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A Word from the Wise Guy:
The Mid-Century Mysticism of Max Stirner, Part I



5,554 words

Part 1 of 2 (Part 2 here [2])

“While, to get greater clarity, I am thinking up a comparison, the founding of Christianity comes unexpectedly into my mind.” — Max Stirner, The Ego and His Own

In recent essays [3], I’ve looked at the writings of Max Stirner[1] [4] and tried to determine the reason for his increasing relevance in the Internet age, and to the Dissident Right in particular.[2] [5]

The more I read Stirner, however, the more I began to sense that I’ve heard these ideas before,[3] [6] in the writings and lectures of the Barbados-born mid-century American mystic and master of meme magick, Neville Goddard.[4] [7]

Even leaving aside for the moment the obvious objection that Stirner, like the rest of his Left Hegelian pals, was presumably an atheist and materialist, with no time for religion or mysticism, the lives of the two men could hardly have less in common.

As opposed to Stirner’s “dissolute life,”[5] [8] Neville’s (he always went by one name) was successful, even “charmed.” Emigrating from Barbados to New York City in his late teens, by his twenties he was a Broadway star.[6] [9] True, when work dried up during the Depression, he worked such jobs as elevator operator at Macy’s, but on finding his guru, the “black Ethiopian rabbi” called Abdullah, he embarked on a highly successful career as a “metaphysical lecturer” on a circuit of venues in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, published a dozen or so books (admittedly, short ones and at his own expense), made records and TV appearances, lived in swanky apartments and hotel suites with his second wife and daughter, and simply woke up dead at 62.

At first glance, they appear almost polar opposites. And yet . . . if we look at their teachings, it seems as if there are remarkable similarities; one might almost say they were the same doctrine.

Before taking a look at this, we might ask: how can this be? The answer, I think, lies in a comment made by his examiners after he barely qualified for a teaching position: Stirner lacked “precise knowledge of anything but the Bible.”[7] [10] Indeed, the reader will quickly find that Stirner quotes, or even more, alludes to the Bible as much as any preacher;[8] [11] by contrast, the Hegelian language and structure of the book is, as we’ve seen, a purely ironic strategy.

As for Neville, he “once said [12] that if he was stranded on an island and was allowed one book, he would choose The Bible, without hesitation. If he could squeeze in more, he would add Charles Fillmore’s Metaphysical Dictionary of Bible Names, William Blake[9] [13] . . . and [Maurice] Nicoll’s Commentaries. These were the books he recommended at his lectures.”[10] [14]

It would seem, then, that Stirner had stumbled upon the same esoteric teaching,[11] [15] supposedly encoded in the Bible, which Neville acquired from his guru, Abdullah.[12] [16]

What, then, is this teaching? It would be appropriate to begin with Stirner, since he not only wrote first, but provides the key at the end of the Preface to his first and only book:

I am not nothing in the sense of emptiness, but I am the creative nothing, the nothing out of which I myself as creator create everything.

For Stirner, all general ideas are my own creations; almost universally, we forget this, and these ideas – God, State, Mankind, Good, and so on – then instead become oppressive Spooks. I myself am none of these things, I am only – the Unique One. And thus, as goes the Goethe quote with which Stirner bookends his book, “All things are nothing to me.” Or rather, ought to be; here is the nut of the thing: while all things have their origin in the creative nothingness that I am, I have forgotten this, and treat things as objective “realities” which have control over me – as “spooks,” or “bats in your belfry.”

The thought of right [or anything else] is originally my thought; or, it has its origin in me. But, when it has sprung from me, when the “Word” is out,[13] [17] then it has “become flesh,” it is a fixed idea. Now I no longer get rid of the thought; however I turn, it stands before me. Thus men have not become masters again of the thought “right,” which they themselves created; their creature is running away with them. This is absolute right, that which is absolved or unfastened from me. We, revering it as absolute, cannot devour it again, and it takes from us the creative power: the creature is more than the creator, it is “in and for itself.”

Once you no longer let right run around free, once you draw it back into its origin, into you, it is your right; and that is right which suits you.

The Biblical language – the Word becomes flesh – is the clue, the key, which hooks us back into Neville, who simply extended this notion to everything. The “objective” world is only my own inner world, “out-pictured.” Neville begins his first book, Your Faith is Your Fortune (1941), thus:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”

In the beginning was the unconditioned awareness of being, and the unconditioned awareness of being became conditioned by imagining itself to be something, and the unconditioned awareness of being became that which it had imagined itself to be; so did creation begin.

By this law, first conceiving, then becoming that conceived, all things evolve out of nothing; and without this sequence there is not anything made that is made.

“Before Abraham or the world was, I AM.” “When all of time shall cease to be, I AM.”

I AM the formless awareness of being conceiving myself to be man. By my everlasting law of being I AM compelled to be and to express all that I believe myself to be.

I AM the eternal Nothingness containing within my formless self the capacity to be all things. I AM that in which all my conceptions of myself live and move and have their being, and apart from which they are not.

I dwell within every conception of myself; from this withinness, I ever seek to transcend all conceptions of myself. By the very law of my being, I transcend my conceptions of myself, only as I believe myself to be that which does transcend.

I AM the law of being and beside ME there is no law.

I AM that I AM.

Neville taught that God, the Biblical “I AM,” is indeed “I,” or “your own wonderful human imagination.” To access the power of this imagination, one must detach oneself from whatever identity one has created for oneself and return to the original no-thing of “I AM”:

Here is a simple formula for successful fishing. First decide what it is you want to express or possess. This is essential. You must definitely know what you want of life before you can fish for it. After your decision is made, turn from the world of sense, remove your attention from the problem and place it on just being by repeating quietly but with feeling,[14] [18] “I AM.” As your attention is removed from the world round about you and placed upon the I AM so that you are lost in the feeling of simply being, [The Unique One], you will find yourself slipping the anchor that tied you to the shallows of your problem; and effortlessly you will find yourself moving out into the deep.[15] [19]

Neville often calls this the “first person singular, present tense” standpoint, and Stirner similarly contrasts the traditional standpoint – where I am seen as a poor sinner, or, philosophically, somehow incomplete and needing to become something else by living up to an ideal (not realizing this ideal is in origin only my own idea) in the future – with the rich specificity of the Ego, the Unique One, where “I am – present.”[16] [20]

Stirner, like Neville, disdains the acquiescence to mere “facts” which must be either surrendered to or laboriously worked against; this is to be haunted by a spook, which is really my own creation which I can change at will:

Can State and people still be reformed and bettered now? As little as the nobility, the clergy, the church, etc.: they can be abrogated, annihilated, done away with, not reformed. Can I change a piece of nonsense into sense by reforming it, or must I drop it outright?

Henceforth what is to be done is no longer about the State (the form of the State, etc.), but about me. With this all questions about the prince’s power, the constitution, etc., sink into their true abyss and their true nothingness. I, this nothing, shall put forth my creations from myself.

Neville simply – simply! – expands this idea to include the contents, not only of our mental world, but the physical world as well.

Now we can address two minor, but apparently fatal, objections. First, clearly Stirner is an atheist. Well, Alistair Crowley’s private secretary, Israel Regardie, who hung out with Neville at the start of his career, and wrote the first serious account of his teaching, stated bluntly that “Neville is an atheist.”[17] [21] Perhaps we could call him an “a-theist”; his radical identification of “God” with Man’s own Imagination leaves no room for any worship or prayer to some distant, foreign entity.[18] [22]

This a-theism also entails the idea that the Bible is not a historical document in any sense; Neville constantly reiterates that “all the bibles are psychological documents” and that we project them out as historical accounts of other people in order to avoid work on ourselves.[19] [23]

Just as we mistakenly think – or have been taught – that the world around us “just is,” rather than being “our own imagination out-pictured,” so we think the bibles are stories about people who lived a long time ago, over there.[20] [24]

One might also address the claim that Stirner is anti-clerical; so is Neville.

Stirner typifies the religious nature as residing in the ‘cleric’. The cleric is afraid that the flesh and its worldly lusts might gain mastery over him, so he suppresses them, glorifies the spirit, and devotes himself to good causes. His life is regulated and judged in terms of God, the idealist’s projection of the sinless, perfectly selfless man. Like all great caricatures, Stirner’s cleric becomes a universal character-type on closer acquaintance; Christianity, in this critique, is a paradigm for all moral and religious bodies of doctrine; the problems that confront its priests and the means they employ to cope with them are particular forms of the general problems which face men when they are orienting themselves to ideals and to values.[21] [25]

Stirner and Nietzsche both locate the essence of Christianity in the clerical type: the cautious, calculating, rigid moralist who is devoted to ideals, principles, concepts, and numbers, but not to individual people.[22] [26]

For Neville, the cleric is less of a sinister figure, more a figure of fun; he is, after all, as deluded as his parishioners. By the same reasoning we just saw – that “all the bibles are psychological documents,” not objective accounts of historical figures – Neville concludes that there is no need for an external establishment of church and clergy to intermediate between oneself and some supposed other called “God.” In both cases, one ignores hard work on self – the “one thing needful” – and instead dilly-dallies among irrelevant externalities.

Neville’s amusement is ecumenical: he relentlessly mocks Jews who believe rabbis telling them not to mix milk and meat,[23] [27] Catholics who think a St. Christopher medal saves lives,[24] [28] and, perhaps especially, his sort-of home church, the Episcopalian:

My father would never go to church. He didn’t like the minister at all. What wonderful stories we have of my father and the minister. One day the minister said to my father: “I am one of the chosen.” My father looked at him and said: “I wouldn’t have chosen you.” He was just as brash as that with everything he did. He had no respect for the man. He never saw the inside of a church, except when we children were baptized. When my sixth brother was to be baptized – by this same minister – my father took two sea captains as godfathers.[25] [29] At the last moment the minister asked if the two gentlemen were Episcopalians, and when one claimed to be a Presbyterian and the other a Methodist, the minister informed my father that the child could not be baptized with these men as godfathers. With that my father said: “Give me my son. I will baptize him myself.” He took the child out of the minister’s arms, dipped his free hand in the water, sprinkled it on the child’s face and said: “In the name of Jesus, your name is Fred” and walked out. And that’s his name Fred Goddard.

That’s the kind of man my father was and still is. Not a bone in his body lacked courage. He found the Lord as his own wonderful human imagination, so when he wanted something he simply imagined he had it, and walked in that knowledge.[26] [30] I promise you, when you find the Lord and really trust him, you will know a peace you have never known before. You will never again bow before anything or anyone. Knowing that only your own wonderful human imagination is holy, He will be the only one you will ever serve![27] [31]

This talk of clerics and clericalism is the key to another important point: if my Imagination can create anything, if even morality is a spook, what stops me from running amok? Nothing, of course; the creative nothing that I AM. Stirner:

If it is said that even God proceeds according to eternal laws, that too fits me, since I too cannot get out of my skin, but have my law in my whole nature, i.e. in myself.

But one needs only admonish you of yourselves to bring you to despair at once. “What am I?” each of you asks himself. An abyss of lawless and unregulated impulses, desires, wishes, passions, a chaos without light or guiding star! How am I to obtain a correct answer, if, without regard to God’s commandments or to the duties which morality prescribes, without regard to the voice of reason, which in the course of history, after bitter experiences, has exalted the best and most reasonable thing into law, I simply appeal to myself? My passion would advise me to do the most senseless thing possible. — Thus each deems himself the — devil; for, if, so far as he is unconcerned about religion, etc., he only deemed himself a beast, he would easily find that the beast, which does follow only its impulse (as it were, its advice), does not advise and impel itself to do the “most senseless” things, but takes very correct steps. But the habit of the religious way of thinking has biased our mind so grievously that we are — terrified at ourselves in our nakedness and naturalness; it has degraded us so that we deem ourselves depraved by nature, born devils. Of course it comes into your head at once that your calling requires you to do the “good,” the moral, the right. Now, if you ask yourselves what is to be done, how can the right voice sound forth from you, the voice which points the way of the good, the right, the true, etc.? What concord have God and Belial?

Christianity has caused man to lose faith in his own impulses; with the cleric or priestly type “emerged the reactive type; he who, in the absence of spontaneous passions to direct his actions, applies his intellect to create a network of moral, religious and metaphysical rules [the Spook, “Morality”] to guide his conduct.”[28] [32]

And so with Neville, who rejects the idea that my inner voice is the devil:

God speaks to you through the medium of your basic desires. Your basic desires are words of promise or prophecies that contain within themselves the plan and power of expression.By basic desire is meant your real objective. Secondary desires deal with the manner of realization. God, your I AM, speaks to you, the conditioned conscious state, through your basic desires. Secondary desires or ways of expression are the secrets of your I AM, the all wise Father. Your Father, I AM, reveals the first and last – “I am the beginning and the end,” but never does He reveal the middle or secret of His ways; that is, the first is revealed as the word, your basic desire. The last is its fulfilment – the word made flesh. The second or middle (the plan of unfoldment) is never revealed to man but remains forever the Father’s secret.

God speaks to man only through the medium of his basic desires. Your desires are determined by your conception of yourself. Of themselves they are neither good or evil. “I know and am persuaded by the Lord Christ Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself but to him that seeth anything to be unclean to him it is unclean.” Your desires are the natural and automatic result of your present conception of yourself. God, you unconditioned consciousness, is impersonal and no respecter of persons. Your unconditioned consciousness, God, gives to your conditioned consciousness, man, through the medium of your basic desires that which your conditioned state (your present conception of yourself) believes it needs.

As long as you remain in your present conscious state so long will you continue desiring that which you now desire. Change your conception of yourself and you will automatically change the nature of your desires.[29] [33]

Our basic desires are not only capable of fulfilment, but are ipso facto morally sound, being the Word of God within us; the only task is to determine what those are.[30] [34]

This talk of individuals and organizations leads to two more themes. First, the “Union of Egoists,” Stirner’s alternative to the State and other organized structures. Just as our freely created ideas, when accepted as “facts,” return to haunt us as “spooks,” so our freely created associations harden and petrify into oppressive institutions.[31] [35] As Leopold outlines the idea:

The egoistic future is said to consist not of wholly isolated individuals but rather in relationships of ‘uniting’, that is, in impermanent connections between individuals who themselves remain independent and self-determining. The central feature of the resulting union of egoists is that it does not involve the subordination of the individual. The union is . . . a constantly shifting alliance which enables individuals to unite without loss of sovereignty, without swearing allegiance to anyone else’s ‘flag’. This union of egoists constitutes a purely instrumental association whose good is solely the advantage that the individuals concerned may derive for the pursuit of their individual goals; there are no shared final ends and the association is not valued in itself.


[1] [36] Rather than clogging this already perhaps overstuffed little essay yet more with an overview of Stirner, I refer the interested reader to David Leopold’s excellent account of Stirner’s life and work, here [37]. Also, I will dispense with page numbers for Stirner’s main work, as the classic Stephan Byington translation is available online in various places, such as here [38].

[2] [39] See “Max Stirner: Marxist, Meme Master, or Mentor? [3]

[3] [40]You’ve seen these films, haven’t you, my man [41]?”, Manhunter (Michael Mann, 1986).

[4] [42] See “Magick for Housewives: The (not so) New (and really quite Traditional) Thought of Neville Goddard,” in K. Deva (ed.), Aristokratia IV [43] (Melbourne, Victoria: Manticore, 2017), and reprinted with other relevant essays in Magick For Housewives: Essays on Alt-Gurus [44](Melbourne, Victoria: Manticore, 2018); see also my Trump: The Art of the Meme (Amazon Kindle, 2017). The definitive chronicler of Neville’s life and teaching is Mitch Horowitz; see The Miracle Club: How Thoughts Become Reality (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2018), reviewed here [45], and his forthcoming collection Infinite Potential: The Greatest Works of Neville Goddard (New York: St. Martin’s).

[5] [46] See Keith Preston, “The Dissolute Life of an Egoist [47],” Attack the System, March 30, 2017.

[6] [48] As we noted before, “Max Stirner” was a pseudonym, which grew out of a childhood nickname, Stirner, referring to his expansive forehead (Stirn); Stirner liked the similarity to Stern, or star.

[7] [49] John Carroll, Introduction to his edition of Stirner’s The Ego and His Own (New York: Harper, 1972), p. 18. This was part of George Steiner’s deliriously entitled series Roots of the Right: Readings in Fascist, Racist and Elitist Ideology, alongside writings by Arthur de Gobineau, Alfred Rosenberg, Joseph de Maistre, Charles Maurras, and others – uninformedly bound in, yes, indeed, black. Ooh, that’s scary [50]!

[8] [51] “The Bible, on which he was obviously a most thorough expert, always offers him anew the necessary instances,” Mackay, Max Stirner: His Life and Work, Chapter Five; “Key passages in the work of . . . Stirner . . . echo Christ’s parables,” John Carroll, Break-Out from the Crystal Palace: The Anarcho-psychological Critique: Stirner, Nietzsche and Dostoevsky (London: Routledge, 1974), p. 15.

[9] [52] Interestingly, Carroll finds “remarkable anticipation” of Blake in Stirner; see Breakout, p. 16; Ego p. 80n1.

[10] [53] There is even some historical support for placing Stirner among the New Agers. Derrida – no less! – in a footnote buried towards the end of his own attempt to revive Marx by exploiting Stirner, quotes one of Stirner’s editors as noting “[a] reference to the simultaneous emergence in the 1850s of the Taiping revolt in China and the craze for spiritualism which swept over upper-class German society. The rest of the world was ‘standing still’ in the period of reaction immediately after the defeat of the 1848 Revolutions. . . . It is certain, for example, that the texts of Stirner, Marx, and Engels to which we are referring correspond—and respond—in their own time to a powerful ‘craze’ that could summarily be called ‘mediumistic.’ One can find social, philosophical, and literary signs of this (let us recall Stirner’s interest in Eugène Sue’s Mysteries of Paris, the ‘spiritualist’ temptations of Victor Hugo and a few others) and one can try to isolate, or even explain up to a certain point its historical singularity. But one must not fail to reinscribe it in a much larger spectrological sequence.” Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International (London: Routledge, 1993), p. 242n21. For a discussion of Derrida’s book that brings out its importance for both parapsychology and the Dissident Right, see Jason R. Jorjani, Prometheus and Atlas (London: Arktos Media, 2017), Chapter Two. As for Eugène Sue, we can also “recall” Neville’s use of that other text of nineteenth-century French bestsellerdom, The Count of Monte Cristo; see Mitch Horowitz, ed., The Power of Imagination: The Neville Goddard Treasury (New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 2015). This not only collects ten of Neville’s short books, but reprints the relevant chapter from Israel Regardie’s The Romance of Metaphysics (1946); Neville interprets The Count in Chapter 24 of Your Faith is Your Fortune (1941), and Regardie discusses Neville’s take on pp. 7-8.

[11] [54] It is just within the realm of possibility that Hegel, whose lectures Stirner attended during his brief career in Berlin, may have performed, perhaps unconsciously, the same role as guru. On Hegel’s supposed connection to the Hermetic Tradition, see Michael Faust, Hegel: The Man Who Would Be God (Hyperreality Books, 2010), and Glenn Magee, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell, 2008). In the Introduction to his new translation (reviewed here [55]), Wolfi Landstreicher says that “I realized on my first reading of Byington’s translation of Stirner that there were many parallels between Stirner’s ideas and aspects of Taoism and Buddhism,” and that Hegel did give lectures on “eastern philosophy.” (Max Stirner, The Unique and Its Property; translated and with a new Introduction by Wolfi Landstreicher [Baltimore: Underworld Amusements, 2017], pp. 14-14. The earlier New Thought writers were keen to claim a lineage not just to Emerson, inspired as he was by Hegel, but to Hegel himself; see, for example, Wallace Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich (1910 and innumerable editions since), Preface: ”The monistic theory of the universe the theory that One is All, and that All is One; That one Substance manifests itself as the seeming many elements of the material world is of Hindu origin, and has been gradually winning its way into the thought of the western world for two hundred years. It is the foundation of all the Oriental philosophies, and of those of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Schopenhauer, Hegel, and Emerson. The reader who would dig to the philosophical foundations of this is advised to read Hegel and Emerson for himself.”)

[12] [56] “We have cut into a line of communication between the Tooth Fairy and Lecktor” (Manhunter). This is consistent with Evola’s view that the Hermetic tradition survived centuries of Christian heresy-hunting by being hidden among the rabbis, reemerging during the Enlightenment; as for Judaism itself, Evola states in “The Jewish Question in the Spiritual World [57]” that “[t]he Old Testament does contain elements and symbols of metaphysical, and hence universal value, even if they were borrowed from other sources.” For what it’s worth, there are persistent legends of the Ark of the Covenant residing secretly in Abdullah’s Ethiopia [58]; is this a cover story for the secreted Tradition?

[13] [59] Replying to Feuerbach’s criticism that the Unique was an empty predicate, Stirner says that “[t]he Unique One is the straightforward, sincere, plain-phrase. It is the end point of our phrase world, of this world in whose ‘beginning was the Word.’” From his 1845 essay “Stirner’s Critics,” written in response to Feuerbach and others (in the custom of the time, he refers to himself in the third person); one of the helpful excerpts that Carroll adds to his edition. There is a translation by Wolfi Landstreicher, with an Introduction by Jason McQuin (Berkeley, Ca.: LBC Books/CAL Press, 2013).

[14] [60] This will become important.

[15] [61] Neville Goddard, Your Faith is Your Fortune (1941), Chapter Six.

[16] [62] Dasein? We’ll later see a parallel to Heidegger’s notion of “thrownness” as well.

[17] [63] See The Power of Imagination, op. cit., p. 10.

[18] [64] As Neville says, with that mordant humor he often brings to such discussions, “Men think prayer doesn’t work, because they are praying to a god that doesn’t exist.” But prayer does work if directed to your own Imagination. In a way this continues the idea of Feuerbach, which Stirner criticized so mercilessly: rather than replacing the worship of God with the worship of Man, one assumes the identity of God and the Unique One, the creative nothing.

[19] [65] See, for instance, “You Shall Decree” in Your Faith is Your Fortune (1941).

[20] [66] This view, which perhaps originates with Spinoza, has always been anathema not only to “believers,” but pious academics, who as usual serve as guardians of the status quo. In recent years, it has gradually become respectable, and even mainstream; see Thomas Romer, The Invention of God (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016). Needless to say, this also knocks the props out from under Zionism, Christian and Jewish: “Of course, not everything in the historical books is pure invention: ancient materials were used, but the main narrative that aggregates them is built on a post-exilic ideological construct. When Ben-Gurion declared before the Knesset three days after invading the Sinai in 1956, that what was at stake was ‘the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon,’ and when Israeli leaders continue to dream of a ‘Greater Israel’ of biblical proportions, they are simply perpetuating a two-thousand-year-old deception—self-deception perhaps, but deception all the same.” Laurent Guyenot, “Zionism, Crypto-Judaism, and the Biblical Hoax [67].”

[21] [68] Carroll, Breakout, p. 23. Carroll, who is always quick to locate Stirner’s key role in the origin of modernity, adds that Nietzsche was to choose the same character-type (asketische Priester) for the central role in his On the Genealogy of Morals: He identified the development of contemporary decadence with the historical figure of the priest. Julien Benda was to title a highly influential book La Trahison des clercs (1927); he argued that the hitherto aristocratic, free-willed and strong-principled intellectual had degenerated into the clerk/cleric” (loc. cit.). Later: “Stirner here suggests a Nietzschean theme . . . that the last phase of intense religious moralizing is concomitant with the rise of nihilism, that both are symptoms of the same cultural malaise” (p. 25).

[22] [69] Op. cit., p. 26.

[23] [70] “It is said, ‘Steep not a kid in its mother’s milk.’ (King James version, ‘Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.’ Exodus 23:19). Unnumbered millions of people, misunderstanding this statement, to this very day in the enlightened age of 1948, will not eat any dairy products with a meat dish. They think the Bible is history, and when it says, ‘Steep not a kid in its mother’s milk,’ milk and the products of milk, butter and cheese, they will not take at the same time they take the kid or any kind of meat. In fact they even have separate dishes in which to cook their meat.”The Neville Goddard Collection, Book 1 (CreateSpace, 2016), p. 85.

[24] [71] “You may believe in one or more of the ninety odd so-called saints which have now been demoted, but if you believe, they have served their purpose. Now those who formerly believed in icons on the outside must turn around and learn to believe in themselves. It has taken a long time, for more than a thousand years men have believed this nonsense. You don’t have to cover your head any more to enter the church – so was it ever necessary? You don’t have to believe in St. Christopher any more. It never was necessary; but man, in his child-like state, could not believe in himself, so he created something with his human hands to believe in and his belief produced itself. The icon did not do it for the individual. His belief did it for him.”

“All things are possible to him who believes and with God all things are possible, so is God not one with the believer? His name forever and forever is I am. Do you not know that you are? Knowing that, are you not saying: ‘I am’? If your name is John, you must be aware of it before you can say: ‘I am John.’ I say: ‘I am Neville.’ I may not always say ‘I am’ before I say ‘Neville,’ but I am aware of being Neville before I say the word. I have given my awareness of being a name. It is Neville. I do not have to repeat the words ‘I am’ to define what I am aware of; but my awareness is God, the believer, and there is no other God.” Neville, “All Things are Possible [72],” 5/12/69. “I have given my awareness of being a name. It is Neville” recalls Stirner’s reply to Feuerbach’s criticism, that “the Unique” is an empty predicate: “The Unique One is the straightforward, sincere, plain-phrase. It is the end point of our phrase world, of this world in whose ‘beginning was the Word.’” From his 1845 essay “Stirner’s Critics,” written in response to Feuerbach and others (in custom with the time, he refers to himself in the third person); one of the helpful excerpts that Carroll adds to his edition of The Ego. There is a translation by Wolfi Landstreicher, with an Introduction by Jason McQuin (Berkeley, Ca.: LBC Books/CAL Press, 2013).

[25] [73] The original troll?

[26] [74] Another irony: Neville frequently tells the story of how his father and brother Victor, using the power of their imagination, started a grocery business that eventually became Goddard Enterprises [75], still the largest conglomerate based in the Caribbean; quite a contrast to Stirner’s attempt to start a dairy delivery service in Berlin – it failed in a week or two, since he forgot to advertise.

[27] [76] Neville Goddard, 12-02-1968, GOD’S ALMIGHTY POWER.

[28] [77] Carroll, Breakout, p. 89, citing Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, III:10-11, and Human All Too Human, II:ii:350.

[29] [78] Freedom for All (1942), Chapter Seven: “Desire: The Word of God.”

[30] [79] “You may question whether a desire to kill or injure someone can be inspired by God. The answer is that no man actually desires to kill or harm another. He may wish to be free from that seeming other and, through his limited understanding, he feels that the only way he can achieve such freedom is by destroying the other. Man does not realize that the desire for freedom contains within itself the power and the means to fulfill itself. Because of his lack of faith, man distorts these gifts from God. He does not realize that God, the wisdom and power within him, has ways that he, as man, knows not of and those ways are past finding out. Learn to be grateful for the desires you have been given. They already exist and are ready for embodiment in your world. You are not called upon to do anything to aid their realization except to free your mind of any doubt as to how they will come about and completely accept them as you would a gift from a loved one.” “Imagination Creates Reality [80],” date unknown.

[31] [81] Stirner: “A society does assuredly arise by union too, but only as a fixed idea arises by a thought – to wit, by the vanishing of the energy of the thought (the thinking itself, this restless taking back all thoughts that make themselves fast) from the thought. If a union [Verein] has crystallized into a society, it has ceased to be a coalition [Vereinigung]; for coalition is an incessant self-uniting; it has become a unitedness, come to a standstill, degenerated into a fixity; it is – dead as a union, it is the corpse of the union or the coalition, i.e. it is – society, community. A striking example of this kind is furnished by the party.”