A central and persistent theme in radical literature is that man as collective subject has built a world which in the process of construction has somehow eluded his control, burning back on its creator and precluding him from that inward response by which life is suffused with richness and diversity. Thrust into a hostile environment, the agent of the historical process is a mere caricature of what he might or ought to be, because determined by alien life-experiences and governed by a set of regulations bearing no resemblance to his human needs, he embodies within himself all the contradictions of that system of social constraints which conspires to diminish him. Crushed and routinised, the human self distintegrates into a series of disconnected functions and antagonistic attributes in which thought is dissociated from action and duty is opposed to feeling. As compensation for this gloomy picture radicals affirm the possible negation of the existing social order and, with its transcendence, the emergence of a dynamic self responsible to life in all its forms. My intention is to outline the connection which radicals trace between the human being divided within himself and the determinate s$t of socioeconomic conditions to which he is subject. Once this has been done, I shall examine their various images of authentic existence. In particular, a critical stance will be taken towards certain twentieth-century radicals who, adopting some form of 96instinctual monism, imagine that in a humanised environment the whole man will be one who lives in the unbridled fullness of his liberated passions. 1