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View Full Version : Egoism; how Stirneresque are We?



Moody
Tuesday, May 11th, 2004, 08:00 PM
Max Stirner's great book, 'The Ego and His Own' was published in 1844, the year of Nietzsche's birth.

Stirner is often mentioned dismissively by philosophers, which is unfair as his ideas are well-developed and well-argued.
He is radical, he is an innovator - but Marx and Engels polemicised against him, and so he was eventually buried by the whole crushing weight of Communist propaganda.

Combine this misfortune with the general modern trend of the 'half-educated' to read 'books ABOUT books', rather than the plain texts themselves ... and it is no wonder that the anti-Stirnerite prejudice persists.

The prejudice is that he said 'God is dead' before Nietzsche, but that he was a solipsistic anarchist of little substance.
Indeed, in many 'Anarchist' readers he is quoted in snippets as a precursor of that movement; but Stirner was no more an Anarchist than was Nietzsche!

The arguments of Anarchists like Proudhon are given short-shrift by Stirner in his book.

Stirner called himself an 'Egoist', and we might say that he was a 'Free Spirit' a la Nietzsche - although he would have disliked the term 'Spirit' as it evoked 'spooks' to him.
So Stirner was in some ways more radical than [the early] Nietzsche.

Stirner link;

http://www.nonserviam.com/stirner/

http://www.nietzscheana.com.ar/Stirner.jpg
Cover of Stirner's book

Oskorei
Tuesday, May 11th, 2004, 08:16 PM
The fun part is that Engels actually read him before Marx did, and was enthusiastic. "This is the basis of our communist theory" (or something similar) he wrote in a letter to Marx. But when Marx had read it, they agreed that it was rubbish.

He has many points, but I find it his worldview hard to use. It tends to lead towards materialism and against, for example, patriotism and racialism. Is there really a place for honour in Stirners system?

Moody
Tuesday, May 11th, 2004, 08:35 PM
The fun part is that Engels actually read him before Marx did, and was enthusiastic. "This is the basis of our communist theory" (or something similar) he wrote in a letter to Marx. But when Marx had read it, they agreed that it was rubbish.

He has many points, but I find it his worldview hard to use. It tends to lead towards materialism and against, for example, patriotism and racialism. Is there really a place for honour in Stirners system?

Interesting detail about Marx/Engels.

I fancy that the words "system" and "Stirner" shouldn't be uttered in the same breath, and yet Stirner is certainly of "use".
I say that he is useful because he is a genuine non plus ultra [before one hits the buffers of Nihilism].
Nietzsche said that it is good to have one's antipodes; to that end, every nationalist/patriot should read Stirner to find their opposite.

He is useful for philosophers as he provides a kind of cleansing; after reading him one is kind of put back to zero and ready to start again.

Also, he provides an attack on all -isms; so whatever -ism we want to attack, Max provides some ammunition.

Independence is the main philosophical virtue, and Stirner teaches that.
Of course Stirner WORKS only for Stirner, and that's as should be.

He is philosophical colonic irrigation; similar to de Sade.

I found this book useful for the same reason, James Welles's Story of Stupidity - see link;

http://www.stupidity.com/story1final/

Ominous Lord Spoonblade
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004, 05:46 PM
Interesting poll. I voted for ego/self.

What makes someone care about others more, anyway? It is all from our personal desires/needs/feelings, which cannot be anything but selfish.

Zyklop
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004, 06:29 PM
Interesting poll. I voted for ego/self.

What makes someone care about others more, anyway? It is all from our personal desires/needs/feelings, which cannot be anything but selfish.

There is altruistic behaviour among blood relatives (i.e. family, nation, race) wich has to do with the promotion of common genetic traits. For example, parents sacrificing their lifes for the survival of their children.
See also "The selfish gene" by Richard Dawkins.

Ominous Lord Spoonblade
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004, 07:06 PM
There is altruistic behaviour among blood relatives (i.e. family, nation, race) wich has to do with the promotion of common genetic traits. For example, parents sacrificing their lifes for the well of their children.
See also "The selfish gene" by Richard Dawkins.

True, but I don't believe that there is any true form of altruism. It would probably be more painful for the parent to see their child die then lose their own life.

Oskorei
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004, 07:17 PM
Interesting detail about Marx/Engels.
The picture of Max is actually drawn by Engels :)


He is useful for philosophers as he provides a kind of cleansing; after reading him one is kind of put back to zero and ready to start again.

He is philosophical colonic irrigation; similar to de Sade.
Before I encountered Stirner and Satanism, I was a Marxist with a Christian leaning. So I agree, when you are brainwashed by society you need that nihilist colonic (I remember reading the term "nihilist steelbath" but I cant remember where. Nietzsche?) before you see the world as it is and go on towards truths like genetics and Wotanism.

Zyklop
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004, 07:24 PM
True, but I don't believe that there is any true form of altruism. It would probably be more painful for the parent to see their child die then lose their own life.

Yes, because they are programmed this way. It isn´t our personality which decides about egoistic or altruistic behaviour, but our genetic program. You usually do what´s best for the survival of your genes and their copies in your siblings or offsprings, not necessarily what´s best for you as a person.

Ominous Lord Spoonblade
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004, 07:38 PM
What about parents that don't care about their children? We are not 'programmed' that strongly!

Zyklop
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004, 07:41 PM
What about parents that don't care about their children? We are not 'programmed' that strongly!

In the long run, their genes won´t survive many generations. They are badly programmed, so to speak.

Moody
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004, 08:02 PM
In the long run, their genes won´t survive many generations. They are badly programmed, so to speak.

And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with all egoism and individualism - it is 'bad programming'!
Familial and racial intra-altruism is 'good programming' and makes for the survival of the race.

Of course Dawkins would have it that the unit of survival is not the race - it is not even the individual ego - but the gene.

Ominous Lord Spoonblade
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004, 08:14 PM
Humans are more complex than just simply passing on their genes. There is the psychology behind it as well.

An interesting article that I found (that mentions Dawkins and the 'green beard effect')

Genetics, not reasoning, can be impetus for altruistic behaviors (http://www.riceinfo.rice.edu/projects/reno/rn/20030626/altruism.html)


Using slime molds formed by colonies of single-celled amoebae, Queller and Strassmann showed that the presence or absence of a single gene could influence the likelihood that an individual amoeba will sacrifice itself...

Queller and Strassmann’s amoeba study was based on W.D. Hamilton’s 1964 prediction regarding how individuals might recognize relatives so they could cooperate. Hamilton reasoned that a single gene could affect altruistic behavior if it 1) expressed a recognizable characteristic, 2) recognized that characteristic in other cells and 3) caused an altruistic response to those it recognized. In 1976, Richard Dawkins coined the term “green beard genes,” and this is what it has been known as ever since.

So, perhaps genetics do have a lot for altruism. Though this experiment is done on amoebas. Maybe there are just far more "cheaters" among humans? ;) Certainly, we see a lot of people caring and being 'selfless' for those not quite like themselves. In fact, the mass slug that the amoebas build (while the strong help the "cheating" ones, in turn risking their existence), makes me think of white nations and third world immigration, affirmative action, egalitarianism, designed to help the "less fortunate" or the "persecuted" -using the weaker people to contribute and both exploit the Nations. But we don't give off any signals in order to call all of the weak and starving together :P

But, is it reasoned 'altruism' when done for a stranger, though genetic when done for offspring? How can we tell? Either way, it is only doing something in order to receive something in return, it does not have to be apparently material.

I still don't believe it is "altruism". That is too strong of a word for me -with noble connotations that are not fitting in most cases! "Self-sacrifice" is more literal and appropriate, IMO.

Zyklop
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004, 08:22 PM
Of course Dawkins would have it that the unit of survival is not the race - it is not even the individual ego - but the gene.

No, race is the unit wich holds together the largest amount of similar genes while avoiding too close genetical similarities (i.e. incest). Therefor, racial survival is the most desirable goal of the selfish gene.

Jack
Thursday, May 13th, 2004, 02:03 AM
Interesting. I'm the only one who voted for tribe.

Siegfried
Thursday, May 13th, 2004, 09:22 AM
Of course Dawkins would have it that the unit of survival is not the race - it is not even the individual ego - but the gene.

Indeed, and maybe he's right. After all, in the end it are the genes that are duplicated and passed on to the next generation, not individuals or entire races. The gene is therefore the ultimate 'unit of selection'. That does, however, not mean that genes are not selected on the racial/group level or individual level, so love of kin is beneficial to the survival of a gene. :)

Moody
Thursday, May 13th, 2004, 07:25 PM
Yes, but the gene knows nothing of race/nation/tribe etc.,
All it knows is its own survival.
If a gene COULD know anything of race, then it may even consider the Mongolian race as the most successful gene-carrier!


Interesting. I'm the only one who voted for tribe.

Could you elaborate on your choice?

http://www.ejn.it/pan/archivio/pan1-02/munch.jpg

George
Saturday, May 15th, 2004, 08:12 PM
I voted 'race' but I think that the question is somewhat mis-aimed.

Life is the pursuit of power, and these loyalties to nation/race/gene are arbitrarily-distinguished parts of that whole.

The Universe can be described as a pyramid, with dead things at the bottom, dogs somewhere in the middle, and the dominant, rational part of the minds (does someone here know the technical term? thanks) of the leaders of organised Jewry at the top (leaving aside E.T.s). Within this pyramid can be found an infinite number of smaller pyramids, i.e.

trillions of human cells->millions of humans->English society->the government->the king

'We', as various individual human consciousnesses, are part of the pyramid and part of levels above and below us.

High-quality individuals such as most of the members here are loyal to all levels simultaneously. By serving the White race I am serving the WASPs, and by serving the WASPs I am serving my family, etc. and vice versa. Bigger groups exert stronger influences on us, but we are not loyal to them 'first', and of course the lower our rank in a community the less we think about it.

Scoob
Thursday, May 20th, 2004, 10:12 PM
True, but I don't believe that there is any true form of altruism. It would probably be more painful for the parent to see their child die then lose their own life.
I think the emotions transcend the individual. When they are viewed in such a way, the dichotomy between altruistic and selfish motivations is false.

I think one error of rationalist Western thought is that its egocentric orientation prevents it from seeing such things.

In other words, "your" feelings are not really "yours" - they are really a relation between you and the world and other humans, which you are experiencing.

Abby Normal
Thursday, May 20th, 2004, 10:43 PM
What makes someone care about others more, anyway?Morality; I voted family.

Sounds like someone has been talking to Fade too much!;)

Moody
Friday, May 21st, 2004, 06:37 PM
Some seem to be implying here that Egoism and Racialism are somehow synonymous.
I think that this is a torturous rationalisation.

An arch egoist like Ayn Rand is at least right when she said that Racialism was a form of Socialism.
Racialism is the Socialism in 'National Socialism'.

So egoism must entail a REJECTION of racialism AND nationalism.

Now, to argue that an Egoist could USE racialism and nationalism to achieve his egoistic ends is a piece of sophistry because a feature of true Egoism is its inability to compromise. [And racialism which allowed itself to be so used would be subverted anyway].

A true Egoist [cf., Rand] would have no truck with any kind of Socialism [just as nationalists would reject egoism].

Egoism is a very purist slant.

Jack
Tuesday, May 25th, 2004, 11:18 AM
Yes, but the gene knows nothing of race/nation/tribe etc.,
All it knows is its own survival.
If a gene COULD know anything of race, then it may even consider the Mongolian race as the most successful gene-carrier!

Race does not in itself exist. It is a concept we've imposed on a collection of similar phenotypes. We (running on the biological, gene-built instinct to expand ourselves) use the phenotype of others to recognise 'us' from 'them', which aids us in the survival and multiplication of our own genes. It knows 'survival' in the sense that it is hardwired to multiply simply because those genes which do not multiply die out.


Could you elaborate on your choice?

http://www.ejn.it/pan/archivio/pan1-02/munch.jpg

There are three types of people I associate with. Acquaintances, who are people that I know and talk to occasionally, friends, who I talk and trust with a few things, and brothers/sisters (not in the parental descendent sense), who I trust with anything and everything in any situation. Those people are my tribe. They come first and foremost, to me.

Moody
Tuesday, May 25th, 2004, 08:56 PM
Jack; "Race does not in itself exist".

Moody; Race certainly exists for me - although "in itself" is an ambiguous phrase - what DOES exist "in itself"?

Jack; "Race is a concept we've imposed on a collection of similar phenotypes".

Moody; But our whole intellectual/ sensual/ cultural life is built up from these and similar concepts; thereby they 'exist' as such and are, as you agree, vital to our survival.
Similarly, you reify the notion of 'tribe' [surely you would regard this also as just a concept], and thereby make it an existent.

Utilitarianism
Sunday, August 22nd, 2004, 08:51 PM
One per four users at skadi adhere to egoism. That, to me, is surprisingly high. I don't really understand how anyone would come to racialism or nationalism via ethical egoism.

rusalka
Sunday, August 22nd, 2004, 09:18 PM
Morality; I voted family.

Hmm, ditto. I think my mindset pretty much fits with that of the Ancient Romans as in family as a group of individuals who are regarded as family either by blood ties or by being adopted into that family. In modern terms such a family would be too broad and might have been referred to as a "tribe". The Circassians, for example, still refer to themselves by their family names (which is different from a surname) because it was still a tribal structure well until the 19th century.

Prince Eugen
Sunday, August 22nd, 2004, 10:02 PM
I vote Race!

Evolved
Tuesday, August 24th, 2004, 07:12 AM
Nothing is more important to me than myself.

aprilness
Monday, August 30th, 2004, 03:33 AM
I voted Ego simply because the desire (at least for me) to perpetuate my genetic self in the form of children with a male of equal attributes is an act of wanting to expand myself through my offspring. In doing so I expand my White race. Nothing continues without self.

Perhaps the focus on self is related to an introverted personality, and perhaps those who are focused on others are more extroverted individuals.

I voted Ego...I'm an introvert.

Anyone else?

Ogmios22188
Monday, August 30th, 2004, 04:23 AM
Eh, I'm pretty empathetic, so I voted others.