Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm
Reich
1897
1957

Austrian Psychoanalyst and Author

Author Quotes

Those who are truly alive are kindly and unsuspecting in their human relationships and consequently endangered under present conditions. They assume that others think and act generously, kindly and helpfully, in accordance with the laws of life. This natural attitude, fundamental to healthy children as well as primitive man, inevitably represents a great danger in the struggle for a rational way of life as long as the emotional plague subsists, because the plague-ridden impute their own manner of thinking and acting to their fellow men. A kindly man believes that all men are kindly, while one infected with the plague believes that all men lie and cheat and are hungry for power. In such a situation, the living are at an obvious disadvantage. When they give to the plague-ridden they are sucked dry, then ridiculed or betrayed.

I know that what you call 'God' really exists, but not in the form you think; God is primal cosmic energy, the love in your body, your integrity, and your perception of the nature in you and outside of you.

It is not beyond actual possibilities that men from outer space have landed (or will in the future land) on earth and have begun to breed here for whatever reason they may have had.

Nature and culture, instinct and morality, sexuality and achievement become incompatible as a result of the split in the human structure. The unity and congruity of culture and nature, work and love, morality and sexuality, longed for from time immemorial, will remain a dream as long as man continues to condemn the biological demand for natural (orgastic) sexual gratification.

Saw a film on cancer yesterday, shown by the English delegation. No doubt about it. I'm right. Migratory cancer cells are amoebic formations. They are produced from disintegrating tissue and thus demonstrate the law of tension and charge in its purest form - as does the orgastic convulsion. Now money is a must - cancer the main issue - in every respect, even political. It was a staggering experience. My intuition is good. I depend on it. Was absolutely driven to buy a microscope. The sight of the cancer cells was exactly as I had previously imagined it, had almost physically felt it would be. Cancer is an autoinfection of the body, of an organ. And researchers have no idea of what, hor, or where!!

The emotional plague is not an expression of conscious ill will or designed brutality. The structural character of the plague made its effects the more dangerous. Emotional plague is a character trait like cleanliness or deligence or truthfulness. It is biopathic behavior lived out on the social scene in interhuman relationships. The energy source of the emotional plague reactions is basically sexual frustration combined with a keen aggressiveness. - View Quote Details on The emotional plague is not an expression of conscious ill… Rooting in work is crucial to any accomplishment. Rooting in mere enthusiasm will in the long run force illusory measures to keep the fires of empty enthusiasm going. And this makes politics and politicians.

Timothy Leary spent five years in prison for unorthodox scientific ideas. Ezra Pound spent 13 years in a nuthouse for unorthodox political and economic ideas. Their books were not burned.

I observe to the letter all laws that make sense but combat those that are obsolete or absurd.

It is obvious that the fascist mass pestilence, with its background of thousands of years, cannot be mastered with social measures corresponding to the past three hundred years. The discovery of the natural biological work democracy in international human intercourse is the answer to fascism. This will be no less true even if not one of the living sex-economists, orgone biophysicists or work democrats should live to see its general functioning and its victory over the irrationalism in social life.

No man-made law ever, no matter whether derived from the past or projected onto a distant, unforeseeable future, can or should ever be empowered to claim that it is greater than the Natural Law from which it stems and to which it must inevitably return in the eternal rhythm of creation and decline of all things natural. This is valid, no matter whether we speak in terms such as “God,” “Natural Law,” “Cosmic Primordial Force,” “Ether” or “Cosmic Orgone Energy.”

Scientific theory is a contrived foothold in the chaos of living phenomena.

The fact that political ideologies are tangible, active realities does not prove their necessity. The bubonic plague was an extremely potent social reality. But nobody would have argued that, because it existed, it was necessary and nothing should be done about it.

Under the influence of politicians, masses of people tend to ascribe the responsibility for wars to those who wield power at any given time. In World War I it was the munitions industrialists; in World War II it was the psychopathic generals who were said to be guilty. This is passing the buck. The responsibility for war falls solely upon the shoulders of these same masses of people, for they have all the necessary means to avert war in their own hands. In part by their apathy, in part by their passivity, and in part actively, these masses of people make possible the catastrophes under which they themselves suffer more than anybody else. To stress this guilt on the part of masses of people, to hold them solely responsible, means to take them seriously. On the other hand, to commiserate masses of people as victims, means to treat them as small, helpless children. The former is the attitude held by genuine freedom-fighters; the latter the attitude held by the power-thirsty politicians.

I want you to stop being subhuman and become 'yourself'. 'Yourself,' I say. Not the newspaper you read, not your vicious neighbor's opinion, but 'yourself.' I know, and you don't, what you really are deep down. Deep down, you are what a deer, your God, your poet, or your philosopher is. But you think you're a member of the VFW, your bowling club, or the Ku Klux Klan, and because you think so, you behave as you do. This too was told you long ago, by Heinrich Mann in Germany, by Upton Sinclair and John Dos Passos in the United States. But you recognized neither Mann nor Sinclair. You recognize only the heavyweight champion and Al Capone. If given your choice between a library and a fight, you'll undoubtedly go to the fight.

It is precisely this "simplicity" in human intercourse that is so incomprehensible to the armored organism. Everything natural and profound is simple. The simple, grand lines of emotional expression are known to characterize the great painter, musician, poet, novelist and scientist. But the simple is alien to the armored organism. Its impulses are so complicated in their form of expression, the manner of their utterance is so muddled and contradictory that it has no organ for the simple and unequivocal emotional expression. It even lacks a sense of simplicity. Its love is mixed with hatred and anxiety. The unarmored organism loves unequivocally in love situations, hates unequivocally where hatred is legitimate, and fears unequivocally where fear is rational. The armored organism hates where it should love, loves where it should hate, and is frightened where it should love or hate. Complexity is the specific life expression of the armored person He is trapped, as it were, in the multiple contradictions of his existence. Since he approaches all experiences with his complex character structure, his experiences become equally complicated. He is amazed at the accomplishments in the area of special talent barred to him. "Genius" become a kind of abnormal monster, because he cannot understand the great simplicity in the life expression of "genius." In the consistent stripping away of the layers of character, one discovers that complexity epitomizes the defensive mechanism in its purest form. The armored person is complicated because he has a mortal terror of everything simple, straightforward and direct. I say: mortal terror. This is no literary exaggeration. The word accurately describes the process: the simple, straightforward, direct expression inescapably leads periodically to orgastic plasma convulsions.

Not until man is willing to recognize his animal nature - in the good sense of the word - will he create genuine culture.

See yourself as you really are. Listen to what none of your leaders and representatives dares tell you: You are a "little, common man." Understand the double meaning of these words: "little" and "common."

The few bad poems which occasionally are created during abstinence are of no great interest.

Under the influence of politicos, the masses blame the powers that be for wars. In the first world war it was the munition magnates, in the second the Psychopath General. This is shifting the responsibility. The blame for the war belongs only and alone to the same masses of people who have all the means of preventing wars. The same masses of people who — partly through indolent passivity, partly through their active behavior — make possible the catastrophes from which they themselves suffer most horribly. To emphasize this fault of the masses, to give them the full responsibility, means taking them seriously. On the other hand, to pity the masses as a poor victim means treating them like a helpless child. The first is the attitude of the genuine fighter for freedom, the latter is the attitude of the politico.

Full sexual consciousness and a natural regulation of sexual life mean the end of mystical feelings of any kind, that, in other words, natural sexuality is the deadly enemy of mystical religion. The church, by making the fight over sexuality the center of its dogmas and of its influence over the masses, confirms this concept.

I was accused of being a utopian, of wanting to eliminate the displeasure of the world and defend just pleasure. However, I have stated clearly that the traditional education makes people unable to pleasure encouraçando them against unpleasure. Pleasure and joy of living are inconceivable without struggle, painful experiences and unpleasant encounters with himself. The psychic health is not characterized by the theory of nirvana of yogis and Buddhists, nor the hedonism of the Epicureans nor the monastic renunciation; characterized, rather, by alternating between fighting unpleasant and happiness, truth and error, the deviation and correction of the route, anger rational and rational love, in short, to be fully alive in all situations of life. The ability to withstand pain and displeasure without becoming embittered and without escaping the rigidity, goes hand in hand with the ability to accept and give love happiness.

It is said culture requires slaves. I say that no cultured society can be built with slaves. This terrible Twentieth Century has made all cultural theories from Plato down seem ridiculous. Little man, there has never been a human culture.

On all sides, life is surrounded by hostility. This puts us under an obligation.

Sexual anxiety is caused by the external frustration of instinctual gratification and is internally anchored by the fear of the dammed-up sexual excitation. This leads to orgasm anxiety, which is the ego's fear of the over-powering excitation of the genital system due to its estrangement from the experience of pleasure. Orgasm anxiety constitutes the core of the universal, biologically anchored pleasure anxiety. It is usually expressed as a general anxiety about every form of vegetative sensation and excitation, or the perception of such excitation and sensations. The pleasure of living and the pleasure of the orgasm are identical. Extreme orgasm anxiety forms the basis of the general fear of life.

The general psychosomatic disease of civilized humanity is "orgastic impotence" the inability to achieve total orgasm, caused by the anxieties implicit in our antisexual religions and patriarchal institutions.

Author Picture
First Name
Wilhelm
Last Name
Reich
Birth Date
1897
Death Date
1957
Bio

Austrian Psychoanalyst and Author