2013-12-25T13:06:00

And who are you, anyway, to have an opinion of your own?

Here my notes from book Listen, Little Man! by Wilhelm Reich

  • p6 I know you and understand you. I'm going to tell you what you are, little man, because I really believe in your great future. Because the future undoubtedly belongs to you, take a look at yourself. See your self as you really are.
  • p7 In other words, a great man knows when and in what way he is a little man. A little man does not know he is little and is afraid to know.
  • p7 Your slave driver is you yourself.
  • p9 The little man doesn't want to hear the truth about himself.
  • p11 You might discover yourself in me and me in yourself, take fright, and murder yourself in me.
  • p12 Thus it is you who create your new master. Exalted to the rank of the new master, the great man loses his greatness, which consisted in integrity, simplicity, courage, and closeness to the realities of life.
  • p14 For a hundred years truly great thinkers made unstinting sacrifices, devoting their minds and lives to your freedom and well-being. The little men from your own ranks have found out that no such effort is needed.
  • p16 I'm afraid of you because your main aim in life is to escape - from yourself. You're sick, little man, very sick. It's not your fault; but it's your responsibility to get well.
  • p18 You are unaware that men and women exist who are inherently incapable of oppressing and exploiting you, men and women who want you to be free, really and truly free.
  • p19 So, because he's different from yourself, you call him a "genius" or a "nut." … You call him asocial because he'd rather be alone with his thoughts than listening to inane chatter at your social functions.
  • p21 No, you never ask yourself whether your thinking is right or wrong. You ask yourself what your neighbor will say about it, or whether, if you do right, it will cost you money.
  • p31 It makes you feel superior because you feel inferior.
  • p36 And who are you, anyway, to have an opinion of your own?
  • p40 You consume your happiness.
  • p43 Now do you understand why happiness runs away from you? Happiness wants to be worked for and earned. But you merely want to consume happiness.
  • p44 "Genius" is the trade mark you paste on your products when you put them up for sale. --Jack London
  • p45 You want a limited, cropped and clipped genius you can parade through the streets of your cities without embarrassment.
  • p46 I can tell you, little man, because when you came to me with your inner emptiness or your impotence or your psychic disorder, I learned to recognize you as a rigid animal. You can only gobble and take, you're incapable of creating or giving, because your basic bodily attitude is one of holding back and of defiant mistrust; because you panic when the primordial impulse to love and to give stirs in you. That's why you're afraid of giving. And essentially your way of taking means only one thing: you have to stuff yourself full of money, food, happiness, and knowledge, because you feel empty, starved, and unhappy, devoid both of true knowledge and the desire for knowledge.
  • p47 When a married couple find they can no longer live together, you want one member to hale the other into court with accusations of immorality or brutality.
  • p55 You have always thought you could safeguard your freedom by standing people "up against the wall." You'd do better to stand yourself up to a mirror...
  • p58 Your existence is harmful because you turn healthy children against their healthy fathers, because you treat healthy childlike love as a symptom of disease, because, ugly little woman, not content with looking like a tub, you think and teach like a tub; because instead of withdrawing modestly into a quiet corner of life, you do your best to imprint all life with your ugliness, your tublike ungainliness, your hypocrisy, and with the bitter hatred that you hide behind your phony smile.
  • p64 "What should I do? What should we do?" That has been your eternal question down through the ages.
  • p68 Build your house on granite. By granite I mean your nature that you're torturing to death, the love in your child's body, your wife's dream of love, your own dream of life when you were sixteen. Exchange your illusions for a bit of truth. Throw out your politicians and diplomats! Take your destiny into your own hands and build your life on rock. Forget about your neighbor and look inside yourself! Your neighbor, too, will be grateful. Tell your fellow workers all over the world that you're no longer willing to work for death but only for life. … And first and foremost, think straight, trust the quiet inner voice that tells you what to do.
  • p76 You'll wake up from your nightmare, little man, and find yourself lying helpless on the ground, because you steal from the giver and give to the thief.
  • p77 Before the First World War there were no passports.
  • p86 You've locked up the lunatics and the world is run by you normal people. Then who's to blame for all the trouble?
  • p88 When I think of your children, how you torment the life out of them, trying to make them "normal" like yourself …
  • p90 One day you found out that you could make a lot of money out of the diseased human soul. If sufficed to have a mental patient spend an hour a day with you for several years, and to charge him so much an hour. Then and not a moment sooner did you become convinced that the soul exists.
  • p92 You gather around the willing, joyful giver and suck him dry.
  • p97 He's eager for a promotion and looking for a victim, somebody he can sacrifice to law and order.
  • p98 I say that no cultured society can be build with slaves.
  • p98 Worse, you cling with might and main to such absurdities as "race," "class," "nation," and the obligation to observe a religion and repress your love. You're afraid to acknowledge the depth of your wretchedness. From time to time you lift your head out of the muck and shout Hurrah! A frog croaking in a swamp is closer to life.
  • p100 I recognize your panic fear of everything that's alive in you. It's that fear which always leads you astray, even when you've made a good start. You simply fail to realize that hope must spring from your own understanding. You pump hope only into yourself, never out of yourself.
  • p107 You yourself hate your hatred, you can't stand yourself, and you're desperate. And that, little woman, is why you destroyed your husband's life.
  • p113 And once you've started to think, you'll be amazed at your last four thousand years of "civilization." You'll wonder how you could have put up with newspapers full of nothing but receptions, parades and medals, prosecutions and executions, foreign policy, Realpolitik and diplomatic skulduggery, mobilization, demobilization and remobilization, nonaggression pacts, drilling and bombing.
  • p118 You'd be able to get acquainted with your brother, the little man in Japan, China, and every other Hun country, to give him your sound opinion of your function as a worker, doctor, farmer, father and husband, and convince him in the end that to make war impossible he need only stick to his work and his love.
  • p120 Someday you'll stop shouting hurrah, hurrah. You'll stop tilling fields and operating factories that are slated for destruction. Someday, I say, you'll no longer be willing to work for death but only for life.
  • p120 Strike by working for yourself, your children, your wife or woman, your society, your product, or your farm. Make it plain that you have no time for a war, that you have more important things to do. Outside every big city on earth, mark off a field, build high walls around it, and there let the diplomats and marshals of the earth shoot each other. That's what you could do, little man, if only you'd stop shouting hurrah, hurrah and stop believing that you're a nobody without an opinion of your own...
  • p121 You'll have a good, secure life when being alive means more to you than security, love more than money, your freedom more than public or partisan opinion; when the mood of Beethoven's or Bach's music becomes the mood of your whole life - you have it in you, little man, somewhere deep down in a corner of your being; when your thinking is in harmony, and no longer in conflict, with yourfeelings; when youve learned to recognize two things in their season: your gifts and the onset of old age; when you let yourself be guided by the thoughts of great sages and no longer by the crimes of great warriors; when you cease to set more store by the a marriage certificate than by love between man and woman; when you learn to recognize your errors promptly and not too late, as you do today; when you pay yhe men and women who teach your children better than politicians; when truths inspire you and empty formulas repel you; when you communicate with your fellow workers in foreign countries directly, and no longer through diplomats; when instead of enraging you as it does today, your adolescent daughter's happiness in love makes your heart swell with joy; when you can only shake your head at the memory of the days when small children were punished for touching their sex organs; when the human faces you see on the street are no longer drawn with grief and misery but glow with freedom, vitality, and serenity; when human bodies cease to walk this earth with rigid, retracted pelvises and frozen sex organs.

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