Stirner’s concern with the ‘antediluvian’ nature of the language that he was forced to use is implicit on every page of his book, and is explicit in dozens of important contexts. Repeatedly, he found that the old words and logic (aristotelian) frustrated the clear expression of his radical process ideas.
But since he knew that he must ‘stick to the old sounds’, he tried to put them to more extensional use. Nevertheless, his contemporaries and subsequent followers, whether friendly or hostile, generally failed to grasp the significance of his work. If it is claimed that the confusion over what Stirner ‘means’ indicates a failure in communication, that failure can in large part be attributed to linguistic difficulties. Extensional as he was, Stirner could have used more of Korzybski’s recommendations. Then his ethical pronouncements might not have assumed such diabolical proportions in the minds of ‘good’ people.
And while men today are still ‘stuck with the old sounds,’ more and more of them are becoming aware of the inadequacy of those sounds and their static symbols for communication in a changing world. Knowing that egoism is not ‘sin,’ for example, they are capable of experiencing something other than outrage at Stirner’s formulation, ‘Get the value out of thyself,’ for such is their aim, too. L. L. Whyte’s ‘unitary man,’ Charles Morris’ ‘open self,’ Erich Fromm’s ‘man for himself,’ Oliver L. Reiser’s ‘higher egoist,’ are like Stirner’s ‘own’ man: they all aim at fullness, plenitude of self. They are the antidote to man’s indifference to himself, which Fromm claims is our biggest moral problem today.
For only when men have found abundance of self, have they full capacity for including others in their lives. According to Stirner, this is the individual’s only certainty in a life of uncertainty:
Not till I am certain of myself, and no longer seeking for myself, am I really my property; I have myself, therefore I use and enjoy myself. I am no longer afraid for life, but ‘squander’ it.
Self-abundance, ‘ownness,’ extensionality, begin, therefore, in William James words, with the individual as ‘the storm centre, the origin of co-ordinates, themconstant place of stress’; persistently they concern the individual’s full awareness of his continually transforming self; finally, says Stirner, they demonstrate that the ‘enjoyment of life is using life up.’