Tag Archive | "President Obama"

The Boston Marathon Bombing: An Orgonomic Analysis


On Monday, April 15, 2013, on a beautiful spring day when the Boston Marathon is traditionally held, two bombs exploded at the finish line, killing 3 people and injuring an estimated 260 spectators. Among the deceased were an 8 year old boy, Martin Richard, who was cheering his father as he approached the finish line; a Chinese student, Lu Lingzi, the only daughter of her parents; and Krystle Campbell, a young woman who died later in the hospital. A number of other spectators and runners lost limbs from the explosions, including the younger sister of the deceased Martin Richard, and several survivors required amputations upon receiving medical attention. This event was another heartbreaking, heinous crime.

Boston Marathon Victims: Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu
Boston Marathon Victims

Shortly after this incident, President Obama responded: “Good morning, everybody. I have just been briefed by my national security team, including FBI Director Mueller, Attorney General Holder, Secretary Napolitano and my Counter Terrorism and Homeland Security Advisor, Lisa Monaco, on the attack in Boston. We continue to mobilize and deploy all appropriate law enforcement resources to protect our citizens and to investigate and respond to this attack.

Boston Marathon: President Barack Obama Issues Statement

Obviously our first thoughts this morning are with the victims, their families, and the city of Boston. We know that two explosions gravely wounded thousands of Americans and took the lives of others, including an 8 year-old boy. This was a heinous and cowardly act and given what we know now about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism. Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror. What we don’t yet know, however, is who carried out this attack, or why; whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was an act of a malevolent individual. That’s what we don’t yet know and clearly, we are in the beginning of our investigation.

It will take time to follow every lead and determine what happened, but we will find out. We will find whoever harmed our citizens and we will bring them to justice. We also know this–the American people refused to be terrorized because what the world saw yesterday in the aftermath of the explosions were stories of heroism and kindness . . . .”

Shortly after this terrorist act, the perpetrators were identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 years old, and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 years old. They had come to the United States approximately a decade ago as ethnic Chechen refugees and were granted asylum. Tamerlan, who was killed in a gun battle with police on April 19, 2013, was a permanent U.S. resident and Dzhokhar, his younger brother, who had become a U.S. citizen on September 11, 2012, was captured Friday night in a shootout with police and remains hospitalized.
The Los Angeles Times reported that family members and acquaintances have painted sharply contrasting portraits of the suspects. Classmates and others have described the younger brother as pleasant but the older brother as intense and given to occasional outbursts.

In his first speech after this attack, President Obama stressed that officials would discover the identities of the perpetrators and the reasons for their attack. Fortunately, because of the vigilance of law enforcement agencies, including the police force, the perpetrators were soon identified. President Obama later lauded their persistence.

The second part of the President’s inquiry—the reasons for the attack—remain unclear for many. As students of Reich and Orgonomy, we may be able to offer our help. Chechnya, a country from which the perpetrators of this crime and their parents requested asylum, is located in southeastern Europe in the North Caucasus Mountains.

President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyro

On March 10, 2011, Human Rights Watch reported that since Chechenization, the government has advocated for an enforced Islamic dress code and other practices that violently oppress women. Wikipedia reports that the president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, is quoted as saying, “I have the right to criticize my wife. She doesn’t. With us [in Chechen society], a wife is a housewife. A woman should know her place. A woman should give her love to us [men] . . . . She would be [man’s] property and the man is the owner. Here if a woman does not behave properly, her husband, her father, and brother are responsible. According to our tradition, if a woman fools around, her family members kill her . . . that’s how it happens, a brother kills his sister or husband kills his wife . . . . As president, I cannot allow for them to kill. So let women not wear shorts.” He has also openly defended honor killings on several occasions.

These are the actual words of the president of Chechnya in 2011, words that reveal a culture that is extremist, authoritarian, patriarchal, anti-woman and anti-sexual. In his book, Function of Orgasm, Reich states, “Society molds human character and in turn human character reproduces social ideology en masse. Thus, in reproducing the negation of life inherent in social ideology, people reproduce their own suppression”. The consequence of this suppression is the development of hatred and violence toward everything vibrant and beautiful—the murder of happy, lively children and adults–the ultimate destruction of anything that represents life. “It is my belief,” Reich continues, “that our earth will never find lasting peace and it will seek in vain to fulfill the function of social organization as long as naïve politicians and dictators of whatever persuasion continue to contaminate and lead sexually sick masses of people”.

In my previous articles from this journal (“Sex Politics, Emotional Plague, Sadism, and Fascism,” “Terrorism at Home: Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy,” “On Sexual Rights of Youth,” , “Our Teenage Suicide Bombers” and many others), I have stated that democracy and sexual freedom go hand in hand and develop simultaneously. Likewise, dictatorships, fascism and sexual suppression go hand in hand. Thus, a sexually oppressive culture is also authoritarian and dictatorial. Families that typify this culture will raise children who are psychologically distorted and sick. Their naturally affectionate impulses are prohibited by their family and culture and these children become frustrated, often resorting to hatred and violence. These repressed individuals become bombs ready to explode from within and become fertile soil for any extreme, violent ideologies.

Reich refers to this phenomenon as a neurotic plague, stating, “The most important source of neurotic plague is the authoritarian, sexually repressive upbringing of children with its unavoidable sexual child-parent conflict and genital anxiety”. Once this cycle is in place, children from repressed, authoritarian cultures develop secondary sadistic and destructive drives as a consequence of repression of primary loving and sexual impulses. This notion can be illustrated by the following depiction:

Diagram depicting the antithetical functional unity between instinct and defense and illustrating specific impulses.

From Function of Orgasm by Wilhelm Reich

Reich describes, people inflicted by emotional plague often express a façade of exaggerated politeness while just beneath the façade, they are ready to explode with hatred. Not surprisingly, the brothers who committed this heinous crime were described as exceedingly polite, consistent with Reich’s description of this surface behavior and its underlying rage.

From the book Listen Little Man by Wilhelm Reich, Illustrated by William Steig.

In orgonomy, the expression of this repressed hatred in a social scene is referred to as emotional plague. This emotional hatred is always directed toward anything that represents qualities of happiness and vibrancy, the very qualities that a person inflicted by emotional plague longs for, but because of his inner structural distortion, he is unable to attain. As a result, he becomes envious of and destroys that for which he longs from the depths of his soul. In his book, Character Analysis, Reich states, “The person afflicted with emotional plague always develops as a part of his structure an envy coupled with deadly hatred of everything healthy”.

Based on our understanding of human psychological structure and its development under certain social and cultural upbringing, there is reason to believe that nothing will change, and such atrocities will continue as long as children grow up under Mr. Ramzan Kadyrov’s proudly proclaimed authoritarian, fascistic, anti-sexual and anti-woman social structure. (One can substitute any religious denomination or any society in which families repress the natural growth of their children and the natural flow of biological and sexual energy in the youth and adolescents.)

In Reich Speaks of Freud, Reich states, “I don’t believe that there will be any solutions of any social problem as long as children and adolescents grow up with a 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? Is it quite clear why I’m interested? I have a great interest in getting this point of view into the psychoanalytic movement, in opposition to such schools as the English school, which denies all these things, sees nothing of it, and still thrives on a culture which just falls apart, or is in the process of falling apart, right now, under the very feet of those who proclaim it”.

Therefore, if President Obama and U.S. officials are serious about discovering the causes of this crime, they must also address the human rights in these cultures, particularly the rights of women and the sexual rights of youth and adolescents, male and female alike. Countries without these rights should be considered as inevitable risks for similar terrorist actions. These leaders, government officials, and the masses must be educated, as well. Such an education will sever the roots from which such evil grows.

This tragedy claimed several people’s lives, traumatized many, and caused deep sadness to innumerable others. Our hearts go out to them. We hope that this contribution will bring some awareness about the roots of this evil and ideally mitigate such hateful, destructive crimes in the future.

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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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