Categorized | Sociology

The Mass Psychology of Fascism

Article by Stephan Simonian M.D.

The Mass Psychology of Fascism

Recently, in Europe, protesting groups of women have been demanding the freedom to wear restrictive attire (burqa, hijab).  The controversy started in France with the proposed ban on the traditional head wear .  Shortly thereafter, Germany started struggling with its own version of the controversial French law.  This divisive issue unlike any other in our recent times has sparked a heated debate overlapping religion, culture, oppression, freedom, judgement and mass psychology.  This has lead to a dilemma for European leaders in reconciling the demands of group of people with its own democratic principals.

This has happened many times throughout the history , albeit  in different forms and various masks.   Here we will explore a historical  parallel .

Dr. Wilhelm Reich’s book, The Function of the Orgasm states “Hitler promised male supremacy.  Women were to be relegated to the kitchen at home, denied the possibility of material independence and be excluded from the process of molding social life.  Women whose personal freedom had been suppressed for centuries and who had developed an especially strong fear of leading an independent existence were the foremost in hailing him,…  Intense longing for freedom on the part of masses,plus the fear of the responsibility which freedom entails produces fascistic mentality, whether this longing and fear are found in a Fascist or in a Democrat,…The masses of people affirmed and concretely implemented their own suppression. The need for authority proved to be stronger than the will to independence.”

The Women who cheered for Hitler in the 1930’s and 1940’s and in doing so voted for their own restrictions are the same women that today in France and Germany are demanding their own restrictions in a different dress.  These women, distanced by time and different in many features  share a common basic element with each other.  They are both structurally incapable of attaining freedom.   Both groups of women suffer from structural restrictions within themselves which we call emotional armoring.

The process of armoring was discovered by Dr. Wilhelm Reich and has been described in detail in orgonomic literature and in the Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy.  Physical and psychological armoring occurs in children and adolescents, as they struggle with their oppressive environment and sexually repressive family upbringings.  The clash of primary instinctual desires with outer prohibitions is what leads to armoring. The stronger and more vicious the oppression, the more profound the armoring.

Armoring of the organism distorts its primary and natural impulses and impedes the flow of Biological Eneregy- Orgone energy- from the core to the periphery.  Armoring changes the primary drives and distorts them into secondary manifestations.

This then becomes the source of neurotic symptoms that disturb and agonize the inflicted individual.  Primary biological energy that seeks expansion and expression also gets distorted into destructive, sadistic actions towards society.  Reich called this “the emotional plague”.  Armored men and women become full of contradictions within themselves.  They become helpless and incapable of freedom because they become trapped from within.  They loose the ability to make decisions based on their primary desires and they seek authority to make decision for them. Their primary desires and wishes become distorted and manifest in irrational ways causing their own suffering. Then soon they hate anyone who reminds them of freedom that they once so ardently desired and finally would prosecute and murder anyone who speaks about it.

European leaders are now scratching their heads about how to resolve this conflict.  However, to those familiar with orgonomy and the work of Dr. Reich, this conflict comes as no surprise.

Reich says, in the book Reich Speaks of Freud, “I don’t believe that there will be any solution to any social problem as long as children and adolescents grow up with stasis of biological energy….You can’t impose freedom on the ruined bioenergetic system of children.

Human psychological structure  which is shaped in a mutilating authoritarian family, creates the potential for self destructive irrational actions.  Case in point are the women who today are hailing for the right to wear restrictive attire.  Knowledge of this process is essential for those who intend to introduce democratic change, establish freedom and foster human dignity.

It is therefore essential,from our point of view, for our leaders and those who long for democracy to familiarize themselves with the principals of orgonomy in relation to the human psyche.  Without such knowledge nothing will change and we will witness the repetition of history again and again.

This post was written by:

- who has written 51 posts on Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy.

Dr. Simonian is a general and child and adolescent psychiatrist. He completed medical school in Shiraz University, Shiraz Iran. He completed his general psychiatric residency training and fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at New York Medical College, Metropolitan Hospital Center. Concomitant with his psychiatry and child psychiatry training, Dr. Simonian completed the New York Medical College Psychoanalytic School Didactic Courses, including his own required personal psychoanalysis. In 1990, Dr. Simonian started his personal psychiatric orgone therapy, Reichian therapy, with Dr. Morton Herskowitz and in 1991 became a member of the Institute of Orgonomic Sciences (IOS), an Institute which is dedicated to promote and preserve Dr. Wilhelm Reich's work. Dr. Simonian started his private psychiatric practice in Milford, Massachusetts in 1984 and he was a chief of psychiatry department of Milford Regional Hospital for several years. He started his practice in Glendale, California since 2003. Dr. Simonian is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

12 Responses to “The Mass Psychology of Fascism”

  1. lorcan says:

    yes, very accurate …. good to hear this…The burqa protests are not really about religious rights or “freedom” at all and should be exposed. General sickness in the public makes people so sluggish and tentative about coming forth with truthfull perception regarding many socio-political symptoms of illness/armoring.

    Theres a pathetic acceptnce and validation which often leads to trouble as seen historically.

    I agree, its politcal leadership’s knowledge of orgonomy combined with a healthier perspective that could make a very positive difference in the future….

  2. H. Saeid, M.D. says:

    The lens through which any phenomenon is viewed taints the outcome of that perspective. Reich (and Reichians) may have gone beyond Freud in many respects, but the Reichian lens has at least this in common with Freudian lens: that the personality has one center and that is the ego sits at this center of consciousness.
    From Jungian lens – which acknowledges ego as center of self, but is expansive enough to also consider a greater ultimate personality aptly termed Self, akin to the religious ideal of God – the phenomenon of the archetypal veil is regarded quite differently.
    Briefly, practices such as veiling the female arose in esoteric Zoroasterian culture due to the recognition of a psychological phenomenon termed “anima projection” in Jungian terminology. This phenomenon is regarded as an impediment to spiritual growth (and psychological growth) and integration of the unconscious feminine aspects of a man’s personality.
    We live in an age where globalization urges us to transcend ethnocentric divides and evolve onto the world centered attitude towards life. This ascent from pleuralism to integralism requires that each phenomenon (social, political, or psychological) is regarded from within its own merits and not judged from a distance.
    Humbly Yours,
    H. Saeid.

  3. Stephan Simonian M.D. says:

    Dr. H. Saeid’s response to this article raises several very important points which each deserve a lengthy response of their own. In the future we intend to discuss those issues in depth in separate articles. However for now, I would like to respond briefly in the following paragraphs. 

    It is true that the base of judgment  differs in different people, although they themselves may not know the base of their judgment. For example, a devout religious person judges a certain behavior or phenomena based on his or her religious teachings and principles. A statesman judges based on his party affiliation, nationalistic principles, etc. In Orgonomy, our base of judgment is health and sickness. We ask ourselves, is a certain behavior or phenomena in accordance with the natural growth and flow of life, or is it impeding and restricting it? We observe the child from the view point of biology and compare it to nature to see if it is in accordance with nature or if it is armored. Social and cultural practices that impede the expansion and happiness of children is judged unhealthy. For example, the genital mutilation of children, a custom in some cultures which is done under one pretext or another, causes deep physical and emotional damage in children who in the future become unhealthy adult members of society. Such a practice is physically painful, medically unnecessary, and causes the contraction of the organism which can be observed in the child’s behavior by comparing it to the natural behavior of children. It goes against the natural happiness that a child is ordained to have.
    In advocating the healthy and natural upbringing of children and preventing  future sickness, orgonomy unavoidably enters into the socio-cultural realm. Most of the social and cultural practices that are oppressive, anti-pleasure, anti-sexual, and practiced under different pretexts, according to many sociologists, are rooted in the economic interest of the family to ensure financial and political power. In Orgonomy, our position is that social institutions and cultural practices should adapt to children’s natural health, and not the other way around.

    Thank you again for the thought provoking comment.

    Stephan Simonian,MD.      

  4. francesco zito says:

    Some observation from what happen in italy on the argument. One muslim girl with all his family are now in italy, all they are working. The girl fall in love with an italian man, and decide to live with his new love. The father of the girl, kill her because, to live togheter before marriage was forbidden in muslim culture. Facts like this happen in Italy many times , in different formes. We can note soon that , also in this case, was not the economic motive to decide the behaviour of the father, but was a motive of the armor. The family, with the future marriage of the daughter with an italian man, could have only an improvement in their global economic situation, but was a big loss for the armor of the father. The emotion of tenderness of the father towards the happiness of the daughter, transformed in deep hate. This is not econmy, but is sex-economy . Happen also some other thing to pay attention: many muslim girl , when are in the west, prove to live like western girl, also there, the original family is against and arriving form of punishment from mild to hard level.In my opinion , muslim girl have a double danger: the first one is to longing for freedom, but in this tentative of escape from sexual repressive muslim culture, when successfull, meet the leftist brain, sexual consumistic life; the second is in the case of fear of freedom, meet the interior anguish to see people, who appear to have a more free life, but don’t have enough courage to break the armor. A double trap. This is to indicate that is very clear , that burca, like many others indicators of muslim religion, possess high level of sexual repressive system of natural sexuality, like all the religious system, maybe more crude and direct. To my knowledge, only orgonomy has explained too well that under the mask(religion, ideology, economy, society behaviours)there aren’t the natural emotions, but the devil side of the armor. Who will explain to millions of muslim all this?They want to run towards the core, but is very possible that the escape will meet the devil’s reign. It’s time for all people interested to orgonomy to enter in the scene with less fear, because if from one side we have in the hands the wonderful gift of Reich’s work, only small people use it, only small organization develop this instrument, and many using it in dangerous forms. Naturally is important to don’t have new forms of mysticism to add to the old religions, we don’t need the cult of orgonomy. My question is this: if religion has used thousands years to destroy natural sexuality, how many time need functionalism to create small places where children can arrive to genitalty? We need to have fear to create natural sexual life? The enemies are many,but exist a functional use of the time to have, in the near future, a place for the children of the future?

  5. Dr Stephan Simonian says:

    I thank Mr.Zito for his stimulating and informative comment. In response to the question that he posed at the end of his comment I think that the best way to promote sexual health in younger generation and help the children to achieve geniality is making the knowledge of Orgonomy available for the public and society in general. Those who have been informed and educated in this scientific branch and have benefited by it, should make it available for others. Although this will be a slow process but It seems to me it is the only way to challenge the epidemic of character sickness in the society.

    Stephan Simonian,MD.

  6. Re: making knowledge of Orgonomy more available to the public and society in general,I’ll second that. I believe there must be a thoughtful strategy to this.Why in fifty years has Orgonomy not really grown or emerged?Is it because everyone is too sick and armored to grasp it. I don’t think that is the sole reason. Part of the responsibility lies with its presentation.
    For example on the internet many Orgonomy related sites just don’t get traffic because they simply don’t embed language/descriptors that are the same language the average person uses when searching for answers to their emotional/sexual problems on the web…..
    Its amazing how much young people and college students are
    aware of the fundamental problems Reich addressed…anxiety….sexual anxiety…emotions being stuck……and yet are unaware of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy.
    Young people now see through the failings in the remnants of previous sexual revolution in society,they are now closer to a potential emotional/orgonomic revolution.Young people today often give indication that they are seeking answers and on the right track…. closer to revolting against armor than maybe they were in previous decades…….. but they just need to come across the information in language that they can relate to instantly….to sow the seeds of change…Clear down-to-earth descriptions of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy and its effectiveness must become widespread, in language that people from all walks of life and educational level can understand.In introducing people to Orgonomy, it is not nescessary and sometimes counter-productive to elaborate endlessly on Reich’s discovery of atmospheric Orgone Energy or his life, yet there is so much of this out there….the nuts and bolts of how people can benefit their own emotional lives from Orgonomy are what should be presented.

    I think Reich envisioned an Orgonomic revolution.He would have wanted, at the right time, not to plead or try to convince people of course , but to be more aggressive in making Orgonomy visible to all types of people, to help along the eventual undermining of armoring in society.He would not have been happy to have Orgonomy always be in a corner, quiet,attracting mostly a lot of middle class curious intellectuals as if its an exclusive club or milieu….This is sometimes the case and if it stays like this, there will never be the kind of massive change Reich dreamed of.

  7. Ariel Mokbel says:

    Very good stuff.

  8. anon says:

    Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need, thanks for this.

  9. John Acton says:

    Freedom is not “making decisions based on the primary desires” as the author, Stephan Simonian, seems to to believe. Who decides which desires are ‘primary’ and which are ‘secondary’ ? Simonian ? Reich ?

    The definition itself is nonsensical, it amounts to defining as ‘free’ those people who make decisions according to the values which the Reichians hold dear, hold as being of great importance and (as sex for instance), respectively, labeling as ‘armored’ those who have other, different, hierarchy of values.

    Freedom is making your own decisions, that is making them according to what YOU believe as being of major, of primary, value. Freedom is freedom from others’ interference with your choices as long as you act whithin the sphere of your rights.

    It is not burqa (or the mini-skirts) which should be prohibited but the State has to protect the mulsim women living in the West from being threatened into wearing it by their males relatives and by their beloved ‘community’. This the role of the state, protecting the freedom of choice of each citizien (“freedom” being what I defined above).

  10. Stephan Simonian says:

    Mr. John Acton in his comment that arrived to our journal on October 8th of 2010 and was posted at the same time, has raised several important issues that deserve further discussion and elucidation. There are two major points that need to be addressed in Mr. Acton’s comments. To begin with is the one of “who decides which desires are primary and which desires are secondary? Simonian? Reich?”

    This matter was already once addressed in a reply to a similar comment previously posed to us. Considering its significance, I will reiterate it again.
    Every discipline has a base of it’s judgment; For example a devout religious person judges different events or behaviors based on his religious principles. A staunch nationalist judges events based on his nationalistic principles of devotion to his motherland, and so forth and so on. In orgonomy, we judge phenomenas and behaviors from the stand point of health and sickness. Any physician has standards to judge and discern a healthy condition from an unhealthy one, and in orgonomy, our base of judgment is whether the energetic flow of the organism is orderly and in accordance with orgonomic principles and laws. Everyone, even without their awareness, uses their own principles to make judgments regarding different phenomenas. We in orgonomy ask ourselves, is a certain behavior or phenomena in accordance with natural laws and nature, or is it against it? We observe the child from the view point of biology and compare it to nature to see if it is in accordance with nature.

    For example, we know by observing children and their behavior and by observing nature that the child of 3, 4, or 5 years old, might get interested in putting on a burka or chador for 5 or 6 minutes and play with it, but soon, she will get tired and would feel confined and suffocated and would struggle to get out of it. However when a child is forced to wear a burka and look to the world through a window that is provided in front of her face, the child first will protest, will fight and cry. But she will eventually be beaten into submission and would submit to it and gradually accept it. She would have to summon all her emotional strength to fight her natural impulses to feel free and not to wear it. The struggle that once was with her parents will start within herself and gradually she would repress the inner impulse that she primarily had, which was in accordance with nature, and submit to the law that is imposed on her against her nature. She then will gradually dislike anything and anyone that reminds her of the freedom that once she herself so ardently desired and fought for. She gradually will become an executor of the law that she once herself despised and fought against.

    A government that is supposed to protect her freedom can no longer protect her from herself. She already is constituted as such that she would demand to wear the burka and would be hostile to those who don’t. And the burka is only one example, there are many other things that one can infer from this example. Freedom that is based on secondary distorted drives, without recognition of it’s health and sickness, eventually leads to fascism, as history attests to. In Christianity, that became inquisitions and witch hunting. In Marxism, that turned into a Stalinistic dictatorship, and so on. Although we agree with the definition of freedom as defined by the author of the comment, that freedom is making your own decision according to what you believe, freedom is to be free from others interference of your choice as long as you act within the sphere of your rights. However, historical evidence shows us that this slogan will remain an unattainable fantasy when unhealthy motives of the masses remain unrecognized, unexplored and consequently exploited by a leader with dictatorial ambitions.

    Dr. Reich in The Function of The Orgasm states “The irrational actions of masses of the German people can be illustrated by the following contradictions; The masses of the German people wanted ‘freedom’. Hitler promised them authoritarian strictly dictatorial leadership, with explicit exclusion of any freedom of speech. Seventeen million out of thirty one million voted jubilantly carried Hitler to power in March of 1933.” And this is not only in Germany in 1933, we see examples of it all around the world at the present time.

    Hence it becomes important that we distinguish primary and healthy impulses and motives from secondary unhealthy ones and introduce this to people. We in orgonomy, based on orgonomic principles, are trying to introduce the concepts of health and sickness. We hope that this introduction will raise the consciousness of the masses and will help the establishment of genuine democracy.

    Thanks for the thought provoking and stimulating comment by Mr. John Acton.

  11. Bill Duba says:

    The problem in making Orgonomy more available to the public is the core of its criticism: Reich doesn’t play a “politically correct” role, he faces and confronts the norms of all cultures that are sexually or emotionally repressive. When facing a mother that spanks a child as part of “education”, an orgonomist cannot simply attain to cultural or legal factors that give the mother a sense of accomplishment, according to their culture, when the child submits and represses the anger, impulses and sexuallity. The good orgonomist will confront the mother as “the factor” that promotes the behavior she is trying to “remove” with the spanking. 90% of the time this will generate a high level of anguish (anxiety) and the mother will find many “reasons” that will make her to believe that treatment will not be possible to continue. Mr. Acton seems to believe in his definition of freedom basically for the same reason, but mostly we feel outraged by Orgonomy because our beliefs in “freedom” and “rationallity” are unmasked as what they really are: expressions of a repressive society.

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