Then why not make them your property? Which means you may dispose of them however you wish, upholding or discharging them entirely as you see fit, in accordance to the only cause Stirner deemed worthy of value: your cause. “All things are nothing to me/ and I may say, I have built my cause on nothing.” By Jove, what an asshole, right? With that mentality how can we expect to get anything done? Same as always, dear readers: through sheer willpower. That does not mean you should use your will. It all depends on the nature of your cause: maybe you like being subjugated, that’s fine. See, Mighty Max was not advocating for a new system predicated on individualistic gallantry, he was simply pulling the veil off of every system ever conceived. In broad strokes, here’s how it works: someone comes up with a neat spook (say, Religion, or Human Progress, or Civil Society), then proceeds to elevate said fictitious abstraction to absolute value until it draws enough support, then it becomes order, which once established makes it easier to discriminate those against it as unreasonable dissidents, or “inhuman monsters”, as Maxie sardonically puts it. No man has a Right to put another in that category. In fact, no man has any rights whatsoever, for that matter. So Anarchy, then – I hear you venture, scratching your heads, puzzled- we’re talking Anarchy? Nope. Anarchy is a spook. We’re talking dynamics.
The Stirner-ooney basically pointed out how all systems are based on arbitrary and coercive concepts always necessarily referring to something higher and greater than the petty concerns of any single human animal. Hence they are all illusory, all ultimately disappointing and all underlined by the same presumption: that human traits can and should be corrected. Fundamentally, he called bullshit. And History freaked, and that’s why you don’t hear about him so much. “Will this be nothing but a vigorous hand—shake to some obscure nihilist?” Nah, critique’s up next. Just thought first I’d pay homage to the unpreaching genius who desecrated millennia of intellectual vainglory without getting so much as a single thanks.
So back to us and our old age, for this is a mature and borderline senile era of our species: we’ve figured out, nay, had proof, that Santa’s not real, have come to terms with the fact we’re the ones having to buy our children’s presents, but it’s just so damn hard to let go of the magic. There lies the paradox of our rational lives: we want to believe in spooks. We need to believe in something greater than ourselves, even if it’s fake. Illusions are essential to our health. Without them, we feel petty and tiny. By minimising the relevance of our emotional and spiritual attachment to imaginary constructs, Stirner (born Schmidt) was but protecting himself: orphan of father and sent away by his mother, you can see how a clever soul in pain would dismiss the importance of universal values and norms, asserting in their place the natural worth of any one life’s fickle tendencies. I guess such line of thinking helps numb the pain, drenching it in pride. That does not make him wrong: his reasoning is flawless, yet tragically sterile. At the end of the day, producing a personal worldview to make sense of his reality is all a man can ever really do.
Today this seems to take place on an endemic scale: a worldview per capita. In many ways Stirner’s vision has been espoused: all over we are getting unions of egoists freely assembling and dismantling with little regard for superstitious moral obligations. Every man for himself. My life, my choice, my path, my priorities; you’re an instrument, if I can’t use you, I’ll drop you. How logical, how desolate. All as an immune response to a previous season of dreadful totalitarianism, sustained by the spooks of objectivity, community, common destiny. Naturally, traumatized and according with our species’ limited binary elaboration processes, we swung all the way to the other side: relativism, free choice and individuality. Which are also, of course, spooks.
These particular ones were championed by the war’s big winners and still current -though stumbling- leaders of this planet of ours: the United States of America, which wave the spook of freedom every chance they get, while all around people cry out for certainty and security. Poor souls! They don’t realize that freedom and security are actually antithetic. If applied in absolute measure, they are both equally chilling prisons. This sweet confusion derives from a fundamentally naive fallacy, not so much a spook but rather a misunderstanding: that human happiness can be rationally engineered. When in fact, only a couple of things shape mankind’s successions (I hesitate to call it progress, let’s not get big-headed here) and both do so in largely counterintuitive ways: technology and war. The two chase each other, eventually clash, and out comes change. Minimal, evolutionary-scaled and impermanent change, but change nonetheless. And with a little change comes great hope- like the drunken hobo outside your local shop would assure you.