The Ego and Its Own

All things are nothing to me.

All things are Nothing to Me

A minha causa é a causa de nada.

But, even granted that doubts, raised in the course of time against the tenants of the Christian faith, have long since robbed you of faith in the immortality of your spirit, you have nevertheless left one tenant 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

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 through that unselfishness you are procuring your "true benefit." You are to benefit *yourself*, and yet you are not to seek *your* benefit

Devlet, eme?in köleli?i üzerine oturur. Emek, özgür oldu?u anda devlet çöker.

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 its fulfilment his *human worth* is measured

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, an appearing spirit, but from egoistic pleasure; you yourself with *your* essence are valuable to me.

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 an immense, reckless, shameless, conscienceless, proud—crime, doesn't it rumble in the distant thunder, and don't you see how the sky grows ominously silent and gloomy?

Is not all the stupid chatter of most of our newspapers the babble of fools who suffer from the fixed idea of morality, legality, christianity and so forth, and only seem to go about free because the madhouse in which they walk takes in so broad a space?

It is possible I can make very little of myself; but this little is everything, and 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.

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? By 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.

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...He who overturns one of his limits may have shown others the way and the means; the overturning of their limits remains their affair.

Mensch, es spukt in deinem Kopfe!

Moral spontaneity" corresponds entirely with "religious and orthodox philosophy", "constitutional monarchy", "the Christian state", "freedom with certain limits", or in a figure, to the hero fetters to a sick bed.

My power is my property. My power gives me property. My power am I myself, and through it am I my property.

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 cost too much in solid material, people adorn themselves with its counterfeit tinsel and feign it.

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.

Our whole education system is calculated to produce *feelings* in us, impart them to us, instead of leaving their production to ourselves however they may turn out...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.

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... 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.

The fixed idea may also be perceived as 'maxim', 'principle', 'standpoint', and the like. Archimedes,86 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 oj mind, of ideas, thoughts, concepts, essences; 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!

The men of the future will yet fight their way to many a liberty that we do not even miss.

There are intellectual vagabonds, 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 tranquility to thousands, they overlap all bounds of the traditional and run wild with their imprudent criticism and untamed mania for doubt, these extravagating vagabonds.

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, aweapon, as trickery and defiance serve children for the same purpose; their mind is the unbribable understanding.

The web of hypocrisy of today 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.

Warum wollen gewisse Oppositionen nicht gedeihen? Lediglich aus dem Grunde, weil sie die Bahn der Sittlichkeit oder Gesetzlichkeit nicht verlassen wollen. Daher die maßlose Heuchelei von Ergebenheit, Liebe usw., an deren Widerwärtigkeit man sich täglich den gründlichsten Ekel vor diesem verdorbenen und heuchlerischen Verhältnis einer »gesetzlichen Opposition« holen kann. – In dem sittlichen Verhältnis der Liebe und Treue kann ein zwiespältiger, ein entgegengesetzter Wille nicht stattfinden; das schöne Verhältnis ist gestört, wenn der Eine dies und der Andere das Umgekehrte will. Nun soll aber nach der bisherigen Praxis und dem alten Vorurteil der Opposition das sittliche Verhältnis vor allem bewahrt werden. Was bleibt da der Opposition übrig? Etwa dies, eine Freiheit zu wollen, wenn der Geliebte sie abzuschlagen für gut findet? Mit nichten! Wollen darf sie die Freiheit nicht; sie kann sie nur wünschen, darum »petitionieren«, ein »Bitte, bitte!« lallen. Was sollte daraus werden, wenn die Opposition wirklich wollte, wollte mit der vollen Energie des Willens?

Wer die Gewalt hat, der hat – Recht; habt Ihr jene nicht, so habt Ihr auch dieses nicht. Ist diese Weisheit so schwer zu erlangen? Seht doch die Gewaltigen und ihr Tun an!

What else was Diogenes of Sinope seeking for than the true enjoyment of life, which he discovered in having the least possible wants?

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.

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.