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Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm Reich image Wilhelm Reich image
Parent Issue
Day
14
Month
February
Year
1975
OCR Text

,. %A _ 1 w "Againsf tíw principie of sel f-de nial preqcheú by politica! recution, we must set the principie of happiness and ahtindance on earth. " Wilhelm Reicli Remcmber the feeling you have immediately after a high-powered, explosive orgasm the total lack of tenseness and the free-flowing of emotions and energy. At that moment, you have a sense of the basic teachings of revolutionary psyehologist Wilhelm Reich. Expelled f rom the Communist Party and the International PsychoanaJysis Assoiciation for his unorthodox teachings, Reich finally died in an American prison in lc)57 while the Food and Drug Administration burned his books. His atternpts to show that society walls people off from their own sexual lite energy and experience, plus his therapies to help people overeóme superficial layers of character angered authorities in each of the countries in which Reich worked. He theorized the biological core of a person was both loving and rationa!, and in essence, a revolutionary force capable of overturning existing powers in society which oppress the individual. Reich's teachings initially synthesized the thcories of Sigmund Freud on people 's interna! drives with Marx and Engel's analysis of societal shaping of human nature. In an early essay. Reich proposed that a revolutionary ideology needed both aspects: "An efjective policy, whose ultímate goal is the achievement of 'socialist and the establishment oj the rule of labor over capital, must not be baseJ only on a recagnitiatt of tfiose social movetnents and changes which occur objectively and independen tly ofour will as a result o) the derclopment of the productive forces. Sucli a polier must also, simultaneoiisly and on the same level, take account ofwlwt happens 'in people 's heads'i.e.. in the psyclikal structures of the human beings who are subjected to those proeesses, and who actually carry mem out. " (H'hat is Class Conscioitsncss, 1J34) Much of Reich's work is based on years of iistening to patients voice their complaints. combined with a critical historie perspeetive of the events whtdi affected them Two of lus major works. The Sexual Revolution ( I 40) and The Mass teychohgv aj Fascism ( 1 938 1 both evolve frota the fascism inherent in Hitler Germany. In Mass Psyehobgy. Reich examines the process which shapes people's world outlook, and emotions, which ultimately govern how one does (or does not) act. Fascism is the process by which the people oppress themselves. How does fascism come about? How do millions of people allow themselves to be put under the iron heel of a dictator? There are economie reasons for the development of fascism; but hei e we want to deal with what goes on in peoples' heads that they would dioosc a straiglitjacket rather than go naked. The people, in the fina! analysis, do have the choiee. Reieli shows that the repression ofour basic sexual urges, our present family structure and religión, are the three primary subjective forces that shape our conciousness toward the acceptance ot tacism, indeed, the demand for facism. "The authontarian state gains an enormous interest in the authohtahan family: it beci ies the Jactory ui nlueh the state 's structure and kkohgy are mohted...ln the figure of the father the authoritariaii state has its representa t ive in evety family so that the (ainilv bewmes its most important instrument of power. " In most families the father serves as a dictator, his rule is absolute, unquestioned. As we grow up in this sort ot atmosphere we become passive and unable to function unless we aro given commands trom a higlier authority. In both the family and state this authority is strict and protective al the same time. "What thisposition of the father aetually necessitates is the strictest sexual suppresskm of me women and the chtldren...the sons, apart from subseniettt attitudes toward authority. ikretop a strong Identification with the father, whkh forms the basis of the emotumal identijication wal, every kind of authority. " The young men want to be fathersfuhrers. "The moral tions of The child's natural sexuality...makes the child afraid, shy, fairful ofauthority, obedient, 'good'and 'docile' in the authorirarian sense ƒ the words. It has a crippling ettert on man 's rcbeltious [orces because every vital lije impulse is now bhrdened with severefear. "The suppression of one's primttive material needs f Jood, shelter, ■. compassesa different result titan the suppression ofone's sexual needs. the farmer iueites ti rehellion, whereas the kuier... prevenís rebelUon against BOTH farms of suppression. " Sexual repres&ion results in a lowering of self-confidence, we begin to think of sexual siippression in ternis of honor, purity, duty, bravery. and self-conttol. These emotions are turther developed and exploited hy the absolute control siale, especially in times of war. Whcn our natural sex drives are twisted and deformed our sexual energy seeks release and satisfaction in perverted ways, in individual sadism lor one. hut this can be heiglitened and maniputated into racism, nationalism, knperjalisfic wars and a fascist state. Look at the Vietnam War and My l.ai. massivc pólice bmtality, the brutality that prisoners intliet Upon one auoiher in prisins in our own society. Sp, reprensión ol natural sexual instincts is key to developing the superior father lamily structure that the autlioritarian state needs to survive. 1 here is another institution that effects this anti-sexuality and the family and facist state organization, Reich calis this third institution "mysticisiii"" [religión] . "l-very farm oj inysrieism derives its most active energy and, in pan, also its content front this eoinpidsory tepression l sexualitv. " Religion's basic doctrine is that men and women are naturally vvicked and evil (oiiginal sin), that things on earth alwayshave been awful and alwayswill be.we shouldn't expeel happiness 1 ero on earth hut look tor our just reward in heaven. The whole family and scx order is a primary part of religión. A young child mighl be heard to pray -"Piense, Mother Mary Virgin Pure. I sinned. Uilly and Sally and 1 played doctor, ask God the Father no( to send me lo Heil." God seeseverything and knows everything, so don'1 touch yourself when you go to t)ed. in fact, don't even think about touching yourself ot anybody elíe. And Jesús Christ, the Sou of God the Father, wlio obeyed His Father all the way to the end. lic never had a hard on in 33 years. Again. purity. honor, self-conirol; "No. No, I ean't l'ni sciving it for wlien I get married." f "W'liat religión calis fireetk m rom tfre outside m rh really meaos fantasized subsritute gratificatkm freligious ecstasy for actual gratification (physicalj . " Religión leads us to put all our faith in God, but it also leads us to put our taitli in the 1 eader. oí our faith in Daddy. W'hat we need to do is put our faith in ourselves.our faith in each other. As the U.S. drifts closer tu l'ascism, as wc reap more and more of the rotten fruit '58S of sexual repression, i.e. sadisrrt, war, perversión, confusión, dual personalities, etc.. the presstirc f the "nioralists" increases, they teil us we must strengthen tle fumil ('luist and muráis, that ís to say, patnarcliy. religión and sexual repression that has led us tato the centei of tJus madness. In The Sexual Revolytíon , Reich delves deeper into the sexual roots of societal dlsfunctioning. ;ind spells oul what must change in the individual in order to bring about a sane society of complete human beings. Reich saw people underneath their roles and personna masks as biological organisms funct ionat life systems undivorced from the life energy permeating the universe. In our society, the man animal is walled away from lus.' her own lifc encrgy and nature bv wlui he calis "character armor." One o the major factors contributing tü this phenomenon is moral Inhibitions, especiaily sexual, taught young children by family, school and church. Reich examines these trends in both Germany and Russia (following the Bolshevik Revolution) as a cóntroHing mechanism by the state. As a means of showing the alternatives, he discusses the Russian laws immediately alter the Revolution (and later repeafed undei Stalin . repeal of anti-homosexuality legislation, abortion legalized, economie ndependence foi women and children. end of registered marriage the separation of economy and sexuality. Reieh spent his later yeais concentrating on bioenergetics, with his discovery of the orgone (a iife energy source) and its therapeutic value. While less directly political than much óf his early work. his laiei research on a continually flowing cosmic energy source, the tunction of the orgasm, and his discussions of "character armor," or inhibitions of energy flow leading to such deseases as cáncer, ulceis or arthritis proved equally radical and generally unpopuiar, in fact, Reich's writings remain a scrt of underground literatura, not commonly taughi in schools and still nol widely available. Reich' s goals are the underpinnings of much radical activity today, and lus works have much to say to curren) organizers. Unless we recognize our need to change our character, we will never be able to créate a more sane society. WRITINGS BY WILHELM REICH: The Mass Psycbfilogy l Faciwi (Touchstone) $3.95 The Svua! Remlution (Noonday) $2.95 The Fanction of the Orgastn {Meridian) $3.95 Selecteü Writhigs: An Introditction t Orgonomy (Noonday; S4.95 Reich SKakson Freuü (Noonclay) S2.95 ''lic Munhr l Clirisr Noonday) S2.75 Thè Cáncer Biopalhy (Noonclay) #;::■.. S4.95 All tocally In Paperback Reich's studies on the function of the orgasm and how sexuality affects mass psychology incurred himthe wrath of government authorities. The Food and Drug Administration burned his books, and Reien finally died in an American prison in 1957.