From the book The Mass Psychology of Fascism, by Wilhelm Reich, M.D., FS&G, New York 1970.
On Natural Work-Democracy
Work in Contrast to Politics
A medical student who wants to be admitted to the medical profession must offer satisfactory proof of his practical and theoretical knowledge of medicine. On the other hand, a politician who takes it upon himself to determine the fate, not of hundreds, as the medical student, but of millions of working men and women, is not required in our society to prove his qualifications and knowledge.
It is this circumstance that seems to be one of the essential causes of the social tragedy that has pockmarked the society of human animals for thousands of years with individual acute outbreaks. Let us pursue this briefly described contradiction as well and as far as we can.
The man who performs practical work in any field whatever, whether he comes from a rich or poor family, has to go through a definite schooling. He is not elected by “the people.” Experienced workers whose skills have been tested over a long period must determine in a more or less thorough way whether the apprentice in their field is qualified to perform his or her job professionally. This is the demand, even if it often runs ahead of the facts. It gives the direction in any event. In America, this demand has been carried to such an extreme that a salesgirl in a department store has to have a university education. As exaggerated and as socially unjust as this demand may be, it shows clearly just how much social pressure is exerted on the simplest work. Every shoemaker, cabinet-maker, turner, mechanic, electrician, stone mason, construction worker, etc., has to fulfill strict requirements.
A politician, on the other hand, is free of any such demands. One need merely possess a good dose of cunning, neurotic ambition and will to power, coupled with brutality, in order to take over the highest positions of human society when suitable chaotic social conditions arise. In the past 25 years we have witnessed how a mediocre journalist was capable of brutalizing the fifty million strong Italian nation and finally reducing it to a state of misery. For twenty-two years there was a great fuss about nothing, coupled with much blood and thunder, until one day the hubbub faded out without a flourish. And one was overcome by the feeling: And all to no avail! What remained of this great tumult, which had made the world hold its breath and had torn many nations out of their accustomed life? Nothing—not a single, permanent thought; not a single useful institution; not even a fond memory. Facts such as this show more clearly than anything else the social irrationalism that periodically brings our life to the brink of the abyss.
A young house painter who fails miserably in his choice of profession is capable, also for a period of twenty years, of having himself talked about the world over, without having accomplished a single, useful, objective, practical piece of work. In this case, also, it is a tremendous noise that one day quietly fades away into an “all to no avail.” The world of work continues on its calm, quiet, vitally necessary course. Of the great tumult, nothing remains but a chapter in falsely oriented history books, which are only a burden to our children.
If one takes the trouble to ferret them out, one will find unprecedented consequences for practical social life in this clear-cut antipathy between work and politics, this antipathy that is intelligible to everyone and that every working man and woman has long since been aware of. First and foremost, these consequences relate to the system of political parties that determines the ideological and structural formation of the human animal everywhere on this earth. It is not our purpose here to enter into the question of how the present system of political parties developed from the first patriarchal-hierarchal European and Asian systems of government. What is important here is solely the effect of the system of political parties on the development of society. The reader will have already divined that natural work-democracy is a social system that already exists. It does not have to be established, and it bears the same relationship to the system of political parties as water bears to fire.
The contradiction between work and politics leads us on as follows: The elucidation and elimination of chaotic conditions, whether in a social, animal, or dead organism, require lengthy scientific work. Without going into details, let us briefly designate as scientific that man who performs some kind of vitally necessary work that requires the comprehension of facts. In this sense of the word a lathe operator in a factory is scientific, for his product is based on the fruits of his own work and research as well as the work and research of others. Now let us contrast this scientific man with the mystic, including the political ideologist.
Every scientific person, whether he is an educator, lathe operator, technician, physician, or something else, has to fulfill and safeguard the social work process. Socially, he has a very responsible position: He has to prove each one of his assertions in a practical way. He has to work industriously, to think, to seek out new ways of improving his work, to recognize errors. As a researcher he has to examine and refute false theories. Whenever he succeeds in accomplishing something fundamentally new, he has to contend with human viciousness and fight his way through. He has no need of power, for no motors can be constructed with political power, no sera can be produced with it, no children can be brought up, etc. The working, scientific man lives and operates without weapons.
Compared with the working man and woman, the mystic and political ideologist have an easy social position. No one demands proof for their assertions. They can promise to bring down God from Heaven, to raise the Devil from Hell, and to establish paradise on earth from their ministerial buildings, and in all this they know very well that they will not be called to account for fraud. Their wild assertions are protected by the inviolable democratic right of free speech. If we think about it very carefully, we find that there must be something wrong with the concept of “free speech,” when it is possible for a foiled painter to use this right to conquer in a completely legal way and in the course of a few years a position in the world that has never in human history fallen to the share of the great pioneers of science, art, education, and technology. It clearly follows from this that our thinking in social matters is catastrophically wrong in a certain area and requires radical correction. On the basis of careful sex-economic clinical investigations, we know that it is the authoritarian upbringing of little children, the teaching them to be fearful and submissive, that secures for the political power monger the slavery and the gullibility of millions of adult industrious men and women.
Let us pursue the contradiction between work and politics in another direction.
The following motto always appears on the title page of the Orgone Institute’s official publication: “Love, work and knowledge are the source of human existence. They should also govern it!” Without the function of natural love between husband and wife, mother and child, coworkers, etc., without work and without knowledge, human society would fall to pieces overnight. It is not incumbent upon me as a physician to make allowances for some political ideology or another or for some current diplomatic necessity, no matter how important it may appear. It is my task solely to elucidate important but unknown facts. And it is a fact, however embarrassing it may be, that none of the three basic functions of social life is affected by universal suffrage and the secret ballot, or ever had an effect in the history of parliamentary democracy. On the other hand, political ideologies, which have nothing to do with the functions of natural love, work, or knowledge, enjoy unhampered and unlimited access to every kind of social power on the basis of universal suffrage and the party system. Let me hasten to make it clear that I am and have always been for universal suffrage. This does not alter the firmly established fact that the social institution of universal suffrage of parliamentary democracy in no way coincides with the three basic functions of social existence. It is left to chance whether the basic social functions are safeguarded or damaged by parliamentary vote. There is no stipulation in the legislation of parliamentary democracy that accords love, work, and knowledge any kind of prerogative in the regulation of the fate of society. This dichotomy between democratic suffrage and basic social functions has catastrophic repercussions on the basis of social processes.
I want only to mention the many institutions and laws that explicitly hamper these functions. I don’t think that any scientific or political group has ever clearly and sharply pointed out this basic contradiction in a way that would be intelligible to everyone. And yet, it constitutes the core of the bio-social tragedy of the human animal. The system of political parties does not at all fulfill the conditions, tasks, and aims of human society. This is clearly and plainly shown by the fact, one of many, that a shoemaker cannot simply decide to be a tailor, a physician to be a mining engineer, and a teacher to be a cabinet-maker. On the other hand, a Republican in America can become a Democrat from one day to the next without undergoing any objective change in his thinking; and in Germany before Hitler, a Communist could simply become a Fascist, a Fascist a Communist, a Liberal a Communist or Social Democrat, and a Social Democrat a German National or Christian Socialist. Such changes were capable of strengthening or weakening the ideology of the party program of any of the respective parties; in short, they were capable of deciding the fate of a whole nation in the most unconscionable way.
This clearly shows politics’ irrational nature and its antithesis to work. I do not want to go into the question whether the political parties ever had an objective and rational basis in the social body. It has no relevance here. The political parties of today have nothing concrete to say. The practical and positive events of a society have nothing to do with party boundaries or party ideologies. Something like Roosevelt’s New Deal is a proof of this. So-called party coalitions are makeshifts in default of an objective orientation, a bridging of difficulties without really solving anything. Firmly established realities cannot be mastered with opinions, which are changed as one changes one’s shirt.
These initial steps in the clarification of the concept of work- democracy have already yielded a number of important insights into the social chaos. This obligates us to follow up our train of thought on natural work-democracy. It would be an inexcusable omission not to do so. For no one can foresee where and when human thinking will disclose the answer to the chaos produced by politics. Thus, we shall follow the path we have taken, as one might look for a suitable settlement site in a primeval forest.
Even this attempt to orient oneself in social chaos must be regarded as a piece of practical and rational work. Since natural work-democracy is based on work and not on politics, it is possible that this “work on the social organism” might lead to a practical and applicable result. It would be the first time that work got control of social problems. And this work would be work-democratic, insofar as it might induce other sociologists, economists, psychologists, to work on the social organism. Since this work attacks politics as a principle and as a system, there can be no doubt that it will be countered with political ideologies. It will be interesting and important to see how work-democratic sociology will stand up in practice. Work-democracy, as far as I understand it, counters political ideologies with the point of view of social function and social development, in short, with facts and possibilities. It does not counter them with another political view. It follows an approach similar to the one followed in the field of morality: Sex-economy deals with the damages caused by compulsive morality, not, as is politically customary, with another kind of morality, but with concrete knowledge and practical data on the natural function of sexuality. In other words, work-democratic socio-economy will have to prove itself in practical life, just as the assertion that steam contains energy is proven by the locomotion of engines. Thus, we have no reason whatever to engage in ideological or political arguments concerning the existence or nonexistence of work-democracy, its practical applicability or nonapplicability, etc.
The working men and women who think and act in a work- democratic way do not come out against the politician. It is not his fault or his intention that the practical result of his work exposes the illusionary and irrational character of politics. Those who are engaged in practical work, regardless what field they are in, are intensely concerned with practical tasks in the improvement of life. Those who are engaged in practical work are not against one thing or another. It is only the politician who, having no practical tasks, is always against and never for something. Politics in general is characterized by this “being against” one thing or another. That which is productive in a practical way is not accomplished by politicians, but by working men and women, whether it is in accord with the politicians’ ideologies or not. Years of experience have clearly demonstrated that the men and women who perform practical work always come into conflict with the politician. Thus, those who work for living functioning are and operate against politics, whether they want to or not. The educator is for the objective upbringing of small children; the farmer is for the machines necessary in agriculture; the researcher is for proofs for scientific findings. One can easily satisfy oneself that wherever a working man or woman is against this or that achievement, he or she is not speaking up as a worker, but under the pressure of political or other irrational influences.
It sounds improbable and exaggerated to say that a positive accomplishment of work is never against, but always for something. The reason for this is that our work life is interfused with irrationally motivated expressions of opinion, which are not differentiated from objective evaluations. For instance, the farmer is against the worker and the worker is against the engineer. This or that physician is against this or that drug. It will be said that democratic free speech means that one is “for” and “against.” It is my contention, on the other hand, that it was precisely this formalistic and nonobjective comprehension of the concept of free speech that was chiefly responsible for the failure of the European democracies. Let us take an example: A physician is against the use of a certain drug. There can be one of two reasons for this:
Either the drug is really harmful and the physician is conscientious. In this case, the manufacturer of the drug did poor work. His work was not crowned with success and, evidently, he was not motivated by strong objective interests to produce an effective and harmless drug. The manufacturer did not have the function of the drug in mind, but was motivated, let us say, by pecuniary interests, i.e., was irrationally motivated. The motive did not suit the purpose. In this case the physician acted in a rational way. He spoke up in the interest of human health, that is to say, he was automatically against a bad drug because he is for health. He acted rationally, for the goal of work and the motive of the expression of opinion are in accord with one another.
Or the drug is a good one and the physician is unscrupulous. If this physician is against a good drug, his action is not motivated by an interest in human health. Perhaps he has been paid by a rival firm to advertise a different drug. He does not fulfill his work function as a physician; the motive for the expression of his opinion has no more to do with its content than it has to do with any work function. The physician speaks out against the drug because secretly he is for profit and not for health. But profiteering is not the purpose of a physician’s work. Hence, he speaks out strongly “against” something and not “for” it.
We can apply this example to any other field of work and any kind of expression of opinion. We can easily satisfy ourselves that it is an inherent part of the rational work process always to be for something. The “being against” something ensues not from the work process itself, but from the fact that there are irrational functions of life. It follows from this that: In terms of its nature, every rational work process is spontaneously against irrational functions of life.
The attentive reader who is not unfamiliar with the ways of the world will readily agree that this clarification of the concept of free speech invests the democratic movement with a new and better point of view. The principle: What is harmful to the interests of life is poor work, hence not work at all imbues the concept of work- democracy with a rational meaning, a meaning that is lacking in the concept of formal or parliamentary democracy. In formal democracy the farmer is against the worker and the worker is against the engineer because political and not objective interests predominate in the social organization. If responsibility is shifted from the politician, not to the working men and women, but to work, then cooperation between farmer and worker automatically takes the place of political opposition.
We shall have to pursue this idea further, for it is of decisive importance. To begin with, we want to dwell upon the question of so-called democratic criticism, which also rests upon the democratic right of free speech.
Notes on objective criticism and irrational caviling
The work-democratic way of life insists upon the right of every working man and woman to free discussion and criticism. This demand is justified, indispensable, and should be inviolable. If it* is not fulfilled, the source of human productivity is easily dried up. Owing to the effects of the general emotional plague, however, “discussion” and “criticism” become more or less grave jeopardies to serious work. We want to illustrate this with an example:
Let us imagine an engineer who is having a difficult time repairing a defective motor. It is a complicated piece of work; the engineer must exercise every bit of his intelligence and energy to master the difficulty. He sacrifices his leisure hours of pleasure and works until late in the night. He grants himself no rest until he has finished his job. After awhile an unconcerned man comes along, looks on for a bit, then picks up a stone and smashes the conducting wires. That morning his wife had nagged him at the breakfast table.
Another completely unconcerned man comes along; he derides the engineer. He tells him that he, the engineer, knows nothing about motors, otherwise he would have had it repaired long ago. And just look at how filthy he is—his body is literally covered with sweat and grease. And that isn’t all. He is an immoral man also, for otherwise he would not leave his family at home alone. Having insulted the engineer to his heart’s content, he moves on. That morning he had received a letter from his firm informing him that he is being dismissed from his job as an electrical engineer. He is not a very good worker in his field.
A third totally unconcerned man comes along, spits in the engineer’s face and moves on. His mother-in-law, who has a special talent for torturing people, had just given him a hard time.
The intent of these examples is to illustrate the “criticism” of unconcerned passers-by, who, like highwaymen, wantonly disturb honest work, a piece of work about which they know nothing, which they do not understand and which does not concern them.
These examples are typical of a good portion of what is known as “free discussion” and the “right of criticism” in wide sectors of society. The attacks of the hereditary school of psychiatrists and cancer theoreticians on the, at that time, still-embryonic bion research was of this nature. They were not interested in helping and improving, but merely in wantonly disrupting a difficult job. They of course did not betray their motives. Such “criticism” is harmful and socially dangerous. It is prompted by motives that have nothing to do with the matter being criticized, and it has nothing to do with objective interests.
Genuine discussion and genuine criticism are different. Again we want to illustrate this with an example:
Another engineer passes by the garage where the first engineer is working on the motor. With his wealth of experience in this field, he immediately sees that the first engineer has his hands full. He takes off his jacket, rolls up his sleeves, and attempts, first of all, to comprehend any mistakes in his approach. He points out an important place the first engineer had overlooked; they both consider the error that may have been made in the work. He gives the first engineer a hand, discusses and criticizes the work, and helps to do it better. He is not motivated by the nagging of his mother-in-law or his failure in his own profession, but by an objective interest in the success of the work.
The two kinds of criticism described above are often difficult to distinguish from one another. Irrational caviling is often very cunningly disguised behind a sham objectiveness. These two kinds of criticism, which are so different from one another, are usually included under the one concept “scientific criticism.”
In the strict objective and scientific sense of the word, only so- called immanent criticism is admissible, that is to say, the person exercising criticism must first fulfill a number of demands before assuming the right to criticize:
- He himself must have a complete grasp of the field of work that he criticizes.
- He must know this field at least as well as, if not better than, the one whom he criticizes.
- He must have an interest in seeing the work succeed—not in seeing it fail. If he is merely intent upon disrupting the work, if he is not motivated by objective interests, then he is a neurotic grumbler, but not a critic.
- He has to exercise his criticism from the point of view of the field, of work under criticism. He cannot criticize from an alien point of view, i.e., from a point of view that has nothing to do with the field of work. Depth psychology cannot be criticized from the point of view of surface psychology, but surface psychology can be criticized from the point of view of depth psychology. The reason for this is simple. Depth psychology is forced to include surface psychology in its investigations. Hence, it is conversant with it. Surface psychology, on the other hand, is precisely that, surface psychology; it does not look for biologic motives behind psychic phenomena.
We cannot criticize an electric machine from the point of view of a machine that has the function of heating a room. The thermal theory plays a part in the electric machine only insofar as it enables the electrical engineer to prevent the overheating of the electric motor. And in this respect, the helpful suggestions of a thermal theorist are definitely welcomed by the electrical engineer. But it would be ridiculous to blame the electromachine for not being able to heat a room.
It follows from this that sex-economy, which wants to liberate the natural sexuality of children, adolescents, and adults from neuroses, perversions and criminality, cannot be criticized from the point of view of anti-sexual moralism, for the moralist wants to suppress and not to liberate the natural sexuality of children and adolescents. A musician cannot criticize a miner, and a physician cannot criticize a geologist. Our feelings about a particular kind of work may be pleasant or unpleasant, but that does not affect the nature or usefulness of that work.
The sole purpose of these observations on criticism and caviling has been to alleviate the position of young sex-economists and orgone biophysicists toward critics.
Work is inherently rational
The analysis of the concept of work-democracy has, as we see, led us into a sphere of human life that, though it has been ascribed enormous importance for thousands of years, has been looked upon as overwhelming and beyond mastery. It is the complicated and vast sphere of so-called “human nature.” That which philosophers, poets, superficial politicians, but also great psychologists, designate and bemoan with the sentence “That’s the way human nature is” completely coincides with sex-economy’s clinical concept, “emotional plague.” We can define it as the sum total of all irrational functions of life in the human animal. If “human nature,” which is conceived of as immutable, is identical with the emotional plague, and if, in turn, the emotional plague is identical with the sum total of all irrational functions of life in the human animal; if, moreover, the functions of work, in themselves and independent of man, are rational, then we are confronted with two enormous fields of human activity, which are mortally opposed to one another: vitally necessary work as the rational function of life on the one hand and the emotional plague as the irrational function of life on the other hand. It is not difficult to divine that work-democracy views as being a part of the emotional plague all politics that is not based upon knowledge, work, and love and that, therefore, is irrational.. This is work-democracy’s answer to the timeless and age-old question of how we could finally come to grips with our “notorious” human nature in a simple way: Education, hygiene, and medicine, which have been grappling with the problem of human nature since time began without achieving satisfactory results, find in the rational function of vitally necessary work a powerful ally in the fight against the emotional plague.
To follow work-democracy’s train of thought to the end, we must first of all wholly free ourselves from conventional political and ideological thinking. Only in this way is it possible to compare the fundamentally different train of thought that springs from the world of love, work, and knowledge to the train of thought that springs from the world of pomp and circumstance, of diplomatic and political conferences.
The politician thinks in terms of “state” and “nation”; the working man lives “sociably” and “socially.” The politician thinks in terms of “discipline” and “law and order”; the average working man experiences “pleasure of work” and “order of work,” “regulation” and “cooperation of work.” The politician thinks in terms of “morals” and “duty”; the working man experiences or would like to experience “spontaneous decency” and a “natural feeling for life.” The politician speaks of the “ideal of the family”; the working man enjoys or would like to enjoy the “love of husband, wife, and children.” The politician speaks of the “interests of the economy and the state”; the simple working man wants “gratification of needs and an untrammeled food supply.” The politician speaks of the “free initiative of the individual” and thinks of “profit”; the simple working man wants the freedom to try things on his own, the freedom to become what he is or could be.
In an irrational way, the politician holds sway over precisely those spheres of life that the working man copes or could cope with in a rational way, if he were not severely hampered by political irrationalism. Though the irrational and rational labels relate to the same spheres of life, they are diametrically opposed to one another; they are not words that could be substituted for one another. In actual practice they are mutually exclusive. This is borne out by the fact that, throughout the history of human society, the authoritarian discipline of the state has always thwarted natural sociability and the pleasure of work; the state has thwarted society; the compulsive sacredness of the family has thwarted the love of husband, wife, and children; compulsive morality has thwarted the natural decency that springs from the joy of life; and the politician has continually thwarted working men and women.
Fundamentally, our society is ruled by concepts—by political- irrational concepts, let it be noted—that exploit human labor to compass irrational goals by force. Effective institutions are needed to secure freedom of action and development for the life activity of masses of people. The social basis for these institutions cannot be any old arbitrary, interchangeable political orientation or ideology; it can be only the social function of vitally necessary work as it results naturally from the interlacing of the various vitally necessary fields of work in the sphere of work as a whole.
Let us pursue work-democracy’s train of thought a step further into the thicket of entangled rational and irrational functions of life. In this pursuit we want to stick strictly to the logical sequence of thoughts and to exclude our personal interests as much as possible. To reach an applicable conclusion, we have to put ourselves, even in these considerations of the concept of work-democracy, in its position, i.e., we have to act as if we wanted to burden natural work-democracy with the responsibility for social existence. In short, we have to test its tenability from all angles in a strictly objective way. If we should allow our personal interests in some unnecessary activity or another to influence us, we would automatically exclude ourselves from the framework of this discussion.
If there were nothing but the emotional plague in its various forms, the human species would have met its doom long ago. Neither political ideology nor mystical ritual, the military power apparatus nor diplomatic discussions, would be able, by themselves, to provide the population of any country with food, even for just an hour, to keep the traffic system running smoothly, provide living quarters, cure diseases, safeguard the rearing of children, ferret out nature’s secrets, etc. According to the work-democratic concept, political ideologies, mystic rituals, and diplomatic maneuvers are necessary only within the framework of social irrationalism. They are not necessary in the factual sphere of life, which is ruled by love, work, and knowledge. These vitally necessary functions obey their own self-generated laws; they are not accessible to any irrational ideology. Love, work, and knowledge are not “ideas,” “cultural values,” “political programs,” “mental attitudes,” or “confessions of creed.” They are concrete realities, without which human society could not exist for a day.
If human society were rationally organized, the priority of love, work, and knowledge would be unquestioned; they, and not unnecessary institutions, would have the right to determine social existence. In accordance with the work-democratic conception, individual groups could arm themselves and kill one another; other groups could glory in mystical rituals, and still other groups could take delight in the discussion of ideologies. But they would not be able to dominate, exploit, and lay claim to the basic biologic functions of society for their own selfish purposes. Moreover, they would not be able to deprive them of every right to exercise a determining influence.
The social irrationalism in the attitude toward these two spheres of human activity is enormous:
A politician is in a position to deceive millions of people, e.g., he can promise to establish freedom without actually having to do so. No one demands proof of his competence or of the feasibility of his promises. He can promise one thing today and the exact opposite tomorrow. Without let or hindrance, a mystic can imbue masses of people with the belief that there is a life after death—and he need not offer the least trace of proof. Let us now compare the rights of a politician or a mystic to the rights of a railroad engineer. The latter would be immediately put in jail or a mental institution if he would try to persuade as few as two dozen people who wanted to travel from one town to another that he could fly to the moon. Let us further imagine that this same railroad engineer, armed with a gun now, insisted that his assertions were true and that he would have the waiting passengers locked up if they refused to believe him. The railroad engineer has to transport people from one place to another; he has to do so as practically and as safely as possible if he wants to hold his job.
It is wholly immaterial whether an architect, physician, teacher, lathe operator, educator, etc., is a Fascist, Communist, liberal, or
Christian when it comes to building a school, curing the sick, making a piece of furniture, or taking care of children. No one of these workers can hold long speeches or make fantastic promises; he has to perform concrete, practical work. He has to place one brick upon another and, before he begins, he must give careful thought to and draw blueprints of the number of rooms a school is to have, where the ventilation and exits are to be placed, where the windows are to be, and where the administration office and kitchen are to be placed. Liberal, social democratic, religious, fascist, or communist ideologies are of no use whatever when it comes to performing practical work. No worker can afford to fritter away his time in idle chatter. Each worker must know what he has to do, and he must do it. But an ideologist can go on giving free rein to his fantasy, without ever performing one piece of solid work. Long after a group of politicians has completely bankrupted some country or another, it continues its threadbare ideologic debates in some other country. Real processes are totally foreign to the politician. Actually, there would be nothing to object to in this if the politicians would content themselves with debating among themselves and not try to impose their ideology on others, or even to determine the fate of nations.
I once made the attempt of testing the above exemplified system of thought of work-democracy on myself. In 1933, when I began to divine the existence of a universal biologic energy as a hypothesis, if I had openly asserted that such an energy really did exist, that it was capable of destroying cancerous tumors, I would only have confirmed the diagnosis of schizophrenia that overzealous psychoanalysts had passed around and would have been confined to a mental institution. On the basis of my research in the field of biology, I could have promulgated any number of ideologies and could have founded a political party, let us say, a work-democratic freedom party. There is no doubt that I could have done this as well as others who had less practical experience. By virtue of my influence on people, it would have been an easy matter to surround myself with my own SS and to have thousands of people provided with work-democratic insignia. All of this would not have brought me one step closer to the problem of cancer or to a comprehension of the cosmic or oceanic feeling of the human animal. I would have firmly established a work-democratic ideology, but the naturally present, but as yet unperceived, process of work-democracy would have remained undiscovered. For years on end, I had to work very hard, to make observations, to correct mistakes, to overcome my own irrationalism as well as I could, to comprehend why biology is both mechanistic and mystical at the same time. I did not complain. I had to read books, to dissect mice, to deal with various materials in a hundred different ways, until I actually discovered orgone, until I was able to concentrate it in accumulators and make it visible. Only after this had been accomplished was I able to pose the practical aspect of the question, namely whether orgone contained curative effects. In this I was guided by the organic development of the work process. This means that every vitally necessary and practical work is a rational, organic development in itself, and it cannot be surmounted or circumvented in any way whatever. This formulation contains an essential biologic principle, which we call “organic development.” A tree must first have reached the height of one yard before it can reach the height of two yards. A child must first learn to read before he can find out what other people are saying in their writings. A physician must first study anatomy before he can understand pathology. In all these cases the development ensues from the organic progress of a work process. Working men and women are the functional organs of this work. He or she can be a good or poor functioning organ, but the work process itself does not undergo any fundamental change. Whether a man or woman is a good or poor functioning organ depends essentially upon the degree of irrationalism in his or her structure.
As might be expected, this “law of organic development” is absent in irrational functions. In such functions the goal is there as an idea from the very beginning, long before any practical work is begun. The activity follows a fixed, preconceived plan; by its very nature, therefore, it has to be irrational. This is clearly and plainly shown by the fact that, of the world-famous irrationalists, literally nothing remains behind that could be put to use by posterity.
Over thousands of years the law of organic development has been clearly manifested in all technical and scientific arts. Galileo’s achievements originated in the criticism of the Ptolemaic system and extended the work of Copernicus. Kepler took up the work of Galileo, and Newton took up the work of Kepler. Many generations of working and searching men and women were developed from each of these functional organs of objective natural processes. Of Alexander, the so-called Great, Caesar, Nero, Napoleon, on the other hand, nothing whatever remains behind. Nor do we find any trace of a continuity among the irrationalists, unless the dream of a Napoleon to become a second Alexander or Caesar is regarded as a continuity.
In these men, irrationalism is completely exposed as a nonbiologic and nonsocial, indeed anti-biologic and anti-social, function of life. It lacks the essential characteristics of the rational functions of life, such as germination, development, continuity, nondeviation of process, interlacing with other functions, fragmentation, and productivity.
Now let us apply these insights to the question whether the emotional plague can be fundamentally overcome. The answer is in the affirmative. No matter how sadistic, mystical, gossipy, unscrupulous, fickle, armored, superficial, and given to idle chatter human animals may be, they are naturally predisposed to be rational in their work functions. Just as irrationalism vents and propagates itself in ideological processes and mysticism, man’s rationality is confirmed and propagated in the work process. It is an inherent part of the work process and, therefore, an inherent part of man that he cannot be irrational in his work function. By his very nature and by the nature of work itself, he is forced to be rational. Irrationalism automatically excludes itself by virtue of the fact that it disrupts the work process and makes the goal of work unattainable. The sharp and irreconcilable opposition between the emotional plague and the work process is clearly expressed in the following: As a working man or woman, one can always come to an understanding with any technician, industrial worker, physician, etc., in a discussion on work functions. As soon as the conversation shifts to ideology, however, the understanding falls to pieces. It is indicative of so many dictators and politicians that they regularly give up their work when they enter the province of politics. A shoemaker who loses himself in mystical ecstasy and begins to think of himself as a savior of the people, sent by God, will inevitably cut the soles the wrong way and mess up his stitches. As time goes on, he will be faced with starvation. It is precisely by this process, on the other hand, that the politician becomes strong and rich.
Emotional irrationalism is capable only of disrupting work; it is never capable of accomplishing work.
Let us examine this work-democratic train of thought from its own point of view. Are we dealing here with an ideology, a glorification or idealization “of work”? I asked myself this question in view of my task to teach physicians and educators. It is incumbent upon me as a physician, researcher, and teacher to differentiate between vitally necessary, rational work and unnecessary, irrational ideology, i.e., to ascertain the rational and rationally effective character of work. I cannot help one of my students of vegetotherapy to overcome a practical difficulty in his own structure or in his work with patients by feeding him hopes of a better Beyond or by appointing him “Marshal of Vegetotherapy.” The title of Marshal of Vegetotherapy would not make him the least bit more capable of dealing with difficulties. By appointing him Marshal of Vegetotherapy, I would only endanger him and possibly even precipitate a disaster. I must tell him the whole truth about his weaknesses and shortcomings. I have to teach him to recognize them by himself. In this I am guided by the course of my own development and my practical experience. I do not have an ideology that compels me to be rational for ethical or other reasons. Rational behavior is imposed upon me by my work in an objective way. I would starve if I did not strive to act rationally. I am immediately corrected by my work if I try to cover up difficulties with illusions, for I cannot eliminate a biopathic paralysis with illusions any more than a machinist, an architect, a farmer or teacher, can perform his work with illusions. Nor do I demand rationality. It is objectively present in me, independent of what I am and independent of the emotional plague. I do not order my students to be rational, for that would serve no purpose. I teach them and advise them, in their own interest and in the light of practical work processes, to distinguish the rational from the irrational in themselves and in the world. I teach them to promote the former and to check the latter. It is a basic feature of the emotional plague in social life to escape the difficulties of responsibility and the actualities of everyday life and work by seeking refuge in ideology, illusion, mysticism, brutality, or a political party.
This is a fundamentally new position. It is not the rationality of work that is new, nor its rational effect on working men and women, but the fact that work is rational and has a rational effect in itself and of itself, whether I know it or not. It is better if I know it. Then I can be in harmony with the rational organic development. This is also a new position for psychology and sociology. It is new for sociology because, until now, sociology has looked upon society’s irrational activities as rational; and it is new for psychology because psychology did not doubt society’s rationality.
Vitally necessary and other work
The deeper one delves into the nature of natural work-democracy, the more villainy one discovers in human thinking, villainy caused by political ideologies. Let us try to elucidate this statement by examining the content of the concept of work.
Thus far we have contrasted work and political ideology, equating work with “rationality” and political ideology with “irrationality.” But vital life is never mechanical. Thus, we catch ourselves setting up a new irrational black-white dichotomy. But this blunt dichotomization is justified insofar as politics is indeed essentially irrational and, compared with it, work is essentially rational. For instance, is the construction of a casino work? This example forces us to differentiate vitally necessary work from work that is not vitally necessary. Under the heading of “vitally necessary work,” we have to list every kind of work that is indispensable to the maintenance of human life and the social machinery. Hence, that work is vitally necessary the absence of which would be harmful to or would inhibit the living process. That work, on the other hand, the absence of which would not change the course of society and human life is not vitally necessary. We have to designate as nonwork that activity that is detrimental to the life process.
For centuries on end it has been precisely vitally necessary work that the political ideology of the ruling but nonworking classes has depreciated. On the other hand, it has represented nonwork as a sign of noble blood. All socialist ideologies reacted to this appraisal with a mechanistic and rigid reversal of valuations. The socialists conceived of “work” as relating solely to those activities that had been looked down upon in feudalism, i.e., essentially to manual labor; whereas the activity of the ruling classes was represented as nonwork. To be sure, this mechanical reversal of ideologic valuations was wholly in keeping with the political concept of the two economically and personally sharply demarcated social classes, the ruling and the ruled. From a purely economic point of view, society could indeed be divided into “those who possessed capital” and “those who possessed the commodity, working power.” From the point of view of bio-sociology, however, there could be no clear-cut division between one class and another, neither ideologically nor psychologically, and certainly not on the basis of work. The discovery of the fact that the ideology of a group of people does not necessarily have to coincide with its economic situation, indeed, that economic and ideologic situation are often sharply opposed to one another, enabled us to understand the fascist movement, which had remained uncomprehended until then. In 1930 it became clear that there is a “cleavage” between ideology and economy, and that the ideology of a certain class can develop into a social force, a social force that is not confined to that one class.
It was first shown in connection with the suppression of the natural sexuality of children and adolescents that there are fundamental biologic functions of the human animal that have nothing to do with the economic distribution of the classes and that class boundaries overlap and cut across one another. The suppression of sexuality relates not only to all strata and classes of every patriarchal society; it is precisely in the ruling classes that this suppression is often most pronounced. Indeed, sex-economy was able to show that a large part of the sadism made use of by the ruling class to suppress and exploit other classes is to be ascribed chiefly to the sadism that stems from suppressed sexuality. The connection between sadism, sexual suppression, and class suppression is excellently expressed in De Coster’s famous Till Eulenspiegel.
The real social functions of work also overlap and cut across the politico-ideological class boundaries. In the socialist parties there were many leading politicians who had never performed vitally necessary work and who knew nothing about the work process. A worker usually gave up his job when he became a political functionary. On the other hand, the classes that political socialism designated as the “ruling nonworking” classes, as opposed to the workers, comprised essential bodies of workers. There is probably nothing more suited to demonstrate the blindness to reality of the typical political ideologies than the fact that the leading members of the political reaction, in Austria for example, were recruited from the circles of the University of Technology. These technicians were engineers in the coal mines, constructors of locomotives, airplanes, bridges, public buildings, etc.
Now let us apply work-democracy’s criticism to the concept of the capitalist. In political ideology, the capitalist was either the “leader of economy” or the “nonworking parasite.” Both conceptions were mechanical, ideological, politically unrealistic, and unscientific. There are capitalists who work, and there are capitalists who do not work. There are capitalists whose work is vitally necessary and others whose work is unnecessary. A capitalist’s political orientation or ideology is wholly immaterial in this respect. The contradiction between work and politics relates to the capitalist as well as the wage earner, in one and the same person. Just as a stonemason can be a fascist, a capitalist can be a socialist. In short, we have come to realize that it is not possible to orient oneself in the social chaos on the basis of political ideologies. The possibility of a concrete reorientation is offered by work-democracy’s scope of ideas, which is based on a realistic appraisal of the concept of work. Accordingly, with respect to vitally necessary work, the political class of capitalists is divided into two groups, which are not only opposed but often antagonistic to one another: One group comprises those who possess capital and who neither work nor plan but make others work for their profit. A Henry Ford may hold this or that political view; ideologically, he may be an angel or a noxious person; but this does not alter the fact that he was the first American to construct an automobile and totally change the technical face of America. Politically and ideologically, Edison was undoubtedly a capitalist; but one would like to meet the political functionary of a workers’ movement who would not use the incandescent lamp, which Thomas Edison took great pains to invent, or who would dare to state publicly that Edison was a nonworking parasite of society. From the point of view of work-democracy, the same applies to the Wright Brothers, Junkers, Reichert, Zeiss. There are any number of names that could be added to this list. There is a clear distinction between these capitalists, who perform objective work, and the nonworking capitalists, who merely exploit the fact that they possess capital. With respect to work, the latter do not constitute a special class type, for they are fundamentally identical to any socialist party bureaucrat who sits in this or that office, from which he determines “the policies of the working class.” We have had our fill of the catastrophic effects of the nonworking possessors of capital and the nonworking political functionaries. We know better than to orient ourselves on ideologic concepts; we have to orient ourselves on practical activities.
From the point of view of vitally necessary work, many deeply ingrained political concepts, and the “political sciences” dependent upon them, are supplemented and changed. The concept of “the worker” has to be extended. The concept of economic classes is supplemented by the fact of the human structure, whereby the social importance of the economic classes is extremely reduced.
In what follows, the essential changes are to be brought forward that have obtruded themselves upon concepts as a result of the fundamentally new social events and the discovery of the fact of natural work-democracy. I have no illusions about how these changes will be received: This and that political ideology will raise a loud, very dignified, and high-sounding cry. But this will not have any effect upon the reality of the facts and processes, whether force is applied or not. No matter how far-reaching a political process is, no matter how many hundreds of “ists” are executed, the fact remains that a physician or a technician, educator or farmer, in America, India, Germany, or elsewhere, performs vitally necessary work. In practical everyday life, moreover, they accomplish far more, for better or for worse, for the course of life processes than the Comintern as a whole even remotely accomplished since 1923. There was no change in the life of man when the Comintern was dissolved in 1943. But let us imagine that China or America would exclude all teachers or all physicians from the social process on a certain day!
The history of the past twenty years leaves no doubt that the party ideologies advocating the “elimination of class differences,” “the establishment of national unity,” etc., not only did not effect any change in the existence of class differences, in the fragmentation of the human community, and in the suppression of freedom and decency; they merely brought matters to a head, indeed to a catastrophic degree. Hence, the natural scientific solution of the social tragedy of the human animal must begin with the clarification and correction of those ideologic party concepts that perpetuate the fragmentation of human society.
Work-democracy does not limit the concept of “the worker” to the industrial worker. To avoid any misunderstanding, work-democracy calls everyone who performs vitally necessary social work a worker. The concept of the “working class,” a concept that was politically and ideologically limited to the body of industrial workers, estranged the industrial worker from the technician and educator, and it created a hostility among the representatives of the various vitally necessary work processes. Indeed, this ideology caused the medical and teaching professions to be subordinated to the “revolutionary proletariat”; they were designated as the “servants of the bourgeoisie.” Not only the medical and teaching professions, but also the industrial proletariat, objected to such a relegation. This is understandable, for the objective and factual relationship and cooperation between the physician and the workers in an industrial center are much deeper and more serious than the relationship between the industrial workers and those who wield political power. Since the working community and the interlacing of the various branches of vitally necessary work derive from the natural processes and are nourished by natural interests, they alone are in a position to counter political fragmentation. It is clear that when a vitally necessary group of industrial workers degrades an equally vital group of physicians, technicians, or teachers to the status of “servants” and elevates itself to the status of “masters,” then the teachers, physicians, and technicians fly into the arms of those who preach racial superiority because they do not want to be servants, not even “servants of the revolutionary proletariat.” And the “revolutionary proletariat” flies into the arms of a political party or trade union, which does not burden them with any responsibility and imbues them with the illusion that they are the “leading class.” This does not alter the fact that this “leading class,” as has been clearly shown, is not in a position to assume social responsibility and that it even goes so far as to practice racial hatred, as in America, where unions of white workers deny membership to black workers.
All of this is the result of deeply ingrained ideological party concepts, under whose sway the community, which is produced by work, is suffocated. Hence, it is only the new concept of the worker, i.e., as a person who performs vitally necessary work, which is in a position to bridge the gap and to bring the social bodies into line with the organizations of vitally necessary work.
There can be no doubt that this clarification of concepts will not be welcomed by the party ideologists. We can be just as certain that in the attitude toward this clarification of concepts, the ideologic chaff will be clearly and spontaneously separated from the practical wheat, this or that power apparatus notwithstanding. Those who affirm and advocate the natural work community, the basis for which is given by the interlacing of all vitally necessary work, will be practical wheat. On the other hand, those to whom party ideologies and concepts, i.e., ideologies and concepts that obstruct and hamper our society on all sides, are more important than the community of all working men and women, will make a big fuss under one pretext or another, and thus prove themselves to be chaff. But the clarification of these concepts will fall in with the naturally present knowledge surrounding these relationships and, therefore, with the need to arrange social life in accordance with the interrelation of all branches of work.
In this discussion of the concept of the worker, I have merely followed the logic imposed on me by work-democratic thinking. I had to arrive at the above results, whether I wanted to or not. There is a very simple reason for this. Just at the time I was writing these pages, I had to have some signs and placards made up for Orgo- non. I am not a carpenter, and therefore I am not able to make the placards myself. Nor am I a painter, so I cannot produce neat lettering. But we needed placards for our laboratory. Hence, I was forced to put myself in contact with a carpenter and a painter and, on terms of equality, discuss the best way of making and lettering the placards. I would not have been able to deal with this need without their experience and practical counsel. It was wholly immaterial whether or not I regarded myself as a very erudite academician and natural scientist; and it was just as immaterial whether the painter or carpenter held this or that “view” on fascism or the New Deal. The carpenter could not regard me as the “servant of the revolutionary proletariat,” nor could the painter regard me as a highly superfluous “intellectual.” The work process made it necessary for us to exchange knowledge and experience with one another. For instance, if the painter wanted to do a good job, he had to understand our symbol of the functional method of research. As it turned out, he glowed with enthusiasm for his work when he learned its meaning. From the painter and the carpenter, on the other hand, I learned a great deal about the arrangement of letters and the placards themselves, which had the purpose of correctly expressing the function of the Institute to the outside world.
This example of the objective and rational interlacing of branches of work is clear enough to make more comprehensible the abysmal irrationalism that governs the formation of public opinion and thus burkes the natural process of work. The more concretely I sought to visualize the course of my work in relationship to other branches of work, the better I was able to comprehend work-democracy’s scope of thought. There was no doubt about it: The work process went well when I allowed myself to be instructed by microscope manufacturers and electrical engineers, and when they, in turn, allowed me to instruct them on the function of a lens or an electrical apparatus in their special orgone-physical use. I would not have been able to proceed a single step in orgone research without the lens grinder and the electrical engineer. In turn, the electrical engineer and the lens grinder struggle hard with the unsolved problems of the theory of light and electricity, some aspects of which can hope for clarification by the discovery of orgone.
I have described this obvious fact of the interrelation of the various branches of work at some length and in an intentionally primitive way because I had good reason to know that, as simple as all this is, it nonetheless appears to be strange and new to working men and women. To be sure, this sounds hard to believe, but it is true and it is understandable: The fact of the natural interrelationship and indissoluble interdependence of all work processes is not clearly and plainly represented in the thinking and feeling of working men and women. True enough, every working man and woman is automatically familiar with this interrelationship on the basis of his or her practical work, but it sounds strange when they are told that society could not exist without their work or that they are responsible for the social organization of their work. This gap between vitally necessary activity and the consciousness of one’s responsibility for this activity was created and perpetuated by the political system of ideologies. These ideologies are responsible for the hiatus between practical activity and irrational orientation in working men and women. This assertion also sounds peculiar and strange. But one can easily convince oneself of its veracity by picking up and studying very carefully any newspaper in Europe, Asia, or anywhere else, regardless of date. It is only seldom and as if by chance that one finds anything about the basic principles and nature of the processes of love, work, and knowledge, their vital necessity, their interrelationship, their rationality, their seriousness, etc. On the other hand, the newspapers are full of high politics, diplomacy, military and formal events, which have no bearing upon the real process of everyday life. In this way the average working man and woman are imbued with the feeling that actually they are of little significance, compared with the elevated, complicated, and “clever” debates on “strategy and tactics.” The average working man and woman get the feeling that they are small, inadequate, superfluous, oppressed, and not much more than an accident in life. The veracity of this assertion with respect to mass psychology can easily be tested. I have often carried out such tests and have always attained the same result:
- Some worker comes up with a good idea, which enables him to effect a considerable improvement in his work. We ask him to put his small or big discovery down in writing and to publish it. When we do so, we meet with a peculiar reaction. It is as if the worker, whose work is important and indispensable, wanted to creep into a shell. It is as if he wanted to say—and often he puts it into precisely these words—“Who am I to write an article? My work doesn’t count.” This attitude on the part of the worker toward his work is a typical phenomenon of mass psychology. I described it very simply here, but this is its essence, and anyone can easily persuade himself that it is so.
- Now let us approach the editor of any newspaper. We’ll suggest that he reduce the formal, strictly political “questions of strategy and tactics” to two pages of the newspaper and that he reserve the first and second pages of the newspaper for extensive articles on practical everyday questions of technology, medicine, education, mining, agriculture, factory work, etc. He will gaze at us devoid of all understanding and in complete perplexity, and he will have doubts about our state of mind.
These two basic attitudes, i.e., that of masses of people and that of the molders of public opinion, supplement and determine one another. The nature of public opinion is essentially political, and it has a low estimation of the everyday life of love, work, and knowledge. And this is in keeping with the feeling of social insignificance experienced by those who love, work, and have knowledge.
However, a rational reassessment of the social conditions is out of the question as long as political irrationalism contributes 99 percent, and the basic functions of social life contribute only 1 percent, toward the formation of public opinion and, therefore, toward the formation of the human structure. A complete reversal of the relationship would be the minimal requirement if one wants to deprive political irrationalism of its power and to achieve the self-regulation of society. In other words: The factual process of life must also have an emphatic voice in the press and in the forms of social life, and it must coincide with them.
In this extension and correction of political concepts, we encounter an argument that is difficult to counter. It runs as follows: Political ideologies cannot be simply eliminated, for workers, farmers, technicians, etc., determine the trend of society not only through their vitally necessary work, but also through their political ideologies! The Peasants’ War of the Middle Ages was a political revolt that had a revolutionizing social effect. The Communist party in Russia changed the face of Russia. One cannot, it is stated, prohibit or prevent “politicizing” and the formation of political ideologies. They too are human needs and have social effects, just as love, knowledge, and work. These arguments are to be countered as follows:
- Work-democracy’s scope of thought does not want to prohibit or prevent anything. It is directed exclusively to the fulfillment of the biologic life functions of love, work, and knowledge. When it is backed by some political ideology, then natural work-democracy is only promoted. But if a political ideology with irrational claims and assertions gets in the way, then work-democracy will act just as a lumberman would act who, in the process of felling a tree, is attacked by a poisonous snake. He will kill the snake to be able to continue his work unobstructed. He will not give up his lumberman’s job because there are poisonous snakes in the woods.
- It is true that political ideologies are facts that also have actual social effects and that they cannot be simply dismissed or talked away. However, it is work-democracy’s point of view that it is precisely these facts that constitute a terrible portion of the tragedy of the human animal. The fact that political ideologies are tangible realities is not a proof of their vitally necessary character. The bubonic plague was an extraordinarily powerful social reality, but no one would have regarded it as vitally necessary. A settlement of human beings in a primeval forest is a vitally important matter and a real and tangible social fact. But a flood is also such a fact. Who would equate the destructive force of a flood to the activities of the human settlement only because both of them have social effects? Yet, it was precisely our failure to differentiate between work and politics, between reality and illusion; it was precisely our mistake of conceiving of politics as a rational human activity comparable to the sowing of seeds or the construction of buildings that was responsible for the fact that a painter who failed to make the grade was able to plunge the whole world into misery. And I have stressed again and again that the main purpose of this book—which, after all, was not written merely for the fun of it—was to demonstrate these catastrophic errors in human thinking and to eliminate irrationalism from politics. It is an essential part of our social tragedy that the farmer, the industrial worker, the physician, etc., do not influence social existence solely through their social activities, but also and even predominantly through their political ideologies. For political activity hinders objective and professional activity; it splits every profession into inimical ideologic groups; creates a dichotomy in the body of industrial workers; limits the activity of the medical profession and harms the patients. In short, it is precisely political activity that prevents the realization of that which it pretends to fight for: peace, work, security, international cooperation, free objective speech, freedom of religion, etc.
- It is true that political parties sometimes change the face of a society. However, from the point of view of work-democracy we maintain that these are compulsive achievements. Originally, when Karl Marx began his critique of political economy, he was not a politician, nor was he a member of a party. He was a scientific economist and sociologist. It was the emotional plague in masses of people that prevented him from being heard; it was the emotional plague that caused him to fall into poverty and wretchedness; it was the emotional plague that forced him to found a political organization, the notorious “Communist Alliance,” which he himself dissolved after a short time. It was the emotional plague that turned scientific Marxism into a Marxism of political parties, which no longer had anything to do with scientific Marxism and even bears a large share of the responsibility for the emergence of fascism. Marx’s exclamation that he was “not a Marxist” is a precise confirmation of this fact. He would never have resorted to the founding of a political organization if rational, and not irrational, thinking were the rule in masses of people. True, political machinery was often a necessity, but it was a compulsive measure made necessary by human irrationalism. If work and social ideology were in accord with one another, if needs, the gratification of needs, and the means of gratifying needs were identical with the human structure, there would be no politics, for then politics would be superfluous. When one does not have a house, one might be forced to live in a hollow tree trunk. A tree trunk may be better or worse than a house, but it is not a house. A decent home remains the goal, even if one is forced for a time to live in a tree. The elimination of politics and of the state from which it springs was precisely the goal that was forgotten by the founders of socialism. I know that it is embarrassing to be reminded of such things. It requires too much thought, honesty, knowledge, self-criticism, for a physician to regard the main goal of his activity as the prevention of those diseases from the cure of which he makes a living. We shall have to regard as objective and rational sociologists those politicians who help human society to expose the irrational motivations of the existence of politics and its “necessity” so completely that every form of politics becomes superfluous.
This work-democratic critique of politics does not stand alone. In America the hatred of political power mongering and the insights into its social harmfulness is widespread. From the Soviet Union we hear that there too the technocrats are prevailing more and more against the politicians. Perhaps, even the execution of leading Russian politicians by politicians has a social meaning that is concealed from all of us, despite the fact that we have learned to look upon these executions as the manifestation of political irrationalism and sadism. The politics of the European dictators was unrivaled for a whole decade. If one wants to recognize effortlessly the essence of politics, let one reflect upon the fact that it was a Hitler who was able to make a whole world hold its breath for many years. The fact that Hitler was a political genius unmasks the nature of politics in general as no other fact can. With Hitler, politics reached its highest stage of development. We know what its fruits were, and we know how the whole world reacted to them. In short, it is my belief that, with its unparalleled catastrophes, the twentieth century marks the beginning of a new social era, free of politics. Of course, it is impossible to foresee how much of a role politics itself will still play in the uprooting of the political emotional plague, and how much of the role will be played by the consciously organized functions of love, work, and knowledge.
 This motto has appeared in the various publications in the following translation: “Love, work and knowledge are the well-springs of our life. They should also govern it.”
 Reich’s home and research laboratory in Rangeley, Maine.