During President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings in 1999, which were triggered by him having an affair with a woman and then denying it when confronted, Mr. Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler Magazine, put an ad in the newspaper known as the “million dollar ad”. In this ad, he offered 1 million dollars to anyone who could document any official figure or moral critic of Clinton having similar affairs . Flynt, as he stated, was not interested in trashing anyone’s sex life just because they were having an affair, but he wanted to expose people who were taking a public position contrary to the way they were living their private life, and who were crucifying Clinton for doing the same thing they were.
As a result of this ad, several Congressmen and government officials resigned as a consequence of information that was revealed. Mr. Flynt named several people including a Congressman from Louisiana who was selected to replace Newt Gingrich as Speaker of The House. He named a Congressman from Illinois who once led the Republican House members in giving Kenneth Star a standing ovation, who was grandstanding in the accusation of Clinton, apparently carried a five year affair with a married mother of three. A Congressman from Georgia who also committed adultery and then lied about it under oath was named. House Chairman of Government Reform and Oversight Committee, who called Clinton a “scumbag” and in September of 1998, was also revealed when this moral crusader was forced to admit that he had fathered an illegitimate child during an affair in the 1980’s. Another official of the Republican National Committee and a moral crusader of Clinton was taped stating, “I don’t have any moral values, I just talk about it on television”.
The behaviors described above, which are fairly recent in our memories, are perfect examples of what Dr. Reich described in 1945 as the “emotional plague”. In, Character Analysis, written by Dr. Wilhelm Reich, a crucial and essential book in orgonomy, Dr. Reich has devoted a chapter to describing this phenomenon under the title of Emotional Plague. This book is very valuable, like any other book written by Dr. Reich, containing condensed information from which the reader can get further insight each time he re-reads this book.
Reich describes the emotional plague in the following statement. “The term emotional plague is not a derogatory phrase. It does not connote conscious malevolence, moral or biological degeneracy, immorality, etc. An organism whose natural mobility has been continuously thwarted from birth, develops artificial forms of movement. It limps or walks on crutches. In the same way, a man goes through life on the crutches of the emotional plague, when the natural self regulating life expressions are suppressed from birth on. The person afflicted with emotional plague limps characterologically. The emotional plague is the chronic biopathy of an organism. It made an inroad into human society with the first mass suppression of genital sexuality; It became an endemic disease which has been tormenting people the world over, for thousands of years. According to our knowledge, it is implanted in the child from the first days of life. This is an endemic illness like schizophrenia or cancer, with one notable difference, i.e. it is essentially manifested in social life.”
Emotional plague is a consequence of armoring. Armoring is a pathological process, discovered and described by Dr. Wilhelm Reich. This pathogenic phenomenon has also been described in Dr. Herskowitz’s book, Emotional Armoring, and in different articles in this journal. In short, armoring develops in the process of the struggle of the child to contain his primary drives because of outer prohibitions. In this process, the primary motives that arise from the core of the organism split, and part of the motive supplies the energy for emotional and physical contractions against the primary impulse. In time, this process becomes chronic, physical, and emotional armoring becomes permanently established in the organism. As a consequence of armoring, primary genuine impulses become incapable of expressing themselves in their natural and truthful form. Secondary drives develop as a consequence, which are distorted manifestations of primary drives. These secondary drives can become anti-social and sadistic and assume destructive actions in the social scene. In a simple neurotic person, these secondary drives turn against the individual himself and torment the inflicted person with neurosis, i.e. with symptoms of anxiety, phobias, obsession, etc. However, in a person inflicted with emotional plague, these secondary drives assume anti–social, sadistic character and act destructively towards others and towards society. In orgonomy, we are aware that even healthy individuals possess some armoring and manifest some neurotic inhibitions, as well as occasionally some plague reaction, although healthy individuals are capable of recognizing it and acting differently. Dr. Reich says “Every plague afflicted individual bears in himself the possibilities of normal and healthy character. The plague ridden character manifests it’s destructive behavior in different aspects of life… Emotional plague is just as wide spread as character biopathy. In other words, wherever there is character biopathy, there is also at least the possibility of the epidemic outbreak of the emotional plague. An essential and basic characteristic of emotional plague reaction is that actions and motives of the actions never coincide. The real motive is concealed and the sham motive is given as the reason for the action. In contrast in a natural and healthy individual, motive, action, and goal form an organic unity. Nothing is concealed.”
The emotional plague affects different aspects of an individuals life, it manifests itself in the areas of thinking, acting, sexuality, in work habits, etc. Here we will describe the difference of sexual behavior in the normal, healthy “genital” character, neurotic character, and in a character afflicted by emotional plague, as Dr. Reich describes in the book Character Analysis.
“The sexuality of a healthy character, genital character, is essentially determined by the basic natural laws of biological energy. He is so constituted that he naturally takes pleasure in the sexual happiness of others. In the same way, he is indifferent to perversions and has an aversion to pornography. The genital character considers it quite natural that children and adolescents are essentially sexually oriented. In the same way it fulfills or at least strives to fulfill the often socially restricted demands which result from these biological facts… The neurotic character however, leads a sexually resigned life, or engages in secret perverse activities. His orgastic impotence is accompanied by a yearning for sexual happiness, he is indifferent to the sexual happiness of others. He’s more likely to be ruled by anxiety than by hate whenever he comes into contact with sexual problems. His armor relates solely to his own sexuality, and not to the sexuality of others… The sexuality of the character afflicted with emotional plague are characterized by the parallel existence of sexual lasciviousness and sadistic moralism. This dualism is a part of their structure… under the banner of culture and morality, they persecute to the extreme, every expression of natural sexuality. Over the years, they have developed a special technique of defamation…”
Armoring is a pathological process that is widespread throughout the world. Emotional plague, as one can see in the above examples from President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, manifests itself in different forms and in different areas of life. Comprehending orgonomy gains utmost significance in the wake of such widespread pathology that affects every aspect of our lives. Such comprehension, from our point of view, is imperative in fighting it. The leaders and the institutions that are in the position of leadership are responsible for the recognition and alleviation of these pathological reactions and will be held accountable in the future for remaining ignorant in this matter.