Help! Mutual help.

A political outline of how we perceive today



To the publication: The concept of the autonomous individual is in crisis.
Cooperation and adaptation are necessary. But they require a critical design of living together with others from the individual. The historical concept of the “autonomous individual” is of little help here. Traditional knowledge of orientation and control proves to be obsolete for the dynamics of global coexistence. This narrows the individual’s scope for influencing social processes and his own lifestyle. What is the relationship between adaptation and self-determination today? How and where do I participate as an individual? In order to recognize scope and to change it with others, one has to cooperate. For this the individual needs models and examples of experience. This requires insight into the life perspective of others and a radical openness to all conceivable situations. Arthur Engelbert’s book takes up the anarchistic idea of mutual help in the context outlined and develops it further by incorporating current debates.

Mutual help is explained as an open model of “voluntary” cooperation between small groups in contrast to “dependent” cooperation. Examples are used to reflect on models of mutual help. Before one does anything, one must observe and think further, i.e. create meaning in execution with others, which expands the life context in a process-like way. In this context, concepts of consciousness are discussed which the individual can accept intellectually and practically in order to learn, think and act more self-confidently and independently together with others.

Mutual help is a political attempt for the individual to live self-determination independently in the group and thereby expand the horizon of communities.

The book is written in a scientifically demanding but very fluid style of argumentation and contains a detailed, readable annotation apparatus. It is addressed to every reader who asks the question of living together.


Paperback: 292 pages
Munich: Königshausen u. Neumann, 2012
Language: german
ISBN-10: 3826050177
ISBN-13: 978-3826050176