Tag Archive | "Orgonomy"

Orgone Energy: Theoretical and Practical Implications


The following is a transcription of the lecture given by Dr Kevin Hinchey at the Institute for Orgonomic Science Conference on April 11, 2015 at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

When Harry called me couple months ago asked me to present I was a little reluctant, I am not a scientist, I am not a science historian Jim Strick is the science historian also it is customary for me when I do presentations to write them all out ahead of time, I am more comfortable doing that and I knew because of my busy schedule I would have no chance to do that but I also knew that in the last few years I spent 4 years researching, writing out the story line for the documentary film which I am now in the middle of production  and so I thought what I would do I would extract selections from that body of research and storyline which is essentially my bible for moving ahead with the film project.

I spent 4 years researching, writing out the story line for the documentary film which I am now in the middle of production  and so I thought what I would do I would extract selections from that body of research and storyline which is essentially my bible for moving ahead with the film project.

As I tell my 2 film classes in the first lecture I thought very fast I am going to do that today, I want to move through a huge amount of material but I want to go into more detail about four specific episode which I think is very significant in terms of Reich’s medicine and science and the implications of it and those are his interaction with Einstein, his initial experiments, with orgone treatment. Treatment of terminal cancer patients, a significant 47 day experiment that he did in the summer of 41 in Organon and finally a little known episode from the Fall of 1942 Reich’s efforts to bring his empirical and scientific research to the attention of the national research council on behalf of the war effort which is a little known episode that I am particularly fond of. So just very briefly we really have to talk about the beginnings of Reich’s scientific research. Let’s just go back very briefly to put it in context so you appreciate the chronology, the drama. The facts and the narrative go back to March 1933 in Berlin when Hitler consolidates his power and in the Nazi newspaper in an article condemning Reich’s book the sexual struggle of youth at which time Reich realizes he has to leave Germany and so that night he and his first wife, Annie, take a night train to the border and over the next few days they will cross over the border and each of them will eventually make the way back to Vienna, this is early March 1933. In Vienna it is a very hostile environment for Reich, it is a right wing government, the Dolfuss Regime, Freud is continuously trying to distance himself from Reich for psychoanalytic and political reasons and in fact when he gets there Reich learns that Freud has cancelled his contract to publish character analysis so it’s a very hostile environment and in this hostile climate a young Danish physicians, Tage Philipson, came to Reich for psychoanalytic training. He encouraged Reich to move the Copenhagen where others wanted to train with him. Reich secured a permit to work in Denmark for 6 months, on April 30, 1933, so he’s only been in Vienna for few weeks Reich left Vienna alone by train traveling north to Poland and then west across the Baltic City arriving in Copenhagen and on May 1st shortly afterwards his lover, Elsa Lindenburg would join him and this really signals the end of Reich and his wife living together and he later moved to Prague so he is with Elsa at this point.Now it’s in Denmark according to Reich there he first begins to formulate in writing a series of laboratory experiments he wish to conduct to determine if the libido was identical with bioelectrical charge and if orgasm was an electrical discharge and these experiments drew upon Reich’s 12 years of clinical findings

Now it’s in Denmark according to Reich there he first begins to formulate in writing a series of laboratory experiments he wish to conduct to determine if the libido was identical with bioelectrical charge and if orgasm was an electrical discharge and these experiments drew upon Reich’s 12 years of clinical findings

plus the publish research of and he lists well over dozen scientists in his publish works about this. It’s one of things I am really impressed about is the bibliography in the references to the science that has come before him. And these studies that he sites, these are studies about the autonomic nervous system, the effect of various stimuli on amebic movement, bioelectricity in living matter, and the effect of emotions on electrical potential of skin. These are crucial for Reich’s experiments which would start in 1935. So you see he’s drawing upon an existing body of work at this time. Now what happens when he’s living in Denmark, his 6 month visa is not renewed so he decides he is going to move to Malmo, Sweden and before he actually makes the move he embarks on a four weeks solo trip through a variety of cities what he’s really looking for is a permanent place to relocate at this period of time, at some point he ends up in London meets with Ernest Jones of the psychoanalytic association, but he also visits renown physiologist name Wright who has a research institute in university of London. I am a little unclear, I have to do more research as to which Wright this is but Reich discusses his experiments with this individual. He is 6 months in Malmo and then his visa will not be renewed so he ends up living illegally in Denmark in the spring of 1934. And that summer, a gentleman by the name of Harald Schjelderup, director of the psychological institute of university of Oslo and a colleague of Nic Hoel who is one of the students comes to one of Reich’s courses. He also wanted to learn the techniques of character analysis. Reich was more eager than ever to begin laboratory experiments to explore the possible electrical nature of the libido.

Reich was more eager than ever to begin laboratory experiments to explore the possible electrical nature of the libido.

Schjelderup, who also had a background in physics, planted the seeds for Reich possibly moving to Oslo where he could train psychoanalyst in character analysis, lecture at the university and had an access to a scientific laboratory. We know that few months later Reich is expelled from the international psychoanalytic association at their big meeting in Lucerne in August 1934 and by the invitation of the Norwegian psychoanalysts Reich will move to Oslo. Reich and Elsa drove north to France and from Lucerne back to Denmark at the end of October at the invitation of the Norwegian psychoanalysts they move to Oslo Norway. This is the 5th time that Reich has moved in 20 months. He has gone from Berlin to Vienna, Vienna to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Malmo and illegally back to Denmark and now he is in Oslo. He also visited London and Paris. So now we are in the Fall of 1934 in Oslo and Reich writes in his journal after one and three quarters years of rowing a place to live again in Oslo 36 hours from the children, it is hard being away from the children and his reasons for moving was there in a very clear letter to his ex-wife, Annie, written shortly after his arrival, he said “I came to Oslo with some firm agreements to carry out my experiments”. So it’s very clear why he is in Oslo, he wants to go into the laboratory and this will be the first time he goes into a laboratory since medical school and these are Reich’s propose experiments about the possible electrical nature of sexuality. Now Reich had subsequently published two scientific papers in the first half of 34. All his papers he ultimately publishes are collected in this book. (Bion experiment and origin of life).

Now Reich had subsequently published two scientific papers in the first half of 34. All his papers he ultimately publishes are collected in this book. (Bion experiment and origin of life).

The first one was called The orgasm as an electrical physiological discharge, the second one was The basic antithesis of vegetative life functions and these two articles provide a theoretical framework for these laboratory experiments. In Reich’s two scientific papers in 34 again he draws upon 14 years of psychoanalytic and psychiatric clinical work plus his study of a leading biological and physiological research. In his first paper Reich identifies what he would come to call the four beat orgasm formula, mechanical tension, electrical charge, electrical discharge, mechanical relaxation and so in addition to the orgasms intimate and procreative aspects, Reich hypothesized that this four beat function was a fundamental biological function in all living matter

In his first paper Reich identifies what he would come to call the four beat orgasm formula, mechanical tension, electrical charge, electrical discharge, mechanical relaxation and so in addition to the orgasms intimate and procreative aspects, Reich hypothesized that this four beat function was a fundamental biological function in all living matter

“the orgastic function must be an integral part and a very elementary one at that of the world of nature, it contains in clear form the basic functions of all living substances; tension, relaxation, charge and discharge.” Reich also discussed in this article scientifically accepted facts about the human body as an electrolyte system that generates and conducts electricity. The fusion of two bodies in the sexual act is in itself an electrolyte system “the arrangement of membranes, boundary surfaces and fluids and joy in coituis points to the presence of a complete electrolyte system.” In his second scientific paper that year the basic antithesis vegetative life functions Reich said “In my opinion sexual excitation and anxiety are antithetical functions of all living substances in general and of the psychic apparatus in particular”. Reich also built upon prior

In his second scientific paper that year the basic antithesis vegetative life functions Reich said “In my opinion sexual excitation and anxiety are antithetical functions of all living substances in general and of the psychic apparatus in particular”

biological and physiological research to argue for an empirical fundamental link of the mind and the body body “we will try to prove that the known primary psychic and somatic functionings are absolutely identical with regard to basic life processes. It seems obvious that physiological and psychological research must meet in certain problem fields if they proceed correctly, the meeting ground is that of a vegetative nervous system with its relationship on the one hand to the basic biological functions and on the other to psychic mechanism”.

“we will try to prove that the known primary psychic and somatic functionings are absolutely identical with regard to basic life processes. It seems obvious that physiological and psychological research must meet in certain problem fields if they proceed correctly, the meeting ground is that of a vegetative nervous system with its relationship on the one hand to the basic biological functions and on the other to psychic mechanism”.

In this experiments Reich hoped to expand upon the experiments of those who had already previously verified and measured electrical potential of skin surfaces, pioneering 19th century physiologists Emil Dubois-Reymond Carl Ludwig, Ivan Tarchanoff, the neurologist Otto Veroguth, C.P. Richter, Hermann Rein in the early 20th century and the physiologist Victor and Rine of 1920’s, but their research of the skin’s electrical potential Reich said “fail to investigate how the specifically erogenous zone differ from the rest of the skin” so in another words Reich wanted to measure the skin surfaces of erogenous zone which had never been done in skin experiments before. So electrodes are placed on different skin surfaces of human subjects hooked up by wire leads to osilogram. The electrical charges of the skins resting potentials were recorded by osilogram light tracings onto a moving film strip. Significantly a few spikes stand out as having a much higher potential. Reich is referring to the genitals, nipples, lips, tongue and earlobes, “the sexual zone repeatedly showed deflections up to 20milivolts or one fifth of a volt” he says. So in other words the resting potentials of erogenous zones are already a little bit higher than just other skin surfaces. In subsequent experiments the pleasurable stroking and tickling of the subject’s tongue, lips, palm and nipple increase the electrical surface charge of the skin surfaces but unpleasurable pressure exerted upon these areas decrease their charge.” Reich also measured the electrical response to other sources of anxiety and pleasure. For example subjects who were purposely frightened by sudden noises shouts, popping bags or gongs showed a sudden drop in the electrical charge of the erogenous zone and experiments where salt was unexpectedly placed on the subject’s tongue causing unpleasure sense produced a decrease in the tongue’s electric charge, but the subjects’ pleasurable responses to sugar on the tongue are expressed by increases in electrical charge. Reich wrote “experimental investigation of skin potential  and pleasure and anxiety have supported the hypothesis that the process of excitation gives rise to two opposite directions of flow a bioelectrical current toward the periphery and toward the center.

Reich wrote “experimental investigation of skin potential  and pleasure and anxiety have supported the hypothesis that the process of excitation gives rise to two opposite directions of flow, a bioelectrical current toward the periphery and toward the center.

These two directions of current corresponds with his clinical observations of psychic and somatic movement toward the world during pleasure and away from the world during unpleasure, thus “the concept of libido as  a measure of psychic energy no longer remains a metaphor but refers to measurable electro energetic phenomena”. Now as for the specific origin of this electrical energy Reich concluded in his paper that the ganglia of the autonomic nervous system together with bodies’ membrane electrolyte biosystem functions as the source of the electrical surface charge. Reich was looking ahead for further research, he hypothesized” assumed that the orgasm is a fundamental manifestation of living matter, the orgasm formula a tension, charge, discharge relaxation must represent the general formula of all biological functions” and Reich now starts to plan his next series of experiments to study this biological rhythm of tension, charge, discharge and relaxation in the most basic form of all, single cell protozoa, ameba. So those will all be called his bioelectrical experiments. In future experiments so I am not going to move on to these experiments with protozoa and ameba but he says “the psychological institute at the university of Oslo with the work had been started was not equipped for this kind of work”. He neglects to say that he has had a falling out with Harald Schjelderup at this time and I have been in touch with Harald Schjelderup’s son, Dr. Wilhem Schjelderup in Oslo, we will be filming in a few weeks and he was initially little reluctant even to be involved in the film. He seems more amiable now but I am not sure our schedule is going to allow. This is because as I understand it Reich and his father parted with some very bad feelings. So it is really left to Reich and his supporters to put together a private laboratory. Reich’s laboratory including lights microscopes capable of magnifications of up to 45 hundred times, higher than what most biologists were using at the time. This was essential not only because Reich wanted to observe the formation of protozoa but he wanted to observe the internal functions and this is what he writes, “The vegetative currents which I had encountered in the course of my character analytic work and in my bioelectrical experiments on sexuality, struck me as so important that I decided to study them microscopically in protozoa.” So he is drawing a link between his clinical work and the bioelectrical experiments in his proposed experiments. Other equipment included autoclaves, dry sterilizes, significantly time lapse filming apparatus fixed to the microscopes and other equipment. Now according to the accepted air germ theory, protozoa developing in water and hay infusions from air germs as spores are everywhere. But Reich’s observation recorded on time lapse films captured a biological process not found in any scientific literature. In Reich’s water and hay infusions pieces of the water swelled hay disintegrated into sacks or vesicles, there were lively and motile. These vesicles grew larger and eventually detached themselves from the hay as ameba, a type of protozoa. In further experiments Reich observed that other organic substances which were infusing in water such as plant or food stuff also swelled up and broke down into these same motile vesicles which gradually evolved into ameba.

Reich observed that other organic substances which were infusing in water such as plant or food stuff also swelled up and broke down into these same motile vesicles which gradually evolved into ameba.

Since no biological literature made any mention of these organisms developing from steril decayed matter and evolving into ameba, Reich was perplex as to whether these vesicles were in fact living matter “As I grew more familiar with these preparations, I became more and more convinced that they were probably living forms which were so to speak complete.” So he concluded that these vesicles, these sacks is microorganisms were preliminary stages of life i.e. transitional forms from the inorganic and non-motile to the organic and motile state. He also gave a name to these vesicles he says, “My own convenience I call them bions” and he derives the word bions after the Greek word for life.

So he concluded that these vesicles, these sacks is microorganisms were preliminary stages of life i.e. transitional forms from the inorganic and non-motile to the organic and motile state. He also gave a name to these vesicles he says, “My own convenience I call them bions” and he derives the word bions after the Greek word for life.

Now what Reich finds is some observations that some of these bions when they are in proximity to bacteria, staph, strep and cancer cells will immobilize or kill these cells. This is something that he discovers which leads him into an entirely other area of research, and so for Reich these observations open up new and promising possibilities in bion research. The fact that they had this immobilizing and sometimes destructive affect on bacteria and even cancer cells. So by these new possibilities Reich realized that he needed major financial support for bion research. Now I’ve concluded that he has been doing this research for about a year, he is spending a lot of his own money and realizes he needs some official research and with the help of his good friend Malinofsky, the anthropologist, he has put in touch with someone working for the Rockefeller institute over in Europe and so Reich applies for funding to the Rockefeller institute in March of 1937 and this is what he writes in his application, “I have succeeded in producing and culturing steril colloidal lifelike structures, there is every reason to believe therefore that this is a successful experiment that does not merely imitate living products but also actually produces them.”

Reich applies for funding to the Rockefeller institute in March of 1937 and this is what he writes in his application, “I have succeeded in producing and culturing steril colloidal lifelike structures, there is every reason to believe therefore that this is a successful experiment that does not merely imitate living products but also actually produces them.”

In his privately funded laboratory he said “up to now friends and I have invested about 30,000 crowner which is over $100,000 today with monthly expenses of  3 to 4 hundred dollars which is anywhere to 6,000 dollars today.” But the development of bion research, he writes in his application, is proceeding so quickly that it is no longer possible to manage with private funds. Reich also tells the Rockefeller foundation that initial experiments” with staph, strep and cancer cells seem to indicate that the bions are produced and cultured in a thorough and comprehensive manner some hopeful prospects are opened up. And he says these phenomena indicate that every effort should be made to determine what affects the bions have on pathogenic states. The work should be focused essentially in the first instance on cancer research. Reich’s application is turned down and Jim Strick discusses this in great detail in his new book “Wilhelm Reich Biologist”. Now we’re talking about late into 1937 still in Oslo, over the next few weeks Reich’s research took a major leap forward. In the bion disintegration of sterilized liver sarcoma which are tumors of the connective tissue Reich observed not only the usual bions but also the presence of smaller reddish rod shape microorganisms with a putrid ammonic like odor. Reich injected these tiny rod shape bions into healthy laboratory mice. Some mice, died within 24 hours, those had survived developed cancer tumors in approximately 10 days. Consequently Reich would call this second type of bion the t-bacilli after the German  word “tod” for death and he speculated that they might be one of the cause of the of cancer. So we’re talking about two different kinds of bions, bions that seem to kill and immobilized bacteria and cancer cells and a smaller one that has in fact caused cancer in some mice.

In February of 1938, 2 years of his experiment, Reich publishes the bion clinical and experimental result and it’s this book here which is available in America, “Bion Experiments and the Origin of Life”, the original one was called “bion clinical and experimental report”. One of the things I find so fascinating about this book which I think sometimes gets overlooked, is it’s amazing bibliography, its scientific bibliography at the end in terms of all of the different materials that Reich has been researching, I think that’s sometimes forgotten by people who kind of diminish Reich’s scientific work. It is originally a 205 page book with 50 photographs all reprinted here, in it Reich presents basic experiments about the development and cultivability of these microorganisms called bions but he does not discuss his more recent research in canner and that was very customary of Reich to when he was getting into a new area of research to withhold the publication until he had more results, so there is no mention of the rather interesting results of interaction between bion and cancer cells in this particular book, this book galvanize Reich’s psychoanalytic scientific and political opponents in an effort to discredit his work and revoke his residency permit in Oslo. And so there are some articles in newspapers and all kinds of disparaging comments.

Now we are in March of 1938 and at this time Reich writes to two of his former American psychoanalytic students I guess you would call them who studied with him in Vienna, psychiatrist  Walter Brellin in New York City and Spurgeon English in Philadelphia. He write the same letter to both of them. “You’re indoubtedly sufficiently informed about the situation in Europe to understand the following question,” he is talking about the eminence of war and what’s going on with the rise of Nazism and he asks both of them “what opportunities currently exist in New York or Philadelphia for me to carry out my work.” So this is the first record that we have of him making inquiries to two of his former students for the possible immigration to America. And Reich also writes “increasingly my work involves biological experiments not to mention my clinical activities” which they’re very well aware of and he wish to know under what condition “I can consider moving to America with my entire laboratory.” So this is March of 1938 and really within the next couple months a major press campaign breaks out against Reich,

So this is March of 1938 and really within the next couple months a major press campaign breaks out against Reich

dozens upon dozens of articles attacking Reich’s reputation, competence and sanity appeared in moderate leftist and fascist newspapers in Oslo. Article authors included Leiv Kreyberg, a cancer pathologist, geneticist Otto Mohr, bacteriologist Theodore Thjotta and many others. Some of the titles were inflammatory i.e. Genius Deletant or Psychopath, proof that Reich is a fraud”, another one saying “God Reich is Dr. Reich an honest scientist” and among the more shameful articles was one recommending that Reich be sent to a concentration camp and another that called Reich a Jewish pornographer. So this is some of the reactions to his work in the press. He also has a number of people also writing on his behalf and two of them are the anthropologists Malinofsky and A.S. Neil and this is what Malinasky writes in a publishes letter and the press, “I consider his sociological works to be a distinct and valuable contribution towards science.

He also has a number of people also writing on his behalf and two of them are the anthropologists Malinofsky and A.S. Neil and this is what Malinasky writes in a published letter in the press, “I consider his sociological works to be a distinct and valuable contribution towards science.”

It would be very great loss if Dr. Reich could be in any way prevented from obtaining a full opportunity to work out his ideas and scientific discoveries” and there is this threat here that he is going to have his visa revoked and from England we hear from A.S. Neil who met him few years ago. This is what Neil writes in a published letter.“To me the campaign against Reich seems largely ignorant and uncivilized more like fascism than democracy the question is, is Reich a useful person who is bringing new knowledge to the world? From my part I feel that he is.”

This is what Neil writes in a published letter.” To me the campaign against Reich seems largely ignorant and uncivilized more like fascism than democracy, the question is: is Reich a useful person who is bringing new knowledge to the world? From my part I feel that he is.”

So Reich is going to step up his efforts to leave Oslo and he writes again to his students he says “now I think the moment has become acute to transfer my work to the USA”. And again he is writing to Brill and Spurgeon English and he has a wonderful quote where when he is talking about the horrible political situation here in this letter, he says “prominent Norwegian authors, physicians etc. begin to prepare immigration, fascism is sitting here in the far edge of Europe under the nose of socialist government like a cat waiting for victims.” So by January 1939 Reich’s bion and cancer research had included experiments with hundreds of healthy laboratory mice over period of 2 years and what he sees in this healthy laboratory mice is close to 200 of them are subjected to bion injections test the effects of these bions and to test the effects of these smaller T-bacilli and his getting some very favorable results in terms of beneficial effects of these bions.

Now let’s talk about his actual discovery of orgone energy. A lot of people don’t realize that orgone energy was discovered in a microscopic culture and so we’re now in January 1939 for the first time Reich use sea sands to cultivate bions and that sterilized sea sands heated to incandescence put in a potassium chloride solution to promote swelling, and this solution was inoculated on agar and egg medium to form another growth that under the microscope showed large packets and he called them packet bions for the shape large packets of bions glimmering with an intense blue color, Reich called them SAPA bions, and packet bions. He observed that there were much bluer than these other bions and that they had even stronger biological effect than any previous bion cultures. The effect of sapa bions he writes “on rod bacteria, protozoa and the T-bacilli was more powerful than the other bions. Brought together with cancer cells they kill or paralyze the cells even at a distance of approximately 10 microns and Reich filmed all of these processes with time lapse movie photography. Soon Reich’s eyes began to hurt, he develops a conjunctivitis and starts to feel other effects and he begins to suspect he puts them in a dark room and they fog up the plate and all kinds of things from these subjective and objective observations over four weeks, Reich initially believed that this radiation was radioactive and this was not an unreasonable assumption given that radio activity had been discovered in other natural substances such as Uranium salts at the end of the 19th century and in pitchblend by the Curreies in 1898 so he initially feels that there is perhaps radioactivity coming from these sand packet bions. Reich was also exploring what he had first thought to be electromagnetic properties of this radiation. Here he was following the thread of his earlier bioelectrical experiments that I talked about sexuality which verified electrical properties in the bodies in the biological system and one of Reich principle tools for determining if these sapa bion radiation was electricity was the Faraday cage. Faraday cage was invented in 1836 by Michael Faraday and it is a metal lining closure it could be mesh it could be solid; it blocks electromagnetic energy from the outside to insure that the enclosure is free of electrical charge and in inside of the cage you can use electroscopes to confirm the absence of any influx of electricity. Reich used faradae cages of various sizes including one large enough to sit in in which he worked and observed things and to isolates sapa phenomena from any electrical energy,

Reich used faradae cages of various sizes including one large enough to sit in in which he worked and observed things and to isolates sapa phenomena from any electrical energy,

Reich placed test tubes in pittry dishes of the sapa bions cultures inside faradae cages from microscopic work in observation and he documented his observations in his laboratory notebooks in his journals and various letters at the time. But he said to a Dutch physicist who was sharing some of ideas with Reich in some of his letters even though there is this amazing phenomena he says, “I do not wish to abandon the true subject of my work, the canner experiments” so he’s been working on these cancer experiments but the discovery of this what could be a radiation is taking them off at least temporarily into a different direction. Investigating the properties of sapa radiation was already a major focus of Reich’s laboratory but he soon came to conclude that this radiation might be an entirely different form of radiation, that it’s not radioactive, it’s not electricity, it’s not electromagnetism and so he in a follow up letter to this physicist says “our mysteries, something does not appear to be ordinary electricity or ordinary magnetism but it influences matter in such a way that phenomena resembling magnetism and electricity manifests themselves with the electroscope and for example, metal such as copper and iron seem to attract the radiation and then to reflect it and the one experiment metal objects that in proximity to these SAPA bions such as scissors, pencils, needles they become highly magnetize. So something is going on here. Around this time Reich realized that sapa radiation was not electromagnetism. He gave this energy a name, and when we go into the archives and look at his letters, his diary entries and his entries from his laboratory notebooks, we can pinpoint the actual days when he first started using the term “orgone” and it was in March of 1939 and so he is calling this radiation orgone energy.

Around this time Reich realized that sapa radiation was not electromagnetism. He gave this energy a name, and when we go into the archives and look at his letters, his diary entries and his entries from his laboratory notebooks, we can pinpoint the actual days when he first started using the term “orgone” and it was in March of 1939 and so he is calling this radiation orgone energy.

He derives the word orgone from two words orgasm because its discovery from his study of the orgasm function tension, charge, discharge, relaxation and the word organic because this radiation seems to highly charge organic materials.

And now he is again stepping up his efforts to get to America, he is now in touch with a man named Theodore Wolf who has studied with him who is in America, a Swiss psychiatrist and is trying to also get Wolf helping him out to move to America.

And now he is again stepping up his efforts to get to America, he is now in touch with a man named Theodore Wolf who has studied with him who is in America, a Swiss psychiatrist and is trying to also get Wolf helping him out to move to America.

Now this letter I think is particularly important because it really shows you where Reich’s interests are, this is a letter that he writes to Wolf in May of 1939”, absolutely essential laboratory work swallows enormous sums of cash. I assume that by doing about 4 hours of vegeto-therapeutic work each day”, and that’s his therapy “by doing four hours of this work a day I will be able to earn enough to carry the cost of the laboratory. At the present time my aspirations are concerned solely on concluding the cancer research and the radiation work.” This is where Reich’s mind is in May of 1939 when he comes to America he wants to work a few hours a day doing the therapy so he can support the orgone research and the cancer research. Anyway he arrives in America on August 28, 1939, arrives just a few days before the Nazis march into Poland and it’s always interesting to speculate what would have happened if Reich hadn’t come over here. Here is a man who has spoken anti-fascist anti-Nazi very outspoken, he had been a member or very active with socialist and communist parties, he has a Jewish background although he is not practicing Jew and he has been a psychoanalysts. At that time psychoanalysts was considered by the Nazi’s to be a Jewish scientist so it seems pretty clear that Reich probably would not have survived the war. He gets his laboratory up and running very quickly in New York, he had transferred over before he’s ever even come and what he wants to do is he wants to continue his work with the sapa bions and to see what effects they have on mice. But he had never before actually experimented with cancer mice, he had experimented mice but he had never experimented with mice that actually had cancer, he had experimented with cancer cells and cancer tissues. So what he does gets here in August by December he has some cancer mice that have some tumors and he now starts to inject the sapa bions into cancer mice. His first injection is in December of 1939. Injects sapa bions into his first mouse with existing cancer to test the effects of orgone radiation, has a tumor there the size of a bean. Over the next few days Reich records in his laboratory notebook and journal that the mouse’s mammary tumor was now shrinking. Six days after the injection on December 22 he recorded that the tumor was 50% smaller, the size of a small pee and he writes “This was an enormous success but past experiences warn me not to be overly optimistic.” He will continue for the next few months to inject sapa bions into cancer mice with some rather interesting results. He continues to try to isolate orgone energy using faraday cages but he realizes that he needs to adapt the faradae cages because of variety observations that he has and so he concluded of course that the radiation is not electricity. He has already concluded that over there and so to help keep the radiation inside a small faraday cage, Reich replaced the mesh walls of a faraday cage with sheet metal and then he also starts to add organic material on the side of this faraday cages and we’re talking about this like one cubic foot accumulators and a faraday cages and so by adding these external organic layers to an existing faraday cage Reich has essentially transformed a traditional faraday cage into something new, into what really will become his most important research tool what he calls an orgone energy accumulator and he had actually first coined the term orgone energy accumulator back in April in Oslo, he wrote in a journal that one of his tasks was “the invention of an orgone energy accumulator”. So orgone energy accumulators first very small, evolved from an existing technology very acceptable one called faradae cages but what he finds out in these modified faradae cages and that’s what I call them, his orgone accumulators is that even without sapa bions in there he is seeing some radiation phenomenon, and even when he cleans all the walls in dismantles them and puts them together he still seeing the phenomenon of some radiation in there and this is when he starts to think, is this energy everywhere? Where does it come from? And I’m just going to kind of move ahead quickly, so that’s where he is, in June and July of 1940 he is speculating that orgone energy may be everywhere and now he is on a camping trip up to Maine with his wife, a trip he’s been wanting to make for months and he ends up in a cabin on the shores of Mooselookmeguntic Lake which is the largest of six rangely lakes in western Maine and it is here over the lake where he makes observations through tubes of flickering phenomenon in the atmosphere similar to what he saw in these modified faradae cages, his orgone accumulators and concludes in fact that this is an atmospheric phenomenon that this is where the energy comes from and so that is a discovery that he makes in July of 1940 up in the Rangeley lakes region. And so Reich’s conclusion that this biological energy which he had first discovered radiating from sapa bions was also a ubiquitous atmospheric energy and so these accumulators not only hold in the radiation from sapa bions but they can attract atmospheric orgone energy because of the alternating layers of metallic and organic material.

And so Reich’s conclusion that this biological energy which he had first discovered radiating from sapa bions was also a ubiquitous atmospheric energy and so these accumulators not only hold in the radiation from sapa bions but they can attract atmospheric orgone energy because of the alternating layers of metallic and organic material.

Reich’s discovery that orgone was an atmospheric energy together with his conclusion that orgone accumulators attracted and contained atmospheric energy lead him logically to his next inquiry; could orgone accumulators be effective as a way to treat cancer mice and so what he does instead of injecting sapa bions into cancer mice he starts to put mice into small orgone accumulators and sees that this has an even better affect in terms of a immobilizing cancer cells, immobilizing tumors reducing tumors than the sapa bions do. So that’s his first use of orgone accumulators for cancer research which was with mice. And then what he does is by November 1940 and this is just a few months after coming back from Maine and after doing these experiments, he has the first large orgone accumulator built. November 18 Reich writes in his diary “today the first orgone accumulator for human being arrive and works very strongly a 150 x 80 x 100 cm which is 5 by 2 ½ by 3 ¼ feet.” So now there is a large orgone accumulator and Reich had his first large accumulator built to study people’s subjective reactions inside the accumulator, he is also noticing these accumulators there is some sort of temperature differences above the accumulators and so he has concluded that this is a ubiquitous energy and so at the end of 1940 I picture him sitting alone at night some winter night it’s December 30, he writes a letter to Albert Einstein who is now in Princeton, he says “Dear Professor Einstein I would very much like to meet with you to discuss the difficult and urgent scientific matter.” Goes into little bit more detail and wants to meet with him. Now when I studied Reich’s life and work chronologically one of the thing is an unfolding narrative one of the things that really impresses me is all of the drama that can be infused in a single year and you can say that about many years but I find 1941 and 1942 infused with so much work so much drama so much progress forward. So for example 1941, he will begin 1941 with two meetings with Albert Einstein. He will end that year in about the 3rd week of his incarceration of Ellis Island as a possible enemy alien. So this is a quite a year for Wilhelm Reich. He meets with Einstein twice, I’m just going to kind of skip over some of these, he meets with him in January explains some of these things, returns brings him a small accumulator Einstein will eventually do some experiments with the accumulator. There is a temperature difference above the accumulator. Einstein will come up with a whole different explanation. Reich will send him a 26 page letter refuting these findings with all his experiments. I think it’s a mistake most people make when they think of Reich and Einstein they tend to focus on this issue of about the significant scientific temperature difference above the accumulator than in the surround air. There is much more going on here in terms of the subsequent correspondence. If you look at all of the correspondence that Reich sends to him he is trying to bring all of his research to the attention of Albert Einstein, telling them about the some of the beneficial effects. Einstein does not return his letters, and in March of that year Reich will begin his first experiments with terminal cancer patients. I just want to go into a little more detail about that because he has written 2 or 3 letters to Einstein talking about his bion research and the potential of it, Einstein hasn’t returned anything and then Reich now starts to see of variety of cancer patients. And when you look at his first terminal cancer patients it is significant as to what he is looking for what he is measuring and what some of the results are, so for example, his first experiment is with a woman who has been bed ridden she has a large tumor in her breast, she has several compressed vertebrae, her respiration is severely impaired, Reich uses all his psychiatric and psychoanalytic skills to draw an entire profile of this woman her emotional past, her health past, her sexual past everything to get a real feeling and this woman starts to sit daily in a large orgone accumulator for 30 minutes a day and these are some of the results that Reich will record from his first patient. One of the things he does with all of his patients before they start, he establishes a base line for their hemoglobin content, hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carry oxygen form the lungs to the tissues. In healthy woman the normal count is 12-15 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter which is a 10th of a liter. Hemoglobin tests are often used to test for anemia and significantly low counts are symptoms of more severe health problems and so these are some of the results that he will record here.” I began with sessions with 30 minutes”, he writes in one of the case histories.” During the first session the skin between her shoulder blades became red from the second session on the pain in the region of the 12th dorsal vertebrae which was I believe crushed, decrease during the treatment and this improvement usually lasted until the next session. After the second session her hemoglobin content rose from 35% normal before she ever gotten accumulator, after the second session it’s up to 40% normal. After 4 sessions it rises 51% normal after 7 sessions it’s at 55% normal, the tumor in the left breast was no longer palpable after the 8th orgone radiation and he would also take blood test that he had evolved to which could sort of gage the Vigor of the blood. After few weeks the woman who was bed ridden who had to be brought there by relatives is now taking a subway to his house. The second patient he takes on a few days later and again these are from people who had heard about his promising mice experiments. This is a 57 year old widow with numerous tumors localize mainly in the cranium, in the bones of the arms and her hemoglobin content was 33% normal, on the 3rd day was 41%, on the 6th day it was 55%, on the 8th day it’s 85% normal, so something is going on here and I always call attention to these results because I hear too many people talking about using accumulators, oh I felt warm inside I felt something. So what if I was in an enclosure I’d feel warm too but Reich is taking objective data here of hemoglobin content, the results of various blood test, of the palpability of tumors. So he has several indicators which you see are consistent with all of these terminal cancer patients and they are terminal and every single one you see that hemoglobin content rising with each use of the accumulator and tumors softening and sometimes dissolving. Reich never claims he has a cure for cancer and there are all signs and affidavits saying he doesn’t have a cure for cancer. Reich writes a letter to Einstein summarizing some of this and saying look how important this is, what I’ve been doing here and he says that things that have happened in the course of the past ten weeks “since my last report to you are of such importance that I feel I should let you know about them” and he is always caution that there is no way of telling how long these beneficial results are going to be but he’s trying to get the attention of Einstein and Einstein never responds to any of this.

I am just going to go another brief episode and if you have any questions then we’ll do in question and answer because this is significant. Here I think and someone should do a monograph about this I think it’s very important. So this is early 1941and the next brief episode from the summer of 1941 is when I find so impressive and instructive in that Reich is connecting his scientific research with its medical implications. So Reich left New York at the end of June by that time he was treating a total of 7 terminal cancer patients in New York, he left them all within the care of doctors who were working with them and he goes to Maine. He has a “make shift” laboratory in a cabin he’s bought on Mosselookmeguntic Lake. He hasn’t bought the farm yet that will become Orgonon but he is working. He writes a letter to each of his cancer patients from Maine, “I did not leave the city and you without good reason and not merely for pleasure purposes. In this year since September 1940 so many things which have tremendous importance that happened that I had to find several weeks of quietness to coordinate and to write down the results achieve thus far. I have learned so much from what you had experienced that I dare hope to be able to apply your contributions to scientific research upon other sick human beings.”

He writes a letter to each of his cancer patients from Maine, “I did not leave the city and you without good reason and not merely for pleasure purposes. In this year since September 1940 so many things which have tremendous importance that happened that I had to find several weeks of quietness to coordinate and to write down the results achieve thus far. I have learned so much from what you had experienced that I dare hope to be able to apply your contributions to scientific research upon other sick human beings.”

Now he had discovered that electroscopes discharge more slowly inside the accumulators than outside of them and this he considers significant evidence that there is some sort of radiation there. And he also is hypothesizing or seeing in some preliminary results a connection between the orgone tension in an orgone accumulator and atmospheric conditions and times of day so all these doctors in New York are taking care of seven terminal cancer patients of his, Reich is up in Maine in a make shift laboratory and he conducts a 47 day experiment. For 47 days from July 5 to August 20th from 8:00 AM until midnight Reich measured the speed of electroscopic discharges in the open air and inside a small accumulators and he’s brought several of these one cubic foot accumulators. The data confirmed Reich’s earlier findings that significant variations in electroscopic discharges occur during changes of weather indicating a higher orgone energy tension on sunny days, lower orgone tension during precipitation. These experiments in Maine also showed significant variations in electroscopic discharges at certain times of day indicating a generally high orgone tension from noon to 4pm and a lower orgone tension in an early morning and late evening and this is really a good example of all of Reich’s research orgone energy research its continual observations over long periods of time. While he is in Maine he writes letters also to the doctors tending to his terminal cancer patients back in New York and to one them he wrote “I have found some very important and significant features of the atmospheric orgone tension, it isolates very strongly between the morning hours and the evening hours with the high point at around 4 PM”. Reich was also realizing the importance of this Rangely lakes region to his work. “I do not regret spending so much time here; I am even more convinced now that this research work which can be done in quietness here is of the greatest importance for the effectuation of the radiation on sick people.” So what he is doing is his experiments up there in terms of the optimum times for orgone tension weather condition, times of a day, he is relaying back to the doctors there and he is telling them this has some sort of effect on how we will treat people with orgone radiation that there are certain weather conditions you need to do within, there are certain times of day to do within So I really like this link that he is making between the research he is doing up there and its implications. He passes all this information on to Einstein in yet another letter and of course gets nothing back. There are a couple more episodes I want to talk about but I am out of time I apologize for going so long. Thank you.

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The Future of Orgonomy


The following is a transcription of the lecture given by Dr. Morton Herskowitz at the Institute for Orgonomic Science Conference on April 11, 2015 at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

The essence of life as I have learned is change and one of the first things that struck me as I walked into this room today is that I recalled a time probably 30 or 40 years ago when we used to give speeches and talks about Orgonomy at NYU. Now I forget how frequently we did it whether it was once a week or once a month, I do remember that a room almost as large as this was filled, and I walk into this room and it’s hardly filled, and I think what the hell has happened. Why is this room not more full than they were in NYU? And the fact is that at that time Reich was hot and the village was full of Reich, Greenwich village that is. Intellectuals talked about Reich and that was a hot subject. And today Reich is spoken of by relatively few intellectuals. Very few people are applying to become therapists in the psychiatric orgone therapy and the scene is totally different. It doesn’t worry me particularly because I remember many years ago when the decline was already in progress and I had a speaking engagement in Montevideo and the opening session was held in a room not dissimilar to the academy of music with one balcony after another and on opening night the city hall was filled in Montevideo which was amazing to me, and as I have spoken to many places around the world I know that for example there is immense popularity of Reich in Finland and in Spain, so I think the fact that we are a few is simply a phase. One thing I think is that the praise of Dr. Strick’s book is going to start a little fuss and perhaps our numbers will increase again.

I want to talk about something that I can’t get out of my mind which is a book review written by the head of psychiatry at Columbia University called Shrink, and I had not yet read book I have only read the book review in the New York Times. The thesis of the book is that psychiatry is finally awakening from a time almost of stupor, he thinks that we spend a half a century listening to Freud who he thinks is full of empty talk and finally we have arrived at a time of scientific psychiatry that is medicine. Included in his review is a brief section on Reich who he includes in a section devoted to fakes, magicians, quacks and he describes Reichian therapy thus, “people put tubes around our throats and squeeze into orgone accumulators for various sensations.” Now that’s his description of psychiatric orgone therapy. It’s wild and it’s the fantasy of a sick adolescent and I can’t get it out of my mind. The fact that the head of psychiatry of Columbia University first of all had such a fantastic imagination to think that his description describes psychiatric orgone therapy but secondly to have the chutzpah to put Freud down who has awakened the lives and minds of people all over the world as easily as he does, can’t help but make me think of this guy standing at the judgement of Copernicus, or Galileo or Bruno and yelling “burn them! burn them!” Because that’s essentially the kind of character type who would write such a book. I think that’s all I’m going to say now.

To watch the video, please click on the link below

Posted in Biopathies & Psychiatric Orgone TherapyComments (2)

Who was Wilhelm Reich and what is orgonomy?


The following is a transcription of the lecture given by Dr Harry Lewis at the Institute for Orgonomic Science Conference on April 11, 2015 at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.


I’m pretty much the only orgonomist working in New York City these days; which tells you something about the state of Orgonomy! But there are many who are interested in Reich’s work and it’s beginning to spread.


I’m pretty much the only orgonomist working in New York City these days; which tells you something about the state of Orgonomy! But there are many who are interested in Reich’s work and it’s beginning to spread.

More important than my personal website is that we have a group in New York that has been going for some at least 20 years or more. I want to mention that it is primarily been supported and made possible by David Silver who is up front here videoing. If you go to our website, wilhelmreich.net, you can get access to over 20 years of lectures we have run; regular lectures, dozens and dozens of lectures — both by myself and others including Dr.Victor Sobey (a close close and longtime associate of Dr. Reich) and Dr. Michael Rodenberg, who was one of Reich’s students; not trained by Reich, because Reich died before Dr. Rothenberg finished medical school; but Dr. Rodenberg was a pediatric psychiatrist and orgonomist. He was the head of pediatric psychiatry in Washington State University Medical School and was contemporary of Dr. Herskowitz. He died, unfortunately quite young from ALS. But there is wonderful range of subjects all recorded on CDs and then we have film or video, but many of these things are now on YouTube or Twitter. So I think I would recommend that you go to www.wilhemreich.net or to my own website which basically talks about our work. And I spoke to couple of people who contacted me earlier in the day before we got started, feel free if you’re in New York area to get in touch with me, we have periodic lectures. We just did, Dr. Bennett, myself and few others just did a major presentation at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, on the influence of Reich on psychoanalysis from the beginning to the end which, I guess, is a preface to my talk. Let me state, just briefly, asking me to give a presentation on who was Wilhelm Reich is a little bit of overkill! I want to point out that we have two outstanding historians present in the room and both of them will be talking a little bit today, both of them can tell you in far more precise detail who Reich was historically and development of his work. One is James Strick who has just published a spectacularly wonderful work on Reich as a scientist “Wilhelm Reich Biologist”, the other is Dr. Phillip Bennett, who is an active social historian of Reich’s work and archivist in a sense of, he’s the guy we go to get information and find out if we’re right or wrong, I’m sure he’s going to tell me about 20 or 30 things that I got wrong in my talk some of them I argue with him about. But that said, you’ll have an ample opportunity to ask questions; you’ll also have, if he stays around Dr. Morton Herskowitz, who was there for much of it. So the first thing I want to say specifically about Reich’s life and work is that really his Life and Work are functionally identical and if you know what functionally identical means in terms of orgonomic study that will be obvious in terms of what I’m trying to say. Functionally identical means that they have just different expressions of the same totality in this case the organism “Wilhelm Reich”.

So the first thing I want to say specifically about Reich’s life and work is that really his Life and Work are functionally identical and if you know what functionally identical means in terms of orgonomic study that will be obvious in terms of what I’m trying to say. Functionally identical means that they have just different expressions of the same totality in this case the organism "Wilhelm Reich".

And Reich himself often commented on the fact that from the earliest days, as James Strick points that out in his introduction, that Reich often felt that from almost birth on (he was born on a farm) that he was interested in natural phenomena in life and life forms and he was introduced to natural biological behavior and sexuality through seeing and identifying and interacting with the life on the farm. So in a sense Reich’s work is consistent from beginning to end and the thing that unifies it as Reich himself comments, towards the end of his career, looking back; the thing that unifies it all — and you’ll hear talked about actively today — is energy and the attempt to understand energetic function and not just the philosophical concept of energy which had been around from the romantic period on or even going further back this general idea of energy or life energy; elan vital. Reich was really interested in what makes us run, and not just us, but what makes life possible and what life is; and for him life is also functionally identical with energy and energetic function.

Reich was really interested in what makes us run, and not just us, but what makes life possible and what life is; and for him life is also functionally identical with energy and energetic function.

Towards the end interestingly he began to think that possibly the line between life and nonliving is not as clear as humans tend to rather arrogantly assume that the line between so called lower forms of animal life and human life is significant. For Reich I think it becomes clear that that significance is greatly diminished over the years.

Reich was born March 24, 1897 he lived to be 60. He lived a relatively short life, but it was jam packed.

Reich was born March 24, 1897 he lived to be 60. He lived a relatively short life, but it was jam packed.

He grew up on a farm in what was loosely called Russo Poland; an area of the Austro-Hungarian empire that tended to switch hands between the Russians and the Poles and the Germans and the Austrians. He lives there until he’s forced out by World War One. He joins the Austrian army becomes a lieutenant in a gunnery outfit. He makes the comment, if you read his “Passion of Youth”, that seeing real war and real fighting convinced him that the best place to be was up in the mountains looking down on it rather than being in it. So he finishes that and goes to Vienna because his farm has been confiscated. He enters, as it seems typical for many, Freud did this too; his first study at university was law. He quickly became quite disenchanted with that, moved into medicine and it’s there that I think one of the most significant points in Reich’s life begins which is not just the meeting with Freud but the sudden interest connecting to his interest in life function and biology. Actually in many ways he goes into medicine probably James Strick and Philip Bennett can address this more accurately, but he goes into it probably more because it’s connected to biology or biological research and biological knowledge then it is simple a desire to practice medicine. In a very real sense, and interestingly, (including a number of people who I know) — and I have a number of patients believe it or not who were seen by Reich and they’re still alive — he wasn’t as interested in doing clinical work per se as he was in finding out what happens and how people function and what the connection to biological life and function are or were. So in Vienna at this time, living in a cold-water flat, basically supporting himself while he did medical school, I’m saying this to give you some idea of the amazing capabilities of his mind you get a very good sense of this if you read the four volumes of his autobiography. He not only consumes masses of information while in medical school, he also supports himself by tutoring other medical students and begins to connect with a group of very very radical young clinicians or medical school students, most significant of them being Otto Fenichel who became a close friend and associate and they begin to decide that they cannot get enough information from their medical school studies or in the laboratory, their education; primarily there is no one willing to discuss human sexuality or sexual function at all or just about no one except some guy who has a seminar that meets every once in a while named Sigmund Freud and a small group around him and they begin to attend those meetings. It’s there that Reich finds the primary direction in his life in the Vienna years particularly Vienna and Berlin from roughly 1918 when he arrives to 1930 or so when he goes to Berlin in 1933; it’s the contact with the psychoanalytic community and the psychoanalytic left; the younger more vibrant and more radical thinking psychoanalysts around Freud. He is seen by Freud immediately as one of the most gifted of the potential students and at one point it’s recorded that Freud saw him as the next in line for leadership.

He is seen by Freud immediately as one of the most gifted of the potential students and at one point it’s recorded that Freud saw him as the next in line for leadership.

Why and how that changes is a very interesting question, which I think again some of the other speakers can address or you can ask questions once I finish. He gives one of his first lectures on to the general psychoanalytic community and is criticized for being a little bit too interested in sex which is an interesting comment, but he continues with Freud’s approval through the initial stages and most significantly during this period of his historical rundown. He encounters the fact that training is almost nonexistent so the way one became a psychoanalyst as Reich enters this community, was — you met one of the older guys who thought you were bright and they said to you, “you seem like a bright young fellow or young woman”, –Freud was very supportive of women entering psychoanalysis and often he is not given enough credit– you seem like a bright young fellow or young lady, here is a card and tomorrow someone will come and present my card to you and start doing treatment and listen and when you have a question and don’t understand something come to me and we’ll talk about it. That was how you became a psychoanalyst. Reich very quickly said that this wasn’t adequate and began to appeal to Freud for permission to set up a training seminar and this led to the founding of the first formal training seminar in psychoanalysis. Reich, a little bit to his dismay, was not chosen to be the leader but moved into that position and became a dominant figure in that group; and is out of that group that he produces his first two significant works, one would be the “Impulsive Character” and the other being “Character Analysis” which is in a sense our textbook to some degree for doing not only character analytic treatment but orgonomic treatment;

Reich began to appeal to Freud for permission to set up a training seminar and this led to the founding of the first formal training seminar in psychoanalysis. Reich, a little bit to his dismay, was not chosen to be the leader but moved into that position and became a dominant figure in that group; and is out of that group that he produces his first two significant works, one would be the “Impulsive Character” and the other being “Character Analysis” which is in a sense our textbook to some degree for doing not only character analytic treatment but orgonomic treatment.

Although most people are always shocked that it’s not at all a textbook in a way that you would expect a textbook to be, it doesn’t tell you how to do it, it really tells you how to engage and what questions to ask and what to think about and what to expect in studying the human organism and its behavior and its ways of basically weaseling out of responsibility for being alive. It offers as Dr. Reich would later say: A Method of Approach! It is also during these years, between early 1920’s to 1930, that Reich becomes significantly radicalized; meaning that he becomes actively involved with the left in Vienna and Berlin; but mostly in Vienna. This might not seem very significant to people today since the left is who knows where these days; not the kind of organized movement that it was when Reich encountered it. He joins the left socialist and communist movement. He becomes active. He also becomes very interested in how you can bring treatment to the masses and becomes very involved in the leadership of the movement called the SexPol, in which they created mental health hygiene and sexual health hygiene clinics throughout Vienna;

He also becomes very interested in how you can bring treatment to the masses and becomes very involved in the leadership of the movement called the SexPol, in which they created mental health hygiene and sexual health hygiene clinics throughout Vienna;

in the ghettos, in the working communities and brought treatment but most importantly brought the ability for individuals to come in and get answers to questions that they wanted to ask. He also starts giving active speeches to the young and to youth and from all accounts these gatherings were equivalent to rock concerts today; they were very well attended, and very active. He even allowed people who were not supporters to come, provided that they were respectful and he answers to all questions seriously. This was a very unique kind of event. He was obviously a very charismatic and a strong leader.

He was obviously a very charismatic and strong leader. I would say that Reich was a psychoanalytic Marxist and basically always, through his entire work, a radical, not conservative, not left not right but radical; that means active, energetic, Reich was actually one of the early phenomenologists in the sense that he was interested in studying phenomena, particularly the energy that drives phenomena.

It’s during this period of time that he also sits down and begins, and this is typical of the way Reich works; and I think James Strick makes the point that he works this way as a scientist too; that’s all of a piece. He decides that he’s going to write about and access Marxism; so what he does is — he consumes the entire works of Marx and Engels. I think it is significant to mention Engels here since all too often he is pushed to the side; but Reich was very interested in Engels; Engels made some very salient and very important contributions to understanding of mass behavior, and it’s out of his studies for about six months or so (his intensive studies of Marx and Engels) that he begins to come up with a way to connect his psychoanalytic character analytic studies and work and at the community activism with Marxist theory and Marxist socialist action. As a result of this he begins to write on the subject and I think Dr. Bennett will give you more details on his early attempts to write on the connection between Marxist materialist theory and psychoanalysis. This sets the pattern for the rest of Reich’s life; which angers a significant portion of the psychoanalytic community particularly the older, more established psychoanalytic community; it also disturbs the more conservative elements of the left, particularly the communist party and some of the socialist adjuncts; so again Reich tends to be on his own, he has some clear supporters, he’s very charismatic, he attracts both young people and other scholars and artists, he was very involved with arts and he begins to build a circle around him and gain great deal of attention, but also a great deal of distrust by the psychoanalytic establishment as well as the leftist establishment in that he’s pushing for a kind of initiative that they’re not comfortable with; that is a little bit unsettling. Reich is not a communist! I would say that Reich was a psychoanalytic Marxist and basically, always, through his entire work, a radical, not conservative, not left not right but radical; that means active, energetic, actually with one of my colleagues here, Dr. Bingham, who is working phenomenology, Reich was actually one of the early phenomenologist in the sense that he was interested in studying phenomena, particularly the energy that drives phenomena. So as things would have it, you know it’s pretty obvious by 1933 he is not really welcome anywhere near Vienna or Berlin and has to escape! and there is a very dramatic escape under false names and on trains at night and he winds up after various attempts getting established first in Denmark, where he is not welcomed, finally settling in Oslo Norway. Now it’s very important to understand that the Norwegians, the Scandinavians in general, were extremely supportive of Reich and many of them had come to Vienna and Berlin to study with Reich specifically. So it’s very hard for us, who have a small and nice group, but small, to understand that for Reich was one of the key figures; but that as Reich himself later said, it’s wonderful to be the shark in the waters until the goldfish realize that they can organize and stop you and he begins to get attacked both from the social activists political side as well as from the psychoanalytical movement and unbeknownst to him, Freud is persuaded to abandon his support for Reich and gradually Reich is isolated in the psychoanalytic community, and without going into great detail, is essentially expelled, although he would argue that he quit before they expelled him; again Dr. Bennett has been researching some of the history of this as to the exact details. What happened specifically is that Anna Freud acting as her father’s agent arranged for him to be removed from the International Psychoanalytic Association; with a promise from the Scandinavians that he can join the Scandinavian Norwegian analytic community. He arrives in Oslo and decides that he no longer wants to be a formal member of the psychoanalytic community and establishes at this point an independent organization. In Oslo, where I’ve been beginning to work actively and where there is still a deep connection to Reich’s work. In Oslo Reich accomplishes two major shifts in his work that will determine the latter part of his life. First, he begins to build an organization that begins to incorporate his discoveries in character analytic work and in biology and physiology; he begins to develop a technique that he calls vegetotherapy. Some of you might have heard of this. In Norway it is still one of the primary forms of clinical practice. He begins to work actively on the human body; he begins to work actively on the human character structure and the armor and he begins to set a goal that will become central to orgonomic practice and one of the big problems, that non-orgonomist have with Reich’s work, is he sets a goal that health requires full pulsation of the organism — meaning: the ability of the organism to expand and contract freely or fully to its fullest potential and that can only be regulated through work but most significantly through the orgasm reflex the orgasm function.

He sets a goal that health requires full pulsation of the organism—meaning; the ability of the organism to expand and contract freely or fully to its fullest potential and that can only be regulated through work but most significantly through the orgasm reflex the orgasm function.

He is particular and meticulous in his study of this and he begins to do laboratory research on the nature and function of the orgasm, attempting to demonstrate the existence of Freud’s theoretical premise of the libido; the libido energy. Remembering that Freud very specifically states that he believed eventually somebody would study the human organism and proof the existence of libido energy as a real substance, not as a theoretical or philosophical premise.

He is particular and meticulous in his study of the nature and the function of the orgasm, attempting to demonstrate the existence of Freud’s theoretical premise of the libido, the libido energy. Remembering that Freud very specifically states that he believes eventually somebody would study the human organism and prove the existence of libido energy as a real substance not as a theoretical philosophical premise.

Reich, in a sense, always had this quality of being at the right idea at the wrong time; he decides to demonstrate this and he does; he successfully demonstrates the existence of this energy and its function at the very time that the psychoanalytic community and most other scientists are moving away from that, because it’s not comfortable and it’s leading to attacks by the moderates and the conservative right. This leads in Norway (if you’ve never been to Norway– it’s a small community where everybody knows everybody and it was smaller even so in his day. So he becomes a target for increasing attacks, he retreats more and more into his laboratory. I was there this last summer and it’s unusual for those of us who are interested in Reich.(But used to his being very marginalized here in the United States…) His home and laboratory has a plaque on it which is continuously stolen and replaced but it says that this was the home of Wilhelm Reich and this is where his laboratory was and this became an active center and landmark. He became active and he was so active he complains in “Beyond Psychology” that he couldn’t go out to a café without being either attacked or adulated and so he felt that he didn’t have any private life; which he longed for. But in Norway as he becomes more and more visible, more and more active, more and more central to the issues in Norway; key figures begin to emerge and become his students. He begins to attract so many students that move away from the center of psychoanalytic study that psychoanalysts begin to attack and particularly his closest associate and friend Otto Fenichel begins to organize an active campaign against him. Reich was often accused of being paranoid but we now know, from the archives and from the letters and from the writings, that this was not Reich’s invention. Fenichel was actively plotting against Reich and using Reich’s first wife, Annie Pink, to slander him; and Eric Fromm, another great hero of American new left, was also one of the people, who had been a student of Reich’s, and who begins to spread rumors about Reich at that time. The only one of Reich’s students, (…if you saw a list of Reich’s students and people who studied and attended his seminars, it’s quite amazing in terms of American intellectual life in the 60’s) who doesn’t lie and spread rumors is Karen Horney. Eric Fromm, Herbert Marcuse and on and on and on. Fromm actively steals and lifts, plagiarizes, work of Reich, changes bits and pieces; and then spreads the rumor along with Fenichel, in the United States, that Reich is psychotic. So Reich becomes more and more surrounded and he begins to spend more and more time,and this solution will become consistent with the rest of his life, he goes to the laboratory and work. For him work becomes central and it’s while doing this work and studying the libido where he attempts to prove the function of energy in the organism that he makes what he considers next to or even more important than his initial two major discoveries: the “Function of Orgasm” in the human organization of life function, and the discovery of what he will to name orgone energy or life energy. It is in Oslo, just before he leaves in his laboratory that he — and I won’t go into specific detail! ( If you want the actual details, which is an astounding story of science and science betrayed, by those who called themselves the keepers of science, you should read Dr. Strick’s book that was just published from Harvard University Press). It’s during this time that he discovers the existence — the literal and material existence — of this energy which he names orgone; the name is of no great significance the discovery is what it’s important. He discovers this just roughly at the time that he has to pack up and leave; literally has to pack up and leave, because the Nazi’s are coming to Norway; they’re in Scandinavia and are moving down and he gets out just in time. His choices are to move to England, where AS Neill, the founder of Summerhill, his closest and longest lasting friend, has offered him asylum and a future. I often speculate that had he gone to England he probably would’ve lived much longer and a more independent life. But he chooses the United States, basically encouraged by the idea that this is the place where democracy has the greatest opportunity, plus he has a number of students who have come from United States who have been very devoted to him; probably the most significant of which is Theodore Wolf, who is the first translator of most of Reich’s works into English;

Reich chooses the United States, basically encouraged by the idea that this is the place where democracy has the greatest opportunity, plus he has number of students who have come from United States who have been very devoted to him probably the most significant of which is Theodore Wolf, who is the first translator of most of Reich’s works into English.

although much of the translation becomes increasingly collaborative in the sense that Reich again in quite typical fashion his one of those guys who just consumes and seems to be able to incorporate knowledge. He gets English down very quickly and begins to use it very actively both in his writing and in his presentations. I’ve talked to a number of people who were present in New York City when Reich arrived by boat. In those days you can’t come by plane…so it was a long trip. When Reich arrived they reported it in the newspapers as a major event. A lot of exiles were coming from Europe. He was significant enough to be noted and his arrival was attended to by many of the key intellectuals in the Columbia and basically in Manhattan intellectual community or the East Coast intellectual community. One of the things that Reich points out in the “American Oddesy” and in some of his letters is that he chose not to socialize very much. He’d been very social in Europe in interpersonal relationships; in Europe he was referred to as Willie even by students. In United States he becomes more formal as Dr. Reich and he removes himself from active social process causing hostility. I’ve spoken to a number of people who were around when he was invited to parties that he declined to be the guest of honor and people were offended, but he removes himself actively into research and immediately sets up his laboratory again begins research on his discoveries and begins to train new and young therapist many of whom we’ve had contact with. Many of these young people came into contact with Reich very much the way Reich came into contact with Freud; they were told that there is this guy in New York who has some really interesting ideas that no one else is talking about and they went to hear lectures at The New School and these lectures were by all accounts often standing-room only and he begins to build a circle around him and he begins to train orgonomists. The more he sees at this point that the training is, for him, a means of earning the money needed the fund his research into his discovery of orgone energy. Now it’s very important I think to understand that Reich arrives in the United States at the beginning of The Second World War with the idea that he is now a major presence in the scientific world; the world of natural science, and his discoveries are, if controversial, significant and taken seriously. This will change over the war years and the events that take place in the 1950’s and on, but he begins to do more active research into the nature and function of this energy and makes incredible discoveries that will lead to his studying of what he later called the shrinking biopathy… although he’s best known to most of you, if you know it at all as the cancer biopathy, the study of cancer and its function. He later felt that cancer was too limited a focus that it was a much more profound and complex natural process of shrinking in living organisms. He begins to experiment and do treatment in this area.

He felt that the cancer was too limited a focus that it was a much more profound and complex natural process of shrinking in living organism. He begins to experiment and do treatment in this area.

Things begin to turn in on him again from both directions: both the medical establishment, and the pharmaceutical establishment, which is in its infancy. He warns, by the way, as early as the 1940’s, that the great threat to American health and wellbeing is the pharmaceutical industry and he sees it coming and of course it doesn’t gain the support of those corporate interests. But the scientific community has also moved, as James Strick points out, away from the line that Reich’s natural science is following. He increasingly becomes marginalized, for variety of reasons… and you can ask questions about that and explore that as others will present. And he demonstrates another quality I think that’s very crucial to understanding Reich as a person as well as scientist. He’s very open and trusting… sometimes too trusting and he allows reporters particularly, Mildred Eddy Brady to come in and very politely introduce herself as a friend, has a very lovely conversation with him and then publishes a scurrilous article condemning him as a crank and fraud and charlatan! This is often used as a key to Reich’s downfall. It is actually only a trigger. In fact what was behind this interestingly enough were groups like the Menenger brothers the famous Menenger clinic, who were actively participant in attacking Reich and in going after Reich. The American Psychoanalytic Association also supported by Otto Fenichel, who dies shortly around that time… very young — from a massive heart attack. He was writing letters actively throughout the psychoanalytic community undermining Reich and accusing him of all sorts of things. Reich’s wife and younger daughter become enemies; Lauri Reich, who is still alive is in her 80’s. She has now, finally after reading a number the archival materials; Laurie Reich, his daughter, has come to the conclusion that she was wrong, her father was not “the bad man” that she thought he was. The older daughter, Eva Reich, remains very close to him and becomes an orgonomist; becomes involved with the orgonomic work.

As a result of these attacks, these organized attacks; and it’s hard to understand how big these attacks were, he was sent to jail formally for failure to adhere to injunction.

So that brings me to the final stages, when, as a result of these attacks, these organized attacks; and it’s hard to understand how big this attack was… I could remember being 12 years old or so and hearing a news report on television, in Brooklyn, about this guy being sent to jail in 56 and so he was a significant player and that’s something often sadly lost on contemporary audiences or in the limited number of people who even know who Reich is and care; but he is sent to jail. And this is very important to understand: He is not sent to jail for anything to do with his scientific work, although behind it this is clearly the backdrop. He is sent to jail formally for failure to adhere to an injunction. ..and actually he never violated the injunction he just technically violated the injunction in a sense that he was the President of The Trust and since he was the President and signed off on it the fact that one of his associates, Dr. Silvet, continued to do work with the research and treatment of illness with orgone accumulators, he was found guilty of violating the injunction and he was sentenced, to everyone’s surprise, sentenced to 2 years in jail; to which even the judge who imposed sentence, thought was extreme. There were petitions signed by international circles of people who you would quickly recognize by name saying that this is a serious scientists and to not take action. He was sentenced to jail. He went to jail and he died in jail. He died essentially… probably from complications from the flu.

He died in jail essentially probably from complications from the flu.

There are conspiracy theories that continue to insist that there were something else but all indications in the evidence appear that he died from complications of the flue and heart failure. Then all hell broke loose: the estate was in disarray, the doctors and people working with him didn’t know what to do. Eventually things stabilized and through the intercession of one of the orgonomist who knew a young woman who was interested in, was interested in the work and wanted to find some real vital work in her life, took on the incredible task of saving and preserving Reich’s legacy, that was Marry Higgens who is still alive and up in Orgonon.

A young woman who was interested in the work and wanted to find some real vital work in her life, took on the incredible task of saving and preserving Reich’s legacy, that was Marry Higgens who is still alive and up in Orgonon.

Kevin Hinchy when he arrives will present that. Kevin Hinchy is the co-director now of the Wilhelm Reich Trust. The archives were slowly and arduously found and preserved with some missing sections and that’s a historical side track… but overall those archives have now been collected standardized and are as you have been told at the Countway Library, at Harvard; and for serious scholars there is access to an amazing amount of vital material.

Overall those archives have now been collected standardized and are as you have been told at the Countway Library, at Harvard, and for serious scholars there is an access to an amazing amount of vital material.

I’ll end with one anecdote… since I’m famous for my anecdotes — or infamous for my anecdotes: Dr. Sobey, who I studied with many years and who spent the last 12 years of Reich’s life very close to him and was at times his assistance, once asked Reich about his reputation as a lover and who he had been with and this and that and he told Dr. Sobey that… “You know I have a black book that I keep privately and which I listed every woman I have been with and every detail of each… and I will not allow it to be released for at least a 100 years after my death!” I asked Mary Higgens and Kevin Hinchy and I’ve asked everyone else who have been in the archive if they found such a book and evidently it doesn’t exist. We can assume that this was Reich’s way of saying that this is a stupid concern. He was evidently a very deeply committed father and husband and as deeply committed in his relationships as he was in his work. If you listen to the tapes of Reich and if you ever have an occasion to see some of the little active footage you’ll be shocked and surprised as many of you I think have been to know that he was quite lively… I felt when I first heard him I was going to hear this deep dramatic and Germanic power but he is very lively… and that’s my overview of who Reich was I don’t know if it serves you but hopefully it gets you started.

If you listen to the tapes of Reich and if you ever have an occasion to see some of the little active footage, you will be shocked and surprised to know that he was quite lively… and that’s my overview of who Reich was, I don’t know if it serves you but hopefully it gets you started.

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Report on International Conference on Orgonomy, October 4 – 6, Rome, Italy


The Italian Association of Orgonomy hosted the International Conference on Orgonomy in Rome last month, October 4-6. Several international speakers were invited, including four IOS members: Conny Huthsteiner, M.D. Philip Bennett, PhD. Hugh Brenner, FPNP. and Stephan Simonian, M.D. The conference was launched with Dr. Morton Herskowitz’s videotaped keynote address. Herskowitz, who is now 95 and resides and practices in Philadelphia, is the sole surviving student of Wilhelm Reich. The videotaped address, produced by Huchsteiner, was greeted by a lengthy applause from the audience.

Dr. Morton Herskowitz

Other speakers included James DeMeo, Peter Robbins, Armando Vecchietti, Roberto Maglione, Peter Jones, Tina Lindermann, Wendy Kohli, Jorgos Kavouroas, and Reneta Reich Moise. During one of her presentations, Ms. Reich Moise, Wilhelm Reich’s granddaughter, spoke about her life as well as her family history. Emotionally touching and historically interesting, her talk was well-received as were the presentations by all IOS members.

Organizers of the conference included Francisco Zito as well as Armando Vecchietti, Roberto Maglione, and Bruno Franchi, all members of the Italian Association of Orgonomy.

Mr. Zito and his daughter, Sheila

Mr. Zito is currently assembling a panel of speakers for next year’s conference in Italy. Such conferences are crucial to introducing Orgonomy to the public.

Overall, the conference was a successful, stimulating event. An estimated 120 attendees participated in the international conference, which provided simultaneous translating services between English and Italian via headset. Included below is a list of the wide range of topics and corresponding presenters. For detailed biographies of the speakers as well as abstracts of the topics, please visit the following website: www.orgone.org In addition, DVDs of individual speakers as well as the entire conference are available for purchase by contacting Mr. Zito at zetafrancis@yahoo.it. Finally, we would like to thank the Italian Association of Orgonomy for organizing this conference and look forward to future successful conferences in the coming years.

 

Phillip Bennett, PhD.
What is Orgonomy?
Orgonomic Infant Research Center and Its Historic Content
Work Democracy

Conny Huthsteiner, M.D.
Psychiatric Orgone Therapy
Moving Toward Life Energy, Changing Concept of Energy Since 1955
Love, Sexuality, God and Family Life

Hugh Brenner, FPNP.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Use and the Misuse of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy in the Pediatric Population
Where Do We Go From Here? Discussion on Research Directions in Orgonomy
Opening the Eyes

Roberto Maglione, MSc.
Recovering Natural Atmosphering Pulsation from Reich to Present Days
Methods and Procedures in Biophysical Orgonometry

James DeMeo, PhD.
Field Experiments with Reich DOR Buster for Draught and Desert Greening: Success and Problems
Laboratory Evaluations are the Proof of Reich’s Orgone Energy: Electroscope, Charged Water and Vacuum.
Saharasi: Cross Cultural Proof of Reich’s Sex Economic Theory and Origin of Violence Question

Reneta Reich Moise, CNM.
Gentle Support during Pregnancy and Birth
Birth as Transformative Experience
Self-Regulation within the Real World: Growing up as the Granddaughter of Wilhelm Reich

Jorgos Kavouroas, M.D.
Combination of Psychiatric and Physical Orgone Therapy (orac and DOR buster)
The Use of Physical Orgone Therapy (orac and DOR buster) as a Powerful Medical Device in Everyday Clinic over More than 15 Years
The New Medicine: Reich’s Contribution to Holistic Medicine

Tina Linderman, M.D.
The Use of Orgone Energy Accumulator of the Reich Medical DOR-Buster, in Practical Clinic also with Cancerous Patients
The Emotional Plague Today
My Personal Experience Working with Medical Orgone Therapy

Wendy Kohli, PhD.
Self-Regulation and Education

Peter Robins, BSA
Wilhelm Reich and UFO’s part 1 Claude Busting and the Origin of Reich’s Interest in the Unidentified Flying Objects
Wilhelm Reich and UFO’s part 2 A Concise History of Wilhelm Reich’s Involvement with UFO’s
Final Thoughts on Wilhelm Reich and UFO’s and Account of USAF’s Military Application of Claude Buster Technology

Armando Vecchieti, MSOLSc.
Cancerous Process and Early Cancer Diagnosis:Use of Orgone Accumulator of Reich

Stephan Simonian, M.D.
Schizophrenia: An Orgonomic Perspective
Psychiatry – Reich = Physics – Einstein
Central Importance of Orgasm Theory in Psychiatric Orgone Therapy

Peter Jones, OB.
The Reich Blood Test
The Bions
Orgone Therapeutic Support in Labor

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Terrorism at Home: Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy


On January 26, 2011, we published an article in this journal entitled “Our Teenage Suicide Bombers.” In that article, we contended that teenagers in other parts of the world who commit suicide bombings were raised in traumatic environments that damaged the teens’ normal psychological growth. We contended that these young suicide bombers were already exploding from within and the actual explosive merely enabled them to fulfill their desperate emotional need to explode. We equated such suicide bombings to the mass killings in the United States.

A year later, we are now facing another heartbreaking mass killing that has shocked the nation. Words are simply inadequate to express the sadness and agony over the loss of young children and their teachers who were massacred on Friday, December 14, 2012 in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

After the massacre of 26 people-mostly 6- or 7-year-old children-the gunman, a 20 year old male, killed himself. After this devastating incident, President Barak Obama stated:

“The majority of those who died today were children–beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them–birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among them were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. So our hearts are broken today–for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children at home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.

As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theatre in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children and we are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of price. ”

Immediately following this tragedy, newspapers and media were flooded with facts, opinions and speculation about the massacre. Many expressed outrage over the accessibility of semi-automatic weapons, an availability that would enable a disturbed person to execute such massacres. Some psychologists attempted to analyze the sickness behind such an atrocity.  These analyses, however, lacked insight.

Television commentators, newspaper reporters and law enforcement officials were baffled and instead of answers, they themselves wondered why such a senseless incident occurred. Why would someone kill innocent, young children who had done no harm to him? Many people repeated the same question: Why?

In the wake of this confusion and these unanswered questions, we feel the need, as students of Orgonomy and Reich, to explore the psychological, sociological, cultural, and physiological roots of such a crime which, though shocking to many, is nevertheless not surprising to those who are familiar with Reich’s “orgonomic” theories.

In the book Reich speaks of Freud, Reich says:

“I assure you that there is no solution to this world’s problems unless this point is cleared up sociologically, politically, economically, psychologically, structurally, characterologically, in every single respect. I do not believe that there will be any solution of any social problem as long as children and adolescent grew up with the stasis of biological energy- haywire, irrational with neurotic symptoms and so on and so on. That is why I offered my help. Do you understand?”

Prior to the posting of this article, the information available on the Sandy Hook perpetrator indicated that he was a very bright, but socially awkward 20 year-old male, who avoided eye contact and social interactions in general.. One report indicated that he didn’t feel physical pain and that teachers were worried that he could cut himself without realizing it: “If Adam Lanza cut or hurt himself, he wouldn’t know it or feel it.”

Like many perpetrators of these types of crime, Lanza was seen as eccentric but showed no evidence of major psychiatric symptoms according to mental health professionals, and he certainly was not seen as a danger to society. In fact, most adolescents with psychological disorders are not a threat to society: the neurotic boy who takes numerous showers a day, the anorexic girl who believes she is fat and refuses food to the detriment of her life, the boy who is tortured by panic attacks, or the autistic child, preoccupied with dinosaurs or train station schedules. None of these children constitute a threat to society any more than the average person. They are already suffering the breakdown of their emotional structure and are living the consequences through their impoverished lives. As baffling as it may seem; calculated, planned, and heinous criminal acts occur before the human psyche breaks into a full-blown neurotic or psychotic state. Although in full blown psychotic state in response to delusions and hallucinations, destructive and violent acting out behavior may happen, but these are rarely planned or calculated acts and there are ample warning signs before such actions. In the following pages, we will try to explain this matter based on orgonomic principles.

In Orgonomy, in contrast to Freudian psychoanalysis, Reich depicts the human psychological structure with a core and a middle and outer layer.

Schematic depiction of psychological structure based on orgonomic theories (core, middle layer, and outer layer). From: Selected writings by Wilhelm Reich: An Introduction to Orgonomy

Human structure, with all its complexities, basically functions like a protozoa, expanding when the environmental conditions are favorable and contracting when conditions are hostile. In a prolonged hostile environment, the psyche begins to armor itself, becoming rigid and limited in its mobility. As a result, the natural bioenergetic impulses that normally flow from the organism’s core, outward, then become inhibited and after lengthy inhibition of these impulses, the process of armoring sets in. The armored organism then becomes a distorted organism.  A distorted human being develops secondary and unnatural impulses and motivations—secondary motives—in orgonomic terms. These secondary motives, although stemming from natural, primary and rational motives, change and become irrational. The organism develops irrational hatred, murderous and sadistic impulses specific to the human race. In the preface of The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Reich states: 

Extensive and pain staking therapeutic work on the human character has led me to the conclusion that as a rule we are dealing with three different layers of biopsychic structure in the evaluation of human reactions. On the surface layer of his personality the average man is polite, compassionate, responsible, and conscientious. There would be no social tragedy of human animal if the surface layer were in direct contact with the deep natural core. This unfortunately is not the case. The surface layer of the social cooperation is not in contact with the deep biological core of one’s self. It is born by a second and intermediate character layer, which consists exclusively of cruel, sadistic, lascivious, rapacious, and envious impulses. It represents the Freudian “unconscious or what is the repressed”; to put it in the language of sex economy it represents the sum total of all so called “secondary drives”.
Diagram depicting basic functions in an armored organism.
The inhabitation of primary impulses produces a secondary impulses and anxiety.
From the book Function of Orgasm by Dr. Wilhelm Reich.

The surface layer is the façade—the layer of a person that she or he presents to the world. To the psychiatrist and psychologist who is familiar with Reich’s orgonomic theories, a vast majority of people present with physical and emotional armoring evident in the rigidity or flaccidity of their muscles,  their tone of voice, their glazed or piercing eyes their mask-like facial expressions, their rigid neck or their resigned, apathetic attitude. In his lecture in Germany, Dr. Herskowitz explained how armoring manifests itself:

“Armoring converts free laughter into a chuckle or twitter, it may cause a woman to speak in a little girl’s voice. It does not merely change a function by degree but by a kind. It renders behavior more predictable, more stereotype. Armoring puts life in constraint. Armoring is most often revealed in muscular tension but it also reveals in eyes that are glazed in excessive body fat, etc. it is a dynamic event and it entails consumption of energy. It constrains us physically emotionally and ideationally. It is a cocoon to which we gradually become accustomed.”

Armoring develops while the child interacts with his or her environment which inhibits sexual and aggressive impulses. Schematically, the process of armoring is as follows:

III. Antithesis of the dissociated strivings.

From the book, “Character Analysis” by Dr. Wilhelm Reich.

The primary and natural drives are prohibited by the outer world. Under prolonged prohibition of these natural drives, the primary drive force dissociates and part of it turns against itself; consequently, psychological and physical armoring sets in. Schematically, it is depicted below.

Id = Defense and change of function
C = Armoring

Once the organism becomes armored, the primary impulses that are natural—rational love, natural sexuality, rational anger and rational hate—become distorted.

The structure of the armor, however, is not a simple one consisting of two opposing forces, but a complex consequence of the interplay between many dynamic forces and consists of many layers. The structure of the armor does not consist of one warded off and one warding off impulse but of countless number of strivings. Which are disassociated and partially set off against one another. Schematically the structure of armor is as follows:

From the book “Character Analysis”
By Dr. Wilhelm Reich

Structure of armor resulting from interplay of dynamic forces.

Once the organism becomes armored, the natural flow of biophysical energy in the body becomes distorted, causing many physical and psychological symptoms and pathologies. In Reich speaks of Freud Reich says: “I would like to summarize it in few words: if you have a stream, a natural stream, you must let it stream. If you dammed it up somewhere, it goes over the banks. That’s all. Now when the natural streaming of bioenergy is dammed up it also spills over resulting in irrationality, nervousness, neurosis and so on.”

Manifestations of armoring are both physical and emotional. Armor manifests itself both in physical and emotional realms. In his book Function of Orgasm, Reich states: “The concept of ‘Functional Identity’ which I had to introduce, means nothing more than that muscular attitude and character attitude have same function in the psychic mechanism: they can replace one another and can be influenced by one another, basically they cannot be separated. They are identical in their function.”

As described earlier, the structure of armor consists of the interplay of numerous forces and includes various layers. During character analysis or psychiatric orgon therapy, different layers are exposed systematically and the armor is resolved, allowing the restoration of the natural flow of bioenergy which in turn restores the patient’s psychological and physical health.

Based on its structure, the armor’s shape, appearance and characteristics differ. The armor can present as hard as a rock with muscular stiffness or as flaccidity and flabbiness of the musculature. It can be hypersensitive and tender or can be insensitive, cold and pale. It can appear lifeless and dead. In Orgonomy, such death is considered to be a consequence of a contracted bioenergetic field and blocked, plasmatic bioenergetic motility.

Once I was treating a man who came to me because his wife was complaining of his indifferent, aloof behavior. He was not interested in social activities and his wife stated that if things did not change she would leave him. He was a middle aged man with a solid work history. His face, however, was cold, pale, and unexpressive. His speech was monotonous; his affect and facial expressions rarely changed. During one of the sessions while he was on the couch, he closed his eyes for short period of time. As I watched him, I suddenly felt as if I was looking at a dead man at his wake. His face was pale, motionless and cold. In psychiatric orgon therapy, psychiatrist helps patients to recognize their physical demeanor and attitude. This recognition helps them understand what has caused such attitudes and responses. When a patient recognizes a defensive structure, he can begin to recognize what this defense is protecting him from. To achieve this end, I held a mirror in front of his face. I asked him to describe his own impression of himself and shared nothing of my own impressions. He later stated, “Doctor, while I looked into the mirror I was shocked: I felt as if I had died and was looking at myself as a dead man.”

We often see psychiatric patients who, among many other symptoms, have begun cutting themselves. I have asked them the purpose of this cutting. How does it help them? Some state that they do it to attract attention; some want their physical pain to distract them from their emotional pain; some say it gives them a sense of relief and some explain that they feel numb and that cutting and its subsequent blood gushing from their skin reassures them that they are alive. According to orgonomic principles, this numbness is a consequence of armoring and withdrawal or —blocking of the flow of bioenergy. However, conventional psychology, psychoanalysis, psychiatry and medicine have no explanation for it. We are still ignorant about the factors that determine which type of biopathy will develop as a consequence of armoring and we are ignorant about the factors that determine the shape of certain types of armor.

In addition to physical and emotional illnesses that result because of armoring, the distortion of primary motives may manifest themselves in irrational, sadistic, and destructive ways that act in social scenes. Dr. Reich called it “emotional plague”. In this process, the brutal and murderous rage and destructive tendencies that are suppressed, break through the armor manifesting themselves in social scenes in irrational, destructive, murderous, and sadistic ways. These destructive impulses are mostly directed toward the objects that represent life, love, and happiness. Such sadistic actions manifest itself either with some political, religious or social pretext of which history of human kind is full of examples: genocides of any type, annihilation of one race by another with the pretext of racial or religious supremacy etc. or without pretext, sporadically by acting out of an individual by killing or destruction. These destructive and sadistic impulses, however, are directed toward those who are lively, happy, and represent life. Reich in the book “Murder of Christ” says: “Christ became a victim of this human character structure because he had developed the qualities and manner of conduct that act upon the armored character structure like red color upon the emotional system of a wild bull. Thus, we may say that Christ represents the principle of life per se.”

In revisiting some of the facts leading up to the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders, we can see a pattern from a seemingly disparate set of circumstances: A perpetrator who was socially withdrawn and aloof; numb to physical pain; killing young children who were happy and delightful and had done no harm to him; his own suicide; and social and environmental factors that may have caused such distortion in his structure to make him capable of such a heinous crime. A distorted structure which could have been quite different under other circumstances.

In one of his passages in the Journal of Orgonomic Functionalism, volume 1, Reich describes healthy children and their attitudes toward guns. We think it is relevant to our topic and we would like to bring it to the reader’s attention here:

“Healthy children are rational. …… if they grew up in an environment in which pistols are admired, they also want to have pistols. The parents of such a child once found themselves in a dilemma. Their child, who was four years old, had gotten the idea from kindergarten that is wanted to be a cowboy with a pistol. At first the parents tried to convince the child that pistols are bad things and that only bad people shoot other people and animals without a reason. The absolute pacifist would have stuck to this point of view. The child would have had to yield to the ‘standpoint of pacifism.’ The child would have been understood from the narrow viewpoint of an ideology and not from the standpoint of its own development. Therefore the parents gave in, despite their convictions. Once their attempts to limit the child’s interest to the cowboy uniform had failed, they bought him a toy pistol. They told the child that it now had to be careful to prevent any other child from using its pistol against a human being or an animal. The child was enthusiastic. For a few days it played the game ‘police protection for children’ with the pistol, then the interest waned until it completely disappeared. Thereafter the child showed no interest in shooting.

Let us consider this example, taken from real life, from different points of view. If the parents had adhered absolutely to the pacifist standpoint the child would have been refused the pistol. As a result, unfulfilled yearning would have taken root in him. If our biopsychiatric knowledge is correct, this unrequited wish would have become linked with other experiences of a similar kind and been intensified. Over a period of time this wish would have formed the core of a fantasy, namely, that of being a robber or a bad person. In short, the child’s self-regulation would have come to an end.

From the military-marital standpoint one would have given the child the pistol without any second thoughts; indeed, many fathers who had just been through the horrors of war would have taught the child to shoot Japanese and Germans. Such an attitude is possible only within the framework of an error of thought which requires the armoring of an organism in the father as well as in the son. The pistol would very soon have concentrated all the destructive and sadistic impulses on itself. The path to ‘juvenile delinquent’ or to mass murderer would have been opened if other conditions favorable to it had existed.

This is what it comes down to” Armored children do not hesitate to pick up and hold on to instruments of death. If the environment forces them to do so, unarmored children also reach out for such instruments, but they have no elements in their structure which can become anchored in murderous weapons. The murderous toy finds no response in the child. Therefore the child soon loses interest in the pistol.

It is thus not correct that the healthy child is not afraid or that it has no destructive impulses, or that it never becomes defiant or that it never deliberately annoys adults. Like all other children, it has all the potential for ‘good’ or ‘bad’ attitudes. The difference between it and other children who grow up within these erroneous systems of thought is that it does not remain fixed in these reactions or attitudes. It may happen that a healthy child is afraid of wolves during the night. However, a simple discussion is enough to eliminate this fear. It does not develop a phobia lasting all its life. It sometimes happens that a healthy child accidentally or intentionally breaks a glass, but the destruction of things does not develop into a chronic character trait. The child’s structure does not contain any character related destructive rage, of which the child cannot rid itself. A healthy child knows fear, cries, hates, is defiant, ‘misbehaves,’ but none of these things are anchored structurally.”

Emotional plague manifests itself in different forms, in this case by the killing of young, innocent children and their teachers. This plague has resulted in war and genocide, has reached epidemic proportions and must be seen as an illness of the human race. It must be dealt with sociologically, educationally, culturally, medically, psychologically. Otherwise, we must combat it with police force, an approach that will never be adequate for the enormity of this problem.

We would like to devote this work to the memory of the children and teachers of Sandy Hook who were killed in this tragic incident. If our contribution has been helpful in any way in eliminating emotional illness and plague, our purpose as Dr. Reich’s students has been fulfilled.

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Cyber Attack on JPOT


For a period of about ten days, our readers may have noticed that this website was not online. Any attempt to load the homepage and its articles led to nothing but an empty space and flashing announcement at the top of page, stating, “Hacked by MSA Baba Hacker.” After initial disbelief and shock, we soon recognized our website had been attacked and destroyed. We spent a significant amount of time and money to reconstruct the website and to restore its contents.

Although this attack may have been a random destructive act, our website administrator reported to us that the hack was most likely the undertaking of sophisticated professional group; the defacement of this website was therefore a systematic assault, and not a matter of child’s play. We have no idea who the hacker is and what his or her gain might be from this destructive action. As stated, it may have been just the result of random, senseless pathological behavior, but most likely it was an intentional attack aiming to destroy materials and content of the website by an individual or a group who loathe its content.

Orgonomic principles inevitably provoke disgust and anger within individuals or groups with fascistic, undemocratic, anti-democratic and oppressive beliefs. Orgonomy takes to the roots of the mechanisms of such unhealthy and anti-democratic ideologies. All such ideologies are the consequence of distorted human character and are anchored in it.

Genocide and destruction, under one pretext or another, has occurred for thousands of years. All destructive actions, at worst the killings of humans by the hands of others, has roots in character-armoring, which is a direct product of authoritarian, oppressive and anti-sexual upbringing of children. The battle of Orgonomy has all along been to prevent this character armoring. It is the soil that pathological ideologies grow from. Naturally, the adopters of such ideologies will be threatened by Orgonomy.

Reich, in the Function of the Orgasm, writes,

In order to be able to exist in this world, they had to fight and destroy in themselves that which was most true, most beautiful, most their own; they had to surround it with the thick walls of their character armor. In so doing, they came to grief inwardly, and, for the most part, also externally; but they spared themselves the struggle with this impossible order of things. A dim reflection of the deepest and most natural feelings for life, of natural decency, of spontaneous honesty, of real love, could be seen in a certain “sentiment” which seemed the more false the thicker the armor which was built up against naturalness. The falsest pathos still contains a bit of real life.

We too, in our turn see the reflection of the light in this destructive act, albeit distorted and dim, Reich refers to as “ Thus I arrived at the conclusion that human mendacity and meanness are still a reflection of the deep biological nucleus.”

Authoritarian and oppressive ideologies which are threatened by Orgonomy constitute a wide spectrum of groups thriving in different parts of the world. Attacks from such groups or individuals who adhere to particular ideologies is not only plausible but expected. Such attacks on Reich’s work happened consistently in the past and there is no reason whatsoever to believe they will cease now. We were not surprised by the hacking of our website; in fact, we had expected it even earlier. We are nonetheless committed to continue this journal and fulfill its mission to introduce orgonomy and Reich to the public. We will not be dissuaded in the least by such attacks on this website, and on Reich’s ideas.

The IT company, ATECHSO (http://www.atechso.com) a managed IT solution provider, which successfully reconstructed and restored the website, has promised us to provide stronger and more fortified security. We since have transferred the hosting of the journal to them and we will hold them accountable to this promise. We hope that we will be able to continue to provide interesting articles and introduce Orgonomy and Reich’s theories. Thank you for your readership.

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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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Dr Sobey on Einstein’s Affair – December 1994 Part 5 & 6


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Dr. Sobey on Einstein’s Affair – December 1994 Part 3 & 4


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Dr. Sobey on Einstein’s Affair – December 1994 Part 1 & 2


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Wilhelm Reich and the History of Orgonomy


In the fall of 2009, The Institute of Orgonomic Science (IOS), held a one-day seminar in Philadelphia.  In this seminar, Dr. Morton Herskowitz talked about Wilhelm Reich and the history of orgonomy.  We have posted the video of this seminar in our journal, however for those of you who may like to read Dr. Herskowitz’s lecture, we have prepared the transcription below.

I want to welcome you all, this is an extra kind of pleasure for me because about 50 years ago, Dr. Oller and I gave annual presentations on orgonomy for a period of about 5 years.  It’s a pleasure to be in this room and see at least partly a new generation as my audience. Today you’ll hear about some of the advances that Wilhelm Reich made to our civilization. Reich was a very special person; he had things in common with electromagnetic forces. He attracted and he repelled, and some of us who read Reich, as we were reading we said “yeah, yeah,” and others who read Reich or more often read articles about him, said, “this guy’s got to be stopped!” That alone makes for an interesting lecture.  The scientist Max Planck said it’s difficult for people with new ideas to get into the flow of conventional science. That the orthodox scientists have a special brand of cultural lag, and that they tend to reject what’s new.  To some extent he thought that it was a good thing, because most of the new ideas didn’t deserve a place in conventional science. So they should have been rejected.  The other ideas that eventually were accepted were accepted not because of their essential validity, but instead because the old guys died off and the younger scientists saw their value more clearly.  In our case, not only do the ideas themselves have to be examined, but all of the misinformation and enmity has to be dissolved before people can hear the argument clearly.

Wilhelm Reich was born in 1897.  He was a paranoid schizophrenic, a sex panderer, the head of sexual cult and he claimed to cure everything from the common cold to caner.  Those were the rumors. When I was in therapy with Reich, he lived in Forest Hills, and at that time he had a professorship at the New School for Social Research. He practiced on patients and taught students. One of my friends who was a respected member of the faculty at Jefferson Medical School, said to me, “Mort, what do other psychiatrists think of Reich?”  And I said, “They think he’s nuts.”  He said, “No, I mean the respectable ones, the academic ones.”  And I said, “Joe, do you know any of the psychiatrists on staff at Jefferson?” He said he knew a couple of them, and I said,  “Ask them.”

So he asked the first of his acquaintances who was a psychiatrist, “What do you think of Wilhelm Reich?”  And the psychiatrist answered, “He’s in a mental institution.”  And my friend said, “Are you sure?”  He said, “Yeah, I don’t know where but I know he’s in some institution.”  And he said “Well, I know someone who goes to therapy with Reich in Forest Hills.”  And he was amazed, because he knew Reich was in some mental institution.  And exactly the same thing happened with the second psychiatrist that he questioned.

Reich’s father was a prosperous farmer, they lived in Galicia which was then a part of Austria.  Reich was educated by tutors, which is ideally the way to be educated because the ideal tutor answers every question that the kid asks, and if he doesn’t know the answer, he goes home and looks it up and comes back with the answer the next day.  So the children who are tutored –at least by the old-fashioned tutors – have all of their questions answered, which keeps alive their feeling of inquiry and satisfaction and the pleasure of being educated. Unlike parents who say “Why?  Because I said so, that’s why!”  Or teachers who deprive them of the running around and the play that every kid needs and teach them what they want the kid to learn rather than what the kid wants to learn. Reich was fortunate in that respect.

In 1916, Reich was conscripted into the Austrian army and he rose to Lieutenant. In 1919, when he was a senior in medical school, he became interested in psychoanalysis. He was interviewed by Freud and invited to join the Vienna society of psychoanalysis. In 1924 to 1930, he was the head of the Vienna clinic for Vienna Seminar for psychoanalytic settings – which was the teaching arm of psychoanalysis in Vienna.  And in that capacity he taught many American psychiatrists who came over to be treated and to learn about psychoanalysis.

In 1928 he wrote his book, Character Analysis, and the story of how he came to character analysis is one that he wrote about.  Psychoanalysis at that time was the means of reaching the unconscious and it depended on techniques like free association, slips of the tongue, dream analysis.  It discovered a great deal about the unconscious, but as a tool for therapy it caused Freud to change, from claiming that discovering the truth in the unconscious would cure patients to sometimes it would cure patients. And Reich had a patient that he wrote about who was affable, pleasant, a comfortable patient to be treated. His problem was that he had sexual impotence, and Reich treated him for a period of three years.  At the end of which, having discovered the root of his impotence, which was that the patient had witnessed at a very young age sexual intercourse by his parents and was overwhelmed by it.  He was congratulated at the seminar for having achieved this psychoanalytic result, but the patient was absolutely unchanged symptomatically from the time that he had begun his therapy. Reich said to him, “I’m not helping you, and I think we should end our pathway here.”  The patient’s response was completely accepting, he didn’t say I paid you good money and this is where we end, or we should have ended it before if you knew you couldn’t help me.  He accepted it perfectly reasonably.  Reich went home and thought about this patient. He wondered why: Had I not helped him? What is it about him that made him unhelpable? And Reich thought about his passivity, his pleasant demeanor, of his total acceptance no matter what the hell happened. And he thought that’s where the pathology is.  It’s in the character – it’s not hidden somewhere in the unconscious. And from that point on he developed character analysis.  The character analysis is a big departure from the previous psychoanalytic methods, particularly, when, as he thought about it, he recognized that character is revealed in the body. That one’s stubbornness is recognized by a tight neck; that ones dulled eyes means that one is separated visually from the external world.  That a tight ass means that you are tight-assed. This was a total departure from previous analytic therapy. When he wrote Character Analysis, it was recognized as a milestone in psychoanalytic therapy.  But when he came to the next step, which was discovering how deeply it’s armored in one’s body, he was regarded as beyond the pale and there were rumors within the psychiatric community of him going off the deep end. That’s probably the first hint of calling Reich psychotic – the literature about his departure into the physical realm.  And that departure into the physical realm, which Reich called the process of armoring, lead to further advances in his thinking because he realized that somehow, the physical armoring impedes the width of experience of one’s life.  Everything that lives has a pulse; there are several pulses: the pulse of our heart, which is the representation of our cardiovascular system, there’s the pulse of our breathing, there’s the pulse of our gastrointestinal system, there’s the pulse of our central nervous system and our peripheral nervous system.  All of these parts of us pulse separately, everything that lives pulsates, and Reich recognized that the presence of armoring interfered with that pulsation, he thought in terms of an energetic flow through the body that is the essence of that pulse. And so he came to create a new paradigm totally distinct from the paradigm of psychoanalysis. He thought in terms of energy flow, the impedance of energy flow, and how the energy flow determines how one lives one’s life.  There are people who live their lives with a pulsation like this [hand gesture showing narrow, constricted pulsation], and people who live their lives with a pulsation like this [hand gesture showing wide pulsation].  That distinction between recognizing the flow of energy and the pulsatile nature of one’s life is what distinguishes psychiatric orgone therapy from every other pre-existing therapy. The idea of the physical armoring and its consequences labeled Reich as outside of the community and was the beginning of the hostility of the psychiatric community toward Reich.

Reich had caused some unease in the psychiatric community before that time. He thought that what was discovered in psychoanalysis gave insight that should be taken outside of the therapist’s treatment room.  At that time most analysts thought that psychoanalysis belongs with the patient on the couch – the therapist sitting behind the couch – and that was the extension of its utility. Reich said the insights we’ve gained in psychoanalysis should be brought to the community at large because that could be very helpful. And so he started a clinic for adolescence in which he talked about birth control, sexual hygiene, rearing of children. And these became popular, and he became a popular lecturer to the community and his clinics spread.

This caused unease in the psychiatric community because this was going beyond where the psychiatric community wanted to go.  Because of his popularity – which was growing – and because Reich was a political animal, he had first joined the Social Democratic party, became unhappy with it, and ultimately joined the Communist party. And the Soviets saw a use for Reich being a member of the party, and gaining popularity in the community. So in 1929, they invited him to tour the Soviet Union to visit schools, hospitals, wherever he wanted to go.  He toured for a number of months and came back totally dismayed by what he saw and wrote his book The Mass Psychology of Fascism, in which he referred to the Soviet Union as red fascism. This caused him to become one of the prime targets of Soviet hostility.  He had already made enemies in psychiatric community, and now he had a bigger enemy, the Soviet Union.  In the period between 1946 and 1947, there were articles written. The first was by Werthan, a prominent psychiatrist.  He wrote a review of The Mass Psychology of Fascism titled “Nuttier Than a Fruitcake.”  In that article Werthan called Reich a psycho-fascist, which is almost like one kid being called fascist and the kid arguing with him calling him a fascist.  Psycho-fascist is not in the DSM IV; is a category not yet recognized in the classification of psychiatric disorders, and from what I have learned is not in DSM V either, which is still not out.  Following Werthan’s article, Mildred Edie Brady wrote two articles, the first in Fortune called “The New Cult of Sex and Anarchy.”  A few months later she wrote practically the same article for The New Republic. Brady wrote that Reich was the head of a vice racket, a sexual cult, and that what he was espousing was a pornographic form using psychiatric principles of emotional yearning. I don’t know what the hell that means – that he was a case of paranoia and delirium and he promised to cure all diseases.  This article caused conversation in the media circles because there was such great material to write about.  For years thereafter newspapers and magazines published this same material over and over again.  None of it depended on anyone reading Reich; it all depended on Mildred Edie Brady’s article.  And Mildred Edie Brady had a nice relationship with the Food and Drug Administration. In the early days, the FDA had gone through some tough periods and Mildred Edie Brady wrote articles in defense of the FDA, so they owed her.  And the year that her articles were published, an investigator from the FDA came to see Reich in Maine and he mentioned that he had come to inspect the place because of the Brady article.  So there was no doubt about it.  From that point on, investigators from the FDA came periodically to Reich’s place in Rangley, Maine for inspections. And it wasn’t until about 10 years after the initial inspection that the FDA formulated a complaint presented to the government about Reich.  By the way, I forgot to say that Mildred Edie Brady also said that there should be a license prepared for people who were scientifically pestilent the way Reich was and that there had to be some new government agency to stop people like Reich.

Well, 10 years later, the FDA prepared a claim against Reich, including all the Brady material. There was no intent to investigate Reich’s side of the matter. The complaint claimed that Reich claimed he could cure all diseases; that he had invented a device the size of a telephone booth in which people sat and their libido was stimulated. Reich was presented with this complaint.  Despite Reich’s clear insights that no one had had before, there was another side of Reich, which was that he was naive, and it was amazing to hear some of his naiveté when one knew that he had discovered such critical and crucial new material.  So, with his naiveté, Reich would have had to go before the board and answer their complaint. Instead, he sent all of his books – a pile of his books, many of which were written before Orgone energy was ever thought of – and he said, read these books and you’ll see all of it is lies.  Obviously, the judge didn’t read all of the books, and so pretty quickly a judgment was issued against Reich which said that all the written matter containing instructions for the use of any orgone accumulator device, all documents, bulletins, pamphlets, journals and booklets but not limited to those, shall be destroyed.  And consequently, FDA agents came to orgonon, Reich’s place in Maine, chopped up all the accumulators, piled all of the written materials into trucks and delivered it to an incinerator in New York City where it was burned.

Now, I’m not sure of this, but I think that that was the only time in American History that the government has burned books. All of Reich’s literature was destroyed.  Then there was a trial held in Maine.  Before the trial, we the doctors tried to enter into the case, because Reich refused to have a lawyer. He wanted to defend his case himself.  He ultimately hired a lawyer not to plead his case in court but to consult on legal points in court. So he conducted his own defense, and it went like this: The prosecutor was a gentleman who had been Reich’s lawyer when he moved to Maine. He had done all the paperwork, and organizing the legal aspects of orgonomy.  So there was already a case –  it was a conflict that the prosecutor had been Reich’s lawyer.  At the trial the prosecutor would say, “Did you disobey this piece of the judgment against you?”  And Reich would say, “Yes I disobeyed it because […]”  Then the judge would say, “I don’t want to hear because we have only a very simple question: Did you or did you not disobey the injunction?”  And Reich would say “I did.” And over and over again it was the same procedure: the prosecutor would read another piece of the complaint, “Did you disobey this?” and Reich would say, “yes I did, because […]” And the judge would say, “I don’t want to hear that.”  So it was a very clear open and shut case in the eyes of the law. And Reich was sentenced to two years in prison. Those of us who knew Reich knew that putting Reich in prison was like putting an eagle in a cage.  We knew that it would be very, very great hardship for a man with Reich’s energy to be contained in a jail cell, and he died in jail, just a few days before he would have been released. He died of a heart attack.

The legacy that Reich leaves us, those of us who do psychiatric orgone therapy, is this: we know in our bones how superior our therapy is to conventional therapies.  We know that what we accomplish, if one thinks in terms of atoms and quantum theory, we make a leap into a depth that no other therapy makes, we change, in successful therapies.

We’re not a cure-all either.  We change the depth of ones life. We also take care of symptoms, but our goal is to widen the pulse of one’s life, and we usually succeed.  In regard to the scientific material, Reich was expelled from the German psychoanalytic society and invited to Norway by the Norwegian psychoanalytic society.  So he lived in Norway for several years, and he met the same fate that Reich usually met, which was that he gathered devotes and he gathered fierce enemies, and the Norwegian newspapers ran a series of articles.  In Norway, Reich lived very closely with Leon Trotsky, they were very close friends, and the Norwegian papers would have headlines about the two Jews who were seeking to destroy Norwegian culture.  In Norway, Reich began his biological experiments. Some of the top Norwegian scientists were fascinated by it, and most were repelled by it.  With regard to life science, I know that I never saw in biology laboratories in college, anything like what I saw in Reich’s student laboratory in Maine.

For orgonomy to eventually be acceptable for standard science, there will have to be double-blind studies of large numbers of people, and people who are not sympathetic to orgonomy will have to see these phenomena and decide fore themselves that it is valid, and there’s a difficulty because to have a study with large numbers of people, you need a large amount of money, which is hard to come by, so when this will happen is unknown. My guess is that it will happen, and that finally Reich will be invited to the larger society of Great Scientists, where we think he belongs, but that’s a matter for the future.

I want to end with something that is not directly pertinent to Reich but is tangential, which is the idea that we call somebody crazy, and thereby indicate that whatever they did is without value because it was done by a crazy person. There are many instances of people having serious emotional problems, I can think in music, Schulman apparently was psychotic at the end of his life, as were Mahler, Tchaikovsky; others went through very severe depressive episodes, but the fact is that it is not important. Reich often said, I don’t care what people think of me; the only thing that is important to me is what I do. And the fact that various composers have had serious emotional problems has no meaning at all when one listens to their music.  Isaac Newton – one of the greatest figures of all time in science – was a firm believer in astrology. What he produced is the only important issue, but I think that’s about enough for the history.

By the way, all of Reich’s books have been re-published and are available at the museum in Rangely, Maine.

I have a few interesting things to add. Mildred Edie Brady and Dr. Werthan were both members of the American-Russian Friendship society, which in subsequent years was revealed as a socially approved arm of the Soviet Union. At one point, Dr. Reich wrote to Einstein and indicated that he had things that he felt might be interesting to Einstein.  Reich was invited to visit, and had a four-and-a-half hour session with Einstein where he demonstrated some experiments he felt would arouse Einstein’s interest.  And Einstein said that he was interested and that he would investigate. The answer came back in subsequent weeks that Einstein’s colleague, a physicist named Leopold Infeld, had worked with this material. Infeld concluded, for example, the temperature differences Reich claimed occurred in the orgone accumulator versus those in a dummy box were due simply to convection currents. Heat rises, said Infeld, from the floor to the ceiling and the reason the temperature were higher at the top of the accumulator and above the accumulator was due to convection currents. Reich went back and at least to his own satisfaction, made new models and hung some of them in air so there wouldn’t be the floor to ceiling difference and wrote back to Einstein asking to come again with his improved models that didn’t have the problem of convection current and received no answer. Not that much long after Reich’s visit, it was found that Leopold Infeld was a card carrying communist and not too long after that he left Einstein to teach in Soviet-dominated Poland, at the University of Warsaw.  So there is this trail of Soviet agents who interfered at some point in the progress of Reich’s scientific efforts.

The second interesting incident occurred in forming the complaint: the FDA tried to reproduce Reich’s experiment with cancerous mice exposed to accumulator devices.  In Reich’s experiments what happened was that the tumors in the cancerous mice had shrunk, but ultimately all of the mice died.  Reich never claimed to cure anything, so that all of these instances of calling Reich a master of cure-alls is preposterous.

Now at the Jackson Laboratory where the FDA had the experiments reproduced, what happened was that the accumulator exposed mice died sooner than the unexposed mice, and it was a joke around the laboratory that if you wanted to see a mouse die sooner than the average mouse you just expose them to the accumulator. By chance, one of our trainees was working at the Jackson Memorial Laboratory that summer. And he observed that the room in which the experiment was conducted was adjacent to the room where radiation experiments were being conducted. And Reich had already discovered that radiation and orgone energy cause a big disruption in the atmosphere and should never be in close proximity.  When the student asked the man who had conducted the experiment if he aware that Reich had discovered this fact, the “scientist” said he didn’t bother to read Reich because he didn’t want to bias himself.  Now there are two things: you can bias yourself to the extent that you make sure you conduct the experiment the way it’s meant to be conducted; and secondly, the fact that the accumulator-exposed mice died sooner should have given somebody the idea that something is happening here. If nothing were happening, the mice would have died at the same as the unexposed mice.

If one proceeded with that kind of intelligence, penicillin would never have been discovered.   It was discovered because bugs died when they shouldn’t have. These are just two of the kind of things that happened in the scientific community during Reich’s lifetime.

I’ve been delighted with what I have seen with my patients, what I’ve been able to witness, and the children they have raised.  In Yiddish, there is a word, nachas, which means the glory you get from the good work you’ve done. And my nachas is continuous from patients that I’ve treated. This is kind of bragging, but I’ll indulge myself. I have five books dedicated to me by significant people, professors of philosophy at NYU and Columbia, Professors of History in UCLA, etc. And I’m sure that is unusual in a psychiatric practice. I have letters of thanks from loads of people and what they all say is that their lives have been considerably widened because of therapy. And that is my goal.

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Wilhelm Reich – Founder of Orgone Therapy

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