The will to pleasure taken to the extreme, History of contemporary ideas, Mariano Fazio

The desire for pleasure taken to the extreme

It is often said that the sexual revolution began in the second half of the 20th century. Much of the theory underlying it was already written, however, and not only by Freud.

At the beginning of the 20th century, various changes in customs were promoted in order to "liberate" the instincts. Between 1970 and 1980, these practices reached their greatest diffusion. The results were not as expected.

Many people still lose their freedom today, swept away by a river of emotions transformed into idols. The desire to recover the body and abandon "sexual prejudices" has led to an increase in criminality such as pornography, prostitution and abuse.

After almost 100 years old slogans are repeated that encourage "dancing around the golden pig," as Frankl called the sex industry.

Wilhelm Reich and the Beginning of an Ideology

(from the book in Spanish: Historia de las ideas contemporáneas)

"Reduced to its simplest expression, the justification of the thesis of the permissive society has as its foundation the idea that inhibition modifies man structurally, in such a way that he acts, feels and thinks against his natural interest, the joy of living, the tendency to happiness; and gives rise to the repressive, authoritarian, reactionary and consequently aggressive character."

This is the basic idea of the book Psychology of Fascism (1933), which applied to the analysis of contemporary society concepts already presented in another work written a few years earlier, The Sexual Revolution.

Its author, Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957), identified repression with fascism, understanding the latter in a very broad sense. The ambiguity of the use of the adjective fascist meant that every traditional institution, every sign of authority was considered repressive and inhibitory.

Reich simplifies Marxism: eliminating all messianic elements, only historical materialism remains. Now, the political events of the first half of the century - the birth of the fascist movements - have made it clear that the economic element is not the driving force of history. Indeed, it was the impoverished masses that contributed to the Fascists' conquest of power. The decisive moment is the ideological one.

Marx could not know scientific psychology, but now we can understand that what moves history is sexeconomics: "there are no characteristic class conflicts. For this reason the economic terms "bourgeoisie" and "proletariat" have been replaced by the characteristic terms "reactionary" and "revolutionary" or "liberal". This modification became necessary because of the fascist plague" (August 1942 Preface to Mass Psychology of Fascism).

Reich argues that, if the field were left free to the passions, human aggressiveness would disappear.

Sexual happiness without room for ethics

In the post-sexual revolution society, ideas contrary to sexual happiness must disappear, and as a consequence, the traditional family and the traditional Church will have to come to an end:

"The Christianity of the origins," Reich points out in The Sexual Revolution, "was fundamentally a communist movement. Its life-affirming power drifted, through the contemporary negation of sex, towards the ascetic and the supernatural. Transforming itself into a Church, Christianity, which fought for the affirmation of humanity, disavowed its own origins. The Church owes its power to the human structure resulting from a metaphysical interpretation of life; it thrives on the life it eliminates."

Wilhelm Reich's own story

Reich told in his autobiography (Passion of Youth: an autobiography, 1897-1922) all his sexual perversions, present since childhood.

He went so far as to affirm that in all matter there is a basic energy of an erotic type, called orgone. For illicit sale of "orgone accumulators" he spent two years in prison in the United States.

View original article in Spanish

Source on Reich: Mariano Fazio, Historia de las ideas contemporáneas.