“The pleasure of living and the pleasure of the orgasm are identical.”
“The cry for freedom is a sign of suppression. It will not cease to ring as long as man feels himself captive.”
“Today’s step is tomorrow’s life.”
Love, work, and knowledge are the wellsprings of our lives, they should also govern it. Most intellectual people do not believe in God, but they fear him just the same. Scientific theory is a contrived foothold in the chaos of living phenomena. 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.
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.
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 the teachers of your children will be better paid than the politicians; when truths inspire you and empty formulas repel you; when you will have more respect for the love between man and woman than for a marriage license.
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 yourself create all your misery, hour after hour, day after day. You think the goal justifies the means, even the vile means. You are wrong: The goal is in the path on which you arrive at it. Every step of today is your life of tomorrow. No great goal can be reached by vile means. That you have proven in every social revolution. The vileness or inhumanity of the path to the goal makes you vile or inhuman, and the goal unattainable.
I am not a Christian or a Jew or a Mohammedan, a Mormon, Polygamist, Homosexual, Anarchist or Boxer. . . . I do not believe that, in order to be religious in the good and genuine sense of the word, one has to ruin one’s love life and has to become rigid and shrunken in body and soul. I know that what you call “God” actually exists, but in a different way from what you think: as the primal cosmic energy in the universe, as your love in your body, as your honesty and your feeling of nature in you and around you.
Originally and naturally, sexual pleasure was the good, the beautiful, the happy, that which united man with nature in general. When sexual feelings and religious feelings became separated from one another, that which is sexual was forced to become the bad, the internal, the diabolical. It is sexual energy which governs the structure of human feeling and thinking. Full sexual consciousness and a natural regulation of sexual life mean the end of mystical feelings of any kind. 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. Sexually awakened women, affirmed and recognized as such, would mean the complete collapse of the authoritarian ideology.
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 sexual gratification. The suppression of natural sexual gratification leads to various kinds of substitute gratifications. Natural aggression, for example, becomes brutal sadism which then is an essential mass-psychological factor in imperialistic wars. Psychic health depends on orgastic potency, i.e., upon the degree to which one can surrender to and experience the climax of excitation in the natural sexual act. It is founded upon the healthy character attitude of the individual’s capacity for love. Psychic illnesses are the result of a disturbance of the natural capacity for love.
“And first and foremost, think straight, trust the quiet inner voice that tells you what to do. You hold your life in your hands, don’t entrust it to anyone else, least of all to your chosen leaders. BE YOURSELF! Any number of great men have told you that.”
“Only you yourself can be your liberator!”
~Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian doctor of medicine and a psychoanalyst, along with being a member of the second generation of analysts after Sigmund Freud.
Excerpts from Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism,The Function of the Orgasm, Listen, Little Man!.
Excellence Reporter 2022
Categories: Wisdom of Life