Παρασκευή, 17 Ιουνίου 2011

The Little Man Doesn't Want to Hear the Truth About Himself

"Litsten, Little Man!" is a book written by a truly great man named Wilhelm Reich. I strongly believe this is one of the best books ever written. It is the kind of book that can change your life. It makes you look at yourself.


What follows is a short excerpt from the book.

"Litsten, Little Man!"reflects the inner turmoil of a scientist and physician who had observed the little man for many years and seen, first with astonishment, then with horror, what he does to himself; how he suffers, rebels, honors his enemies and murders his friends; how, wherever he acquires power "in the name of the people," he misuses it and transforms it into something more cruel than the tyranny he had previously suffered at the hands of upper-class sadists.


It was felt that the "common man" must learn what a scientist and psychiatrist actually is and what he, the little man, looks like to his experienced eye. He must be acquainted with the reality which alone can counteract his ruinous craving for authority and be told very clearly what a grave responsibility he bears in everything he does, whether he is working, loving, hating, or just talking.
THEY CALL YOU Little Man, or Common Man. They say your day has dawned, the "Age of the Common Man."

You don't say that, little man. They do, the vice presidents of great nations, the labor leaders, the repentant sons of the bourgeoisie, the statesmen and philosophers. They give you the future, but they ask no questions about your past.

You've inherited a terrible past. Your heritage is a burning diamond in your hand.
That's what I have to tell you.


A doctor, a shoemaker, mechanic, or educator has to know his shortcomings if he is to do his work and earn his living. For several decades now you have been taking over, throughout the world. The future of the human race depends on your thoughts and actions. But your teachers and masters don't tell you how really think and what you really are; no one dares to confront you with the one truth that might make you the unswerving master of your fate. You are "free" in only one respect: free from the self-criticism that might help you govern your own life.

I've never heard you complain: "You exalt me as the future master of myself and my world. But you don't tell me how a man becomes a master of himself, and you don't tell me what's wrong with me, what's wrong with what I think and do."

You let the powerful demand power "for the little man." But you yourself are silent. You provide powerful men with more power or choose weak, malignant men to represent you. And you discover too late that you are always the dupe.


I understand you. Because time and time again I've seen you naked in body and soul, without your mask, political label, or national pride. Naked as a newborn babe, naked as a field marshal in his underclothes. I've heard you weep and lament; you've told me your troubles, laid bare your love and yearning. 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 yourself as you really are. Hear what none of your leaders or spokesmen dares to tell you:

You're a "little man," a "common man." Consider the double meaning of these words "little" and "common"...

Don't run away! Have the courage to look at yourself!

"By what right are you lecturing me?" I see the question in your frightened eyes. I hear it on your insolent tongue. You're afraid to look at yourself, little man; you're afraid of criticism, and afraid of the power that is promised you. What use will you make of your power? You don't know. You're afraid to think that your self--the man you feel yourself to be--might someday be different from what it is now: free rather than cowed, candid rather than scheming; capable of loving, not like a thief in the night but in broad daylight. You despise yourself, little man. You say "Who am I that I should have an opinion, govern my life, and call the world mine?" You're right: who are you to lay claim to your life?
I will tell you who you are.


You differ from a great man in only one respect: the great man was once a very little man, but he developed one important quality: he recognized the smallness and narrowness of his thoughts and actions. Under the pressure of some task which meant a great deal to him, he learned to see how his smallness, his pettiness, endangered his happiness. 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. He hides his pettiness and narrowness behinds illusions of strength and greatness, someone else's strength and greatness. He's proud of his great generals but not of himself. He admires an idea he has not had, not one he has had. The less he understands something, the more firmly he believes in it. And the better he understands an idea, the less he believes in it.


Let me begin with the little man in myself.

For twenty-five years I've been speaking and writing in defense of your right to happiness in this world, condemning your inability to take what is your due, to secure what you won in bloody battles on the barricades of Paris and Vienna, in the American Civil War, in the Russian Revolution. Your Paris ended with Petain and Laval, your Vienna with Hitler, your Russia with Stalin, and your America may well end in the rule of the Ku Klux Klan! You've been more successful in winning your freedom than in securing it for yourself and others. This I knew long ago. What I did not understand was why time and again, after fighting your way out of a swamp, you sank into a worse one. Then groping and cautiously looking about me, I gradually found out what has enslaved you: YOUR SLAVE DRIVER IS YOU YOURSELF. No one is to blame for your slavery but you yourself. No one else, I say!
That's news to you, isn't it? Your liberators tell you that your oppressors are Wilhelm, Nicholas, Pope Gregory XXVIII, Morgan, Krupp, and Ford. And who are your liberators? Mussolini, Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin.

I say: Only you yourself can be your liberator!





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