426
in caeli et terrae et maris multimoda et uaria pulchritudine, in ipsius lucis tanta copia tam que mirabili specie, in sole ac luna et sideribus, in opacitatibus nemorum, in coloribus et odoribus florum, in diuersitate ac multitudine uolucrum garrularum atque pictarum, in multiformi specie tot tantarum que animantium, quarum illae plus habent admirationis, quae molis minimum (plus enim formicularum et apicularum opera stupemus quam inmensa corpora ballaenarum)
[Shall I speak of the manifold and various loveliness of sky, and earth, and sea; of the plentiful supply and wonderful qualities of the light; of sun, moon, and stars; of the shade of trees; of the colours and perfume of flowers; of the multitude of birds, all differing in plumage and in song; of the variety of animals, of which the smallest in size are often the most wonderful,—the works of ants and bees astonishing us more than the huge bodies of whales]
Augustinus von Hippo: De civitate Dei, XXII, 24 [Engl. Übers. M. Dods 1871].

1675-6
Hoc jus, quod multitudinis potentia definitur, Imperium appellari solet. Atque hoc is absolute tenet, qui curam Reipublicae ex communi consensu habet, nempe jura statuendi, interpretandi, et abolendi, urbes muniendi, de bello, et pace decernendi, etc. Quod si haec cura ad Concilium pertineat, quod ex communi multitudine componitur, tum Imperium Democratia appellatur, si autem ex quibusdam tantum selectis, Aristocratia, et si denique Reipublicae cura, et consequenter imperium penes unum sit, tum Monarchia appellatur.
Baruch de Spinoza: Tractatus politicus (1675-6), in: Opera posthuma, Amsterdam 1677, S. 265-354, hier S. 276; dt. Politischer Traktat, hg. von Wolfgang Bartuschat, Hamburg 1994, S. 28 (II, 17).

1712
Nor is his Goodness less seen in the Diversity, than in the Multitude of living Creatures.
Joseph Addison: [Letter], in: Spectator No. 519, 25.
Okt. 1712, S. 1.

1730er
La fausse Démocratie tombe bientôt dans l’Anarchie, c’est le Gouvernement de la multitude
pour le bonheur d’un Etat, il falloit maintenir l’égalité entre Citoyens autant qu’il se pouvoit
René Louis Marquis d’Argenson: Considérations sur le gouvernement ancien et présent de la France, Amsterdam 1764, S. 7.

1948
When men began to analyze their impressions, to ask themselves in what this strange spell that wild places held over them consisted, they found the situation exceedingly complex. It depended in the first place upon the multitude and diversity of the living creatures that surrounded them.
Alexander Skutch: Earth and man, in: Audubon Magazine 50 (1948), S. 356-359, hier S. 358.

2000
Spinoza de
nes democracy as the absolute form of government because in democracy all of society, the entire multitude, rules; in fact, democracy is the only form of government in which the absolute can be realized.
Michael Hardt und Antonio Negri: Empire, Cambridge, Mass. 2000, S. 185.

2004
The people is one. The population, of course, is composed of numerous different individuals and classes, but the people synthesizes or reduces these social differences into one identity. The multitude, by contrast, is not unified but remains plural and multiple. This is why, according to the dominant tradition of political philosophy, the people can rule as a sovereign power and the multitude cannot. The multitude is composed of a set of singularities—and by singularity here we mean a social subject whose difference cannot be reduced to sameness, a difference that remains different. The component parts of the people are indifferent in their unity; they become an identity by negating or setting aside their differences. The plural singularities of the multitude thus stand in contrast to the undifferentiated unity of the people. The multitude, however, although it remains multiple, is not fragmented, anarchical, or incoherent. […]
The multitude designates an active social subject, which acts on the basis of what the singularities share in common. The multitude is an internally different, multiple social subject whose constitution and action is based not on identity or unity (or, much less, indifference) but on what it has in common. […] The multitude is the only social subject capable of realizing democracy, that is, the rule of everyone by everyone. […]
something like a concept of the multitude has long been part of powerful streams of feminist and antiracist politics. When we say that we do not want a world without racial or gender difference but instead a world in which race and gender do not matter, that is, a world in which they do not determine hierarchies of power, a world in which differences express themselves freely, this is a desire for the multitude. And, of course, for the singularities that compose the multitude, in order to take away the limiting, negative, destructive character of differences and make differences our strength (gender differences, racial differences, differences of sexuality, and so forth) we must radically transform the world. […]
A multitude is an irreducible multiplicity; the singular social differences that constitute the multitude must always be expressed and can never be flattened into sameness, unity, identity, or indifference. The multitude is not merely a fragmented and dispersed multiplicity.
Michael Hardt und Antonio Negri: Multitude. War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, New York 2004, S. 99; 100; 101; 105.

2013
Für Hobbes ist schon sprachlich klar, dass die multitudo »von Natur aus nicht aus Einem, sondern aus Vielen besteht [naturally is not One , but Many]«. Die politische Konsequenz folgt dieser begrifflichen Linie: Der Staat kann nur auf der Einheit des Volkes, nicht auf der Vielheit der multitudo begründet werden. Man kann nur spekulieren, inwieweit Spinozas hier völlig gegenläufige Entscheidung, im Tractatus politicus das Wort populus nicht zu verwenden und der multitudo genau die staatsbegründende Funktion zuzusprechen, die Hobbes ihr abgesprochen hatte, strategisch intendiert war. Aber der systematische Punkt ist hier wichtiger als der terminologische: Die Einheit oder Verfasstheit, die Hobbes fordert und die die Menge erst zum Volk macht, ist für Spinoza gerade keine Voraussetzung der Gründungskraft. Es ist im Gegenteil genau die Vielfalt oder Heterogenität, aus der staatliche Ordnung entsteht und die ihre Energie an die Institutionen weitergibt oder in sie einfließen lässt. Der Grund der Staatsmacht ist also nicht einer, der sich schon vereinheitlichen ließe oder dem eine einheitliche Form als fixiertes, repräsentierbares Staatsvolk gegeben werden könnte. Er bleibt die Menge Unterschiedliches vermögender, Unterschiedliches begehrender Individuen. Der anarchische Charakter der multitudo ist – paradoxerweise – der Grund, auf dem ein Staat zu errichten ist.
Martin Saar: Die Immanenz der Macht. Politische Theorie nach Spinoza, Frankfurt am Main 2013, S. 354f.

 

Literatur

Michael Hardt und Antonio Negri: Multitude. War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, dt. Multitude, Frankfurt am Main 2004.

Paolo Virno: Grammatik der Multitude, Berlin 2005.