Truth, the agreement between thinking and thing,-between thought and that,-is as desirable as seeing and hearing without illusion or confusion. Truth, the agreement between thinking and expression, is made a duty by Moralists, yet generally with reservations.
May a man lie to assassins to save his life, or to robbers to save treasure committed to his care, or to a sick person to conceal news which would be a serious shock? The gravity with which such questions are argued points to something further,-that Truth, like Right and Justice, is erected into a deity and men go crazy or pretend to go crazy over the worship thereof. This is the hypocrite’s opportunity.
So people bind themselves with an oath and lend a spurious impor- tance to words spoken by men who care only for immunity, but who are shrewd enough not to profess what they think and how independent they feel
How curious that men generally feel it “right” to cut and hack natural forms, but not to take any liberty with “truth” even in the verbal representation of such forms!
But on the other hand they say : “All’s fair in love and war.”
Now everything that is not love can be viewed as war (and the “love” here spoken of is war too ) . This maxim is more often used to excuse lying than for any other purpose. Lying is a very common practice and I perceive no reason to expect its abatement unless individuals in large numbers ( 1 ) cease to pretend to exact from others action which is inconvenient, when they cannot or do not really exact it; ( 2 ) make it to the interest o f others t o tell them the truth o r leave others alone as to telling anything about matters on which they no w tell lies . So there might be less “war.”
To the Egoist truth is an economy, where practicable. The chief condition is mutual intelligence.
Honesty,-truth in action,-is commonly said to be “the best policy,” and perhaps as commonly disbelieved to be unconditionally so. Where honesty is reciprocal, it brings that mutual advantage which attaches to truthfulness, but honest conduct in an individual in dealing with dishonest persons, is too simple. Honesty is a pleasure, often a luxury.
Moralism reaches its acme in the craze for a supposed perfection the opposite way from individuality. Even when philosophy has pronounced that its aim is to lead man to find himself, the spirit of perversion is such that it takes Man, the general idea of the species, as an ideal for the individual and teaches individuals to torture their personal mind in order to conform to the idea formed about the species.
Thus it is said our “mission” is to be true men, more perfect men, more perfect women. This notion prompts to imitation of what has been exemplified in others, not to development of that which is most genuinely myself or yourself. If I am to be a conforming man, striving to be something set before me, I cannot be I. As Stirner remarks, “every man who is not deformed is a true or perfect man, but each one is more than this. He is this unique man.'” What he is that another is not, we cannot say in advance of knowing him.
Egoism is this : that this man acts out himself. Every woman may be assumed to be a true or perfect woman, and she is cheated if taught to assume otherwise. That is not the aim ; that is the starting point with us Egoists. Be easy about perfection of Man . The indi- vidual needs first to be free from any yoke or assigned task, in order to normally possess, enjoy, develop and exhibit himself or herself.
I shall develop the species, if I have nothing more distinctive to develop.
A woman will be merely a “true and perfect woman” if she has nothing of her own, only the species. The very moment, however,,that she knows herself to be already a “true and perfect woman,” as the zero or horizon of individuality, that moment is the individual energy set free to work out whatever it takes pleasure in,–or as free as conscious reflection can make us while old habits and affections persist in some degree. To come to ourselves, to find ourselves, is to know that what we have of the species is ours, so far as it suits us to keep it and that we have neither obligation nor mission but what each one may give himself.