Wilhelm Reich


Austrian Psychoanalyst and Author

Author Quotes

Or does this thought relate to things to come in the future? I request my right and privilege to have such thoughts and ask such questions without being threatened to be jailed by any administrative agency of society…In the face of a rigid, doctrinaire, self-appointed, ready-to-kill hierarchy of scientific censorship it appears foolish to publish such thoughts. Anyone malignant enough could do anything with them. Still the right to be wrong has to be maintained. We should not fear to enter a forest because there are wildcats around in the trees. We should not yield our right to well-controlled speculation. It is certain questions entailed in such speculation which administrators of established knowledge fear… But in entering the cosmic age we should certainly insist on the right to ask new, even silly questions without being molested.

The [genuine] leader will always be aware of the well hidden tendency in people to see things in the mirror only, to take over great things only to render them impotent, to care far more for the admiring of someone than for what he has to offer, to flock around the unimportant and to force the crucial thing toward impotence.

The pleasure of living and the pleasure of the orgasm are identical. Extreme orgasm anxiety forms the basis of the general fear of life.

What would you think of an engineer who expounded the art of flying without revealing the secrets of the engine and propeller? That's what you do, you engineer of the human soul. Just that. You're a coward. You want the raisins out of my cake but you don't want the thorns of my roses. Haven't you too, little psychiatrist, been cracking silly jokes about me? Haven't you ridiculed me as the prophet of bigger and better orgasms? Have you never heard the whimpering of a young wife whose body has been desecrated by an impotent husband? Or the anguished cry of an adolescent bursting with unfulfilled love? Does your security still mean more to you than your patient? How long will you go on valuing your respectability above your medical mission? How long will you refuse to see that your pussyfooting procrastination is costing millions their lives?

I am well aware of the fact that the human race has known about the existence of a universal energy related to life for many ages. However, the basic task of natural science consisted of making this energy usable. This is the sole difference between my work and all preceding knowledge.

In its pure form, fascism is the sum total of all irrational reactions of the average human character. To the narrow-minded sociologist who lacks the courage to recognize the enormous role played by the irrational in human history, the fascist race theory appears as nothing but an imperialistic interest or even a mere “prejudice.” The violence and the ubiquity of these “race prejudices” show their origin from the irrational part of the human character. The race theory is not a creation of fascism. No: fascism is a creation of race hatred and its politically organized expression. Correspondingly, there is a German, Italian, Spanish, Anglo-Saxon, Jewish and Arabian fascism.

Man is fundamentally an animal. Animals, as distinct from man, are not machine-like, not sadistic; their societies, within the same species, are incomparably more peaceful than those of man. The basic question, then is: What has made the animal, man, degenerate into a machine?When I say "animal," I do not mean anything bad, cruel or "base"; I am stating a biological fact. Man has developed the peculiar concept that he is not an animal at all, but, well — man; a creature which long since has shed that which is "bad," which is "animal." He demarcates himself in all possible ways from the bad animal and points, in proof of his "being better," to culture and civilization which distinguish him from the animal. He shows, in his whole behavior, his "theories of values," his moral philosophies, his "monkey trials" and such, that he does not want to be reminded of the fact that basically he is an animal, an animal, furthermore, which has much more in common with the "animal" than with that being which he asserts to be and dreams of being. The theory of the German Übermensch has this origin. Man shows by his maliciousness, his inability to live in peace with his kind, his wars, that what distinguishes him from the other animals is only his unbounded sadism and the mechanical trinity of the authoritarian concept of life, mechanistic science and the machine. If one looks at the results of civilization as they present themselves over long periods of time, one finds that these contentions of man are not only erroneous; more than that, they seem to be made expressly for the purpose of making man forget that he is an animal.

People should be very careful when choosing the future fathers and mothers of their children. For that reason alone, it is extremely mean to demand a marriage certificate for life, just for one night of embracement.

The [genuine] leader will face the painful task of loving people and at the same time of not becoming bound to them the usual way; to know their weaknesses and not to despise them or to fear them. He will, first of all, face loneliness, living in vast spaces alone with only a few friends. And even these friends may turn out to be a bother or nuisance, since all want salvation. Everyone wants something from him, anyhow. He will slowly realize with amazement how infinite are the desires to get things on the part of people. It does not matter what they want. It is the wanting and the getting that matters. And he will be well aware of the price paid to him for the getting: empty admiration.

The present critical state of international human affairs requires security and safety from nuisance interferences with efforts toward full, honest, determined clarification of man’s relationship to nature within and without himself; in other words, his relationship to the Law of Nature. It is not permissible, either morally, legally, or factually, to force a natural scientist to expose his scientific results and methods of basic research in court. This point is accentuated in a world crisis where biopathic men hold in their hands power over ruined, destitute multitudes.

When I started studying Reich’s works, I went through a period of enthusiasm, followed by a period of skepticism, followed by a period of just continued interest, but I think a lot of his ideas probably were sound. A lot probably were unsound. And, I’m not a Reichian in the sense of somebody who thinks he was the greatest scientist who ever lived and discovered the basic secrets of psychology, physics and everything else, all in one lifetime. But I think he has enough sound ideas that his unpopular ideas deserve further investigation. - View Quote Details on He had a great capacity to arouse irrational hatred obviously… Every physician, shoemaker, mechanic or educator must know his shortcomings if he is to do his work and make his living. For some decades, you have begun to play a governing role on this earth. It is on your thinking and your actions that the future of humanity depends. But your teachers and masters do not tell you how you really think and are; nobody dares to voice the one criticism of you which could make you capable of governing your own fate. You are “free” only in one sense: free from education in governing your life yourself, free from self-criticism.

I came to consider the instinct as nothing more than the motor aspect of pleasure.

In recent times, more and more human thinking has come to assume that the idea of a universal natural law and the idea of 'God' are pointing to one and the same reality.

Man's right to know, to learn, to inquire, to make bona fide errors, to investigate human emotions must, by all means, be safe, if the word FREEDOM should ever be more than an empty political slogan.

Psychic disturbances are the consequences of the sexual chaos of society. For thousands of years, this chaos has had the function of psychically subjecting man to the prevailing conditions of existence, of internalizing the external mechanization of life. It has served to bring about the psychic anchoring of a mechanized and authoritarian civilization by making man incapable of functioning independently.

The absolute and static were even taken over by such dynamically oriented psychological schools as the Freudian in the form of the permanent unconscious ideas. In Jung, the unconscious psychic life was enlarged to the static "racial unconscious" and to the static "collective unconscious". Along with the static viewpoint, these psychologies took over the idea of guilt, even after their separation from philosophy. In so doing, they fell into a cul de sac from which there was no way out.

The question of how and why the encrustations and rigidifications of human emotional life are brought about led directly into the realm of vegetative life.

With this the [genuine] leader will cause many to turn against him. He will have robbed these many of an object to hold on to, like a bean stalk would feel robbed of comfort if you took away the supporting stick of wood.

Easy contact was made on that fateful day with what obviously turned out to be a heretofore unknown type of UFO. I had hesitated for weeks to turn my cloudbuster pipes toward a "star," as if I had known that some of the blinking lights hanging in the sky were not planets or fixed stars but SPACE machines. With the fading out of the two "stars," the cloudbuster had suddenly changed into a SPACEGUN. From then onward, too, our approach to the problem of space became positive, affirmative, confident in using our carefully screened data.

Every muscular contraction contains the history and meaning of its origin.

Every physician, shoemaker, mechanic or educator must know his shortcomings if he is to do his work and make his living. For some decades, you have begun to play a governing role on this earth. It is on your thinking and your actions that the future of humanity depends. But your teachers and masters do not tell you how you really think and are; nobody dares to voice the one criticism of you which could make you capable of governing your own fate. You are "free" only in one sense: free from education in governing your life yourself, free from self-criticism.

Every seemingly arbitrary destructive action is a reaction of the organism to the frustration of a gratification of a vital need, especially of a sexual need.

Family and school, from a political point of view, there are nothing but bourgeois social order workshops for the manufacture of discrete and obedient subjects. The father, according to the traditional image, is the representative of the bourgeois authorities and state power in the family. The authority of the state demands of adults the same attitude imposing obedient and submissive father... The limitation of freedom of psychic activity and criticism by sexual repression is one of the most important pillars of bourgeois sexual order. Bullying and sexual atrophy and children waking up in the fear of authority by their desires, thoughts and sexual acts, constitute the essence of the psychic apparatus by means of which the family enslaves youth capital

Follow the voice of your heart, even if it leads you off the path of timid souls. Do not become hard and embittered, even if life tortures you at times. There is only one thing that counts: to live one’s life well and happily.

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Austrian Psychoanalyst and Author