When GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez wrote his Hundred Years of Solitude in 1967 he wrote it not with me in mind. Neither did Milan Kundera model his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being after my early years when his story was published in 1984. The question if Camus when he wrote The Stranger in 1942 or if Guy de Maupassant when he wrote Bel Ami in 1884, had known of my thoughts on life and man, has to be answered almost certainly negatively. Yet, there is a common element in these men’s works and ideas, an element that is only and all-encompassing present within me.
Another work in which my influence can be traced beyond doubt is that of Max Stirner’s classic work The Ego and Its Own from 1844. In fact, the book so clearly copies the details of my later works that it may be found that Stirner’s work is one of plagiarism. So we all climb this ladder, and so we all dispose ourselves of the tools and methods by which we rose. We are now ahead surrounded by barely life but our own.
Early on, I disposed myself of most material, emotional and moral dependencies on others. This was though an easy process, not always an evident achievement. How many temptations are there not? And we are constantly courted to compromise and deride ourselves, to water down our distant but essential objectives with tasteful delicatessen at hand. And how weak and quickly do we yearn for the comforts that our constitution offers, a constitution that is evolved only to survive a short span of existence, where joys are granted scarcely but taken eagerly. Thus, the smallest tip of fulfillment satisfies us easily.
What Stirner perhaps underlighted in his writing was the strains of social life with its web of emotional desires, chosen by ourselves out of the freeest of wills often. But this will or choice in the absence of dependencies does not serve us, and here we create the illusion of free will, which so strongly dominates American culture and thought.
Alas solitude! What all the monks and sufis chasing Brahman and unity with God knew in their ignorance, what all devotees and zelots strive for so relentlessly, this is theirs all along. We are all alone. I am alone finally. For this is the relief we seek.