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Schizophrenia: An Orgonomic Perspective


This article is partially based on the lecture I presented at the Orgonomic Conference in Italy on October 4, 2013.

In Reich’s book (1952), Reich Speaks of Freud, which includes the transcript of an interview between Dr. Wilhelm Reich and Dr. Kurt Eissler, Reich states:

In 1929 – I think it was then – I began to work in character analysis with physiological emotions, with physiological feelings, in the patients. You are acquainted with character analysis?
Eissler: Yes
Reich: You are. You know what I call preorgastic streamings? Orgonotic current?
Eissler: I know a little about that.
Reich: You know something about it? Otherwise, there’s no use.
Eissler: Well, I know your literature pretty well up to the time you left the psychoanalytic movement.
Reich: It was already in by then. You didn’t read the third edition of Character Analysis?
Eissler: No, not the third edition.
Reich: Well, in schizophrenics, the bio-energetic emotions or excitations break through into consciousness. In the so-called normal human beings, these excitations are more or less shut off. This is particularly the case in the affect-blocked compulsive neurotic. In investigating the difference between the typical neurotic and the schizophrenic, I learned that the neurotic recognizes the excitations which may break through spontaneously, or in the course of treatment, as biological, as arising from within. The schizophrenic fails to recognize these primary, biophysical sensations and plasmatic streamings as an inner process and, thus, comes to misinterpret and distort them. That is, he believes the excitations – the sensations, the crawlings, the stirrings in him – are due to outside influences, for example, to persecutors trying to electrocute him. He does perceive his bio-energetic emotion, but he misinterprets it.

In this article, I discuss schizophrenia, the single-most important illness in psychiatry. In fact, professionals in contemporary psychiatry, psychology, and medicine view schizophrenia as a bizarre illness primarily because they do not comprehend its basic physical and psychological pathology and consequently they do not comprehend the wide range of unrelated symptoms which is unexplainable by current theories within these professions.

The historical background of schizophrenia dates back to the mid-1800s when Emil Kraepelin, a prominent German psychiatrist, referred to the illness as dementia praecox, underscoring a deterioration of the cognitive process (dementia) and early onset of it (praecox).

Emil Kraepelin

In 1910, Eugene Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist, coined the term schizophrenia to describe the presence of splits or schisms between thought, emotion and behavior, thereafter replacing the term dementia praecox in the literature.

Eugene Bleuler

Several other psychiatrists also began to discuss the phenomenon of schizophrenia but described different criteria for it. Eugene Bleuler in his book, Dementia Praecox (1910) reported his accumulated observations of schizophrenic patients, describing their behavior in great detail. This description of schizophrenic symptoms is one of the most comprehensive, informative reports. For example, he defines the disease as follows:

A group of psychoses whose course is at times chronic, at times marked by intermittent attacks, and which can stop or retrograde at any stage, but does not permit a full restitution ad integrum. The disease is characterized by a specific type of alteration of thinking, feeling, and relation to the external world, which appears nowhere else in this particular fashion.

In every case we are confronted with a more or less clear-cut splitting of the psychic functions. If the disease is marked, the personality loses its unity; at different times different psychic complexes seem to represent the personality. Integration of different complexes and strivings appears insufficient or even lacking. The psychic complexes do not combine in a conglomeration of strivings with a unified resultant as they do in a healthy person; rather, one set of complexes dominates the personality for a time, while other groups of ideas or drives are “split off” and seem either partly or completely impotent. Often ideas are only partially worked out, and fragments of ideas are connected in an illogical way to constitute a new idea. Concepts lose their completeness, seem to dispense with one or more of their essential components; indeed, in many cases they are only represented by a few truncated notions.

Thus, the process of association often works with mere fragments of ideas and concepts. This results in associations which normal individuals will regard as incorrect, bizarre, and utterly unpredictable. Often thinking stops in the middle of a thought; or in the attempt to pass to another idea, it may suddenly cease altogether, at least as far as it is a conscious process (blocking). Instead of continuing the thought, new ideas crop up which neither the patient nor the observer can bring into any connection with the previous stream of thought.

Primary disturbances of perception, orientation, or memory are not demonstrable. In the severest cases emotional and affective expressions seem to be completely lacking. In milder cases we may note only that the degree of intensity of the emotional reactions is not commensurate with the various events that caused those reactions. Indeed, the intensity of the affective reactions may range from a complete lack of emotional expression to extremely exaggerated affective responses in relation to different thought-complexes. They affectively can also appear to be qualitatively abnormal; that is, inadequate to the intellectual processes involved.

In addition to the often-discussed signs of “deterioration,” many other symptoms are present in a majority of the hospital cases. We find hallucinations, delusions, confusion, stupor, mania and melancholic affective fluctuations, and catatonic symptoms. Many of these accessory symptoms and symptom-complexes betray a specific schizophrenic character so that their presence may be utilized in diagnosing the disease. Outside the hospital, there are schizophrenics in whom accessory symptoms are less apparent, or absent altogether.

Contemporary psychiatric textbooks define schizophrenia as a disease characterized by a very broad range of symptoms, including those described above by Bleuler. In fact, the symptoms are so diverse that they cover the entire spectrum of human thought, emotions and behavior with an unidentified psychopathology and no single clinical feature characteristic of schizophrenia. There is no clear consensus regarding what constitutes the disorder’s core symptoms. Currently, the symptoms are generally divided into two groups: positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and purposeless movements or sequences of actions. In contrast, negative symptoms include diminished expression of emotion, blunted affect or apathy, withdrawal, lack of motivation or interest in social contact, poverty of speech, etc. Contemporary psychiatry divides schizophrenia into subtypes, such as paranoid schizophrenia, of which the most prominent feature is presence of persecutory delusions and auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations. Disorganized schizophrenia, thought to be a more severe form of the illness, has an earlier onset and includes a low level of social and occupational functioning, poor long-term prognosis, and is typified by clinical features related to disorganization . The other term of this category was hebephrenic schizophrenia as used by Eugene Bleuler. Catatonic schizophrenia refers to an extreme motor state of either stupor or over excitation. In the catatonic stupor, the patient maintains a rigid body position for an extensive time without talking or reacting to others. In catatonic excitement, the patient engages in a series of apparently aimless and exaggerated rapid movements, which may include acts of aimless violence. Residual schizophrenia refers to an attenuated state of schizophrenia during which the positive or negative symptoms are relatively less apparent.

At the present time, contemporary psychiatry and psychology merely label, classify and describe the symptoms without providing any logical pathology relating these symptoms to each other. The symptoms described are as wide-ranging as those of Blueler, such as delusions, hallucinations, unusual behavior and outburst of anger, diminished expression of emotions, blunted affect, apathy or decreased motivation, withdrawal, lack of interest in social contact, poverty of speech, disorganized speech or purposeless movements or sequences of action.

Contemporary researchers in psychiatry acknowledge that the cause of schizophrenia is unknown. However, in spite of schizophrenia’s unknown etiology, researchers speculate about the causes of this illness. In the last several decades, researchers have, according to their orientations, attributed the etiology of schizophrenia to different phenomena such as genetics, neurotransmitters, environmental factors, and stress. The most revered and referenced textbooks in psychiatry in the United States, endorsed by American Psychiatric Association, state that “schizophrenia includes a group of disorders, probably with heterogeneous causes but with somewhat similar behavioral symptoms. Patients with schizophrenia show different clinical presentations, treatment responses, and the course of illness” (Kaplan & Sadock’s Synopsis of psychiatry 8th Edition. P.459).

A philosopher once said that hell is a place where events are not connected with each other, where cause and effect are unknown. With numerous, unrelated symptoms and no identifiable etiology, schizophrenia becomes a hell for the patient and for the clinician as well. Certainly, psychiatrists acknowledge that anti-psychotic medication, developed since Bleuler’s time, has significantly controlled and even minimized acute psychotic symptoms. However, in almost all cases, the residual symptoms and subtle progression of schizophrenia continue, rendering the patient vulnerable, fragile and marginalized during their life span.

Contemporary psychiatrists, psychologists and physicians have no explanation for the causes of schizophrenia nor do they understand the relationship between the wide-ranging symptoms. Consequently, they are unable to understand schizophrenic patients. When the underlying cause of an illness is not understood, the clinician, like the patient himself, feels lost in the midst of these bizarre symptoms. Thus, the clinician is unable to logically treat this patient. Mental health clinicians know, from experience, that a structured environment, occupational therapy and antipsychotic medication, can bring some relief to these patients, but these approaches, although helpful, are based on practical experience rather than on knowledge of the illness and its etiology.

Having described the limitations of contemporary clinicians to understand and treat schizophrenia, I would like to offer the orgonomic perspective and hope that it will illuminate this “mysterious and bizarre” illness and thus aid clinicians in finding more effective treatment for the patient.

The orgonomic view of schizophrenia, as defined by Reich, is the patient’s misinterpretation of the biological energy that breaks through one’s armor and is experienced consciously but attributed to something alien.

Based on orgonomic theoretical understanding, in paranoid schizophrenia the biological energy breaks through the armor and the patient senses it. Consciously, he attributes these unfamiliar streamings and sensations to outside forces, thus causing the patient’s confusion, persecutory delusions, and deterioration. In contrast, in catatonic schizophrenia, the patient suffers from slow movement, contracted musculature, and immobility due to his or her heavy armoring. In order to elaborate on these two concepts, some descriptions of orgonomic theories are necessary for the reader who is unfamiliar with these theories.

Orgonomy is an offshoot of psychoanalysis and is based on Freud’s theory of the libido. Reich suggested that the libido is an actual energy, which Reich named orgone energy. This energy works in the body and Reich suggested that an autonomic (vegetative) nervous system propagates this energy in the human organism. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, also known as vegetative or autonomic nervous systems, plays a major role in propagating this energy. This vegetative system also includes ganglia, which are most abundantly concentrated in the celiac and hypogastric area known as the solar plexus. In “Function of Orgasm” Reich (1942) stated that “There must be a vegetative center from which the biological energy issues and to which it returns. There are the large centers of autonomic nervous ganglia , essentially the solar plexus, the hypogastric plexus and lumbo-sacroplexus”.

Vegetative Nervous System

Unfortunately, medical researchers have not taken these suggestions seriously, and no systematic studies have been done to establish the propagation of energetic impulses from these centers. However, two papers in electrophysiological studies corroborate Reich’s theory on the propagation of energy from the solar plexus to the periphery of the body. Researchers at the Pavlov Institute of Physiology, Leningrad (Zamiatina, N. (1961). Electrophysiological analysis of excitation conduction through ganglia of the solar plexus. Journal of physiology of USSR. 47(6),1-8.), found that “after separation of ganglia of the solar plexus from the central nervous system, afferent impulsation is retained in the axons of the post ganglionic neurons. This impulsation testifies to the presence of tonic activity in the ganglional cells which may be regarded, on one hand, as manifestation of the intrinsic automatism of function of ganglia and, on the other hand, as the result of direct afferent influences from the receptors of visceral organs upon the ganglial cells.”

The autonomic life apparatus dysfunctions manifests itself in a variety of diseases, including schizophrenia. Different manifestations of schizophrenia can be explained based on this autonomic dysfunction and disruption of energetic flow in the body. Armoring of the body musculature and tissues is a pathological process which prevents the orderly flow of biological energy.

Armoring in summary is defined as an organism’s total defense, consisting of psychological rigidity and chronic spasms of the musculature which essentially defends against breakthrough of emotions, primarily anxiety, rage, sexual excitation and organ sensations.

From an orgonomic perspective, catatonic schizophrenia is a consequence of heavy muscular armoring against the flow of biological energy, which in turn causes withdrawal from the world and causes manifestations of muscular rigidities, slow movements, or resistance to any type of passive movement as well as withdrawal from the world and blocking of the feelings. Hebephrenic schizophrenia, more recently referred to as undifferentiated schizophrenia, consists mainly of a slow deterioration of biophysical functioning. The initial phase of paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by bizarre ideas and mystical experiences, ideas of persecution and hallucinations, loss of power of rational association and loss of factual meaning of words followed by a slow deterioration of psychological structure and loss of unity of functioning of the body in general. These types of schizophrenia are all consequences of disruption of biophysical energetic flow and process of armoring in the organism. Reich suggested that schizophrenia is related to the armoring and blocks in the ocular segment , “armoring of the structure encompassing eyes and base of the skull” causing the eventual disintegration of the organism, in a reverse order of its integration. In schizophrenics, the armoring is not as complete as it is in neurotic patients. Therefore, bioenergetic sensations break through their armor, manifesting themselves in different and unfamiliar sensations.

While conventional medicine, psychiatry and psychology are unable to explain the reasons of sluggish movements, muscular contractions, poor mobility, poor and shallow respiration in catatonic schizophrenics, orgonomists can explain these manifestations. A catatonic patient whom I was treating in the1980s was manifesting such contracted musculature and could hardly bend her neck; consequently, whatever she ate fell on her chin and shirt, the latter of which was always stained by food, thus emitting a foul odor. The same patient manifested shallow breathing far below average with no medical explanation for this abnormal respiratory function.

The respiratory function test of the patient

In contrast to catatonia, those patients who suffer from paranoid schizophrenia experience the biological energy that breaks through their armor and they experience unfamiliar movements and sensation in their bodies. Sometimes these patients feel painful sensations in the skin, attributing them to electrocution from outside hostile entities such as aliens or secret government agencies. These patients are sometimes afraid to go to places where they have previously experienced these sensations. They may also to feel as if the certain parts of their bodies do not belong to them. For example, one of my patients diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia often complained that his arms had been replaced by those of a woman. Some patients complain that their minds are controlled by outside secret forces, or that a chip has been implanted in their brain, thus controlling them. Some of my patients have complained of other sensations. One patient, for example, insisted that there were worms in her stomach and intestine and claimed that she could feel them moving inside her. Such patients see a number of doctors, frustrating them by such complaints. Schizophrenic patients often complain that they are unable to focus on any issue for any length of time and their minds get blocked or they fixate on an idea and are unable to stop the fixation. Once during my psychiatric residency, a patient was admitted to the hospital because of his patricidal impulse to kill his father. He told me that he had been tortured by certain thoughts being stuck in his mind and not moving on. He attributed this stagnation of ideas in his mind to his father, “Mr. Lockin,” explaining that his thoughts were “locked in” because of his father’s name. Thus, he wanted to kill his father.

For schizophrenic patients who suffer from auditory hallucinations, orgonomists explain that these hallucinations are expansion of their orgonomic energy and projections of it on themselves.

The integration of orgonotic energy of different body organs into a single unitary function is an essential process resulting in the coordinated unitary functioning of the human organism and its sensation as a whole. This process of integration begins at infancy and gradually progresses to the integration of different orgonotic sensations into a single unitary functioning. In schizophrenia, however, this integrated structure starts to disintegrate in reverse order, causing deterioration of thought and speech and unfamiliar sensations in the body. While conventional physicians and psychiatrists have no explanation or understanding of the wide variety of symptoms in schizophrenia and view it as bizarre, orgonomists view these symptoms as manifestations of bioenergetic movement, armoring, and disintegration. From an orgonomic point of view, therefore, schizophrenic symptoms no longer seem strange and incomprehensible. A clinician who understands the patient can help the patient by empathizing, and developing an alliance, with her or him. Such an alliance will be evident in the clinician’s interaction with the patient and will thus have an integrating effect on the patient. The clinicians who have integrated this knowledge into their understanding become, themselves, integrating forces for their patients; they become capable of helping their patients beyond any other modality presented in psychiatry. Reich described the treatment of schizophrenic patients in his book, Character Analysis, 3rd edition. The reader is referred to Reich’s description of the treatment process. As a psychiatrist familiar with the orgonomic theories, I will, in turn, describe the process of integration and treatment of the schizophrenic patients in future articles. The reader also is referred to Reich’s clinical seminars from the 1950s now available on CDs from Wilhelm Reich Museum. Such knowledge is essential for understanding and treating patients with schizophrenia and should be brought to the forefront in the fields of psychiatry, psychology and medicine.

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Integration of the Psyche


( Excerpts of a lecture given by Dr. Wilhelm Reich on the process of integration in newborns and the schizophrenic.)

In 1949, Wilhelm Reich conducted a series of clinical lectures and discussions with physicians in which he formulated the basic principles of orgone therapy and focused on specific problems and possibilities in the practice. Dr. Reich  was aware of the significance of his discoveries and importance of his teachings and he recorded these lectures. He also insisted that the students  record these events as well.  These recordings are transferred to Compact Disc format by the Wilhelm Reich Museum and has been made available for interested people and scholars.. It is a treat and enlightening experience to listen to Dr. Reich speaking and conducting these seminars.

The following transcribed excerpt is from the lecture that Dr.Wilhelm Reich gave to his students in 1949 on the problems of integration in infancy and schizophrenia.   This lecture also is transcribed in its full format and is published in Orgonomic Functionalism,  published by The Wilhelm Reich Museum.  The reader can find the full transcript in Vol. 6 of Orgonomic Functionalism which was published in the summer of 1996.  The following is the portions of the lecture that we selected for our readers.

Click for a 15 minute audio excerpt from the transcribed lecture, \”Problems of Integration in Infancy and Schizophrenia\”

“Courtesy of The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust”

Reich:…. The child comes into the world unintegrated, not disintegrated, because it never was integrated.  But unintegrated. And how does that show? How do we know that?

… That means that different movements show no purpose, no meaning.  Here we get into something new again.  Why did I say purpose and meaning now? If you look at a newborn baby, the movements are without meaning, without purpose. They give the impression of meaninglessness, purposelessness, exactly as in the schizophrenic, catatonic.  Is that clear? Now we would not say, as the psychoanalysts say, that the schizophrenic or catatonic regresses to this phase. We think differently. I wouldn’t like to discuss whether they are right or wrong.  But what is clear is that there are similar or even identical situations in the catatonic and the infant, especially in mannerisms. And the common thing is that both lack meaningfulness and purpose, purposefulness. Is that clear? The infant and the schizophrenic, the catatonic especially.  And we say that the child is not integrated yet and the schizophrenic has disintegrated. That’s the difference. The child isn’t yet a whole organism, whereas the schizophrenic was a whole….

To begin with, [in the newborn], the organs move senselessly around.  The mouth moves here, the foot moves there, and the hand moves here, and the eyes move somewhere else. That means the eyes are not coordinated; they don’t focus. You know that.

Then one day these different functions, which are single functions– They are total, too, of course, but they are total only with respect to what? The hand motion, for instance. Of course the total hand moves. But it’s total only with respect to the hand, to the arm, to the organ. Just as the stomach moves as a stomach. Each eye moves for itself as a total organ.  But what is not there? The synchronization…..

The main problem is what happens when a child fixes its eyes for the first time on its own finger. What happens there? Let’s analyze that.  it’s very important. What happens?  First, the two eyes coordinate in looking. Yes?

Student: I feel that I can answer the question of what happens when the child begins to see its finger, but I’m confused about what happens when the two eyes begin to function together. I feel that here, with the eyes able to function, there’s been contact between.

Reich:That’s the answer. Perfect. Perfect. There was contact. Contact. Please keep that word. That’s very good. Contact. Why is that word so important in this connection?

Student:Because it’s the basis of all functioning, of all unitary functioning.

Reich: Of all later contact functioning. The schizophrenic disease is characterized by lack of contact, by split contact, by withdrawal from contact, and so on. So these first contacts between a function in the organism, the eyes and a moving finger, for instance, are critical. Now what’s made contact?

Student: Two Fields

Reich: Two energy fields. That’s right. Two energy fields make contact.  We can also express it in a different way. And that is, two motions, two movements make contact. Two movements make contact. That moved, this moved. And then they met.  And from now on, that will be the prototype of every later contact between eyes and motions.

Student: I would like to question this concept of two fields, two energy fields making contact.

Reich: Why?

Student: It’s one energy field, isn’t it? It’s the same field.

Reich: No. No. We are a whole, and yet the liver is completely separated from the heart. Is that clear? The same thing with our mental activities. We are a whole; our perceptual activities function as one piece. Yet it’s different when I talk to you than when I talk to another student. That’s no contradiction. Therefore we say we have a multiplicity of things, of functions, within a unity. It doesn’t contradict. It’s one. (I wrote that up once.) The fact that there are one, tow, three, distinctly separate built-in functions, like perception, excitation, and energy metabolism doesn’t contradict.

Student: They are variations of the same

Reich: They are variations of one thing. Here you have our functional scheme quite clearly expressed. So the child is a unity in its energy as a system. Yet that splits up into different functions. now these functions, such as the eye and the hand movement, meet. And they make contact. I would suggest to keep the word “contact: very clearly in mind. The word “contact”. Just this word. “Making contact.”

Now what goes on? these two make contact. We see it. We can observe it. What happens to the child in that process? The child took a step. That’s clear. But a step toward what? What happened to the child, to the totality? We know what happened between the two movements. They made contact. What happened to the whole?

Student: They became an integral part of the whole.

Reich: Quite perfect. They became an integral part of the whole. That means, from now on, the eyes will follow every movement. A new function was born. Is that right? A new function!  So in this contact between an eye movement and a hand movement a new function was born, namely, the function of fixing eyes on everything. Seeing. The function of seeing. But we still didn’t quite answer what happened to the total organism. Not quite. You answered a part of it. A new function was born in the whole organism which consists of the organic and the psychic function. Basically. From now on, seeing has set in.  Seeing is a psychological, biological, biophysical function. Right? But something happened to the ego of that child. Before these two movements met, there was no awareness that such a thing exists or is possible. First the movement of the eye and the movement of the hand had to make contact with each other, and the new function of seeing had to be established before the ego of the child could make the next step. And that is being aware that it sees……

Now here , for the first time, in this example you have not only contact between eye movement and hand movement which is one part of the coordination. But that sets into motion a whole series of events. This contact between eye movement and hand movement influences the total organism. The total organism will, from now on, directs its eyes toward everything that moves. That’s the second coordination. Then the child must slowly become aware of the fact that it sees. Is there any doubt about that? is there any gap here? There’s the coordination between the excitation of this unitary seeing and the awareness of it. Where are we driving now? Where are we going now?

Student: We’re driving toward the disturbance of this unitary functioning.

Reich: That’s right. But before we arrive at the disturbance of this unitary functioning between different movements coordinated into one and the awareness of this coordination, you must understand that the child has a quite different feeling of itself when it sees things and when it doesn’t see things. It’s a different self. How would that self compare with the self before it coordinated these movements? How would the self feel or be? Yes. Go ahead…

Student: More powerful, too.

Reich: That makes it more powerful. Its unity is greater. Now, lets get it all together. When it is born the child is one organic unity, but the functions, the single functions within this unity, are unconnected. Right? Each goes on its own. Now the coordination of movements begins. They make contact. Then the perception of these contacts, or the awareness of it, develops. And with that the whole organism becomes a more complete unity. The total organism becomes stronger in that it expands, not only physically in its growth, but in its awareness of what growth?  Consciousness growth. Awareness. Consciousness of the self. Before , when these functions were separate and not coordinated, there was no awareness of the borderline between the self and the outer world and the  world streaming right into it. the mother’s breast, the mothers’ warmth- it was all one. Now , the more this child, this newborn baby, begins to integrate its own self, what happens inevitably in its relations with the world?

Student: It feels a difference between itself.

Reich:  That’s it. The difference, or the awareness of the difference, between the self and the world grows to the same extent to which the self integrates. Is that clear? Quite clear? That means, all later schizophrenic projections, the loss of the borderline, the merging with the world, the hallucinations, whatever there is, cannot be understood unless we understand the way in which an organism integrates itself more and more, slowly, into a whole, and demarcates its own existence from that of the outer world. Right?  What goes on as a process of integration in the new born baby is reflected in  the schizophrenic breakdown later in the revers direction, as disintegration. We shall come to that very soon. We are not through yet with the baby. But today we shall reach that point where we shall deduce these things.

Now, we said “contact.” The more contacts there are between movements among each other and perception of movement with the movements, the clearer becomes consciousness, consciousness in the form of self-awareness. That means, the great problem of how consciousness comes about can most probably be solved by a careful study of the process of integration in the  newborn baby. Consciousness would appear  as the sum total of all integrations, of all contacts within the organism, and of the internally integrated organism with the separated world out-side. It has nothing to do with speech. Is that clear? It has nothing to do with ideas. It has nothing to do with walking yet or with higher functions, later learning, and so on…..

For instance, in connection with the contact function, I would like to bring in a very important field of functioning, realm of functioning. And that is scientific insight. What do we do here, right here, as living organisms? What do we do right now, for more than a half hour?

Student: We’re integrating.

Reich: We’re integrating. We are integrating different functions. We are integrating the function of the schizophrenic breakdown with the function of the growth of self-awareness in the infant. We are integrating two things which apparently have nothing to do with each other. That is scientific knowledge, organic scientific knowledge. If you study or do searching, do research, what do you do?  You integrate and unite different facts into an understandable unit. You do the same thing that your organism did in infancy with your organs or with your perception. It’s only a continuation of that. The better integrated an organism is, the better it will function as an integrating organism. Is that clear?

Now, let’s pass over to the schizophrenic crack, or split, which we mentioned in the beginning. How could such a crack in this structure occur? We have said before that when the schizophrenic breaks down  he doesn’t break down anew. He had a crack there right from the beginning, somewhere. It’s like a building that has deep cracks through the foundation, and then it collapses. And that’s the difference between a building which was already constructed and a building which has not been constructed where the materials are all still separated.

Student: Talking about the schizophrenic– His contacts have been limited. His consciousness.

Reich: Wait a minute. You say “limited.” What is limited?

Student: There’s been a lack of contact.

Reich: Somewhere was a lack of contact. Yes. I will accept that. Yes.

Student: One could say that the cement between the bricks was defective in some way.

Reich: That’s right.

Student: We were saying the greater the amount of contact the greater the consciousness, the greater the consciousness the greater the integrating forces. And here you have in the schizophrenic a lack of contact.

Reich: Before the breakdown?

Student: Yes.

Reich: It’s not lack of contact. No, before he breaks down he has great contact. What has he? He has a weak spot.

Student: He’s poorly integrated.

Reich: He’s poorly integrated. I would say more definitely still–Not only poorly integrated. The way you said it before, Doctor, Was better.

Student: Things holding together are defective.

Reich: That’s right. That means the cohesion between the different functions is weak. Now can you deduce the crack in the schizophrenic to a concrete defective development in the integration of the newborn baby?

Student: Deduce to what?

Reich: Deduce the crack, the weak cohesion between the functions in the schizophrenic, in the grown-up schizophrenic, who cracks wide open in the break-down, to the infant,to the process of integration in the infant. Take a very concrete example. Where is the schizophrenic split preformed? Under what circumstances could that happen? Give me concrete examples. You can invent one, if you invent well.  Fantasize. Go ahead.

Student: I would begin again with the functions of the energy.  A withdrawal of energy in this segment.

Reich: Which segment?

Student? In the eye segment.

Reich: We are not in the eyes. We have to have the general before we have the special. We have to have the general. In infancy something must have gone wrong in the process of the separation of the self from the world. So that the borderlines are blurred. There is a doubt., like a question mark, in the inner self. Where do I end and where does the world begin? The newborn baby really goes through such a phase, actually. Now can you imagine that such a thing could happen if a child of two or three weeks, just in the process of integration, is beaten very severely? You give another example. go ahead.

Student: I’ve experienced terrific longing, physical longing in my oral segment. The longing was so strong that I thought  that a frustration at that moment would be just  unbearable.

Reich: That’s right. That’s very good and I think a very pertinent example. Schizophrenia is expressed in the face mostly, eyes, mouth, the whole a face. And I haven’t seen a schizophrenic yet who didn’t have a severe traumatic experience in the development of his oral longing. Not a single one, not a singe one. Just as you describe it., doctor. The schizophrenic is energetically stronger than any other type. There’s a very strong push of energy outward. If that meets nothing outside, just nothing. There’s no contact. Right?

Student: I thought to myself that the child would either crack, or he could attempt to armor in some way.

Reich: Can’t armor yet. Can’t armor. It could develop rage, screaming rage. And then it’s being beaten, and so on……

Student:  I thought of something else in connection with this split. In terms of motion.  you see, the body’s somewhat limited in its functions.  The eye has the power to move.

Reich: Excellent, Doctor, excellent.   That’s good thinking.  Very good.  What did you do now biophysically or bioenergetically?  What happened to you now, Doctor?  What happens to me all the time when I talk?  The contact of two or three functions, the  hook-up, the integration of two or three functions to the whole, into a unit, creates something new. Is that clear?  Just as it goes on in growth and just as it goes on in integrated functioning in early childhood.  That’s creation. That’s creation.  The creative mind works that way by lucidity.  What is lucidity?  Lucidity is oneness or complete integration of different functions.  The more functions you integrate, the more functions you have in one piece together hooked up with the common functioning principle, as we call it, the more complete is your understanding. That means knowledge, understanding, and so on, depend on these functions.  And here the schizophrenic comes in again. He’s excellent in integrating. He’s intelligent. He knows so much.  He integrates well.  And just that is his danger.  (i’ve tried to describe that in my case “The Schizophrenic Split.”*)  His great intelligence, his high energy functioning which will call for a complete orgasmic involvement. Just that constitutes the danger.  On what basis?  On what ground?  What constitutes the danger right there?

Student: He’s overwhelmed by it.

Reich:  Yes, but what happens when he should go out and function with his whole brain fully?  The eyes don’t go with it. The base of the brain doesn’t go with it.  That means he’s dragged back, pulled back, like on a chain. And this contradiction between a very high energetic position, strong energetic charge , a high intelligence, a very strong ability to coordinate,  To untie things (The schizophrenic’s mind can easily unite cosmic functions with religious questions,  or mystical, or scientific- very easy for them.)  and then, at the same time there is terror. In reaching out, he meets nothing. There is a crack. That’s underneath. So to conclude and to have it all together, we must say that the schizophrenic split or crack is centered in the head, especially two regions. one is the eyes connected with the base of the brain and the other is the mouth. Both, especially the eyes, go back apparently to the first two weeks or three weeks of life when the newborn baby grasps the world, and begins to integrate the world, and to separate from the world. And the mouth, of course, because there’s no doubt that in strong children you have these convulsions that occur three times, four times, or more often, during the first few weeks.

You can recognize the schizophrenic by his reluctance to let his eyes and the whole upper region swing within the rest of the total functioning. And technically there’s one conclusion to be drawn form that. That’s quite clear. Don’t let them function full in the pelvis unless the eyes are clear. Stick with the eyes. There are certain technical measures to that. Rolling the eyes, turning the eyes upward, showing fright……

Now the difference between a schizophrenic structure in the head and a simple neurotic, a compulsion neurotic– A compulsion neurotic is dull. Dull eyes. No expression at all. Nothing is burning there, whereas in the schizoid character the eyes are burning. It’s very alive. But there are weak spots. He can’t turn them in some ways. he cant sometimes , in certain situations, focus quite clearly. Why? What happens then? I don’t know whether you know that. Murder comes in his eyes, murder. He may have quite clear eyes and then suddenly murder pours into them, or terror.

Well I think we’ve exhausted that subject now. We have it all nice and rounded up. Are there any questions please?

Posted in Philosophy, Psychiatric IllnessComments (2)


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