Tag Archive | "Ernest Jones"

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.

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