Listen, Little Man!, Willhelm Reich

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God is primal cosmic energy, the love in your body, your integrity, and your perception of the nature in you and outside of you.

Twenty-two years, twenty-two long, eventful, anguished years have passed since I began to teach you that what matters is not individual therapy but the prevention of psychic disorders. And again you’re behaving as you’ve behaved for thousands of years. For twenty-two long fearful years I taught you that people succumb to madness of one kind or another or live in misery of one kind or another because they have become rigid in body and soul and because they are capable neither of enjoying love nor of giving it, because their bodies cannot, like those of all other animals, convulse in the act of love.

Instead of flocking to executions and shouting hurrah, hurrah, make a law for the protection of human life and its blessings. Such a law will be a part of the granite foundation your house rests on. Protect your small children’s love against the assaults of lascivious, frustrated men and women. Stop the mouth of the malignant old maid; expose her publicly or send her to a reform school instead of young people who are longing for love. Don’t try to outdo your exploiter in exploitation if you have a chance to become a boss. Throw away your swallowtails and top hat, and stop applying for a license to embrace your woman. Join forces with your kind in all countries; they are like you, for better or worse. Let your child grow up as nature (or ‘God’) intended. Don’t try to improve on nature. Learn to understand it and protect it. Go to the library instead of the prize fight, go to foreign countries rather than to Coney Island. 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.”

But you’re built like a tub, you’re awkward and physically repulsive. That alone is enough to give you a bitter, deep-seated hatred for every attractive, living body. Naturally I don’t blame you for being built like a tub, or for never having experienced love (no healthy man could have loved you), or for failing to understand love in children. But I do blame you for making a virtue of your affliction, of your wrecked, tublike body, of your lack of beauty and grace and your incapacity for love, and for stifling love in children. That, you ugly little woman, is a crime.
Your existence is harmful because you turn healthy children against their healthy fathers, because you treat healthy childlike love as a symptom of disease, because, ugly little woman, not content with looking like a tub, you think and teach like a tub; because instead of withdrawing modestly into a quiet corner of life, you do your best to imprint all life with your ugliness, your tublike ungainliness, your hypocrisy, and with the bitter hatred that you hide behind your phony smile.




Before Willhelm Reich mysteriously died of a heart attack at the age of 60, while in the care of the American government, he practiced and wrote about psychology. His bend on the issue of mental health was a bit different than normal, he believed that most of our issues have to do with supressed sexuality and desire. Which is actually pretty close to Freud, who he was trained by but he’s different because he encouraged open sexuality and presence in the human body. He encouraged teenagers to be sexual and was a strong advocate of birth control.

An interesting theory of his was “character armour” in the sense that you can tell what a person’s psychological issues by the way they hold themselves. He believed in a universal energy, which he called orgone…humans wall themselves off in certain ways to protect themselves in a maladaptive way from the world around them. So an overly-aggresive person will hold themselves one way, a passive person another way, and all of this is done unconciously.

He was a socialist, openly, and leaned heavily toward libertarianism, with this tendency getting heavier over the years due to government persecution. He advocated free love, equality, and love and trust between individuals. Clearly, the man was a psychopath.

This book is less psychological theory, but a screed of a frustrated man toward the end of his life. He had his own issues, certainly, but knew that his life, which he dedicated to helping humanity as a whole had brought him mostly frustration and failure. One last try at trying to get people to awaken to their true natures and potential.

2 thoughts on “Listen, Little Man!, Willhelm Reich

  1. He took weirdness to the next level – Genius! William Blake, he was an interesting one too, worth looking into anyhow, nowt wrong with socialism, not so far as I can see 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hell yes, William Blake! ❤ Haven't read him in a long time, but remember songs of innocence/songs of experience. Believe he had hallucinations and was particularly religious?
      Socialism…lots of branches, obviously it's been done incorrectly with Stalin, but I'm partial to Emma Goldman and 1920's american socialism. A fun fact about milwaukee is that we've had the highest number of elected socialists and our water system is the result of community minded socialists and were pretty astonishing for their time. But now it's like 100 years later and we're having issues with lead poisioning, damnit.


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