Tag Archive | "homosexuality"

Orgonomic “Reichian” View of a Social Issue


Mr. Ahmadinejad, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, visited New York in September of 2007.  He was invited to speak at Columbia University on September 24, 2010.  Among the different issues that he talked about, which elicited some applause from the audience,  he was also asked the following question; “Mr. President” a student asked, “Iranian women are now denied basic human rights and your government has imposed a doctrine of punishment including execution on Iranian citizens who are homosexuals.  Why are you doing those things?”  President Ahmadinejad through a translator replied “… We in Iran do not have homosexuals like in your country.  We don’t have that in our country, in Iran there are no things like this.  We don’t know who told you those things.”  This prompted laughter and booing of the audience.

Mr. Ahmadinejad in a way is right.  There was no homosexuality “like this” in the United States too about fifty years ago.  There were no gays in the military, the policy of “don’t ask don’t tell” was unheard of, let alone repealing it.  There was no issue of gay marriage.  Such issues were unheard of. So one may ask, where did this issue come from and how did this issue gain such importance today in the United States.  The answer to this question is that the issue of homosexuality existed then, but was harshly repressed and therefore was partly hidden and partly denied.  Now how does this matter relate to orgonomy and what is the Reichian prospect of it?

The character analytic technique which was discovered and introduced by Dr. Wilhelm Reich, leads us to the recognition of the human psychological structure in a way that is different from the previously comprehended one.  It leads us to the realization that the human psychological structure is composed of three layers.  The outer layer, the middle layer, and the core.  The outer layer of the human character structure is the one that the person superficially presents to the world, usually restrained, polite, compassionate, social, etc.  The middle layer however, through character analytic techniques, is discovered to be full of conflicting feelings and secondary drives consisting of different sexual and violent perversions, desires, fantasies, rage, sadness, and in short, whatever is repressed.  This corresponds to the Freudian  unconscious segment.  In the core however, we find the good characteristics of humans, with genuine love, compassion, sexual desire with love and affection, industrious potentials, etc.  Dr. Reich, in the book, Mass Psychology of Fascism, says the following;

“Extensive and painstaking therapeutic work on the human character has led me to the conclusion that, as a rule, we are dealing with three different layers of the biopsychic structure in the evaluation of human reactions.  As I demonstrated in my book Character-Analysis, these layers of the character structure are deposits of social development, which function autonomously.  On the surface layer of his personality, the average man is reserved, polite, compassionate, responsible, conscientious. There would be no social tragedy of the human animal if this surface layer of the personality were in direct contact with the deep natural core. This, unfortunately, is not the case.  The surface layer of social cooperation is not in contact with the deep biologic core of one’s selfhood; it is borne by a second, an intermediate character layer, which consists exclusively of cruel, sadistic, lascivious, rapacious, and envious impulses.  It represents the Freudian “unconscious” or “what is repressed”; to put it in the language of sex-economy, it represents the sum total of all so-called “secondary drives…

If one penetrates through this destructive second layer, deeper into the biologic substratum of the human animal, one always discovers the third, deepest, layer, which we call the biologic core. In this core, under favorable social conditions, man is an essentially honest, industrious, cooperative, loving and, if motivated, rationally hating animal.”

Our social structure and social institutions correspond to our individual character structure. In fact, it can not be any different.  Under the superficial but harsh repression of strict, compulsory moralistic social structure, many desires and impulses are repressed.  Some of these core impulses become distorted because of environmental pressures.  Aggression becomes hate, spite, meanness, etc. Warm, open contact becomes superficiality, turbidness etc.  Others are simply repressed because they are punishable or merely dishonored in society.

We know by our experience in treatment of individuals that unless the functions of the outer layer are exposed and the secondary layer is revealed, one cannot reach the individual’s core.  This process is also true in the social domain. In the book Reich Speaks of Freud, Reich says the following:

“It goes very deep. I don’t know whether you are acquainted with the orgonomic picture of the structure of the human character–the  “core,” the “middle layer,” and the “periphery.”  It gives one a very practical tool with which to work with patients.  It is a bio-energetic tool.  You can’t get at the human character by psychoanalytic means.   You have to reach it with character analysis or orgone therapy.  Human beings live emotionally on the surface, with their surface appearance.  Correct? In order to get to the core where the natural, the normal, the healthy is, you have to get through that middle layer. And in that middle layer there is terror.  There is severe terror. Not only that, there is murder there. All that Freud tried to subsume under the death instinct is in that middle layer. He thought it was biological. It wasn’t. It is an artifact of culture. It is a structural malignancy of the human animal.  Therefore, before you can get through to what Freud called Eros or what I call orgonotic streaming or plasmatic excitation (the basic plasma action of the bio-energetic system), you have to go through hell. Just through hell!  This is true for the physician as well as the patient.  In this hell, there is confusion, schizophrenic breakdown, melancholic depression.  They are all there. I have this in Character Analysis. I don’t have to repeat it. But why bring the Life Force in here?  There is only one reason: to show you why nobody wanted to touch it or to get at the biological core where I was working at that time. Before you can reach that core, you must encounter hate, terror, murder. All these wars, all the chaos now–do you know what that is to my mind? Humanity is trying to get at its core, at its living, healthy core. But before it can be reached, humanity has to pass through this phase of murder, killing and destruction. What Freud called the destructive instinct  is in the middle layer.  A bull is mad and destructive when it is frustrated.   Humanity is that way , too. That means that before you can get to the real thing–to love, to life, to rationality- you must pass through hell. This has very grave implications for social development.  I don’t want to go into it now, but I wanted to explain why the psychoanalysts refused, unconsciously, to touch what I was working with.  If I had fully known its consequences, I would have run myself.  I don’t want to make myself better than the others, you understand. At that time, I would have run.  I couldn’t run today.  The bridges are burned behind me.  Looking back,  I understand it. It is very dangerous…”

So, if our observations, our theories, our deductions and generalizations are right and logical, which seem to be so as we see them in our patients, and which history also reflects and attests to it’s righteousness in the social domain, then Mr. Ahmadinejad and for that matter any other leader, should expect the emergence of repressed elements, some of them undesirable and not social, and some of them progressive and social, but unacceptable in the present day social structure.   This is of course if the repressive, compulsory authoritarian and harshly punitive structure in the process of democratic movements softens up.  This, from our point of view, will be a good thing, and is the only hope that eventually societies and humanity will reach to it’s core and embrace the values that humans are ordained to have.

Orgonomy, based on principles and guidelines set forth by Dr.Wilhelm Reich, can provide an understanding of natural and healthy versus unnatural and distorted, and can function as pharos to navigate through this process.

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Homosexuality and The Emotional Plague


Recently, the American media was barraged with news of the harassment of homosexuals and suicides that followed.  The New York Times on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010, reported the following regarding the suicide of a young promising violinist:

“Tyler Clemeni was an 18 year old Rutgers University freshman when he jumped from the George Washington Bridge in an apparent suicide in September 2010, days after he had been secretly filmed during an intimate encounter which was then broadcast on the Internet.

Mr. Clementi’s roommate and another classmate were charged in the case.  Authorities say the students used a camera in Mr. Clementi’s dormitory room to stream an intimate encounter involving Mr. Clementi live on the Internet.

Three days later, Mr. Clementi, an accomplished violinist, jumped into the Hudson River.  Witnesses told the police they saw a man jump of the bridge just before 9 p.m., said Paul J. Browne, the New York Police Department’s chief spokesman.  Officers discovered a wallet there with Mr. Clementi’s identification, Mr. Browne said.”    - The New York Times, Wednesday October 27th, 2010.

Another newsletter reported the following;

“Either way, Clementi’s death marks the fifth suicide by a gay teen in the past month.  Justin Aaberg, openly gay and just 15, committed suicide after being bullied in school.  Billy Lucas, also 15 wasn’t out, but was mercilessly bullied in school.  He hanged himself.  Asher Brown, 13, who told his parents he was gay the morning he shot himself in the head, was also bullied.  Ash Seth Walsh, also just 13, hanged himself after suffering from years of bullying.”  - Julie Gerstein, The Frisky.com, October 1st, 2010.

An abnormal condition in which a person takes pleasure in hurting another, an unwholesome love of cruelty, excessive cruelty, in the Webster dictionary is defined as sadism.  In psychiatry and psychoanalysis, sadism is attributed to different psychological mechanisms, for example, a sexual impulse which is manifested as a tendency to strike, abuse, or humiliate the object.   It is also defined as a defense against castration, fear, and the fear of ones own sexual excitement.  What might occur within the subject passively, is instead done actively to others-  “identification with aggressor”.  It is also described that the perversion of sadism depends upon the fusion of destructive energy with libidinal energy.  The discharge of aggression is in itself pleasurable, but sadism further implies pleasure in destruction of others.

There is no satisfactory explanation in general psychiatry and psychoanalysis of how this mechanism occurs, where and why the destructive energy appears, nor how it fuses with sexual energy.

In orgonomy however, we consider such behavior to be a consequence of the distortions of primary drives, which in orgonomy are called secondary drives.

We have described the emergence of secondary drives from primary drives in different articles in this journal.  In short, character analytic techniques in orgonomy  lead to the comprehension of  the human psychological structure, which schematically is composed of core, middle layer and outer layer, or periphery.  The  primary impulses which are emitted from the core of the organism, the impulses of love, sexuality, and rational anger, are fiercely blocked by outer prohibitions.  In due time, such environmental and outer inhibitions through the process of armoring, become internalized within the structure of the person. Suppression of primary motives in turn causes distortions and its distorted version in orgonomy is called secondary drives.  Secondary drives may turn inward and cause neurotic symptoms that agonize and torment the person with neurotic symptoms such as obsessional thoughts, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, etc., or it may turn into a destructive force which operates  in the social scene. The latter in  orgonomy is called  “the emotional plague”.  The development of the secondary drives are related to the mechanism of armoring which is described by Dr.Reich in different books, most essentially in Character Analysis and The Function of The Orgasm and also is described in different articles in this journal.  Hence, the orgonomic model of the human psychological structure is the following: On the surface layer, the personality of the average man is polite, compassionate and conscientious.  At the core, he is honest, benevolent and longing for love. However the surface layer and the core are separated from each other by the middle layer, an intermediate layer which is the product of the outcome of forces that are on one hand primary and genuine, and  on the other hand opposing forces from the outer layer, from the armor. As a result of this conflict and stagnation, secondary motives develop in the  intermediate layer, which  consists of cruel, sadistic, lascivious, rapacious and envious impulses.  These secondary layers represent the Freudian “unconscious”, or that which is repressed.  In the language of orgonomy and sex economy, it represents the sum total of all secondary drives.

Dr. Reich, in The Function of the Orgasm, under the topic of destruction, aggression, and sadism, states the following:

“In psychoanalysis, the term aggression, sadism and destruction and death instincts were used randomly and interchangeably.  Aggression seemed identical with destruction which in turn was “the death instinct directed against the world”.  And sadism remained the primary partial instinct which begins to be active at a certain stage of sexual development.   On the basis of their origin and intentions, I attempted to assess all the human actions that are included under the concept of “hate”.  In my clinical work, I never encountered a death instinct, a will to die, as a primary instinct corresponding to sexuality or hunger.  All psychic manifestations that could be interpreted as “death instincts” proved to be a product of neurosis. Such for instance was the case in suicide, which was either an unconscious revenge on another person with whom one identified, or an action to escape the enormous unpleasure caused by an extremely embroiled life situation.

The patients fear of death could always be traced back to a fear of catastrophe and this fear, in turn, could be traced back to genital anxiety.  Moreover, analysts who  accepted the theory of the death instinct frequently confused anxiety and instinct.  It was not until 8 years later that the matter became clear to me; fear of death and dying is identical with unconscious orgasm anxiety.  The alleged death instinct, the longing for disintegration, for nothingness, is the unconscious longing for orgastic resolution of tension….

A living creature develops destructive impulses when it wants to destroy a source of danger. In this case the destruction or killing of the object is a biologically meaningful goal.  The original motive is not pleasure in destruction. Rather the destruction serves the “life instincts”…. In short, the impulse to destroy serves a primary biological will to live. As such it does not have a sexual connotation.  It’s goal is not pleasure, even though liberation from unpleasure is an experience similar to pleasure.  ……. An animal does not kill another animal because it takes pleasure in killing. It would be sadistic murder for the sake of pleasure.  It kills because it is hungry or because it feels that it’s life is threatened. Thus, here too,  the destruction serves the “life instincts”.

Aggression in the strict sense of the word, has to do neither with sadism nor with destruction, the word means “approach”.  Every positive manifestation of life is aggressive, the act of sexual pleasure as well as the act of destructive hate, the sadistic act as well as the act of producing food. Aggression is the life expression of musculature, of the system of movement.  The reassessment of the aggression is of enormous importance for the rearing of children.  Much of the  inhibition of aggression which our children have to endure to their own detriment, is the result of equating “aggressive” with “wicked” or “sexual”. Aggression is always an attempt to provide the means for the gratification of a vital need.  Aggression is not an instinct in the strict sense of the word; rather it is an indispensable mean of gratifying every instinctual impulse. The latter is inherently aggressive because the tension demands gratification. Hence there is a destructive, a sadistic, a loco-motor and as sexual aggressiveness.

If aggressive sexuality is denied gratification, the urge to gratify it in spite of denial continues to make itself felt.  Indeed, the impulse arises to experience the desired pleasure at all costs.  The need for aggression begins to drown out  the need for love. If the pleasurable goal is completely eliminated, ie. made unconscious, or imbued with anxiety, then aggression which originally was only a means, becomes a tension releasing action in itself.  It becomes pleasurable as an expression of life, thus giving rise to sadism.  Hate develops as a result of the exclusion of original goal of love. And the hate is most intense when the act of loving or being loved is blocked.  This is what brings the sexually motivated destructive intention into aggressive actions. An example of this would be sexual murder. Its precondition is the complete blocking of the ability to enjoy genital pleasure in a natural way. Thus the perversion of sadism is a mixture of primary  sexual impulse and secondary destructive impulse.  it does not exist anywhere else in the animal kingdom and is exclusively a characteristic of a man acquired late in development, a secondary drive.

Every seemingly arbitrary destructive action is a reaction of the organism to the frustration of a vital need, especially a sexual need.”

As we described earlier, these destructive impulses in the social scene, in orgonomy are called the emotional plague .  In character analysis, there is a chapter that Dr. Reich devoted to the description of the emotional plague.  He gives examples of specific reactions of inflicted people with emotional plague. Here is the description of such behaviour in the area of sexuality:

“The sexuality of the genital character (normal healthy character) is essentially determined by the basic natural laws of biological energy. He is so constituted that naturally takes pleasure in the sexual happiness of other, in the same way, he’s indifferent to perversion and has an aversion to pornography. The genital character is easily recognized by the good contact he has with healthy children. He considers it quite natural that children and adolescents are essentially sexually oriented.  The same way he foresees or at least strives to fulfill the “often socially restricted” demand which result from those biological facts.  This attitude exists spontaneously, whether a corresponding knowledge has been acquired or not….

In the plague-ridden character, the process is usually as follows;  The secondary drive held in check by the cultural and religious ideals break through.  The sexuality of the character afflicted with emotional plague is usually sadistic and pornographic. It is characterized by parallel existence of sexual lasciviousness (owing to the incapacity to achieve gratification) and sadistic moralism. This dualism is a part of his structure;  The plague afflicted individual could not change it even if he had insight  and knowledge.  In terms of his structure he cannot be anything but pornographically lascivious and sadistically moralistic at the same time.  This is the core of the character structure of the plague afflicted person.   This structure develops viscous hatred against every process which provokes its own orgastic yearning and hence orgasm anxiety…..

Clinical investigation leaves no room or doubt that sexual gossip or defamation afford these emotionally plagues individual a kind of perverse sexual gratification; they can thus attain sexual pleasure without the natural genital function…..”

Looking to the problem of homosexual harrasment from this point of view, from the point of view of irrational hatred attributed to the emotional plague, raises the following question; If the distortion and sickness is part of the emotional structure of the perpetrator of the harassment, then why should the victim feel ashamed and guilty and commit suicide?

One of my patients, who was a lady in her late 70’s, and had chronic depression with many hospitalizations and later committed suicide, once told me that in her youth she had a sexual encounter and was made to feel ashamed of it.  Another middle-eastern patient who had a pregnancy out of wedlock and  later  had a psychotic breakdown, upon admission to the psychiatric ward, in her confused and psychotic state, painted the word “whore” all over her face with lipstick.

The answers to these questions need individual analysis of the structure of each victim.  However, we can rationally speculate that a significant part of it is the anti-sexual upbringing of children that plants the seed of guilt and shame around sexual activity.  It is however their right and naturally constituted.

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