A Radicalization of Reich
Sexual Repression & The Roots of Authoritarianism
Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism (MPF) was written in 1933, at the peak of Hitler’s rise to power. The book is, most immediately, an attempt to explain the victory of the Nazis, at a time when economic hardship in Germany should have provoked a turn to the Left.
More fundamentally, as Reich writes in MPF, it is an effort to diagnose the fascist phenomenon, not as a trend of national politics, but, as “the basic emotional attitude of man in authoritarian society, with its machine civilization and its mechanistic-mystical view of life.”
Jan 23, 2014
Return to Self-Reliance
In “Self-Reliance” Emerson tells us that our alienation consists of living in a world that does not manifest our genius. We trust only in society and do not trust in fate. Society is built on a secondary selfhood that has its limits in the order of calculation. Its founding principles are conformity and consistency. Its relations are governed by envy, property, and debt. In society we are “ashamed before the blade of grass and the blowing rose.” We practice a false morality, as if in apology for our existence. Our original powers are sacrificed at the altar of a ghostly civilization.
Dec 28, 2013
Against Negation... Or, Positively Revolting
Has anarchy trapped itself in a vortex of negativity, or can a call for love rescue it from itself?
By its own lights, the history of modernity has been a history of resentment, despair, and annihilation. God is dead, and nothing is permitted. The echo, in every cell of our dark prison, is a resounding “No!” Hegel, an early and influential theorist of modernity, found a starting point for modern philosophy in the spirit of absolute negation. This negative path, he averred, was necessitated by the very form of modern subjectivity. Through a series of dialectical movements, thought could bring itself into reconciliation with the positive order of the day. But the task of relentlessly overcoming its alienation by seeking to fill the void inherent in self-consciousness could not be ignored by the modern subject.
Oct 14, 2013
To Abolish Rape, Overthrow Male Desire
Patriarchal sexuality as the cornerstone of authoritarian society
In at least some of its aspects, human culture functions as an elaborate system of sexual rituals--not substitutive satisfactions, in the Freudian sense, but social performances that organize sexual energies, and that bring sexual forces into a living, symbolic order of seduction, pleasure, power, and reproduction.
Sep 15, 2013