Categorized | History

On the Sexual Rights of Youth

Article by Stephan Simonian M.D.

On the Sexual Rights of Youth

Reader Lloyd Bagwell has sent an astute comment in response to an article, called “Sublimation According to Anna Freud," we published earlier:

I want to ask a serious question. Why is modern orgonomy seemingly so incapable of making a social stand against the repression of natural sexuality?

I don’t understand what prevents anyone writing anything specifically for the youth to help them deal with armoring and the sex-negative societies they live in.

Is it technically too difficult; mainly due to a fear of setting the emotional plague off on another one of its rampages against orgonomy; or something else?

One of the goals of the emotional plague in attacking orgonomy was to make any followers scared to death of doing anything that would threaten the armored world, especially any practical social work.

Things have changed for the better since Reich’s day, but its worth mentioning that this progress didn’t just happen on its own ”“ people fought and worked very hard for every bit of it. We can’t just sit back and hope humanity is naturally going to give up its armoring and all will be well; it just doesn’t work like that.

I read in the paper the other day that 49% of parents want to bring back corporal punishment in schools in the UK. The other week there was another one ”“ out of 1700 parents asked 59% said it was wrong for children to learn about sex.

In many ways it looks like were moving backwards!

If I had found The Sexual Rights of Youth as a kid it could have saved me a lot of unnecessary suffering. I already knew that natural sexuality was vitally important and needed to be protected, but I felt completely alone in that view.

Orgonomy could have giving me the much needed back up I needed to stand up for my right to a healthy sex life, and given me the chance to learn about what I just called “The Sickness” (armoring) from a scientific perspective, instead of just having to go completely on gut feeling and common sense.

It’s obvious that the answer to Reich’s question, will children in 100 years be able to live their natural lives as nature ordains it, is a definite no, unfortunately. It’s doubtful they will be able to in another 500 years time.

This comment raises the issue of present day orgonomy organizations and their shortcomings in taking a stand against sexual oppression of youth. We agree with the impression of our concerned reader and think that it would be relevant to draw a parallel between the behavior of present day orgonomy organizations and the behavior of psychoanalytic institutions which were supposed to preserve and promote Freud’s discoveries. In both cases there has been a kind of "defection" from the founding principles of each group. For Freudians, it has happened already, and there is no reason to believe this will not happen with many orgonomists.

In his three-volume "The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud," Ernest Jones quotes a moment with the psychoanalyst: "With a quiet smile, he added, "it seems to be my fate to discover only the obvious: that children have sexual feelings, which every nurse maid knows; and that the night dreams are just as much a wish fulfillment as day dreams." Under much social pressure, even Freud talked less and less about libido and sexual theories. His students and psychoanalytic organizations avoided libido theory to the extent that nowadays, very little if any of it is taught or considered valid.

Front row: Sigmund Freud, G. Stanley Hall, Carl Jung
Back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi

“Reich Speaks of Freud” contains the interview between Wilhelm Reich and Dr. Eissler, including these comments:

“Freud introduced the energy principle into psychology and in doing so he broke the barriers which separated the science of that day from that of today. [...] Most psychoanalysts were genitally disturbed and that is why they hated it. That’s it. I assure you that I do not say that in order to do damage to anybody."

Elsewhere, the conversation delves more into the topic:

Dr. Reich: Basically Freud discovered the principle of energy functioning of psychic apparatus. The energy functioning principle. This was what distinguished him from all other psychologists. Not so much the discovery of unconscious. The unconscious and the theory of unconscious was to my mind a consequence of principle introduced into psychology. That was the principle, the natural scientific principle of energy, “the libido energy.” You know that today very little is left of it. I consider my bio-energetic work with the emotions to be direct continuation of the energy principle in psychology. [...] I believe Freud definitely knew that he was betrayed in his sexual theory. Libido theory was betrayed, was gone. It is quite evident that there is no libido theory today in psychoanalytic movement. Do you agree with me? Would you agree on that? You don’t have to commit yourself.

Dr. Eissler: I don’t go quite that far.

Dr. Reich: Yes, but you would say that it is.

Dr. Eissler: One hears less and less of it.

Dr. Reich: Less and less — that’s right. Yes, that’s right. I am glad that you gave me as much as that. One hears less and less. It’s more and more of sociology. This would not be bad, do you understand. If it was not a run-away.

and, finally,

Now, how, in heaven’s name are our psychiatrists, who are influenced to such a great extent by psychoanalytic thinking — how, in heaven’s name, I ask, will they ever work to correct the psychic economy in children, in newborns, in adolescents if they leave the [libido] out? I don’t think it will stay that way because I am still around. [...] But I assure you that there is no solution to this world’s problems unless this point is cleared up sociologically, politically, economically, psychologically, structurally, characterlogically, in every single respect. I don’t believe that there will be any solution of any social problem as long as children and adolescence grew up with stasis of biological energy — haywire, irrational, with neurotic symptoms, and so on, and so on.

Reich addresses Freud’s followers’ defection from sexual theory in his book "The Function of the Orgasm," noting in detail:

“Freud feared the inclusion of psychoanalysis in the political arena. His conflict which was very deep made me feel very close to him. Today I also understand the necessity of his resignation. For a decade and a half he had fought for recognition of simple facts. His professional colleagues had slandered him, called him charlatan, and questioned the sincerity of his intentions. Freud was not a social pragmatist “only” a scientist but he was strict and honest scientist. The world could no longer gainsay the fact of unconscious psychic life, so it resorted to its old game of corruption. It sent him many students, who came to a set table and did not have to bother about the cooking. They had but one interest: to popularize psychoanalysis as quickly as possible. They carried their conservative ties to this world into his organization, and Freud’s work could not exist without organization. One after the other they discarded or watered down the libido theory. Freud was well aware of difficulties involved in championing the libido theory. But in the interest of self preservation and the consolidation of the movement, he could not permit himself to say what, in a more honest world, he would certainly have stood up for all alone”.

Regarding to Freud’s resignation, Reich describes it in following paragraphs from "Reich Speaks of Freud":

Dr. Reich: Now to get back to Freud’s despair. As I said there was this first despair after he discovered infantile sexuality. He was moving quite logically in the direction of genitallity problem, where I found myself so much later, about 15 years later [...] In our discussions it was quite clear that he was hampered by the world, which would not want him to get at the genitallity of infants and children and adolescents because that would turn the whole world upside down. Yes, Freud knew that. But he could not get at it socially. The sublimation theory, which he developed as an absolute, was a consequence of that. It was an evasion. He had to. He was tragically caught. You know with whom? With the many students, many pupils, many followers. And what did they do? They took what he had and got the money out of it. I am sorry to have to state it. I stated it publically before. They hampered Freud. He was hampered so that he could not develop further. [...] Now if my theory is correct, if my view of cancer is correct, you just give up, you resign-and then you shrink. It is quite understandable why he developed his cancer. He smoked very much, very much. I always had the feeling he smoked — not nervousness, not nervousness — but because he wanted to say something which never came out of his lips. Do you get the point?

Dr. Eissler: Yes.

Dr. Reich: As if he had “to bite something down.” Now I don’t know whether you are on my line. Bite-the biting down impulse, swallowing something down, never to express it. He was always very polite, bitingly polite sometimes. Do you know what I mean? “Bitingly” somehow coldly, but not crewly. And it was here he developed that cancer. If you bite with a muscle for years and years the tissue begins to deteriorate and then cancer develops. Now that cannot be found in psychoanalytic theory, that comes right out of my work, out of orgonomy.

There is no reason to believe that the human race, which carries 6000 years of patriarchal and anti-sexual culture, will relinquish it quickly in 70 years since Freud. There is also no reason to believe that Reich’s students may behave differently than Freud’s own, just one generation earlier. However, Reich also made many hopeful statements which should be remembered by his students, and should be followed, by insisting on what is right even in a less honest world, even all alone. After all, Reich also wrote, in "The Function of the Orgasm":

“The scientist is duty-bound to insist on the right of free speech under all conditions, this right must not be left to those whose intent is to suppress life. We hear so much about the duty of soldier to be willing to sacrifice his life for his country, we hear too little about the duty of scientist to expose a truth once it has been recognized cost what it may. The physician or the teacher has but one responsibility namely to practice his profession unflinchingly, irrespective of the powers which suppress life and to have in mind solely the welfare of those entrusted to him”.

We believe that Reich’s advice has already influenced, and will continue to influence new generation of students to promote orgonomy, as envisioned by him.

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.

3 Responses to “On the Sexual Rights of Youth”

  1. Lloyd Bagwell says:

    Thanks a lot for the brilliant reply. I really like the article.

    I can totally see the similarity between the attitudes of psychoanalysis and orgonomic institutions. Just the other day I was trying to write another comment for the sublimation article and wrote this:
    “It’s sad that modern orgonomy is so much like psychoanalysis in that it only seems interested in theory and the practice of therapy; both shy away from the social consequences of the discoveries made. When did we lose sight of the fact that individual therapy is practically useless when it comes to tackling the armoring problem as a whole?”

    I’m please to see your not afraid to look directly at this issue of the character structure of orgonomists because it very important. Many times since I found orgonomy I’ve really wanted to go for a wander around the minds of modern orgonomists to find out what the heck is going on lol. I don’t want to criticize anyone though — I do nothing myself. Everyone’s doing much more and better work than me.

    When I still believed I had the ability to become an orgonomists the idea was always to get good at orgone therapy specifically to get hands on experience with how armoring functions in a wide range of people, and then to hopefully apply that knowledge to the armoring problem as a whole in humanity. But it’s easy to think like that when it’s all fantasy…

    The Repression of Natural Sexuality

    It’s clear that we’re all very unsure of what the most rational ways are, to go about breaking the cycle of armoring and sexual repression in society.

    I keep remembering something Reich said about the therapy seminars; that in any given therapeutic situation there is only one correct course of action. Maybe it’s the same when looking at the general armoring of humanity; it’s just that in this case the correct course of action involves work by many people in many different areas, so is far more complex and involved. In theory it’s still about deducing the right course of action from the situation itself, and being able to constantly adapt to its changing character.

    If someone figured out this correct course of action (if it exists) I think there’s a good chance that most of us could easily recognize its correctness. Without a course of action or general policy that we can all see is valid I think we’re generally too scared to do anything in case it blows up in our faces and cause more problems than we started with.

    In regards to sexual repression there is a real risk of causing more problems for the youth by pushing society further than it can presently handle. Attacking social armor too vigorously is likely to lead to a structural reaction of reaffirmation and reinforcement of sex-negative attitudes, probably way beyond the level it’s at now. This doesn’t mean that we can’t challenge these demented attitudes of society at all — we can, and we should. It just means that anyone who goes in all guns blazing is likely to cause chaos and more problems than we already have. It’s sensible to try something fairly small at first and see what the reaction is. That way we get a better sense for where people are structurally, a better idea of how much progress people can tolerate before it overwhelms them.

    That objectively correct course of action (if it exists) would certainly include the following:

    1) Orgonomic first aid being in the hands of parents, or basically anywhere in the immediate environment of infants and children — i.e. not just therapists.

    2) Stronger scientifically evidence for orgonomic theories.
    Armoring, orgastic potency and orgone energy being the most vital to prove because they are foundational to orgonomy as a whole.
    It’s far too easy for people to ignore the armoring problem when its not been proved to exist strongly enough to convince most people. Why is it that the evidence we have, like Reich’s and other orgonomists clinical evidence, the bioelectrical experiments, ORAC experiments, Malinowski’s work, DeMao’s Saharasia etc fail to make the impact they should have? They have had an effect, but it’s easy to see that if each aspect was proved conclusively it would force extreme changes in all of science and society. The character structure of scientists does play a huge role in why orgonomy isn’t accepted but that doesn’t mean that all our evidence is solid and brilliant. If there is any room in the evidence for alternative explanation or dismissal you can bet that most scientists and the general public will gladly ignore it.

    3) Centres for sex counselling (for youth), sex education, natural birthing, and research etc that put the health and wellbeing of infants and children way before any other consideration.

    4) Bringing more people to orgonomy, and more orgonomy to people. Producing and providing more quality training, educational courses or materials specifically for different groups of people. Young kids, adolescents, parents, students (of psychology, biology, sociology, sexology etc), therapists, social workers etc. And finding ways to actually get that content to the people it’s aimed at.

    One simple and practical thing the youth could really do with is a very long list of their questions answered by orgonomists.

    And much much more obviously…

    Obviously some of that is already happening, and I understand that it’s not easy to do any of it, because of lack of people, money, and time etc.

    About a month ago I emailed the museum asking if they would seriously consider making The Sexual Rights of Youth freely available as a PDF that anyone can download or print out. I don’t know what they think about it. I figure it’s a fairly tame thing to do — the only way it would trigger off a major plague attack is if hundreds of thousands of young people read it and started demanding their rights to a natural sex life free from adult meddling. That doesn’t sound very likely to me, but I’d be glad to take full responsibility for it so if they do attack they mainly attack me. I’m willing to risk it to find out what good or bad it would do. It’s also very easy to be brave about poking the emotional plague in the eye when it’s only in fantasy — it’s a lot different when it really does attack I’m sure.

    Infants and children don’t have the ability to demand or protect their natural rights so it’s left to adults to do it for them. Dr Whitesner (spelt wrong I’m sure) in that discussion on adolescent sexuality mentions the same thing. Infants are completely at the mercy of their environments. The situation is slightly different with older children though, they at least have some chance of demanding their rights. Who knows what they could accomplish if they understood the situation they are in better and worked together? Their so crushed and fragmented at the moment though, its difficult to see what they would be like if they were left to grow more naturally and lived more communally without constant adult interference. Right now they really can’t be expected to demand their rights on their own.

    Everyone agrees with J Lewis’s point (in the discussion of adolescent sexuality), that the ideal situation is for people to be brought up in sex positive environments from infancy on, but that’s exactly what we need to know — how do we get to that point in the first place?

    The function of orgonomic social work and orgone therapy are identical – to remove the obstacles that are in the way of sex economic self regulation functioning freely on its own. The obstacles in both cases are the sex/life negative attitudes, behaviours and institutions of humanity, which are anchored in our armoring.

    By giving young people an orgonomic perspective on the world they live in; showing them what armoring is, what self regulation is, how healthy sexuality is distinguished between neurotic sexuality etc — you don’t actually remove the sex/life negative attitudes that surround them, but you can to some extent inoculate them against the negative effects of those attitudes. The obstacles are left untouched, but are made functionally less effective. You give the person an alternative explanation for things. I’m not talking about convincing the youth that every single aspect of orgonomy should be swallowed whole — I just want them to see if our theories make sense to them and for them to make up their own minds.

    It bothers me that with all that an orgonomic perspective can do to clarify matters and back the youth up they are still completely left out in the cold. We may as well not exist to them because whatever useful information we have, it never reaches them. And as I’ve said before, young people want this type of information far more than adults and have far less invested in protecting armored culture.

    We can’t cure every parent or teacher so they stop damaging the self regulation of children — and we cant tell the youth how act in each and every situation but we can provide them with a general view of life, an orgonomic view, that could help prevent them from blindly walking into the many traps and pitfalls that the armored world has set out for them. You can’t force or teach someone to be self regulating, but you can teach orgonomy and most of us have experienced how learning orgonomy can improve the way we function in our own lives. Knowledge is power, and the youth are in dire need of more power over their lives.

    Trying to treat the problem of sexual repression in isolation from the general problem of armoring is impossible. But it is possible to produce and provide sex education (sexology) courses or materials from an orgonomic perspective.

    When producing truly comprehensive sex positive sexology courses for the youth (for different age ranges) you can’t expect to the get the support of virtually any parents at all. It would have to be made available for free online, or by people setting up their own physical groups of educators, and be privately funded. Obviously it’s going to be a lot cheaper, and you’re likely to reach al lot more people with online study courses or study materials.

    Areas which are routinely avoided in “sex education” include:

    1) The function of the orgasm and sexual pleasure in general, in distinction to the function of reproduction.

    2) The history of sexual repression and its contemporary functions in society.

    3) Armoring and its effect on sexual functioning and attitudes, and its role in reproducing sex negative attitudes from generation to generation.

    4) Orgonomic perspectives on: psychosexual development, STD’s, unwanted pregnancies, reliable and sex economically sound forms of contraception, sexual disorders, perversions, peer pressure, pornography, portrayals of sex and love in the general media, sexual rights (and who decides what is a right and what isn’t a right), natural vs. unnatural sexuality (and who decides what is natural and what is unnatural); the list is endless.

    As you can clearly see there’s no shortage of things to go into. This is why it baffles me that when most people talk about adolescent sexuality or sex education they can’t get past the incredibly narrow area of unwanted pregnancies, STD’s and “promiscuity”.

    I don’t understand how they expect the youth to take full responsibility for preventing unwanted pregnancy and STD’s when they don’t even give them the right to a healthy sex life in the first place. Freedom always comes with responsibility — in this case they get all the responsibility without the actual freedom and right. There’s something deeply illogical and irrational in that.

    There’s a huge difference between “sex education” and sexology. Sexology is all inclusive (or should be), while sex education is primarily about reproducing or controlling social/moral attitudes. You don’t call biology “life education” or chemistry “chemical education” — so where the heck did this term sex education come from anyway? Sexology can include anything: relationships, love, and advice on how to deal with things practically; you’re still well within the realm of sexology, aren’t you?

    There is a risk of the youth misinterpreting orgonomic sexology, either intentionally or not, to justify an emotionless or neurotic sexual life like many adults have done in the past. We at least have the ability to talk about and explain processes like that scientifically, which can help prevent that type of misuse of orgonomy. It’s important to remember that the problems adults cause are not all about repression but also about the support or promotion of emotionless/neurotic sexuality.

    There’s a brilliant chapter in Matthew Appleton’s book “A Free Range Childhood – Self Regulation at Summerhill School” called The Sexual Continuum. Its one of the best articles on childhood sexuality I’ve ever read.
    One thing he warns of which you don’t hear that often is the danger of people who’ve not grasped that self regulation is a biological process inherent in every living organism; who actually push the youth to be sexual active when the desire isn’t coming naturally from them.

    “In dealing with these adolescents I realized that they have been left alone in the dark, with no explanation, no teaching, nothing about the most important aspect of their development — their sexual development and maturation. This silence prevails in families, in the social system, in teaching institutions. There’s no single institution that deals with this matter.” – Dr Simonian

    Response to Francesco’s comments about the need for places where children can grow freely towards genitality.

    That’s a really difficult problem to solve.
    People who do want to protect the natural functioning of children are so few and far between it’s difficult to imagine being able to create “communes” of sex-positive families. Saying that, I think people have tried it in the past.

    If I had kids I don’t know how I would handle this problem. Even parents who have done a brilliant job of protecting their children from sexual repression and armoring still have to deal with the problem of the wider environment. The most vital thing is to explain the situation to children at a level they can understand; that they live in a society where healthy sex isn’t understood or supported. Obviously I would approve of my children engaging in natural sexual activity, but you’ve got to be careful to take into consideration the attitudes of the parents of the other children involved. It’s important to come to some sort of agreement as to what they would and wouldn’t be comfortable with. I’m sure it can be very difficult and awkward in practice to do that, but, it’s going to be less difficult than dealing with am extremely angry parent who wants to skin you alive for challenging their authority.

    It would be nice to have some more advice on how to handle things like this though, from people who have already gone through the process and dealt with it.

    It’s worth mentioning that Summerhill School is still at the mercy of the laws when it comes to sex. It can’t allow the kids to sleep together. I’m not sure if the reason is the laws or the sex-negative attitudes of the various institutions that govern boarding schools, or both.

    Here’s a quote from Neill on that:
    - At Summerhill, the sex question has always been a pain in the neck. For many years I have advocated a sex life for adolescents, for any couple who are ready for it, but I have had to discourage it in the school because even Summerhill cannot be free of the establishment with is Victorian morality. The only thing I could do was to tell the kids frankly what my position was, and they realized that I was not taking a moral standpoint.
    Two adolescents of fifteen fell in love. They came to me to ask if they could have a bedroom to themselves. I said, “I’d gladly give you one but I daren’t”.
    “Why not? This is a free school.”
    “Yes, but it isn’t a free civilization. Suppose I gave you one and the Ministry of Education heard of it. They would close down my school.”
    I said to the girl, “You know that your mother is scared of sex. Suppose you got pregnant? What a stink that would make. Also”, I said “you can’t afford contraceptives and I dare not give you any”.
    They accepted the situation. I can see no other attitude to take since I don’t believe that sex is a sin or bad or dirty. One advantage is that I can sleep soundly at night without worrying. – A.S. Neill — “Summerhill School”, p 87

    “Orgonomy and Education in Rio de Janeiro”

    I saw a brilliant video about a group of people in Brazil who organized some schools based on orgonomic principles; I’d advise anyone who’s not seen them to have a look. They show that it’s possible to bring orgonomy out of the lecture rooms and therapy offices and do very practical social work in orgonomy.

    Part 1 –
    Part 2 –
    Part 3 –

    It’s clear that in some cases its fine to trust non-therapists to administer orgonomic first aid, certainly when it’s in the sort of environment they had, where there was an orgonomist supervising the project and the people had been trained properly etc. It’s really satisfying to see some children benefiting from Reich’s work in a direct and practical way. It just goes to show that projects to prevent armoring can be done and can work.

    Sexual Repression and the Law

    Simply put, natural sexual development is illegal throughout the world. I don’t think it’s legal anywhere on the planet. The Netherlands is one of the most rational places I can think of in regards to sex laws.

    It “has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all, sex between an adult and a young person between the ages of 12 and 16 is permitted by law, as long as the young person consents. It may only be prosecuted by complaint from the young person or the young person’s parents. The question remains whether the public prosecutions department would proceed to prosecute if the young person themselves had consented and their parents filed the complaint.”

    There not being any sodomy laws gives me some hope that sexual play and experience between children under 12 in the Netherlands is also legal, but I cant find anything to say one way of the other. My guess is it won’t actually be legal?..

    At any rate, outside of the Netherlands it’s easy to see that age of consent and sodomy laws make natural sexual development illegal. The UK says that the age of consent laws are there to protect children from abuse, not to criminalise consenting people under that age — but the simple fact of the matter is they are criminalising them. These laws are a complete mess, seriously if you want to be confused go and look at them.
    The argument that age of consent laws are there to protect children from sexual abuse doesn’t stand up, because it’s entirely possible to construct these laws so that they still protect children from abuse (by adults and other children) but also don’t criminalize natural sexual behaviours between children of similar ages.

    There are no laws protecting children against the repression of their natural sexuality, or against behaviours or attitudes that cause armoring in general. There are some laws that do prevent armoring, like ones against sexual or physical abuse but there’s none that are specifically designed to protect infants and children from the armoring process. And why would there be, if armoring isn’t even recognised as a reality.

    You can’t fix society by creating or amending laws, but these laws are a real problem. They send out a very strong message of what society thinks about childhood and adolescent sexuality – that it’s not approved of at all, and that children and adolescent do not have a basic human right to have healthy sex lives.

    There are also some laws about intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence, which could possibly cause problems for people who ‘encourage’ the youth to ignore the laws regarding age of consent? It’s obvious that that’s exactly what some of them should do.

    Doing any sort of fundamental and deep social work you really need to find out what the laws are and cover yourself, because if you do have a deep impact people are going to try and find any way they can to get you to shut up.

    Here are a few nice quotes to end with:

    “Permitting children to have sex among themselves would go a long way toward liberating them from oppressive parental authority. This is the main reason that parents fight so hard to prevent sex between children. Sexual freedom would allow their children to become truly independent of them.”
    -Peter Breggin

    He must of read Reich?..

    “Society chooses to disregard the mistreatment of children, judging it to be altogether normal because it is so commonplace.”
    -Alice Miller

    “We don’t yet know, above all, what the world might be like if children were to grow up without being subjected to humiliation, if parents would respect them and take them seriously as people.”
    -Alice Miller

    “A society is best judged by how it treats its children.”
    -Author unknown

    “One of the most obvious facts about grownups to a child is that they have forgotten what it is like to be a child.”
    -Randall Jarrell

    I didn’t mean for this comment to end up being so long, it’s pretty hard to stay on point. Spending days writing something for orgonomy is more satisfying and fun than going to work for peanuts in some factory lol. I don’t usually have a chance to exercise what I know. Hope it helps in some way.


  2. Joel Carlinsky says:

    The social sciences are more recent than the natural sciences, and it is only in the years since World War Two that they have demanded hard statistical data comparable to that long required in such disciplines as physics or biology. Until the general adoption of the statistical method, most writings in the fields of sociology and political science were little more than the subjective analysis of the author, often based more on intuition and personal experience than on what would today be considered solid data.

    In the 1930s, Wilhelm Reich, a psychoanalyst who had lived and practiced in Austria and Germany, wrote a series of works expounding his theories on the social developments of the times in those two countries. From his experiences, he generalized into a wide-ranging and comprehensive set of interlocking theories that he considered as of general validity for all human societies. He emphasized the important role of early childhood and adolescence in determining the adult political attitudes of individuals, and he ascribed social values and attraction to political agendas as largely the working out in the social arena of the relationships and training to which most people were subjected in the course of growing up.

    Among the many hypothesis es which Reich put forward are that young people, in the first several years`after puberty, separate themselves emotionally from their families of origin by developing a strong emotional attachment to a sexual partner, and that failure to do so during those crucial years will have the result of the childhood emotional dependence on the parents being transfer ed to a parent-surrogate such as the church or the nation-state in later years.

    Reich noted that there was severe housing shortage in Germany in those Depression years, and young people were often forced by economic factors to remain living with their parents long into adulthood. At the time, the prevailing culture strongly frowned on premarital sex and the majority of parents did whatever they could to discourage their young adult offspring from establishing a sexually active relationship. According to Reich, the resultant sexual deprivation and long-term frustration during the very years in which the sex-drive was at its’ highest, had the effect of making those young people more predisposed to identify with the Fatherland, as expounded in the political retoric of`the Right, and to accept political agendas that emphasized authoritarian solutions to domestic social problems and militaristic solutions to international disputes.

    This hypothesis attracted a considerable following among avant-garde intellectualls before, during, and after the war, but while his several books on this theme were published in English translations after the war, Reich, by this time having migrated to America, never returned to this topic in his subsequent writings. In most of his post-war writings on socio-political topics, Reich, possibly as a result of the birth of his own son in 1944, emphasized the formative role of infancy and early childhood rather than the solidification in adolescence of the personality traits that had been tentatively formed in earlier years.

    Meanwhile, starting in about 1945, sociology underwent a transformation, becoming much more of a statistically-based science, instead of a simple exposition of a thesis by an author. Nothing has been published along the lines suggested by the work of Reich that confirms his hypothesis by the statistical methodology common to the social sciences today. While there is a considerable body of post-Reich publications (I.E., The Journal of Orgonomy) which discuss his various sociological and political claims at some length, none of them have dealt with those claims from a statistical standpoint.

    The nearest to that is a 1988 Ph.D. thesis by a James DeMeo at the University of Kansas, who dealt primarily with the effects of prolonged trauma from famine and institutionalized forms of child-abuse in different cultures around the world, attempting to link the prevalence of such early negative experiences with militarism and the subordination of women in those cultures. But this dissertation concentrated on ancient history and modern-day pre-literate cultures, and the differences between cultures, and did not deal with the central issue of the work by Reich, namely, the reasons for young adults, in particular, those of the working class, in a modern industrialized state with an established tradition of democratic processes, to be attracted to totalitarian ideologies in direct contradiction to their own best interests.

    Other work, such as that of James W. Prescott, in Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence, (1975) have concentrated on the experiences of infancy and early childhood, not on the socially more controversial area of adolescent sexual activity.

    In any science, the value of a theory is its’ ability to predict. The sociopolitical theory presented by Reich should in principal be testable. If a central prediction of the theory can be shown to be correct, it would go a long way towards establishing that the entire body of work is on the right track.

    A central tenet of the thesis presented by Reich is that there should exist a strong correlation between the age at which a person first establishes a satisfactory ongoing sexual relationship, and the political ideologies that person will be attracted to in later years. If the fundamental concepts of Reich are correct, individuals who became sexually active on a regular basis in the first few years after puberty should show significantly less tendency to be attracted to authoritarian, nationalistic, or militaristic creeds and policies than those who deferred becoming sexually active on a regular basis until later years.

    It should be noted that, according to Reich, the relevant aspect of becoming sexually active is NOT the single incident of a persons’ first sexual experience. The technical loss of virginity is of relatively minor importance in the theory developed by Reich. It is the involvement in a lasting and secure relationship, over time, that is significant.

    The age of first sexual encounter is of only minor importance compared to the establishment of an adult role in life, in the form of a relationship that provides the freedoms and responsibilities of an adult, including, but not limited to, sexual gratification on a regular basis.

    In other words, the earlier the introduction to the adult role of an ongoing relationship with all the freedoms and responsibilities that implies, the more that role acts as a form of “immunization” against those social attitudes and values associated with populist dictatorships and the mass movements that bring them to power.

    Conversely, prolonged sexual abstinence, lasting for years after the young individual is physiologically mature, has the effect of a sort of “psychological castration”, making the individual highly susceptible to ideologies and agendas that offer strong leadership figures combined with group solidarity and group aggrandizement, along with displaced aggression against members of the group who do not share those values or an external “enemy” designated by the leader.

    At this time in history, as in Germany in the 1930s, any information on the reasons people are attracted to authoritarian social policies could be of supreme importance. The United States government is currently spending $120,000,000 a year on promoting sexual abstinence for young people. More than 1,000,000 American adolescents have signed a “contract with God” not to have sex until they are married. If the thesis of Reich is valid, this trend in American society, which is being aggressively promoted by certain politically powerful religious denominations and organizations, bodes ill for the ability to think independently in a significant proportion of the electorate in the future.

    It is therefore proposed that a proper statistical study be conducted of a possible correlation between age-of-onset of sexual activity and adult political attitudes and values.

    It should be possible to design a questionaire to establish the political attitudes and values of a representative sample of individuals over the age of 25, and to also establish the personal life history of those same individuals in regards to the single factor being tested for: age at which a satisfactory regular sexual relationship was first established.

    This proposal is therefore for the testing of the hypothesis outlined by Reich by means of a two-part questionnaire, part one of which would ask questions concerning the personal life history of the respondent, and part two of which would ask questions designed to elicit the respondents’ political attitudes and values.

    A numerical score would then be assigned to the answers to each portion of the questionnaire, and a statistical comparison could be made to determine if the correlation exists which would be expected from the hypothesis presented by Reich.

    If conducted in the customary manner of a modern sociological study, this investigation should result in a paper capable of publication in a peer-reviewed journal that could contribute to the scientific understanding of the appeal of mass movements and political parties that advocate authoritarian, nationalistic, and militaristic solutions to social problems.

    Additionally, if the correlation predicted by the writings of Wilhelm Reich is found, and the hypothesis is validated, such peer-reviewed publication could result in a certain amount of academic acceptance that would focus positive attention on other claims and predictions that also follow from the same works of Reich.

  3. Lloyd Bagwell says:

    “We have no way of knowing today what forms the organization of our work will take in the broad masses of the population. But the necessity of creating a mass basis for it cannot be doubted. This not only will be a protection against reactionary influences from the outside but will also protect us against compromises with an inimical environment. If one is left without social influence, the environment will prove the stronger force. If, however, the people who count have understood the value of a scientific undertaking for their existence and their future, they will aid the struggle and diminish the pressure of an inimical outer world. Nobody can be absolutely sure of himself, ourselves included. If, during a favorable period, we stood out for, say, the necessity of a gratifying sex life in adolescence, a less favorable period may make us, nevertheless, give up such a contention or even denounce it. If, however, a sufficient number of adolescents have made our knowledge of puberty their own and are ready to defend it, we are spared such a retreat, and our scientific work is realized. This example may suffice to show what is meant here.” – Wilhelm Reich

    From “On Freud’s eightieth birthday” – (Documentary Supplement) Reich Speaks of Freud. P. 261.

    I’ve got “The Source of the Human No” on audio tape which is part of that interview but I’d really like to hear the whole thing…



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Wilhelm Reich – Founder of Orgone Therapy

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