Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm
Reich
1897
1957

Austrian Psychoanalyst and Author

Author Quotes

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.

For a decade, the politics of the European dictators was unrivalled. In order to comprehend the essence of politics, one only has to remember that it was a Hitler who, for many years, was able to keep the world breathless. Hitler as a political genius was a magnificent unmasking of the essence of politics in general. With Hitler, politics reached the peak of its development. We know what were its fruits and what was the reaction of the world. In brief, I believe that the twentieth century, with its gigantic catastrophes, ushers in a new social era, an era free of politics. It remains to be seen what part politics will play in the eradication of the political emotional plague and what part the consciously organized functions of love, work and knowledge.

For twenty-five years I've been speaking and writing in defense of your right to happiness in this world, condemning your inability to take what is your due, to secure what you won in bloody battles on the barricades of Paris and Vienna, in the American Civil War, in the Russian Revolution. Your Paris ended with Petain and Laval, your Vienna with Hitler, your Russia with Stalin, and your America may well end in the rule of the Ku Klux Klan! You've been more successful in winning your freedom than in securing it for yourself and others. This I knew long ago. What I did not understand was why time and again, after fighting your way out of a swamp, you sank into a worse one. Then groping and cautiously looking about me, I gradually found out what has enslaved you: YOUR SLAVE DRIVER IS YOU YOURSELF. No one is to blame for your slavery but you yourself. No one else, I say!

"What right do you have to tell me things?" I can see this question in your apprehensive look. I hear this question from your impertinent mouth, Little Man. You are afraid to look at yourself, you are afraid of criticism, Little Man, just as you are afraid of the power they promise you. You would not know how to use this power. You dare not think that you ever might experience yourself differently: free instead of cowed; open instead of tactical; loving openly instead of like a thief in the night. You despise yourself Little Man. You say: "Who am I to have an opinion of my own, to determine my own life and to declare the world to be mine?" You are right: Who are you to make a claim to your life?

A living creature develops a destructive impulse when it wants to destroy a source of danger. In this case, the destruction or killing of the object is the biologically purposeful goal. The original motive is not pleasure in destruction. Rather the destruction serves the “life instinct”…and is an attempt to avoid anxiety and to preserve the ego in its totality. I destroy in a dangerous situation because I want to live and do not want to have any anxiety. In short, the impulse to destroy serves a primary biological will to live.

Am I a space man? Do I belong to a new race on Earth, bred by men from outer space in embraces with Earth women? Are my children offspring of the first interplanetary race? Has the melting-pot of interplanetary society already been created on our planet, as the melting-pot of all Earth nations was established in the U.S. A. 190 years ago?

Your life will be good and secure when aliveness will mean more to you than security; love more than money; your freedom more than partyline line or public opinion; when the mood of Beethoven or Bach will be the mood of your total existence; when the teachers of your children will be better paid than the politicians.

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

Austrian Psychoanalyst and Author