Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm
Reich
1897
1957

Austrian Psychoanalyst and Author

Author Quotes

You will no longer believe that you "don't count." You will know and advocate your knowledge that you are the bearer of human society. Don't run away. Don't be afraid. It is not so terrible to be the responsible bearer of human society. Inflated leaders would have no soldiers and no arms if you clearly knew, and stood up for your knowledge, that a field has to yield wheat and a factory furniture or shoes, and not arms.

You'll have a good, secure life when being alive means more to you than security, love more than money, your freedom more than public or partisan opinion, when the mood of Beethoven's or Bach's music becomes the mood of your whole life … when your thinking is in harmony, and no longer in conflict, with your feelings … when you let yourself be guided by the thoughts of great sages and no longer by the crimes of great warriors … when you pay the men and women who teach your children better than the politicians; when truths inspire you and empty formulas repel you; when you communicate with your fellow workers in foreign countries directly, and no longer through diplomats...

Your liberators tell you that that your suppressors are Wilhelm, Nikolaus, Pope Gregory the Twenty Eighth, Morgan, Krupp or Ford. And your "liberators" are called Mussolini, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin. I tell you: "Only you yourself can be your liberator!"

You don't believe that your friend could ever do anything great. You despise yourself in secret, even – no, especially – when you stand on your dignity; and since you despise yourself, you are unable to respect your friend. You can't bring yourself to believe that anyone you have sat at table with, or shared a house with, is capable of great achievement. That is why all great men have been solitary. It is hard to think in your company, little man. One can only think 'about' you, or 'for your benefit', not 'with' you, for you stifle all big, generous ideas.

You have no sense of your true duty, which is to be a man and preserve humanity. You imitate wise men so badly and bandits so well. Your movies and radio programs are full of murder.

You let men in power assume power "for the Little Man". But you yourself remain silent. You give men in power or impotent people with evil intentions the power to represent you. Only too late do you realize that again and again you are being defrauded.

You think the end justifies the means, however vile. I tell you: the end is the means by which you achieve it. Today's step is tomorrow's life. Great ends cannot be attained by base means. You've proved that in all your social upheavals. The meanness and inhumanity of the means make you mean and inhuman and make the end unattainable.

You differ from a great man in only one respect: the great man was once a very little man, but he developed one important quality: he recognized the smallness and narrowness of his thoughts and actions. Under the pressure of some task that meant a great deal to him, he learned to see how his smallness, his pettiness endangered his happiness. In other words, a great man knows when and in what way he is a little man. A little man does not know he is little and is afraid to know. He hides his pettiness and narrowness behind illusions of strength and greatness, someone else's strength and greatness. He's proud of his great generals but not of himself. He admires an idea he has not had, not one he has had. The less he understands something, the more firmly he believes in it. And the better he understands an idea, the less he believes in it.

You beg for happiness in life, but security is more important to you, even if it costs you your spine or your life. Your life will be good and secure when aliveness will mean more to you than security; love more than money; your freedom more than party line or public opinion; when your thinking will be in harmony with your feelings; when the teachers of your children will be better paid than the politicians; when you will have more respect for the love between man and woman than for a marriage license.

You are Great, Little Man, when you are not small and petty. You are great when you carry on your trade lovingly, when you enjoy carving and building and painting and decorating and sowing, when you enjoy the blue sky and the deer and the dew and music and dancing, your growing children and the beautiful body of your woman or your man, when you learn to understand and think about life.

Honest pioneer work in the field of science has always been, and will continue to be, life’s pilot. On all sides, life is surrounded by hostility. This puts us under an obligation.

If the psychic energies of the average mass of people watching a football game or a musical comedy could be diverted into the rational channels of a freedom movement, they would be invincible.

Life springs from thousands of sources vibrant, hands up everyone who cling to, refuses to be expressed in phrases tedious, only accepts actions transparent, truthful words of love and pleasure

Only the liberation of the natural capacity for love in human beings can master their sadistic destructiveness.

Suppression of the natural sexuality in the child, particularly of its genital sexuality, makes the child apprehensive, shy, obedient, afraid of authority, "good" and "adjusted" in the authoritarian sense; it paralyzes the rebellious forces because any rebellion is laden with anxiety; it produces, by inhibiting sexual curiosity and sexual thinking in the child, a general inhibition of thinking and of critical faculties. In brief, the goal of sexual suppression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation. At first, the child has to adjust to the structure of the authoritarian miniature state, the family; this makes it capable of later subordination to the general authoritarian system. The formation of the authoritarian structure takes place through the anchoring of sexual inhibition and sexual anxiety.

The observations in the dark were somehow weird. After the eyes adapted to the darkness, the room did not appear black but grey blue. There were fog like formations and bluish dots and lines of light, violet light phenomena seemed to emanate from the walls as well as from the various objects in the room.

What is new in work democracy is: that for the first time in the history of sociology a possible future order of human society is deduced not from ideologies or from conditions yet to be created, but from processes which are naturally given and which have always been in operation. What is new in it is the renunciation and rejection of any kind of politics and demagogy. New is that, instead of the working masses of people being relieved of social responsibility, they are being burdened with it. Further, that the work democrats have no political ambitions nor are allowed to develop any. Further, that it consciously develops formal democracy — which means merely the voting for ideological representatives without any further responsibility on the part of the voter — into genuine, factual and practical democracy on an international scale; a democracy which is borne, in progressive organic development, by the functions of love, work and knowledge.

How, then,' I hear you ask, 'shall I attain my end, whether it be Christian love, socialism, or American democracy?' Your Christian love and your socialism and your American democracy are what you do each day, your manner of thinking each hour, of embracing your life companion and loving your child; they are your attitude of social responsibility towards your work, and your determination not to become like the crushers of life you so hate.

If you live in a dark cellar too long, you will hate the sunshine. You may even have lost the power of the eye to tolerate light. From this comes hatred toward sunlight.

Love, work, and knowledge are the wellsprings of our lives, they should also govern it.

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.

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

Austrian Psychoanalyst and Author