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The Ego and His Own
written by "Stirner, Max, 1806-1856"
... 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[Pg 395] 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 he...

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