Categorized | Orgone Biophysics

Implications of Orgone for Consciousness Research Part 1

Article by LSouthgate

Implications of Orgone for Consciousness Research Part 1


Implications of Orgone for Consciousness Research

Part 1: A Critique of Previous Consciousness Theories

Leon Southgate MSc

For in the Market-Place, One Dusk of Day,
I watch’d the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all obliterated Tongue
It murmur’d-”Gently,Brother,gently,pray!”

                                                                        -Omar Khayyam (Persian Poet)


A brief overview of the main theories used to explain consciousness as explored from an orgone-based viewpoint. Reich’s views of consciousness are also ascertained and reviewed. The benefits and contradictions of Reichian and mainstream theories are explored. An organism and orgone-based, pan-psychic approach to consciousness is posited as a prelude to the possible development of new technology.


Before exploring the technical possibilities that orgone may have in consciousness and artificial intelligence research in Part 2 of this series, it might be worthwhile to recap the more accepted of the main theories regarding consciousness from an orgonotic perspective. Consciousness is herein defined as any and all subjective experience.


Firstly there is the dominant theory of consciousness of the last century or so which is materialism. Materialism has long roots even though it is considered a modern theory. The Atomist school of Greek philosophy, the most well known proponent being Democritus, espoused the materialist view centuries before Christ (1). This theory, in its ancient and modern forms views consciousness as a consequence of the movement of matter (known as an epiphenomenal view of consciousness). The ancient Atomist school of materialism saw mind as created by specialised mind atoms (ancient atoms describe indestructible particles and are not necessarily the same thing as modern atoms). Modern materialism views mind as the consequence of the action of neurons, chemicals and electricity in the brain and body.

After the triumph of classical or Newtonian physics and prior to the indeterminism of quantum theory all matter was viewed as essentially predetermined, at least in theory. A mechanical universe was believed to have been set in motion by God (and then later by the Big Bang). All material events could be predicted if one had complete knowledge of the physical(a) forces present. Consciousness is therefore merely an illusion produced in the brain by this predetermined movement of matter – a side-effect or useful phantasm.

Not surprisingly very few people truly accept this view. Only hard-line materialists would seriously espouse this position with all its nonsensical implications, such as the lack of free will or volitional consciousness. According to the materialist philosophy people are just evolving matter and our consciousness will be entirely explained by material processes in the future. Many scientists might accept the idea of an all-pervading mechanistic explanation, called ‘strong materialism’ when working in the laboratory (that all reality is just matter) but as concerns their private life most believe that they have free will and conscious volition (they have ideas and choose to act upon them and are themselves more than a machine). This problem of strong materialism negating volition and will is called the ‘Philosophical Zombie’ problem within philosophy.

The well known author and philosopher, Dennett (2), argues that a materialist explanation is not incompatible with free will and conscious volition. He says there is no ‘hard problem’ in science (the problem of explaining why there is subjective experience and how it arises). He argues that it will become clear in the future when it is understood how physical events explain consciousness. Critics characterise his approach as more of an avoidance of consciousness as he sidesteps the thorny aspect of subjective experience choosing to highlight easier processing issues instead (3).

The main argument against strong materialism in modern science is that qualia, conscious experiences, can be mapped onto physical processes but cannot be reduced to them (4). However well a subjective experience is mapped onto an objective process the two phenomena remain distinct. Materialism is not an explanation for consciousness so much as simply a denial of it. At best materialism is a correlation to consciousness. Dennett’s approach is simply to say qualia do not really matter, qualia are just a consequence of a physical process (quite how it is not yet understood). Such a position contradicts most people’s sense of experienced reality – unique qualia are central to experience. Dennett is not a ‘strong materialist’ however as he does believe mental states have their own reality. Rather he is a ‘physicalist’, someone who believes all mental processes can eventually be explained, or reduced to physical processes.


There is a set of theories that make logical sense regarding consciousness in this writer’s view. As matter and consciousness are fundamentally different categories there is no way to understand one category in terms of the other. A logical solution, rather than denial of one of the two categories (done outright or by subterfuge) is to fuse them. So one has matter that thinks, or alternatively, thoughts that are material – this is the theory of pan-psychism. Pan-psychism outlines consciousness as fundamental to the universe. This might not count as an ‘explanation’ of consciousness as such. If consciousness is fundamental it cannot be ‘explained’ in terms of something else (5). Such an explanatory position is logically impossible anyway. There is nothing outside of the phenomenon of consciousness with which to explain it. However, although the theories proposed by this writer, in common with other pan-psychic theories, make consciousness a fundamental property, it is a property of a claimed, real entity (orgone). That offers scientific possibilities. As Blasband observes,

‘The driving force behind Reich’s work was to understand the nature of life. As a young man he thoroughly read the work of the scientists and thinkers who had preceded him in this quest. He wrote, “I am well aware that the human race has known about the existence of a universal energy related to life for many ages. However, the basic task of natural science consists in making this energy useable. This is the sole difference between my work and all preceding knowledge.”’ (6)

In the pan-psychic approach, all matter is thought to possess consciousness to some degree. The British scientist, Rupert Sheldrake illustrates the logic of pan-psychism in detail in his book on freeing the scientific method from constraint by narrow materialist dogma (7).

His experimental work on animal telepathy and in learning processes (the more people that learn something the easier it is to learn it) may practically indicate the existence of consciousness fields. He has shown that chemical crystallisation also reacts in this way to previous information(b) elsewhere (a formerly difficult substance to crystallise will become easier to form once it has already formed somewhere else). He calls these processes ‘formative causation(c) ’ which acts through ‘morphic resonance(d) ’ (8). His theories and arguments support a pan-psychic approach to reality.

The medieval alchemists certainly had a pan-psychic vision with their concept of a universal mind. Many of the founding fathers of science, such as Newton, have also been documented to privately hold pan-psychic views of the universe but did not always share these with the wider public (9).

To conclude our brief overview of materialism in consciousness research, the ideas of strong materialism are, in most scientists, either not thought through or relegated to work only. Like the general public, most scientists, to some extent, privately believe in dualism.


Before strong materialism gained ascendency as a theory of consciousness, dualism was the dominant theory of consciousness. Dualism was exemplified by Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650) and lasted until the Enlightenment era of the 17th and 18th centuries when industrialisation of the environment led to its demise in our thinking. After the industrial revolution people came to think of themselves as machines, just as today some regard themselves as computers (10). Prior to this period, Descartes was one of the most influential thinkers regarding consciousness and his adage, popularly translated as, ‘I think therefore I am,’ is still influential today (11).

The French scientist declared that the only thing that can truly be known is that one is an experiencing entity. Consciousness exists, all else can be doubted. What one takes for reality could be an illusion. On the other hand, the fact that one experiences consciousness cannot be denied. Whether what is experienced is real or an illusion, it is still an experience. Descartes believed that there are two realms, one of mind and one of matter and that the two interact through the pineal gland in the human brain (12). He thought most animals were automata and lacked this connection to the higher realm. Mind and matter can be seen as two fundamentally different ‘substances’ according to the dualist view of Descartes. The perfect physical substance for Descartes was God.

The difficulty for dualism scientifically is that it is irreconcilable in practice. Dualism has mostly been rejected by the scientific community for this reason (materialism is what is known as a monistic theory). In dualism there are two fundamental substances, or two realms. However, how do these two realms ever interact if they have nothing in common? No one has been able to answer this question satisfactorily in over three centuries. Dualism has mostly been given up as an explanation for this reason.

Some have considered whether the two realms are forever parallel to each (parallelism) but again this doesn’t offer any explanatory value. What enables the two realms to parallel each other? No one knows this either. So both scientifically and philosophically, dualism has not been fruitful.

However, materialism has also been found to be unsatisfactory by most people as an explanation for consciousness. It is commonly used as a valid everyday explanation of consciousness but it only has explanatory power within a very limited realm – that of machines, technology and matter on a large scale. When it approaches organisms and consciousness it can go no further than correlation or reducing conscious organisms to mindless machines. Although generally not aware of it, most people use a mixture of dualism and materialism as regards their view of consciousness in daily life. Despite the great strides of materialism in the technological realm most of the human race still believes in a higher power. Most people believe in a spiritual realm and view reality as a mixture of dualistic and materialistic processes. Even Darwin himself, the arch-materialist, eventually conceded that his theories did not work without a higher power,

“Then you admit Professor Darwin that there is a higher power behind evolution? ‘Certainly, I admit it; I am compelled to do so, because evolution has always gone onward and upward, from lower to higher forms of life. That could not be chance; it is unscientific to postulate such a hypothesis, because chance never moves in one direction.’” (13).

Quantum Consciousness Theories:

Next there are the quantum consciousness theories. This posits that because quantum physics implies there is indeterminacy in the material world, consciousness could thereby impose itself on physical reality, through quantum events. Biologists are researching quantum processes in nature. In particular, the behaviour of photons in photosynthesis pathways and the action of microtubules in the brain and elsewhere are being examined. If quantum processes, with their inability to be fully determined, take place within organisms, then the mind could interact and affect material systems at this subtle level (14). These types of quantum theories produce a duality. Such biological, quantum events form in effect, a new Cartesian ‘pineal gland’, a bridge between psyche and soma. The realm of mind is still separate to the realm of matter but the two might interact through quantum processes in nature. Even if such quantum biological processes were to be well evidenced, it would still be a dualistic approach. The best one can hope to get is a correlation between consciousness and quantum processes. So these types of quantum theories of consciousness are similar to other theories of correlation (such as the neurobiological ones). The best they can hope to offer is correlation within an updated version of dualism.

However there are also many monistic approaches in quantum theory and consciousness. The observer effect in quantum physics, that measurement affects outcome, and non-local behaviour of particles is thought to indicate a universal substratum which many think might be synonymous with consciousness (15). A number of popular authors do point to such a monistic quantum approach and McTaggart summarises some of the researchers in this area. She puts forward the hypothesis that consciousness and reality are fundamentally the same at the level of a universal field (16). Hume, Bohm, Jung and Pauli also speculate that the two realms of mind and matter arise from a third neutral realm which is both psychic and physical (17). This is called ‘dual aspect’ thinking and is a form of monism (because mind and matter are two aspects of a third all encompassing entity). It would loosely correspond to this writer’s view of orgone at its most basic level being a consciousness. Dual aspect theories could be argued to be compatible with the pan-psychic approach.

Although much consciousness research might explore quantum physics to validate its views of a universal network or field of consciousness, quantum physics is yet to demonstrate the physicality of such a consciousness field – one which can be accessed technically or measured with instruments.

System Theories:

The most modern set of theories regarding consciousness are the system theories, which Reich unintentionally presaged to some extent. In the system theories, consciousness is seen as an ‘emergent property’. Non-living material forces at some point coalesce into the ‘emergent property’ of ‘life’ purely through random processes. Living systems themselves then undergo further processes. Through the additional actions of living systems to evolve and compete, at some point they cause the ‘emergent property’ of ‘self-consciousness’ to become evident. First there is a vague glimmer of perception, then as material systems (brains and neural systems) develop and become more complex, self-aware consciousness arises.

Consciousness as an Emergent Property

This is also problematic as an explanation for consciousness. Firstly it is dualistic. It says that a new realm of functioning (consciousness) arises out of a mechanical realm (matter) purely by chance (with an intermediate stage of animal life). There is still irreconcilable dualism between the realms of matter and consciousness once they have emerged. After the material realm has randomly initiated the animal realm, which evolves into self-consciousness, how do they interact if they have nothing in common? And if matter, animal life and consciousness do share commonality, doesn’t that support the theory of pan-psychism rather than ‘emergence’? Pan-psychism would, unlike most system theories, posit that the universe and everything in it, is conscious.

Also, if the material world cannot help but create animal life, which itself cannot help but create higher consciousness, doesn’t that mean that the universe itself is a consciousness incubator? If the universe is pre-programmed or destined for consciousness it must itself constitute an entity for giving birth to consciousness. It is hard to believe such an entity would not itself be conscious. So consciousness cannot ‘emerge’ if it already exists.

It cannot reliably be said, from what is known about the universe currently, that consciousness arises from a non-conscious, non-living universe, as an emergent property purely by chance. This chance factor is ruled out because the universe appears to be perfectly set for life and thus consciousness in terms of its cosmic physical parameters, the cosmic ‘laws’. Some may try and get around this by saying that there are multiple universes and this one just happens to be perfect for life and consciousness to manifest, but there is no scientific evidence of multiple universes. Positing near infinite universes without evidence is the ultimate violation of Ockham’s law (not to multiply entities unnecessarily).

On the other hand there is abundant evidence that the cosmic parameters of this universe are perfectly set for life and consciousness to appear. This is known as the ‘Fine Tuning’ arguments and is explored to some extent by Sheldrake in The Science Delusion (18). For example, if any of the more than forty precisely set cosmic physical parameters were even minutely different, complex matter and thus life would not have arisen. The parameters appear to be too finely set to be the result of chance. Materialist cosmologists do not dispute the fine setting of cosmic parameters, they rather suppose, without evidence, that there are infinite universes. This one is thus perfect for consciousness purely by chance. One could not, even in principle, have a universe which is not perfect for consciousness. If we did discover multiple universes our consciousness will have penetrated them and they would become part of the universe we inhabit, a new dimension in effect. So, even the concept of multiple universes is itself debatable.

Also, the ubiquitous nature of life from an orgonomic point of view, that the smallest form of life, the bion, will form anywhere there is water, also points to matter being an inherent part of life, and thus also consciousness. Bions and abiogenesis support the pan-psychic approach that matter is alive and conscious.

Reich’s version of system theories will be explored later but are also inadequate as a theory of consciousness. The system theories of consciousness as an emergent property are unsatisfactory. This is because consciousness remains epiphenomena in such views or there is irreconcilable dualism. Both aspects are unacceptable – the first because humans are not mindless robots, and the second because it fails to explain consciousness. The best that can be hoped for from system theories, in this writer’s view, is that they describe the mechanics of a pan-psychic universe.

Neurological Theories:

There are the medical theories of consciousness such as in neurobiology and neurology to consider. Neurology is essentially correlative. Neurons, electrical and chemical processes are thought to generate consciousness in much the same way as a bicycle dynamo generates electric power. Most people accept this explanation on a superficial level because they can see that there is indeed correlation to some extent. But correlation doesn’t mean causation. As Sheldrake notes (19) a TV set can be correlated with a favourite soap opera but that doesn’t mean the opera was created inside the TV. More advanced versions of this view are looking at how interactions between sets of neurons and the neural field as a whole, even the whole body, can be involved in generating consciousness, but the primal mistake of mixing correlation and causation still exists (20).

Neurology often uses analogies of a computer when looking at the brain, and the assumed creation of consciousness which is assigned to it. Neurology cannot locate the physical position of a single memory much less the home of self or consciousness. Claiming memory is ‘distributed’ is the same as saying it is a field function and not locally stored at all. Areas of the brain can be correlated for a while with sets of thoughts but function can change its physical locus in the brain and it seems to be related to the whole brain and body, not any particular discrete part (21). So the brain and a computer are entirely dissimilar. A computer stores memories as discrete material changes in a single location. A brain doesn’t. A computer carries out functions by opening and closing single gates. A brain doesn’t. It works as an integrated whole. The whole ‘human as machine’ and ‘brain as computer’ analogies have had their day. A human is an organism and a brain is an organism within an organism. Indeed, the mind has been found to function normally in a number of cases where a large part of the neural structure is missing. If the brain were a computer and mind its effect, this would be unexplainable (22). This brings us to the holistic, alternative areas of science and philosophy.

Holistic Theories:

If consciousness works as an integrated whole using the brain then maybe consciousness itself is a field. Perhaps a holographic field – so that any one part of the field can access information at any other point in the field. Many popular researchers have posited consciousness as a holographic field.

The researcher Chang posits that consciousness forms a fifth force in physics. This is in addition to the four known forces(e) outlined by current understanding in mainstream physics. This fifth force would tie in with the traditional concept of life-energy in Chinese thought not being entirely differentiated from consciousness. However traditional views in relation to physics are not explored by these researchers (23). Consciousness as a fundamental physical force would of course also be related to the pan-psychic understanding. Such a field or consciousness force is quite possible in this writer’s view, but the tangible aspect of any such consciousness force is yet to be demonstrated.

Even amongst those who believe in such holistic fields there can be a lack of clarity. For example, some researchers can cite electromagnetic fields, or their resonance, as the basis for psychic or consciousness phenomena, but then recognise elsewhere, in the same paper, that the medium of such phenomena cannot at core be electromagnetic (due to the non-local action of some of their observations) (24). This is mixing an effect or a step in a process (electromagnetic phenomena) with the agent itself (consciousness).

Non-locality and direct action of consciousness has however been well demonstrated, this writer believes most strongly by William Tiller of Stanford University (25). He has shown that consciousness can directly affect matter. Tiller imprinted electronic storage devices with strong conscious intent and then used these devices to affect biological samples in specific ways.

As an aside, the writer believes some energetic effects related to Reich’s orgone work were taking place within Tiller’s studies unreported. Tiller placed his electronic devices in Faraday cages which would act as orgone accumulators. He also used four strong meditation masters to affect each device. They would presumably have strong physical orgonotic fields. In addition, an electric current running through the imprinted devices when affecting samples would create an electro-orgone effect known as oranur which might amplify the consciousness effects in this writer’s view.

Tiller, although scientifically showing the effects of consciousness upon matter to take place, has not determined the energy, force or entity which allows such effects to take place. He posits that there is a deeper level of reality at which these effects occur and which conditions the ordinary material world.

Summary of Main Theories:

So in summary science has no explanation of how consciousness arises or how it interacts with reality. Only correlations and vague theories have been offered. When a universal field is posited for consciousness it is not a field we can access technically or measure with instruments.

Practically speaking there is experimental evidence that memory is not stored in a discrete location in the brain, as Sheldrake discusses at length in his chapter on memory and the brain (26). Memory and by extension, consciousness, are probably field functions of some sort. There is also evidence that consciousness can affect material reality directly and non-locally (27). Tiller managed to affect biological samples at a distance and to create ‘conditioned’ spaces that would also affect samples after the agent was removed. Sheldrake has demonstrated non-local effects of consciousness in animals and non-local field effects in crystallisation reactions. It is on record in Wikileaks emails (and in released government files) that the CIA has used Remote Viewing, which would depend on a non-local function of consciousness (28). There is mountains of evidence on paranormal psychic functions, near death experiences and reincarnation experiences, all of which point toward non-locality of mind. For example, the medical psychic, Edgar Cayce has thousands of well documented cases where his psychically accessed information proved to be successful medically well beyond the knowledge of the present era (29).

It could be said that consciousness is evidenced to be a field function and to have non-local properties. Some of the functions of consciousness are associated with the brain and the body but as Sheldrake has noted, there is no proof that the brain is the author of consciousness or that memory is located in discrete locations in the brain. In fact if we take the lack of evidence that memory is located in the brain (as material changes) together with the libraries of evidence on paranormal phenomena, distance viewing, out of body, near death and reincarnation experiences (30) it could be argued that the weight of evidence overall points toward the mind not being located in the body at all but merely attached to it.

So it can be seen that science has not comprehended consciousness beyond correlation and theoretical postulates. Valuable groundwork has been done experimentally by scientists such as Tiller, Sheldrake and others who have demonstrated that some kind of universal consciousness field exists and directly affects reality. However, this field cannot be measured or accessed by science although science can detect its effects as changes in physicality.

Has pure philosophy done any better?


Just as strong materialism is a monistic scientific theory so there is a set of opposite monistic theories within philosophy. These are the theories of idealism. They range from Platonic idealism to classical idealism, from Christian Neoplatonic idealism to Kant’s views and other philosophers of the modern period. There are many variants of idealism but in most it is posited that only ideas and consciousness truly exist, or that material reality depends on, or is contained by consciousness.

Material reality is lawful however and usually behaves in certain predictable ways hence the success of materialism in our age. If reality is a dream, it is a dream of lawful matter. Dreaming of lawful matter is the same as that lawful matter actually existing. As material reality seems to be quite persistent one may as well concede that it exists at some level and is real.

The theory of orgonotic pan-psychism that the writer has proposed elsewhere (31) has idealist aspects in that it agrees that consciousness is the basic reality and views mind and orgone as identical at the deepest level. It is not an entirely idealist theory though because it recognises that energy and matter also have reality. Although many holistic theorists are heading in this direction, pure idealism doesn’t appear to explain why consciousness has persistent matter-like properties in this reality.

This brings us to the last set of theories regarding consciousness to be considered here.

Reich’s Theories of Consciousness:

Reich’s theories on consciousness predate system theories but are actually a category of system theory. They are not orgonomic theories. Reich made a basic mistake in his early view of consciousness. Although aware of the differences, his theories conflate emotion with consciousness.

It is true that there are two related and opposite functions, variants, that arise from the deeper common functioning principle of orgone energy (32). There is the subjective experience of an emotion – say pleasure. This is one variant of orgone energy movement. This subjective emotion is correctly partnered by Reich with an objective process – bio-electrical changes in skin conductivity and the movement of orgone from core to periphery in an organism. This forms the second objective variant of orgone energy movement. But where does the experience of consciousness actually reside? Does it reside in the orgone energy? Or is it an effect only experienced within the body, the material container of orgone? And if it is only experienced in the latter material system, why is that so when it is the movement of the orgone energy that created the experience?

Consciousness and emotion are not the same thing. Reich, when he did consider consciousness separately, favoured the latter hypothesis in his extant writings – that consciousness arises from the system behaviour of orgone in the body. He thought that true self-aware consciousness coalesced from the integration of perceptions which themselves arose from the movement of orgone within a membrane. He stated that orgone was just an energy and not in itself capable of having conscious thoughts or of being ‘instinctive’ like a Freudian psychic drive. He did note that sometimes orgone and its counter-aspects (Deadly Orgone or DOR) resembled a Freudian drive in effect, but was not psychic in actuality (33). So Reich’s theory of consciousness was actually a materialist system theory. Consciousness is an emergent property of the orgone-material system of the body in this view. He predated the modern system theories of emergence but didn’t move beyond them. He successfully partnered subjective levels and types of emotions and objective movement of energy in the body but didn’t realise fully that this only applies to emotions not to the experience of consciousness itself. He realised that part-perceptions integrate into a full self-consciousness but he didn’t say anything much further about the existence or location of this holistic phenomena of consciousness.

Psyche and Soma in Reich’s Common Functional Principle

In the above diagram, we can see that Reich has a non-conscious biological energy, orgone, which in its movement first contains an identity of psychic and somatic functions. It then splits into the objective (soma or body) and subjective (psyche or mind). However, the biological energy is not itself viewed as conscious. There is an identity of body (soma) and consciousness (psyche) expressed by the movement of the biological energy in the first arrow of the diagram above. However the source energy in the diagram, is not considered conscious by Reich,

‘True, biological laws can apply in the psychic realm, but the converse is not true’(34)

This means to say that although a biological energy can affect consciousness, through the increase, decrease or movement of a quantitative energy, the reverse is not true. Ideas and thoughts cannot affect the biological energy as orgone is a non-conscious energy. This is clearly incorrect and a dead-end unless orgone is not really a true life energy – life is a conscious process.

Reich goes on to say,

This common factor cannot be the “meaning”; nor can it be the “purpose”; these are secondary functions. From a consistent functional point of view, there is, in the biological realm, no purpose, no aim; only function and development, following certain laws.’(35)

These lines could have been written by Charles Darwin. Life develops solely from certain mechanical/energetic laws and has no ‘mind’ guiding it. Purpose and meaning always relate to mind and all organisms have mind because they display purpose and goals.

Referring to the negative side of orgone or DOR, (Deadly Orgone) and its relationship to Freud’s death drive, Reich stated that,

It does not matter that Freud presented here a true physical force, devoid of any kind of psychology, as “instinct”; or that it is a basic mistake to ascribe instinct to lifeless, mass-free energy…appearing later as “life” within membranes and organic fluids.’(36)

So here Reich confirms that orgone is not alive before it is in a material system, which makes the existence of life energy somewhat contradictory. Its property of life depends on matter, before which it is non-life energy. He also affirms that ascribing aspects of consciousness (instinct) to its behaviour is incorrect. Lastly, this paragraph also underlines Reich’s view (during his middle period of work) that life is a system property – it emerges through the system behaviour of orgone within a membrane. This writer believes Reich may have changed his view on consciousness and orgone during the spiritual conversion he appears to have experienced during his prison period. This writer explores Reich’s change of heart in the conclusion of an essay on orgonomy and good and evil (37). The philosopher Steve Katz also explores this issue in Reich’s work amongst others in his blog and books exploring life energy based theology (38).

Reich’s position on the consciousness of orgone is somewhat unclear. He ascribes it functional rationality but denies it any awareness, negativity results purely from damming up a non-conscious, physical energy,

No reasoning or intelligence, but certainly functional rationality must be attributed to the Life Energy. Freud’s irrational unconscious is but the temporary result of the thwarted primary functioning of the cosmic energy.’(39)

Possessing rationality is not a mechanical or energetic function but a function of consciousness. One has to perceive the proper ‘ratios’ of an object or process in order to be ‘rational’. In any case, even if rationality can be non-conscious(f) Reich clearly states that the orgone, outside of a material system, has no consciousness. Thus Reich, up to 1956, ascribed to a materialist system theory of consciousness.

Orgonomic functionalism as a method of enquiry thus appears unable to help the understanding of consciousness. If we posit that consciousness is merely a paired function of some other opposite aspect (Reich paired it with body or soma) then the common functioning principle of both these variants (psyche and soma) would have to be a deeper but non-conscious common functioning principle (biological energy). This non-conscious entity, primordial orgone itself, would then suffer from all the contradictions of the mechanistic theories of consciousness. Most notable of which is that consciousness would be reduced to mere epiphenomena of the movement of a non-living, non-conscious, dead energy. The only ‘life’ of orgone would be the ability to create movement and matter. If one were however to insist on orgonomic functionalism as a means to understand consciousness (as a causative process rather than as an effect of something else) the only place that consciousness, as a whole, could be put in an orgonomic functional diagram would be as identical with the orgone itself. This would make orgone conscious and thus contradict the traditional position of Reich regarding consciousness (that consciousness arises from the system behaviour of orgone within a body).


Reich’s ideas on the origin of armouring, that the shock of self-consciousness turning inward caused the first emotional blockage to appear, appears to be in contradistinction to his other theories. Reich generally supposes that out of non-living cosmic energy a living form emerges (through the closure of a portion of cosmic energy within a membrane). The cosmic energy thus enclosed becomes life energy. This life energy unit develops perception through increasingly complex movements of its own energy and developments of its internal material structure. Reich notes a contradiction here in his own thoughts. He usually supposes that function precedes form, whereas here he is supposing that increasingly complex form, perhaps as in brain development, precedes function – the faculty of increasing abilities to reason and think. Reich stated,

We generally assume that functioning precedes and induces structural developments of organs, and not the other way around. Whatever the answer to this riddle may turn out to be: Man slowly began to reason beyond his strong orgonotic contact.’(40)

Reich leaves that contradiction to one side and continues with his central idea (that the reflection of self-consciousness caused the first emotional blockage to appear in humans). Reich’s theories prior to this imply that perception and consciousness arise from the development of something else (an epiphenomenal view of consciousness). Cosmic energy evolves into biological energy. Primitive forms evolve into complex forms. But now Reich discards this approach and takes consciousness to be the primary, causative agent and armouring and human misery to be the effects. Heretofore Reich always took consciousness as an effect of some other agent in a chain from cosmic to biological energy to perception and eventually to full self-consciousness. Reich could be correct but his theorising is not in keeping with his prior approaches.

Reich’s arguments also assume, without investigation, that humans are the only animal that can be affected by armouring. Certainly humans might be the only highly armoured species, but that doesn’t mean the process is unique to people. Infant maternal deprivation can cause armoured type adult behaviour in animals (lack of mothering). Other physical changes analogous to armouring might conceivably occur in stressed populations of animals (41). The process might not be completely unique to one species. If the process is not unique, ‘fallen’ man would not be a special case but simply an example of something that has got out of hand.

Reich also unintentionally implies that only human societies that go on to become armoured are prone to deep self-reflection. Reich’s ideas have an additional unforeseen characteristic. If self-consciousness is a consequence of the development of cosmic orgone into biological energy and from there into part-perceptions and eventually to full self-consciousness, why should that process cause anything unnatural? Armouring should be as natural as being un-armoured, if Reich is correct in his causative hypothesis.


In practical therapeutic terms, orgonomy is also contradictory on consciousness. It is noted that orgone movement within the body can contain memory (as released during the mobilisation of muscular armour). It is admitted that orgone movement is associated with emotion, which is a perception, a form of consciousness, but it is denied that orgone, the prime mover of the entire universe and the creator of emotion is itself capable of consciousness. The only consciousness of orgone is a system effect. This seems an implausible and contradictory position. It is admitted that cosmic orgone becomes life energy and despite life usually being associated with some level of consciousness, orgone is itself declared not to be conscious outside of a material system by Reich (42) and others such as Kelley (43). It cannot conceivably be denied that orgone is proto-life energy and thus also proto-conscious. It cannot be denied that it contains a universal potential for life and therefore consciousness potential. The seed of life and consciousness must contain something of the end result within its own nature. It is but a small step from that position to saying cosmic orgone is also ‘conscious-in-itself’.

Orgone is pictured by Reich as a non-conscious, non-living but creative energy when its creations – life entities, always appear to have consciousness to some degree. This is clearly contradictory. Orgonomy has no chance of understanding consciousness with such a stance. It depends on materialism to explain consciousness thereby limiting itself to a non-orgonomic understanding of consciousness. It is illogical to say an energy creative of life has no consciousness when everywhere life is paired with consciousness and nowhere is life paired with non-consciousness. Even an amoeba will try and avoid certain stimuli and will seek other stimuli, it’ll move and display volition and preferences. It will eat and ‘mate’ (or fuse). These behaviours are seen in animals and on that basis one assigns them consciousness. One can say the amoeba only perceives and lacks true self-consciousness but such classifications are meaningless in this context – all perception is a form of consciousness. It is the same with the amoeba, or our selves – it is just a question of degree.

Consciousness Outside of Organisms:

The processes seen in animals and on that basis assigned to them consciousness, can be observed in cosmic nature too – superimposition of energy streams, pulsation of stars, rotation, birth and attraction of galaxies. In other organisms, consciousness might indeed be a common factor that can be evidenced fairly easily (by direct comparison to one’s self). However, how could one evidence it in a machine or in energy outside of an organism such as in cosmic orgone?

The Turing Test is cited as one such candidate for machines. It proposes that if a machine can fool us into thinking it is conscious then maybe it actually is conscious. However, any formulaic test of consciousness is illogical. One does not evidence one’s own consciousness on the basis of formulas or logic tests. The Turing Test is challenged in any case by the Chinese Room argument. This states that with sufficient ground rules and information a non-Chinese writer could fool an outsider into thinking he can write Chinese (44).  The Chinese Room argument indicates that the Turing Test can be passed with mechanical rules and without comprehension, thus invalidating the premise of the Turing Test.

One cannot even prove that one’s own self is a conscious being, so how can one prove it in another? All one may know is that a consciousness exists (there might be only one) and other beings who are assumed to also exist are also conscious because they behave a little like ourselves. As Descartes noted, there is only one certain knowledge – a consciousness exists and we (or I) possess it. Descartes may have unwittingly provided the groundwork for assessing strong Artificial Intelligence. If a computer begins to act like an organism (in other words, like a Cartesian experiencing entity) one can reasonably begin to question if it has some degree of consciousness. There can be no test or formula to follow mechanistically.

Conclusion – Orgonotic Pan-Psychism and its Implications for Technology:

A number of scientists are beginning to espouse pan-psychism, including physicists, and cosmologists, such as Halton Arp, and of course the biologist, Rupert Sheldrake in his various books (45). The theory of pan-psychism does not deny that material reality exists but it states that this material reality is itself alive and capable of experiencing consciousness. It unifies the realms of matter, energy and consciousness. The orgonomic theory of consciousness I have outlined elsewhere is pan-psychic and monistic in nature (46). It could be classified as orgonotic pan-psychism. In this theory it is proposed that orgone itself does, counter to what Reich said in his discussion of Freud’s death drive (47), actually independently possess consciousness. Further, that from this orgonotic consciousness arises the energetic and material functions of orgone. Orgone and consciousness become identical at the deepest level just as energy or matter is identical to consciousness in Sheldrake’s pan-psychism. Orgone only gains differentiation at more superficial levels which is experienced as orgone energy and lastly as matter, which is a form of frozen orgone energy. Thus there is a monistic continuum in a triad from orgonotic consciousness to orgone energy and lastly to orgone-matter. This monistic continuum has three distinct aspects; orgone consciousness, orgone energy and orgone-matter. All three are physical and all three are real, but the consciousness level could be said to be the most ‘real’ or the primary reality. Orgone energy and matter are specialised forms of a physical orgonotic consciousness in this view. Energy and matter still exist in their own right but are not separate to consciousness.

Reich’s theories of the integration of part-perceptions into self-consciousness, and of the relation of the pleasure-pain antithesis to energy-in-motion, are useful but nevertheless fail to comprehend consciousness (48). Alternatively, if orgone is considered to be ‘conscious-in-itself’, as well as embracing a logically consistent theory of consciousness – pan-psychism, interesting technological possibilities might be presented. It could help make a consciousness field useable in a scientific sense because orgone is a real, tangible field and not a hypothetical construct or merely an idea of a universal field. These possibilities are explored in the second part of this series.


(a). Physicality in science is usually defined as properties pertaining to the natural or bodily realm in distinction to mental properties. Matter is considered a subcategory of physical properties.

(b). Information as a term is often used without clarity. Information is embedded in energy and matter but as Weiner, the father of cybernetics notes, information is not an energy or matter property. Information only exists when it is perceived. It is used here as implied by Weiner, as an aspect of consciousness, Sep 2017.

(c). Refers to evolving information fields, they are thought to contain the form of physical and living entities.

(d). A process of communication between individuals and their information fields by non-local resonance.

(e). Mainstream physics currently recognises four forces in nature. Gravitational, Electromagnetic, Weak and Strong nuclear forces are thought to be fundamental and not reducible to any other more basic process.

(f). Reich’s position was that he ascribed rationality directly to the functioning of the non-conscious cosmic orgone – see Conclusion Chapter of Wilhelm Reich, Selected Writings for further discussion.

(1). Gottlieb, Anthony, (2000) The Dream of Reason, Penguin, UK.

(2). Dennet, Daniel, 1993, Consciousness Explained, Penguin, USA.


(4). August 2017


(6). Blasband, Richard, (2013) Syntropy (2): 103-114, Concepts of Life Energy and Vitalism Through the Ages: 106.

(7). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2012, The Science Delusion, Coronet, UK.

(8). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2011, The Presence of the Past, Coronet, UK.

(9). Dennis William Hauck (2017) The Roots of a Science of Consciousness in Hermetic Alchemy, Rosecroix Journal,, Vol 11.

(10). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2011, The Presence of the Past, Coronet, UK.

(11). Descartes, Rene, 1881, The Method, Meditations, And Selections from the Principles of Descartes, William Blackwood, UK.

(12). Ibid

(13). Abell, Arthur, Talks with Great Composers, (Chapter on Conversation between Tennyson and Darwin), Hauraki Publishing, Kindle Edition, pp28-30.

(14). September 2017

(15). McTaggart, Lynne, The Field, UK.

(16). Ibid

(17). September 2017

(18). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2012, The Science Delusion, Coronet, UK.

(19). Ibid


(21). Ibid

(22). September 2017

(23). Chang et al, 2017, Potential of Blind Children and General Children, WISE Journal, Vol 5, Num 4, pp79.

(24). Bartholomew, Bradley (2017) A Review of Psi Activity in the DNA, Universal Journal of Psychology, Vol 5, Num 1, pp22-29.

(25). Tiller, William, Psychoenergetic Science, 2007, Pavior, USA

(26). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2012, The Science Delusion, Coronet, UK.

(27). Tiller, William, Psychoenergetic Science, 2007, Pavior, USA

(28). September 2017

(29). Smith, Robert, Edgar Cayce – My Life as a Seer, 1997, St Martins Press, US.

(30). Alexander, Eben, Proof of Heaven – A Neurosurgeons View, 2012, Piatkus, US.

(31). September 2017

(32). Reich, Wilhelm, 1990, Orgonomic Functionalism, Volume 1, Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund, USA.

(33). Reich, Wilhelm, 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death Instinct’ as ‘DOR’ Energy, Orgonomic Medicine Volume II, Num1.

(34). Wilhelm Reich – Selected Writings, 1960, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, pp 116.

(35). Ibid pp116

(36). Reich, Wilhelm, 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death instinct as ‘DOR Energy, Orgonomic Medicine Volume II, Num 1 pp 11

(37). September 2017

(38). September 2017

(39). Reich, Wilhelm, 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death instinct as ‘DOR energy’, Orgonomic Medicine, Vol II, Num 1 pp11

(40). Wilhelm Reich – Selected Writings, 1960, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux pp531.

(41). September 2017

(42). Reich, Wilhelm, 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death instinct as ‘DOR energy’, Orgonomic Medicine, Vol II, Num 1 pp11

(43). Kelley, Charles, 2004, Life-force, The Creative Process in Man and Nature, Canada

(44). September 2017

(45). Sheldrake, Rupert, 2012, The Science Delusion, Coronet,UK.

(46). September 2017

(47). Reich, Wilhelm, 1956, Re-emergence of Freud’s ‘Death Instinct’ as ‘DOR’ Energy, Orgonomic Medicine Volume II, Num1.

(48). Wilhelm Reich – Selected Writings, 1960, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.


Leon Southgate MSc

From a family of psychotherapists and teachers I was introduced to orgonomy at a young age. As an adult my interest was rekindled, doing an MSc research degree in Chinese medicine and orgonomy. In 2002, a double blind, placebo controlled study was completed (N = 72). It confirmed an effect from orgone devices upon acupuncture (P = 0.03). An article about the study was published in the European Journal of Oriental Medicine in 2003. The theoretical side of the study outlined dozens of new parallels. It was later published as a book by German publishers LAP.

Southgate started an orgonomic PhD but the access to laboratory work became difficult so the project ended but a comprehensive (though not complete) Annotated Literature Review of the Post-Reich Journals was written and made available for free online.

Southgate is focused on examining orgone and its relationship to consciousness.

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- who has written 2 posts on Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy.

From a family of psychotherapists and teachers I was introduced to orgonomy at a young age. As an adult my interest was rekindled, doing an MSc research degree in Chinese medicine and orgonomy. In 2002, a double blind, placebo controlled study was completed (N = 72). It confirmed an effect from orgone devices upon acupuncture (P = 0.03). An article about the study was published in the European Journal of Oriental Medicine in 2003. The theoretical side of the study outlined dozens of new parallels. It was later published as a book by German publishers LAP. Southgate started an orgonomic PhD but the access to laboratory work became difficult so the project ended but a comprehensive (though not complete) Annotated Literature Review of the Post-Reich Journals was written and made available for free online. Southgate is focused on examining orgone and its relationship to consciousness.

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