Intellectual Vagabonds

The commonalty professes a morality which is most closely connected with its essence. The first demand of this morality is to the effect that one should carry on a solid business, an honourable trade, lead a moral life. Immoral, to it, is the sharper, the demirep, the thief, robber, and murderer, the gamester, the penniless man without a situation, the frivolous man.

The doughty commoner designates the feeling against these “immoral” people as his “deepest indignation.” All these lack settlement, the solid quality of business, a solid, seemly life, a fixed income, etc.; in short, they belong, because their existence does not rest on a secure basis to the dangerous “individuals or isolated persons,” to the dangerous proletariat; they are “individual bawlers” who offer no “guarantee” and have “nothing to lose,” and so nothing to risk. The forming of family ties, e. g., binds a man: he who is bound furnishes security, can be taken hold of; not so the street-walker. The gamester stakes everything on the game, ruins himself and others – no guarantee.

All who appear to the commoner suspicious, hostile, and dangerous might be comprised under the name “vagabonds”; every vagabondish way of living displeases him. For there are intellectual vagabonds too, 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 tranquillity to thousands, they overlap all bounds of the traditional and run wild with their impudent criticism and untamed mania for doubt, these extravagating vagabonds. They form the class of the unstable, restless, changeable, and, if they give voice to their unsettled nature, are called “unruly fellows.”

Max Stirner – The Ego and His Own

Published by Diogenes

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