Also check out: Listen Little Man
The Mass Psychology of Fascism
The German freedom movement prior to Hitler was inspired by Karl Marx's economic and social theory. Hence, an understanding of German fascism must proceed from an understanding of Marxism.
In the months following National Socialism's seizure of power in Germany, even those individuals whose revolutionary firmness and readiness to be of service had been proven again and again, expressed doubts about the correctness of Marx's basic conception of social processes. These doubts were generated by a fact that, though irrefutable, was at first incomprehensible: Fascism, the most extreme representative of political and economic reaction in both its goals and its nature, had become an international reality and in many countries had visibly and undeniably outstripped the socialist revolutionary movement. That this reality found its strongest expression in the highly industrialized countries only heightened the problem. The rise of nationalism in all parts of the world offset the failure of the workers' movement in a phase of modern history in which, as the Marxists contended, "the capitalist mode of production had become economically ripe for explosion." Added to this was the deeply ingrained remembrance of the failure of the Workers' International at the outbreak of World War I and of the crushing of the revolutionary uprisings outside of Russia between 1918 and 1923. They were doubts, in short, which were generated by grave facts if they were justified, then the basic Marxist conception was false and the workers' movement was in need of a decisive reorientation, provided one still wanted to achieve its goals. If, however, the doubts were not justified, and Marx's basic conception of sociology was correct, then not only was a thorough and extensive analysis of the reasons for the continual failure of the workers' movement called for, but also and this above all-a complete elucidation of the unprecedented mass movement of fascism was also needed. Only from this could a new revolutionary practice result.
A change in the situation was out of the question unless it could be proven that either the one or the other was the case. It was clear that neither an appeal to the "revolutionary class consciousness" of the working class nor the practice á la Coué -the camouflaging of defeats and the covering of important facts with illusions-a practice that was in vogue at that time, could lead to the goal. One could not content oneself with the fact that the workers' movement was also 'progressing," that here and there resistance was being offered and strikes were being called. What is decisive is not that progress is being made, but at what tempo, in relation to the international strengthening and advance of political reaction.
The young work-democratic, sex-economic movement is interested in a thorough clarification of this question not only because it is a part of the social liberation fight in general but chiefly because the achievement of its goals is inextricably related to the achievement of the political and economic goals of natural work-democracy. For this reason we want to try to explain how the specific sex-economic questions are interlaced with the general social questions, seen from the perspective of the workers' movement.
In some of the German meetings around 1930 there were intelligent, straightforward, though nationalistically and mystically oriented, revolutionaries-such as Otto Strasser, for example-who were wont to confront the Marxists as follows: "You Marxists like to quote Marx's theories in your defense. Marx taught that theory is verified by practice only, but your Marxism has proved to be a failure. You always come around with explanations for the defeat of the Workers' International. The 'defection of the Social Democrats' was your explanation for the defeat of 1914; you point to their 'treacherous politics' and their illusions to account for the defeat of 1918. And again you have ready 'explanations' to account for the fact that in the present world crisis the masses are turning to the Right instead of to the Left. But your explanations do not blot out the fact of your defeats! Eighty years have passed, and where is the concrete confirmation of the theory of social revolution? Your basic error is that you reject or ridicule soul and mind and that you don't comprehend that which moves everything." Such were their arguments, and exponents of Marxism had no answer. It became more and more clear that their political mass propaganda, dealing as it did solely with the discussion of objective socio-economic processes at a time of crisis (capitalist modes of production, economic anarchy, etc.), did not appeal to anyone other than the minority already enrolled in the Left front. The playing up of material needs and of hunger was not enough, for every political party did that much, even the church; so that in the end it was the mysticism of the National Socialists that triumphed over the economic theory of socialism, and at a time when the economic crisis and misery were at their worst. Hence, one had to admit that there was a glaring omission in the propaganda and in the overall conception of socialism and that, moreover, this omission was the source of its "political errors." It was an error in the Marxian comprehension of political reality, and yet all the prerequisites for its correction were contained in the methods of dialectical materialism. They had simply never been turned to use. In their political practice, to state it briefly at the outset, the Marxists had failed to take into account the character structure of the masses and the social effect of mysticism.
Those who followed, and were practically involved in the revolutionary Left's application of Marxism between 1917 and 1933, had to notice that it was restricted to the sphere of objective economic processes and governmental policies, but that it neither kept a close eye on nor comprehended the development and contradictions of the so-called "subjective factor" of history, i.e., the ideology of the masses. The revolutionary Left failed, above all, to make fresh use of its own method of dialectical materialism, to keep it alive, to comprehend every new social reality from a new perspective with this method.
The use of dialectical materialism to comprehend new historical realities was not cultivated, and fascism was a reality that neither Marx nor Engels was familiar with, and was caught sight of by Lenin only in its beginnings. The reactionary conception of reality shuts its eyes to fascism's contradictions and actual conditions. Reactionary politics automatically makes use of those social forces that oppose progress; it can do this successfully only as long as science neglects to unearth those revolutionary forces that must of necessity overpower the reactionary forces. As we shall see later, not only regressive but also very energetic progressive social forces emerged in the rebelliousness of the lower middle classes, which later constituted the mass basis of fascism. This contradiction was overlooked; indeed, the role of the lower middle classes was altogether in eclipse until shortly before Hitler's seizure of power.
Revolutionary activity in every area of human existence will come about by itself when the contradictions in every new process are comprehended; it will consist of an identification with those forces that are moving in the direction of genuine progress. To be radical, according to Karl Marx, means "getting to the root of things." If one gets to the root of things, if one grasps their contradictory operations, then the overcoming of political reaction is assured. If one does not get to the root of things, one ends, whether one wants to or not, in mechanism, in economics, or even in metaphysics, and inevitably loses one's footing. Hence, a critique can only be significant and have a practical value if it can show where the contradictions of social reality were overlooked. What was revolutionary about Marx was not that he wrote this or that proclamation or pointed out 9 revolutionary goals; his major revolutionary contribution is that he recognized the industrial productive forces as the progressive force of society and that he depicted the contradictions of capitalist economy as they relate to real life. The failure of the workers' movement must mean that our knowledge of those forces that retard social progress is very limited, indeed, that some major factors are still altogether unknown.
As so many works of great thinkers, Marxism also degenerated to hollow formulas and lost its scientific revolutionary potency in the hands of Marxist politicians. They were so entangled in everyday political struggles that they failed to develop the principles of a vital philosophy of life handed down by Marx and Engels. To confirm this, one need merely compare Sauerland's book on "Dialectical Materialism" or any of Salkind's or Pieck's books with Marx's Das Kapital or Engels' The Development of Socialism from Utopia to Science. Flexible methods were reduced to formulas; scientific empiricism to rigid orthodoxy. In the meantime the "proletariat" of Marx's time had developed into an enormous class of industrial workers, and the middle-class shopkeepers had become a colossus of industrial and public employees. Scientific Marxism degenerated to "vulgar Marxism." This is the name many outstanding Marxist politicians have given to the economics that restricts all of human existence to the problem of unemployment and pay rates.
It was this very vulgar Marxism that maintained that the economic crisis of 1929-33 was of such a magnitude that it would of necessity lead to an ideological Leftist orientation among the stricken masses. While there was still talk of a "revolutionary revival" in Germany, even after the defeat of January 1933, the reality of the situation showed that the economic crisis, which, according to expectations, was supposed to entail a development to the Left in the ideology of the masses, had led to an extreme development to the Right in the ideology of the proletarian strata of the population. The result was a cleavage between the economic basis, which developed to the Left, and the ideology of broad layers of society, which developed to the Right. This cleavage was overlooked; consequently, no one gave a thought to asking how broad masses living in utter poverty could become nationalistic. Explanations such as "chauvinism," "psychosis," "the consequences of Versailles," are not of much use, for they do not enable us to cope with the tendency of a distressed middle class to become radical Rightist; such explanations do not really comprehend the processes at work in this tendency. In fact, it was not only the middle class that turned to the Right, but broad and not always the worst elements of the proletariat. One failed to see that the middle classes, put on their guard by the success of the Russian Revolution, resorted to new and seemingly strange preventative measures (such as Roosevelt's "New Deal"), which were not understood at that time and which the workers' movement neglected to analyze. One also failed to see that, at the outset and during the initial stages of its development to a mass movement, fascism was directed against the upper middle class and hence could not be disposed of "merely as a bulwark of big finance," if only because it was a mass movement.
Where was the problem?
The basic Marxist conception grasped the facts that labor was exploited as a commodity, that capital was concentrated in the hands of the few, and that the latter entailed the progressive pauperization of the majority of working humanity. It was from this process that Marx arrived at the necessity of "expropriating the expropriators." According to this conception, the forces of production of capitalist society transcend the limits of the modes of production. The contradiction between social production and private appropriation of the products by capital can only be cleared up by the balancing of the modes of production with the level of the forces of production. Social production must be complemented by the social appropriation of the products. The first act of this assimilation is social revolution; this is the basic economic principle of Marxism. This assimilation can take place, it is said, only if the pauperized majority establishes the "dictatorship of the proletariat" as the dictatorship of the working majority over the minority of the now expropriated owners of the means of production.
According to Marx's theory the economic preconditions for a social revolution were given: capital was concentrated in the hands of the few, the growth of national economy to a world economy was completely at variance with the custom and tariff system of the national states; capitalist economy had achieved hardly half of its production capacity, and there could no longer be any doubt about its basic anarchy. The majority of the population of the highly industrialized countries was living in misery; some fifty million people were unemployed in Europe; hundreds of millions of workers scraped along on next to nothing. But the expropriation of the expropriators failed to take place and, contrary to expectations, at the crossroads between "socialism and barbarism," it was in the direction of barbarism that society first proceeded. For the international strengthening of fascism and the lagging behind of the workers' movement was nothing other than that. Those who still hoped for a revolution to result from the anticipated second World War, which in the meantime had become a reality -those, in other words, who counted on the masses to turn the weapons thrust into their hands against the inner enemy-had not followed the development of the new techniques of war. One could not simply reject the reasoning to the effect that the arming of the broad masses would be highly unlikely in the next war. According to this conception, the fighting would be directed against the unarmed masses of the large industrial centers and would be carried out by very reliable and selected war-technicians. Hence, a reorientation of one's thinking and one's evaluations was the precondition of a new revolutionary practice. World War II was a confirmation of these expectations.
ECONOMIC AND IDEOLOGICAL STRUCTURE OF THE GERMAN SOCIETY, 1928~1933
Rationally considered, one would expect economically wretched masses of workers to develop a keen consciousness of their social situation; one would further expect this consciousness to harden into a determination to rid themselves of their social misery. In short, one would expect the socially wretched working man to revolt against the abuses to which he is subjected and to say: "After all, I perform responsible social work. It is upon me and those like me -that the weal and ill of society rests. I myself assume the responsibility for the work that must be done." In such a case, the thinking ("consciousness") of the worker would be in keeping with his social situation. The Marxist called it "class consciousness." We want to call it "consciousness of one's skills," or "consciousness of one's social responsibility." The cleavage between the social situation of the working masses and their consciousness of this situation implies that, instead of improving their social position, the working masses worsen it. It was precisely the wretched masses who helped to put fascism, extreme political reaction, into power.
It is a question of the role of ideology and the emotional attitude of these masses seen as a historical factor, a question of the repercussion of the ideology on the economic basis. If the material wretchedness of the broad masses did not lead to a social revolution; if, objectively considered, contrary revolutionary ideologies resulted from the crisis, then the development of the ideology of the masses in the critical years thwarted the "efflorescence of the forces of production," prevented, to use Marxist concepts, the "revolutionary resolution of the contradictions between the forces of production of monopolistic capitalism and its methods of production."
No matter how many middle-class employees may have voted for left-wing parties and how many workers may have voted for right-wing parties, it is nonetheless striking that the figures of the ideological distribution, arrived at by us, agree approximately with the election figures of 1932: Taken together the Communists and the Social Democrats received twelve to thirteen million votes, while the NSDAP* (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) and the German Nationalists received some nineteen to ~ twenty million votes. Thus, with respect to practical politics, it was not the economic but the ideological distribution that was decisive. In short, the political importance of the lower middle class is greater than had been assumed.
During the rapid decline of the German economy, 1929-32, the NSDAP jumped from 800,000 votes in 1928 to 6,400,000 in the fall of 1930, to 13,000,000 in the summer of 1932 and 17,000,000 in January of 1933. According to Jager's calculations ("Hitler," Roter Aulbau, October 1930) the votes cast by the workers made up approximately 3,000,000 of the 6,400,000 votes received by the National Socialists in 1930. Of these 3,000,000 votes, some 60 to 70 percent came from employees and 30 to 40 percent from workers.
To my knowledge it was Karl Radek who most dearly grasped the problematic aspect of this sociological process as early as 1930, following the NSDAP's first upsurge. He wrote
"Nothing similar to this is known in the history of political struggle, particularly in a country with firmly established political differentiations, in which every new party has had to fight for any position held by the old parties. There is nothing more characteristic than the fact that, neither in bourgeois nor in socialist literature, has anything been said about this party, which assumes the second place in German political life. It is a party without history which suddenly emerges in German political life, just as an island suddenly emerges in the middle of the sea owing to volcanic forces. -"German Elections," Roter Aufbau, October, 1930
We have no doubt that this island also has a history and follows an inner logic.
The choice between the Marxist alternative: "fall to barbarism" or "rise to socialism," was a choice that, according to all previous experience, would be determined by the ideological structure of the dominated classes. Either this structure would be in keeping with the economic situation or it would be at variance with it, as, for instance, we find in large Asian societies, where exploitation is passively endured, or in present-day Germany, where a cleavage exists between economic situation and ideology.
Thus, the basic problem is this: What causes this cleavage, or to put it another way, what prevents the economic situation from coinciding with the psychic structure of the masses? It is a problem, in short, of comprehending the nature of the psychological structure of the masses and its relation to the economic basis from which it derives.
To comprehend this, we must first of all free ourselves from vulgar Marxist concepts, which only block the way to an understanding of fascism. Essentially, they are as follows:
In accordance with one of its formulas, vulgar Marxism completely separates economic existence from social existence as a whole, and states that man's "ideology" and "consciousness" are solely and directly determined by his economic existence. Thus, it sets up a mechanical antithesis between economy and ideology, between "structure" and "superstructure"; it makes ideology rigidly and one-sidedly dependent upon economy, and fails to see the dependency of economic development upon that of ideology. For this reason the problem of the so-called "repercussion of ideology" does not exist for it. Notwithstanding the fact that vulgar Marxism now speaks of the "lagging behind of the subjective factor," as Lenin understood it, it can do nothing about it in a practical way, for its former conception of ideology as the product of the economic situation was too rigid. It did not explore the contradictions of economy in ideology, and it did not comprehend ideology as a historical force.
In fact, it does everything in its power not to comprehend the structure and dynamics of ideology; it brushes it aside as "psychology," which is not supposed to be "Marxistic," and leaves the handling of the subjective factor, the so-called "psychic life" in history, to the metaphysical idealism of political reaction, to the Gentiles and Rosenbergs, who make "mind" and "soul" solely responsible for the progress of history and, strange to say, have enormous success with this thesis. The neglect of this aspect of sociology is something Marx himself criticized in the materialism of the eighteenth century. To the vulgar Marxist, psychology is a metaphysical system pure and simple, and he draws no distinction whatever between the metaphysical character of reactionary psychology and the basic elements of psychology, which were furnished by revolutionary psychological research and which it is our task to develop. The vulgar Marxist simply negates, instead of offering constructive criticism, and feels himself to be a "materialist" when he rejects facts such as "drive," "need," or "inner process," as being "idealistic." The result is that he gets into serious difficulties and meets with one failure after another, for he is continually forced to employ practical psychology in political practice, is forced to speak of the "needs of the masses," "revolutionary consciousness," "the will to strike," etc. The more the vulgar Marxist tries to gainsay psychology, the more he finds himself practicing metaphysical psychologism and worse, insipid Coueism. For example, he will try to explain a historical situation on the basis of a "Hitler psychosis," or console the masses and persuade them not to lose faith in Marxism. Despite everything, he asserts, headway is being made, the revolution will not be subdued, etc. He sinks to the point finally of pumping illusionary courage into the people, without in reality saying anything essential about the situation, without having comprehended what has happened. That political reaction is never at a loss to find a way out of a difficult situation, that an acute economic crisis can lead to barbarism as well as it can lead to social freedom, must remain for him a book with seven seals. Instead of allowing his thoughts and acts to issue from social reality, he transposes reality in his fantasy in such a way as to make it correspond to his wishes.
Our political psychology can be nothing other than an investigation of this "subjective factor of history," of the character structure of man in a given epoch and of the ideological structure of society that it forms. Unlike reactionary psychology and psychologistic economy, it does not try to lord it over Marxist sociology by throwing "psychological conceptions" of social processes in its teeth, but gives it its proper due as that which deduces consciousness from existence.
The Marxist thesis to the effect that originally "that which is materialistic" (existence) is converted into "that which is ideological" (in consciousness), and not vice versa, leaves two questions open: (1) how this takes place, what happens in man's brain in this process; and (2) how the "consciousness" (we will refer to it as psychic structure from now on) that is formed in this way reacts upon the economic process. Character-analytic psychology fills this gap by revealing the process in man's psychic life, which is determined by the conditions of existence. By so doing, it puts its finger on the "subjective factor," which the vulgar Marxist had failed to comprehend. Hence, political psychology has a sharply delineated task. It cannot, for instance, explain the genesis of class society or the capitalist mode of production (whenever it attempts this, the result is always reactionary nonsense-for instance, that capitalism is a system of man's greed). Nonetheless, it is political psychology-and not social economy-that is in a position to investigate the structure of man's character in a given epoch, to investigate how he thinks and acts, how the contradictions of his existence work themselves out, how he tries to cope with his existence, etc. To be sure, it examines individual men and women only. If, however, it specializes in the investigation of typical psychic processes common to one category, class, professional group, etc., and excludes individual differences, then it becomes a mass psychology. Thus it proceeds directly from Marx himself.
"The presuppositions with which we begin are not arbitrary presuppositions; they are not dogmas; they are real presuppositions from which one can abstract only in fancy. They are the actual individuals, their actions and the material conditions of their lives, those already existing as well as those produced by action." -German Ideology
"Man himself is the basis of his material production, as of every other production which he achieves. In other words all conditions affect and more or less modify all of the functions and activities of man-the subject of production & the creator of material wealth, of commodities. In this connection it can be indeed proven that all human conditions and functions, no matter how and when they are manifested, influence material production and have a more or less determining effect on them." -Theory of Surplus Value
Hence, we are not saying anything new, and we are not revising Marx, as is so often maintained: "All human conditions," that is, not only the conditions that are a part of the work process, but also the most private and most personal and highest accomplishments of human instinct and thought; also, in other words, the sexual life of women and adolescents and children, the level of the sociological investigation of these conditions and its application to new social questions. With a certain kind of these "human conditions," Hitler was able to bring about a historical situation that is not to be ridiculed out of existence. Marx was not able to develop a sociology of sex, because at that time sexology did not exist. Hence, it now becomes a question of incorporating both the purely economic and sex-economic conditions into the framework of sociology, of destroying the hegemony of the mystics and metaphysicians in this domain.
When an "ideology has a repercussive effect upon the economic process," this means that it must have become a material force. When an ideology becomes a material force, as soon as it has the ability to arouse masses, then we must go on to ask: How does this take place? How is it possible for an ideologic factor to produce a materialistic result, that for a theory to produce a revolutionary effect? The answer to this question must also be the answer to the question of reactionary mass psychology; it must, in other words, elucidate the "Hitler psychosis."
The ideology of every social formation has the function not only of reflecting the economic process of this society, but also and more significantly of embedding this economic process in the psychic structures of the people who make up the society. Man is subject to the conditions of his existence in a twofold way: directly through the immediate influence of his economic and social position, and indirectly by means of the ideologic structure of the society. His psychic structure, in other words, is forced to develop a contradiction corresponding to the contradiction between the influence exercised by his material position and the influence exercised by the ideological structure of society. The worker, for instance, is subject to the situation of his work as well as to the general ideology of the society. Since man however, regardless of class, is not only the object of these influences but also reproduces them in his activities, his thinking and acting must be just as contradictory as the society from which they derive. But, inasmuch as a social ideology changes man's psychic structure, it has not only reproduced itself in man but, what is more significant, has become an active force, a material power in man, who in turn has become concretely changed, and, as a consequence thereof, acts in a different and contradictory fashion. It is in this way and only in this way that the repercussions of a society's ideology on the economic basis from which it derives is possible. The "repercussion" loses its apparent metaphysical and psychologistic character when it can be comprehended as the functioning of the character structure of socially active man. As such, it is the object of natural scientific investigations of the character. Thus, the statement that the "ideology" changes at a slower pace than the economic basis is invested with a definite cogency. The basic traits of the character structures corresponding to a definite historical situation are formed in early childhood, and are far more conservative than the forces of technical production. It results from this that, as time goes on, the psychic structures lag behind the rapid changes of the social conditions from which they derived, and later come into conflict with new forms of life. This is the basic trait of the nature of so-called tradition, i.e., of the contradiction between the old and the new social situation.
HOW MASS PSYCHOLOGY SEES THE PROBLEM
We begin to see now that the economic and ideologic situations of the masses need not necessarily coincide, and that, indeed, there can be a considerable cleavage between the two The economic situation is not directly and immediately converted into political consciousness. If this were the case, the social revolution would have been here long ago. In keeping with this dichotomy of social condition and social consciousness, the investigation of society must proceed along two different lines. Notwithstanding the fact that the basic structure derives from the economic existence, the economic situation has to be comprehended with methods other than those used to comprehend the character structure: the former has to be comprehended socio-economically, the latter biopsychologically. Let us illustrate this with a simple example. When workers who are hungry, owing to wage-squeezing, go on strike, their act is a direct result of their economic situation. The same applies to the man who steals food because he is hungry. That a man steals because he is hungry, or that workers strike because they are being exploited, needs no further psychological clarification. In both cases ideology and action are commensurate with economic pressure. Economic situation and ideology coincide with one another. Reactionary psychology is wont to explain the theft and the strike in terms of supposed irrational motives; reactionary rationalizations are invariably the result. Social psychology sees the problem in an entirely different light: what has to be explained is not the fact that the man who is hungry steals or the fact that the man who is exploited strikes, but why the majority of those who are hungry don't steal and why the majority of those who are exploited don't strike. Thus, social economy can give a complete explanation of a social fact that serves a rational end, i.e., when it satisfies an immediate need and reflects and magnifies the economic situation. The social economic explanation does not hold up, on the other hand, when a man's thought and action are inconsistent with the economic situation, are irrational, in other words. The vulgar Marxist and the narrow-minded economist, who do not acknowledge psychology, are helpless in the face of such a contradiction. The more mechanistically and economistically oriented a sociologist is, the less he knows about man's psychic structure, the more he is apt to fall prey to superficial psychologism in the practice of mass propaganda. Instead of probing and resolving the psychic contradictions in the individuals of the masses, he has recourse to insipid Coueism or he explains the nationalistic movement on the basis of a "mass psychosis." (In view of the fact that the economist neither knows nor acknowledges the existence of psychic processes, the words "mass psychosis." do not mean to him what they mean to us namely a social circumstance of enormous historical importance, to him it is a matter of no social significance whatever.) Hence, the line of questioning of mass psychology begins precisely at the point where the immediate socio-economic explanation hits wide of the mark. Does this mean that mass psychology and social economy serve cross purposes? No. For thinking and acting on the part of the masses contradictory to the immediate socio-economic situation, i.e., irrational thinking and acting, are themselves the result of an earlier, older socio-economic situation. One is wont to explain the repression of social consciousness by so-called tradition. But no investigation has been made as yet to determine just what "tradition" is, to determine which psychic elements are molded by it. Narrow-minded economy has repeatedly failed to see that the most essential question does not relate to the workers' consciousness of social responsibility (this is self-evident) but to what it is that inhibits the development of this consciousness of responsibility.
Ignorance of the character structure of masses of people invariably leads to fruitless questioning. The Communists, for example, said that it was the misdirected policies of the Social Democrats that made it possible for the fascists to seize power. Actually this explanation did not explain anything, for it was precisely the Social Democrats who made a point of spreading illusions. In short, it did not result in a new mode of action. That political reaction in the form of fascism had "befogged," "corrupted," and "hypnotized" the masses is an explanation that is as sterile as the others. This is and will continue to be the function of fascism as long as it exists. Such explanations are sterile because they fail to offer a way out. Experience teaches us that such disclosures, no matter how often they are repeated, do not convince the masses; that, in other words, social economic inquiry by itself is not enough. Wouldn't it be closer to the mark to ask what was going on in the masses that they could not and would not recognize the function of fascism? To say that "The workers have to realize . . ." or "We didn't understand . . ." does not serve any purpose. Why didn't the workers- realize, and why didn't they understand? The questions that formed the basis of discussion between the Right and the Left in the workers' movements are also to be regarded as sterile. The Right contended that the workers were not predisposed to fight; the Left, on the other hand, refuted this and asserted that the workers were revolutionary and that the Right's statement was a betrayal of revolutionary thinking. Both assertions, because they failed to see the complexities of the issue, were rigidly mechanistic. A realistic appraisal would have had to point out that the average worker bears a contradiction in himself; that he, in other words, is neither a clear-cut revolutionary nor a clear-cut conservative, but stands divided. His psychic structure derives on the one hand from the social situation (which prepares the ground for revolutionary attitudes) and on the other hand from the entire atmosphere of authoritarian society-the two being at odds with one another.
It is of decisive importance to recognize such a contradiction and to learn precisely how that which is reactionary and that which is progressive-revolutionary in the workers are set off against one another. Naturally, the same applies to the middle-class man. That he rebels against the "system" in a crisis is readily understandable. However, notwithstanding the fact that he is already in an economically wretched position, the fact that he fears progress and becomes extremely reactionary is not to be readily understood from a socio-economic point of view. In short, he too bears a contradiction in himself between rebellious feelings and reactionary aims and contents.
We do not, for instance, give a full sociological explanation of a war when we analyze the specific economic and political factors that are its immediate cause. In other words, it is only part of the story that the German annexation ambitions prior to 1914 were focused on the ore mines of Briey and Longy, on the Belgian industrial center, on the extension of Germany's colonial possessions in the Near East; or that Hitler's imperial interests were focused on the oil wells of Baku, on the factories of Czechoslovakia, etc. To be sure, the economic interests of German imperialism were the immediate decisive factors, but we also have to put into proper perspective the mass psychological basis of world wars; we have to ask how the psychological structure of the masses was capable of absorbing the imperialistic ideology, to translate the imperialistic slogans into deeds that were diametrically opposed to the peaceful, politically disinterested attitude of the German population. To say that this was due to the "defection of the leaders of the Second International" is insufficient. Why did the myriad masses of the freedom-loving and anti-imperialistic oriented workers allow themselves to be betrayed? The fear of the~ consequences involved in conscientious objection accounts only for a minority of cases. Those who went through the mobilization of 1914 know that various moods were evident among the working masses. They ranged from a conscious refusal on the part of a minority to a strange resignedness to fate (or plain apathy) on the part of very broad layers of the population, to the point of clear martial enthusiasm, not only in the middle classes but among large segments of industrial workers also. The apathy of some as well as the enthusiasm of others was undoubtedly part of the foundations of war in the structure of the masses. This function on the part of the psychology of the masses in both world wars can be understood only from the sexeconomic point of view, namely that the imperialistic ideology concretely changed the structures of the working masses to suit imperialism. To say that social catastrophes are caused by "war psychoses" or by "mass befogging" is merely to throw out phrases. Such explanations explain nothing. Besides it would be a very low estimation of the masses to suppose that they would be accessible to more befogging. The point is that every social order produces in the masses of its members that structure which it needs to achieve its main aims. ("In every epoch the ideas of the ruling class are the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material power of the society also constitutes that society's ideological power. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal also has the means of ideological 'production' at its disposal, so that those who lack the means of ideological production are thereby on the average subject to those who have. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the idealistic expression of the ruling material conditions, that is to say, the ruling material conditions expressed as ideas; the conditions which enabled the one class to become the ruling class or, to put it another way, the ideas of their rulership." [Marx]) No war would be possible without this psychological structure of the masses. An essential relation exists between the economic structure of society and the mass psychological structure of its members, not only in the sense that the ruling ideology is the ideology of the ruling class, but, what is even more important for the solving of practical questions of polities, the contradictions of the economic structure of a society are also embedded in the psychological structure of the subjugated masses. Otherwise it would be inconceivable that the economic laws of a society could succeed in achieving concrete results solely through the activities of the masses subjected to them.
To be sure, the freedom movements of Germany knew of the so-called "subjective factor of history" (contrary to mechanistic materialism, Marx conceived of man as the subject of history, and it was precisely this side of Marxism that Lenin built upon); what was lacking was a comprehension of irrational, seemingly purposeless actions or, to put it another way, of the cleavage between economy and ideology. We have to be able to explain how it was possible for mysticism to have triumphed over scientific sociology. This task can be accomplished only if our line of questioning is such that a new mode of action results spontaneously from our explanation. If the working man is neither a clear-cut reactionary nor a clear-cut revolutionary, but is caught in a contradiction between reactionary and revolutionary tendencies, then if we succeed in putting our finger on this contradiction, the result must be a mode of action that offsets the conservative psychic forces with revolutionary forces. Every form of mysticism is reactionary, and the reactionary man is mystical. To ridicule mysticism, to try to pass it off as "befogging" or as "psychosis," does not lead to a program against mysticism. If mysticism is correctly comprehended, however, an antidote must of necessity result. But to accomplish this task, the relations between social situation and structural formation, especially the irrational ideas that are not to be explained on a purely socio-eeonomic basis, have to be comprehended as completely as our means of cognition allow.
THE SOCIAL FUNCTION OF SEXUAL REPRESSION
Even Lenin noted a peculiar, irrational behavior on the part of the masses before and in the process of a revolt. On the soldiers' revolt in Russia in 1905, he wrote:
"The soldier had a great deal of sympathy for the cause of the peasant; at the mere mention of land, his eyes blazed with passion. Several times military power passed into the hands of the soldiers, but this power was hardly ever used resolutely. The soldiers wavered. A few hours after they had disposed of a hated superior, they released the others, entered into negotiations with the authorities, and then had themselves shot, submitted to the rod, had themselves yoked again." -Ueber Religion p. 65
Any mystic will explain such behavior on the basis of man's eternal moral nature, which, he would contend, prohibits a rebellion against the divine scheme and the "authority of the state" and its representatives. The vulgar Marxist simply disregards such phenomena, and he would have neither an understanding nor an explanation for them because they are not to be explained from a purely economic point of view. The Freudian conception comes considerably closer to the facts of the case, for it recognizes such behavior as the effect of infantile guilt-feelings toward the father figure. Yet it fails to give us any insight into the' sociological origin and function of this behavior, and for that reason does not lead to a practical solution. It also overlooks the connection between this behavior and the repression and distortion of the sexual life of the broad masses.
To help clarify our approach to the investigation of such irrational mass psychological phenomena, it is necessary to take a cursory glance at the line of questioning of sex economy, which is treated in detail elsewhere.
Sex-economy is a field of research that grew out of the sociology of human sexual life many years ago, through the application of functionalism in this sphere, and has acquired a number of new insights. It proceeds from the following presuppositions:
Marx found social life to be governed by the conditions of economic production and by the class conflict that resulted from these conditions at a- definite point of history. It is only seldom that brute force is resorted to in the domination of the oppressed classes by the owners of the social means of production; its main weapon is its ideological power over the oppressed, for it is this ideology that is the mainstay of the state apparatus. We have already mentioned that for Marx it is the living, productive man, with his psychic and physical disposition, who is the first presupposition of history and of politics. The character structure of active man, the so-called "subjective factor of history" in Marx's sense, remained uninvestigated because Marx was a sociologist and not a psychologist, and because at that time scientific psychology did not exist. Why man had allowed himself to be exploited and morally humiliated, why, in short, he had submitted to slavery for thousands of years, remained unanswered; what had been ascertained was only the economic process of society and the mechanism of economic exploitation.
Just about half a century later, using a special method he called psychoanalysis, Freud discovered the process that governs psychic life. His most important discoveries, which had a devastating and revolutionary effect upon a large number of existing ideas (a fact that garnered him the hate of the world in the beginning), are as follows:
Consciousness is only a small part of the psychic life; it itself is governed by psychic, processes that take place unconsciously and are therefore not accessible to conscious control. Every psychic experience (no matter how meaningless it appears to be), such as a dream, a useless performance, the absurd utterances of the psychically sick and mentally deranged, etc., has a function and a "meaning" and-can be completely understood if one can succeed in tracing its etiology. Thus psychology, which had been steadily deteriorating into a kind of physics of the brain ("brain mythology") or into a theory of a mysterious objective Geist, entered the domain of natural science.
Freud's second great discovery was that even the small child develops a lively sexuality, which has nothing to do with procreation; that, in other words, sexuality and procreation, and sexual and genital, are not the same. The analytic dissection of psychic processes further proved that sexuality, or rather its energy, the libido, which is of the body, is the prime motor of psychic life. Hence, the biologic presuppositions and social conditions of life overlap in the mind.
The third great discovery was that childhood sexuality, of which what is most crucial in the child-parent relationship ("the Oedipus complex") is a part, is usually repressed out of fear of punishment for sexual acts and thoughts (basically a "fear of castration"); the child's sexual activity is blocked and extinguished from memory. Thus, while repression of childhood sexuality withdraws it from the influence of consciousness, it does not weaken its force. On the contrary, the repression intensifies it and enables it to manifest itself in various pathological disturbances of the mind. As there is hardly an exception to this rule among "civilized man," Freud could say that he had all of humanity as his patient.
The fourth important discovery in this connection was that, far from being of divine origin, man's moral code was derived from the educational measures used by the parents and parental surrogates in earliest childhood. At bottom, those educational measures opposed to childhood sexuality are most effective. The conflict that originally takes place between the child's desires and the parent's suppression of these desires later becomes the conflict between instinct and morality within the person. In adults the moral code, which itself is unconscious, operates against the comprehension of the laws of sexuality and of unconscious psychic life; it supports sexual repression ("sexual resistance") and accounts for the widespread resistance to the "uncovering" of childhood sexuality.
Through their very existence, each one of these discoveries (we named only those that were most important for our subject) constitutes a severe blow to reactionary moral philosophy and especially to religious metaphysics, both of which uphold eternal moral values, conceive of the world as being under the rulership of an objective "power," and deny childhood sexuality, in addition to confining sexuality to the function of procreation. However, these discoveries could not exercise a significant influence because the psychoanalytic sociology that was based on them retarded most of what they had given in the way of progressive and revolutionary impetus. This is not the place to prove this. Psychoanalytic sociology tried to analyze society as it would analyze an individual, set up an absolute antithesis between the process of civilization and sexual gratification, conceived of destructive instincts as primary biological facts governing human destiny immutably, denied the existence of a matriarchal primeval period, and ended in a crippling skepticism, because it recoiled from the consequences of its own discoveries. Its hostility toward efforts proceeding on the basis of these discoveries goes back many years, and its representatives are unswerving in their opposition to such efforts. All of this has not the slightest effect on our determination to defend Freud's great discoveries against every attack, regardless of origin or source.
Sex-economic sociology's line of questioning, which is based on these discoveries, is not one of the typical attempts to supplement, replace, or confuse Marx with Freud or Freud with Marx. In an earlier passage we mentioned the area in historical materialism where psychoanalysis has to fulfill a scientific function, which social economy is not in a position to accomplish: the comprehension of the structure and dynamics of ideology, not of its historical basis. By incorporating the insights afforded by psychoanalysis, sociology attains a higher standard and is in a much better position to master reality; the nature of man's structure is finally grasped. It is only the narrow-minded politician who will reproach character-analytic structure psychology for not being able to make immediate practical suggestions. And it is only a political loudmouth who will feel called upon to condemn it in total because it is afflicted with all the distortions of a conservative view of life. But it is the genuine sociologist who will reckon psychoanalysis' comprehension of childhood sexuality as a highly significant revolutionary act.
It follows of itself that the science of sex-economic sociology, which builds upon the sociological groundwork of Marx and the psychological groundwork of Freud, is essentially a mass psychological and sex-sociological science at the same time. Having rejected Freud's philosophy of civilization, (In which, despite all its idealism, more truth is found about living life than in all sociologies and some Marxist psychologies taken together) it begins where the clinical psychological line of questioning of psychoanalysis ends.
Psychoanalysis discloses the effects and mechanisms of sexual suppression and repression and of their pathological consequences in the individual. Sex-economic sociology goes further and asks: For what sociological reasons is sexuality suppressed by the society and repressed by the individual? The church says it is for the sake of salvation beyond the grave; mystical moral philosophy says that it is a direct result of man's eternal ethical and moral nature; the Freudian philosophy of civilization contends that this takes place in the interest of "culture." One becomes a bit skeptical and asks how is it possible for the masturbation of small children and the sexual intercourse of adolescents to disrupt the building of gas stations and the manufacturing of airplanes. It becomes apparent that it is not cultural activity itself which demands suppression and repression of sexuality, but only the present forms of this activity, and so one is willing to sacrifice these forms if by so doing the terrible wretchedness of children and adolescents could be eliminated. The question, then, is no longer one relating to culture, but one relating to social order. If one studies the history of sexual suppression and the etiology of sexual repression, one finds that it cannot be traced back to the beginnings of cultural development; suppression and repression in other words, are not the presuppositions of cultural development. It was not until relatively late, with the establishment of an authoritarian patriarchy and the beginning of the division of the classes, that suppression of sexuality begins to make its appearance. It is at this stage that sexual interests in general begin to enter the service of a minority's interest in material profit; in the patriarchal marriage and family this state of affairs assumes a solid organizational form. With the restriction and suppression of sexuality, the nature of human feeling changes; a sex-negating religion comes into being and gradually develops its own sexpolitical organization, the church with all its predecessors, the aim of which is nothing other than the eradication of man's sexual desires and consequently of what little happiness there is on earth. There is good reason for all this when seen from the perspective of the now-thriving exploitation of human labor.
To comprehend the relation between sexual suppression and human exploitation, it is necessary to get an insight into the basic social institution in which the economic and sex-economic situation of patriarchal authoritarian society are interwoven. Without the inclusion of this institution, it is not possible to understand the sexual economy and the ideological process of a patriarchal society. The psychoanalysis of men and women of all ages, all countries, and every social class shows that: The interlacing of the socio. economic structure with the sexual structure of society and the structural reproduction of society take place in the first four or five years and in the authoritarian family. The church only continues this function later. Thus, the authoritarian state gains an enormous interest in the authoritarian family: It becomes the factory in which the state's structure and ideology are molded.
We have found the social institution in which the sexual and the economic interests of the authoritarian system converge. Now we have to ask how this convergence takes place and how it operates. Needless to say, the analysis of the typical character structure of reactionary man (the worker included) can yield an answer only if one is at all conscious of the necessity of posing such a question. The moral inhibition of the child's natural sexuality, the last stage of which is the severe impairment of the child's genital sexuality, makes the child afraid, shy, fearful of authority, obedient, 'good," and "docile" in the authoritarian sense of the words. It has a crippling effect on man's rebellious forces because every vital life-impulse is now burdened with severe fear; and since sex is a forbidden subject, thought in general and man's critical faculty also become inhibited. In short, morality's aim is to produce acquiescent subjects who, despite distress and humiliation, are adjusted to the authoritarian order. Thus, the family is the authoritarian state in miniature, to which the child must learn to adapt himself as a preparation for the general social adjustment required of him later. Man's authoritarian structure-this must be clearly established-is basically produced by the embedding of sexual inhibitions and fear in the living substance of sexual impulses.
We will readily grasp why sex-economy views the family as the most important source for the reproduction of the authoritarian social system when we consider the situation of the average conservative worker's wife. Economically she is just as distressed as a liberated working woman, is subject to the same economic situation, but she votes for the Fascist party; if we further clarify the actual difference between the sexual ideology of the average liberated woman and that of the average reactionary woman, then we recognize the decisive importance of sexual structure. Her anti-sexual, moral inhibitions prevent the conservative woman from gaining a consciousness of her social situation and bind her just as firmly to the church as they make her fear "sexual Bolshevism." Theoretically, the state of affairs is as follows: The vulgar Marxist who thinks in mechanistic terms assumes that discernment of the social situation would have to be especially keen when sexual distress is added to economic distress. If this assumption were true, the majority of adolescents and the majority of women would have to be far more rebellious than the majority of men. Reality reveals an entirely different picture, and the economist is at a complete loss to know how to deal with it. He will find it incomprehensible that the reactionary woman is not even interested in hearing his economic program. The explanation is: The suppression of one's primitive material needs compasses a different result than the suppression of one's sexual needs. The former incites to rebellion, whereas the latter-inasmuch as it causes sexual needs to be repressed, withdraws them from consciousness and anchors itself as a moral defense-prevents rebellion against both forms of suppression. Indeed, the inhibition of rebellion itself is unconscious. In the consciousness of the average nonpolitical man there is not even a trace of it.
The result is conservatism, fear of freedom, in a word, reactionary thinking.
It is not only by means of this process that sexual repression strengthens political reaction and makes the individual in the masses passive and nonpolitical; it creates a secondary force in man's structure-an artificial interest, which actively supports the authoritarian order. When sexuality is prevented from attaining natural gratification, owing to the process of sexual repression, what happens is that it seeks various kinds of substitute gratifications. Thus, for instance, natural aggression is distorted into brutal sadism, which constitutes an essential part of the mass psychological basis of those imperialistic wars that are instigated by a few. To give another instance: From the point of view of mass psychology, the effect of militarism is based essentially on a libidinous mechanism. The sexual effect of a uniform, the erotically provocative effect of rhythmically executed goose-stepping, the exhibitionistic nature of militaristic procedures, have been more practically comprehended by a salesgirl or an average secretary than by our most erudite politicians. On the other hand it is political reaction that consciously exploits these sexual interests. It not only designs flashy uniforms for the men, it puts the recruiting into the hands of attractive women. In conclusion, let us but recall the recruiting posters of war-thirsty powers, which ran something as follows: "Travel to foreign countries-join the Royal Navy!" and the foreign countries were portrayed by exotic women. And why are these posters effective? Because our youth has become sexually starved owing to sexual suppression.
The sexual morality that inhibits the will to freedom, as well as those forces that comply with authoritarian interests, derive their energy from repressed sexuality. Now we have a better comprehension of an essential part of the process of the "repercussion of ideology on the economic basis": sexual inhibition changes the structure of economically suppressed man in such a way that he acts, feels, and thinks contrary to his own material interests.
Thus, mass psychology enables us to substantiate and interpret Lenin's observation. In their officers the soldiers of 1905 unconsciously perceived their childhood fathers (condensed in the conception of God), who denied sensuality and whom one could neither kill nor want to kill, though they shattered one's joy of life. Both their repentance and their irresolution subsequent to the seizure of power were an expression of its opposite, hate transformed into pity, which as such could not be translated into action.
Thus, the practical problem of mass psychology is to actuate the passive majority of the population, which always helps political reaction to achieve victory, and to eliminate those inhibitions that run counter to the development of the will to freedom born of the socio-economic situation. Freed of its bonds and directed into the channels of the freedom movement's rational goals, the psychic energy of the average mass of people excited over a football game or laughing over a cheap musical would no longer be capable of being fettered. The sex-economic investigation that follows is conducted from this point of view. The Authoritarian Ideology of the Family in the Mass Psychology of Fascism
FUHRER AND MASS STRUCTURE
If, at some future date, the history of social processes would allow the reactionary historian time to indulge in speculations on Germany's past, he would be sure to perceive in Hitler's success in the years between 1928 and 1933 the proof that a great man makes history only inasmuch as he inflames the masses with "his idea." In fact, National Socialist propaganda was built upon this "fuhrer ideology." To the same limited extent to which the propagandists of National Socialism understood the mechanics of their success, they were able to comprehend the historical basis of the National Socialist movement. This is very well illustrated by an article published at that time entitled, "Christianity and National Socialism," written by the National Socialist Wilhelm Stapel. He stated: "For the very reason that National Socialism is an elementary movement, it cannot be gotten at with 'arguments.' Arguments would be effective only if the movement had gained its power by argumentation."
In keeping with this peculiarity the rally speeches of the National Socialists were very conspicuous for their skillfulness in operating upon the emotions of the individuals in t: the masses and of avoiding relevant arguments as much as >~: possible. In various passages in his book Mein Kampf Hitler stresses that true mass psychological tactics dispense with argumentation and keep the masses' attention fixed o n the "great final goal" at all times. What the final goal looked like after the seizure of power can easily be shown by Italian fascism. Similarly, Goring's decrees against the economic organizations of the middle classes, the rebuff to the "second revolution," which was expected by the partisans, the failure to fulfill the promised socialist measures, etc., revealed the reactionary function of fascism. The following view shows just how little Hitler himself understood the mechanism of his success:
"This broadness of outline from which we must never depart, in combination with steady, consistent emphasis, allows our final success to mature. And then, to our amazement, we shall see what tremendous results such perseverance leads to-to results that are almost, beyond our understanding." ~ Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, translated by Ralph Manheim, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1943, p. 185.
Hitler's success, therefore, could certainly not be explained on the basis of his reactionary role in the history of capitalism, for this role, had it been openly avowed in his propaganda, would have achieved the opposite of that which was intended. The investigation of Hitler's mass psychological effect has to proceed from the presupposition that a fuhrer, or the champion of an idea, can be successful (if not in a historical, then at least in a limited perspective) only if his personal point of view, his ideology, or his program hears a resemblance to the average structure of a broad category of individuals. This leads to the question: To what historical and sociological situation do these mass structures owe their genesis? And so the line of questioning of mass psychology is shifted from the metaphysics of the "fuhrer idea" to the reality of social life. Only when the structure of the fuhrer's personality is in harmony with the structure of broad groups can a "fuhrer" make history, and whether he makes a permanent or only a temporary impact on history depends solely upon whether his program lies in the direction of progressive social processes or whether it stems them. Hence one is on the wrong scent when one attempts to explain Hitler's success solely on the basis of the demagogy of the National Socialists, the "befogging of the masses," their "deception," or to apply the vague, hollow term "Nazi psychosis," as the Communists and other politicians did later. For it is precisely a question of understanding why the masses proved to he accessible to deception, befogging, and a psychotic situation. Without a precise knowledge of what goes on in the masses, the problem cannot be solved. To assert that the Hitler movement was a reactionary movement is not enough. The NSDAP's mass success is inconsistent with this supposed reactionary role, for why would millions upon millions affirm their own suppression? Here is a contradiction that can be explained only by mass psychology-and not by politics or economics.
National Socialism made use of various means in dealing with various classes, and made various promises depending upon the social class it needed at a particular time. In the spring of 1933, for example, it was the revolutionary character of the Nazi movement that was given particular emphasis in Nazi propaganda in an effort to win over the industrial workers, and the first of May was "celebrated," but only after the aristocracy had been appeased in Potsdam. To ascribe the success solely to political swindle, however, would be to become entangled in a contradiction with the basic idea of freedom, and would practically exclude the possibility of a social revolution. What must be answered is: Why do the masses allow themselves to he politically swindled? The masses had every possibility of evaluating the propaganda of the various parties. Why didn't they see that, while promising the workers that the owners of the means of production would be disappropriated, Hitler promised the capitalists that their rights would be protected?
Hitler's personal structure and his life history are of no importance whatever for an understanding of National Socialism. It is interesting, however, that the lower middle-class origin of his ideas coincides in the main with the mass structures, which eagerly accepted these ideas.
As is done in every reactionary movement, Hitler relied upon the various strata of the lower middle class for his support. National Socialism exposes all the contradictions that characterize the mass psychology of the petty bourgeois. Now it is a question of (1) comprehending the contradictions themselves, and (2) getting an insight into their common origin in the conditions of imperialistic production. We will restrict ourselves to questions of sex ideology.
from the Race Theory
Since sexual suppression has its origin in the economic interest of marriage and the law of inheritance, it begins within the ruling class itself. At first the morality of chastity applies most rigidly to the female members of the ruling class. This is intended to safeguard those possessions that were acquired through the exploitation of the lower classes.
In early capitalism and in the large feudal societies of Asia the ruling class is not yet interested in a sexual suppression of the enslaved classes. It is when the materially suppressed classes begin to organize themselves, begin to fight for socio-political improvements and to raise the cultural level of the broad masses, that sexual-moralistic inhibitions set in. Only then does the ruling caste begin to show an interest in the "morality" of the suppressed classes. Thus, parallel to the rise of the organized working class, a contrary process sets in, namely the ideological assimilation he ruling class.
Their own sexual habits are not relinquished in this process, however, they continue to exist alongside the moralistic ideologies, which, from now on, become more and are entrenched.
from: Some Questions of Sex-Political Practice
As might be expected, the mystical attitude operates as a powerful resistance to the uncovering of unconscious psychic life, especially to repressed genitality. It is significant that mysticism tends to ward off natural genital impulses, especially childhood masturbation, more so than it tends to ward off pregenital infantile impulses. The patient clings to his ascetic, moralistic, and mystical views and sharpens the philosophically unbridgeable antithesis between "the moral element" and "the animal element" in man, i.e., natural sexuality. He defends himself against his genital sexuality with the help of moralistic deprecation. He accuses those around him of not having an understanding for "spiritual values" and of being "crude, vulgar, and materialistic." In short, to one who knows the argumentation of the mystics and fascists in political discussions, and of the characterologists and "scholars" in natural scientific discussions, all this sounds all too familiar. It is one and the same thing. Characteristically, the fear of God and the moralistic defense are immediately strengthened when one succeeds in loosening an element of sexual repression. If one succeeds in getting rid of the childhood fear of masturbation and as a result thereof genitality demands gratification, then intellectual insight and sexual gratification are wont to prevail. To the same extent to which the fear of sexuality or the fear of the old parental sexual prohibition disappears, mystical sentiments also vanish. What has taken place? Prior to this the patient had made use of mysticism to hold his sexual desires in suppression. His ego was too deeply steeped in fear, his own sexuality too deeply estranged, to enable him to master and to regulate the powerful natural forces. On the contrary, the more he resisted his sexuality, the more imperative his desires became. Hence, his moralistic and mystical inhibitions had to be applied more rigidly. In the course of treatment the ego was strengthened and the infantile dependencies on parents and teachers were loosened. The patient recognized the naturalness of genitality and learned to distinguish between what was infantile and no longer usable in the instincts and what was suited to the demands of life. The Christian youth will soon realize that his intensive exhibitionistic and perverse inclinations refer partly to a regression to early infantile forms of sexuality and partly to an inhibition of genital sexuality. He will also realize that his desires for union with a woman are wholly in keeping with his age and his nature, that indeed it is necessary to gratify them. From now on he no longer has need of the support offered by the belief in an all-powerful God, nor does he have need of moralistic inhibition. He becomes master of his own house and learns to regulate his own sexual economy. Character analysis liberates the patient from the infantile and slavish dependency upon the authority of the father and father surrogates. The strengthening of the ego dissolves the infantile attachment to God, which is a continuation of the infantile attachment to the father. These attachments lose their force. If vegetotherapy subsequently enables the patient to take up a satisfying love life, then mysticism loses its last hold. The case of clerics is especially difficult, for a convincing continuation of their profession, whose physical consequences they have felt on their own body, has become impossible. The only course open to many of them is to replace their priesthood with religious research or teaching.
It is only the analyst who does not understand the genital disturbance of his patients who will not be able to confirm these processes in the mystical man. Nor, however, will they be confirmed by the well-known psychoanalyst and pastor who is of the opinion that one "may sink the plummet of psychoanalysis into the unconscious only so far as ethics permit." We want to have as little to do with such "nonpolitical," "objective" science as with that science that not only goes all out in its fight against the revolutionary ~i consequences of sex-economy as "politics," but even advises mothers to fight the erections of small boys by teaching them exercises in holding their breath. In such cases the problem lies in the process that allows the physician's conscience to accept this line of reasoning and to become a pastor, without however rehabilitating him in the eyes of ~ political reaction. He acts very much as the German SPD members of parliament who sang the German national; anthem at the last sitting of parliament enthusiastically and pleadingly, and still ended up in concentration camps as "Socialists."
from: Biosocial Function of Work
THE PROBLEM OF "VOLUNTARY WORK DISCIPLINE"
Work is the basis of man's social existence. This is stressed by every social theory. In this respect, however, the problem is not that work is the basis of human existence. The problem relates to the nature of work: Is it in opposition to or in harmony with the biologic needs of masses of people? Marx's economic theory proved that everything that is produced in the way of economic values comes about through the expenditure of man's living working power, and not through the expenditure of dead material.
Hence, as the sole force that produces values, human working power deserves the greatest interest and care. In a society under the compulsion of market economy and not use economy, it is out of the question to speak of the care and careful treatment of human working power. Just as any other commodity, this working power is bought and used by the owners of the means of production (the state or individual capitalists). The "wage" received by the working man corresponds approximately to the minimum of what he needs to reproduce his working power. Profit economy has no interest in sparing labor power. As a result of the progressive mechanization and economization of work, so much labor power is made superfluous that there is always a ready replacement for expended labor
The Soviet Union abolished private but not state profit economy. Its original intent was to transform the capitalist 'economization" of work into a socialist "economization" of work. It liberated the productive forces of the country shortened working hours in general; in this way it succeeded in getting through the acute economic crisis of 1929-32 without unemployment. There can be no doubt that the Soviet Union's economizing measures, which were partially socialistic in the beginning, enabled it to satisfy the needs of society as a whole. However, the basic problem of a genuine democracy, a work-democracy, is more than just a problem of economy of labor. More than anything else it is a matter of changing the nature of work so that it ceases to be an onerous duty and becomes a gratifying fulfllment of a need.
The character-analytic investigation of the human function of work (an investigation that is by no means finished) offers us a number of clues which make it possible to solve the problem of alienated work in a practical way. Two basic types of human work can be differentiated with satisfying exactness: work that is compulsive and does not give any pleasure and work that is natural and pleasurable.
To comprehend this differentiation, we must first of all free ourselves of several mechanistic "scientific" views of human work. Experimental psychology considers only the question of which methods lend themselves to the greatest possible utilization of the human labor power. When it speaks of the joy of work, it means the joy an independent scientist or artist derives from his accomplishments. Even the psychoanalytic theory of work makes the mistake of solely and always orienting itself on the model of intellectual accomplishments. The examination of work from the point of view of mass psychology correctly proceeds from the relationship of the worker to the product of his work. This relationship has a socio-economic background and relates to the pleasure the worker derives from his work. Work is a basic biologic activity, which, as life in general, rests on pleasurable pulsation.
The pleasure an "independent" researcher derives from his work cannot be set up as the yardstick of work in general. From a social point of view (any other view would have nothing to do with sociology) the work of the twentieth century is altogether ruled by the law of duty and the necessity of subsistence. The work of hundreds of millions of wage earners throughout the world does not afford them he least bit of pleasure or biologic gratification. Essentially' it is based on the pattern of compulsory work. It is characterized by the fact that it is opposed to the worker's biologic need of pleasure. It ensues from duty and conscience, in order not to go to pieces, and is usually done for others The worker has no interest in the product of his work hence, work is onerous and devoid of pleasure. Work that is based on compulsion, regardless of what kind of compulsion, and not on pleasure, is not only nonfulfilling biologically, but not very productive in terms of economy.
The problem is momentous and not very much is known about it. To begin with, let us try to get a general picture. It is clear that mechanistic, biologically unsatisfying work is a product of the widespread mechanistic view of life and the machine civilization. Can the biologic function of work be reconciled with the social function of work. This is possible, but firmly entrenched ideas and institutions must be radically corrected first.
The craftsman of the nineteenth century still had a full relationship to the product of his work. But when, as in a Ford factory, a worker has to perform one and the same manipulation year in and year out, always working on one detail and never the product as a whole, it is out of the question to speak of satisfying work. The specialized and mechanized division of labor, together with the system of paid labor in general, produce the effect that the working man has no relationship to the machine
At this point one will demur that there is indeed a need to work, a "natural" gratification in work, which is inherent in the act of work itself. True, there is a biologic gratification in activity, but the forms into which this activity is pressed in the market economy kill the pleasure of work and the urge to work, and prevent them from manifesting themselves. Doubtless, it is one of work-democracy's most urgent tasks to harmonize the conditions and forms of work with the need to work and the pleasure of work, in short, to eliminate the antithesis between pleasure and work. Here a vast new field is opened for human thought: Would it be possible and how would it be possible to retain the economization and mechanization of work and still not kill the pleasure of work? It is definitely conceivable that the worker can have a relationship to the finished product of work of which he performs only a part, without eliminating the division of labor. The joy of life received from working is an essential, indispensable element of man's restructuralization from the slave of work to the master of production. If man could again have a direct relationship to the product of his work, he would also be happy to bear the responsibility for his work, a responsibility that today he does not have or refuses to have.
One could cite the Soviet Union and say: "You work-democrats are utopians and visionaries, though you pride yourselves on viewing reality unsentimentally. In the workers' paradise of the Soviet Union, where is the abolition of the division of labor? Where is the pleasure of work? Where is the abolition of the wage system and market economy? Can't you see from the results of the workers' revolution itself just how impossible and illusionary your Epicurean views of work are?"
The answer to this argument is: In 1944 the mysticism of the masses is stronger than ever before, notwithstanding the progress of natural science. This is indisputable; but when one fails to achieve a goal toward which one strives -in this case, the rationality of masses of people-this in itself does not mean that it cannot be achieved. The fundamental question remains: Is the goal of pleasurable work a realistic goal or is it a utopian goal? If it is a realistic goal, if it is intensely desired by everyone, then we must ask what is obstructing its realization. This question applies to the field of technology as well as it applies to the field of science. If it has not yet been possible to climb to the peak of Mount Everest, that does not mean that it is an impossible feat. It is a question of the last eight hundred meters!
It is precisely on this point that the antithesis between work-democracy and politics is clearly and simply disclosed: Our newspapers are full of political discussions which fail to take into consideration a single difficulty of the work process of masses of people. This is understandable, for the politician knows nothing whatever about work. Now let us imagine that a work-democratic community would exclude all irrationalism from its newspapers and would dedicate itself to the discussion of the conditions of pleasurable work. Working masses of people would immediately come forth with a flood of suggestions and proposals which would preclude any kind of politicizing once and for all. Just imagine how pleased a boss, an engineer, a specialist, would be to describe every aspect and type of the work process and to offer suggestions and advice for improvement. They would argue and compete, with one another. There would be hot debates. How wonderful this would be. It took centuries before one hit upon the idea of building factories like recuperation homes and - not like prisons, to build them with lots of light, good ventilation, and washrooms and kitchens, etc. The pressure of the war economy caused radio music to be introduced into factories. It is incalculable how far this process would continue if the working people and not the politicians were in control of the press.
In the first five years of the Soviet economy there were signs of work-democracy. For example, one-sided specialized training of the emerging generation was avoided and every effort was made to give young men and women an all-round preparation for professional life. In this way an attempt was made to offset the damages of the division of labor. The gap between "mental" and "physical" work was narrowed. The youth received such an all-round mental and physical preparation for their later professional life that any member of society could be employed in any other place of the work process. For example, employees in large firms were periodically changed from one job to another. Employees of different firms were exchanged. When well-trained specialists became part of the management of the firm, they were sent back to the machines after awhile to prevent them from losing contact with their work and becoming administrative bureaucrats.
The self-administration of firms was expressed in the establishment of the so-called "triumviral directorship." Every firm was managed by employees who were elected for this purpose by the firm as a whole. In this way the entire body of employees participated directly in the management. Special "production conferences" were held.
These and many other facts showed that an effort was made to reestablish the unity of pleasure and work. At this point the opponents of work-democracy will take pleasure in pointing out that most of these improvements could not be maintained, that, for example, the production conferences of the firm's body of employees degenerated into more formalities in the course of time or were completely eliminated. To this we answer: Didn't the Wright brothers make flying possible, though Daedalus and Icarus in antiquity and Leonardo da Vinci in the Middle Ages failed in their efforts to fly? The first attempts at a work-democratic management of the firms in the Soviet Union failed because the reorganization of the firm's management did not go hand in hand with the restructuralization of the human structure. This was a lesson and the next time it can be done better.
The Biologic Miscalculation in the Human Struggle for Freedom
OUR INTEREST IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF FREEDOM
This chapter will deal with the biologic miscalculation that, as history proves, all freedom movements have made. It is a miscalculation that nipped freedom efforts in the bud or frustrated satisfactory regulations of social life, which had already been attained. This endeavor is prompted by the conviction that only work-democracy can create the basis of genuine freedom. My experiences in social discussions lead me to believe that the exposure of this miscalculation will very likely be taken amiss. It imposes the highest demands upon the will to truth of each and every one of us. In actual practice it implies a great burden in the daily struggle for existence, for it transfers all social responsibility to the working men and women in factories, on farms, in clinics, offices, laboratories, etc.
We have found that facts of a fundamental nature, i.e., facts that, over and above the political hubbub of everyday life, relate to the ancient history of the human species, relate, indeed, to man's biologic constitution, are rejected with various arguments. At bottom, however, the motive is always irrational. When peace reigns, when everything is proceeding at a leisurely pace, then it is said: "Everything is quite all right as it is; the League of Nations is a guarantee of peace; our diplomats settle conflicts in a peaceful way; the generals are only decorations. So why pose questions that would be relevant only in the event of a war? We have just ended a war to end all wars- there is no need to get excited." Then, when it is shown that such arguments were based on illusions, when the League of Nations and the diplomats have given ample testimony of their inability to cope with pressing problems, when a new war rages-this time one that is worldwide and more brutal than anything known in history, then all attention is concentrated on "winning the war." Then it is said: "We have to win the war first. This is no time for profound truths. We will need those when the war has been won, for then we will also have to secure peace."
Thus, a clear-cut distinction is made between the conduct of war and the winning of the war, between the termination of hostilities and the conclusion of peace. Only after the war has been won and the peace concluded, does one want to proceed to secure peace. One fails to see that it is precisely in the heat of the war that those deep social convulsions take place that destroy old institutions and remold man, that, in other words, the seeds of peace germinate in the devastations of war. Man's intense longing .for peace is never so strong as it is at a time of war. Hence, in no other social circumstance are there so many strong impulses intent on changing the conditions that produce war. Man learned to construct dams when he suffered from floods. Peace can be hammered out only at a time of war, then and only then.
Instead of learning the lessons of war on the spot, so that a new world can be built immediately, important decisions are put off until diplomats and statesmen are so involved in peace treaties and reparations that again there is no time for "basic facts." In the transition period from the cessation of hostilities to the conclusion of a sham peace, we hear statements like this: "First the damages of war must be repaired; the war production has to be converted to peace production; our hands are full. Before dealing with these basic facts, let us arrange everything peacefully." In the meantime the lessons of war have been forgotten; once again everything has been arranged in such a way that in the course of one generation a new, even more horrible war has broken out. Once again there is "no time" and one is "too busy" to concern oneself with "basic truths." The emotions of wartime rapidly give way to the old rigidity and emotional apathy.
If someone, as I myself, has gone through this procrastination of essential questions and heard these same arguments for the second time in forty-five years of life; if he recognizes in the new catastrophe all the characteristics of the old catastrophe; he has to admit, however reluctantly, that no essential change has taken place since the first catastrophe (unless one considers the improvement of the means of destruction and a more widespread development of human sadism as essential changes). Slowly and surely the conviction takes shape in such a man that: For some curious reason or another, masses of people do not want to get to the root of the secret of war. They fear the truths that could bring them a painful cure.
People like to think of war as a "social thunderstorm." It is said that it "purifies" the atmosphere, it has its great benefits-it "hardens the youth" and makes them courageous. As far as that goes, people say, we have always had and will always have wars. They are biologically motivated. According to Darwin, the "struggle for existence" is the law of life. Why, then, were peace conferences organized? Nor have I ever heard that bears or elephants split up into two camps and annihilate one another. In the animal kingdom there are no wars within the same species. Like sadism, war among one's own kind is an acquisition of "civilized man." No, for some reason or another, man shies away from putting his finger on the causes of war. And there can be no doubt that better ways than war exist of making youth fit and healthy, namely, a satisfying love life, pleasurable and steady work, general sports, and freedom from the malicious gossip of old maids. In short, such arguments are hollow chatter
What is this fact anyhow?
Why do people fear it?
Is it possible that in his inmost self every man knows this fact, but is afraid to admit it to himself and to his neighbor?
It boils down to this: as a result of thousands of years of social and educational distortion, masses of people have become biologically rigid and incapable of freedom. They are not capable of establishing peaceful coexistence
As cynical and hopeless as these two succinct sentences may sound, they contain the answer to the three above questions. No one wants to acknowledge the truth they contain, or even listen to them. No democratic statesman would know what to make of it. Every honest man knows it. All dictators have built their power on the social irresponsibleness of masses of people. They have made no bones about consciously exploiting this fact. For years on end, far more than half the civilized German people heard the assertion that the masses merely regurgitate what has been funneled into them. They reacted to this with slavish loyalty. They themselves brought about this ignominious situation. It is ridiculous to contend that the psychopathic general was capable of oppressing seventy million people all by himself.
"How's that?" the suave politician and philanthropist will ask. "You say that the Americans are incapable of freedom? And what of the heroic rebels of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the British Commandos, the martyrs in Norway, the armies in Soviet Russia? How can you dare to cast a slur upon democracies!"
We do not mean military groups, governments, minorities, individual scientists or thinkers! But genuine social freedom is more than a question of groups. The trend of society is determined solely by the overwhelming majority of working men and women, whether they passively tolerate or actively support tyranny. Are the masses themselves capable of administering society without their statesmen or parties telling them what to do and how to do it? They are, to be sure, capable of enjoying given freedoms, of performing assigned work, of being against war and for peace. Thus far, however, they have not been capable of safeguarding work against abuse, regulating it through their own organizations, promoting rapid development, preventing wars, mastering their own irrationalism, etc.
The masses cannot do these things because until now they have never been in the position to acquire and practice this ability. The self-administration of society by the masses, their administration of the organizations in charge of production and consumption, can be the only possible answer to this war. One who takes the masses seriously demands their full responsibility, for they alone are peacefully disposed. The responsibility and the capacity to be free must how be added to the love of peace.
As bitter as it may be, the fact remains: It is the irresponsibleness of masses of people that lies at the basis of fascism of all countries, nations, and races, etc. Fascism is the result of man's distortion over thousands of years. It could have developed in any country or nation. It is not a character trait that is confined specifically to the Germans or Italians. It is manifest in every single individual of the world. The Austrian saying "Da kann man halt nix machen" expresses this fact just as the American saying 'Let George do it." That this situation was brought about by a social development which goes back thousands of years does not alter the fact itself. It is man himself who is responsible and not "historical developments." It was this shifting of the responsibility from living man to "historical developments" that caused the downfall of the socialist freedom movements. However, the events of the past twenty years demand the responsibility of the working masses of people.
If we take "freedom" to mean first and foremost the responsibility of each individual. to shape personal, occupational, and social existence in a rational way, then it can be said that there is no greater fear than the fear of the creation of general freedom. Unless this basic problem is given complete priority and solved, there will never be a freedom capable of lasting more than one or two generations. The solution to this problem will require more thought, more decency, more conscientiousness, more of an economic, educational, and social readjustment in the social life of masses of people than all the efforts which were made in former wars (and will have to be made in taken in wars to come) and postwar reconstruction programs taken together. This one problem and its solution contain everything that the most audacious and most agonized thinkers of history have tried to grasp by the idea of international social revolution. We are the protagonists and bearers of a stupendous revolutionary upheaval. If one must indeed suffer, then "blood, sweat, and tears" should at least have a rational goal, namely: the responsibility of the working masses of people for social life! This conclusion follows with hard logic from the following statements:
1. Every social process is determined by the attitude of
2. The masses are incapable of freedom.
3. When the masses achieve the capacity to be free through their own efforts, this will be genuine social freedom.
What prompts me to depart from the usual policy of veiling such generally known facts, especially as I make no claim to political leadership?
There are several motives. For years I demurred from pursuing them, simply because I feared the consequences. Again and again I hesitated to put my ideas down on paper. I tried to extricate myself from this perplexity by telling myself that I of course was not a politician and that political events were no concern of mine. Or I evaded the issue by persuading myself that I had more than enough to keep me busy with my orgone biophysics and saw no reason why I should burden myself with an embarrassing, thankless basic social question, which seemed hopeless for the time being anyhow. I tried to make myself believe that it was my secret political ambition that was prompting me to get involved in the turmoil of irrational political ideologies. I demurred to give in to such an ambition. The responsible politicians and statesmen were bound to come out with these facts sooner or later!
After years of painful and harassing oscillations and attempts to fight shy of these facts, I had finally to yield to the pressure exerted on me as well as on all of my coworkers by our investigation of the phenomena of life. A researcher has an allegiance to truth, over which no other allegiance, however highly esteemed, can take precedence. What makes it particularly difficult to fulfill this allegiance is the fact that communications of truth, instead of being looked upon as natural, have a highly dangerous potential as things now stand.
Basically speaking, this is merely a summary of facts, which, in an isolated way, have been well known to us for a long time:
1. Mankind is biologically sick.
2. Politics is the irrational social expression of this sickness.
3. Whatever takes place in social life is actively or passively, voluntarily or involuntarily, determined by the structure of masses of people.
4. This character structure is formed by socio-economic processes and it anchors and perpetuates these processes. Man's biopathic character structure is, as it were, the fossilization of the authoritarian process of history. It is the biophysical reproduction of mass suppression.
5. The human structure is animated by the contradiction between an intense longing for and fear of freedom.
6. The fear of freedom of masses of people is expressed in the biophysical rigidity of the organism and the inflexibility of the character.
7. Every form of social leadership is merely the social expression of the one or the other side of this structure of masses of people.
8. It is not a question of the Versailles Peace Treaty, the oil wells of Baku or two to three hundred years of capitalism, but a question of four to six thousand years of authoritarian mechanistic civilization, which has ruined man's biologic functioning.
9. Interest in money and power is a substitute for unfulfilled happiness in love, supported by the biologic rigidity of masses of people.
10. The suppression of the natural sexuality of children and adolescents serves to mold the human structure in such a way that masses of people become willing upholders and reproducers of mechanistic authoritarian civilization.
11. Thousands of years of human suppression are in the process of being eliminated.
These are more or less the results of our research on the character and its relationship to social processes.
We have a threefold interest in the development of a free world: personal, objective, and social.
1. The personal interest is determined by the threat to our existence as members of this mortally sick society. Those, like myself, who lost their home, family, and possessions, who experienced three and a half years of murder in war at first hand, who saw many friends die and go to pieces, who witnessed mass migrations and destruction of property, etc., in World War I, understand what millions upon millions of men and women are going through on this planet today. We want an end to this ignominy! It is ignominious that a handful of Prussian crooks and perverse neurotics, functioning as the "fuhrer" of one thing or another, are able to exploit the social helplessness of hundreds of millions of industrious and decent men and women. The ignominy is all the more poignant in view of the fact that these same millions of men and women unwittingly and naively allowed themselves to be taken in by these political swindlers (and this was the case not only in Germany, but elsewhere also). All we want is to be able to perform our work in peace, to love our wives or husbands without danger, to raise our children free of the miasma of the plague. In short, we do not want to be bothered, deceived, and led around by the nose by a handful of political swindlers in this short life of ours. Our lives have been crushed by politics long enough! We want an end of it! Once and for all!!
2. The protagonists of the fascist plague have looked through the incapacity for freedom of masses of people and have declared that it is an absolute biologic fact. They have put alluring irrational race theories into the world, have divided mankind into biologically immutable superior and inferior races, and have conferred upon themselves, who are the most sick and most vicious, the biologic title of "superman." We have the answer to this fraud. The race theory is a mystical view of life. Man's natural happiness in love and security in life will be the doom of this view.
3. Our institute is faced with a momentous task. We have to prepare ourselves for two basically different possibilities:
a. In the event that this Second World War will force the answer to social chaos to the surface and into social consciousness we will be called upon to deal with great tasks. We will have to assume an enormous responsibility. We have to prepare ourselves for this possibility in advance. We must have a clear conception of our tasks. Our knowledge of human reactions and the effects of the fascist pestilence will have to be clearly organized if we do not want to fail. Our tasks can be fulfilled only within the framework of the general struggle for the establishment of genuine freedom. If we cherish the illusion that man's structure is immediately capable of freedom and self-administration, that, in other words, we need merely eliminate the plague of party fascism to make it possible for social freedom to function, to put justice before justice, truth before falsehood, decency before meanness, then we too will be doomed together with everything else that is based on such illusions. This much is clear. The development of freedom requires that one be ruthlessly free of illusions, for only then will one succeed in rooting out irrationalism from masses of people to open the way to responsibility and freedom. To idealize masses of people and to commiserate with them will only produce fresh misfortunes.
The various freedom organizations in Europe treated this sickness on the part of masses of people as a quack might treat a paralyzed patient, namely by persuading him that he wasn't really paralyzed and would surely be able to dance a polka if it were not for the bad wolf (in 1914, the war industrialists; in 1942, the psychopathic generals). A paralyzed patient may like to hear such a consolation and rejoice in it, but he still won't be able to walk. The decent physician would proceed "ruthlessly"; he would be very careful not to arouse any false hopes in the patient. He would use every means at his disposal to determine the nature of the paralysis and to decide whether it is curable or not. If, fundamentally, it is curable, then he will find the means of curing it.
The fascist dictator declares that the masses of people are biologically inferior and crave authority, that, basically, they are slaves by nature. Hence, a totalitarian authoritarian regime is the only possible form of government for such people. It is significant that all dictators who today plunge the world into misery stem from the suppressed masses of people. What they lack is an insight into natural processes and development, the will to truth and research, so that they are never moved by a desire to want to change these facts.
On the other hand, the formal democratic leaders made the mistake of assuming that the masses of people were automatically capable of freedom and thereby precluded every possibility of establishing freedom and self-responsibility in masses of people as long as they were in power. They were engulfed in the catastrophe and will never reappear.
Our answer is scientific and rational. It is based on the fact that masses of people are indeed incapable of freedom, but it does not-as racial mysticism does-look upon this incapacity as absolute, innate, and eternal. lt. regards this incapacity as the result of former social conditions of life and, therefore, as changeable.
Two important tasks follow from this:
i. The investigation and elucidation of the forms in which man's incapacity for freedom expresses itself;
ii. The investigation of the medical, pedagogic, and social tools necessary to establish the capacity for freedom in a more and more thorough and more and more extensive way.
At this point the "mistakes" made by democratic governments will be recalled: pacts with plague-ridden dictators, the many acts of treachery committed against democratic allies (England-Spain; Russia-Czechoslovakia, etc.), the priority given to business interests over principles (Russian oil for Italy during the Ethiopian war; Mexican oil for Germany during the Spanish anti-fascist fight; Swedish steel for Nazi Germany, American steel, American coal, etc., for Japan; English behavior in Burma and India; the religious-mystical faith of the socialists and Communists, etc.). But the gravity of these "mistakes" diminishes when compared with the mistakes of masses of people, their social apathy, passivity, craving for authority, etc. The ineluctable fact remains: The working masses of men and women, they and they alone, are responsible f or everything that takes place, the good things and the bad things. True enough, they suffer most from a war, but it is their apathy, craving for authority, etc., that is most responsible for making wars possible. It follows of necessity from the responsibility that the working masses of men and women, they and they alone, are capable of establishing lasting peace. The quintessence of this accomplishment can be nothing but the elimination of the incapacity for freedom. Only the masses of people themselves can accomplish this. To become capable of freedom and of securing peace, masses of people who are incapable of freedom will have to have social power. This is the contradiction and its solution.
b. In the event that the outcome of this war will not bring the basic facts to the surface of social consciousness and that the old illusions continue to exist, it is to be assumed that our present position will not change much. If such is the case, we will not be able to escape the conclusion that the illusionary "pills," the formal freedoms, the formal joys and formal democracies, will soon give birth to new dictators and a new war. In such a case we will continue to be "isolated" and in opposition to this social misery; our task will be no less difficult. Within this general framework of illusions we will have to maintain a subjective and objective honesty. We will have to make every effort to keep our insights into the nature of man unadulterated, and at the same time to deepen them. It will not be easy for the workers in the field of orgone biophysics, structure psychology, and sex-economy to elude the influences of illusions and to preserve their knowledge in a pure and crystal clear form for future generations. Their knowledge must be practically applicable if the insight into the psychic mass plague should still have to be asserted after the sixth, twelfth, or twentieth world war. In this case we will not pass on to our descendants deeds of heroism, war decorations, "heroic remembrances," and front-line experiences, but a modest, unobtrusive, unostentatious knowledge, pregnant with the seed of the future. This task can be accomplished even under the worst social conditions. When the time is ripe to overcome the emotional plague, we do not want that generation to make any unnecessary mistakes, and we do not want it to have to cast about for answers to the arguments of the plague. We want it to be able to fall back on old, though neglected, truths and to be able to shape its life more honestly and more decently than the generation of 1940.
At this point, some friend or other may well feel prompted to ask: "For Christ's sake, why don't you fight for social power to push through the important truths you have perceived? Isn't it cowardly of you to sit there, politically passive, though you claim to be in possession of vital facts. Damn it, fight for positions as ministers of health, ministers of education, statesmen, etc.!"
We understand this argument. Many of us have set it forth again and again. There were many sleepless nights because of it. The dilemma is this:
Without the power to put them into practice, truths are of no use. They remain academic.
Power, no matter what kind of power it is, without a foundation in truth, is a dictatorship, more or less and in one way or another, for it is always based on man's fear of the social responsibility and personal burden that "freedom" entails.
Dictatorial power and truth do not go together. They are mutually exclusive.
It is a historical fact that truth has always died when its protagonists have gained social power. "Power" always means the subjugation of others. However, truthful facts can never be put into practice by subjugation, but only by persuasion. We learned this from the French and Russian revolutions. Not a single one of their truths survived more than a few decades at the most. Jesus proclaimed a truth which was stupendous at his time. It died in the Christian world when he was replaced by the popes. Deep insights into human misery of two thousand years ago gave way to formulas; the simple cowl gave way to the gold-draped ornament; the rebellion against suppression of the poor gave way to consolations of happiness beyond the grave. The truths of the great French Revolution died in the French Republic and ended in political power-mongering, in the ignorance of a Petain and the business dealings of a Laval. The truths of Marxian economy died in the Russian Revolution when the word "society" was replaced by the word "state" and the idea of an "international mankind" was replaced by nationalistic patriotism and the pact with Hitler. They died in Germany, Austria, and Scandinavia, notwithstanding the fact that the heirs of the great European freedom-fighters had all the social power in their hands. Almost one hundred years after the birth of the truths of 1848, the muck, which goes back thousands of years, still prevails. Power and truth do not go together. This too is a bitter, unfortunate truth.
It is true that those of us who have political experience could wrestle for power just as any other politician. But we have no time; we have more important things to do. And there is no doubt that the knowledge we hold to be sacred would be lost in the process. To acquire power, millions of people have to be fed illusions. This too is true: Lenin won over millions of Russian peasants, without whom the Russian Revolution would have been impossible, with a slogan which was at variance with the basic collective tendencies of the Russian party. The slogan was: "Take the land of the large landowners. It is to be your individual property." And the peasants followed. They would not have offered their allegiance if they had been told in 1917 that this land would one day be collectivized. The truth of this is attested to by the bitter fight for the collectivization of Russian agriculture around 1930. In social life there are degrees of power and degrees of falsity. The more the masses of people adhere to truth, the less power-mongering there will be; the more imbued with irrational illusions the masses of people are, the more widespread and brutal individual power-mongering will be.
It would be stupid to try to win over masses of people with the assertion that they themselves and not individual psychopaths are responsible for social misery, that they themselves and not one of their elected of acclaimed leaders bear the responsibility for their fate, that they alone are responsible for everything that happens in the world. This is completely at variance with what they have always been told and what they have imbibed. It would be stupid to try to acquire power with such truths.
On the other hand, it is definitely conceivable that the world catastrophe will reach a stage at which the masses of people will be forced to get an insight into their social attitudes, be forced to change themselves and to assume the heavy burden of social responsibility. But in such a case, they themselves will acquire power and will rightfully reject groups who "conquer" power "in the interest of the people." Hence, there is no reason for us to fight for power.
We can be assured that the masses of people will need us, will call upon us and will entrust us with important functions, if they should ever get in a position to transform themselves in a rational direction. We will be a part of these masses, not their leaders, not their elected representatives, not their "custodians." Then, as was the case in Austria and Germany many years ago, masses of people will throng to our clinics, schools, lectures, and demonstrations of scientific facts to get answers to basic questions of life. (They will not demand or expect us to tell them how to solve their life tasks.) But they will throng to us only if we shall have remained honest. Then, when masses of people will have to bear the responsibility for social existence themselves, they will inevitably run against their own weaknesses, against the heritage of a vicious past. In short, they will run against those facts in their structures, thoughts, and feelings that we include under the term "incapacity for freedom." And as a social institution, together with thousands of friends, we will expose the mechanism of the incapacity for freedom and all the obstructions to the development of freedom to help masses of people to achieve genuine freedom.
For this we need no power. The confidence of men and women-of all ages, all occupations, every color of skin and every view of life-in our absolute integrity as physicians, researchers, teachers, social workers, biologists, physicists, writers, technicians, etc., will be far more enduring than any power ever acquired by a politician. This confidence will be that much greater, the more our scientific and practical activity reflects reality. This confidence cannot be conquered; it comes about of itself when one adheres to one's work honestly. In no ease should we want to adapt our insights to the masses' present way of thinking for the purpose "of winning influence." Widespread confidence in our activities can proceed only from the deepening of our general knowledge about the nature of the plague.
When we are called upon, it will be a sign that self-administration in social life is indeed taking hold, that the will to "profound truth," to fruitful self-criticism, is awakening in the working masses of men and women. Since our organization is the only organization that sees through the irrationality of politics and the old ideologies, it cannot be any other way. Conversely, if we continue to remain in the "opposition," it will be a sure sign that society is not ready to see through and eliminate the irrationality in its mechanism. In such a ease, however, no power would be of any help to us, and we ourselves would only degenerate into irrationality.
Don't let this conscious renunciation of power cause anyone to underestimate our work. We do not play the role of "humble," "unassuming" scientists. Our work is accomplished at the source of life, in line with fundamental natural science. False modesty here would be tantamount to self-destruction. It is true that, beside "Dneprostroi Dam," "orgastic potency" sounds small; "character armoring," insignificant, compared with "blackout"; "orgone," academic beside "Bataan and Tobruk." It seems this way from a contemporary point of view. But compared with Kepler's laws, what remains of Alexander the Great? What remains of Caesar compared with the laws of mechanics? What of Napoleon's campaigns compared with the discovery of micro-organisms or unconscious psychic life? And what will remain of the psychopathic generals compared with cosmic orgone? Renunciation of power does not mean renunciation of rational regulation of human existence. It is the effect that is different: long-sighted, deep, and revolutionary, true and life-securing. It does not matter whether we feel the effects tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. It will be up to working masses of men and women to pick the fruits of new knowledge today and not the day after tomorrow. The responsibility they bear for their life and activity is no less than the responsibility the individual shoemaker bears for the shoe, the physician for the patient, the researcher for his statements, the architect for his constructions. We do not strive to be people's benefactors or commiseraters. We take people seriously! When they need us, they will call us. Then we shall be there. For my part, I reject the struggle for power with the intent of obtruding my knowledge.
BIOLOGIC RIGIDITY, INCAPACITY FOR FREEDOM, AND MECHANICAL AUTHORITARIAN VIEW OF LIFE
We are confronted with the incontrovertible fact: At no time in the history of human society did masses of people succeed in preserving, organizing, and developing the freedom and peace that they had achieved in bloody battles. We mean the genuine freedom of personal and social development, the freedom to face life without fear, freedom from all forms of economic suppression, freedom from reactionary inhibitions of development; in short, the free self administration of life. We have to rid ourselves of all illusions. In the masses of people themselves there is a retarding power which is both reactionary and murderous and which thwarts the efforts of the freedom-fighters again and again.
This reactionary power in masses of people appears as a general fear of responsibility and fear of freedom. These are not moralistic evaluations. This fear is deeply rooted in the biologic constitution of present-day man. However, this constitution is not, as the typical fascist believes, native to man; it has become that way in the course of history and is therefore changeable, fundamentally speaking. It is not easy to give a brief and lucid exposition of the social role of the fear of freedom. Perhaps it would be best to begin with a report by James Aldridge, which appeared in The New York Times of June 24, 1942, under the title, "British in Africa Lack Killer Urge." I quote:
"The German Afrika Corps defeated the Eighth Army because it had speed, anger, virility and toughness. As soldiers in the traditional sense, the Germans are punk, absolutely punk. But Marshal Erwin Rommel and his gang are angry men, they are tough to the point of stupidity. They are virile and fast, they are thugs with little or no imagination. They are practical men, taken from a most practical and hard life to fight practically: Nazis trained to kill. The German commanders are scientists, who are continually experimenting with and improving the hard, mathematical formula of killing. They are trained as mathematicians, engineers and chemists facing complicated problems. There is no art in it, there is no imagination. War is pure physics to them. The German soldier is trained with a psychology of the daredevil track rider. He is a professional killer, with no distractions. He believes he is the toughest man on earth. Actually, he cracks very easily and is not so tough, and can be beaten soundly and quickly by a foe using the same ruthless speedy methods he uses.... The British soldier is the most heroic on earth, but do not confuse that with military toughness. He has the toughness of determination but he has not the toughness which makes him scientifically kill his enemy."
This is the best description of mechanical militarism that I have ever read. It discloses at one blow the complete identity of mechanistic natural science, mechanical human structure, and sadistic murder. This identity found its highest and most consummate expression in the totalitarian
dictatorship-ideology of German imperialism. This mechanical trinity is set in relief against that view of life that regards man not as a machine, the machine not as the master of man, and militarism not as his greatest asset. This living functional view has found its last refuge in the Western democracies. It remains to be seen whether it will survive the chaos.
As strange as it may sound to the ears of a general, I maintain that the defeats of the democracies, as tragic and dangerous as they were, were imbued with a deep humanity, which is diametrically opposed to mechanical automatism: the appreciation of human life. Aldridge is wrong in reproaching the democratic commanders-in-chief for attempting to spare human life, instead of imitating the human robots. He is wrong in demanding that the anti-fascist fighters learn to kill even more mechanically, more automatically, more scientifically, than the Prussian automatons. Those who attempt to beat the mechanical automatons with their own methods will only jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, i.e., in their efforts to become more efficient scientific killers, they will transform themselves into mechanical automatons and perpetuate the process their opponents have set in motion. In such a case the last vestiges of all living hope for a different kind of human society, a permanently peaceful one, will vanish altogether.
Our conception of the anti-fascist fight is different. It is a clear, relentless recognition of the historical and biological causes that lead to such murders. The deracination of the fascist plague will come about solely from such a recognition, and not by imitating it. One cannot vanquish fascism by imitating and subduing it with its own methods, without becoming a fascist oneself. The way of fascism is the way of the automaton, death, rigidity, hopelessness. The way of the living is fundamentally different; it is more difficult, m~ ore dangerous, more honest, more hopeful.
Let us strip the matter of all current political interests and concentrate on the one question: How does such a complete functional identity of machine, man, and scientific murder come about? This question may not bear any relevance to such questions as whether ship-building is keeping pace with ship-sinking or whether the mechanical monstrosity will reach the oil wells of Baku or not. We do not fail to appreciate the importance of these current questions. If my house should suddenly catch fire, naturally I would first try to extinguish the fire and to save what could still be saved of important manuscripts, books, and apparatus. But sooner or later I shall have to build a new house, and I shall give considerable thought to what it was that caused the fire in the old house, so that I can prevent a repetition of the misfortune.
MAN IS FUNDAMENTALLY AN ANIMAL.
In contrast to man, animals are not mechanical or sadistic, and their societies (within the same species) are incomparably more peaceful than man's societies. The basic question runs: What caused the human animal to deteriorate and become robotlike?
When I use the word "animal," I do not mean something vicious, terrible or "inferior," but a biologic fact. However, man developed the peculiar idea that he was not an animal; he was a "man," and he had long since divested himself of the "vicious" and the "brutal." Man takes great pains to disassociate himself from the vicious animal and to prove that he "is better" by pointing to his culture and his civilization, which distinguish him from the animal. His entire attitude, his "theories of value," moral philosophies, his "monkey trials," all bear witness to the fact that he does not want to be reminded that he is fundamentally an animal, that he has incomparably more in common with "the animal" than he has with that which he thinks and dreams himself to be. The theory of the German superman has its origin in man's effort to disassociate himself from the animal. His viciousness, his inability to live peacefully with his own kind, his wars, bear witness to the fact that man is distinguished from the other animals only by a boundless sadism and the mechanical trinity of an authoritarian view of life, mechanistic science, and the machine. If one looks back over long stretches of the results of human civilization, one finds that man's claims are not only false, but are peculiarly contrived to make him forget that he is an animal. Where and how did man get these illusions about himself?
Man's life is dichotomized: One part of his life is determined by biologic laws (sexual gratification, consumption of food, relatedness to nature); the other part of his life is determined by the machine civilization (mechanical ideas about his own organization, his superior position in the animal kingdom, his racial or class attitude toward other human groups, valuations about ownership and nonownership, science, religion, etc.). His being an animal and his not being an animal, biologic roots on the one hand and technical development on the other hand, cleave man's life and thought. All the notions man has developed about himself are consistently derived from the machine that he has created. The construction of machines and the use of machines have imbued man with the belief that he is progressing and developing himself to something "higher," in and through the machine. But he also invested the machine with an animal-like appearance and mechanics. The train engine has eyes to see with and legs to run with, a mouth to consume coal with and discharge openings for slag, levers, and other devices for making sounds. In this way the product of mechanistic technology became the extension of man himself. In fact, machines do constitute a tremendous extension of man's biologic organization. They make him capable of mastering nature to a far greater degree than his hands alone had enabled him. They give him mastery over time and space. Thus, the machine became a part of man himself, a loved and highly esteemed part. He dreams about how these machines make his life easier and will give him a great capacity for enjoyment. The enjoyment of life with the help of the machine has always been his dream. And in reality? The machine became, is, and will continue to be his most dangerous destroyer, if he does not differentiate himself from it.
The advance of civilization which was determined by the development of the machine went hand in hand with a catastrophic misinterpretation of the human biologic organization. In the construction of the machine, man followed the laws of mechanics and lifeless energy. This technology was already highly developed long before man began to ask how he himself was constructed and organized. When, finally, he dared very gradually, cautiously and very often under the mortal threat of his fellow man to discover his own organs, he interpreted their functions in the way he had learned to construct machines many centuries before. He interpreted them in a mechanistic, lifeless, and rigid way. The mechanistic view of life is a copy of mechanistic civilization. But living functioning is fundamentally different; it is not mechanistic. The specific biologic energy, orgone, obeys laws which are neither mechanical nor electrical. Trapped in a mechanistic picture of the world, man was incapable of grasping the specifically living, nonmechanistic functioning. Man dreams about one day producing a homunculus a la Frankenstein or at least an artificial heart or artificial protein. The notions of homunculus, which man has developed in his fantasy, project a picture of a brutal monster, manlike, but mechanically stupid, angular, and possessing powerful forces, which, if they are set loose, will be beyond control and will automatically cause havoc. In his film Fantasia Walt Disney brilliantly captured this fact. In such fantasies of himself and his organization, we miss every expression of that which is vitally alive, kind, social, and related to nature. On the other hand, it is striking that man invests the animals he portrays precisely with those traits he misses in himself and does not give to his homunculus figures. This, too, is excellently brought out in Disney s animal films.
In his fantasies, man appears as a mechanical, vicious, overbearing, heartless, inanimate monster, while the animal appears as a social, kind, and fully alive creature, invested with all the human strengths and weaknesses. We have to ask. Does man reflect a reality in these fantasies? The answer is: Yes. He very vividly portrays his inner biologic contradiction:
1. In ideology: vicious animal-majestic man;
2. In reality: kind, free animal-brutal robot.
Thus, the machine has had a mechanical, mechanistic, "dulling," and "rigidifying" effect on man's conception of his own organization. This is how man conceives of himself: The brain is the "most consummate product of development." His brain is a "control center," which gives the individual organs commands and impulses just as the "ruler" of a state orders his "subjects" about. The organs of the body are connected with the master, the "brain," by telegraph wires, the nerves. (A complete misconception naturally, for the organs of the organism had an expedient biologic function long before there was a brain in billions of organisms. And as physiology has experimentally proven, the essential functions of life continue for some time in a dog or chicken from which the brain has been removed.) Infants have to drink a precise quantity of milk at fixed intervals and have to sleep a precise number of hours. Their diet has to have exactly x ounces of fat, y ounces of protein and z ounces of carbohydrates. Until the day of marriage, a man does not have a sex drive; it begins to operate precisely on this day. God created the world in exactly six days and rested on the seventh, as man rest from his machines. Children have to study x hours of mathematics, y hours of chemistry, z hours of zoology, all exactly six days and rested on the seventh, as man rests amount of wisdom. Superior intelligence is equal to one hundred points, average intelligence to eighty points, stupidity to forty points. With ninety points one gets a Ph.D., with eighty-nine, one does not.
Even in our own time, psychic life itself is only something nebulous and mysterious to man, or at best a secretion of the brain, which, as it were, is neatly stored away in individual compartments. It has no greater significance than the excreta that are discharged from the bowels. For centuries man has not only denied the existence of a soul; what is worse is that he repudiated every attempt to comprehend sensations and psychic experiences. At the same time, however, he devised mystical conceptions which embodied his emotional life. Those who questioned his mystical conceptions of life were persecuted and punished with death, whether it was the "saints," "racial purity," or the "state" that was questioned. In this way man developed mechanistic, mechanical, and mystical conceptions of his organization at one and the same time. Thus, his understanding of biology remained far behind his dexterity in constructing machines, and he abandoned the possibility of comprehending himself. The machine he had created sufficed to explain the performances of his organism. (The tragic duality between biologic and technical organization, between what is vitally alive and what is automatic and mechanical in man, is clearly expressed in the following fact. Not a single one of the individuals who make up the masses of this world wanted the war. All of them, without exception, have fallen prey to it, hopeless, as to a monstrous automaton. But it is rigid man himself who is this monstrosity.)
Is this gap between outstanding industrial dexterity and biologic understanding only the result of a lack of knowledge? Or can we assume that there is an unconscious intention, an, as it were, unconscious arbitrary banishment of the insight into one's own organization? (In the experimental studies of the orgone, I never cease to marvel that atmospheric orgone was so completely overlooked by tens of thousands of outstanding researchers.)
The irrefutable answer is: The lagging behind of our understanding of the living, its mechanistic misinterpretation, and the overestimation of the machine were and are unconscious intentions. There is no reason whatever why man could not have constructed machines mechanistically and at the same time comprehended the living, nonmechanical in a living way. A thorough consideration of human behavior in important life situations betrays the nature of this intention.
For man the machine civilization constituted not only an improvement of his animal existence; over and above this it had the subjectively far more important, but irrational, function of constantly stressing that he was not an animal, that he was fundamentally different from the animal. The next question is this: What interest does man have in constantly crying out, whether in his science, his religion, his art or his other expressions of life, that he is indeed a man and not an animal; that the highest task of human existence is the "slaying of his animal side" and the cultivation of "values"; that the child has to be transformed from a "little wild animal" into a "higher man"? How is it possible, we have to ask, that man should want to cut himself off from the biologic branch on which he grew and of which he is inveterately a part? How is it possible, we must ask further, that he does not see the damages (psychic illnesses, biopathies, sadism, and wars) to his health, culture, and mind that are caused by this biologic renunciation? Is it possible for human intelligence to admit that human misery can be done away with only if man fully acknowledges his animal nature? Doesn't man have to learn that that which distinguishes him from the other animals is merely an improvement of the security factor of life, and that he has to give up the irrational renunciation of his true nature?
"Away from the animal; away from sexuality!" are the guiding principles of the formation of all human ideology. This is the case whether it is disguised in the fascist form of racially pure "supermen," the communist form of proletarian class honor, the Christian form of man's "spiritual and ethical nature," or the liberal form of "higher human values." All these ideas harp on the same monotonous tune: "We are not animals, it was we who discovered the machine-not the animal! And we don't have genitals like the animals!" All of this adds up to an overemphasis of the intellect, of the "purely" mechanistic; logic and reason as opposed to instinct; culture as opposed to nature; the mind as opposed to the body; work as opposed to sexuality; the state as opposed to the individual; the superior man as opposed to the inferior man.
How is it to be explained that of the millions of car drivers, radio listeners, etc., only very few know the name of the inventor of the car and the radio, whereas every child knows the name of the generals of the political plague?
Natural science is constantly drilling into man's consciousness that fundamentally he is a worm in the universe. The political plague-monger is constantly harping upon the fact that man is not an animal, but a "zoon politikon," i.e., a non-animal, an upholder of values, a "moral being." How much mischief has been perpetuated by the Platonic philosophy of the state! It is quite clear why man knows the politicos better than the natural scientists: He does not want to be reminded of the fact that he is fundamentally a sexual animal. He does not want to be an animal.
Viewed in this way, the animal has no intelligence, but only "wicked instincts"; no culture, but only "base drives"; no sense of values, but only "material needs." It is precisely the human type who sees the whole of life in the making of money who likes to stress these "differences." If a war as murderous as the present one has any trace of a rational function, then it is the function of exposing the abysmal irrationality and mendacity of such ideas. Man would have good reason to be happy if he were as free from sadism, perversions, and meanness, and as filled with a natural spontaneity, as any one of the animals, whether an ant or an elephant. As vain as man's assumption was that the earth is the center of the universe or the sole inhabited planet, even so unreal and pernicious was his philosophy that represented the animal as a "soulless" creature devoid of any morals, indeed, as morally repulsive. If, while professing myself to be a benevolent saint, I should take an ax and crack my neighbor's skull, there would be good reason for putting me in a mental institution or in the electric chair. But this juxtaposition exactly reflects the contradiction in man between his ideal "values" on the one hand and his actual behavior on the other hand. His expressing of this contradiction in high-sounding sociological formulas such as "the century of wars and revolutions," or "elevating experiences at the front," or "the highest development of military strategy and political tactics," does not in the least alter the fact that it is precisely with respect to his biological and social organization that man gropes in the dark and is so hopelessly confused.
It is clear that this frame of mind did not evolve naturally; it is the result of the development of the machine civilization. It is easy to prove that, when the patriarchal organization of society began to replace the matriarchal organization, suppression and repression of genital sexuality in children and adolescents were the principal mechanisms used to adapt the human structure of the authoritarian order. The suppression of nature, of "the animal" in the child, was and has remained the principal tool in the production of mechanical subjects. Society's socio-economic development has continued its mechanical course until today in an independent way. The basis of all ideologic and cultural formations developed and branched out hand in hand with the socio-economic development: "Away from genitality" and "away from the animal." Man's effort to disassociate himself from his biological origin became more and more pronounced and comprehensive in the course. of these two processes, the social and the psychological. Sadistic brutality in business and war, mechanicalness in his nature, ambiguity in his facial expression, armoring against feelings, perverse and criminal tendencies, all of these became more and more pronounced and comprehensive.
It hasn't been too long since we began to take cognizance of the devastating effects of this devious biological development. One is easily tempted to look upon the state of affairs too optimistically. one could argue as follows: There can be no doubt that man went astray when he interpreted his own nature in terms of the machine civilization. Now that we recognize this error, it will be easy to correct it. Civilization has t.. be mechanical, but man's mechanistic attitude toward life can easily be converted into an attitude based on functional living processes. An astute minister of education could issue appropriate edicts for the purpose of reshaping education. The error would be corrected in one or two generations. That's the way some clever men spoke at the time of the Russian Revolution, 1917-23.
This argument would indeed be correct if the mechanical view of life were merely an "idea" or "attitude." However, the character analysis of the average man in all social situations brought a fact to light which we cannot afford to underestimate. It turned out that the mechanical view of life was not merely a "reflection" of the social processes in man's psychic life, as Marx had assumed, but much more than that:
Over the course of thousands of years of mechanical development, the mechanistic view of life has become more and more ingrained in man's biological system, continuously from generation to generation. In the process of this development, man's functioning was actually changed in a mechanical way. Man became plasmatically rigid in the process of killing his genital function. He armored himself against the natural and spontaneous in himself and lost contact with the function of biological self-regulation. Now he is filled with mortal fear of the living and the free.
This biologic rigidity is essentially manifested in a general stiffening of the organism and in a demonstrable reduction of plasmatic mobility: Intelligence is impaired; the natural social sense is blocked; psychosis is rampant. I gave a thorough exposition of the facts that support this assertion in The Function of the Orgasm. So-called civilized man actually did become angular and mechanical and he lost his spontaneity, i.e., he developed into an automaton and "brain machine." Thus, he not only believes that he functions as a machine, but he actually does function automatically, mechanistically, and mechanically. He lives, loves, hates, and thinks more and more mechanically. With his biological stiffening and the loss of his native function of self-regulation, he acquired all the characterological attitudes, which culminated in the outbreak of the dictatorship plague: a hierarchical view of the state, a mechanical administration of society, fear of responsibility, an intense actually did become angular and mechanical and he lost upon commands, mechanistic thinking in natural science, mechanical killing in war. It is no coincidence that the Platonic idea of the state was born in the Greek slave society. Nor is it a coincidence that it has continued to exist into the present day: serfdom was replaced by inner slavery.
The question of the fascist plague has led us deeply into man's biologic organization. It relates to a development that goes back thousands of years, and not, as those who view society in purely economic terms believed, to the imperialistic interests of the past two hundred years or even past twenty years. On no account, therefore, can the present war be confined to the imperialistic interests in the oil wells of Baku or the rubber plantations in the Pacific. The Treaty of Versailles plays the same role in World War II as the wheel of a machine in the transmission of the energy of coal to the steam piston. The purely economic view of life, as much as it may have been of service, is totally unsuited to cope with the convulsive processes of our life.
The biblical legend of the creation of man as an image of God, of his dominion over the animals, clearly reflects the repressive action man carried out against his animal nature. But he is reminded of his true nature every day by his body functions, procreation, birth and death, sexual urge, and dependency upon nature. His efforts to fulfill his "divine" or "national" "calling" become more and more strenuous; the deeply rooted hatred of all genuine natural sciences, i.e., sciences that are not concerned with the construction of machines, stems from this source. It took several thousand years before a Darwin succeeded in unmistakably proving man's animal descendancy. It took just as long until a Freud discovered the fact, banal as it is, that the child is altogether, and above all, sexual. And what a fuss the animal, man, made when he heard such things!
There is a direct connection between the "dominion" over animals and racial "dominion" over the "black man, the Jew, the Frenchman, etc." It is clear that one prefers to be a gentleman than an animal.
To disassociate himself from the animal kingdom, the human animal denied and finally ceased to perceive the sensations of his organs; in the process he became biologically rigid. It is still a dogma of mechanistic natural science that the autonomous functions are not experienced and that the autonomous nerves of life are rigid. This is the case, notwithstanding the fact that every three-year-old child knows very well that pleasure, fear, anger, yearning, etc., take place in the belly. This is the case, notwithstanding the fact that the experience of oneself is nothing but the total experience of one's organs. By losing the sensation of his organs, man lost not only the intelligence of the animal and the ability to react naturally, but he ruined his own chances of overcoming his life problems. He replaced the natural self-regulatory intelligence of the body plasma by a goblin in the brain, which he invested with both metaphysical and mechanical characteristics in a way that was metaphysical in every respect. Man's body sensations did indeed become rigid and mechanical.
In his education, science, and philosophy of life, man is constantly reproducing the mechanical organism. Under the slogan "Away from the animal" this biologic deformity celebrates the most amazing triumphs in the fight of the "superman against the lowerman" (is equal to abdominal man) and in scientific, mathematical, and mechanical killing. But more than mechanistic philosophies and machines are needed to kill. This is where sadism comes in, this secondary drive which is the offspring of suppressed nature and is the only important trait differentiating man's structure from that of the animal.
However, this tragic mechanical-mechanistic development, distorted as it is, did not eradicate its opposite. At the bottom of his nature, man still remains an animal creature. No matter how immobile his pelvis and back may be; no matter how rigid his neck and shoulders may be; or how tense his abdominal muscles may be; or how high he may hold his chest in pride and fear-at the innermost core of his sensations he feels that he is only a piece of living organized nature. But as he denies and suppresses every aspect of this nature, he cannot embrace it in a rational and living way. Hence, he has to experience it in a mystical, other-worldly, and supernatural way, whether in the form of religious ecstasy, cosmic unification with the world soul, sadistic thirst for blood, or "cosmic seething of the blood." It is known that such an impotent monster senses his strongest urges to kill in the spring. The Prussian military parades betray all the characteristics of a mystical and mechanical man.
Human mysticism, which thus represents the last traces of vitality, also became the fountainhead of mechanical sadism in Hitlerism. From the deepest sources of biologic functioning still remaining, the cry for "freedom" wins through again and again, notwithstanding all the rigidity and enslavement. There is not a single social movement that could advocate the "suppression of life" as part of its program and hope to win over masses of people. Every single one of the many different social movements that suppress the self-regulation of life energy, advocates "freedom" in one form or another: freedom from sin; redemption from the "earthly", the freedom of lebensraum; the freedom of the nation; the freedom of the proletariat; the freedom of culture; etc., etc. The various cries for freedom are as old as the ossification of the human plasma.
The cry for freedom is a sign of suppression. It will never cease as long as man feels himself to be trapped. No matter how different the cries for freedom may be, at bottom they always express one and the same thing: the intolerableness of the organism's rigidity and the mechanical institutions of life, which are sharply at variance with the natural sensations of life. If there should ever be a society in which all the cries for freedom fade away, then man will have finally overcome his biological and social deformity and have achieved genuine freedom. Not until man acknowledges that he is fundamentally an animal, will he be able to create a genuine culture.
Man's "upward strivings" are nothing but the biologic development of vital powers. Such strivings are conceivable only within the framework of the laws of biologic development and not in opposition to them. The will to freedom and the capacity for freedom are nothing but the will and the capacity to recognize and promote the unfolding of man's biologic energy (with the aid of the machine). It is out of the question to talk about freedom if man's biologic development is choked and feared.
Under the influence of politicians, masses of people tend to ascribe the responsibility for wars to those who wield power at any given time. In World War I it was the munitions industrialists; in World War II it was the psychopathic generals who were said to be guilty. This is passing the buck. The responsibility for wars falls solely upon the shoulders of these same masses of people, for they have all the necessary means to avert war in their own hands. In part by their apathy, in part by their passivity, and in part actively, these same masses of people make possible the catastrophes under which they themselves suffer more than anyone else. To stress this guilt on the part of masses of people, to hold them solely responsible, means to take them seriously. On the other hand, to commiserate with masses of people as victims, means to treat them as small, helpless children. The former is the attitude held by the genuine freedom-fighters; the latter the attitude held by the power-thirsty politicians.