment of love." I have a _fellow-feeling_ with every
feeling being, and their torment torments, their refreshment refreshes
me too; I can kill them, not torture them. _Per contra_, the
high-souled, virtuous Philistine prince Rudolph in "The Mysteries of
Paris," because the wicked provoke his "indignation," plans their
torture. That fellow-feeling proves only that the feeling of those who
feel is mine too, my property; in opposition to which the pitiless
dealing of the "righteous" man (_e. g._ against notary Ferrand) is like
the unfeelingness of that robber who cut off or stretched his prisoners'
legs to the measure of his bedstead: Rudolph's bedstead, which he cuts
men to fit, is the concept of the "good." The feeling for right, virtue,
etc., makes people hard-hearted and intolerant. Rudolph does not feel
like the notary, but the reverse; he feels that "it serves the rascal
right"; that is no fellow-feeling.

You love man, therefore you torture the individual man, the egoist; your
philanthropy (love of men) is the tormenting of men.

If I see the loved one suffer, I suffer with him, and I know no rest
till I have tried everything to comfort and cheer him; if I see him
glad, I too become glad over his joy. From this it does not follow that
suffering or joy is caused in me by the same thing that brings out this
effect in him, as is sufficiently proved by every bodily pain which I do
not feel as he does; his tooth pains him, but his pain pains me.

But, because _I_ cannot bear the troubled crease on the beloved
forehead, for that reason, and therefore for my sake, I kiss it away. If
I did not love this person, he might go right on making creases, they
would not trouble me; I am only driving away _my_ trouble.

How now, has anybody or anything, whom and which I do not love, a
_right_ to be loved by me? Is my love first, or is his right first?
Parents, kinsfolk, fatherland, nation, native town, etc., finally
fellow-men in general ("brothers, fraternity"), assert that they have a
right to my love, and lay claim to it without further ceremony. They
look upon it as _their property_, and upon me, if I do not respect this,
as a robber who takes from them what pertains to them and is theirs. I
_should_ love. If love is a commandment and law, then I must be educated
into it, cultivated up to it, and, if I trespass against it, punished.
Hence people will exercise as strong a "moral influence" as possible on
me to bring me to love. And there is no doubt that one can work up and
seduce men to love as one can to other passions,--_e. g._, if you like,
to hate. Hate runs through whole races merely because the ancestors of
the one belonged to the Guelphs, those of the other to the Ghibellines.

But love is not a commandment, but, like each of my feelings, _my
property_. _Acquire_, _i. e._ purchase, my property, and then I will
make it over to you. A church, a nation, a fatherland, a family, etc.,
that does not know how to acquire my love, I need not love; and I fix
the purchase price of my love quite at my pleasure.

Selfish love is far distant from unselfish, mystical, or romantic love.
One can love everything possible, not merely men, but an "object" in
general (wine, one's fatherland, etc.). Love becomes blind and crazy by
a _must_ taking it out of my power (infatuation), romantic by a
_should_ entering into it, _i. e._ the "object's" becoming sacred for
me, or my becoming bound to it by duty, conscience, oath. Now the object
no longer exists for me, but I for it.

Love is a possessedness, not as my feeling--as such I rather keep it in
my possession as property--, but through the alienness of the object.
For religious love consists in the commandment to love in the beloved a
"holy one," or to adhere to a holy one; for unselfish love there are
objects _absolutely lovable_ for which my heart is to beat,--_e. g._
fellow-men, or my wedded mate, kinsfolk, etc. Holy love loves the holy
in the beloved, and therefore exerts itself also to make of the beloved
more and more a holy one (_e. g._ a "man").

The beloved is an object that _should_ be loved by me. He is not an
object of my love on account of, because of, or by, my loving him, but
is an object of love in and of himself. Not I make him an object of
love, but he is such to begin with; for it is here irrelevant that he
has become so by my choice, if so it be (as with a _fiancée_, a spouse,
and the like), since even so he has in any case, as the person once
chosen, obtained a "right of his own to my love," and I, because I have
loved him, am under obligation to love him forever. He is therefore not
an object of _my_ love, but of love in general: an object that _should_
be loved. Love appertains to him, is due to him, or is his _right_,
while I am under _obligation_ to love him. My love, _i. e._ the toll of
love that I pay him, is in truth _his_ love, which he only collects from
me as toll.

Every love to which there clings but the smallest speck of obligation
is an unselfish love, and, so far as this speck reaches, a
possessedness. He who believes that he _owes_ the object of his love
anything loves romantically or religiously.

Family love, _e. g._, as it is usually understood as "piety," is a
religious love; love of fatherland, preached as "patriotism," likewise.
All our romantic love moves in the same pattern: everywhere the
hypocrisy, or rather self-deception, of an "unselfish love," an interest
in the object for the object's sake, not for my sake and mine alone.

Religious or romantic love is distinguished from sensual love by the
difference of the object indeed, but not by the dependence of the
relation to it. In the latter regard both are possessedness; but in the
former the one object is profane, the other sacred. The dominion of the
object over me is the same in both cases, only that it is one time a
sensuous one, the other time a spiritual (ghostly) one. My love is my
own only when it consists altogether in a selfish and egoistic interest,
and when consequently the object of my love is really _my_ object or my
property. I owe my property nothing, and have no duty to it, as little
as I might have a duty to my eye; if nevertheless I guard it with the
greatest care, I do so on my account.

Antiquity lacked love as little as do Christian times; the god of love
is older than the God of Love. But the mystical possessedness belongs to
the moderns.

The possessedness of love lies in the alienation of the object, or in my
powerlessness as against its alienness and superior power. To the egoist
nothing is high enough for him to humble himself before it, nothing so
independent that he would live for love of it, nothing so sacred that he
would sacrifice himself to it. The egoist's love rises in selfishness,
flows in the bed of selfishness, and empties into selfishness again.

Whether this can still be called love? If you know another word for it,
go ahead and choose it; then the sweet word love may wither with the
departed world; for the present I at least find none in our _Christian_
language, and hence stick to the old sound and "love" _my_ object,

Only as one of my feelings do I harbor love; but as a power above me, as
a divine power (Feuerbach), as a passion that I am not to cast off, as a
religious and moral duty, I--scorn it. As my feeling it is _mine_; as a
principle to which I consecrate and "vow" my soul it is a dominator and
_divine_, just as hatred as a principle is _diabolical_; one not better
than the other. In short, egoistic love, _i. e._, my love, is neither
holy nor unholy, neither divine nor diabolical.

"A love that is limited by faith is an untrue love. The sole limitation
that does not contradict the essence of love is the self-limitation of
love by reason, intelligence. Love that scorns the rigor, the law, of
intelligence, is theoretically a false love, practically a ruinous
one."[200] So love is in its essence _rational_! So thinks Feuerbach;
the believer, on the contrary, thinks, Love is in its essence
_believing_. The one inveighs against _irrational_, the other against
_unbelieving_, love. To both it can at most rank as a _splen__didum
vitium_. Do not both leave love standing, even in the form of unreason
and unbelief? They do not dare to say, irrational or unbelieving love is
nonsense, is not love; as little as they are willing to say, irrational
or unbelieving tears are not tears. But, if even irrational love, etc.,
must count as love, and if they are nevertheless to be unworthy of man,
there follows simply this: love is not the highest thing, but reason or
faith; even the unreasonable and the unbelieving can love; but love has
value only when it is that of a rational or believing person. It is an
illusion when Feuerbach calls the rationality of love its
"self-limitation"; the believer might with the same right call belief
its "self-limitation." Irrational love is neither "false" nor "ruinous";
it does its service as love.

Toward the world, especially toward men, I am to _assume a particular
feeling_, and "meet them with love," with the feeling of love, from the
beginning. Certainly, in this there is revealed far more free-will and
self-determination than when I let myself be stormed, by way of the
world, by all possible feelings, and remain exposed to the most
checkered, most accidental impressions. I go to the world rather with a
preconceived feeling, as if it were a prejudice and a preconceived
opinion: I have prescribed to myself in advance my behavior toward it,
and, despite all its temptations, feel and think about it only as I
have once determined to. Against the dominion of the world I secure
myself by the principle of love; for, whatever may come, I--love. The
ugly--_e. g._--makes a repulsive impression on me; but, determined to
love, I master this impression as I do every antipathy.

But the feeling to which I have determined and--condemned myself from
the start is a _narrow_ feeling, because it is a predestined one, of
which I myself am not able to get clear or to declare myself clear.
Because preconceived, it is a _prejudice_. _I_ no longer show myself in
face of the world, but my love shows itself. The _world_ indeed does not
rule me, but so much the more inevitably does the spirit of _love_ rule
me. I have overcome the world to become a slave of this spirit.

If I first said, I love the world, I now add likewise: I do not love it,
for I _annihilate_ it as I annihilate myself; _I dissolve it_. I do not
limit myself to one feeling for men, but give free play to all that I am
capable of. Why should I not dare speak it out in all its glaringness?
Yes, _I utilize_ the world and men! With this I can keep myself open to
every impression without being torn away from myself by one of them. I
can love, love with a full heart, and let the most consuming glow of
passion burn in my heart, without taking the beloved one for anything
else than the _nourishment_ of my passion, on which it ever refreshes
itself anew. All my care for him applies only to the _object of my
love_, only to him whom my love _requires_, only to him, the "warmly
loved." How indifferent would he be to me without this--my love! I feed
only my love with him, I _utilize_ him for this only: I _enjoy_ him.

Let us choose another convenient example. I see how men are fretted in
dark superstition by a swarm of ghosts. If to the extent of my powers I
let a bit of daylight fall in on the nocturnal spookery, is it
perchance because love to you inspires this in me? Do I write out of
love to men? No, I write because I want to procure for _my_ thoughts an
existence in the world; and, even if I foresaw that these thoughts would
deprive you of your rest and your peace, even if I saw the bloodiest
wars and the fall of many generations springing up from this seed of
thought,--I would nevertheless scatter it. Do with it what you will and
can, that is your affair and does not trouble me. You will perhaps have
only trouble, combat, and death from it, very few will draw joy from it.
If your weal lay at my heart, I should act as the church did in
withholding the Bible from the laity, or Christian governments, which
make it a sacred duty for themselves to "protect the common people from
bad books."

But not only not for your sake, not even for truth's sake either do I
speak out what I think. No--

  I sing as the bird sings
    That on the bough alights;
  The song that from me springs
    Is pay that well requites.

I sing because--I am a singer. But I _use_[201] you for it because
I--need[202] ears.

Where the world comes in my way--and it comes in my way everywhere--I
consume it to quiet the hunger of my egoism. For me you are nothing
but--my food, even as I too am fed upon and turned to use by you. We
have only one relation to each other, that of _usableness_, of utility,
of use. We owe _each other_ nothing, for what I seem to owe you I owe
at most to myself. If I show you a cheery air in order to cheer you
likewise, then your cheeriness is of consequence to _me_, and my air
serves _my_ wish; to a thousand others, whom I do not aim to cheer, I do
not show it.

       *       *       *       *       *

One has to be educated up to that love which founds itself on the
"essence of man," or, in the ecclesiastical and moral period, lies upon
us as a "commandment." In what fashion moral influence, the chief
ingredient of our education, seeks to regulate the intercourse of men
shall here be looked at with egoistic eyes in one example at least.

Those who educate us make it their concern early to break us of lying
and to inculcate the principle that one must always tell the truth. If
selfishness were made the basis for this rule, every one would easily
understand how by lying he fools away that confidence in him which he
hopes to awaken in others, and how correct the maxim proves, Nobody
believes a liar even when he tells the truth. Yet, at the same time, he
would also feel that he had to meet with truth only him whom _he_
authorized to hear the truth. If a spy walks in disguise through the
hostile camp, and is asked who he is, the askers are assuredly entitled
to inquire after his name, but the disguised man does not give them the
right to learn the truth from him; he tells them what he likes, only not
the fact. And yet morality demands, "Thou shalt not lie!" By morality
those persons are vested with the right to expect the truth; but by me
they are not vested with that right, and I recognize only the right
that I impart. In a gathering of revolutionists the police force their
way in and ask the orator for his name; everybody knows that the police
have the right to do so, but they do not have it from the
_revolutionist_, since he is their enemy; he tells them a false name
and--cheats them with a lie. The police do not act so foolishly either
as to count on their enemies' love of truth; on the contrary, they do
not believe without further ceremony, but have the questioned individual
"identified" if they can. Nay, the State everywhere proceeds
incredulously with individuals, because in their egoism it recognizes
its natural enemy; it invariably demands a "voucher," and he who cannot
show vouchers falls a prey to its investigating inquisition. The State
does not believe nor trust the individual, and so of itself places
itself with him in the _convention of lying_; it trusts me only when it
has _convinced_ itself of the truth of my statement, for which there
often remains to it no other means than the oath. How clearly, too, this
(the oath) proves that the State does not count on our credibility and
love of truth, but on our _interest_, our selfishness: it relies on our
not wanting to fall foul of God by a perjury.

Now, let one imagine a French revolutionist in the year 1788, who among
friends let fall the now well-known phrase, "the world will have no rest
till the last king is hanged with the guts of the last priest." The king
then still had all power, and, when the utterance is betrayed by an
accident, yet without its being possible to produce witnesses,
confession is demanded from the accused. Is he to confess or not? If he
denies, he lies and--remains unpunished; if he confesses, he is candid
and--is beheaded. If truth is more than everything else to him, all
right, let him die. Only a paltry poet could try to make a tragedy out
of the end of his life; for what interest is there in seeing how a man
succumbs from cowardice? But, if he had the courage not to be a slave of
truth and sincerity, he would ask somewhat thus: Why need the judges
know what I have spoken among friends? If I had _wished_ them to know, I
should have said it to them as I said it to my friends. I will not have
them know it. They force themselves into my confidence without my having
called them to it and made them my confidants; they _will_ learn what I
_will_ keep secret. Come on then, you who wish to break my will by your
will, and try your arts. You can torture me by the rack, you can
threaten me with hell and eternal damnation, you can make me so
nerveless that I swear a false oath, but the truth you shall not press
out of me, for I _will_ lie to you because I have given you no claim and
no right to my sincerity. Let God, "who is truth," look down ever so
threateningly on me, let lying come ever so hard to me, I have
nevertheless the courage of a lie; and, even if I were weary of my life,
even if nothing appeared to me more welcome than your executioner's
sword, you nevertheless should not have the joy of finding in me a slave
of truth, whom by your priestly arts you make a traitor to his _will_.
When I spoke those treasonable words, I would not have had you know
anything of them; I now retain the same will, and do not let myself be
frightened by the curse of the lie.

Sigismund is not a miserable caitiff because he broke his princely word,
but he broke the word because he was a caitiff; he might have kept his
word and would still have been a caitiff, a priest-ridden man. Luther,
driven by a higher power, became unfaithful to his monastic vow: he
became so for God's sake. Both broke their oath as possessed persons:
Sigismund, because he wanted to appear as a _sincere_ professor of the
divine _truth_, _i. e._ of the true, genuinely Catholic faith; Luther,
in order to give testimony for the gospel _sincerely_ and with entire
truth, with body and soul; both became perjured in order to be sincere
toward the "higher truth." Only, the priests absolved the one, the other
absolved himself. What else did both observe than what is contained in
those apostolic words, "Thou hast not lied to men, but to God"? They
lied to men, broke their oath before the world's eyes, in order not to
lie to God, but to serve him. Thus they show us a way to deal with truth
before men. For God's glory, and for God's sake, a--breach of oath, a
lie, a prince's word broken!

How would it be, now, if we changed the thing a little and wrote, A
perjury and lie for--_my sake_? Would not that be pleading for every
baseness? It seems so assuredly, only in this it is altogether like the
"for God's sake." For was not every baseness committed for God's sake,
were not all the scaffolds filled for his sake and all the _auto-da-fes_
held for his sake, was not all stupefaction introduced for his sake? and
do they not to-day still for God's sake fetter the mind in tender
children by religious education? Were not sacred vows broken for his
sake, and do not missionaries and priests still go around every day to
bring Jews, heathen, Protestants or Catholics, etc., to treason against
the faith of their fathers,--for his sake? And that should be worse with
the _for my sake_? What then does _on my account_ mean? There people
immediately think of "filthy lucre." But he who acts from love of filthy
lucre does it on his own account indeed, as there is nothing anyhow that
one does not do for his own sake,--among other things, everything that
is done for God's glory; yet he, for whom he seeks the lucre, is a slave
of lucre, not raised above lucre; he is one who belongs to lucre, the
money-bag, not to himself; he is not his own. Must not a man whom the
passion of avarice rules follow the commands of this _master_? and, if a
weak good-naturedness once beguiles him, does this not appear as simply
an exceptional case of precisely the same sort as when pious believers
are sometimes forsaken by their Lord's guidance and ensnared by the arts
of the "devil"? So an avaricious man is not a self-owned man, but a
servant; and he can do nothing for his own sake without at the same time
doing it for his lord's sake,--precisely like the godly man.

Famous is the breach of oath which Francis II committed against Emperor
Charles V. Not later, when he ripely weighed his promise, but at once,
when he swore the oath, King Francis took it back in thought as well as
by a secret protestation documentarily subscribed before his
councillors; he uttered a perjury aforethought. Francis did not show
himself disinclined to buy his release, but the price that Charles put
on it seemed to him too high and unreasonable. Even though Charles
behaved himself in a sordid fashion when he sought to extort as much as
possible, it was yet shabby of Francis to want to purchase his freedom
for a lower ransom; and his later dealings, among which there occurs yet
a second breach of his word, prove sufficiently how the huckster spirit
held him enthralled and made him a shabby swindler. However, what shall
we say to the reproach of perjury against him? In the first place,
surely, this again: that not the perjury, but his sordidness, shamed
him; that he did not deserve contempt for his perjury, but made himself
guilty of perjury because he was a contemptible man. But Francis's
perjury, regarded in itself, demands another judgment. One might say
Francis did not respond to the confidence that Charles put in him in
setting him free. But, if Charles had really favored him with
confidence, he would have named to him the price that he considered the
release worth, and would then have set him at liberty and expected
Francis to pay the redemption-sum. Charles harbored no such trust, but
only believed in Francis's impotence and credulity, which would not
allow him to act against his oath; but Francis deceived only
this--credulous calculation. When Charles believed he was assuring
himself of his enemy by an oath, right there he was freeing him from
every obligation. Charles had given the king credit for a piece of
stupidity, a narrow conscience, and, without confidence in Francis,
counted only on Francis's stupidity, _i. e._ conscientiousness: he let
him go from the Madrid prison only to hold him the more securely in the
prison of conscientiousness, the great jail built about the mind of man
by religion: he sent him back to France locked fast in invisible chains,
what wonder if Francis sought to escape and sawed the chains apart? No
man would have taken it amiss of him if he had secretly fled from
Madrid, for he was in an enemy's power; but every good Christian cries
out upon him, that he wanted to loose himself from God's bonds too. (It
was only later that the pope absolved him from his oath.)

It is despicable to deceive a confidence that we voluntarily call forth;
but it is no shame to egoism to let every one who wants to get us into
his power by an oath bleed to death by the unsuccessfulness of his
untrustful craft. If you have wanted to bind me, then learn that I know
how to burst your bonds.

The point is whether _I_ give the confider the right to confidence. If
the pursuer of my friend asks me where he has fled to, I shall surely
put him on a false trail. Why does he ask precisely me, the pursued
man's friend? In order not to be a false, traitorous friend, I prefer to
be false to the enemy. I might certainly, in courageous
conscientiousness, answer "I will not tell" (so Fichte decides the
case); by that I should salve my love of truth and do for my friend as
much as--nothing, for, if I do not mislead the enemy, he may
accidentally take the right street, and my love of truth would have
given up my friend as a prey, because it hindered me from the--courage
for a lie. He who has in the truth an idol, a sacred thing, must
_humble_ himself before it, must not defy its demands, not resist
courageously; in short, he must renounce the _heroism of the lie_. For
to the lie belongs not less courage than to the truth: a courage that
young men are most apt to be defective in, who would rather confess the
truth and mount the scaffold for it than confound the enemy's power by
the impudence of a lie. To them the truth is "sacred," and the sacred at
all times demands blind reverence, submission, and self-sacrifice. If
you are not impudent, not mockers of the sacred, you are tame and its
servants. Let one but lay a grain of truth in the trap for you, you peck
at it to a certainty, and the fool is caught. You will not lie? Well,
then, fall as sacrifices to the truth and become--martyrs! Martyrs!--for
what? For yourselves, for self-ownership? No, for your goddess,--the
truth. You know only two _services_, only two kinds of servants:
servants of the truth and servants of the lie. Then in God's name serve
the truth!

Others, again, serve the truth also; but they serve it "in moderation,"
and make, _e. g._, a great distinction between a simple lie and a lie
sworn to. And yet the whole chapter of the oath coincides with that of
the lie, since an oath, everybody knows, is only a strongly assured
statement. You consider yourselves entitled to lie, if only you do not
swear to it besides? One who is particular about it must judge and
condemn a lie as sharply as a false oath. But now there has been kept up
in morality an ancient point of controversy, which is customarily
treated of under the name of the "lie of necessity." No one who dares
plead for this can consistently put from him an "oath of necessity." If
I justify my lie as a lie of necessity, I should not be so pusillanimous
as to rob the justified lie of the strongest corroboration. Whatever I
do, why should I not do it entirely and without reservation
(_reservatio mentalis_)? If I once lie, why then not lie completely,
with entire consciousness and all my might? As a spy I should have to
swear to each of my false statements at the enemy's demand; determined
to lie to him, should I suddenly become cowardly and undecided in face
of an oath? Then I should have been ruined in advance for a liar and
spy; for, you see, I should be voluntarily putting into the enemy's
hands a means to catch me.--The State too fears the oath of necessity,
and for this reason does not give the accused a chance to swear. But you
do not justify the State's fear; you lie, but do not swear falsely. If,
_e. g._, you show some one a kindness, and he is not to know it, but he
guesses it and tells you so to your face, you deny; if he insists, you
say "honestly, no!" If it came to swearing, then you would refuse; for,
from fear of the sacred, you always stop half way. _Against_ the sacred
you have no _will of your own_. You lie in--moderation, as you are free
"in moderation," religious "in moderation" (the clergy are not to
"encroach"; over this point the most vapid of controversies is now being
carried on, on the part of the university against the church),
monarchically disposed "in moderation" (you want a monarch limited by
the constitution, by a fundamental law of the State), everything nicely
_tempered_, lukewarm, half God's, half the devil's.

There was a university where the usage was that every word of honor that
must be given to the university judge was looked upon by the students as
null and void. For the students saw in the demanding of it nothing but
a snare, which they could not escape otherwise than by taking away all
its significance. He who at that same university broke his word of honor
to one of the fellows was infamous; he who gave it to the university
judge derided, in union with these very fellows, the dupe who fancied
that a word had the same value among friends and among foes. It was less
a correct theory than the constraint of practice that had there taught
the students to act so, as, without that means of getting out, they
would have been pitilessly driven to treachery against their comrades.
But, as the means approved itself in practice, so it has its theoretical
probation too. A word of honor, an oath, is one only for him whom _I_
entitle to receive it; he who forces me to it obtains only a forced,
_i. e._ a _hostile_ word, the word of a foe, whom one has no right to
trust; for the foe does not give us the right.

Aside from this, the courts of the State do not even recognize the
inviolability of an oath. For, if I had sworn to one who comes under
examination that I would not declare anything against him, the court
would demand my declaration in spite of the fact that an oath binds me,
and, in case of refusal, would lock me up till I decided to become--an
oath-breaker. The court "absolves me from my oath";--how magnanimous! If
any power can absolve me from the oath, I myself am surely the very
first power that has a claim to.

As a curiosity, and to remind us of customary oaths of all sorts, let
place be given here to that which Emperor Paul commanded the captured
Poles (Kosciusko, Potocki, Niemcewicz, etc.) to take when he released
them: "We not merely swear fidelity and obedience to the emperor, but
also further promise to pour out our blood for his glory; we obligate
ourselves to discover everything threatening to his person or his empire
that we ever learn; we declare finally that, in whatever part of the
earth we may be, a single word of the emperor shall suffice to make us
leave everything and repair to him at once."

       *       *       *       *       *

In one domain the principle of love seems to have been long outsoared by
egoism, and to be still in need only of sure consciousness, as it were
of victory with a good conscience. This domain is speculation, in its
double manifestation as thinking and as trade. One thinks with a will,
whatever may come of it; one speculates, however many may suffer under
our speculative undertakings. But, when it finally becomes serious, when
even the last remnant of religiousness, romance, or "humanity" is to be
done away, then the pulse of religious conscience beats, and one at
least _professes_ humanity. The avaricious speculator throws some
coppers into the poor-box and "does good," the bold thinker consoles
himself with the fact that he is working for the advancement of the
human race and that his devastation "turns to the good" of mankind, or,
in another case, that he is "serving the idea"; mankind, the idea, is to
him that something of which he must say, It is more to me than myself.

To this day thinking and trading have been done for--God's sake. Those
who for six days were trampling down everything by their selfish aims
sacrificed on the seventh to the Lord; and those who destroyed a
hundred "good causes" by their reckless thinking still did this in the
service of another "good cause," and had yet to think of
another--besides themselves--to whose good their self-indulgence should
turn: of the people, mankind, and the like. But this other thing is a
being above them, a higher or supreme being; and therefore I say, they
are toiling for God's sake.

Hence I can also say that the ultimate basis of their actions
is--_love_. Not a voluntary love however, not their own, but a tributary
love, or the higher being's own (_i. e._ God's, who himself is love); in
short, not the egoistic, but the religious; a love that springs from
their fancy that they _must_ discharge a tribute of love, _i. e._ that
they must not be "egoists."

If _we_ want to deliver the world from many kinds of unfreedom, we want
this not on its account but on ours; for, as we are not world-liberators
by profession and out of "love," we only want to win it away from
others. We want to make it our own; it is not to be any longer _owned as
serf_ by God (the church) nor by the law (State), but to be _our own_;
therefore we seek to "win" it, to "captivate" it, and, by meeting it
half-way and "devoting" ourselves to it as to ourselves as soon as it
belongs to us, to complete and make superfluous the force that it turns
against us. If the world is ours, it no longer attempts any force
_against_ us, but only _with_ us. My selfishness has an interest in the
liberation of the world, that it may become--my property.

Not isolation or being alone, but society, is man's original state. Our
existence begins with the most intimate conjunction, as we are already
living with our mother before we breathe; when we see the light of the
world, we at once lie on a human being's breast again, her love cradles
us in the lap, leads us in the go-cart, and chains us to her person with
a thousand ties. Society is our _state of nature_. And this is why, the
more we learn to feel ourselves, the connection that was formerly most
intimate becomes ever looser and the dissolution of the original society
more unmistakable. To have once again for herself the child that once
lay under her heart, the mother must fetch it from the street and from
the midst of its playmates. The child prefers the _intercourse_ that it
enters into with _its fellows_ to the _society_ that it has not entered
into, but only been born in.

But the dissolution of _society_ is _intercourse_ or _union_. A society
does assuredly arise by union too, but only as a fixed idea arises by a
thought,--to wit, by the vanishing of the energy of the thought (the
thinking itself, this restless taking back all thoughts that make
themselves fast) from the thought. If a union[203] has crystallized into
a society, it has ceased to be a coalition;[204] for coalition is an
incessant self-uniting; it has become a unitedness, come to a
standstill, degenerated into a fixity; it is--_dead_ as a union, it is
the corpse of the union or the coalition, _i. e._ it is--society,
community. A striking example of this kind is furnished by the _party_.

That a society (_e. g._ the society of the State) diminishes my
_liberty_ offends me little. Why, I have to let my liberty be limited by
all sorts of powers and by every one who is stronger; nay, by every
fellow-man; and, were I the autocrat of all the R......, I yet should
not enjoy absolute liberty. But _ownness_ I will not have taken from me.
And ownness is precisely what every society has designs on, precisely
what is to succumb to its power.

A society which I join does indeed take from me many liberties, but in
return it affords me other liberties; neither does it matter if I myself
deprive myself of this and that liberty (_e. g._ by any contract). On
the other hand, I want to hold jealously to my ownness. Every community
has the propensity, stronger or weaker according to the fulness of its
power, to become an _authority_ to its members and to set _limits_ for
them: it asks, and must ask, for a "subject's limited understanding"; it
asks that those who belong to it be subject to it, be its "subjects"; it
exists only by _subjection_. In this a certain tolerance need by no
means be excluded; on the contrary, the society will welcome
improvements, corrections, and blame, so far as such are calculated for
its gain: but the blame must be "well-meaning," it may not be "insolent
and disrespectful,"--in other words, one must leave uninjured, and hold
sacred, the substance of the society. The society demands that those who
belong to it shall not go _beyond it_ and exalt themselves, but remain
"within the bounds of legality," _i. e._ allow themselves only so much
as the society and its law allow them.

There is a difference whether my liberty or my ownness is limited by a
society. If the former only is the case, it is a _coalition_, an
agreement, a union; but, if ruin is threatened to ownness, it is a
_power of itself_, a power _above me_, a thing unattainable by me, which
I can indeed admire, adore, reverence, respect, but cannot subdue and
consume, and that for the reason that I _am resigned_. It exists by my
_resignation_, my _self-renunciation_, my spiritlessness,[205]
called--HUMILITY.[206] My humility makes its courage,[207] my
submissiveness gives it its dominion.

But in reference to _liberty_ State and union are subject to no
essential difference. The latter can just as little come into existence,
or continue in existence, without liberty's being limited in all sorts
of ways, as the State is compatible with unmeasured liberty. Limitation
of liberty is inevitable everywhere, for one cannot get _rid_ of
everything; one cannot fly like a bird merely because one would like to
fly so, for one does not get free from his own weight; one cannot live
under water as long as he likes, like a fish, because one cannot do
without air and cannot get free from this indispensable necessity; and
the like. As religion, and most decidedly Christianity, tormented man
with the demand to realize the unnatural and self-contradictory, so it
is to be looked upon only as the true logical outcome of that religious
overstraining and overwroughtness that finally _liberty itself, absolute
liberty_, was exalted into an ideal, and thus the nonsense of the
impossible had to come glaringly to the light.--The union will assuredly
offer a greater measure of liberty, as well as (and especially because
by it one escapes all the coercion peculiar to State and society life)
admit of being considered as "a new liberty"; but nevertheless it will
still contain enough of unfreedom and involuntariness. For its object is
not this--liberty (which on the contrary it sacrifices to ownness), but
only _ownness_. Referred to this, the difference between State and union
is great enough. The former is an enemy and murderer of _ownness_, the
latter a son and co-worker of it; the former a spirit that would be
adored in spirit and in truth, the latter my work, my _product_; the
State is the lord of my spirit, who demands faith and prescribes to me
articles of faith, the creed of legality; it exerts moral influence,
dominates my spirit, drives away my ego to put itself in its place as
"my true ego,"--in short, the State is _sacred_, and as against me, the
individual man, it is the true man, the spirit, the ghost; but the union
is my own creation, my creature, not sacred, not a spiritual power above
my spirit, as little as any association of whatever sort. As I am not
willing to be a slave of my maxims, but lay them bare to my continual
criticism without _any warrant_, and admit no bail at all for their
persistence, so still less do I obligate myself to the union for my
future and pledge my soul to it, as is said to be done with the devil
and is really the case with the State and all spiritual authority; but I
am and remain _more_ to myself than State, Church, God, and the like;
consequently infinitely more than the union too.

That society which Communism wants to found seems to stand nearest to
_coalition_. For it is to aim at the "welfare of all," oh, yes, of all,
cries Weitling innumerable times, of all! That does really look as if
in it no one needed to take a back seat. But what then will this welfare
be? Have all one and the same welfare, are all equally well off with one
and the same thing? If that be so, the question is of the "true
welfare." Do we not with this come right to the point where religion
begins its dominion of violence? Christianity says, Look not on earthly
toys, but seek your true welfare, become--pious Christians; being
Christians is the true welfare. It is the true welfare of "all," because
it is the welfare of Man as such (this spook). Now, the welfare of all
is surely to be _your_ and _my_ welfare too? But, if you and I do not
look upon that welfare as _our_ welfare, will care then be taken for
that in which _we_ feel well? On the contrary, society has decreed a
welfare as the "true welfare"; and, if this welfare were called _e. g._
"enjoyment honestly worked for," but you preferred enjoyable laziness,
enjoyment without work, then society, which cares for the "welfare of
all," would wisely avoid caring for that in which you are well off.
Communism, in proclaiming the welfare of all, annuls outright the
well-being of those who hitherto lived on their income from investments
and apparently felt better in that than in the prospect of Weitling's
strict hours of labor. Hence the latter asserts that with the welfare of
thousands the welfare of millions cannot exist, and the former must give
up _their_ special welfare "for the sake of the general welfare." No,
let people not be summoned to sacrifice their special welfare for the
general, for this Christian admonition will not carry you through; they
will better understand the opposite admonition, not to let their _own_
welfare be snatched from them by anybody, but to put it on a permanent
foundation. Then they are of themselves led to the point that they care
best for their welfare if they _unite_ with others for this purpose,
_i. e._ "sacrifice a part of their liberty," yet not to the welfare of
others, but to their own. An appeal to men's self-sacrificing
disposition and self-renouncing love ought at last to have lost its
seductive plausibility when, after an activity of thousands of years, it
has left nothing behind but the--_misère_ of to-day. Why then still
fruitlessly expect self-sacrifice to bring us better times? why not
rather hope for them from _usurpation_? Salvation comes no longer from
the giver, the bestower, the loving one, but from the _taker_, the
appropriater (usurper), the owner. Communism, and, consciously or
unconsciously, egoism-reviling humanism, still count on _love_.

If community is once a need of man, and he finds himself furthered by it
in his aims, then very soon, because it has become his principle, it
prescribes to him its laws too, the laws of--society. The principle of
men exalts itself into a sovereign power over them, becomes their
supreme essence, their God, and, as such,--lawgiver. Communism gives
this principle the strictest effect, and Christianity is the religion of
society, for, as Feuerbach rightly says although he does not mean it
rightly, love is the essence of man; _i. e._ the essence of society or
of societary (Communistic) man. All religion is a cult of society, this
principle by which societary (cultivated) man is dominated; neither is
any god an ego's exclusive god, but always a society's or community's,
be it of the society "family" (Lar, Penates) or of a "people" ("national
god") or of "all men" ("he is a Father of all men").

Consequently one has a prospect of extirpating religion down to the
ground only when one antiquates _society_ and everything that flows from
this principle. But it is precisely in Communism that this principle
seeks to culminate, as in it everything is to become _common_ for the
establishment of--"equality." If this "equality" is won, "liberty" too
is not lacking. But whose liberty? _Society's!_ Society is then all in
all, and men are only "for each other." It would be the glory of

But I would rather be referred to men's selfishness than to their
"kindnesses,"[208] their mercy, pity, etc. The former demands
_reciprocity_ (as thou to me, so I to thee), does nothing "gratis," and
may be won and--_bought_. But with what shall I obtain the kindness? It
is a matter of chance whether I am at the time having to do with a
"loving" person. The affectionate one's service can be had only
by--_begging_, be it by my lamentable appearance, by my need of help, my
misery, my--_suffering_. What can I offer him for his assistance?
Nothing! I must accept it as a--present. Love is _unpayable_, or rather,
love can assuredly be paid for, but only by counter-love ("One good turn
deserves another"). What paltriness and beggarliness does it not take to
accept gifts year in and year out without service in return, as they are
regularly collected _e. g._ from the poor day-laborer? What can the
receiver do for him and his donated pennies, in which his wealth
consists? The day-laborer would really have more enjoyment if the
receiver with his laws, his institutions, etc., all of which the
day-laborer has to pay for though, did not exist at all. And yet, with
it all, the poor wight _loves_ his master.

No, community, as the "goal" of history hitherto, is impossible. Let us
rather renounce every hypocrisy of community, and recognize that, if we
are equal as men, we are not equal for the very reason that we are not
men. We are equal _only in thoughts_, only when "we" are _thought_, not
as we really and bodily are. I am ego, and you are ego: but I am not
this thought-of ego; this ego in which we are all equal is only _my
thought_. I am man, and you are man: but "man" is only a thought, a
generality; neither you nor I are speakable, we are _unutterable_,
because only _thoughts_ are speakable and consist in speaking.

Let us therefore not aspire to community, but to _one-sidedness_. Let us
not seek the most comprehensive commune, "human society," but let us
seek in others only means and organs which we may use as our property!
As we do not see our equals in the tree, the beast, so the
presupposition that others are _our equals_ springs from a hypocrisy. No
one is _my equal_, but I regard him, equally with all other beings, as
my property. In opposition to this I am told that I should be a man
among "fellow-men" ("_Judenfrage_," p. 60); I should "respect" the
fellow-man in them. For me no one is a person to be respected, not even
the fellow-man, but solely, like other beings, an _object_ in which I
take an interest or else do not, an interesting or uninteresting
object, a usable or unusable person.

And, if I can use him, I doubtless come to an understanding and make
myself at one with him, in order, by the agreement, to strengthen _my
power_, and by combined force to accomplish more than individual force
could effect. In this combination I see nothing whatever but a
multiplication of my force, and I retain it only so long as it is _my_
multiplied force. But thus it is a--union.

Neither a natural ligature nor a spiritual one holds the union together,
and it is not a natural, not a spiritual league. It is not brought about
by one _blood_, not by one _faith_ (spirit). In a natural league--like a
family, a tribe, a nation, yes, mankind--the individuals have only the
value of _specimens_ of the same species or genus; in a spiritual
league--like a commune, a church--the individual signifies only a
_member_ of the same spirit; what you are in both cases as a unique
person must be--suppressed. Only in the union can you assert yourself as
unique, because the union does not possess you, but you possess it or
make it of use to you.

Property is recognized in the union, and only in the union, because one
no longer holds what is his as a fief from any being. The Communists are
only consistently carrying further what had already been long present
during religious evolution, and especially in the State; to wit,
propertylessness, _i. e._ the feudal system.

The State exerts itself to tame the desirous man; in other words, it
seeks to direct his desire to it alone, and to _content_ that desire
with what it offers. To sate the desire for the desirous man's sake does
not come into its mind: on the contrary, it stigmatizes as an "egoistic
man" the man who breathes out unbridled desire, and the "egoistic man"
is its enemy. He is this for it because the capacity to agree with him
is wanting to the State; the egoist is precisely what it cannot
"comprehend." Since the State (as nothing else is possible) has to do
only for itself, it does not take care for my needs, but takes care only
of how it shall make away with me, _i. e._ make out of me another ego, a
good citizen. It takes measures for the "improvement of morals."--And
with what does it win individuals for itself? With itself, _i. e._ with
what is the State's, with _State property_. It will be unremittingly
active in making all participants in its "goods," providing all with the
"good things of culture": it presents them its education, opens to them
the access to its institutions of culture, capacitates them to come to
property (_i. e._ to a fief) in the way of industry, etc. For all these
_fiefs_ it demands only the just rent of continual _thanks_. But the
"unthankful" forget to pay these thanks.--Now, neither can "society" do
essentially otherwise than the State.

You bring into a union your whole power, your competence, and _make
yourself count_; in a society you are _employed_, with your working
power; in the former you live egoistically, in the latter humanly,
_i. e._ religiously, as a "member in the body of this Lord"; to a
society you owe what you have, and are in duty bound to it,
are--possessed by "social duties"; a union you utilize, and give it up
undutifully and unfaithfully when you see no way to use it further. If
a society is more than you, then it is more to you than yourself; a
union is only your instrument, or the sword with which you sharpen and
increase your natural force; the union exists for you and through you,
the society conversely lays claim to you for itself and exists even
without you; in short, the society is _sacred_, the union your _own_;
the society consumes _you_, _you_ consume the union.

Nevertheless people will not be backward with the objection that the
agreement which has been concluded may again become burdensome to us and
limit our freedom; they will say, we too would at last come to this,
that "every one must sacrifice a part of his freedom for the sake of the
generality." But the sacrifice would not be made for the "generality's"
sake a bit, as little as I concluded the agreement for the
"generality's" or even, for any other man's sake; rather I came into it
only for the sake of my own benefit, from _selfishness_.[209] But, as
regards the sacrificing, surely I "sacrifice" only that which does not
stand in my power, _i. e._ I "sacrifice" nothing at all.

To come back to property, the lord is proprietor. Choose then whether
you want to be lord, or whether society shall be! On this depends
whether you are to be an _owner_ or a _ragamuffin!_ The egoist is owner,
the Socialist a ragamuffin. But ragamuffinism or propertylessness is the
sense of feudalism, of the feudal system, which since the last century
has only changed its overlord, putting "Man" in the place of God, and
accepting as a fief from Man what had before been a fief from the grace
of God. That the ragamuffinism of Communism is carried out by the humane
principle into the absolute or most ragamuffinly ragamuffinism has been
shown above; but at the same time also, how ragamuffinism can only thus
swing around into ownness. The _old_ feudal system was so thoroughly
trampled into the ground in the Revolution that since then all
reactionary craft has remained fruitless, and will always remain
fruitless, because the dead is--dead; but the resurrection too had to
prove itself a truth in Christian history, and has so proved itself: for
in another world feudalism is risen again with a glorified body, the
_new_ feudalism under the suzerainty of "Man."

Christianity is not annihilated, but the faithful are right in having
hitherto trustfully assumed of every combat against it that this could
serve only for the purgation and confirmation of Christianity; for it
has really only been glorified, and "Christianity exposed" is
the--_human Christianity_. We are still living entirely in the Christian
age, and the very ones who feel worst about it are the most zealously
contributing to "complete" it. The more human, the dearer has feudalism
become to us; for we the less believe that it still is feudalism, we
take it the more confidently for ownness and think we have found what is
"most absolutely our own" when we discover "the human."

Liberalism wants to give me what is mine, but it thinks to procure it
for me not under the title of mine, but under that of the "human." As if
it were attainable under this mask! The rights of man, the precious
work of the Revolution, have the meaning that the Man in me
_entitles_[210] me to this and that; I as individual, _i. e._ as this
man, am not entitled, but Man has the right and entitles me. Hence as
man I may well be entitled; but, as I am more than man, to wit, a
_special_ man, it may be refused to this very me, the special one. If on
the other hand you insist on the _value_ of your gifts, keep up their
price, do not let yourselves be forced to sell out below price, do not
let yourselves be talked into the idea that your ware is not worth its
price, do not make yourselves ridiculous by a "ridiculous price," but
imitate the brave man who says, I will _sell_ my life (property) dear,
the enemy shall not have it at a cheap _bargain_; then you have
recognized the reverse of Communism as the correct thing, and the word
then is not "Give up your property!" but "_Get the value out of_ your

Over the portal of our time stands not that "Know thyself" of Apollo,
but a "_Get the value out of thyself!_"

Proudhon calls property "robbery" (_le vol_). But alien property--and he
is talking of this alone--is not less existent by renunciation, cession,
and humility; it is a _present_. Why so sentimentally call for
compassion as a poor victim of robbery, when one is just a foolish,
cowardly giver of presents? Why here again put the fault on others as if
they were robbing us, while we ourselves do bear the fault in leaving
the others, unrobbed? The poor are to blame for there being rich men.

Universally, no one grows indignant at _his_, but at _alien_ property.
They do not in truth attack property, but the alienation of property.
They want to be able to call _more_, not less, _theirs_; they want to
call everything _theirs_. They are fighting, therefore, against
_alienness_, or, to form a word similar to property, against alienty.
And how do they help themselves therein? Instead of transforming the
alien into own, they play impartial and ask only that all property be
left to a third party (_e. g._ human society). They revendicate the
alien not in their own name but in a third party's. Now the "egoistic"
coloring is wiped off, and everything is so clean and--human!

Propertylessness or ragamuffinism, this then is the "essence of
Christianity," as it is the essence of all religiousness (_i. e._
godliness, morality, humanity), and only announced itself most clearly,
and, as glad tidings, became a gospel capable of development, in the
"absolute religion." We have before us the most striking development in
the present fight against property, a fight which is to bring "Man" to
victory and make propertylessness complete: victorious humanity is the
victory of--Christianity. But the "Christianity exposed" thus is
feudalism completed, the most all-embracing feudal system, _i. e._
perfect ragamuffinism.

Once more then, doubtless, a "revolution" against the feudal system?--

Revolution and insurrection must not be looked upon as synonymous. The
former consists in an overturning of conditions, of the established
condition or _status_, the State or society, and is accordingly a
_political_ or _social_ act; the latter has indeed for its unavoidable
consequence a transformation of circumstances, yet does not start from
it but from men's discontent with themselves, is not an armed rising,
but a rising of individuals, a getting up, without regard to the
arrangements that spring from it. The Revolution aimed at new
_arrangements_; insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be
arranged, but to arrange ourselves, and sets no glittering hopes on
"institutions." It is not a fight against the established, since, if it
prospers, the established collapses of itself; it is only a working
forth of me out of the established. If I leave the established, it is
dead and passes into decay. Now, as my object is not the overthrow of an
established order but my elevation above it, my purpose and deed are not
a political or social but (as directed toward myself and my ownness
alone) an _egoistic_ purpose and deed.

The revolution commands one to make _arrangements_, the
insurrection[211] demands that he _rise or exalt himself_.[212] What
_constitution_ was to be chosen, this question busied the revolutionary
heads, and the whole political period foams with constitutional fights
and constitutional questions, as the social talents too were uncommonly
inventive in societary arrangement (phalansteries and the like). The
insurgent[213] strives to become constitutionless.

While, to get greater clearness, I am thinking up a comparison, the
founding of Christianity comes unexpectedly into my mind. On the liberal
side it is noted as a bad point in the first Christians that they
preached obedience to the established heathen civil order, enjoined
recognition of the heathen authorities, and confidently delivered a
command, "Give to the emperor that which is the emperor's." Yet how much
disturbance arose at the same time against the Roman supremacy, how
mutinous did the Jews and even the Romans show themselves against their
own temporal government! in short, how popular was "political
discontent"! Those Christians would hear nothing of it; would not side
with the "liberal tendencies." 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 _e. g._ Cæsar, 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.

Now, as it happened to the heathen order of the world, will the
Christian order fare likewise? A revolution certainly does not bring on
the end if an insurrection is not consummated first!

My intercourse with the world, what does it aim at? I want to have the
enjoyment of it, therefore it must be my property, and therefore I want
to win it. I do not want the liberty of men, nor their equality; I want
only _my_ power over them, I want to make them my property, _i. e._
_material for enjoyment_. And, if I do not succeed in that, well, then I
call even the power over life and death, which Church and State
reserved to themselves,--mine. Brand that officer's widow who, in the
flight in Russia, after her leg has been shot away, takes the garter
from it, strangles her child therewith, and then bleeds to death
alongside the corpse,--brand the memory of the--infanticide. Who knows,
if this child had remained alive, how much it might have "been of use to
the world"! The mother murdered it because she wanted to die _satisfied_
and at rest. Perhaps this case still appeals to your sentimentality, and
you do not know how to read out of it anything further. Be it so; I on
my part use it as an example for this, that _my_ satisfaction decides
about my relation to men, and that I do not renounce, from any access of
humility, even the power over life and death.

As regards "social duties" in general, another does not give me my
position toward others, therefore neither God nor humanity prescribes to
me my relation to men, but I give myself this position. This is more
strikingly said thus: I have no _duty_ to others, as I have a duty even
to myself (_e. g._ that of self-preservation, and therefore not suicide)
only so long as I distinguish myself from myself (my immortal soul from
my earthly existence, etc.).

I no longer _humble_ myself before any power, and I recognize that all
powers are only my power, which I have to subject at once when they
threaten to become a power _against_ or _above_ me; each of them must be
only one of _my means_ to carry my point, as a hound is our power
against game, but is killed by us if it should fall upon us ourselves.
All powers that dominate me I then reduce to serving me. The idols
exist through me; I need only refrain from creating them anew, then
they exist no longer: "higher powers" exist only through my exalting
them and abasing myself.

Consequently my relation to the world is this: I no longer do anything
for it "for God's sake," I do nothing "for man's sake," but what I do I
do "for my sake." Thus alone does the world satisfy me, while it is
characteristic of the religious standpoint, in which I include the moral
and humane also, that from it everything remains a _pious wish_ (_pium
desiderium_), _i. e._ an other-world matter, something unattained. Thus
the general salvation of men, the moral world of a general love, eternal
peace, the cessation of egoism, etc. "Nothing in this world is perfect."
With this miserable phrase the good part from it, and take flight into
their closet to God, or into their proud "self-consciousness." But we
remain in this "imperfect" world, because even so we can use it for

My intercourse with the world consists in my enjoying it, and so
consuming it for my self-enjoyment. _Intercourse_ is the _enjoyment of
the world_, and belongs to my--self-enjoyment.


We stand at the boundary of a period. The world hitherto took thought
for nothing but the gain of life, took care for--_life_. For whether all
activity is put on the stretch for the life of this world or of the
other, for the temporal or for the eternal, whether one hankers for
"daily bread" ("Give us our daily bread") or for "holy bread" ("the true
bread from heaven"; "the bread of God, that comes from heaven and _gives
life_ to the world"; "the bread of life," John 6), whether one takes
care for "dear life" or for "life to eternity,"--this does not change
the object of the strain and care, which in the one case as in the other
shows itself to be _life_. Do the modern tendencies announce themselves
otherwise? People now want nobody to be embarrassed for the most
indispensable necessaries of life, but want every one to feel secure as
to these; and on the other hand they teach that man has this life to
attend to and the real world to adapt himself to, without vain care for

Let us take up the same thing from another side. When one is anxious
only to _live_, he easily, in this solicitude, forgets the _enjoyment_
of life. If his only concern is for life, and he thinks "if I only have
my dear life," he does not apply his full strength to using, _i. e._
enjoying, life. But how does one use life? In using it up, like the
candle, which one uses in burning it up. One uses life, and consequently
himself the living one, in _consuming_ it and himself. _Enjoyment of
life_ is using life up.

Now--we are in search of the _enjoyment_ of life! And what did the
religious world do? It went in search of _life_. "Wherein consists the
true life, the blessed life, etc.? How is it to be attained? What must
man do and become in order to become a truly living man? How does he
fulfil this calling?" These and similar questions indicate that the
askers were still seeking for _themselves_,--to wit, themselves in the
true sense, in the sense of true living. "What I am is foam and shadow;
what I shall be is my true self." To chase after this self, to produce
it, to realize it, constitutes the hard task of mortals, who die only to
_rise again_, live only to die, live only to find the true life.

Not till I am certain of myself, and no longer seeking for myself, am I
really my property; I have myself, therefore I use and enjoy myself. On
the other hand, I can never take comfort in myself so long as I think
that I have still to find my true self and that it must come to this,
that not I but Christ or some other spiritual, _i. e._ ghostly, self
(_e. g._ the true man, the essence of man, and the like) lives in me.

A vast interval separates the two views. In the old I go toward myself,
in the new I start from myself; in the former I long for myself, in the
latter I have myself and do with myself as one does with any other
property,--I enjoy myself at my pleasure. I am no longer afraid for my
life, but "squander" it.

Henceforth the question runs, not how one can acquire life, but how one
can squander, enjoy it; or, not how one is to produce the true self in
himself, but how one is to dissolve himself, to live himself out.

What else should the ideal be but the sought-for, ever-distant self? One
seeks for himself, consequently one does not yet have himself; one
aspires toward what one _ought_ to be, consequently one is not it. One
lives in _longing_ and has lived thousands of years in it, in _hope_.
Living is quite another thing in--_enjoyment_!

Does this perchance apply only to the so-called pious? No, it applies to
all who belong to the departing period of history, even to its men of
pleasure. For them too the work-days were followed by a Sunday, and the
rush of the world by the dream of a better world, of a general happiness
of humanity; in short, by an ideal. But philosophers especially are
contrasted with the pious. Now, have they been thinking of anything else
than the ideal, been planning for anything else than the absolute self?
Longing and hope everywhere, and nothing but these. For me, call it

If the _enjoyment of life_ is to triumph over the _longing for life_ or
hope of life, it must vanquish this in its double significance, which
Schiller introduces in his "Ideal and Life"; it must crush spiritual and
secular poverty, exterminate the ideal and--the want of daily bread. He
who must expend his life to prolong life cannot enjoy it, and he who is
still seeking for his life does not have it and can as little enjoy it:
both are poor, but "blessed are the poor."

Those who are hungering for the true life have no power over their
present life, but must apply it for the purpose of thereby gaining that
true life, and must sacrifice it entirely to this aspiration and this
task. If in the case of those devotees who hope for a life in the other
world, and look upon that in this world as merely a preparation for it,
the tributariness of their earthly existence, which they put solely into
the service of the hoped-for heavenly existence, is pretty distinctly
apparent; one would yet go far wrong if one wanted to consider the most
rationalistic and enlightened as less self-sacrificing. Oh, there is to
be found in the "true life" a much more comprehensive significance than
the "heavenly" is competent to express. Now, is not--to introduce the
liberal concept of it at once--the "human" and "truly human" life the
true one? And is every one already leading this truly human life from
the start, or must he first raise himself to it with hard toil? Does he
already have it as his present life, or must he struggle for it as his
future life, which will become his part only when he "is no longer
tainted with any egoism"? In this view life exists only to gain life,
and one lives only to make the essence of man alive in oneself, one
lives for the sake of this essence. One has his life only in order to
procure by means of it the "true" life cleansed of all egoism. Hence one
is afraid to make any use he likes of his life: it is to serve only for
the "right use."

In short, one has a _calling in life_, a task in life; one has something
to realize and produce by his life, a something for which our life is
only means and implement, a something that is worth more than this life,
a something to which one _owes_ his life. One has a God who asks a
_living sacrifice_. Only the rudeness of human sacrifice has been lost
with time; human sacrifice itself has remained unabated, and criminals
hourly fall sacrifices to justice, and we "poor sinners" slay our own
selves as sacrifices for "the human essence," the "idea of mankind,"
"humanity," and whatever the idols or gods are called besides.

But, because we owe our life to that something, therefore--this is the
next point--we have no right to take it from us.

The conservative tendency of Christianity does not permit thinking of
death otherwise than with the purpose to take its sting from it
and--live on and preserve oneself nicely. The Christian lets everything
happen and come upon him if he--the arch-Jew--can only haggle and
smuggle himself into heaven; he must not kill himself, he must
only--preserve himself and work at the "preparation of a future abode."
Conservatism or "conquest of death" lies at his heart; "the last enemy
that is abolished is death."[214] "Christ has taken the power from death
and brought life and _imperishable_ being to light by the gospel."[215]
"Imperishableness," stability.

The moral man wants the good, the right; and, if he takes to the means
that lead to this goal, really lead to it, then these means are not
_his_ means, but those of the good, right, etc., itself. These means are
never immoral, because the good end itself mediates itself through them:
the end sanctifies the means. They call this maxim jesuitical, but it is
"moral" through and through. The moral man acts _in the service_ of an
end or an idea: he makes himself the _tool_ of the idea of the good, as
the pious man counts it his glory to be a tool or instrument of God. To
await death is what the moral commandment postulates as the good; to
give it to oneself is immoral and bad: _suicide_ finds no excuse before
the judgment-seat of morality. If the religious man forbids it because
"you have not given yourself life, but God, who alone can also take it
from you again" (as if, even talking in this conception, God did not
take it from me just as much when I kill myself as when a tile from the
roof, or a hostile bullet, fells me; for he would have aroused the
resolution of death in me too!), the moral man forbids it because I owe
my life to the fatherland, etc., "because I do not know whether I may
not yet accomplish good by my life." Of course, for in me good loses a
tool, as God does an instrument. If I am immoral, the good is served in
my _amendment_; if I am "ungodly," God has joy in my _penitence_.
Suicide, therefore, is ungodly as well as nefarious. If one whose
standpoint is religiousness takes his own life, he acts in forgetfulness
of God; but, if the suicide's standpoint is morality, he acts in
forgetfulness of duty, immorally. People worried themselves much with
the question whether Emilia Galotti's death can be justified before
morality (they take it as if it were suicide, which it is too in
substance). That she is so infatuated with chastity, this moral good, as
to yield up even her life for it is certainly moral; but, again, that
she fears the weakness of her flesh is immoral.[216] Such
contradictions form the tragic conflict universally in the moral drama;
and one must think and feel morally to be able to take an interest in

What holds good of piety and morality will necessarily apply to humanity
also, because one owes his life likewise to man, mankind or the species.
Only when I am under obligation to no being is the maintaining of
life--my affair. "A leap from this bridge makes me free!"

But, if we owe the maintaining of our life to that being that we are to
make alive in ourselves, it is not less our duty not to lead this life
according to _our_ pleasure, but to shape it in conformity to that
being. All my feeling, thinking, and willing, all my doing and
designing, belongs to--him.

What is in conformity to that being is to be inferred from his concept;
and how differently has this concept been conceived! or how differently
has that being been imagined! What demands the Supreme Being makes on
the Mohammedan; what different ones the Christian, again, thinks he
hears from him; how divergent, therefore, must the shaping of the lives
of the two turn out! Only this do all hold fast, that the Supreme Being
is to _judge_[217] our life.

But the pious who have their judge in God, and in his word a book of
directions for their life, I everywhere pass by only reminiscently,
because they belong to a period of development that has been lived
through, and as petrifactions they may remain in their fixed place right
along; in our time it is no longer the pious, but the liberals, who
have the floor, and piety itself cannot keep from reddening its pale
face with liberal coloring. But the liberals do not adore their judge in
God, and do not unfold their life by the directions of the divine word,
but regulate[218] themselves by man: they want to be not "divine" but
"human," and to live so.

Man is the liberal's supreme being, man the _judge_ of his life,
humanity his _directions_, or catechism. God is spirit, but man is the
"most perfect spirit," the final result of the long chase after the
spirit or of the "searching in the depths of the Godhead," _i. e._ in
the depths of the spirit.

Every one of your traits is to be human; you yourself are to be so from
top to toe, in the inward as in the outward; for humanity is your


What one can become he does become. A born poet may well be hindered by
the disfavor of circumstances from standing on the high level of his
time, and, after the great studies that are indispensable for this,
producing _consummate_ works of art; but he will make poetry, be he a
plowman or so lucky as to live at the court of Weimar. A born musician
will make music, no matter whether on all instruments or only on an
oaten pipe. A born philosophical head can give proof of itself as
university philosopher or as village philosopher. Finally, a born dolt,
who, as is very well compatible with this, may at the same time be a
sly-boots, will (as probably every one who has visited schools is in a
position to exemplify to himself by many instances of fellow-scholars)
always remain a blockhead, let him have been drilled and trained into
the chief of a bureau, or let him serve that same chief as bootblack.
Nay, the born shallow-pates indisputably form the most numerous class of
men. And why, indeed, should not the same distinctions show themselves
in the human species that are unmistakable in every species of beasts?
The more gifted and the less gifted are to be found everywhere.

Only a few, however, are so imbecile that one could not get ideas into
them. Hence people usually consider all men capable of having religion.
In a certain degree they may be trained to other ideas too, _e. g._ to
some musical intelligence, even some philosophy, etc. At this point then
the priesthood of religion, of morality, of culture, of science, etc.,
takes its start, and the Communists, _e. g._, want to make everything
accessible to all by their "public school." There is heard a common
assertion that this "great mass" cannot get along without religion; the
Communists broaden it into the proposition that not only the "great
mass," but absolutely all, are called to everything.

Not enough that the great mass has been trained to religion, now it is
actually to have to occupy itself with "everything human." Training is
growing ever more general and more comprehensive.

You poor beings who could live so happily if you might skip according to
your mind, you are to dance to the pipe of schoolmasters and
bear-leaders, in order to perform tricks that you yourselves would never
use yourselves for. And you do not even kick out of the traces at last
against being always taken otherwise than you want to give yourselves.
No, you mechanically recite to yourselves the question that is recited
to you: "What am I called to? What _ought_ I to do?" You need only ask
thus, to have yourselves _told_ what you ought to do and _ordered_ to do
it, to have your _calling_ marked out for you, or else to order
yourselves and impose it on yourselves according to the spirit's
prescription. Then in reference to the will the word is, I will to do
what I _ought_.

A man is "called" to nothing, and has no "calling," no "destiny," as
little as a plant or a beast has a "calling." The flower does not follow
the calling to complete itself, but it spends all its forces to enjoy
and consume the world as well as it can,--_i. e._ it sucks in as much of
the juices of the earth, as much air of the ether, as much light of the
sun, as it can get and lodge. The bird lives up to no calling, but it
uses its forces as much as is practicable; it catches beetles and sings
to its heart's delight. But the forces of the flower and the bird are
slight in comparison to those of a man, and a man who applies his forces
will affect the world much more powerfully than flower and beast. A
calling he has not, but he has forces that manifest themselves where
they are because their being consists solely in their manifestation, and
are as little able to abide inactive as life, which, if it "stood still"
only a second, would no longer be life. Now, one might call out to the
man, "use your force." Yet to this imperative would be given the meaning
that it was man's task to use his force. It is not so. Rather, each one
really uses his force without first looking upon this as his calling: at
all times every one uses as much force as he possesses. One does say of
a beaten man that he ought to have exerted his force more; but one
forgets that, if in the moment of succumbing he had had the force to
exert his forces (_e. g._ bodily forces), he would not have failed to do
it: even if it was only the discouragement of a minute, this was yet
a--destitution of force, a minute long. Forces may assuredly be
sharpened and redoubled, especially by hostile resistance or friendly
assistance; but where one misses their application one may be sure of
their absence too. One can strike fire out of a stone, but without the
blow none comes out; in like manner a man too needs "impact."

Now, for this reason that forces always of themselves show themselves
operative, the command to use them would be superfluous and senseless.
To use his forces is not man's _calling_ and task, but is his _act_,
real and extant at all times. Force is only a simpler word for
manifestation of force.

Now, as this rose is a true rose to begin with, this nightingale always
a true nightingale, so I am not for the first time a true man when I
fulfil my calling, live up to my destiny, but I am a "true man" from the
start. My first babble is the token of the life of a "true man," the
struggles of my life are the outpourings of his force, my last breath is
the last exhalation of the force of the "man."

The true man does not lie in the future, an object of longing, but lies,
existent and real, in the present. Whatever and whoever I may be, joyous
and suffering, a child or a graybeard, in confidence or doubt, in sleep
or in waking, I am it, I am the true man.

But, if I am Man, and have really found in myself him whom religious
humanity designated as the distant goal, then everything "truly human"
is also _my own_. What was ascribed to the idea of humanity belongs to
me. That freedom of trade, _e. g._, which humanity has yet to
attain,--and which, like an enchanting dream, people remove to
humanity's golden future,--I take by anticipation as my property, and
carry it on for the time in the form of smuggling. There may indeed be
but few smugglers who have sufficient understanding to thus account to
themselves for their doings, but the instinct of egoism replaces their
consciousness. Above I have shown the same thing about freedom of the

Everything is my own, therefore I bring back to myself what wants to
withdraw from me; but above all I always bring myself back when I have
slipped away from myself to any tributariness. But this too is not my
calling, but my natural act.

Enough, there is a mighty difference whether I make myself the
starting-point or the goal. As the latter I do not have myself, am
consequently still alien to myself, am my _essence_, my "true essence,"
and this "true essence," alien to me, will mock me as a spook of a
thousand different names. Because I am not yet I, another (like God, the
true man, the truly pious man, the rational man, the freeman, etc.) is
I, my ego.

Still far from myself, I separate myself into two halves, of which one,
the one unattained and to be fulfilled, is the true one. The one, the
untrue, must be brought as a sacrifice; to wit, the unspiritual one. The
other, the true, is to be the whole man; to wit, the spirit. Then it is
said, "The spirit is man's proper essence," or, "man exists as man only
spiritually." Now there is a greedy rush to catch the spirit, as if one
would then have bagged _himself_; and so, in chasing after himself, one
loses sight of himself, whom he is.

And, as one stormily pursues his own self, the never-attained, so one
also despises shrewd people's rule to take men as they are, and prefers
to take them as they should be; and, for this reason, hounds every one
on after his should-be self and "endeavors to make all into equally
entitled, equally respectable, equally moral or rational men."[219]

Yes, "if men were what they _should_ be, _could_ be, if all men were
rational, all loved each other as brothers," then it would be a
paradisiacal life.[220]--All right, men are as they should be, can be.
What should they be? Surely not more than they can be! And what can they
be? Not more, again, than they--can, _i. e._ than they have the
competence, the force, to be. But this they really are, because what
they are not they are _incapable_ of being; for to be capable
means--really to be. One is not capable for anything that one really is
not; one is not capable of anything that one does not really do. Could a
man blinded by cataract see? Oh, yes, if he had his cataract
successfully removed. But now he cannot see because he does not see.
Possibility and reality always coincide. One can do nothing that one
does not, as one does nothing that one cannot.

The singularity of this assertion vanishes when one reflects that the
words "it is possible that ..." almost never contain another meaning
than "I can imagine that ...," _e. g._, It is possible for all men to
live rationally, _i. e._ I can imagine that all, etc. Now,--since my
thinking cannot, and accordingly does not, cause all men to live
rationally, but this must still be left to the men themselves,--general
reason is for me only thinkable, a thinkableness, but as such in fact a
_reality_ that is called a possibility only in reference to what I _can_
not bring to pass, to wit, the rationality of others. So far as depends
on you, all men might be rational, for you have nothing against it; nay,
so far as your thinking reaches, you perhaps cannot discover any
hindrance either, and accordingly nothing does stand in the way of the
thing in your thinking; it is thinkable to you.

As men are not all rational, though, it is probable that they--cannot be

If something which one imagines to be easily possible is not, or does
not happen, then one may be assured that something stands in the way of
the thing, and that it is--impossible. Our time has its art, science,
etc.; the art may be bad in all conscience; but may one say that we
deserved to have a better, and "could" have it if we only would? We have
just as much art as we can have. Our art of to-day is the _only art
possible_, and therefore real, at the time.

Even in the sense to which one might at last still reduce the word
"possible," that it should mean "future," it retains the full force of
the "real." If one says, _e. g._, "It is possible that the sun will rise
to-morrow,"--this means only, "for to-day to-morrow is the real future";
for I suppose there is hardly need of the suggestion that a future is
real "future" only when it has not yet appeared.

Yet wherefore this dignifying of a word? If the most prolific
misunderstanding of thousands of years were not in ambush behind it, if
this single concept of the little word "possible" were not haunted by
all the spooks of possessed men, its contemplation should trouble us
little here.

The thought, it was just now shown, rules the possessed world. Well,
then, possibility is nothing but thinkableness, and innumerable
sacrifices have hitherto been made to hideous _thinkableness_. It was
_thinkable_ that men might become rational; thinkable, that they might
know Christ; thinkable, that they might become moral and enthusiastic
for the good; thinkable, that they might all take refuge in the Church's
lap; thinkable, that they might meditate, speak, and do, nothing
dangerous to the State; thinkable, that they _might_ be obedient
subjects; but, because it was thinkable, it was--so ran the
inference--possible, and further, because it was possible to men (right
here lies the deceptive point: because it is thinkable to me, it is
possible to _men_), therefore they _ought_ to be so, it was their
_calling_; and finally--one is to take men only according to this
calling, only as _called_ men, "not as they are, but as they ought to

And the further inference? Man is not the individual, but man is a
_thought_, an _ideal_, to which the individual is related not even as
the child to the man, but as a chalk point to a point thought of, or as
a--finite creature to the eternal Creator, or, according to modern
views, as the specimen to the species. Here then comes to light the
glorification of "humanity," the "eternal, immortal," for whose glory
(_in majorem humanitatis gloriam_) the individual must devote himself
and find his "immortal renown" in having done something for the "spirit
of humanity."

Thus the _thinkers_ rule in the world as long as the age of priests or
of schoolmasters lasts, and what they think of is possible, but what is
possible must be realized. They _think_ an ideal of man, which for the
time is real only in their thoughts; but they also think the possibility
of carrying it out, and there is no chance for dispute, the carrying out
is really--thinkable, it is an--idea.

But you and I, we may indeed be people of whom a Krummacher can _think_
that we might yet become good Christians; if, however, he wanted to
"labor with" us, we should soon make it palpable to him that our
Christianity is only _thinkable_, but in other respects _impossible_; if
he grinned on and on at us with his obtrusive _thoughts_, his "good
belief," he would have to learn that we do not at all _need_ to become
what we do not like to become.

And so it goes on, far beyond the most pious of the pious. "If all men
were rational, if all did right, if all were guided by philanthropy,
etc."! Reason, right, philanthropy, etc., are put before the eyes of
men as their calling, as the goal of their aspiration. And what does
being rational mean? Giving oneself a hearing?[221] No, reason is a book
full of laws, which are all enacted against egoism.

History hitherto is the history of the _intellectual_ man. After the
period of sensuality, history proper begins; _i. e._, the period of
intellectuality,[222] spirituality,[223] non-sensuality,
supersensuality, nonsensicality. Man now begins to want to be and become
_something_. What? Good, beautiful, true; more precisely, moral, pious,
agreeable, etc. He wants to make of himself a "proper man," "something
proper." _Man_ is his goal, his ought, his destiny, calling, task,
his--_ideal_; he is to himself a future, otherworldly he. And _what_
makes a "proper fellow" of him? Being true, being good, being moral, and
the like. Now he looks askance at every one who does not recognize the
same "what," seek the same morality, have the same faith; he chases out
"separatists, heretics, sects," etc.

No sheep, no dog, exerts itself to become a "proper sheep, a proper
dog"; no beast has its essence appear to it as a task, _i. e._ as a
concept that it has to realize. It realizes itself in living itself out,
_i. e._ dissolving itself, passing away. It does not ask to be or to
become anything _other_ than it is.

Do I mean to advise you to be like the beasts? That you ought to become
beasts is an exhortation which I certainly cannot give you, as that
would again be a task, an ideal ("How doth the little busy bee improve
each shining hour.... In works of labor or of skill I would be busy
too, for Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do"). It
would be the same, too, as if one wished for the beasts that they should
become human beings. Your nature is, once for all, a human one; you are
human natures, _i. e._ human beings. But, just because you already are
so, you do not still need to become so. Beasts too are "trained," and a
trained beast executes many unnatural things. But a trained dog is no
better for itself than a natural one, and has no profit from it, even if
it is more companionable for us.

Exertions to "form" all men into moral, rational, pious, human, etc.,
"beings" (_i. e._ training) were in vogue from of yore. They are wrecked
against the indomitable quality of I, against own nature, against
egoism. Those who are trained never attain their ideal, and only profess
with their _mouth_ the sublime principles, or make a _profession_, a
profession of faith. In face of this profession they must in _life_
"acknowledge themselves sinners altogether," and they fall short of
their ideal, are "weak men," and bear with them the consciousness of
"human weakness."

It is different if you do not chase after an _ideal_ as your "destiny,"
but dissolve yourself as time dissolves everything. The dissolution is
not your "destiny," because it is present time.

Yet the _culture_, the religiousness, of men has assuredly made them
free, but only free from one lord, to lead them to another. I have
learned by religion to tame my appetite, I break the world's resistance
by the cunning that is put in my hand by _science_; I even serve no man:
"I am, no man's lackey." But then it comes, You must obey God more than
man. Just so I am indeed free from irrational determination by my
impulses, but obedient to the master _Reason_. I have gained "spiritual
freedom," "freedom of the spirit." But with that _I_ have then become
subject to that very _spirit_. The spirit gives me orders, reason guides
me, they are my leaders and commanders. The "rational," the "servants of
the spirit," rule. But, if _I_ am not flesh, I am in truth not spirit
either. Freedom of the spirit is servitude of me, because I am more than
spirit or flesh.

Without doubt culture has made me _powerful_. It has given me power over
all _motives_, over the impulses of my nature as well as over the
exactions and violences of the world. I know, and have gained the force
for it by culture, that I need not let myself be coerced by any of my
appetites, pleasures, emotions, etc.; I am their--_master_; in like
manner I become, through the sciences and arts, the _master_ of the
refractory world, whom sea and earth obey, and to whom even the stars
must give an account of themselves. The spirit has made me
_master_.--But I have no power over the spirit itself. From religion
(culture) I do learn the means for the "vanquishing of the world," but
not how I am to subdue _God_ too and become master of him; for God "is
the spirit." And this same spirit, of which I am unable to become
master, may have the most manifold shapes: he may be called God or
National Spirit, State, Family, Reason, also--Liberty, Humanity, Man.

_I_ receive with thanks what the centuries of culture have acquired for
me; I am not willing to throw away and give up anything of it: _I_ have
not lived in vain. The experience that I have _power_ over my nature,
and need not be the slave of my appetites, shall not be lost to me; the
experience that I can subdue the world by culture's means is too
dear-bought for me to be able to forget it. But I want still more.

People ask, what can man do? what can he accomplish? what goods procure?
and put down the highest of everything as a calling. As if everything
were possible to _me_!

If one sees somebody going to ruin in a mania, a passion, etc. (_e. g._
in the huckster-spirit, in jealousy), the desire is stirred to deliver
him out of this possession and to help him to "self-conquest." "We want
to make a man of him!" That would be very fine if another possession
were not immediately put in the place of the earlier one. But one frees
from the love of money him who is a thrall to it, only to deliver him
over to piety, humanity, or some principle else, and to transfer him to
a _fixed standpoint_ anew.

This transference from a narrow standpoint to a sublime one is declared
in the words that the sense must not be directed to the perishable, but
to the imperishable alone: not to the temporal, but to the eternal,
absolute, divine, purely human, etc.,--to the _spiritual_.

People very soon discerned that it was not indifferent what one set his
affections on, or what one occupied himself with; they recognized the
importance of the _object_. An object exalted above the individuality of
things is the _essence_ of things; yes, the essence is alone the
thinkable in them, it is for the _thinking_ man. Therefore direct no
longer your _sense_ to the _things_, but your _thoughts_ to the
_essence_. "Blessed are they who see not, and yet believe"; _i. e._,
blessed are the _thinkers_ for they have to do with the invisible and
believe in it. Yet even an object of thought, that constituted an
essential point of contention centuries long, comes at last to the point
of being "no longer worth speaking of." This was discerned, but
nevertheless people always kept before their eyes again a self-valid
importance of the object, an absolute value of it, as if the doll were
not the most important thing to the child, the Koran to the Turk. As
long as I am not the sole important thing to myself, it is indifferent
of what object I "make much," and only my greater or lesser
_delinquency_ against it is of value. The degree of my attachment and
devotion marks the standpoint of my liability to service, the degree of
my sinning shows the measure of my ownness.

But finally, and in general, one must know how to "put everything out of
his mind," if only so as to be able to--go to sleep. Nothing may occupy
us with which _we_ do not occupy ourselves: the victim of ambition
cannot run away from his ambitious plans, nor the God-fearing man from
the thought of God; infatuation and possessedness coincide.

To want to realize his essence or live conformably to his concept (which
with believers in God signifies as much as to be "pious," and with
believers in humanity means living "humanly") is what only the sensual
and sinful man can propose to himself, the man so long as he has the
anxious choice between happiness of sense and peace of soul, so long as
he is a "poor sinner." The Christian is nothing but a sensual man who,
knowing of the sacred and being conscious that he violates it, sees in
himself a poor sinner: sensualness, recognized as "sinfulness," is
Christian consciousness, is the Christian himself. And if "sin" and
"sinfulness" are now no longer taken into the mouths of moderns, but,
instead of that, "egoism," "self-seeking," "selfishness," and the like,
engage them; if the devil has been translated into the "un-man" or
"egoistic man,"--is the Christian less present then than before? Is not
the old discord between good and evil,--is not a judge over us, man,--is
not a calling, the calling to make oneself man--left? If they no longer
name it calling, but "task" or, very likely, "duty," the change of name
is quite correct, because "man" is not, like God, a personal being that
can "call"; but outside the name the thing remains as of old.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every one has a relation to objects, and more, every one is differently
related to them. Let us choose as an example that book to which millions
of men had a relation for two thousand years, the Bible. What is it,
what was it, to each? Absolutely, only what he _made out of it_! For him
who makes to himself nothing at all out of it, it is nothing at all; for
him who uses it as an amulet, it has solely the value, the significance,
of a means of sorcery; for him who, like children, plays with it, it is
nothing but a plaything; etc.

Now, Christianity asks that it shall _be the same for all_: say, the
sacred book or the "sacred Scriptures." This means as much as that the
Christian's view shall also be that of other men, and that no one may
be otherwise related to that object. And with this the ownness of the
relation is destroyed, and one mind, one disposition, is fixed as the
"_true_," the "only true" one. In the limitation of the freedom to make
of the Bible what I will, the freedom of making in general is limited;
and the coercion of a view or a judgment is put in its place. He who
should pass the judgment that the Bible was a long error of mankind
would judge--_criminally_.

In fact, the child who tears it to pieces or plays with it, the Inca
Atahualpa who lays his ear to it and throws it away contemptuously when
it remains dumb, judges just as correctly about the Bible as the priest
who praises in it the "Word of God," or the critic who calls it a job of
men's hands. For how we toss things about is the affair of our _option_,
our _free will_: we use them according to our _heart's pleasure_, or,
more clearly, we use them just as we _can_. Why, what do the parsons
scream about when they see how Hegel and the speculative theologians
make speculative thoughts out of the contents of the Bible? Precisely
this, that they deal with it according to their heart's pleasure, or
"proceed arbitrarily with it."

But, because we all show ourselves arbitrary in the handling of objects,
_i. e._ do with them as we _like_ best, at our _liking_ (the philosopher
likes nothing so well as when he can trace out an "idea" in everything,
as the God-fearing man likes to make God his friend by everything, and
so, _e. g._, by keeping the Bible sacred), therefore we nowhere meet
such grievous arbitrariness, such a frightful tendency to violence,
such stupid coercion, as in this very domain of our--_own free will_. If
_we_ proceed arbitrarily in taking the sacred objects thus or so, how is
it then that we want to take it ill of the parson-spirits if they take
us just as arbitrarily _in their fashion_, and esteem us worthy of the
heretic's fire or of another punishment, perhaps of the--censorship?

What a man is, he makes out of things; "as you look at the world, so it
looks at you again." Then the wise advice makes itself heard again at
once, You must only look at it "rightly, unbiasedly," etc. As if the
child did not look at the Bible "rightly and unbiasedly" when it makes
it a plaything. That shrewd precept is given us, _e. g._, by Feuerbach.
One does look at things rightly when one makes of them what one _will_
(by things objects in general are here understood, such as God, our
fellow-men, a sweetheart, a book, a beast, etc.). And therefore the
things and the looking at them are not first, but I am, my will is. One
_will_ bring thoughts out of the things, _will_ discover reason in the
world, _will_ have sacredness in it: therefore one shall find them.
"Seek and ye shall find." _What_ I will seek, _I_ determine: I want,
_e. g._, to get edification from the Bible; it is to be found;
I want to read and test the Bible thoroughly; my outcome will be
a thorough instruction and criticism--to the extent of my powers.
I elect for myself what I have a fancy for, and in electing I show

Connected with this is the discernment that every judgment which I pass
upon an object is the _creature_ of my will; and that discernment again
leads me to not losing myself in the _creature_, the judgment, but
remaining the _creator_, the judger, who is ever creating anew. All
predicates of objects are my statements, my judgments, my--creatures. If
they want to tear themselves loose from me and be something for
themselves, or actually overawe me, then I have nothing more pressing to
do than to take them back into their nothing, _i. e._ into me the
creator. God, Christ, trinity, morality, the good, etc., are such
creatures, of which I must not merely allow myself to say that they are
truths, but also that they are deceptions. As I once willed and decreed
their existence, so I want to have license to will their non-existence
too; I must not let them grow over my head, must not have the weakness
to let them become something "absolute," whereby they would be
eternalized and withdrawn from my power and decision. With that I should
fall a prey to the _principle of stability_, the proper life-principle
of religion, which concerns itself with creating "sanctuaries that must
not be touched," "eternal truths,"--in short, that which shall be
"sacred,"--and depriving you of what is _yours_.

The object makes us into possessed men in its sacred form just as in its
profane; as a supersensuous object, just as it does as a sensuous one.
The appetite or mania refers to both, and avarice and longing for heaven
stand on a level. When the rationalists wanted to win people for the
sensuous world, Lavater preached the longing for the invisible. The one
party wanted to call forth _emotion_, the other _motion_, activity.

The conception of objects is altogether diverse, even as God, Christ,
the world, etc., were and are conceived of in the most manifold wise. In
this every one is a "dissenter," and after bloody combats so much has at
last been attained, that opposite views about one and the same object
are no longer condemned as heresies worthy of death. The "dissenters"
reconcile themselves to each other. But why should I only dissent (think
otherwise) about a thing? why not push the thinking otherwise to its
last extremity, _viz._, that of no longer having any regard at all for
the thing, and therefore thinking its nothingness, crushing it? Then the
_conception_ itself has an end, because there is no longer anything to
conceive of. Why am I to say, let us suppose, "God is not Allah, not
Brahma, not Jehovah, but--God"; but not, "God is nothing but a
deception"? Why do people brand me if I am an "atheist"? Because they
put the creature above the creator ("They honor and serve the creature
more than the Creator"[224]) and require a _ruling object_, that the
subject may be right _submissive_. I am to bend _beneath_ the absolute,
I _ought_ to.

By the "realm of thoughts" Christianity has completed itself; the
thought is that inwardness in which all the world's lights go out, all
existence becomes existenceless, the inward man (the heart, the head) is
all in all. This realm of thoughts awaits its deliverance, awaits, like
the Sphinx, Oedipus's key-word to the riddle, that it may enter in at
last to its death. I am the annihilator of its continuance, for in the
creator's realm it no longer forms a realm of its own, not a State in
the State, but a creature of my creative--thoughtlessness. Only together
and at the same time with the benumbed _thinking_ world can the world of
Christians, Christianity and religion itself, come to its downfall; only
when thoughts run out are there no more believers. To the thinker his
thinking is a "sublime labor, a sacred activity," and it rests on a firm
_faith_, the faith in truth. At first praying is a sacred activity, then
this sacred "devotion" passes over into a rational and reasoning
"thinking," which, however, likewise retains in the "sacred truth" its
un-derangeable basis of faith, and is only a marvelous machine that the
spirit of truth winds up for its service. Free thinking and free science
busy _me_--for it is not I that am free, not _I_ that busy myself, but
thinking is free and busies me--with heaven and the heavenly or
"divine"; that is, properly, with the world and the worldly, not this
world but "another" world; it is only the reversing and deranging of the
world, a busying with the _essence_ of the world, therefore a
_derangement_. The thinker is blind to the immediateness of things, and
incapable of mastering them: he does not eat, does not drink, does not
enjoy; for the eater and drinker is never the thinker, nay, the latter
forgets eating and drinking, his getting on in life, the cares of
nourishment, etc., over his thinking; he forgets it as the praying man
too forgets it. This is why he appears to the forceful son of nature as
a queer Dick, a _fool_,--even if he does look upon him as holy, just as
lunatics appeared so to the ancients. Free thinking is lunacy, because
it is _pure movement of the inwardness_, of the merely _inward man_,
which guides and regulates the rest of the man. The shaman and the
speculative philosopher mark the bottom and top rounds on the ladder of
the _inward_ man, the--Mongol. Shaman and philosopher fight with ghosts,
demons, _spirits_, gods.

Totally different from this _free_ thinking is _own_ thinking, _my_
thinking, a thinking which does not guide me, but is guided, continued,
or broken off, by me at my pleasure. The distinction of this own
thinking from free thinking is similar to that of own sensuality, which
I satisfy at pleasure, from free, unruly sensuality to which I succumb.

Feuerbach, in the "Principles of the Philosophy of the Future," is
always harping upon _being_. In this he too, with all his antagonism to
Hegel and the absolute philosophy, is stuck fast in abstraction; for
"being" is abstraction, as is even "the I." Only _I am_ not abstraction
alone: _I am_ all in all, consequently even abstraction or nothing;
I am all and nothing; I am not a mere thought, but at the same time
I am full of thoughts, a thought-world. Hegel condemns the own,
mine,[225]--"opinion."[226] "Absolute thinking" is that thinking which
forgets that it is _my_ thinking, that I think, and that it exists only
through _me_. But I, as I, swallow up again what is mine, am its master;
it is only my _opinion_, which I can at any moment _change_, _i. e._
annihilate, take back into myself, and consume. Feuerbach wants to smite
Hegel's "absolute thinking" with _unconquered being_. But in me being is
as much conquered as thinking is. It is _my_ being, as the other is
_my_ thinking.

With this, of course, Feuerbach does not get further than to the proof,
trivial in itself, that I require the _senses_ for everything, or that I
cannot entirely do without these organs. Certainly I cannot think if I
do not exist sensuously. But for thinking as well as for feeling, and so
for the abstract as well as for the sensuous, I need above all things
_myself_, this quite particular myself, this _unique_ myself. If I were
not this one, _e. g._ Hegel, I should not look at the world as I do look
at it, I should not pick out of it that philosophical system which just
I as Hegel do, etc. I should indeed have senses, as do other people too,
but I should not utilize them as I do.

Thus the reproach is brought up against Hegel by Feuerbach[227] that he
misuses language, understanding by many words something else than what
natural consciousness takes them for; and yet he too commits the same
fault when he gives the "sensuous" a sense of unusual eminence. Thus it
is said, p. 69, "the sensuous is not the profane, the destitute of
thought, the obvious, that which is understood of itself." But, if it is
the sacred, the full of thought, the recondite, that which can be
understood only through mediation,--well, then it is no longer what
people call the sensuous. The sensuous is only that which exists for
_the senses_; what, on the other hand, is enjoyable only to those who
enjoy with _more_ than the senses, who go beyond sense-enjoyment or
sense-reception, is at most mediated or introduced by the senses,
_i. e._ the senses constitute a _condition_ for obtaining it, but it is
no longer anything sensuous. The sensuous, whatever it may be, when
taken up into me becomes something non-sensuous, which, however, may
again have sensuous effects, _e. g._ by the stirring of my emotions and
my blood.

It is well that Feuerbach brings sensuousness to honor, but the only
thing he is able to do with it is to clothe the materialism of his "new
philosophy" with what had hitherto been the property of idealism, the
"absolute philosophy." As little as people let it be talked into them
that one can live on the "spiritual" alone without bread, so little will
they believe his word that as a sensuous being one is already
everything, and so spiritual, full of thoughts, etc.

Nothing at all is justified by _being_. What is thought of _is_ as well
as what is not thought of; the stone in the street _is_, and my notion
of it _is_ too. Both are only in different _spaces_, the former in airy
space, the latter in my head, in _me_; for I am space like the street.

The professionals, the privileged, brook no freedom of thought, _i. e._
no thoughts that do not come from the "Giver of all good," be he called
God, pope, church, or whatever else. If anybody has such illegitimate
thoughts, he must whisper them into his confessor's ear, and have
himself chastised by him till the slave-whip becomes unendurable to the
free thoughts. In other ways too the professional spirit takes care that
free thoughts shall not come at all: first and foremost, by a wise
education. He on whom the principles of morality have been duly
inculcated never becomes free again from moralizing thoughts, and
robbery, perjury, overreaching, and the like, remain to him fixed ideas
against which no freedom of thought protects him. He has his thoughts
"from above," and gets no further.

It is different with the holders of concessions or patents. Every one
must be able to have and form thoughts as he will. If he has the patent,
or the concession, of a capacity to think, he needs no special
_privilege_. But, as "all men are rational," it is free to every one to
put into his head any thoughts whatever, and, to the extent of the
patent of his natural endowment, to have a greater or less wealth of
thoughts. Now one hears the admonitions that one "is to honor all
opinions and convictions," that "every conviction is authorized," that
one must be "tolerant to the views of others," etc.

But "your thoughts are not my thoughts, and your ways are not my ways."
Or rather, I mean the reverse: Your thoughts are _my_ thoughts, which I
dispose of as I will, and which I strike down unmercifully; they are my
property, which I annihilate as I list. I do not wait for authorization
from you first, to decompose and blow away your thoughts. It does not
matter to me that you call these thoughts yours too, they remain mine
nevertheless, and how I will proceed with them is _my affair_, not a
usurpation. It may please me to leave you in your thoughts; then I keep
still. Do you believe thoughts fly around free like birds, so that every
one may get himself some which he may then make good against me as his
inviolable property? What is flying around is all--_mine_.

Do you believe you have your thoughts for yourselves and need answer to
no one for them, or, as you do also say, you have to give an account of
them to God only? No, your great and small thoughts belong to me, and I
handle them at my pleasure.

The thought is my _own_ only when I have no misgiving about bringing it
in danger of death every moment, when I do not have to fear its loss as
a _loss for me_, a loss of me. The thought is my own only when I can
indeed subjugate it, but it never can subjugate me, never fanaticizes
me, makes me the tool of its realization.

So freedom of thought exists when I can have all possible thoughts; but
the thoughts become property only by not being able to become masters.
In the time of freedom of thought, thoughts (ideas) _rule_; but, if I
attain to property in thought, they stand as my creatures.

If the hierarchy had not so penetrated men to the innermost as to take
from them all courage to pursue free thoughts, _i. e._ thoughts perhaps
displeasing to God, one would have to consider freedom of thought just
as empty a word as, say, a freedom of digestion.

According to the professionals' opinion, the thought is _given_ to me;
according to the freethinkers', _I seek_ the thought. There the _truth_
is already found and extant, only I must--receive it from its Giver by
grace; here the truth is to be sought and is my goal, lying in the
future, toward which I have to run.

In both cases the truth (the true thought) lies outside me, and I aspire
to _get_ it, be it by presentation (grace), be it by earning (merit of
my own). Therefore, (1) The truth is a _privilege_, (2) No, the way to
it is _patent_ to all, and neither the Bible nor the holy fathers nor
the church nor any one else is in possession of the truth; but one can
come into possession of it by--speculating.

Both, one sees, are _propertyless_ in relation to the truth: they have
it either as a _fief_ (for the "holy father," _e. g._, is not a unique
person; as unique he is this Sixtus, Clement, etc., but he does not have
the truth as Sixtus, Clement, etc., but as "holy father," _i. e._ as a
spirit) or as an _ideal_. As a fief, it is only for a few (the
privileged); as an ideal, for _all_ (the patentees).

Freedom of thought, then, has the meaning that we do indeed all walk in
the dark and in the paths of error, but every one can on this path
approach _the truth_ and is accordingly on the right path ("All roads
lead to Rome, to the world's end, etc."). Hence freedom of thought means
this much, that the true thought is not my _own_; for, if it were this,
how should people want to shut me off from it?

Thinking has become entirely free, and has laid down a lot of truths
which _I_ must accommodate myself to. It seeks to complete itself into a
_system_ and to bring itself to an absolute "constitution." In the State
_e. g._ it seeks for the idea, say, till it has brought out the
"rational State," in which I am then obliged to be suited; in man
(anthropology), till it "has found man."

The thinker is distinguished from the believer only by believing _much
more_ than the latter, who on his part thinks of much less as signified
by his faith (creed). The thinker has a thousand tenets of faith where
the believer gets along with few; but the former brings _coherence_ into
his tenets, and takes the coherence in turn for the scale to estimate
their worth by. If one or the other does not fit into his budget, he
throws it out.

The thinkers run parallel to the believers in their pronouncements.
Instead of "If it is from God you will not root it out," the word is "If
it is from the _truth_, is true, etc."; instead of "Give God the
glory,"--"Give truth the glory." But it is very much the same to me
whether God or the truth wins; first and foremost _I_ want to win.

Aside from this, how is an "unlimited freedom" to be thinkable inside of
the State or society? The State may well protect one against another,
but yet it must not let itself be endangered by an unmeasured freedom, a
so-called unbridledness. Thus in "freedom of instruction" the State
declares only this,--that it is suited with every one who instructs as
the State (or, speaking more comprehensibly, the political power) would
have it. The point for the competitors is this "as the State would have
it." If the clergy, _e. g._, does not will as the State does, then it
itself excludes itself from _competition_ (_vid._ France). The limit
that is necessarily drawn in the State for any and all competition is
called "the oversight and superintendence of the State." In bidding
freedom of instruction keep within the due bounds, the State at the same
time fixes the scope of freedom of thought; because, as a rule, people
do not think farther than their teachers have thought.

Hear Minister Guizot: "The great difficulty of to-day is the _guiding
and dominating of the mind_. Formerly the church fulfilled this mission;
now it is not adequate to it. It is from the university that this great
service must be expected, and the university will not fail to perform
it. We, the _government_, have the duty of supporting it therein. The
charter calls for the freedom of thought and that of conscience."[228]
So, in favor of freedom of thought and conscience, the minister demands
"the guiding and dominating of the mind."

Catholicism haled the examinee before the forum of ecclesiasticism,
Protestantism before that of biblical Christianity. It would be but
little bettered if one haled him before that of reason, as Ruge,
_e. g._, wants to.[229] Whether the church, the Bible, or reason (to
which, moreover, Luther and Huss already appealed) is the _sacred
authority_ makes no difference in essentials.

The "question of our time" does not become soluble even when one puts it
thus: Is anything general authorized, or only the individual? Is the
generality (such as State, law, custom, morality, etc.) authorized, or
individuality? It becomes soluble for the first time when one no longer
asks after an "authorization" at all, and does not carry on a mere fight
against "privileges."--A "rational" freedom of teaching, which
"recognizes only the conscience of reason,"[230] does not bring us to
the goal; we require an _egoistic_ freedom of teaching rather, a freedom
of teaching for all ownness, wherein _I_ become _audible_ and can
announce myself unchecked. That I make myself "_audible_,"[231] this
alone is "reason,"[232] be I ever so irrational; in my making myself
heard, and so hearing myself, others as well as I myself enjoy me, and
at the same time consume me.

What would be gained if, as formerly the orthodox I, the loyal I, the
moral I, etc., was free, now the rational I should become free? Would
this be the freedom of me?

If I am free as "rational I," then the rational in me, or reason, is
free; and this freedom of reason, or freedom of the thought, was the
ideal of the Christian world from of old. They wanted to make
thinking--and, as aforesaid, faith is also thinking, as thinking is
faith--free; the thinkers, _i. e._ the believers as well as the
rational, were to be free; for the rest freedom was impossible. But the
freedom of thinkers is the "freedom of the children of God," and at the
same time the most merciless--hierarchy or dominion of the thought; for
_I_ succumb to the thought. If thoughts are free, I am their slave; I
have no power over them, and am dominated by them. But I want to have
the thought, want to be full of thoughts, but at the same time I want to
be thoughtless, and, instead of freedom of thought, I preserve for
myself thoughtlessness.

If the point is to have myself understood and to make communications,
then assuredly I can make use only of _human_ means, which are at my
command because I am at the same time man. And really I have thoughts
only as _man_; as I, I am at the same time _thoughtless_.[233] He who
cannot get rid of a thought is so far only man, is a thrall of
_language_, this human institution, this treasury of _human_ thoughts.
Language or "the word" tyrannizes hardest over us, because it brings up
against us a whole army of _fixed ideas_. Just observe yourself in the
act of reflection, right now, and you will find how you make progress
only by becoming thoughtless and speechless every moment. You are not
thoughtless and speechless merely in (say) sleep, but even in the
deepest reflection; yes, precisely then most so. And only by this
thoughtlessness, this unrecognized "freedom of thought" or freedom from
the thought, are you your own. Only from it do you arrive at putting
language to use as your _property_.

If thinking is not _my_ thinking, it is merely a spun-out thought; it is
slave work, or the work of a "servant obeying at the word." For not a
thought, but I, am the beginning for my thinking, and therefore I am its
goal too, even as its whole course is only a course of my
self-enjoyment; for absolute or free thinking, on the other hand,
thinking itself is the beginning, and it plagues itself with propounding
this beginning as the extremest "abstraction" (_e. g._ as being). This
very abstraction, or this thought, is then spun out further.

Absolute thinking is the affair of the human spirit, and this is a holy
spirit. Hence this thinking is an affair of the parsons, who have "a
sense for it," a sense for the "highest interests of mankind," for "the

To the believer, truths are a _settled_ thing, a fact; to the
freethinker, a thing that is still to be _settled_. Be absolute thinking
ever so unbelieving, its incredulity has its limits, and there does
remain a belief in the truth, in the spirit, in the idea and its final
victory: this thinking does not sin against the holy spirit. But all
thinking that does not sin against the holy spirit is belief in spirits
or ghosts.

I can as little renounce thinking as feeling, the spirit's activity as
little as the activity of the senses. As feeling is our sense for
things, so thinking is our sense for essences (thoughts). Essences have
their existence in everything sensuous, especially in the word. The
power of words follows that of things: first one is coerced by the rod,
afterward by conviction. The might of things overcomes our courage, our
spirit; against the power of a conviction, and so of the word, even the
rack and the sword lose their overpoweringness and force. The men of
conviction are the priestly men, who resist every enticement of Satan.

Christianity took away from the things of this world only their
irresistibleness, made us independent of them. In like manner I raise
myself above truths and their power: as I am supersensual, so I am
supertrue. _Before me_ truths are as common and as indifferent as
things; they do not carry me away, and do not inspire me with
enthusiasm. There exists not even one truth, not right, not freedom,
humanity, etc., that has stability before me, and to which I subject
myself. They are _words_, nothing but words, as all things are to the
Christian nothing but "vain things." In words and truths (every word is
a truth, as Hegel asserts that one cannot _tell_ a lie) there is no
salvation for me, as little as there is for the Christian in things and
vanities. As the riches of this world do not make me happy, so neither
do its truths. It is now no longer Satan, but the spirit, that plays the
story of the temptation; and he does not seduce by the things of this
world, but by its thoughts, by the "glitter of the idea."

Along with worldly goods, all sacred goods too must be put away as no
longer valuable.

Truths are phrases, ways of speaking, words ([Greek: logos]); brought
into connection, or into an articulate series, they form logic, science,

For thinking and speaking I need truths and words, as I do foods for
eating; without them I cannot think nor speak. Truths are men's
thoughts, set down in words and therefore just as extant as other
things, although extant only for the mind or for thinking, they are
human institutions and human creatures, and, even if they are given out
for divine revelations, there still remains in them the quality of
alienness for me; yes, as my own creatures they are already alienated
from me after the act of creation.

The Christian man is the man with faith in thinking, who believes in the
supreme dominion of thoughts and wants to bring thoughts, so-called
"principles," to dominion. Many a one does indeed test the thoughts, and
chooses none of them for his master without criticism, but in this he is
like the dog who sniffs at people to smell out "his master": he is
always aiming at the _ruling_ thought. The Christian may reform and
revolt an infinite deal, may demolish the ruling concepts of centuries;
he will always aspire to a new "principle" or new master again, always
set up a higher or "deeper" truth again, always call forth a cult again,
always proclaim a spirit called to dominion, lay down a _law_ for all.

If there is even one truth only to which man has to devote his life and
his powers because he is man, then he is subjected to a rule, dominion,
law, etc.; he is a servingman. It is supposed that, _e. g._, man,
humanity, liberty, etc., are such truths.

On the other hand, one can say thus: Whether you will further occupy
yourself with thinking depends on you; only know that, _if_ in your
thinking you would like to make out anything worthy of notice, many hard
problems are to be solved, without vanquishing which you cannot get far.
There exists, therefore, no duty and no calling for you to meddle with
thoughts (ideas, truths); but, if you will do so, you will do well to
utilize what the forces of others have already achieved toward clearing
up these difficult subjects.

Thus, therefore, he who will think does assuredly have a task, which
_he_ consciously or unconsciously sets for himself in willing that; but
no one has the task of thinking or of believing.--In the former case it
may be said, You do not go far enough, you have a narrow and biased
interest, you do not go to the bottom of the thing; in short, you do not
completely subdue it. But, on the other hand, however far you may come
at any time, you are still always at the end, you have no call to step
farther, and you can have it as you will or as you are able. It stands
with this as with any other piece of work, which you can give up when
the humor for it wears off. Just so, if you can no longer _believe_ a
thing, you do not have to force yourself into faith or to busy yourself
lastingly as if with a sacred truth of the faith, as theologians or
philosophers do, but you can tranquilly draw back your interest from it
and let it run. Priestly spirits will indeed expound this your lack of
interest as "laziness, thoughtlessness, obduracy, self-deception," and
the like. But do you just let the trumpery lie, notwithstanding. No
thing,[234] no so-called "highest interest of mankind," no "sacred
cause,"[235] is worth your serving it, and occupying yourself with it
for _its sake_; you may seek its worth in this alone, whether it is
worth anything to _you_ for your sake. Become like children, the
biblical saying admonishes us. But children have no sacred interest and
know nothing of a "good cause." They know all the more accurately what
they have a fancy for; and they think over, to the best of their powers,
how they are to arrive at it.

Thinking will as little cease as feeling. But the power of thoughts and
ideas, the dominion of theories and principles, the sovereignty of the
spirit, in short the--_hierarchy_, lasts as long as the parsons, _i. e._
theologians, philosophers, statesmen, philistines, liberals,
schoolmasters, servants, parents, children, married couples, Proudhon,
George Sand, Bluntschli, etc., etc., have the floor; the hierarchy will
endure as long as people believe in, think of, or even criticise,
principles; for even the most inexorable criticism, which undermines
all current principles, still does finally _believe_ in _the principle_.

Every one criticises, but the criterion is different. People run after
the "right" criterion. The right criterion is the first presupposition.
The critic starts from a proposition, a truth, a belief. This is not a
creation of the critic, but of the dogmatist; nay, commonly it is
actually taken up out of the culture of the time without further
ceremony, like _e. g._ "liberty," "humanity," etc. The critic has not
"discovered man," but this truth has been established as "man" by the
dogmatist, and the critic (who, besides, may be the same person with
him) believes in this truth, this article of faith. In this faith, and
possessed by this faith, he criticises.

The secret of criticism is some "truth" or other: this remains its
energizing mystery.

But I distinguish between _servile_ and _own_ criticism. If I criticise
under the presupposition of a supreme being, my criticism _serves_ the
being and is carried on for its sake: if, _e. g._, I am possessed by the
belief in a "free State," then everything that has a bearing on it I
criticise from the standpoint of whether it is suitable to this State,
for I _love_ this State; if I criticise as a pious man, then for me
everything falls into the classes of divine and diabolical, and before
my criticism nature consists of traces of God or traces of the devil
(hence names like Godsgift, Godmount, the Devil's Pulpit, etc.), men of
believers and unbelievers, etc.; if I criticise while believing in man
as the "true essence," then for me everything falls primarily into the
classes of man and the un-man, etc.

Criticism has to this day remained a work of love: for at all times we
exercised it for the love of some being. All servile criticism is a
product of love, a possessedness, and proceeds according to that New
Testament precept, "Test everything and hold fast the _good_."[236] "The
good" is the touchstone, the criterion. The good, returning under a
thousand names and forms, remained always the presupposition, remained
the dogmatic fixed point for this criticism, remained the--fixed idea.

The critic, in setting to work, impartially presupposes the "truth," and
seeks for the truth in the belief that it is to be found. He wants to
ascertain the true, and has in it that very "good."

Presuppose means nothing else than put a _thought_ in front, or think
something before everything else and think the rest from the
starting-point of this that has _been thought_, _i. e._ measure and
criticise it by this. In other words, this is as much as to say that
thinking is to begin with something already thought. If thinking began
at all, instead of being begun, if thinking were a subject, an acting
personality of its own, as even the plant is such, then indeed there
would be no abandoning the principle that thinking must begin with
itself. But it is just the personification of thinking that brings to
pass those innumerable errors. In the Hegelian system they always talk
as if thinking or "the thinking spirit" (_i. e._ personified thinking,
thinking as a ghost) thought and acted; in critical liberalism it is
always said that "criticism" does this and that, or else that
"self-consciousness" finds this and that. But, if thinking ranks as the
personal actor, thinking itself must be presupposed; if criticism ranks
as such, a thought must likewise stand in front. Thinking and criticism
could be active only starting from themselves, would have to be
themselves the presupposition of their activity, as without being they
could not be active. But thinking, as a thing presupposed, is a fixed
thought, a _dogma_; thinking and criticism, therefore, can start only
from a _dogma_, _i. e._ from a thought, a fixed idea, a presupposition.

With this we come back again to what was enunciated above, that
Christianity consists in the development of a world of thoughts, or that
it is the proper "freedom of thought," the "free thought," the "free
spirit." The "true" criticism, which I called "servile," is therefore
just as much "free" criticism, for it is not _my own_.

The case stands otherwise when what is yours is not made into something
that is of itself, not personified, not made independent an a "spirit"
to itself. _Your_ thinking has for a presupposition not "thinking," but
_you_. But thus you do presuppose yourself after all? Yes, but not for
myself, but for my thinking. Before my thinking, there is--I. From this
it follows that my thinking is not preceded by a _thought_, or that my
thinking is without a "presupposition." For the presupposition which I
am for my thinking is not one _made by thinking_, not one _thought of_,
but it is _posited_ thinking _itself_, it is the _owner_ of the thought,
and proves only that thinking is nothing more than--_property_, _i. e._
that an "independent" thinking, a "thinking spirit," does not exist at

This reversal of the usual way of regarding things might so resemble an
empty playing with abstractions that even those against whom it is
directed would acquiesce in the harmless aspect I give it, if practical
consequences were not connected with it.

To bring these into a concise expression, the assertion now made is that
man is not the measure of all things, but I am this measure. The servile
critic has before his eye another being, an idea, which he means to
serve; therefore he only slays the false idols for his God. What is done
for the love of this being, what else should it be but a--work of love?
But I, when I criticise, do not even have myself before my eyes, but am
only doing myself a pleasure, amusing myself according to my taste;
according to my several needs I chew the thing up or only inhale its

The distinction between the two attitudes will come out still more
strikingly if one reflects that the servile critic, because love guides
him, supposes he is serving the thing [cause] itself.

_The_ truth, or "truth in general," people are bound not to give up, but
to seek for. What else is it but the _être suprême_, the highest
essence? Even "true criticism" would have to despair if it lost faith in
the truth. And yet the truth is only a--_thought_; but it is not merely
"a" thought, but the thought that is above all thoughts, the
irrefragable thought; it is _the_ thought itself, which gives the first
hallowing to all others; it is the consecration of thoughts, the
"absolute," the "sacred" thought. The truth wears longer than all the
gods; for it is only in the truth's service, and for love of it, that
people have overthrown the gods and at last God himself. "The truth"
outlasts the downfall of the world of gods, for it is the immortal soul
of this transitory world of gods, it is Deity itself.

I will answer Pilate's question, What is truth? Truth is the free
thought, the free idea, the free spirit; truth is what is free from you,
what is not your own, what is not in your power. But truth is also the
completely unindependent, impersonal, unreal, and incorporeal; truth
cannot step forward as you do, cannot move, change, develop; truth
awaits and receives everything from you, and itself is only through you;
for it exists only--in your head. You concede that the truth is a
thought, but say that not every thought is a true one, or, as you are
also likely to express it, not every thought is truly and really a
thought. And by what do you measure and recognize the thought? By _your
impotence_, to wit, by your being no longer able to make any successful
assault on it! When it overpowers you, inspires you, and carries you
away, then you hold it to be the true one. Its dominion over you
certifies to you its truth; and, when it possesses you, and you are
possessed by it, then you feel well with it, for then you have found
your--_lord and master_. When you were seeking the truth, what did your
heart then long for? For your master! You did not aspire to _your_
might, but to a Mighty One, and wanted to exalt a Mighty One ("Exalt ye
the Lord our God!"). The truth, my dear Pilate, is--the Lord, and all
who seek the truth are seeking and praising the Lord. Where does the
Lord exist? Where else but in your head? He is only spirit, and,
wherever you believe you really see him, there he is a--ghost; for the
Lord is merely something that is thought of, and it was only the
Christian pains and agony to make the invisible visible, the spiritual
corporeal, that generated the ghost and was the frightful misery of the
belief in ghosts.

As long as you believe in the truth, you do not believe in yourself, and
you are a--_servant_, a--_religious man_. You alone are the truth, or
rather, you are more than the truth, which is nothing at all before you.
You too do assuredly ask about the truth, you too do assuredly
"criticise," but you do not ask about a "higher truth,"--to wit, one
that should be higher than you,--nor criticise according to the
criterion of such a truth. You address yourself to thoughts and notions,
as you do to the appearances of things, only for the purpose of making
them palatable to you, enjoyable to you, and your _own_: you want only
to subdue them and become their _owner_, you want to orient yourself and
feel at home in them, and you find them true, or see them in their true
light, when they can no longer slip away from you, no longer have any
unseized or uncomprehended place, or when they are _right for you_, when
they are your _property_. If afterward they become heavier again, if
they wriggle themselves out of your power again, then that is just their
untruth,--to wit, your impotence. Your impotence is their power, your
humility their exaltation. Their truth, therefore, is you, or is the
nothing which you are for them and in which they dissolve: their truth
is their _nothingness_.

Only as the property of me do the spirits, the truths, get to rest; and
they then for the first time really are, when they have been deprived of
their sorry existence and made a property of mine, when it is no longer
said "the truth develops itself, rules, asserts itself; history (also a
concept) wins the victory," and the like. The truth never has won a
victory, but was always my _means_ to the victory, like the sword ("the
sword of truth"). The truth is dead, a letter, a word, a material that I
can use up. All truth by itself is dead, a corpse; it is alive only in
the same way as my lungs are alive,--to wit, in the measure of my own
vitality. Truths are material, like vegetables and weeds; as to whether
vegetable or weed, the decision lies in me.

Objects are to me only material that I use up. Wherever I put my hand I
grasp a truth, which I trim for myself. The truth is certain to me, and
I do not need to long after it. To do the truth a service is in no case
my intent; it is to me only a nourishment for my thinking head, as
potatoes are for my digesting stomach, or as a friend is for my social
heart. As long as I have the humor and force for thinking, every truth
serves me only for me to work it up according to my powers. As reality
or worldliness is "vain and a thing of naught" for Christians, so is the
truth for me. It exists, exactly as much as the things of this world go
on existing although the Christian has proved their nothingness; but it
is vain, because it has its _value_ not _in itself_ but _in me_. _Of
itself_ it is _valueless_. The truth is a--_creature_.

As you produce innumerable things by your activity, yes, shape the
earth's surface anew and set up works of men everywhere, so too you may
still ascertain numberless truths by your thinking, and we will gladly
take delight in them. Nevertheless, as I do not please to hand myself
over to serve your newly discovered machines mechanically, but only help
to set them running for my benefit, so too I will only use your truths,
without letting myself be used for their demands.

All truths _beneath_ me are to my liking; a truth _above_ me, a truth
that I should have to _direct_ myself by, I am not acquainted with. For
me there is no truth, for nothing is more than I! Not even my essence,
not even the essence of man, is more than I! than I, this "drop in the
bucket," this "insignificant man!"

You believe that you have done the utmost when you boldly assert that,
because every time has its own truth, there is no "absolute truth." Why,
with this you nevertheless still leave to each time its truth, and you
quite genuinely create an "absolute truth," a truth that no time lacks,
because every time, however its truth may be, still has a "truth."

Is it meant only that people have been thinking in every time, and so
have had thoughts or truths, and that in the subsequent time these were
other than they were in the earlier? No, the word is to be that every
time had its "truth of faith"; and in fact none has yet appeared in
which a "higher truth" has not been recognized, a truth that people
believed they must subject themselves to as "highness and majesty."
Every truth of a time is its fixed idea, and, if people later found
another truth, this always happened only because they sought for
another; they only reformed the folly and put a modern dress on it.
For they did want--who would dare doubt their justification for
this?--they wanted to be "inspired by an idea." They wanted to be
dominated,--possessed, by a _thought_! The most modern ruler of this
kind is "our essence," or "man."

For all free criticism a thought was the criterion; for own criticism I
am, I the unspeakable, and so not the merely thought-of; for what is
merely thought of is always speakable, because word and thought
coincide. That is true which is mine, untrue that whose own I am; true,
_e. g._, the union; untrue, the State and society. "Free and true"
criticism takes care for the consistent dominion of a thought, an idea,
a spirit; "own" criticism, for nothing but my _self-enjoyment_. But in
this the latter is in fact--and we will not spare it this
"ignominy"!--like the bestial criticism of instinct. I, like the
criticising beast, am concerned only for _myself_, not "for the cause."
_I_ am the criterion of truth, but I am not an idea, but more than idea,
_i. e._ unutterable. _My_ criticism is not a "free" criticism, not free
from me, and not "servile," not in the service of an idea, but an _own_

True or human criticism makes out only whether something is _suitable_
to man, to the true man; but by own criticism you ascertain whether it
is suitable to _you_.

Free criticism busies itself with _ideas_, and therefore is always
theoretical. However it may rage against ideas, it still does not get
clear of them. It pitches into the ghosts, but it can do this only as it
holds them to be ghosts. The ideas it has to do with do not fully
disappear; the morning breeze of a new day does not scare them away.

The critic may indeed come to ataraxy before ideas, but he never gets
_rid_ of them, _i. e._ he will never comprehend that above the _bodily
man_ there does not exist something higher,--to wit, liberty, his
humanity, etc. He always has a "calling" of man still left, "humanity."
And this idea of humanity remains unrealized, just because it is an
"idea" and is to remain such.

If, on the other hand, I grasp the idea as _my_ idea, then it is already
realized, because _I_ am its reality; its reality consists in the fact
that I, the bodily, have it.

They say, the idea of liberty realizes itself in the history of the
world. The reverse is the case; this idea is real as a man thinks it,
and it is real in the measure in which it is idea, _i. e._ in which I
think it or _have_ it. It is not the idea of liberty that develops
itself, but men develop themselves, and, of course, in this
self-development develop their thinking too.

In short, the critic is not yet _owner_; because he still fights with
ideas as with powerful aliens,--as the Christian is not owner of his
"bad desires" so long as he has to combat them; for him who contends
against vice, vice _exists_.

Criticism remains stuck fast in the "freedom of knowing," the freedom of
the spirit, and the spirit gains its proper freedom when it fills itself
with the pure, true idea; this is the freedom of thinking, which cannot
be without thoughts.

Criticism smites one idea only by another, _e. g._ that of privilege by
that of manhood, or that of egoism by that of unselfishness.

In general, the beginning of Christianity comes on the stage again in
its critical end, egoism being combated here as there. I am not to make
myself (the individual) count, but the idea, the general.

Why, warfare of the priesthood with _egoism_, of the spiritually-minded
with the worldly-minded, constitutes the substance of all Christian
history. In the newest criticism this war only becomes all-embracing,
fanaticism complete. Indeed, neither can it pass away till it passes
thus, after it has had its life and its rage out.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whether what I think and do is Christian, what do I care? Whether it is
human, liberal, humane, whether unhuman, illiberal, inhuman, what do I
ask about that? If only it accomplishes what I want, if only I satisfy
myself in it, then overlay it with predicates as you will; it is all
alike to me.

Perhaps I too, in the very next moment, defend myself against my former
thoughts; I too am likely to change suddenly my mode of action; but not
on account of its not corresponding to Christianity, not on account of
its running counter to the eternal rights of man, not on account of its
affronting the idea of mankind, humanity, and humanitarianism,
but--because I am no longer all in it, because it no longer furnishes me
any full enjoyment, because I doubt the earlier thought or no longer
please myself in the mode of action just now practised.

As the world as property has become a _material_ with which I undertake
what I will, so the spirit too as property must sink down into a
_material_ before which I no longer entertain any sacred dread. Then,
firstly, I shall shudder no more before a thought, let it appear as
presumptuous and "devilish" as it will, because, if it threatens to
become too inconvenient and unsatisfactory for _me_, its end lies in my
power; but neither shall I recoil from any deed because there dwells in
it a spirit of godlessness, immorality, wrongfulness, as little as St.
Boniface pleased to desist, through religious scrupulousness, from
cutting down the sacred oak of the heathens. If the _things_ of the
world have once become vain, the _thoughts_ of the spirit must also
become vain.

No thought is sacred, for let no thought rank as "devotions";[237] no
feeling is sacred (no sacred feeling of friendship, mother's feelings,
etc.), no belief is sacred. They are all _alienable_, my alienable
property, and are annihilated, as they are created, by _me_.

The Christian can lose all _things_ or objects, the most loved persons,
these "objects" of his love, without giving up himself (_i. e._, in the
Christian sense, his spirit, his soul) as lost. The owner can cast from
him all the _thoughts_ that were dear to his heart and kindled his zeal,
and will likewise "gain a thousandfold again," because he, their
creator, remains.

Unconsciously and involuntarily we all strive toward ownness, and there
will hardly be one among us who has not given up a sacred feeling, a
sacred thought, a sacred belief; nay, we probably meet no one who could
not still deliver himself from one or another of his sacred thoughts.
All our contention against convictions starts from the opinion that
maybe we are capable of driving our opponent out of his intrenchments of
thought. But what I do unconsciously I half do, and therefore after
every victory over a faith I become again the _prisoner_ (possessed) of
a faith which then takes my whole self anew into its _service_, and
makes me an enthusiast for reason after I have ceased to be enthusiastic
for the Bible, or an enthusiast for the idea of humanity after I have
fought long enough for that of Christianity.

Doubtless, as owner of thoughts, I shall cover my property with my
shield, just as I do not, as owner of things, willingly let everybody
help himself to them; but at the same time I shall look forward
smilingly to the outcome of the battle, smilingly lay the shield on the
corpses of my thoughts and my faith, smilingly triumph when I am beaten.
That is the very humor of the thing. Every one who has "sublimer
feelings" is able to vent his humor on the pettinesses of men; but to
let it play with all "great thoughts, sublime feelings, noble
inspiration, and sacred faith" presupposes that I am the owner of all.

If religion has set up the proposition that we are sinners altogether, I
set over against it the other: we are perfect altogether! For we are,
every moment, all that we can be; and we never need be more. Since no
defect cleaves to us, sin has no meaning either. Show me a sinner in the
world still, if no one any longer needs to do what suits a superior! If
I only need do what suits myself, I am no sinner if I do not do what
suits myself, as I do not injure in myself a "holy one"; if, on the
other hand, I am to be pious, then I must do what suits God; if I am to
act humanly, I must do what suits the essence of man, the idea of
mankind, etc. What religion calls the "sinner," humanitarianism calls
the "egoist." But, once more: if I need not do what suits any other, is
the "egoist," in whom humanitarianism has borne to itself a new-fangled
devil, anything more than a piece of nonsense? The egoist, before whom
the humane shudder, is a spook as much as the devil is: he exists only
as a bogie and phantasm in their brain. If they were not
unsophisticatedly drifting back and forth in the antediluvian opposition
of good and evil, to which they have given the modern names of "human"
and "egoistic," they would not have freshened up the hoary "sinner" into
an "egoist" either, and put a new patch on an old garment. But they
could not do otherwise, for they hold it for their task to be "men."
They are rid of the Good One; good is left![238]

We are perfect altogether, and on the whole earth there is not one man
who is a sinner! There are crazy people who imagine that they are God
the Father, God the Son, or the man in the moon, and so too the world
swarms with fools who seem to themselves to be sinners; but, as the
former are not the man in the moon, so the latter are--not sinners.
Their sin is imaginary.

Yet, it is insidiously objected, their craziness or their possessedness
is at least their sin. Their possessedness is nothing but what
they--could achieve, the result of their development, just as Luther's
faith in the Bible was all that he was--competent to make out. The one
brings himself into the madhouse with his development, the other brings
himself therewith into the Pantheon and to the loss of--Valhalla.

There is no sinner and no sinful egoism!

Get away from me with your "philanthropy"! Creep in, you philanthropist,
into the "dens of vice," linger awhile in the throng of the great city:
will you not everywhere find sin, and sin, and again sin? Will you not
wail over corrupt humanity, not lament at the monstrous egoism? Will you
see a rich man without finding him pitiless and "egoistic"? Perhaps you
already call yourself an atheist, but you remain true to the Christian
feeling that a camel will sooner go through a needle's eye than a rich
man not be an "un-man." How many do you see anyhow that you would not
throw into the "egoistic mass"? What, therefore, has your philanthropy
[love of man] found? Nothing but unlovable men! And where do they all
come from? From you, from your philanthropy! You brought the sinner with
you in your head, therefore you found him, therefore you inserted him
everywhere. Do not call men sinners, and they are not: you alone are the
creator of sinners; you, who fancy that you love men, are the very one
to throw them into the mire of sin, the very one to divide them into
vicious and virtuous, into men and un-men, the very one to befoul them
with the slaver of your possessedness; for you love not _men_, but
_man_. But I tell you, you have never seen a sinner, you have
only--dreamed of him.

Self-enjoyment is embittered to me by my thinking I must serve another,
by my fancying myself under obligation to him, by my holding myself
called to "self-sacrifice," "resignation," "enthusiasm." All right: if I
no longer serve any idea, any "higher essence," then it is clear of
itself that I no longer serve any man either, but--under all
circumstances--_myself_. But thus I am not merely in fact or in being,
but also for my consciousness, the--unique.[239]

There pertains to _you_ more than the divine, the human, etc.; _yours_
pertains to you.

Look upon yourself as more powerful than they give you out for, and you
have more power; look upon yourself as more, and you have more.

You are then not merely _called_ to everything divine, _entitled_ to
everything human, but _owner_ of what is yours, _i. e._ of all that you
possess the force to make your own;[240] _i. e._ you are
_appropriate_[241] and capacitated for everything that is yours.

People have always supposed that they must give me a destiny lying
outside myself, so that at last they demanded that I should lay claim to
the human because I am = man. This is the Christian magic circle.
Fichte's ego too is the same essence outside me, for every one is ego;
and, if only this ego has rights, then it is "the ego," it is not I. But
I am not an ego along with other egos, but the sole ego: I am unique.
Hence my wants too are unique, and my deeds; in short, everything about
me is unique. And it is only as this unique I that I take everything for
my own, as I set myself to work, and develop myself, only as this. I do
not develop man, nor as man, but, as I, I develop--myself.

This is the meaning of the--_unique one_.



Pre-Christian and Christian times pursue opposite goals; the former
wants to idealize the real, the latter to realize the ideal; the former
seeks the "holy spirit," the latter the "glorified body." Hence the
former closes with insensitiveness to the real, with "contempt for the
world"; the latter will end with the casting off of the ideal, with
"contempt for the spirit."

The opposition of the real and the ideal is an irreconcilable one, and
the one can never become the other: if the ideal became the real, it
would no longer be the ideal; and, if the real became the ideal, the
ideal alone would be, but not at all the real. The opposition of the two
is not to be vanquished otherwise than if _some one_ annihilates both.
Only in this "some one," the third party, does the opposition find its
end; otherwise idea and reality will ever fail to coincide. The idea
cannot be so realized as to remain idea, but is realized only when it
dies as idea; and it is the same with the real.

But now we have before us in the ancients adherents of the idea, in the
moderns adherents of reality. Neither can get clear of the opposition,
and both pine only, the one party for the spirit, and, when this
craving of the ancient world seemed to be satisfied and this spirit to
have come, the others immediately for the secularization of this spirit
again, which must forever remain a "pious wish."

The pious wish of the ancients was _sanctity_, the pious wish of the
moderns is _corporeity_. But, as antiquity had to go down if its longing
was to be satisfied (for it consisted only in the longing), so too
corporeity can never be attained within the ring of Christianness. As
the trait of sanctification or purification goes through the old world
(the washings, etc.), so that of incorporation goes through the
Christian world: God plunges down into this world, becomes flesh, and
wants to redeem it, _i. e._ fill it with himself; but, since he is "the
idea" or "the spirit," people (_e. g._ Hegel) in the end introduce the
idea into everything, into the world, and prove "that the idea is, that
reason is, in everything." "Man" corresponds in the culture of to-day to
what the heathen Stoics set up as "the wise man"; the latter, like the
former, a--_fleshless_ being. The unreal "wise man," this bodiless "holy
one" of the Stoics, became a real person, a bodily "Holy One," in God
_made flesh_; the unreal "man," the bodiless ego, will become real in
the _corporeal ego_, in me.

There winds its way through Christianity the question about the
"existence of God," which, taken up ever and ever again, gives testimony
that the craving for existence, corporeity, personality, reality, was
incessantly busying the heart because it never found a satisfying
solution. At last the question about the existence of God fell, but only
to rise up again in the proposition that the "divine" had existence
(Feuerbach). But this too has no existence, and neither will the last
refuge, that the "purely human" is realizable, afford shelter much
longer. No idea has existence, for none is capable of corporeity. The
scholastic contention of realism and nominalism has the same content; in
short, this spins itself out through all Christian history, and cannot
end _in_ it.

The world of Christians is working at _realizing ideas_ in the
individual relations of life, the institutions and laws of the Church
and the State; but they make resistance, and always keep back something
unembodied (unrealizable). Nevertheless this embodiment is restlessly
rushed after, no matter in what degree _corporeity_ constantly fails to

For realities matter little to the realizer, but it matters everything
that they be realizations of the idea. Hence he is ever examining anew
whether the realized does in truth have the idea, its kernel, dwelling
in it; and in testing the real he at the same time tests the idea,
whether it is realizable as he thinks it, or is only thought by him
incorrectly, and for that reason unfeasibly.

The Christian is no longer to care for family, State, etc., as
_existences_; Christians are not to sacrifice themselves for these
"divine things" like the ancients, but these are only to be utilized to
make the _spirit alive_ in them. The _real_ family has become
indifferent, and there is to arise out of it an _ideal_ one which would
then be the "truly real," a sacred family, blessed by God, or, according
to the liberal way of thinking, a "rational" family. With the ancients
family, State, fatherland, etc., is divine as a thing _extant_; with
the moderns it is still awaiting divinity, as extant it is only sinful,
earthly, and has still to be "redeemed," _i. e._ to become truly real.
This has the following meaning: The family, etc., is not the extant and
real, but the divine, the idea, is extant and real; whether _this_
family will make itself real by taking up the truly real, the idea, is
still unsettled. It is not the individual's task to serve the family as
the divine, but, reversely, to serve the divine and to bring to it the
still undivine family, _i. e._ to subject everything in the idea's name,
to set up the idea's banner everywhere, to bring the idea to real

But, since the concern of Christianity, as of antiquity, is for the
_divine_, they always come out at this again on their opposite ways. At
the end of heathenism the divine becomes the _extramundane_, at the end
of Christianity the _intramundane_. Antiquity does not succeed in
putting it entirely outside the world, and, when Christianity
accomplishes this task, the divine instantly longs to get back into the
world and wants to "redeem" the world. But within Christianity it does
not and cannot come to this, that the divine as _intramundane_ should
really become the _mundane itself_: there is enough left that does and
must maintain itself unpenetrated as the "bad," irrational, accidental,
"egoistic," the "mundane" in the bad sense. Christianity begins with
God's becoming man, and carries on its work of conversion and redemption
through all time in order to prepare for God a reception in all men and
in everything human, and to penetrate everything with the spirit: it
sticks to preparing a place for the "spirit."

When the accent was at last laid on Man or mankind, it was again the
idea that they "_pronounced eternal_." "Man does not die!" They thought
they had now found the reality of the idea: _Man_ is the I of history,
of the world's history; it is he, this _ideal_, that really develops,
_i. e._ _realizes_, himself. He is the really real and corporeal one,
for history is his body, in which individuals are only members. Christ
is the I of the world's history, even of the pre-Christian; in modern
apprehension it is man, the figure of Christ has developed into the
_figure of man_: man as such, man absolutely, is the "central point" of
history. In "man" the imaginary beginning returns again; for "man" is as
imaginary as Christ is. "Man," as the I of the world's history, closes
the cycle of Christian apprehensions.

Christianity's magic circle would be broken if the strained relation
between existence and calling, _i. e._ between me as I am and me as I
should be, ceased; it persists only as the longing of the idea for its
bodiliness, and vanishes with the relaxing separation of the two: only
when the idea remains--idea, as man or mankind is indeed a bodiless
idea, is Christianity still extant. The corporeal idea, the corporeal or
"completed" spirit, floats before the Christian as "the end of the days"
or as the "goal of history"; it is not present time to him.

The individual can only have a part in the founding of the Kingdom of
God, or, according to the modern notion of the same thing, in the
development and history of humanity; and only so far as he has a part
in it does a Christian, or according to the modern expression human,
value pertain to him; for the rest he is dust and a worm-bag.

That the individual is of himself a world's history, and possesses his
property in the rest of the world's history, goes beyond what is
Christian. To the Christian the world's history is the higher thing,
because it is the history of Christ or "man"; to the egoist only _his_
history has value, because he wants to develop only _himself_, not the
mankind-idea, not God's plan, not the purposes of Providence, not
liberty, and the like. He does not look upon himself as a tool of the
idea or a vessel of God, he recognizes no calling, he does not fancy
that he exists for the further development of mankind and that he must
contribute his mite to it, but he lives himself out, careless of how
well or ill humanity may fare thereby. If it were not open to confusion
with the idea that a state of nature is to be praised, one might recall
Lenau's "Three Gypsies."--What, am I in the world to realize ideas? To
do my part by my citizenship, say, toward the realization of the idea
"State," or by marriage, as husband and father, to bring the idea of the
family into an existence? What does such a calling concern me! I live
after a calling as little as the flower grows and gives fragrance after
a calling.

The ideal "Man" is _realized_ when the Christian apprehension turns
about and becomes the proposition, "I, this unique one, am man." The
conceptual question, "what is man?"--has then changed into the personal
question, "who is man?" With "what" the concept was sought for, in order
to realize it; with "who" it is no longer any question at all, but the
answer is personally on hand at once in the asker: the question answers

They say of God, "Names name thee not." That holds good of me: no
_concept_ expresses me, nothing that is designated as my essence
exhausts me; they are only names. Likewise they say of God that he is
perfect and has no calling to strive after perfection. That too holds
good of me alone.

I am _owner_ of my might, and I am so when I know myself as _unique_. In
the _unique one_ the owner himself returns into his creative nothing,
out of which he is born. Every higher essence above me, be it God, be it
man, weakens the feeling of my uniqueness, and pales only before the sun
of this consciousness. If I concern myself for myself,[242] the unique
one, then my concern rests on its transitory, mortal creator, who
consumes himself, and I may say:

All things are nothing to me.[243]



The following index to this translation of "_Der Einzige und sein
Eigentum_" is intended to help one, after reading the book, to find a
passage which he remembers. It is not a concordance to aid in analytical
study. Hence the designations of the matter referred to are in a form
intended to be recognized by the person who remembers the passage; I
have generally preferred, so far as convenience permitted, to use the
words of the text itself, being confident that a description of the
subject-matter in words more appropriate to the summary form of the
index would never help any person to find his passage. If the
designations are recognizable, I have permitted them to be rough.

Of necessity the index has been made hastily, and I hereby confess it to
be guilty of all the faults that an index can possess, though I hope
that the page numbers will prove to be accurate. The faults that I am
most ashamed of are the incompleteness which usually omits the shorter
occurrences of a given word or idea and the indefiniteness of the "ff."
which does not tell the reader how far the reference extends. It has
actually not been in my power to avoid either of these faults, and I
hope they will not prevent the index from being of very considerable use
to those who pay continued attention to the book. These two faults will
be found least noticeable in the references to proper names and
quotations: therefore the reader who wants to find a passage will do
best to remember, if possible, a conspicuous proper name or a quotation
whose source is known--perhaps oftenest from the Bible--and look up his
passage by that. In the indexing of quotations, however, I have omitted
anonymous proverbs, lines of German hymns, and quotations of whose
authorship I was (whether pardonably or unpardonably) ignorant.

The abbreviations are: ftn., "footnote"; f., "and next page"; ff., "and
following pages."

                                                            S. T. B.

  Age: coming of age, 220.

  Alcibiades: 282 f.

  Alexis, Wilibald: "Cabanis," 291.

  Algiers: 343.

  Alien: the same in German as "strange," 47 ftn.

    citizens presumed respectable, 233.
    duelists how treated, 314.
    Germans sold to, 351.
    kings not valued in, 351.

  Ananias and Sapphira: 102.

  Anarchism: xv ff.

  Ancients: 17 ff.
    conquered the world, 120 ff.

  Aristippus: 26.

  Aristotle: "_zoon politicon_," 56, 307.

  Arnim: see Bettina.

  Art: support of, 360.

  Atahualpa: 448.

  Athanasius: "God making men divine," 382.

  Athenians: age of their popular freedom, 281 ff.

  Augsburg Confession: Art. 11, 117 f.

  Authorization: limits constitutional legislatures, etc., 146 f.

  Autun and Barrère, bishop of: 131.

  Babeuf, Babouvism, 245, 248.

  Bacon: "clear head," no philosopher, 111.

    "no extra reason," 306.
    what is my property, 131.

  Bauer, Bruno:
    "_Anekdota_" 2.152, 108.
    "_Denkwuerdigkeiten_" 6.6-7: 96, 102.
    "_Die gute Sache der Freiheit_" pp. 62-63: 178 f.
      p. 60: 180, 414.
         61: 229.
         66: 178.
         84: 235.
        114: 185.
    "_Lit. Ztg._"
       5.18: 164.
      No. 8: 190 ff.
       8.22: 321.
    "man just discovered," 8, 180, 326, 467.
    treats Jew question as relating to privilege, 271 ff.
    who he was, 163 ftn.

  Bauer, E.: "_Liberale Bestrebungen_"
       2.50-94: 299 ff.
      2.95 ff.: 378 f.
         2.130: 301.
         2.132: 302.

  Bavaria: its government worth more than a man, 345 ftn.

  Beasts: how they live, 435, 442 f.

  Becker, A.:
    "_Volksphilosophie unserer Tage_" p. 22 f.: 103, 249.
                                            32: 103.

    in beehood, 303 ff.
    little busy, 442.

    in Feuerbach's philosophy, 453 ff.
    same word in Grennan as "essence," 41 ftn.
    see also Essence; also Supreme.

  Bettina: "This book belongs to the King" pp. 374-385: 261 ff.

    Gen. 22.1-12: 198.
    Ex.    20.13: 65.
    Deut.   5.16: 216, 249.
            32.3: 459.
    Ps.     46.3: 121.
            99.9: 471.
    Prov.    3.2: 216.
    Is.     55.8: 338, 456.
            55.9: 26.
    Jer.   13.16: 459.
    Matt. 4.1-11: 464.
            5.18: 125.
            5.22: 56.
            5.48: 321.
            6.11: 426.
            6.13: 181.
            6.24: 279.
            6.34: 166.
             7.7: 449.
            8.22: 19.
            9.11: 70.
           10.16: 22, 422.
           10.35: 114.
           11.27: 122.
           12.30: 259.
           12.45: 102.
           13.25: 213.
           16.24: 215.
           16.26: 36.
            18.3: 466.
           19.21: 102.
           19.24: 481.
           22.21: 359, 422.
           23.24: 297.
           26.53: 282.
    Mark    2.21: 480.
            3.29: 240.
            9.23: 122.
           10.29: 11, 19.
    Luke    5.11: 102.
            6.20: 428.
            10.7: 157.
           11.13: 14.
           14.11: 46, 105.
            17.6: 122.
            23.2: 422.
    John    1.14: 269.
      1.18 Revised Version margin: 34.
             2.4: 114.
             3.4: 304.
             3.6: 34, 35.
           4.24a: 14, 23, 33, 39, 40, 60, 112, 140, 433, 444, 472.
           4.24b: 410.
         6.32-35: 426.
            8.44: 240.
           16.33: 33.
           18.36: 13.
           18.38: 13, 28, 471.
           20.22: 42.
           20.29: 446.
    Acts   5.1-2: 102.
             5.4: 398.
            5.29: 11, 215, 444.
            5.39: 459.
    Rom.    1.25: 451.
            6.18: 205.
             8.9: 42.
        8.14, 16: 226.
            8.21: 461.
            9.21: 259.
            12.1: 429.
    1 Cor.  2.10: 3, 13, 33, 433.
            3.16: 42.
             8.4: 133.
       15.26, 55: 430.
    2 Cor.  5.17: 30.
            6.15: 212.
    Gal.    2.20: 66, 93, 427.
            4.26: 19, 205.
    Phil.    2.9: 170.
    1 Thess. 5.21: 468.
    2 Tim.  1.10: 430.
    Heb.   11.13: 18, 34.
    James   1.17: 455.
            2.12: 206.
    1 Pet. 2.16(?): 205.
             5.2: 399.
    1 John  3.10: 226.
             4.8: 4, 51, 61, 74, 382.
            4.16: 382.
    different men's relation to, 447 ff.
    quotations from, xx.

  Birthright: 248 ff.

  Blanc, Louis: "_Histoire des Dix Ans_" I. 138: 139.

  Bluntschli: 466.

  Body recognized in manhood: 14 ff.

  Boniface, St.:
    cuts down sacred oak, 218, 478.
    risks life as missionary, 77.

  _Bourgeoisie_: see Commonalty.

  Burns, Robert: 433.

  Caitiff: 398.

    helping men to realize, 383 f.
    no calling, one does what he can, 433 ff.

  Calvinism: puritanical, 120.

    common to all, 434.
    differ, 433 f., 438 f.

    "_Koelner Dom_," 305.

  Catholicism: lets the profane world stand, 116 ff.

  Catholics: had regard for church, 290.

  Cause: mine and others, 3 ff.

  Censorship: more legal than murder, 65.

  Chamisso: "Valley of Murder," 247.

  Charles V: 399 ff.

  Children: 9 ff.
    competent to get a living, 350 f.

  Chinese: family responsibilty, 291.

  Chinese ways: 86 ff.

    no revolutionist, 422.
    would not call legions of angels, 282.

    founding of, 422 f.
    liberalism completes, 226 ff.

  Christianizing: 296.

    asserting their distinctiveness, 271 ff.
    trying to conquer the Spirit, 122 ff.

  Cicero: 28.

  Clericalism: 98 ff.

  Clootz, Anacharsis: 276.

    holds that a man's a man, 129 ff.
    magnifies desert, 136.

    see Proudhon, Socialism, Weitling.
    all for society, 412 f.
    an advanced feudalism, 415 ff.
    not advantageous to all, 410 ff.
    runs to regulations, 340.
    useful, 355 f.

  Competence: 348 ff.

    characteristic of _bourgeois_ society, 344.
    how to abolish, 364 f.
    produces poor work, 354.
    restricted by control of opportunities, 345 ff.

  Confidence: breach of, 400 ff.

  Conscience in Protestantism, 115.

  Consequences are not penalties, 314 f.

  Constitutional Monarchy: 300 ff.

  Corporeity the modern wish, 485 ff.

  Cotters: 327 f.

    a man's own affair, 317.
    results from the recognition of Man and right, 266 ff.
    the only way to beat the law, 258.
    treatment as disease, 316 f.

    how to make him ashamed, 265.
    ill treated, 383.
    made by the State, 261 ff.

  Cripples: wages to, 358 f.

  Crispin, St.: 64 f.

  Critical philosophy: its new morality, 72 ff.

    limited by love, 381 f.
    makes progress, 190 ff.
    of Bible, 163 ftn, 381, 448 f.
    servile and own, 467 ff.
    starts from presuppositions, 467 ff.
    victorious, 195.
    what it was, 163 ftn.

  Crito: 72.

  Culture: its results, 443 ff.

  Cultured people: 94 ff.

  Curative means against crime: 316 f.

  Curtius leaps into chasm, 99.

  Custom makes earth a heaven, 87 ff.

  Daehnhardt, Marie: xi.

  Descartes: _Cogito, ergo sum_, "I think, therefore I am," 25, 109 f.,
            112, 173.

  Despicable: 401.

  Desert, watchword of _bourgeoisie_, 136.

  Devil, natural objects named after, 467.

  Diogenes: 26.
    "Get out of my sunshine," 307.

  Directions for life: 432 f.

  Disgruntlement: 192.

  Dissolving: the price of liberty, 188.

  Divine: ancient and modern times are concerned for the, 486 ff.

  Dogma: 194 f.

    boycotted in America, 314 f.
    prohibited by State, 243.

  Dupin: 296.

  Education: 320 f.

  Ego: in title of this book, ix f.

    everybody repudiates, 185 ff.
    exemplified in God, races, States, etc., 3 ff.
    hypocritical, 216 f.
    remains under democracy and Socialism, 163 ff.
    the enemy of liberalism, 185 ff.

    all bodies of men are unjust to, 284.
    have brought peoples to ruin, 277 ff.
    involuntary, 46.

  _Einzige_ (_der_): translation of the word, ix f.

  Ends: 78 f.

    allows free press, 374.
    disregards popular turmoil, 297 f.
    law-abiding, 254.

  Enjoyment: rather than life, as object, 426 ff.

  Epicureans: 27 f.

  Equal: who are our equals? 225 ff.

    of political rights, 133 ff.
    to result from Communism, 154 ff.

    essences are spooks, 50 ff.
    higher and highest essences, 47 ff. See also Supreme Being.
    of man, as supreme, 40 f.
    recognized in men, 52 ff.
    same as "being," 41 ftn.

  Established: 293 f.

  Estates: previous to Revolution, 134 f.

  Euripides: "Orestes," 418: 254.

    criticism excludes, 176 ff.
    in Jew and Christian, 271 ff.

  Faith: in morality, 57 ff.

    as court judging son, 291.
    depends on piety, 288 ff.
    respect for idea of, 113 f.
    self must be sacrificed to, 289 ff.

  Fellow-feeling: 386 f.

  Feudalism: ended by Revolution, 132 ff.

    "_Anekdota_" 2.64: 60.
    "Essence of Christianity," 40 ff.
        p. 394: 391 f.
           401: 238.
           402: 41.
      402, 403: 74.
           403: 118.
           408: 75.
    "Principles of the Philosophy of the Future," 453 ff.
    humanizing the divine, 227.
    insists on "being," 453 ff.
    look "rightly and unbiasedly," 449.
    love a divine power, 391.
    love is the essence of man, 412.
    "man the supreme being," 8, 189.
    opposes Hegel, 453 ff.
    religion displaces the human, 320.
    the "divine" exists, 486.
    "theology is anthropology," 74.
    "the world a truth to the ancients," 18, 30.

    his ego is not I, 482.
    on casuistry of lying, 401.
    "The ego is all," 237.

  Fixed idea: 55 ff.

  Forces: man is to exert, 435 f.

  Fortune: weak point of present society, 158 ff.

  France: laws about education, 459 f.

  Francis II (of France): 399 f.

  Franke: 77.

  Frederick the Great:
    his cane, 176.
    tolerant, 230.

    all want freedom, but not the same freedom, 208 ff.
    an ignoble cause, 214.
    if given, is a sham, 219 ff.
    is riddance, 203 ff., 214 f.
    of press, 259 ff.
    of thought, 455 ff.
    thirsting for, 203 ff.

  Fun prohibited, 259 ff.

  Galotti, Emilia: 70, 431.

  German unity: 303 ff.
    a dream, 377.

  Germany: millennial anniversary, 284 f.

    my God and the God of all, 189 f.
    natural objects named after, 467.

  God-man: 202, 241.

    "Faust," 159:   108.
      1624-5: 250, 252.
      2154: 112, 215, 480.
    "_Vanitas! vanitatum vanitas!_" 3, 196, 328, 330, 353, 377, 490.
    "Venetian Epigrams," 46.
    "Humanus the saint's name," 370.
    "The spirit 'tis that builds itself the body," 110.
    poet of _bourgeoisie_, 137.
    in lucky circumstances, 433.

  Good intentions: as pavement (proverbially), 96.

  Government: everybody feels competent for, 356 f.

  Grandmother: saw spirits, 42.

    intrigue ended their liberty, 282 f.
    their philosophy, 19 f.

  Guerrillas in Spain: 65.

  Guizot: 460.

  Gustavus Adolphus: 176.

  Gutenberg: served mankind, 164.

  Habit: see Custom.

  Half: see Hypocrisy.

  Hartmann, Eduard von: xiii f.

    cultivated by Socrates, 20 ff.
    cultivated by the Reformation, 31.

  Heartlessness: is crime, 265 f.

  Heautontimorumenos: 216.

  Heaven-storming: 88 f.

    "absolute philosophy," 453 ff.
    condemns "opinion" and what is "mine," 453.
    finds his own speculations in Bible, 448.
    in Christian party, 311.
    insists on reality, "things," 95.
    it is impossible to tell a lie, 464.
    personifies thinking, 468.
    philosopher of _bourgeoisie_, 137.
    proves philosophy religious, 62.
    puts the idea into everything, 485.
    systematizes religion, 125.
    wants match-making left to parents, 291.
    wants to remain Lutheran, 120.

  Henry VII, Emperor: 120.

    "_Ein und zwanzig Bogen_," p. 12:   138.
      89 ff.:   321.
    "_Triarchie_," p. 76:   234.

  Hierarchy: 95 ff.

  Higher world: "introduction of," 43, 91.

  Highest: same as "supreme," 41 ftn.

  Hinrichs: "_Politische Vorlesungen_," 1.280: 345 ftn.

  History: as dominant thought, 473, 488 f.

  Holbach: head of "plot," 57.

  Holy: the same in German as "sacred," 50 ftn.

  Holy Spirit: has to be conquered by Christians, 122 ff.

    "_impavidum ferient ruinae_" 121.
    "_nil admirari_," 121.
    his philosophy, 28.

    exclusive regard for general human interests, 168 ff.
    you are more than human being, 166 f.
    human beings desire democracy, 128.

  Humanism: 30.

    labor must relate to, 170 ff.
    laborers must be allowed to develop, 157 ff.

  Hume: "clear head," 111.

  Huss: 460.

  Hypocrisy: half moral and half egoist, 66 ff.

    accepted as truth, and fixed, 474 ff.
    as object of respect, 112 ff.
    see Fixed.

    constitutes religion, 321.
    versus real, 484 ff.

  Immoral: only class known to moralists besides "moral," 69 ff.

  Imparted feelings: 82 ff.

  Inca: 448.

  Individual: "simple," 344 f.

  Inequality: see Equality.

  Infanticide: 424.

  Insurrection: 420 ff.

    not made by a hall, 285 ff.
    preferred to society, 407.

  Interests: ideal and personal, 98 ff.

  Ireland: suffrage in, 343.

    substantially grant indulgences, 116 f.
    "the end hallows the means," 118 ff., 140, 430.

    asserting their distinctiveness, 271 ff.
    emancipated, 220 f.
    heathen, 29, 123.
    not altogether egoistic or exclusive, 235 f.
    unspiritual, 24.
    whether they are men, 166 ff.
    will not read this book, 35 f.

    Supreme Being as, 432 f.

    mechanical: 253.
    what makes them unreliable, 223 f.

  Juliet: 290.

  Justice: a hate commanded by love, 383.

  Kaiser: worthless pamphlet, 344.

  Kant: 176.

  Klopstock: 83.

  Koerner: 77.

  "_Kommunisten in der Schweiz_":
    report on, p. 3: 245.
         pp. 24, 63: 438.

  Kosciusko: 404.

  Kotzebue: 64 f.

  Krummacher: 58, 266, 441.

    fundamental in Communist society, 156 ff.
    human vs. unique, 354 ff.
    lofty and petty, 174 ff.
    must be thoroughly human, 170 ff.
    must not be drudgery, 157 ff.
    of the right kind develops man, 173 ff.
    problem, 149 ff.
    too narrow, 163 ff.
    wanting higher pay, 336 f.

  Lais: 80.

  Lang, Ritter von: 69.

  Lavater: 450.

    common or general law, same word in German as "right," 242 ftn.
    particular law, not same word as "right," 254 ftn.
    how to break, 258.
    is a declaration of will, 255 f.
    is impersonal, 141 f.
    paralyzes will, 256 ff.
    sacred in the State, 313 ff.
    to be respected as such, 254 ff.

    to be enjoyed humanly, 164 f., 172.
    to be enjoyed uniquely, 356.

  Lenau: "Three Gypsies," 489.

    "Emilia Galotti," 70, 431.
    "Nathan der Weise," 71.

  Level: rascal and honest man on same, 69 f.

    completes Christianity, 226 ff.
    has made valuable gains, 188 f.
    rational, 137 f.
    sees only Man in me, 225 ff.

  Liberals: the most modern moderns, 127.

    individual, does not mean the individual is free, 140 ff.
    political, means direct subjection State, 138 ff.
    of the people, is not mine, 280 ff.
    no objection to its diminution, 408 ff.

  Lie: 395 ff.

    caring for, 425 ff.
    should conform to the Supreme Being, 432 ff.
    true, 426 ff.

  "_Lit. Ztg._":
    5.12 ff: 185.
    5.15, 23: 185.
    5.24: 173, 186.
    5.26: 166.
    No. 8: 190 ff.
    see also Bauer.

    as law of our intercourse, 380 ff.
    how it goes wrong, 388 ff.
    how originated, 388.
    in egoism, 385 ff.

  Lunatics: see Fixed Idea.

  Lusatia: 304.

    appealed to reason, 460.
    broke his vow, 398.
    demanded safe conduct to Worms, 282.
    did his best, 481.
    "Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise," 78.
    "He who believes is a God," 109.
    not understood at first, 30.
    shows the way to truth, 107 ff.

  Lutheranism: goes beyond Puritanism, 120.

  Mackay, John Henry: vii f., xi, xiii, 163 ftn.

  Making something out of us: 320 f.

  Man (adult male): 14 ff.

  Man (with capital M):
    by being man we are equal, 225 ff.
    cared for to the disregard of men, 100 ff.
    criticism begins to gibe at, 194.
    every laborer must be, 170 ff.
    I am not, 41.
    I am the real, 233 ff.
    I am true man, 436 ff.
    nothing else recognized in me, 225 ff.
    takes the place of God in the new morality, 72 ff.
    see also Human, Humanity.

  Manlius: 99.

  Marat: 99.

  Marriage: against will of family, 289 ff.

  Marx: "_Deutsch-franzoesische Jahrbuecher_" p. 197: 229.

    attacked by criticism, 185 ff.
    attacked as "a spiritual being by criticism," 191 ff.

  Maxim: as fixed idea, 80 f.

  Metternich: "path of genuine freedom," 209.

  Middle class: not idealistic, 96 f., 99, 102.

  Might: stereotyped into right, 366 f.

    in antiquity, 19 ff.
    in youth, 11 ff.
    same German word as "spirit," 10 ftn.

  Mirabeau: 131.
    the people the source of right and power, 131.
    no power may command the nation's representatives, 306.

  Misalliance: 289 ff.

  Moderation: 403.

  Moderns: 30 ff.

  Monarchy: Revolution produces an absolute, 132 ff.

  Money: what we shall do about, 363 ff.

  Mongolism. 85 ff.

  Montgelas: 345 ftn.

  Moral influence: 105 ff.

    a form of faith, and Christian, 57 ff.
    becomes a religion when critically completed, 73 ff.
    in critical philosophy, 72 ff.
    is religious, 59 ff.

    did not object to conquering, 369.
    helped himself, 343.

  Nationality: 322.

  "Nationals" of Germany: 303 ff.

  Nauwerk: 307 ff.

  Negroid age of Caucasian history: 86.

  Nero: 68 ff.

  Nietzsche: viii, xiv ff.

  Ninon: 80.

  Oath: 399 ff., 402 ff.

  O'Connell: his motives, 77 f.

  Old: wages to, 358 f.

  Opposition ends when completed, 273 f.

  Opposition party: 66 ff.

  Order: in State, 293.

  Orders: must not be given, 141 f.

  Origen: 71.

    inalienable, 206 ff.
    meaning, 203 ftn.
    must be defended against society, 408 ff.
    served by union, 410 ff.

  Pages cited: xx.

  Parcellation: 327 ff.

  Party: 310 ff.

  Paul, Emperor of Russia: 404.

  Pauperism a consequence of the State, 333 ff.

  Penalty: product of right, 266 ff.

    general name for societies, 276 f.
    German, its thousand years' history, 284 f.
    hound the police on, 318.
    its liberty is not mine, 280 ff.
    peoples have filled history, 276 ff.

  Periclean age: 19 ff., 281 ff.

  Personification: 468 f.

  Pettifoggery: 282 f.

  Philanthropism: 100 f.

  Philanthropy: hates men, 481 f.

    Greek, see Ancients.
    modern, 109 ff.

    family depends on, 288 ff.
    meaning of word, 288 ftn.

  Pilate: 13, 28, 471 f.

  Plowmen: wages for, 359 ff.

  Plumb-line: xvii.

  Poles: oath imposed upon, 404 f.

  Poor-rates: voting by, 343.

  Possession: the how much of, 347 f.

    depend on the State, 150 ff.
    fundamental in _bourgeois_ society, 147 ff.
    inward or spiritual, 324 ff., 369 ff.
    to be respected, 126 f., 323 ff.

    coincides with reality, 438 ff.
    means thinkableness, 439 ff.

  Precepts: are Mongoloid, 87 ff.

    why not left free, 259 ff.
    liberty of, how to get, 371 ff.

  Presupposition: 199 f., 467 ff.

  Principle: as fixed idea, 80 f.

  Prison society and intercourse: 286 ff.

    criticism has to leave the private free, 178 f.
    the private not recognized by liberalism, 168 ff.

  Privilege: 270 ff.

  _Prolétariat_: 147 ff.

  Propaganda: 320.

    civic and egoistic, contrasted, 326 ff.
    definitions in Roman law, 331 ff.
    derived from man through Right, 365 ff.
    individual, opposed by Socialism, 154 ff.
    is what men really want when they say freedom, 204 ff.
    mine is what I make my might cover, 338 ff.
    Proudhon on, 328 ff.
    recognition of under egoism, 369.
    see Possessions.

  Proprietors, small: 327 ff.

    conscientious, 115 ff.
    consecrates everything, 116 ff.

    "_Création de l'Ordre_," 60.
      p. 414: 162.
         485: 302.
    "_Qu'est-ce que la Propriété?_"
      p. 83: 328.
         90: 391.
    as parson, 466.
    property a fact, 332.
    "property is robbery," 100, 330 ff., 419.
    substantially agrees with Stirner, xv.

  Provence, Count of: 209.

  Punishment: involves sacredness, 315 ff.

  Pyrrho: 28.

  Rabble: 341 ff.

  Ragamuffin: 152 ff.
    going beyond ragamuffinhood, 184.

  Raphael: 355.

  Rational: etymology of "rational" in German, 81 ftn.

  Reality: versus ideality, 484 ff.

  Realizing value from self: 335 ff., 360 f.

  Reason: as supreme, 460 f.

  Reciprocity: 413 f.

  References to pages: xx.

  Reform is Mongoloid, 86 ff.

  Reformation (the Protestant):
    takes hold of heart, 31.
    alters hierarchy, 107 ff.

  Regulus: 99.

  Reimarus: "Most Notable Truths of Natural Religion," 62 f.

  Reisach, Count von: 345 ftn.

  Relation: of different persons to objects, 447 ff.

    is freedom of mind, 62 f.
    morality is religious, 59 ff.
    of humanity, 229 f.
    tolerance in, 229 ff.

  Republic: 299 f.

    the people's just, 266 ff.

  Reverence: 92 ff.

  Revolution (the French):
    began over property, 130.
    equality of rights, 246.
    established absolute government, 132 ff.
    immoral, 72.
    its true nature, 143 ff.
    made men citizens, 155 f.

  Revolutionist: is to lie, 396 f.

  Rid: freedom is being rid, 203 ff., 214 f.

    absolute, 269.
    as basis of property, 366 ff.
    commonwealth of (_Rechtsstaat_), 244, 253.
    equality of, 270 ff.
    is a law foreign to me, 242 ff.
    my right derived from myself, 245 ff.
    rights by birth, 248 ff.
    same word in German as "law," 242 ftn.
    serves him right, 254.
    well-earned rights, 248 ff.
    rights change hands at the Revolution, 132 ff.

  Robespierre: 77.
    a priest, 99.
    consistent, 102.
    devoted to virtue, 77.
    not serviceable to middle class, 102 f.

    in philosophy, 28.
    killed children, 250.

    rehabilitate the idea of spirits, 43.

  Rome: decline and fall of, 277 f.

  Rousseau: hostile to culture, 96 ftn.

  Rudolph (in Sue's story): 387.

  Ruge: "_Anekdota_" 1. 120, 127: 460.

    boundary sentinels, 247.
    flight of army in, 424.

  Russians: as Mongolian, 86.

    gibing at, 369 ff.
    the same in German as "holy," 50 ftn.
    things are sacred of themselves, 118 ff.
    wherein the sacred consists, 92 ff.

  Sacred things:
    their diagnosis and extension, 45 ff.

  Sacrifice: when I sacrifice somebody else's comfort to my principles,
            etc., 97 f.

  "_Saechsische Vaterlandsblaetter_": 57.

  Saint-Just: 99.
    "Political Speeches," 10, p. 153: 268.
    "criminal for not hating," 267.

    acting for one's own sake, 210 ff.
    immoralities for God's sake and for mine, 398 f.

  Sand, George: 466.

  Sand (murderer of Kotzebue): 64 f.

  Sander: 379.

    "Ideal and Life," 428.
    "The Maiden from a Foreign Land," 35.
    "_Worte des Glaubens_," 111.
    complete in his poems, 175.
    have I a right to my nose? 246.
    Swabian, 176.

  Schlemihl, Peter: 25.

  Schlosser: "_Achtzehntes Jahrhundert_," 57.

  Scholarships at universities: 347 ftn.

  Seducing young people to morality, 212 f.

    as starting-point or goal, 427 f., 437 f.

    first, 11.
    second, 15.

    groundlessly decried, 221 ff.
    in "unselfish" acts, 77 f.
    the only thing that is really trusted, 223 f.

  Self-renunciation: of holy and unholy men, 75 ff.

    discussion of the implications of the German word, 96 ff.
    literal force of the German word, 97 ftn.

  Self-seekers always acted so: 341.

  Sensuality: in Protestantism and Catholicism, 116 ff.

  September laws: 374.

  Seriousness: 85.

  Settled life: necessary to respectability, 147 f.

  Shabbiness: 400.

  Shakspere: "Romeo and Juliet," 290.

  Sick: wages to, 358 f.

  Sigismund: 398.

  Simonides: 26.

  Sinner: does not exist, 479 ff.

  Skeptics (Greek): 22, 28.

  Small properties: 327 ff.

  Socialism: 152 ff.

    is to be sole owner, 153 ff.
    its character depends on its members, 276 f.
    made by a hall, 285 ff.
    man's state of nature, 406 ff.
    may provide consequences where State provides penalties, 314 f.

    in history of philosophy, 20 f.
    should not have respected the sentence of the court, 281 f.
    too moral to break jail, 72.

  Sophists: 19 ff.

  Sordidness: 400.

  Spartans: killed children, 250.

  Speculation: 405.

  Sphinx: 451.

    as the essential part of man, 36 ff.
    free from the world, 32 ff.
    has to be conquered by moderns, 122 ff.
    same German word as "mind," 10 ftn.
    the seat of equality, 226 ff.

  Spirits: are all around us, 42 ff.

  Spiritual goods: shall we hold them sacred? 369 ff.

  Spook: "essences" are spooks, 50 ff.

  Spy: 395, 403.

  Standpoint: as fixed idea, 80 ff.

    a fellowship of human beings, 128 ff.
    cannot exist if I have a will of my own, 255 ff.
    cares not for me, but for itself, 333 ff.
    Christianizes people, 296.
    claims to be a person, 295 f.
    criticism gives up, 190 f.
    has to be harsh, 259 ff., 262 ff.
    holds laws sacred, 313 ff.
    is the established, 293 f.
    its relation to property, 333 ff.
    means order, 293.
    officials and plutocrats overcharge us, 151 f., 357 f.
    sick, 262.
    taking part in, 307 ff.

  Stein: his disloyalty to a "simple individual," 345 ftn.

  Stirner: motives for writing, 393 f., 406.

  Stoics: 27 f.
    apathy, 121.
    "wise man," 121, 485.

  Strange: the same in German as "alien," 47 ftn.

  Strike: 359 ff.

    are immature Philistines, 144.
    custom of, as to word of honor, 403 f.

  Sue: "Mysteries of Paris," 387.

  Suicide: 429 ff.

  Suit: "it suits me" expressed in German by "right," 248 ftn.

  Supreme: same as "highest," 41 ftn.

  Supreme Being:
    according to Feuerbach, 40 ff. (See also Feuerbach.)
    see also Essence (highest).

  Swan-knights: 342 f.

  Tak Kak: vii, xi ff.

    "Heautontimorumenos," 25, 216.
    "_humani nihil alienum puto_," 367.

  Theft: 99 f.
    depends on property, 331 f.

  Things: essential in competition, 346 ff.

  Third: end of opposition, 484.

  Thinkable: real sense of "possible," 122, 439 ff.

  Thinker: characteristics of 452 ff.

    freedom of, 455 ff.
    I do not respect your independence of, 456 f.
    necessary conditions of, 465 ff.
    optional, 465 f.
    realm of, 451 ff.

    as owned, 477 ff.
    combated by disregard, 196 ff.
    combated by force, 197 ff.
    combated by thinking, 194 ff.
    criticism moves only in, 194 ff.

    everything sacred is, 283.
    man the enemy of, 283.

  Tieck: "_Der gestiefelte Kater_," 342.

  Timon: 28.

  Title of this book: ix f.

  Tolerance: 229 ff.

  Training: 434 f., 443 ff.

    telling, 395 ff.
    to possess truth you must be true, 106 ff.
    what is, 471 ff.
    I am above truths, 463 ff.

  Understanding: in antiquity, 19 ff.

  Unhuman: an artificial name for the real, 193.

    distinction from society, 407 ff., 415 ff.
    everything is mine in, 415 ff.

  Uniqueness: constitutes greatness, 175 f.

    real man, 230 ff.
    the "devil" of liberalism, 184 ff.

    literal sense of the German word, 77 ftn.
    supposed, and real, 77 ff.

  Vagabonds: 147 ff.

    of me, 86, 333 ff.
    to be realized from self, 335 ff., 360 f.

  Von Hartmann: xiii f.

  "_Vossische Zeitung_": 244, 253.

    instead of alms, 358 f.
    of the upper classes and the lower, 151 f., 357 ff.

  Walker, James L.: vii, xi ff.

  War of all against all: 341, 343.

    "Trio," on head of people 302.
    Communism seeks welfare of all, 410.
    "harmony of society," 284.
    hours of labor, 411.
    on crime and "curative means," 316 f.
    on property, 331 f.
    preaches "society," 245.
    substitutes work for money, 352.

  Welcker: on dependence of judges, 223 f.

  Wheels in the head:
    formal aspects of, 75 ff.
    what are such, 54 ff.

    incompatible with the State, 255 ff.
    law is a declaration of, 255 f.
    law paralyzes, 255 ff.
    morality commands submission of, 66 ff.
    the only practical agency of reform, 68 ff.

    power of, 462 ff.
    Stirner's style of using, xix f.

    for pay's sake, 354.
    is not the only competence, 349 ff.

    among ancients, 18 ff.
    conquered by the ancients, 120 ff.
    is haunted, and is itself a ghost, 43 f.
    spirit free from, 32 ff.

  Writing: Stirner's motives for, 393 f., 406.

  Youth: 11 ff.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [1] ["_Ich hab' Mein' Sach' auf Nichts gestellt_," first
        line of Goethe's poem, "_Vanitas! Vanitatum Vanitas!_"
        Literal translation: "I have set my affair on nothing."]

    [2] [_Sache_]

    [3] [_Sache_]

    [4] [_der Einzige_]

    [5] [_einzig_]

    [6] [_Geist._ This word will be translated sometimes "mind" and
        sometimes "spirit" in the following pages.]

    [7] Luke 11. 13.

    [8] Heb. 11. 13.

    [9] Mark 10. 29.

   [10] Italicized in the original for the sake of its
        etymology, _Scharfsinn_--"sharp-sense." Compare next

   [11] 2 Cor. 5. 17. [The words "new" and "modern" are the
        same in German.]

   [12] [Title of a poem by Schiller.]

   [13] [The reader will remember (it is to be hoped he has
        never forgotten) that "mind" and "spirit" are one and the
        same word in German. For several pages back the connection
        of the discourse has seemed to require the almost exclusive
        use of the translation "spirit," but to complete the sense
        it has often been necessary that the reader recall the
        thought of its identity with "mind," as stated in a previous

   [14] "Essence of Christianity."

   [15] [Or, "highest essence." The word _Wesen_, which means
        both "essence" and "being," will be translated now one way
        and now the other in the following pages. The reader must
        bear in mind that these two words are identical in German:
        and so are "supreme" and "highest."]

   [16] Cf. _e. g._ "Essence of Christianity," p. 402.

   [17] [That is, the abstract conception of man, as in the
        preceding sentence.]

   [18] _E. g._, Rom. 8. 9, 1 Cor. 3. 16, John 20. 22, and
        innumerable other passages.

   [19] [_Heil_]

   [20] [_heilig_]

   [21]  How the priests tinkle! how important they
         Would make it out, that men should come their way
         And babble, just as yesterday, to-day!

         Oh! blame them not! They know man's need, I say;
         For he takes all his happiness this way,
         To babble just to-morrow as to-day.

                   --_Translated from Goethe's "Venetian Epigrams."_

   [22] [_fremd_]

   [23] [_fremd_]

   [24] [_einzig_]

   [25] ["the supreme being."]

   [26] [_heilig_]

   [27] [_heilig_]

   [28] [_einzig_]

   [29] [_gefangen und befangen_, literally "imprisoned and

   [30] [_besessene_]

   [31] [_versessen_]

   [32] "_Achtzehntes Jahrhundert_," II, 519.

   [33] "_De la Création de l'Ordre_" etc., p. 36.

   [34] "_Anekdota_," II, 64.

   [35] [_dieselbe Phantastin wie die Phantasie_]

   [36] [The same word as "intellectual" as "mind" and "spirit"
        are the same.]

   [37] "Essence of Christianity," second edition, p. 402.

   [38] P. 403.

   [39] P. 408.

   [40] [Literally "the man."]

   [41] [_Uneigennuetzigkeit_, literally "un-self-benefitingness."]

   [42] [_vernuenftig_, derived from _vernehmen_, to hear.]

   [43] [A German idiom for destructive radicalism.]

   [44] [The same word that has been translated "custom"
        several times in this section.]

   [45] [_Ehrfurcht_]

   [46] [_gefuerchtet_]

   [47] [_geehrt_]

   [48] Rousseau, the Philanthropists, and others were hostile
        to culture and intelligence, but they overlooked the fact
        that this is present in _all_ men of the Christian type, and
        assailed only learned and refined culture.

   [49] [Literally, "sacrificing"; the German word has not the
        prefix "self."]

   [50] "_Volksphilosophie unserer Tage_," p. 22.

   [51] [_Muth_]

   [52] [_Demuth_]

   [53] [Called in English theology "original sin."]

   [54] [Goethe, "Faust."]

   [55] "_Anekdota_," II, 152.

   [56] [Schiller, "_Die Worte des Glaubens_."]

   [57] [Parodied from the words of Mephistopheles in the
        witch's kitchen in "Faust."]

   [58] John 2. 4.

   [59] Matt. 10. 35.

   [60] [_heilig_]

   [61] [_heilig_]

   [62] [_Geistlicher_, literally "spiritual man."]

   [63] "Essence of Christianity," p. 403.

   [64] Mark 9. 23.

   [65] [_Herrlichkeit_, which, according to its derivation,
        means "lordliness."]

   [66] [Or "citizenhood." The word (_das Buergertum_) means
        either the condition of being a citizen, or citizen-like
        principles, or the body of citizens or of the middle or
        business class, the _bourgeoisie_.]

   [67] [_Man hatte im Staate "die ungleiche Person angesehen,"_
        there had been "respect of unequal persons" in the State.]

   [68] [_Gewalt_, a word which is also commonly used like the
        English "violence," denoting especially unlawful violence.]

   [69] [_Vorrechte_]

   [70] [_Rechte_]

   [71] 1 Corinthians 8.4.

   [72] "_Ein und zwanzig Bogen_," p. 12.

   [73] Louis Blanc says ("_Histoire des Dix Ans_," I, p. 138)
        of the time of the Restoration: "_Le protestantisme devint
        le fond des idées et des moeurs._"

   [74] [_Sache_, which commonly means _thing_.]

   [75] [_Sache_]

   [76] [Or "righteous." German _rechtlich_.]

   [77] [_gerecht_]

   [78] [_das Geld gibt Geltung._]

   [79] [_ausgebeutet_]

   [80] [_Kriegsbeute_]

   [81] [In German an exact quotation of Luke 10.7.]

   [82] Proudhon ("_Création de l'Ordre_") cries out, _e. g._,
        p. 414, "In industry, as in science, the publication of an
        invention is the first and _most sacred of duties_!"

   [83] [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._"]

   [84] Br. Bauer. "_Lit. Ztg._" V. 18.

   [85] "_Lit. Ztg._" V. 26.

   [86] [_Eigentum_, "owndom."]

   [87] [_Eigenwille_, "own-will."]

   [88] [Referring to minute subdivision of labor, whereby the
        single workman produces, not a whole, but a part.]

   [89] "_Lit. Ztg._" V. 24.

   [90] "_Lit. Ztg._" _ibid._

   [91] ["_einziger_"]

   [92] [_Einzigkeit_]

   [93] Bruno Bauer, "_Judenfrage_," p. 66.

   [94] Bruno Bauer, "_Die gute Sache der Freiheit_," pp.

   [95] Bruno Bauer, "_Judenfrage_," p. 60.

   [96] [_Einzige_]

   [97] [_einzig_]

   [98] [It should be remembered that to be an _Unmensch_
        ("un-man") one must be a man. The word means an inhuman or
        unhuman man, a man who is not man. A tiger, an avalanche, a
        drought, a cabbage, is not an un-man.]

   [99] "_Lit. Ztg._" V. 23; as comment, V. 12 ff.

  [100] "_Lit. Ztg._" V. 15.

  [101] [_Rechthaberei_, literally the character of always
        insisting on making one's self out to be in the right.]

  [102] [_einzig_]

  [103] [_des Einzigen_]

  [104] [This is a literal translation of the German word
        _Eigenheit_, which, with its primitive _eigen_, "own," is
        used in this chapter in a way that the German dictionaries
        do not quite recognize. The author's conception being new,
        he had to make an innovation in the German language to
        express it. The translator is under the like necessity. In
        most passages "self-ownership," or else "personality," would
        translate the word, but there are some where the thought is
        so _eigen_, that is, so peculiar or so thoroughly the
        author's _own_, that no English word I can think of would
        express it. It will explain itself to one who has read Part
        First intelligently.]

  [105] [_Eigenheit_]

  [106] Rom. 6. 18.

  [107] 1 Pet. 2. 16.

  [108] James 2. 12.

  [109] [See note, p. 112.]

  [110] [Meaning "German." Written in this form because of the

  [111] [_Einzige_].

  [112] [I take _Entbehrung_, "destitution," to be a misprint
        for _Entehrung_.]

  [113] [_Eigennutz_, literally "own-use."]

  [114] [_Einzigen_]

  [115] Rom. 8. 14.

  [116] Cf. 1 John 3. 10 with Rom. 8. 16.

  [117] [_Eigenschaften_]

  [118] [_Eigentum_]

  [119] _E. g._ Marx in the "_Deutsch-franzoesische
        Jahrbuecher_," p. 197.

  [120] Br. Bauer, "_Judenfrage_," p. 61.

  [121] Hess, "_Triarchie_," p. 76.

  [122] [_Vorrecht_, literally "precedent right."]

  [123] [_Eigenschaft_]

  [124] [_Eigentum_]

  [125] "Essence of Christianity," 2d ed., p. 401.

  [126] [_bestimmt_]

  [127] [_Bestimmung_]

  [128] Mark 3. 29.

  [129] [This word has also, in German, the meaning of "common
        law," and will sometimes be translated "law" in the
        following paragraphs.]

  [130] Cf. "_Die Kommunisten in der Schweiz_," committee
        report, p. 3.

  [131] [_Rechtsstreit_, a word which usually means "lawsuit."]

  [132] [A common German phrase for "it suits me."]

  [133] A. Becker, "_Volksphilosophie_," p. 22 f.

  [134] [Mephistopheles in "Faust."]

  [135] "I beg you, spare my lungs! He who insists on proving
        himself right, if he but has one of these things called
        tongues, can hold his own in all the world's despite!"
        [Faust's words to Mephistopheles, slightly misquoted.--For
        _Rechthaberei_ see note on p. 185.]

  [136] [_Gesetz_, statute; no longer the same German word as

  [137] [_Verbrechen_]

  [138] [_brechen_]

  [139] "This Book Belongs to the King," p. 376.

  [140] P. 376.

  [141] P. 374.

  [142] [An unnatural mother]

  [143] P. 381.

  [144] P. 385.

  [145] [_Gerechte_]

  [146] [_macht Alles huebsch gerecht_]

  [147] [_Einzige_]

  [148] See "Political Speeches," 10, p. 153.

  [149] [Literally, "precedent right."]

  [150] [_Spannung_]

  [151] [_gespannt_]

  [152] [_spannen_]

  [153] [_einzig_]

  [154] [_Einzigkeit_]

  [155] [_Volk_; but the etymological remark following applies
        equally to the English word "people." See Liddell & Scott's
        Greek lexicon, under _pimplemi_.]

  [156] [_kuschen_, a word whose only use is in ordering dogs
        to keep quiet.]

  [157] [This is the word for "of age"; but it is derived from
        _Mund_, "mouth," and refers properly to the right of
        speaking through one's own _mouth_, not by a guardian.]

  [158] ["occupy"; literally, "have within"]

  [159] [The word _Genosse_, "companion," signifies originally
        a companion in _enjoyment_.]

  [160] [This word in German does not mean religion, but, as
        in Latin, faithfulness to family ties--as we speak of
        "filial piety." But the word elsewhere translated "pious"
        (_fromm_) means "religious," as usually in English.]

  [161] [It should be remembered that the words "establish"
        and "State" are both derived from the root "stand."]

  [162] [_huldigen_]

  [163] [_Huld_]

  [164] What was said in the concluding remarks after Humane
        Liberalism holds good of the following,--to wit, that it was
        likewise written immediately after the appearance of the
        book cited.

  [165] [In the philosophical sense (a thinking and acting being),
        not in the political sense.]

  [166] ["_Création de l'Ordre_," p. 485.]

  [167] ["_Koelner Dom_," p. 4.]

  [168] [_einzig_]

  [169] [_am Einzigen_]

  [170] [_Einzigen_]

  [171] [_heilig_]

  [172] [_unheilig_]

  [173] [_Heiliger_]

  [174] B. Bauer. "_Lit. Ztg._" 8.22.

  [175] "_E. u. Z. B._," p. 89 ff.

  [176] [_Einzigkeit_]

  [177] [See note on p. 184.]

  [178] [The words "cot" and "dung" are alike in German.]

  [179] _E. g._, "_Qu'est-ce que la Propriété?_" p. 83.

  [180] [_Einzige_]

  [181] [A German idiom for "take upon myself," "assume."]

  [182] [Apparently some benevolent scheme of the day; compare
        note on p. 343.]

  [183] In a registration bill for Ireland the government made
        the proposal to let those be electors who pay £5 sterling of
        poor-rates. He who gives alms, therefore, acquires political
        rights, or elsewhere becomes a swan-knight. [See p. 342.]

  [184] Minister Stein used this expression about Count von Reisach,
        when he cold-bloodedly left the latter at the mercy of the
        Bavarian government because to him, as he said, "a
        government like Bavaria must be worth more than a simple
        individual." Reisach had written against Montgelas at
        Stein's bidding, and Stein later agreed to the giving up of
        Reisach, which was demanded by Montgelas on account of this
        very book. See Hinrichs, "_Politische Vorlesungen_," I, 280.

  [185] In colleges and universities, etc., poor men compete
        with rich. But they are able to do so in most cases only
        through scholarships, which--a significant point almost all
        come down to us from a time when free competition was still
        far from being a controlling principle. The principle of
        competition founds no scholarship, but says, Help yourself,
        _i. e._ provide yourself the means. What the State gives for
        such purposes it pays out from interested motives, to
        educate "servants" for itself.

  [186] [_preisgeben_]

  [187] [_Preis_]

  [188] [_Preis_]

  [189] [_Geld_]

  [190] [_gelten_]

  [191] [Equivalent in ordinary German use to our "possessed
        of a competence."]

  [192] [_Einzige_]

  [193] [Literally, "given."]

  [194] [A German phrase for sharpers.]

  [195] [Literally, "unhomely."]

  [196] II, p. 91 ff. (See my note above.)

  [197] Athanasius.

  [198] [_Wesen_]

  [199] [_Wesen_]

  [200] Feuerbach, "Essence of Chr.," 394.

  [201] [_gebrauche_]

  [202] [_brauche_]

  [203] [_Verein_]

  [204] [_Vereinigung_]

  [205] [_Muthlosigkeit_]

  [206] [_Demuth_]

  [207] [_Muth_]

  [208] [Literally, "love-services."]

  [209] [Literally, "own-benefit."]

  [210] [Literally, furnishes me with a _right_.]

  [211] [_Empoerung_]

  [212] [_sich auf-oder emporzurichten_]

  [213] To secure myself against a criminal charge I superfluously
        make the express remark that I choose the word "insurrection"
        on account of its _etymological sense_, and therefore am not
        using it in the limited sense which is disallowed by the
        penal code.

  [214] 1 Cor. 15. 26.

  [215] 2 Tim. 1. 10.

  [216] [See the next to the last scene of the tragedy:

        ODOARDO. Under the pretext of a judicial investigation he
        tears you out of our arms and takes you to Grimaldi....

        EMILIA. Give me that dagger, father, me!...

        ODOARDO. No, no! Reflect--You too have only one life to

        EMILIA. And only one innocence!

        ODOARDO. Which is above the reach of any violence.--

        EMILIA. But not above the reach of any seduction.--Violence!
        violence! who cannot defy violence? What is called violence
        is nothing; seduction is the true violence.--I have blood,
        father; blood as youthful and warm as anybody's. My senses
        are senses.--I can warrant nothing. I am sure of nothing. I
        know Grimaldi's house. It is the house of pleasure. An hour
        there, under my mother's eyes--and there arose in my soul so
        much tumult as the strictest exercises of religion could
        hardly quiet in weeks.--Religion! And what religion?--To
        escape nothing worse, thousands sprang into the water and
        are saints.--Give me that dagger, father, give it to me....

        EMILIA. Once indeed there was a father who, to save his
        daughter from shame, drove into her heart whatever steel he
        could quickest find--gave life to her for the second time.
        But all such deeds are of the past! Of such fathers there
        are no more!

        ODOARDO. Yes, daughter, yes! (_Stabs her._)

  [217] [Or, "_regulate_" (_richten_)]

  [218] [_richten_]

  [219] "_Der Kommunismus in der Schweiz_," p. 24.

  [220] _Ibid._ p. 63.

  [221] [Cf. note p. 81.]

  [222] [_Geistigkeit_]

  [223] [_Geistlichkeit_]

  [224] Rom. 1. 25.

  [225] [_das Meinige_]

  [226] [_die_--"_Meinung_"]

  [227] P. 47 ff.

  [228] Chamber of peers, Apr. 25, 1844.

  [229] "_Anecdota_," 1. 120.

  [230] "_Anecdota_," 1. 127.

  [231] [_vernehmbar_]

  [232] [_Vernunft_]

  [233] [Literally "thought-rid."]

  [234] [_Sache_]

  [235] [_Sache_]

  [236] 1 Thess. 5. 21.

  [237] [_Andacht_, a compound form of the word "thought."]

  [238] [See note on p. 112.]

  [239] [_Einzige_]

  [240] [_eigen_]

  [241] [_geeignet_]

  [242] [_Stell' Ich auf Mich meine Sache._ Literally, "if I set
        my affair on myself."]

  [243] ["_Ich hab' Mein' Sach' auf Nichts gestellt._" Literally,
        "I have set my affair on nothing." See note on p. 3.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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    _New York Morning Journal._--"'The Anarchists' is one of the
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    and manners, for dramatic strength, for incisiveness of phrase,
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    _St. Louis Republic._--"The book is a prose poem."

  _Cloth, One Dollar; Paper, Fifty cents_

       *       *       *       *       *

  The First American Anarchist

  A Biography, with portrait


The biography is preceded by an essay on "The Anarchist Spirit," in
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  _Price, One Dollar_

       *       *       *       *       *

  The Philosophy of Egoism


  (Tak Kak)

    My nose I've used for smelling, and I've blown it:
    But how to prove the RIGHT by which I own it?
                                   SCHILLER, _freely translated_

    "No more concise exposition of the philosophy of Egoism has ever
    been given to the world. In this book Duty, Conscience,
    Moralism, Right, and all the fetiches and superstitions which
    have infested the human intellect since man ceased to walk on
    four feet, are annihilated, swept away, relegated to the rubbish
    heap of the waste of human intelligence that has gone on through
    the progress of the race from its infancy."--_Liberty._

  _Cloth, 75 cents; Paper, 35 cents_

       *       *       *       *       *

  Slaves to Duty


Assailing the morality superstition as the foundation of the various
schemes for the exploitation of mankind. Max Stirner himself does not
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  _Price, 5 cents_

       *       *       *       *       *

  State Socialism

  _How Far They Agree and Wherein They Differ_


The opening chapter of "Instead of a Book," reprinted separately. The
best pamphlet with which to meet the demand for a compact exposition of

  _Price, 5 cents_

       *       *       *       *       *

  The Attitude of Anarchism
  Industrial Combinations


An address delivered in Central Music Hall, Chicago, on September 14,
1899, before the Conference on Trusts held under the auspices of the
Civic Federation.

    _Chicago Chronicle._--"The speech which roused the most intense
    degree of enthusiasm and called forth the greatest applause at
    yesterday's sessions of the trust conference fell in rounded
    periods and with polished utterance from the lips of a professed

    _Prof. Edward W. Bemis in the New York Journal._--"Benj. R.
    Tucker, the famous Anarchist writer, gave the most brilliant
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    _Prof. John R. Commons in the Chicago Tribune._--"The most
    brilliant piece of pure logic that has yet been heard. It
    probably cannot be equaled. It was a marvel of audacity and
    cogency. The prolonged applause which followed was a magnificent
    tribute to pure intellect. That the undiluted doctrines of
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    here in Chicago would not have been predicted."

  _Price, 5 cents_

       *       *       *       *       *



Showing the radical deficiency of the existing circulating medium, and
the advantages of a free currency; a plan whereby to abolish interest,
not by State intervention, but by first abolishing State intervention

A new edition, _from new plates_, of one of the most important works on
finance in the English language, and presenting, for the first time, a
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  _Price, 10 cents_

       *       *       *       *       *


  His "Bank of the People"


A defence of the great French Anarchist; showing the evils of a specie
currency, and that interest on capital can and ought to be abolished by
a system of free and mutual banking.

The series of newspaper articles composing this pamphlet appeared
originally in the New York "Tribune," of which Mr. Dana was then
managing editor, and a little later in "The Spirit of the Age," a weekly
paper published in New York in 1849 by Fowlers & Wells and edited by
Rev. William Henry Channing. Editor Channing accompanied the publication
of the series by a foot-note, in which he stated that the articles had
already appeared in the "Tribune," but that "Mr. Dana, judging them
worthy of being preserved in a form convenient for binding, has
consented to revise them for our paper."

  _Price, 5 cents; in leatherette, 10 cents_

       *       *       *       *       *

  The Ballad of Reading Gaol

  BY C. 3. 3

A poem of more than 600 lines, dedicated to the memory of a trooper of
the Horse Guards who was hanged in Reading Gaol during the poet's
confinement there. An English classic.

  _Cloth, One Dollar; Paper, Ten Cents_

The cloth edition has covers of blue and vellum, and is beautifully
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sumptuous book of 96 pages, and should be in every library.


    _Albany Press._--"Strong writing, almost too strong; it is
    horrible, gruesome, uncanny, and yet most fascinating and
    highly ethical.... One of the greatest poems of the century, a
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    _Brooklyn Citizen._--"Many of the stanzas are cries out of the
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    _Indianapolis Journal._--"The work is one of singular power,
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    _Philadelphia Conservator._--"People who imagine themselves
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    civilized should read this poem. People who do not know that
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       *       *       *       *       *

  God and the State



    "One of the most eloquent pleas for liberty ever written.
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    improved. It stirs the pulse like a trumpet-call."--_The Truth

  _Price, 15 Cents_

       *       *       *       *       *

  Free Political Institutions
  _Their Nature, Essence, and Maintenance_



  _One of the most important works in the propaganda of Anarchism_


    I.--Legitimate Government and Majority Rule. II.--Trial by Jury
    as a Palladium of Liberty. III.--Trial by Jury as Defined by
    Magna Carta. IV.--Objections Answered. V.--The Criminal Intent.
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    of Justice. VIII.--Juries of the Present Day Illegal.

  _Price, 15 cents_

       *       *       *       *       *

  A Blow at Trial by Jury


An examination of the special jury law passed by the New York
legislature in 1896. A speech delivered by the editor of Liberty at a
mass meeting held in Cooper Union, New York, June 25, 1897, under the
auspices of the Central Labor Union, Typographical Union No. 6, and
other labor organizations. Distribution of this pamphlet among lawyers
and legislators will tend indirectly to interest them in Anarchism.

  _Price, 5 cents_

       *       *       *       *       *

  Instead of a Book



  _Culled from the writings of_

  _With a Full-Page Half-Tone Portrait of the Author_

A large, well-printed, and excessively cheap volume of 524 pages,
consisting of articles selected from Liberty and classified under the
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State; (3) Money and Interest; (4) Land and Rent; (5) Socialism; (6)
Communism; (7) Methods; (8) Miscellaneous. The whole elaborately

  _Cloth, One Dollar; Paper, Fifty cents_

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. The original text includes Greek characters. For this text version
these letters have been replaced with transliterations.

3. Certain words use oe ligature in the original text.

4. The following misprints have been corrected:
    "p." corrected to "p. 7," (page 96)
    "aristotocratic" corrected to "aristocratic" (page 143)
    "woful" corrected to "woeful" (page 222)
    "peoplet" corrected to "people" (page 277)
    "heiling" corrected to "heilig" (footnote 20)

5. Other than the corrections listed above, printer's inconsistencies
in spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, and ligature usage have been

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