Man, your head is haunted; you have wheels in your head! You imagine great things, and depict to yourself a whole world of gods that has an existence for you, a spirit-realm to which you suppose yourself to be called, an ideal that beckons to you. You have a fixed idea!
. . . What is it, then, that is called a “fixed idea”? An idea that has subjected the man to itself. When you recognize, with regard to such a fixed idea, that it is a folly, you shut its slave up in an asylum. . . .
Touch the fixed idea of such a fool, and you will at once have to guard your back against the lunatic’s stealthy malice. For these great lunatics are like the little so-called lunatics in this point too — that they assail by stealth him who touches their fixed idea. They first steal his weapon, steal free speech from him, and then they fall upon him with their nails. Every day now lays bare the cowardice and vindictiveness of these maniacs, and the stupid populace hurrahs for their crazy measures. One must read the journals of this period, and must hear the Philistines talk, to get the horrible conviction that one is shut up in a house with fools.Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own (1844; translated by Steven T. Byington, 1907).