Submitted by CaptainACAB in AnarchistFAQ

What's Egoism?

A philosophy made by some German guy named Max Stirner. He did not care for ghosts or being haunted by them. He wrote a book about it called "the unique and its property".

Wait. Ghosts? What?

Yeah, it's a metaphor. He called fixed ideas "ghosts", or "spooks", or "phantasms" because they "spooked" and "haunted" people.

What do you mean by "fixed idea" and "haunting"?

Basically, a fixed idea is something that isn't real outside of your imagination that you, or at least everyone around you, follows and/or fears despite there being no good reason to. When you believe in the fixed idea, or "phantasm", you're "haunted" by it.

Wouldn't that make morality a "fixed idea"?

Yep. Laws, too. They only have any power and influence because other people give them that power and influence, but they don't have to exist.

What stops egoists from doing whatever they want to other people? Like, killing and stuff?

In the world we live in? Just about anything that stops people who aren't egoists. In a world absent of fixed ideas? Lack of desire, fear of potential consequences, and so on. Basically whatever stops most people from doing those things right now, because it's not like there's a police station on every square inch of the planet and it's not like the existence of laws and morality actually stop people.

If morality isn't real, how/why do egoists-

Self-interest. Empathy. Compassion. Love, even.

How does egoism solve problems inherent in the human condition?

It doesn't. No philosophy or ideology ever has or will.

Are egoists anarchists, then?

A solid 90+% are. The state and its laws aren't real.

So you're communists?

Maybe, like, 4 of us are.

Anarcho-capitalists?

No. Private property and money aren't real either. People take the "pursuit of self-interest" bit and exaggerate it at the expense of the equally-if-not-more-important "rejection of fixed ideas" part.

I heard egoists were racist/ableist/fascists/etc.

All of those things rely on fixed ideas; which egoists mock and reject, so no. This doesn't stop those types of people from co-opting egoism, unfortunately.

Wasn't Stirner a white supremacist?

Most people point to that one part of "The Hierarchy". He was riffing on Hegel, who basically said the same things unironically. Talking about this is annoying, but understandable because no one is actually going to read Hegel.

What if there's a "ghost" that an egoist likes? Can "ghosts" be good?

They reject it anyway and no. The fact that it's a "ghost" rather than just an abstract idea means that it's already "bad".

Hey, what's this ego/unique that I keep hearing about?

The individual, basically.

You keep talking about "The Unique and its Property" but other egoists talk about "The Ego and Its Own", what's up with that?

The Unique and its Property is the more recent translation of The Ego and Its Own. It's considered the better translation.

5

Comments

You must log in or register to comment.

Fool wrote

This is a great write up, I never finished Stirner (just lots of Post-Stirner) so it's good to read.

I've started to re-write this text into something resembling the other ones, but it probably won't be as fun though.

5

Fool wrote

I re-wrote it like this to try reduce the number of headings.

I added/changed it a bit. Feel free to use as much or little as you want.


What's Uniquism?

Wait, Uniquism? The link said Egoism!

Fine... What's "Egoism"?

Egoism is a philosophy based on the writings of German Philosopher, Max Stirner (also known as Max Stormer due to auto correct). Stirner wrote a book about it called "Der Einzige und sein Eigentum"
Direct Translation - "The Only One and his Property"
Bad Translation - "The Ego and its Own"
New Translation - "The Unique and its Property".

Many Egoists talk about The Ego and Its Own. The Unique and its Property is the more recent translation of The Ego and Its Own. The new translation is considered much better.

In Stirner's philosophy, he did not care for ghosts or being haunted by them.
*Wait, ghosts, really? *
It's a metaphor. Fixed ideas are labelled "ghosts", or "spooks", or "phantasms" because they "spooked" and "haunted" people.

A fixed idea is something that isn't real outside of your imagination that you, or at least everyone around you, follows and/or fears despite there being no good reason to. When you believe in the fixed idea, or "phantasm", you're "haunted" by it.

For example Morality and Laws, are Fixed Ideas. They only have any power and influence because other people give them that power and influence, but they don't have to exist.
This raises the question, "What stops Egoists from doing whatever they want to other people, like killing and stuff? " The same things which stops people who aren't Egoists; lack of desire, fear of potential consequences, and so on. Basically, whatever stops most people from doing those things right now, because it's not like there's a police station on every square inch of the planet, and it's not like the existence of laws and morality actually stop people.
Without Morality, Egoist act due to factors including Self-interest, Empathy, Compassion, and even Love.

Even if a "ghost" can be considered "good", an Egoist will reject it anyway. The fact that it's a "ghost" rather than just an abstract idea means that it's already "bad". The act of defining an abstract concept allows it to be used for control.

How does Egoism relate to Anarchism?

Most Egoists are also Anarchists, since the State and its laws are "ghosts".

Anarcho-Communism - while the concepts of Communism can be considered "ghosts" various authors have discussed the relevance of Stirner in shaping Anarcho-Communism. For example, Matt Thomas, 2017

Anarcho-Capitalism - Many "Anarcho-Capitalists" consider themselves Egoists. However, private property and money aren't real either. People take the "pursuit of self-interest" bit and exaggerate it at the expense of the more-important "rejection of fixed ideas" part.
Like all areas of Anarchist philosophy "Anarcho-Capitalists" can't seem to grasp the concepts discussed.

Egoists as Oppressors - Racist/Ableist/Fascists/etc. all rely on fixed ideas; which egoists mock and reject, thus Egoists will not follow oppressive ideologies. This doesn't stop those types of people from co-opting Egoism, unfortunately.
It is important to note, people point to the part of "The Hierarchy", as a reference for "White Supremist" views. However, this section was riffing on Hegel, who basically said the same things unironically. Discussion about this is annoying, but understandable because there is not much reason for most people to read Hegel.

What is the Ego Unique?

Basically, the Ego Unique is the Individual.

Egoism Uniquism doesn't solve problems inherent in the human condition. No philosophy or ideology ever has or will.

5

ziq wrote

it's a good q and a but it kinda breaks with the format of all the other sections of the faq so i'm not sure how to adapt it

4

CaptainACAB OP wrote

Or "I talk to you about egoism like you're 10 and not all that interested in what I have to say".

This basically goes over most of the content of my wiki drafts in as concise and beginner friendly as I could possibly make it.

As for the wiki, I'm almost done with it; just need to complete the morality section since the other parts of the "misconception" section can be merged together and I've omitted the "Stirner was a white supremacist" section since it felt too out of place with the other content.

3