Max Stirner’s Relationship Philosophy
Imagine you are walking along the street. Unexpectedly, you see a couple of friends. They ask you to go for a drink. Do you go out of a sense of obligation or because it interests you? The philosopher Max Stirner (1806-1856) would say that if you go because you feel obliged, you’re either crazy or lying.
Although he was more famous for extreme individualism and inspiring radical feminists than for relationship advice, Stirner loved loving and argues that we can’t have really rewarding relationships unless we love ourselves first.
That’s not a free pass to be selfish, greedy, and hedonistic; rather, loving yourself means accepting yourself, taking an interest in yourself, and owning yourself. Stirner’s philosophy is still timely because his idea about owning ourselves is essentially what we now refer to as authenticity.