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+1 vote

1 Answer

+4 votes
The fist problem anyone reading the English translation runs into is Byington's choices as a translator. Stirner is tweaking the nose of German Romantic (and anti-Romantic) sensibilities by provocatively quoting the first line of a work by Goethe, whose poem was paraphrasing the first line of Ecclesiastes.

The German word *sache* means any number of things, including "thing" but also "affair," "business," "matter," "job," "story," "question," "cause," and "subject."

In keeping with a more modern anarchic appreciation of Stirner, I would translate the sentence as "All Causes are nothing to me."
by (550 points)
+1  to this answer for stressing the importance of the power a translator has over a text. Are there multiple translations of Stirner and his primary work? If there are, what would be the best one?
There are no other English translations. Yet.
Thanks for providing this context, I'm a fan of Stirner but it's sometimes hard to puzzle out what distortions come from translations and references that I can't even detect.
there is a new english translation set to come out in the not too distant future that should be very telling. keep an eye out
Couldn't the translation as "thing" still work, though.  If he's arguing against essentialism then maybe the statement "all things are nothing to me" means that he doesn't fix the ontology of anything, that all things are fluid?  I mean, similar to Sartre and "No-Thingness?"  It's legitimately wild to see how much of Stirner lives on through 20th century Existentialists.
I see the value of your attempt to update the idea of "thing" here, but I think reading it through an existentialist notion of Non-Being or No-Thingness is both anachronistic and a bit tortured/convoluted. In other words, it would require a much longer explanatory footnote...