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Cruel, elaborate and stultifying fiction

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Max Stirner on Dr John Dunn. Max Stirner by Engels.

Though people themselves are the makers of history, they are not free of the objective circumstances, but wholly dependent on them. As a result, historical necessity is realised spontaneously. These people-made circumstances confront people themselves as an illusory form from which they recoil in horror. They have good reason to respond in just such a manner. Could there be a more cruel, elaborate and stultifying fiction? To be thrust at birth into a prefabricated external world, where most of our responsibilities are unacknowledged and are progressively diminished and our freedom is in reality a figment of our imagination. We imagine ourselves the product of genes and the environment, functions of complexes and familial trauma, inextricably dependent on external contingencies, but then proclaim ourselves free!

Consolation is found ultimately in a fatalistic religious faith, even though the path taken might be through the most complex of idealist philosophies.

Itis the challenges to this illusory fate that lead to the swastika. ‘Positive’ responses to the predicament of passivity or hopelessness were typified by the anarchism of Max Stirner or the Actual Idealism of the ‘philosopher of fascism’, Giovani Gentile. Both world views emphasised the power of the inner world over the external world of matter.

It is in this power of the inner world of spirit or mind that the freedom offered by these philosophies lies. It is related to the promise offered by esoteric religions and the withdrawal into a seemingly rich inner world where the illusion of choice over personal aims and actions appears to offer an independence from socially imposed norms.

© John Dunn.

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