Osho on Wilhelm Reich
This is a strange book, nobody reads it. You may not even have heard about it, yet it was written in America. The book is Listen Little Manby Wilhelm Reich. It is a very small book, but it reminds one of the Sermon On the Mount, Tao Te Ching, Thus Spake Zarathustra, The Prophet. In reality Reich was not of that status to write such a book, but he must have been possessed by some unknown spirit. Listen Little Mancreated much antagonism towards Reich, particularly among the professional psychoanalysts, his colleagues, because he was calling everyone ′little man′ - and he was thinking he was so great? I want to tell you: he was! Not in the sense of a buddha, but in the same sense as Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung, Assagioli.
(Osho - Books I have Loved)
He belongs to the same category. He was a great man - of course still a man, not superman, but great. And it was not out of his egoism that this book was born; he could not help it, he had to write it. It is almost like when a woman is pregnant, she has to give birth to the child. He carried this small book within himself for years, resisting the idea of writing it because he knew perfectly well it was going to create hell for him. And it did. After that book he was condemned from every corner.
To create anything great in this world is a crime. Man has not changed at all. Socrates he kills, Reich he kills. No change. They condemned Reich as mad and imprisoned him. He died in jail, condemned, reduced to a madman. He had the capacity to rise beyond the clouds, but he was not allowed. America still has to learn to live with people like Socrates, Jesus, Buddha.
This book should be meditated upon by all my sannyasins. I recommend it without any conditions at all.
Wilhelm Reich is one of the most important names in the world of psychology. Perhaps he was second only to Sigmund Freud. He was the youngest disciple of Sigmund Freud and I have remembered something which is the only incident in the long life of Sigmund Freud which shows something of Zen. It is something which was always present around the great masters but you can′t expect it in Sigmund Freud′s life. I want to tell you about it for the important reason that even a man like Sigmund Freud has the potential of being a mystic. If he missed it, that is another thing.
Wilhelm Reich was continually writing letters to Sigmund Freud. He was young - perhaps thirty-five, half the age of Sigmund Freud - and Sigmund Freud was not interested in such a young person. His work was long and he had old colleagues with whom he was working and his movement had become almost international. Now he was unable to go on taking new students and new responsibilities, so he refused. And he refused his best student.
But Wilhelm Reich was a German, stubborn; you could not just reject him and then things are finished. He went anyway to an appointment that had been cancelled. He knocked on the door and Sigmund Freud himself opened the door. They looked at each other. There was a moment of silence...
Sigmund Freud said, "But I have cancelled the meeting."
Wilhelm Reich said, "But I have not - and certainly a meeting means a meeting of two persons, so it is only you who has cancelled it. From my side, I am still available and I thought that I should present myself because I have not cancelled it."
Sigmund Freud again looked at Wilhelm Reich as if hesitating or weighing... "What to do with this man?" He said to him, "I am old. You are too young; I will not be able to finish my teaching. And you may not agree with me because there is a generation gap. So why waste your time? Start on your own, you have my blessings."
With tears in his eyes, Wilhelm Reich thanked Sigmund Freud and returned home. He learned about human energies, about the functioning of the mind, about levels of consciousness - and it was good that he was refused, because he opened a totally new door and he went on thanking Sigmund Freud his whole life; "If he had not refused me, I would have been just a Freudian. At that moment I was hurt but I am immensely obliged to him that he left me alone. I had to start from scratch but I went in a totally different direction and now I can see that all of Sigmund Freud′s work is dream analysis and has nothing to do with reality."
Dreams are only shadows. At the most, psychoanalysis can give you normal dreams, can help you to avoid nightmares. But more than that has not happened.
Wilhelm Reich started working on human energy. Naturally, if you work on human energy you are going to come to the source of all - that is sexual energy. The moment he touched upon sexual energy, all the religions were against him. The government was against him, the psychologists were against him, and his situation was a very strange one.
He had come to experience that when two lovers are approaching closer to each other, there is a magnetic force - if there is love. If there is no love, then only two bodies meet, but not two energies.
He had a scientific mind. He made a box in which two persons would make love. His idea was that the energy love creates can be caught and can be used. Now this was a troublesome thing. He could not show anything - the box was empty. There was no way to materialize the biological energy, but he gathered every possible evidence.
Somebody was suffering from impotence. Wilhelm Reich would put him in the box and his impotence would disappear, at least for a few days, as if his battery had been recharged. It was an indirect proof but something had happened. In the box, something had happened, the box was not empty.
He told lovers, "Even without loving, you can simply lie down, cuddling, melting into each other." His work was strange, hard... and it was made more difficult by the society because they started immediately condemning him, saying that he was in conspiracy with the devil - just like me! - saying that sex had to be renounced and he was teaching people some strange exercises.
Those strange exercises show his genius. He had no idea of tantra, he had never been to the East. But the exercises that he found are ten thousand years old. He discovered them and thousands of witnesses who were healed by him... because soon he started healing other patients, not only the sexual ones. Because sex energy is pure energy, it can be converted into many forms. It can become your intelligence, it can become your silence. He started treating people.
The treatment was simple: he would just put them in the box. They would remain for fifteen minutes or twenty minutes, a few sessions - and they were cured. But medical sicence was against him because "this man cannot practice medicine."
This is how law is blind. This man cured thousands of people of strange diseases which were not curable by ordinary, official medicine but that couldn′t be counted. The question was whether he had a registration: "Is he licensed to practice?"
Wilhelm Reich said, "I don′t use medicine, I don′t prescribe anything. My whole medicine is the box. If you accept it as medicine, then the medical faculties of your universities have to prove what kind of medicine is there. When I tell you to look into what I have found, you think I am crazy and when I cure people, then I am criminal. I have not harmed anybody."
But medical science, the Christian Church, the government - all started many cases against him. You can start any case - it may be absolutely false, unfounded, but you can harass the person for years. So many cases... and the man became so tense and there was nobody to support him, not even the people of his own profession. They were against him because their psychoanalysis would die if his energy box succeeded.
Medicine is not ready to accept somebody who has no medical certificates. His friends left him. He was in great agony because he knew he had found something of great value for humanity and he also saw that he could not convince anybody. He was only convincing people that he was crazy. People were simply laughing, making cartoons, bringing court cases against him.
Finally he was jailed because he was practicing medicine without a license. Now you see the tricky world. He was not practicing medicine, he was practicing healing - that you can say, but you cannot say he was practicing medicine. He had not harmed anybody, and he was ready to cooperate with any research group. He was available to talk about everything he had discovered.
But his discoveries were going against Christianity, his discoveries were going against your so-called morality. His discoveries were going against your whole social structure, educational structure, political structure.
He was one of the greatest revolutionaries ever and he has remained unknown, unrespected, unremembered. And in jail, they must have tortured him immensely. He was not a man who can fall apart easily; he was a very integrated person and the people who knew him testified that it is very difficult to find such a strong, well-rooted and grounded person - but he went mad in jail.
I suspect he was forced to go into madness. It is very easy to drive anybody mad when all the powers are in your hands and the person is made absolutely helpless. When he became mad.... This is the world: when he was at the peak of his fame, there were friends, there were colleagues, there was a beautiful woman who loved him. But when he came out of jail, the woman divorced him, the friends disappeared, the colleagues made it clear to him that they didn′t want any more connection with him because even to be connected with him created suspicion.
It is sad that he died, but I will say he was forced to die. If you boycott a person in such a way that he becomes an island in the great ocean of humanity - separate, isolated, cannot communicate with anybody, everybody thinks he is mad - naturally, his will to live will disappear.
He shrank and died. And it is strange that after his death his work has remained where he left it. It has immense potentiality. It needs to be developed and it needs to be developed in collaboration with tantra.
I call Wilhelm Reich a modern tantra master, although he was not aware of it. Perhaps in his past lives he may have known the secrets of tantra - because his work contained the secrets of tantra.
You will not believe that in India there were at one time, two thousand years ago, two hundred thousand followers of a special group of tantras. They lived naked. Couples used one gown, just one loose gown around both, made of a special silk which prevented the radiation of any kind of energy from going out or in. They would go for begging or anything but they would remain together, naked, in their gown.
They were doing a great experiment, of melting and mixing the female and the male bio-electricity. Because the very meeting of this bio-electricity can help you to go into deep meditation without much effort in fighting with your thoughts. There were one hundred thousand couples and Raja Bhoj, the king in those days, was so furious - "This is destroying our whole morality, this is corrupting our children. Children will see and they will ask, what kind of people are these? - naked in one gown.... These people will corrupt our whole religion and tradition."
Bhoj decided to kill all of them. One hundred thousand couples - that means two hundred thousand people - were killed all over the country, burned alive. Not a single couple was left alive; their literature was burned, their temples were burned. Never before or after has any tradition been so brutally destroyed, so inhumanely destroyed.
But when you bring up the subject of sex, immediately you annoy all the people who are in power because nobody who is in power wants people to live to their optimum sexually. They want you to live your minimum sexually because at the minimum you can be enslaved. At the maximum, you are so powerful, you are so intelligent - you are a rock and you cannot be destroyed. Whoever tries to destroy you will be destroyed.
Wilhelm Reich will have a revival because what he was doing was absolutely scientific. No Christianity can prevent it, no government can prevent it. And perhaps... I have so many sannyasins educated in psychology, in psychoanalysis, in analytical psychology and different schools - perhaps a few of my sannyasins will start working on Wilhelm Reich.
Wilhelm Reich (March 24, 1897 – November 3, 1957) was an Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, known as one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry. He was the author of several notable books, including The Mass Psychology of Fascism and Character Analysis, both published in 1933.
Reich worked with Sigmund Freud in the 1920s and was a respected analyst for much of his life, focusing on character structure rather than on individualneurotic symptoms. He tried to reconcile Marxism and psychoanalysis, arguing that neurosis is rooted in the physical, sexual, economic, and social conditions of the patient, and promoted adolescent sexuality, the availability of contraceptives, abortion, and divorce, and the importance for women of economic independence. His work influenced a generation of intellectuals, including Saul Bellow, William S. Burroughs, Paul Edwards, Norman Mailer, and A. S. Neill, and shaped innovations such as Fritz Perls's Gestalt therapy, Alexander Lowen's bioenergetic analysis, and Arthur Janov's primal therapy.
Later in life he became a controversial figure who was both adored and condemned. He began to violate some of the key taboos of psychoanalysis, using touch during sessions, and treating patients in their underwear to improve their "orgastic potency." He said he had discovered a primordial cosmic energy, which he said others called God and that he called "orgone". He built orgone energy accumulators that his patients sat inside to harness the reputed health benefits, leading to newspaper stories about sex boxes that cured cancer.
Reich was living in Germany when Adolf Hitler came to power in January 1933. On March 2 that year the Nazi newspaper Völkischer Beobachter published an attack on one of Reich's pamphlets, The Sexual Struggle of Youth. He left immediately for Vienna, then Scandinavia, moving to the United States in 1939. In 1947, following a series of articles about orgone in The New Republic and Harper's, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) obtained an injunction against the interstate sale of orgone accumulators. Charged with contempt for violating it, Reich conducted his own defense, which involved sending the judge all his books to read and arguing that a court was no place to decide matters of science. He was sentenced to two years in prison, and in August 1956 several tons of his publications were burned by the FDA, arguably one of the worst examples of censorship in U.S. history. He died in jail of heart failure just over a year later, days before he was due to apply for parole.