Tag Archive | "wilhelm reich"

Wilhelm Reich Documentary: Final Post-Production


Hello.  This is Jim Strick, author of the 2015 Harvard University Press book, Wilhelm Reich, Biologist.

Research on that book was one of the most exciting detective stories I was ever privileged to be a part of.  For those who’ve read my book, I can only hope that some of the thrill comes through of working in the previously unpublished materials in the Wilhelm Reich archives at Harvard’s Countway Library of Medicine, of looking through Reich’s own laboratory notebooks to reconstruct the daily details of how his bion experiments unfolded. 

I was equally honored and excited when Kevin Hinchey invited me to be interviewed as one of many professionals who have contributed our knowledge to the Wilhelm Reich Documentary Film Project.

Together, all participants in this project have worked diligently to make this film uniquely fact-based and accurate, up to date with the latest scholarship, including information and insights from Reich’s correspondence and laboratory notebooks, from interviews with people who worked in the laboratory with Reich in New York and at Orgonon, and from newly published works and works-in-progress by numerous scholars like myself.

As I look back over the first week of this last big push, this final crowdfunder to finish the film this year, I can only be impressed that people from 80 countries have viewed the trailer, and that 75 of those people have generously contributed. 

I’m very excited by the prospect—finally—of an accurate film about Reich and his science.  And I hope that you’re just as excited as I am so that you, too, will feel like jumping in now to help this film reach its completion. 

This is our final fundraiser and we must raise the remaining amount this time—in the next three weeks—for this film to be finished. 

Please join in to help us finish this incredibly exciting project.  Be a part of making history, of being one of the people who helped to produce the first factually-accurate film narrative about this pioneering psychiatrist, research physician and scientist.

Please make a donation today!   Thank you.

Jim Strick – Author & Science Historian

 

Wilhelm Reich Documentary Film Project – From Kevin Hinchey

SOME PRODUCTION PHOTOS FROM AMERICA AND EUROPE (2015)

Oslo, Norway
Outside of Tucson, Arizona
Outside of Tucson, Arizona
Mount Lemmon (outside of Tucson, Arizona)
Rangeley, Maine
Roof of the Orgone Energy Observatory at Orgonon (Rangeley, Maine)
Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Maine
University of Oslo, Norway
Original Radium Hospital – Oslo, Norway
Outskirts of Oslo, Norway
Brandenburg Gate – Berlin, Germany
Lustgarten – Berlin, Germany
Wilhelm Reich’s Residence – Berlin, Germany
Former location of MASCH – Berlin, Germany
Bebelplatz – Berlin, Germany
Freud Museum – Vienna, Austria
Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Maine
WILHELM REICH, M.D.
WILHELM REICH, M.D.
WILHELM REICH, M.D.
WILHELM REICH, M.D.

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A Reflection on Dr. Karl Fossum


Dr. Karl Fossum, psychiatrist and longtime member of IOS, passed away in February, 2017. He was a good-natured man with an exultant smile and a wisdom that commanded respect. With the exception of this last year, Dr. Fossum regularly participated in IOS meetings, which were held in Dr. Morton Herskowitz’s house in Philadelphia. I enjoyed talking with Dr. Fossum because of his pleasant demeanor, his wisdom, and his knowledge of Orgonomy. After our IOS meetings, I usually gave him a ride back to New York City where he resided. We often talked about issues related to Orgonomy such as Orgonomic institutes, the future of Orgonomy, as well as the history of Orgonomy, in which he was well versed. Once during our trip from Philadelphia to New York, I asked him how he was introduced to and became involved in Orgonomy. He replied that in his younger years while he was living in Norway, there was an outbreak of poliomyelitis. Many people had become inflicted with polio, including him, and he consequently suffered paralysis and was unable to walk. He explained that he was given the usual treatments that were customary for polio patients at that time in Norway, but in addition, one of his physicians, a student of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, introduced physical Orgone treatment. Although he specified the physician’s name, I unfortunately do not recall it. Dr. Fossum was treated with an Orgone accumulator several times each week and stated that his treatment was faster and the results, stronger than those of other polio survivors who were treated by conventional means. He was able to recover from the polio with almost no noticeable sequelae. This incident made him believe in the power and effectiveness of Orgone treatment. He spoke with high admiration and appreciation of the doctor who had treated and introduced him to Orgone therapy. His story is yet another testimony of the efficacy of Dr. Wilhelm Reich’s Orgonomic approach and treatment of his patients, a memory that I believe is worth sharing.

Following is the obituary for Dr. Karl Fossum:

Dr. Karl Georg Fossum; Psychiatrist, 85, passed away peacefully on February 1st, surrounded by loving family and friends in the beautiful home he loved, and that he and his wife, Martina, had had built in the lovely Hudson Valley. The area reminded Karl of Norway, where he was born to parents, Georg and Ragnhild (Saeby) Fossum in 1931. Karl graduated from Grorud Hoyere Skole (1950) with plans to attend medical school in the U.S. He graduated Wagner College, then SUNY College of Medicine at Syracuse, where he earned his M.D. in 1958. Karl continued post-graduate work in psychiatry at Meadowbrook Hospital (’58-59), Payne-Whitney Clinic of New York Hospital (’59-60), Albert Einstein College of Medicine (’60-63). He was Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at Bronx Municipal Hospital (’63-65), and went into private practice in Manhattan in 1963 until retirement in 2011. Karl was founder and president of Park Madison Laboratories, and of women’s health services clinics in Boston, MA, Overland Park, KS, and two in New York City, including Eastern Women’s Center. He was a conscientious board member of organizations whose missions he was passionate about: The Rainforest Alliance, the League of Conservation Voters, the Center for War/Peace Studies, Citizens for Global Solutions, Avanta/IHLRN (an organization of mental health professionals), The National Abortion Federation, NARAL, and The American College of Orgonomy. Karl loved living in Manhattan and on Tyson Lane in Amagansett for 55 years before retiring to the Hudson Valley. He enjoyed occasional winter vacations in the Caribbean, where he would bask in the sun’s energy. But, he particularly looked forward to frequent trips home to Norway to reconnect with family and to be reenergized by hikes in the beautiful mountains of Valdres, where he and Martina built a lovely "hytte" or cabin. When not reading, reading, reading, Karl could be found jogging around Central Park or down the beach in Amagansett, or swimming. The building of their home began with the indoor pool; the rest of the home was built around it. Karl’s intellect, kindness, generosity, and joy of life touched the hearts of all who knew him from loving family, loyal friends, appreciative patients, to his excellent doctors and caregivers. All were captivated by an infectious smile that was as broad as Karl was tall, and he will live forever in their hearts. He is especially missed in Norway by his sister, Gunhild Lauritzsen, her children Lars, Grete, Halvor and Even and their families; and his sister, Grethe Dorum and her daughters Sissel, Anne and Bente and their families. Karl took special joy and pride in the accomplishments of his sisters and each of his nieces and nephews, and they were all devoted to him. Beloved wife and best friend Martina (Leonard) will be ever grateful for the gift of the 47 beautiful, loving years they were able to share together. Karl also is sadly missed by Martina’s siblings, Brian, Michael (and Christy) of New Jersey, Ada Thom Thompson (and Mark) of Florida, and Hilary Oak (and Tem Noon) of New York, and their families. All did love him dearly. Memorial celebrations of Karl’s life will be held in New York in the spring, and in Norway in the summer. Gifts to The Rainforest Alliance, The Center for War/ Peace Studies, The American College of Orgonomy, or The Virginia Satir Archive Fund are appreciated.

Posted in Biopathies & Physical Orgone TherapyComments (1)

The Oranur Experiment “Alone”


On April 3rd 1952, Dr. Wilhelm Reich recorded about 10 minutes of speech in the student’s laboratory at the Orgonon in Maine. This speech followed a period of an experiment that Reich called the “Oranur” experiment. Dr. Reich reported the process of this experiment and the conclusions that were derived as a result. This experiment entailed the approximation of nuclear energy (NR) to orgone energy (OR). Dr. Reich wanted to know what happens when orgone energy is confronted or approximated to nuclear energy. The results and conclusions are highly significant and Dr. Reich by the results of this experiment and observation of the effects of it, as well as the effects on laboratory mice and measurements of geiger counter concluded that in approximation of nuclear energy, orgone energy gets highly excited and as he puts it gets “bizerk”., It acts in an agitated way and in this process, orgone energy turns to deadly orgone energy (DOR). In a controlled situation, however, such a reaction can render medical benefits similar to immunization that provokes immunity in the body and makes a person stronger. Dr. Reich was able to acquire two 1mg. Units of Radium each in a separate half inch led container which arrived to the Orgonon on January 5th, 1951. Hence he started the experiment. Because of unforeseen circumstances and reactions, many of the workers in the Orgonon developed illnesses and the Orgonon and the laboratories had to be evacuated. Considering the difficulties and strain that the continuation of such an experiment was bringing to the staff, students, and workers, as well as the difficulty to contain the reaction, Dr. Reich halted the experiment and buried the radium units in a location far from their work and living area. This experiment has not been replicated or further explored by his students or any other interested scientists as of this date. Below is Dr. Reich’s speech on April 3, 1952 in the student’s laboratory pertaining to this experiment and its transcription. This speech contains many important aspects and embedded in it are his students characterological limitations and encouragement for the scientists to follow the path considering the possibilities that it may open for science and medicine.

Wilhelm Reich’s recording (Alone):

It is April 3rd, 1952, at Orgonon, Rangeley, Maine. I, Wilhelm Reich, am sitting alone in the large room in the lower house. All people are gone. In the morning and the whole day yesterday, a meeting took place of the members of the board of trustees of the foundation which carries my name. Everybody is gone now and I would like to add a few words to the recording we made yesterday and today of the disaster which struck Orgonon. There’s nobody here to listen to what I am saying. The recording apparatus is the only witness.

I hope that someone will at some time in the future listen to this recording with great respect, respect for the courage that was necessary to sustain the research work in orgone energy and life energy all through these years. I shall not go into the great strain, into the details, into the worries, the sleepless nights, the tears, the expenditures of money and effort, the patience which I had to have with all my workers and with all my students. I would like only to mention the fact that there is nobody around, there is not a single soul either here at Orgonon or down in New York who would fully and really from the bottom of his existence understand what I’m doing, and be with me in what I’m doing.

They are all very good people. They are decent, honest hard working. I trust them. They are very good friends, all of them – or most of them. But, this does not alter the fact that they all, without any exception, are against, I say, are against what I am doing. Every single one of them spites me, interferes with my effort, crosses it out, blunts out, flattens out, this one thing or another thing, whatever it may be, to diminish the effects of my effort. To block out the sharpness and acuity of my thoughts. To reduce to rubble and nothing – or nothingness what I have elaborated and about now thirty three or thirty four years of systematic thinking and in about forty years of human suffering, since about 1912, or rather 1910 when my mother died. There is not a single soul around who would fully understand or would not say “no” to it all.
This “no” is identical with: I don’t want it, I don’t like it, I loathe it, why is it here?, why does he have to exist?, why does he – why doesn’t he sit down and take it easy?, why did he have to start this ORANUR experiment which gives us so much trouble? They see only the trouble. They don’t see or they don’t want to realize what it means for medicine, biology and science in general, as well as philosophy, to have this ORANUR going. To them it is mostly a bother, an inducer of sickness, suffering and at times I have the distinct feeling that they believe or they do not quite dare to admit their own thoughts, that I may have gone haywire..

This reaction of my closest friends and coworkers to the situation here is exactly the same that has harassed the human race for as much as we can say, 8.000 or 10.000 years, since patriarchy has ruled its destinies and since natural love was extinguished in the newborn infants. I shall not go into that. It is all written up in my publications. Whoever knows these publications also knows what that means. The discovery of the life energy would have been accomplished long ago, had this “I don’t want it, I fear it, I loathe it, I’ll kill it, I’ll flatten it out, I won’t let it live, or exist”, if that had not been in their structures. Not that in their desires, not in their positive conscious wishes, they’re all descent and good people. “No” is in the structure. It is somehow in their tissues, in their blood. They cannot tolerate anything that has to do with orgone energy, or life energy, or what they call God, or what is their deepest longing for love fulfillment. They cannot tolerate it and they fear it. They fear it by way of structure. Their tissues, their blood cannot stretch out, cannot take it, evades it avoids it and loathes it.

I do not say all this to depreciate their efforts, their honor, their loves, their lives. I say it because it is true, because it turns up in every single move, in every single word, in every single opinion, in every single paper, in every single thing they did to whatever ever had to do with the discovery of genitality, life, love, such people as Laurence/Lawrence, or such philosophies as Giordano Bruno’s or such great lives as Jesus Christ, and so forth, and so forth. It is a sad, lonely chapter of the human race.

I don’t feel that I am obligated to solve this riddle, or to do anything about it. I happened to discover the life energy. I happened to induce the ORANUR experiment. I know what it means for the future development of medicine and biology, philosophy and natural science and in this awareness I am completely alone. There is no soul far and wide to talk to, to give one’s feelings to let one’s feelings go freely, to speak like as friends speak to each other. This is all.

Posted in History, Orgone BiophysicsComments (5)

Wilhelm Reich Documentary Film Project: Edit Phase


WILHELM REICH DOCUMENTARY FILM PROJECT:

 

In Production Since January 2015 in the United States and Europe

 

Now Seeking Finishing Funds for Editing & Post-Production

 

In the fall of 2014, "Phase One:  Production" of this documentary was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $187,002 from hundreds of supporters in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

www.kickstarter.com/projects/25874147/wilhelm-reich-documentary-film-project      

Since January 2015, this film has been in production in the United States and Europe, amassing over 30 hours of on-camera interviews and location shooting in Austria, Germany, Norway, New York, Maine, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

We’ve also digitized significant amounts of historic materials from Wilhelm Reich’s prolific archives:  photographs, personal and scientific films, and voice recordings.

Now we’re ready for "Phase Two:  Editing & Post-Production" for which this campaign seeks to raise the finishing funds necessary for us to assemble a factually accurate, 100-110 minute documentary about Reich’s life and work.

"PHASE TWO" FUNDRAISING GOAL:  $180,000

Assembling this film during the "Editing & Post-Production" phase will be every bit as labor-intensive and expensive as last year’s "Production" period.   Below are the key budget items for the completion of this film.

HOW WE’LL SPEND THIS MONEY FOR "EDITING & POST-PRODUCTION"

  • Editing the film:  This is the most time-consuming process of the entire project, meticulously assembling the film storyline from hundreds of photographs, excerpts of on-camera interviews, film clips, voice recordings, historic newsreel footage, animated sequences, and other resources.
  • Hiring medical illustrators and computer animators:  Designing visual sequences, based on Wilhelm Reich’s original drawings and diagrams, to accurately illustrate the scientific principles of his biological, medical and meteorological research.
  • Revising & finalizing the film script:  An on-going process throughout the editing phase to prepare our final script for the film’s voice-over narration.
  • Casting a professional actor/actress or voice-over talent:  This person will provide the voice-over narration for the finished film.
  • Booking an audio studio:  A recording session several hours long will be required to record the narration for the complete 100-110 minute film. 
  • Music/Color correction/Audio mix:  Composing and recording the music score for the entire film.   Final color correction for all color visuals in the film.  Final audio mix for the entire film.

And after all of this is completed:

  • Promotional expenses:  Screenings, travel, printed materials, film festival fees & appearances, etc.

WHY SHOULD YOU DONATE TO THIS FILM PROJECT?
OF WHAT INTEREST IS WILHELM REICH TO YOU?

Wilhelm Reich, M.D. (1897-1957) created a unique and valuable legacy of social, medical and scientific achievements in psychoanalysis and psychiatry; sexual health; the psychology of fascism; cellular research; the origin and experimental treatment of diseases such as cancer; infant and childhood health; and weather experimentation.  

But, tragically, Reich’s published books and research journals were banned and burned by the United States government in the 1950s, and again in 1960. 

How could such a thing have happened in America, the country to which Reich had emigrated just four days before the outbreak of World War Two?  What was in those publications that allegedly "merited" their destruction by the U.S. government?

And the prevalent distortions and misrepresentations about Reich and his work–which originated during his lifetime–persist to this day in poorly researched books, articles and films, and throughout the Internet, including Wikipedia.  

This painstakingly researched documentary film will help to correct and dispel these distorted narratives.

Your contribution will help ensure that Reich’s remarkable life, and his pioneering insights into human health and the health of the planet, will be presented factually and compellingly to widespread audiences.

So whether you’re already familiar with Reich or learning about him for the first time, perhaps there’s something about his life and work that resonates for you and will inspire you to help us finish this much-needed film.

THE LIFE AND WORK OF WILHELM REICH, M.D.  (1897-1957)

  • Begins studying psychoanalysis in Vienna with Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychoanalysis.  (1919)
  • Revolutionizes psychoanalytic techniques in Vienna and Berlin which he presents in his classic book Character Analysis.  (1920s-30s)
  • Opens clinics in working-class neighborhoods in Vienna and Berlin which provide access to birth control and sex education.  (1920s-30s)
  • Publishes The Mass Psychology of Fascism after fleeing Nazi Germany, a critique of the authoritarian appeal of both Naziism and Communism.   (1933) 
  • Develops the first psychosomatic therapeutic techniques.  (1930s-40s)
  • Conducts laboratory research in Europe and the United States on the origin and development of cancer cells.  (1930s-50s)
  • Discovers a biological radiation in specific micro-organisms that can kill bacteria and cancer cells.  (1939)
  • Discovers this same radiation in the atmosphere.  (1940)
  • Conducts experimental treatment of patients with terminal cancer, early cancer and other diseases.  (1941-50s)
  • Fights the investigative abuses of the State Department, the FBI, and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  (1940-57)
  • Struggles against the collusion of the FDA and the American medical profession.  (1947-50s)
  • Warns of the pharmaceutical industry’s influence on the American medical profession.  (1950s)
  • Conducts weather experiments in Maine and Arizona to alleviate drought conditions.  (1953-56)
  • Confronts censorship and First Amendment issues when a Federal Court in America seeks to ban his publications from interstate commerce.  (1954)
  • Challenges the right of a court of law to judge basic scientific research.  (1954)
  • Witnesses the FDA’s burning of his publications at his laboratory in Rangeley, Maine.  (1956) 
  • Dies in the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania.  (1957)

SOME PRODUCTION PHOTOS FROM AMERICA AND EUROPE (2015)

Oslo, Norway
Outside of Tucson, Arizona
Outside of Tucson, Arizona
Mount Lemmon (outside of Tucson, Arizona)
Rangeley, Maine
Roof of the Orgone Energy Observatory at Orgonon  (Rangeley, Maine)
Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Maine
University of Oslo, Norway
Original Radium Hospital – Oslo, Norway
Outskirts of Oslo, Norway
Brandenburg Gate – Berlin, Germany
Lustgarten – Berlin, Germany
Wilhelm Reich’s Residence – Berlin, Germany
Former location of MASCH – Berlin, Germany
Bebelplatz – Berlin, Germany
Freud Museum – Vienna, Austria
WILHELM REICH, M.D.

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Branches of Orgonomy and a Question to our Readers


Orgonomy grew in the womb of psychoanalysis. Dr. Reich considered his work as an extension of Freud’s libido theory. Freud proposed three major psychoanalytic theories:

  1. Libido theory (the theory of psychosexual energy).
  2. Topographic theory (the theory of the conscious and the unconscious).
  3. Structural theory (the theory of the id, ego, and superego).

Freud’s students one by one abandoned the libido theory because of its social, cultural and political consequences and elaborated endlessly on the topographic as well as structural theories. However Reich recognized the significance of libido theory, the theory of energy and further developed this theory in the laboratory and the clinic into the science of orgonomy. Hence orgonomy is an extension of Freud’s libido theory. Dr. Reich himself in the book, Reich Speaks of Freud, states, “Basically, Freud discovered the principle of energy functioning of the psychic apparatus. The energy-functioning principle. This was what distinguished him from all other psychologists. Not so much the discovery of the unconscious. The unconscious, the theory of the unconscious, was to my mind, a consequence of a principle he introduced into psychology. That was the principle, the natural scientific principle, of energy—the ‘libido theory’.” – (Reich, Wilhelm: Reich Speaks of Freud, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1967, p. 15).

Front row: Sigmund Freud, G. Stanley Hall, Carl Jung
Back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi

Reich’s early works were mostly concerned with the treatment of the patients and dealt with their psychological health and illness. In his therapeutic work, Dr. Reich developed two major orgonomic theories, the orgasm theory and the theory of emotional and physical armoring. His clinical experience brought to light the significance of a proper metabolism of sexual energy in the human organism, which Dr. Reich called “sex economy”. In his book The Function of Orgasm, (Reich, Wilhelm: The Function of Orgasm, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973 p. 5). Dr. Reich states, “Sex-economy is a natural scientific discipline. It is not ashamed of the subject of sexuality, and it rejects as its representative everyone who has not overcome the inculcated social fear of sexual defamation.” In the same book (p. 3) Reich writes, “The subject of ‘sexuality’ virtually cuts through all scientific fields of research. In its central phenomenon, the sexual orgasm, we meet the questions deriving from the field of psychology as well as from the physiology, from the field of biology no less than from that of sociology. Natural science offers hardly another field of research that is so well equipped to exhibit the fundamental unity of everything that lives and to guard against narrow, fragmentizing specialization. Sex-economy became an independent discipline having its own method of research and its own body of knowledge. It is a natural scientific, empirically founded theory of sexuality.”

Reich during the First Orgonomic Conference, Orgonon, August 1948

Orgonomy, by virtue of dealing with orgone energy, the life energy, touches many aspects of our lives. In addition to psychology and medicine it has branches in sociology, biology, and orgone physics. It is crucial that orgonomic knowledge be understood and that this knowledge be available for the public. We believe that this knowledge, if properly applied, has great potential to help human beings evolve toward a humanity worthy of the name, in touch with their innermost core and able to feel and to love. As a small step toward these ends, the Institute for Orgonomic Science is planning a series of conferences, and one such conference is being planned for the Los Angeles area.

The Institute for Orgonomic Science (IOS) has prepared the following questionnaire that we ask our interested readers to take few minutes to respond to, to help us prepare for this conference.

Dear Interested Reader,

The Institute for Orgonomic Science (IOS) is an organization that is dedicated to the science of orgonomy and the work of Wilhelm Reich. The IOS is planning a three-day conference on different aspects of orgonomy to be held in the Fall of 2016 in the Los Angeles, CA area. This conference will feature presentations by an international group of researchers on different aspects of orgonomy. Included will be presentations on Reich’s sociological concepts; on medical and psychiatric aspects of orgonomy such as psychiatric orgone therapy, and on work in the natural sciences such as the bion experiments, orgone physics and weather engineering. The fee for attending the conference is estimated to be $190 for the entire three-day conference or one-day participation on a particular topic for $90. If you are interested in attending in such a conference please click HERE and express your interest in attendance. Please also let us know which of the above-mentioned topics you are most interested in, or if you would like to see presentations on other orgonomy-related topics. This information will help the organizers decide about the program and venue, etc. We will send you further information when the details of the conference are worked out.

Thank you for your help in this matter.

Posted in Orgone BiophysicsComments (0)

Fascistic Irrationalism
“Let There be Peace on Earth”


“Let There be Peace on Earth”

The atrocities that we are witnessing today–the destruction of cities, mass murders, people fleeing war-torn countries for unknown destinations–have recurred throughout history and are not much different from the atrocities that Reich described during both World Wars. Reich explained that this violence and destruction was a consequence of denying the natural, healthy impulses of human sexuality. In The Function of Orgasm (1973), he stated:

There is ample evidence to support the contention that the cultural upheavals of the 20th century are determined by mankind’s struggle to reclaim the natural laws of sexuality. This struggle for naturalness and harmony of nature and culture is reflected in the various forms of mystical longing, cosmic fantasies ‘oceanic’ feelings, religious ecstasies, and above all, in the advance toward sexual freedom. It is unconscious, imbued with neurotic contradictions and anxiety, and is often manifested in the forms that characterize the secondary perverse drives. A humanity which has been forced for thousands of years to deny its basic biological law and, as a consequence of this denial, has acquired a second nature which is anti-nature and can only work itself up into an irrational frenzy when it wants to restore the basic biological function and, at the same time, is afraid of doing so. The patriarchal, authoritarian era of human history has attempted to hold the asocial impulses in check by means of compulsive moralistic prohibitions. It is in this way that civilized man, if he can be indeed be called civilized, developed a psychic structure consisting of three layers. (p. 233 )

The most superficial layer, according to Reich, is the artifice, the mask of sociability that is presentable, polite, and kind. Hidden below this layer are distorted emotions, perversions of all kinds, rage, hostility, sadism, and lust, all of the feelings associated with Freud’s description of the unconscious. These distorted feelings are masked by the superficial layer of politeness, but still contain all of the repressed energy that is submerged. This second, unnatural layer is a product of the authoritarian and anti-sexual upbringing of children. However, in the third layer at the depth of the human structure, is the core of natural love, genuine sociability and natural sexuality. Reich considers this third layer the core of the human organism and believes that it remains the best hope for humanity.

During the social upheavals of his time, Reich states that after World War I European governments wanted to establish democracies, but they failed to see that human structures that were the product of thousands of years of suppression of human’s natural longings had deformed the structure of the people to a creature who carried with him under the mask of sociality, rage, hate, and distorted, antisocial impulses. These impulses broke through the superficial mask of the same people who were striving for freedom and democracy. Reich gives an example of these atrocities. He states that these repressed, antisocial feelings were manifested:

. . . in the concentration camps; in the persecution of the Jews; in the annihilation of all human decency; in sadistic, playful moving-down of entire cities by those who are capable of feeling life only when they goose-step, as in Guernica in 1936; in the stupendous betrayal of the masses by authoritarian governments claiming to represent the interest of the people; in the engulfing of tens of thousands of young people who naively and heedlessly thought that they were serving an idea; in the destruction of billions of dollars’ worth of human labor, a fraction of which would have been sufficient to eliminate poverty the world over. In short, in a St. Vitus dance which will return again and again as long as those who work and have knowledge fail to destroy the mass neurosis in themselves and outside of themselves, the neurosis which calls itself ‘“high politics”’ and thrives upon the characterological helplessness of the citizens of the earth. (In The Function of Orgasm 1973 pp. 233-234)
Depiction of Guernica by Picasso

Seventy-five years later, similar atrocities are recurring, the “St. Vitus dance” that Reich predicted would recur, repeated itself with the destruction of lives and a homeland for millions, dashing the hopes of a people who long to live their lives as they were ordained to do so. As we helplessly witness the eradication of all human decency, we are seeing only a fraction of the immense injustices around the world.

Reich’s theories were largely ignored in his time as well as in the 21st century. Not surprisingly, the same catastrophes and tragedies that plagued the 19th century continue to recur in the 21st century. According to Reich and orgonomists following him, authoritarian, anti-sexual child-rearing practices, the norm in most countries, produce people whose psychological structure is distorted, neurotic, and susceptible to fascist ideologies. In fact, this wide-scale, repressed upbringing creates individuals who are ripe for fascism. Psychopathic leaders then use this susceptibility to manipulate and mobilize the masses to fulfill self-serving profits and antisocial, destructive goals.

In Reich Speaks of Freud (1967), Reich asks and answers the proverbial question:

How is it understandable that a single Hitler or a single Diugashvili [Stalin] can control eight hundred million people? How is it possible? That was the question I introduced into sociology in 1927. And I discussed the whole thing with Freud. How is it possible? Nobody asked that question. You don’t hear about it. How is it possible that eight hundred million grown-up, hardworking, decent people can be subjugated by a single Modjue? [a character like Stalin and Mocanigo] The answer is this –and it’s quite sure and safe, and in hundred years people will know it, I hope—because infants are ruined in their emotional wanting, in their natural, emotional life expression right before their birth and after their birth. (p. 30)

… I don’t believe that there will be any solution of any social problem as long as children and adolescents grow up with 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.(p. 26 )

Reich states: I believe that there will be no lasting peace on our earth, and that all attempts to socialize human beings will be in vain, as long as politicians and dictators of one kind or another, who have not the slightest awareness of the actualities of the life process, continue to lead masses of people who are endemically neurotic and sexually sick Function of Orgasm (1973) (p. 12).

Reich believed that authoritarian, anti-sexual families distort and destroy the human psyche through the process of armoring during the early stages of a child’s life. This process has been discovered and discussed by Reich and by other orgonomists as well. Elementary school tragedy. During a recent lecture in Spring, 2014, Dr. Morton Herskowitz stressed the significance of the concept of armoring, stating that its discovery is one of the most important in psychiatry Dr. Herskowitz’s Speech in IOS 2015 Spring Conference. Unfortunately, this discovery has gone unnoticed in mainstream psychiatry, medicine, and scientific institutions, a consequence of the distorted characterological structure that prevails in scientific circles responsible for recognizing this discovery and implementing measures to prevent this phenomenon of armoring. Many sociological factors contribute to raising children against their natural needs. Among important sociological factors in perpetuating such upbringing of the children is the influence of the religion. In The Function of Orgasm (1973), Reich states:

Freedom of religion is dictatorship when it does not go hand in hand with freedom of science; for, when this is not the case, there is no free competition in interpretation of life process. It must be decided once and for all whether ‘God’ is a bearded, all- powerful, divine figure, or whether he represents the cosmic law of the nature, which governs us. Only if God and the laws of nature are identical is an understanding possible between science and religion. It is but one step from the dictatorship of an earthly representative of God to the dictatorship of divinely ordained savior of peoples. (p. 17)

What should be done? Reich realized that children and adolescents who grow up in oppressive, anti-sexual, families become damaged and neurotic, and acquire a second nature alien to their core nature, so he addressed youth directly in a pamphlet entitled “The Sexual Rights of Youth” (1932) The Sexual Struggle of Youth. In this pamphlet, he encouraged youth to demand their rights and gave them direction for their struggle. In The Function of Orgasm (1973), he reminded scientists, physicians and sociologists to rise to their responsibility and not to be afraid to speak scientific truth, regardless of the consequences. He says, “There is so much talk about the soldier’s duty to give his life for his country. There is too little mention of the scientist’s duty to defend, under all circumstances, what has been recognized to be true, no matter at what cost” (p. 16).

As students of orgonomy we are committed to destroying mass neurosis within ourselves as well as outside ourselves. We are well aware of the depth of emotional armoring and the immense challenge that Reich confronted to promote a healthy, unrepressed, society. As followers of orgonomy, we are committed to continue this struggle with the conviction that logic, science, and truth will ultimately prevail and “love, work, and knowledge are the wellsprings of our life. They should also govern it.” – W.R.

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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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Bill Cosby and Paraphilia: A Psychological and Orgonomic Analysis




William Henry “Bill” Cosby Jr., the American standup comedian, actor, author and activist, has been an icon in American show business and brought laughter to millions of people during the many years of his television career.



However, beginning in 2013, allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced when several women accused him of drugging and raping them while unconscious.

It has now been 14 years since the first woman publicly accused Cosby of assaulting her. Since then dozens of women have brought allegations against him. In her Vanity Fair article, “Bill Cosby Drugged Me: This is My Story,” Beverly Johnson (2014) wrote about her encounter with the television legend:

 

Imagine my joy in mid-80’s when agent called to say Bill Cosby wanted me to audition for a role on the Cosby Show. Cosby played an obstetrician and he sometimes used models to portray pregnant women sitting in his office waiting room. It was a small part with one or two speaking lines at most, but I wanted in. . . . Cosby’s handlers invited me to a taping of a show so I could get the lay of the land and an idea of what my role required. After the taping, I met all the cast and then met with Cosby in his office to talk a bit about the hell I had been through in my marriage. He appeared concerned and then asked me what I wanted from my career going forward. He seemed genuinely interested in guiding me to the next level. I was on cloud 9.

I brought my daughter to the next taping I attended. Afterward, Cosby asked if I could meet him at his home that weekend and read for the part . . . . Like most kids my daughter loved him . . . . Cosby suggested I come back to his house a few days later to read for the part. I agreed and one late afternoon the following week I returned. His staff served a light dinner and Bill and I talked more about my plans for the future.

After the meal we walked upstairs to a huge living area of his home and featured a massive bar. The huge brass espresso contraption took up half of the counter. At the time, it seemed rare for someone to have such a machine in his home for personal use. Cosby said he wanted to see how I handled various scenes, so he suggested I pretend to be a drunk. (When did a pregnant ever appear drunk on the Cosby Show? Probably never but I went with it). As I readied myself to be the best drunk I could be, he offered me a cappuccino from the espresso machine. I told him I didn’t drink tea or coffee that late in the afternoon because it made getting to sleep at night more difficult. He wouldn’t let it go. He insisted that his espresso machine was the best model in the market and promised I would never taste the cappuccino quite like this one.

It’s nuts, I knew but it felt oddly inappropriate arguing with Bill Cosby so I took a few sip of the coffee just to appease him. Now let me explain this: I was a top model during the 70s, a period when drugs float at the parties and photoshoots like bottled water at a health spa. I would had my fun and experiment it with my fair share of mood enhancers. I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I would be drugged—and drugged good. My head became woozy, my speech became slurred and the room began to spin none stop. Cosby mentioned for me to come over to him as though we were really about to act out the scene. He put his hand around my waist and I managed to put my hand on his shoulder in order to steady myself. As I felt my body go completely limb my brain switched into automatic survival mood. That meant making sure Cosby understood that I knew exactly what was happening at that very moment. “You are a mother fucker aren’t you?” that’s the exact question I yelled at him as he stood there holding me, expecting me to bent to his will. I rapidly called him several more “mother fucker’s” by the fifth I could tell that I was really pissing him off. At one point he dropped his hand from my waist and just stood there looking at me like I had lost my mind.

What happened next is somewhat cloudy for me because the drug was in full play by that time. I recall his seething anger at my tirade and then him grabbing me by my left arm hard and yanking all hundred and ten pounds of me down a bunch of stairs as my high heels clicked and clacked on every step. I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs. It was still late afternoon and the sun hadn’t completely gone down yet. When we reached the front door he pulled me outside of the brownstone and then with his hand still tightly clenched around my arm stood in the middle of the street waving down taxis.

When one stopped, Cosby opened the door, shoved me into it and slammed the door behind me without ever saying a word. I somehow managed to tell the driver my address and before blocking out I looked at the cabbie and asked as if he knew “did I really just call Bill Cosby a mother fucker?”…. the next day I woke up in my own bed after falling into a deep sleep that lasted more than a day. I had no memory of how I got into my apartment or into my bed, though most likely my doorman helped me out. I sat in there still stound by what happened the night before, confused and devastated by the idea that someone I admired so much had tried to take advantage of me and use drugs to do so. Had I done something to encourage his action?…

I wrestled with the idea of telling my story of Bill Cosby’s drug me with the intention of doing God knows what… In part because of what happened to me nearly 30 years ago, I have agreed to serve on the board of Barbara Sinatra, center of abused children. The experience has been as humbling as it has been rewarding. Many of the young children I work with have been sexually abused and I watched in all of their bravery as they work to recover and feel better. How could I be any less brave?

In an interview with CNN, Cosby’s costar, Joseph Phillips (2015), posed a compelling question: “[Cosby] had money, fame and power; he was walking aphrodisiac. Why?”. Why indeed.

What is the psychological mechanism that makes a person with this stature, power and wealth resort to such deviant behavior? From where do these impulses come? The American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual fifth edition (DSM V) identifies these behaviors as paraphilia (sexual deviation), under which eight distinct categories are classified. Some paraphilia involves the derivation of sexual pleasure from objects such as fetishistic disorder, but some certain types of paraphilia involve another person. There is no distinct category for those who drug and rape someone while s/he is unconscious; nevertheless, this behavior is certainly considered a sexual deviation or paraphilia. With the exception of pedophilia, all other paraphilia behaviors involving another person must meet additional DSM V criteria for diagnosis. For example, a diagnosis of sexual sadism requires criteria A, that an individual must exhibit “recurrent and intense sexual arousal from the physical or psychological suffering of another person . . . over a period of six months” (p. 695) as well as criteria B, that “the individual has acted on these sexual urges with a non-consenting person or the sexual urges or fantasies cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” (p. 695)

Although the DSM V is considered the ultimate scientific authority in psychiatry, its definition of paraphilia reflects a disappointingly shallow understanding of sexual deviation, particularly in contrast to the orgonomic understanding of the term. In orgonomy, the sexual functioning of an individual is the most important indicator of his or her psychological health. From an orgonomic point of view, sexual arousal or pleasure derived from the physical or psychological suffering of another person indicates a major psychological disturbance, regardless of the issue of consent or the impact of the behavior on a patient’s social or occupational functioning. Orgonomists understand that sexual disturbances are symptoms of an underlying problem, attributing them to a patient’s distorted structure. Orgonomists do not consider the patient improved unless the sexual disturbance clears and sexual functioning returns to its normal and natural state, free from the abnormal, unnatural fantasies and impulses. The orgastically potent male and female are tender toward each other with no contradictory impulses. Any deviation from this behavior stemming from sadistic or masochistic impulses is considered pathological.

Contemporary professionals in medicine, psychiatry, and psychology have no understanding of these disturbances and their origins, and even the DSM, the most revered and referenced book in the field of psychiatry, distinguishes between consenting and non-consenting individuals engaged in sadistic behavior, referring to the former as “normal.” In contrast, orgonomists consider these disturbed sexual impulses to be a product of emotional illness stemming from armoring, whether the partner is consenting or not and whether these sadistic sexual urges cause social or occupational impairment or not. In his recent lecture in Philadelphia Dr. Morton Herskowitz eloquently stated,“I think that emotional armoring is one of the most important discoveries in the history of psychiatry. Psychiatric orgone therapy reaches places that have never been reached by traditional therapy before. I think it does things to people that has never been done before; I don’t think it’s a cure-all for all psychiatric problems . . . but in the matters that it does deal with it has an effect like no other therapy”.

Thus, understanding the process of armoring and its significance provides the key to understanding many psychiatric illnesses. Without such understanding, psychiatry will continue to label consenting sadistic behavior as normal! According to orgonomy, the body of knowledge developed by Dr.Wilhelm Reich, a normal human structure is one in which the psychosexual energy flows, unimpeded, from the center to the periphery of the organism. When this flow is chronically impeded by outside—usually social—forces, armoring begins to occur as social inhibitions begin to block a child’s healthy impulses. These blocked impulses split and the chronic inhibition subdues the initial natural impulse, causing contraction and encrustations of the tissues and muscle. Once armor is established, even if the outside inhibition is removed, the organism remains distorted and incapable of resuming normal functioning. The following diagrams schematically depict the process of armoring.

From the book, "Character Analysis" by Dr. Wilhelm Reich.

The primary and natural drives are prohibited by the outer world. Under prolomged 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.

This is the mechanism by which armored adults repeat their parents’ behavior even though they themselves hated it as children. Many of my patients told me “Doctor, I hated when my parents were doing this to me but now I catch myself doing the same thing to my own children and I can’t help it.” Such inhibitions and constraints become embedded in the structure of the person. Most children long to express their natural, healthy impulses; however, as armored adults, they become incapable of expressing these healthy desires and may even become hostile toward anyone else who tries to express them. Unfortunately, once the armoring occurs, the person becomes inhibited from within, incapable of expressing what he or she originally desired. This repression and armoring causes distortion in natural and healthy primary drives and hence a person in the height of fame and wealth may resort to distorted sexual actions that are incomprehensible to many people. This is why a person who has fame, money, and prestige will act on sexually inappropriate impulses: because when he once longed to act on his natural impulses, he was harshly inhibited and suppressed.

Armor, which is established in the body on a physical as well as emotional level, distorts the natural, primary drives that were social, loving and constructive to the secondary drives which are distorted, unnatural, and may become destructive and sadistic. In orgone therapy, psychiatrists and clinicians recognize the armor and try to restore the energetic flow to its undisturbed state by dissolving the armor. Psychiatric orgone therapy provides us the knowledge and technique to dissolve the armor and restore the energy flow to its original, healthy state.

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:

From the book Listen Little Man by Wilhelm Reich, with illustration by William Steig

Once the armoring process is set into motion in the human organism, it becomes a source for a vast array of pathologies.

For the clinicians familiar with orgonomy and psychiatric orgone therapy, distorted and disturbed sexual fantasies are surface manifestations of much deeper structural illnesses that need to be addressed. Such unnatural fantasies or impulses are considered harbingers of deeper structural distortions, regardless of another’s consent.

In his book, The Function of Orgasm, Reich (1973, Translated by Vincent R. Carfagno, p. 100) states:

The more precisely my patients described their behavior and experiences in the sexual act, the more firm I became in my clinically substantiated conviction that all patients, without exception, are severely disturbed in their genital function. Most disturbed of all were those men who liked to boast and make a big show of their masculinity, men who possessed or conquered as many women as possible, who could “do it” again and again in one night. It became quite clear that, though they were erectively very potent, such men experienced little or no pleasure at the moment of ejaculation, or they experienced the exact opposite, disgust and displeasure. The precise analysis of fantasies during the sexual act revealed that the men usually had sadistic or conceited attitudes and that the women were afraid, inhibited, or imagined themselves to be men. For the ostensibly potent man, sexual intercourse means the piercing, overpowering, or conquering of the woman. He merely wants to prove his potency or to be admired for his erective endurance. This “potency” can be easily undermined by uncovering its motives. Severe disturbances of erection and ejaculation are concealed in it. In none of these cases is there the slightest trace of involuntary behavior or loss of conscious activity in the act. Gradually, groping my way ahead step by step, I acquired a knowledge of the characteristics of orgastic impotence. It took me a decade to gain a full understanding of this disturbance, to describe it and to learn the correct technique for eliminating it. Orgastic impotence has always been in the forefront of sex-economic research, and all of its details are still not known. Its role in sex-economy is similar to the role of the Oedipus complex in psychoanalysis. Whoever does not have a precise understanding of it cannot be considered a sex-economist. He will never really grasp its ramifications. He will not understand the difference between health and sickness, [see definition of sexual sadism disorder in DSM V, American Psychiatric Association 2013, page 695, where this disorder is considered normal if the partner is consenting!!] nor will he comprehend human pleasure anxiety or the pathological nature of the parent-child conflict and the misery of marriage. It is even possible that he will endeavor to bring about sexual reforms, but he will never touch upon the core of sexual misery”.

In late 1990s and early 2000s, I was treating a medical resident suffering from depression. He complained of an inability to develop genuine, deep relationships with others; he described his relationships as superficial, and felt empty and confused. He had passive-aggressive behavior, on the one hand, overtly complying with authorities, yet he covertly distrusted and defied them in various ways. On the surface he was a pleasant man, agreeable and often smiling but underneath he was distrustful, hostile, and antagonistic. His sexual fantasies reflected his anger and sadistic tendencies. He became aroused by the fantasy of physically and verbally abusing and humiliating women. He frequented nude bars and paid prostitutes to consent to his sadistic fantasies of swearing at and humiliating them while he masturbated or had sex with them. Although he had a few occasions to act on these sadistic impulses with a consenting partner, he explained that he did not want to act upon them because he knew they were sick. He did have good insight about the unhealthy nature of these impulses and fantasies and knew that something was wrong with him. His treatment consisted of recognizing his superficial mask that was exposed in therapy. By resolving the superficial layer of the armor, his anger toward authority began to emerge, directly related to his authoritarian, threatening father and his younger brother who was favored by his parents. His repressed rage became more and more exposed. He gradually became capable of standing up to authority when necessary.

Along with these changes as his armor dissolved, his sadistic sexual fantasies gradually disappeared. One day he told me, “Doctor, I don’t know what happened; I don’t have any more of the sadistic desires or fantasies.” Moreover, he developed an aversion to such thoughts not because he had to fight or suppress any of these impulses; they simply evaporated, disappearing altogether.

Everyone knows that not having an antisocial impulse is healthier than having—and suppressing—it. Prior to seeing me, this patient had been in analytic psychotherapy for several years without results. Many patients suffer structural distortions that they had no part in creating and suffer symptoms, including sexual deviations with serious consequences, some individuals rotting in prisons with no prospect of help. I hope that the new generation of psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health professionals recognize their responsibilities and value the immense discoveries of Freud and Reich contributing more effective treatment modalities with the hope that one day we will have healthier society with fewer unhealthy and untreated individuals like Cosby.

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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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Wilhelm Reich’s Social and Political Insights


Presented at the Institute for Orgonomic Science Conference, entitled: “Science, Love and Society: an Introduction to Orgonomy, the Work of Wilhelm Reich”
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, April 11, 2015

I’ve been studying Wilhelm Reich’s social and political thought for the last ten years. Here is some of what I’ve learned.

Wilhelm Reich was a psychoanalyst but also a profound psychoanalytic theorist, an orgone therapist and social activist, a laboratory scientist exploring physiology and biology, a natural scientist making profound observations and experiments in biophysics and meteorology, a cosmologist and philosopher of science, a social theorist and in one sense a theologist–I’m thinking of one of his later books, The Murder of Christ.

In her Foreword to the compilation Selected Writings, Mary Higgins, the Trustee of Reich’s estate, said: “The vastness of Wilhelm Reich’s scientific accomplishments has always created a problem of too muchness.”

In her Foreword to the compilation Selected Writings, Mary Higgins, the Trustee of Reich’s estate, said: “The vastness of Wilhelm Reich’s scientific accomplishments has always created a problem of too muchness.”

The reference to “too muchness” is an allusion to some comments Reich himself made towards the end of his life in his book, Ether, God and Devil, where Reich noted that he was forced by the facts, especially the discovery of orgone energy, to cross boundaries typically viewed as sacrosanct by scientists.

“As a consequence, I often had to defend myself against the reproach that I did not respect my proper scientific boundaries, that I had undertaken “Too Much At Once.”…No one has felt the TOO-MUCHNESS as painfully as myself.”

In the face of the “too much” I am going to limit myself (mostly) to a single work, Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism. (Hereafter, MPF.)

But even here, I will be forced to ignore a wealth of material: we could easily spend an entire conference on just this one work.

I want to begin by emphasizing the importance of Reich’s social and political thought in his work. Reich first referred to orgone energy in the Spring of 1939. After that his press published twelve titles, including Contact with Space, brought out after his death. At least six belong squarely in the social and political camp.

Here is a list of the titles; those in BOLD I consider social and political:
Further Problems of Work Democracy
The Function of the Orgasm
Character Analysis
The Sexual Revolution
The Mass Psychology of Fascism
The Cancer Biopathy
Listen, Little Man!
Ether, God and Devil
Cosmic Superimposition
The Murder of Christ
People in Trouble
Contact with Space

In what follows I’m going to limit myself by following a script and avoiding examples and other asides, thereby providing what I hope will be ample time for interaction with you all.

Here are the themes I will address:

  • Reich’s understanding of fascism
  • Reich’s answer to fascism: work democracy
  • The determining role of sexuality in all this

Here are the themes I will address:

  • Reich’s understanding of fascism
  • Reich’s answer to fascism: work democracy
  • The determining role of sexuality in all this

Reich on fascism:

Originally, Fascists were members of the Italian political party, The National Fascist Party (Partito Nazionale Fascista; PNF) created by Benito Mussolini in the 1920s.

But for Reich, and many other progressives, fascism is not the name of a party or necessarily a political government or state. He is obviously using the term in a wider sense as did those on the left during the 1920s and 1930s in Europe and as some progressives now refer to the United States as having “fascistic tendencies.”

One theme in MPF is the strong connection between the authoritarian patriarchal family structure and fascism. The stronger the role of the authority the more likely the child will become a good follower or mindless rebel, neither of which moves society forward, and both of which contribute to a fascist like society. For Reich it might be best to speak of a fascistic character structure.

One theme in MPF is the strong connection between the authoritarian patriarchal family structure and fascism. The stronger the role of the authority the more likely the child will become a good follower or mindless rebel, neither of which moves society forward, and both of which contribute to a fascist like society. For Reich it might be best to speak of a fascistic character structure.

While authoritarian family structure remains a dominant one world wide, there has arisen, in reaction perhaps, the anti-authoritarian family, which often takes the form of parents refusing to set any limits at all for children.

Reich dealt with this in a way in his correspondence with Neill, the famous progressive educator and then head of Summerhill school in England. Both had children born in the mid 1940s. (Peter Reich was born in 1944; Zoe Neill in 1946.) In their correspondence we see the two elderly parents struggling to foster a climate which would permit their children to self-regulate their behavior but in less than ideal circumstances.

As for those parents who are fearful of setting limits, I am reminded of the Ancient saying:

Without a firm bank the stream becomes a swamp.                     

(Actually, I made this up but it could be an ancient saying, and now, with time, may become one!) Ideally, those limits would be self-imposed, if a person were truly capable of self-regulation.

Psychoanalysis speaks of transference, where feelings, both positive and negative towards one’s parents, get put on one’s therapist; but there is also transference in real life. From family to school to political affiliation to political engagement: the obedient child becomes the obedient student and later the obedient citizen…or the rebel without a rational cause.

Children go from authoritarian families into authoritarian educational systems and end up incapable of taking responsibility for their own lives, incapable of critical thinking, unable to live freely and fully, fearful of standing out, driven to mindless conformity.

Children go from authoritarian families into authoritarian educational systems and end up incapable of taking responsibility for their own lives, incapable of critical thinking, unable to live freely and fully, fearful of standing out, driven to mindless conformity.

People want to be told what to do.  A brief aside: When I was in therapy with Dr. Sobey, who was trained by Reich (this goes back to the 1960s), Sobey would never give me advice, even when I announced in therapy I was about to do something that was rather silly. (He couldn’t hide his reaction completely: I noticed him flinch slightly, but he didn’t say a word.) Later when it came time to undo that silliness (it had to do with an impulsive marriage), he said, “I wondered how long that compulsive thing would last!”

I recognize that there all sorts of exceptions to this general characterization, but even among less restrictive, more human families and schools, the big “don’t touch it” of sexuality typically remains and continues to be highly problematic.

The repression of emotional expression generally and sexual longing in particular produces anxiety, and one way to lessen that anxiety is to follow the leader, to give up one’s individual responsibility in favor of buying into the all knowing ideology of a political party or a church or a new-age guru.

The repression of emotional expression generally and sexual longing in particular produces anxiety, and one way to lessen that anxiety is to follow the leader, to give up one’s individual responsibility in favor of buying into the all knowing ideology of a political party or a church or a new-age guru.

Reich: “The individual brought up in the authoritarian way does not know the natural laws of self-regulation; he is afraid of his sexuality because he has never learned to live it naturally; he has no confidence in himself. Therefore, he declines responsibility for his actions and decisions and demands guidance.”

It is in the Family that the seeds are planted: Think of the role of the family authority in the context of emotional repression and specifically sexual repression.

At one point Reich refers to the authoritarian family as “the factory of reactionary ideology and structure.”

At one point Reich refers to the authoritarian family as “the factory of reactionary ideology and structure.”

Now our natural emotional responses are quite strong, instinctual, and unless a child has endured all kinds of horrible experiences in utero, we can easily see these responses in a healthy baby:

  • They don’t just cry: they wail
  • They yawn and stretch
  • If startled, they shake all over
  • They smile and soon learn to laugh
  • They have a will of their own, and when thwarted they get furious [terrible twos]
  • They are sexual beings

Think for a moment as to how we repress our natural urges. Take crying for example.  If you are crying, and you are told that big boys don’t cry, or you are told, stop that crying or I’ll give you something to cry about, what do you do? There is only one way: you hold your breath, you stifle the spontaneous movement of your diaphragm, the heaving of your chest.

So early on armoring forms against emotional expression accompanied by the internalizing of an ideology of repression. Once internalized it is then reinforced by the social structures and later acted out against or to one’s own offspring.

So early on armoring forms against emotional expression accompanied by the internalizing of an ideology of repression. Once internalized it is then reinforced by the social structures and later acted out against or to one’s own offspring.

How many of us now yawn freely, not just tear up but wail, get truly furious, long for something, shake when we are terrified? Most of us have learned to keep a tight lid on all such expressions.  

All of this is gendered as well: in our society women are given more slack to cry (harkens back to the 19th century notion that women are emotional and incapable of rational thought), while men are allowed to express anger…but certainly not sadness.

Think of the ways in which we pathologize crying. Our language reflects this. We speak of  losing it in public; when I hear this I want to say, “no you were about to gain it, you were about to discharge some of your sadness.” Or we speak of feeling vulnerable. When are knights of old vulnerable? When they take off their armor! Some of us are old enough to remember the brouhaha about Edmund Muskie’s tears and how this undermined his presidential ambitions in 1972.

Fascism is in the body, so to say. That is, muscular armor, originally developed to repress emotional response and then later sexual urges: we carry fascism within us, in our tight muscles, in our inability to give into the natural, in our inability to take complete responsibility for our lives and our environment. 

In his book Function of the Orgasm, Reich uses very telling terms: he refers to “the encrustations and rigidifications of human emotional life.”

With the repression of natural sexuality the organism has to handle the energy in some way. It gets bound up in muscular armor. In some cases it seems bound up completely, leading to lower energy levels and all sorts of biopathies, or patterns of illness. Here Reich refers to the quiet neurotic, homo normalis.

In others when impulses encounter the armoring the impulse comes through in distorted fashion. Instead of the longing for the loving and respectful embrace of an emotional equal, the now distorted secondary layer impulse becomes a longing to dominate the other, to act sadistically towards the other, etc.

These are just examples, but for Reich all so-called “perversions” are due to armoring, in the absence of which we wouldn’t need to worry about foot fetishists, masochistic fantasies (think of the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray) rape, pedophilia, and the like.

but for Reich all so-called “perversions” are due to armoring, in the absence of which we wouldn’t need to worry about foot fetishists, masochistic fantasies (think of the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray) rape, pedophilia, and the like.

This armoring affects more than our sexual impulses: it also effects our thinking, reinforcing the authoritarian attitudes instilled in us as youths.

How else to explain the widespread irrationality we see in the world? Either people are inherently foolish, or something has happened to inhibit our natural good common sense and curiosity about the world.

How else to explain the widespread irrationality we see in the world? Either people are inherently foolish, or something has happened to inhibit our natural good common sense and curiosity about the world.

Reich assumes the latter: he has a positive view of human nature, unlike the later Freud and others, who felt that human nature must be repressed because of our inherent evil impulses. I’m thinking specifically of Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents, a book which Reich suggests was written in response to Reich’s arguments about preventing neuroses rather than trying to cure it.

And at times these irrational thoughts collude with others, and give rise to what he called “The Emotional Plague.” This phenomenon seems inseparable from fascistic tendencies, so we should pause and describe it a bit.

While Reich uses the phrase throughout MPF, he only defines it once and in this way.

“What philosophers, poets, vacuous politicians, but also great psychologists call “human nature,” is absolutely identical with the sex-economic clinical concept of the “emotional plague.” It is the sum total of all irrational life functions in the animal, man.

His thinking on the emotion plague evolved and later he used it to refer to a particular social phenomenon.

From Character Analysis, 3rd edition, 1949:

“While the emotional plague is indeed a character neurosis or character biopathy in the strict sense of the word, it is also more than that, and this “more” distinguishes it from biopathies and character neuroses. We can define the emotional plague as human behavior that, on the basis of a biopathic character structure, operates in an organized or typical way in interpersonal, i.e., social, relations and in social institutions.

Here Reich distinguishes between the ordinary neurotic, who goes about his business, the typical little man, not making waves, but also not advancing things, etc, and the social organization of such neurotics acting together in ways that inhibit human freedom, and human growth. The attacks on Reich while he was alive and the continued dismissal of Reich as a crackpot are perfect examples of the emotional plague.

The source of this irrationality, whether expressed in the individual or in an organized manner is the same:

Reich:
“As social and clinical sex-economy has convincingly demonstrated, the mechanism which makes the masses of people incapable of freedom is the social suppression of genital love life in children, adolescents and adults.”

Reich:
“As social and clinical sex-economy has convincingly demonstrated, the mechanism which makes the masses of people incapable of freedom is the social suppression of genital love life in children, adolescents and adults.”

Sexual Repression; the authoritarian family; children and women having no say; education based on “rote” learning: if these are the seeds of fascism, then the seeds of liberation are easy to discern: egalitarian family structures; women (as well as men) as leaders; children having a voice; children educated to think critically; infantile and adolescent sexuality are recognized and supported in appropriate ways.

To summarize, the more sexuality is taboo, is forbidden or distorted, and when engaged in is rape-like (given the power dynamics between men and women in the authoritarian social setting), the more likely the political structure will be fascistic. And, conversely, the more egalitarian the family, the more sexuality has been allowed its natural expression, the less fascistic the government and society.

To summarize, the more sexuality is taboo, is forbidden or distorted, and when engaged in is rape-like (given the power dynamics between men and women in the authoritarian social setting), the more likely the political structure will be fascistic. And, conversely, the more egalitarian the family, the more sexuality has been allowed its natural expression, the less fascistic the government and society.

So, fascism is not so much a party political phenomena: you don’t get rid of it by banning neo-nazi political organizations, though that is not a bad idea. Fascism is in the blood of the average person. It gets expressed personally in the everyday neurotic; and it gets expressed socially in the emotional plague character structure.

So, fascism is not so much a party political phenomena: you don’t get rid of it by banning neo-nazi political organizations, though that is not a bad idea. Fascism is in the blood of the average person. It gets expressed personally in the everyday neurotic; and it gets expressed socially in the emotional plague character structure.

For Reich, the most important hallmark–road-sign, indiction–is the unfounded belief that someone else will solve your problems for you. Again and again in MPF he rails against the inability of homo normalis to take responsibility for his lived situation. 

As for what Reich means by sexual health, I’ve studied with care his various programs for “sexual hygiene” in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and I don’t think his later thought was in any way different on this score.

A SEXUALLY HEALTHY SOCIETY 

  • Personal control of one’s own sexual life
  • Access to technologies to support personal control
  • End of compulsory marriage [communal child rearing as on Israeli kibbutzes, complete lack of financial dependence of spouses...]
  • Adequate privacy for all
  • Fostering of infantile, childhood and adolescent sexuality [not encouragement nor mere tolerance]
  • Elimination of all forms of sexual exploitation
  • Support for “sexual minorities”

Reich very early on in the 1920s was a vocal supporter for decriminalization of homosexuality, and he was impressed with the fact that that did happen in the Soviet Union right after the revolution, but sadly, as Stalin solidified his power, laws prohibiting male homosexuality were reintroduced, and now we know that in the current day Russia homophobia is quite extreme.

Reich very early on in the 1920s was a vocal supporter for decriminalization of homosexuality.

A sexually healthy society is a prerequisite for a work-democratic one.

A WORK DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY

  • All work is “vitally necessary work,” as defined by Reich as work which meets human needs. [Reich was a vocal critique of advertising and its ability to create false needs: see People in Trouble and Further Problems of Work Democracy.]
  • No economic exploitation. [No private ownership or state ownership but social ownership: workers own and run their businesses.]
  • No environmental exploitation.
  • Work, not labor

This one requires some explanation. Labor is something you engage in in order to get something else, like food, shelter, or to meet your other needs. Work is something you engaged in out of your humanness: it is an expression of your being, comes from your heart or your loins, not from external need.

  • All leadership is local and revocable. 

This one requires some explanation. Labor is something you engage in in order to get something else, like food, shelter, or to meet your other needs. Work is something you engaged in out of your humanness: it is an expression of your being, comes from your heart or your loins, not from external need.

This too is not self-explanatory. At one point (in an essay entitled “Work Democracy in Action,” Reich discusses his leadership of the Orgone Institute. He there said that if someone came along who understood the functioning of the institute better than Reich did, then that person would be the new director. Leadership of a group is not a matter of garnering votes (indeed, voting has nothing or little to do with the kind of democracy Reich is promoting) but of figuring out the best person for the job. Assuming the workers are free of greed, longing for power, and other neurotic needs, they will easily recognize who is the best person for the leadership role. Whatever anarchist tendencies one finds in Reich’s work, he did not endorse the magical thinking that a group could miraculously function without a leader.

Finally,

  • Work is in harmony with nature.
  • Every individual worker takes complete responsibility for her or his living and work environment.

Work democracy can be understood as the natural way people relate in the face of social needs and demands: they naturally organize themselves to take on the task before them. Reich firmly believed that within humans is the natural urge/need to work and to do so cooperatively.

Work democracy can be understood as the natural way people relate in the face of social needs and demands: they naturally organize themselves to take on the task before them. Reich firmly believed that within humans is the natural urge/need to work and to do so cooperatively.

Examples abound, but mainly in times of crisis. I was in Dresden when the Elbe last flooded in 2013. I watched as young people came from all over the areas to fill sandbags and place them along the river’s edge. No one appeared to be telling them what to do, or how to do it. They just did it. Immediately after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 “first responders” from all over the country, on their own, drove to NYC, parked their vehicles near the Javits Center on 34th Street, and walked to the site and began searching through the wreckage for survivors. Such examples–and their number can easily be multiplied–give us hints as to how we would behave all the time were we free of armoring. 

As for next steps: I’m in no better position than any of you to say something insightful here, but it seems to me that we have to use the current legislative structures to guarantee a future that will then permit us to evolve into a people who won’t need those very legislative structures.

In 1954, reflecting on his 1952 interview with a representative of the Freud Archives, Reich said: “The developments in science and education within the next one hundred years will be decisive in establishing whether this interview will have any meaning whatsoever, or whether the evasion of the issues of babyhood and motherhood will continue to mess up more centuries of human destiny.

In 1954, reflecting on his 1952 interview with a representative of the Freud Archives, Reich said: “The developments in science and education within the next one hundred years will be decisive in establishing whether this interview will have any meaning whatsoever, or whether the evasion of the issues of babyhood and motherhood will continue to mess up more centuries of human destiny.

Elsewhere I recall him saying something like it will take hundreds of years for people fully to appreciate his work.

But it seems painfully obvious to me that we can’t count on some future understanding if we destroy the planet in the meantime. The end of the state and its replacement by some form of self-governing work democracy, is possible, if Reich is right, but we have to evolve into it. In the meantime, we must clean our nest.

Reich’s discussion of work democracy as I’ve presented it may sound highly utopian. Yet there are many examples worker owned and worker managed businesses, so we know that such a vision is quite practical, at least on a small scale. (See for example the recently published What Then Must We Do: Straight Talk about the next American Revolution, by Gar Alperovitz.) As for the larger ideals, even if they seem darn near impossible, we need a vision of where we are heading:

“Where there is no vision the people perish.” Old Testament.

And we can take responsibility now and begin developing work democratic structures in the organizations to which we belong, and in other aspects of our lives.

We can also strive for sexual health and take on the responsibility for establishing loving, gentle deep natural sexual unions, or seeking therapeutic help that will make such relationships possible.

In The Mass Psychology of Fascism there is a passage in which Reich references his motto:

“According to work-democratic thinking, all politics which is not based on love, work and knowledge, and therefore is irrational, belongs in the field of the emotional plague. In this manner, work democracy provides a simple answer to the perennial question as to how to get at human nature: Education, hygiene and medicine, which always have been struggling with human nature without much success, have a powerful ally against the emotional plague: the rational functions of vitally necessary work.”

Or more succinctly, if you get confused or lost, here is the map that hopefully brings you back to reality of your–of all of ours–task:

Love, Work and Knowledge are the well-springs of our life. They should also govern it.

Posted in SociologyComments (1)

May God Save this Country from Enemies, Famine and Lies


After the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in which several young school children and their teachers were killed, I wrote about psychological illness that may cause this type of violent and unpredictable behavior in my article, Sandy Hook elementary School tragedy. In response, a reader recently sent a comment, questioning the authenticity of this story and accused the government and President Obama of lying and conspiring against the people for political gain. We did not post that comment because the claim could not be substantiated. However, this comment did raise the question of distrust and deception, which are closely related. Deception between and among the people and their government is ubiquitous, not only within the United States, but within many countries, and this deception ultimately leads to distrust, more deceit and an unhealthy society.

Examples of deception abound over the last few decades: Nixon's deceit and abuse of power in the Watergate scandal, Clinton's denial of his extramarital affair, George W. Bush's claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq while England's former Prime Minister Tony Blair concurred, adding that Iraq's government possessed missiles that could quickly destroy England. In response, the British press satirized Blair, depicting him as a liar

Tony Blaire
Caricature of Tony Blair

In his book, Sex, Lies and Politics, Larry Flint, publisher of Hustler, underscored the irony of the many representatives and elected public officials who morally criticized Clinton while they themselves were living double lives. In fact, one official of the Republican National Committee stated, "I don't have any moral values, I just talk about them on television" (Sex, Lies and Politics, by Larry Flint, Aurum Publishing , P 24 ). And in third-world countries, the lies of the government are so prevalent, so transparent that most people believe nothing that their government says. One glaring example of this deceit occurred just prior to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran when a horrifying fire in a southern Iran movie theater killed 300 people after the theater's doors had been sealed. The arsonists were never caught, and the Shah's enemies blamed his regime for the unconscionable violence. Although later investigations raised major doubts about the veracity of this claim, the Shah's regime was so discredited that even the Shah's advisors recommended that he avoid challenging the accusation since the people would not believe him.

Historically, ancient Iranians considered the effects of lies to be as catastrophic as the effects of famine and enemies. In one Zoroastrian prayer, Darius the Great, King of Persia (521-486 B.C) implores Ahura Mazda, the highest divine spirit in the religion, to "save this country from enemy, famine, and lies"

Darius The Great
Darius The Great

Clearly, the ancient Persians recognized lying as something that could destroy the nation and prayed to God (Ahura Mazda) to save their country from it. But how can a nation possibly be protected from lies?

In 1949, Reich conducted a series of clinical lectures and discussions with medical students in which he formulated the basic principles of orgone therapy. In one of the lectures, he discussed the special characteristics of an individual who has successfully completed the final phase of the therapy: After armoring is resolved, the patient develops Christ-like characteristics, and he or she becomes incapable of lying and cheating.

From an orgonomic point of view, lying is ingrained in the structure of the armored person–one who is raised in an authoritarian, anti-sexual family. Such a person develops a muscular and emotional contraction, referred to as armoring. Since most cultures raise their children in such families, structural distortions are, therefore, prevalent in those societies. Such physical and emotional distortions can shape an honest infant into an armored and scarred adult, one who is physically and psychologically distorted and becomes deceitful. These distortions are so prevalent among the member of society that it gains the proportions of an epidemic, resulting in neurotic symptoms and deceit throughout the masses. In his book, Function of Orgasm, Reich stated, "Freud knew, and he said so in writing, that humanity is sick. The connection between this general illness and the catastrophe that took place in Russia and later in Germany was as alien to the thinking of the psychiatrist as to that of the statesman or political scientist." (Function of Orgasm, Wilhelm Reich, Translated by Theodore P. Wolfe, Noonday Publishing Eight printing 1969, Page 186 ) Within this same book, Reich stated:

After the First World War had destroyed many of the compulsive authoritarian institutions, the European democracies tried to 'lead mankind toward freedom'. But this European world, in its striving for freedom, made a grave miscalculation. It overlooked what the destruction of the living function in the human over thousands of years had cultivated into a monstrosity; it overlooked the deep-seated, general defect of the character-neurosis. And then, the great catastrophe of the psychic plague, that is, the catastrophe of the irrational human character, broke out in the form of the victory of the dictatorships. The forces which had been kept in check for so long by the superficial veneer of good breeding, the artificial self-control, now, borne by the very multitudes that were striving for freedom, broke through into action:
In the concentration camps; in the persecution of the Jews; in the destruction of all human decency; in the mowing down of civilian populations by sadistic monsters to whom machine-gunning civilians is a delightful sport and who get a feeling of life only when parading in goose-step; in the gigantic mass deceit in which the state claims to be representing the interest of the people; in the engulfment of tens of thousands of young people who, helplessly and loyally, believed that they were serving an idea; in the destruction of billions' worth of human work, a fraction of which would suffice to do away with poverty all over the world; in brief, in a St. Vitus dance which will continue to recur as long as the bearers of knowledge and work do not succeed in eradicating, within themselves and outside of themselves, that mass neurosis which calls itself "politics" and which thrives on the characterological helplessness of human beings." (Function of Orgasm, Wilhelm Reich, Translated by Theodore P. Wolfe, Noonday Publishing Eight printing 1969, p. 205)

Although Reich expressed these ideas in the 1940s, there is no reason to believe that things are changed now and above statements continue to be relevant today. Authoritarian and anti-sexual families continue to produce individuals who are physically and psychologically distorted. The children from these families continue to be suppressed–their yearnings for emotional and sexual happiness restricted, causing contractions in their tissues and muscles, blocking the instinctual forces that would otherwise be expressed naturally, lovingly, and bring them happiness with respect for happiness of others. Over time, these physical and emotional contractions distort the physical and psychological structure of the child who thus grows into adulthood with unhealthy, distorted yearnings and impulses that had once been healthy but were not gratified. Such a structure is itself a lie, a distorted and disingenuous structure, familiar to deception and lying. The prayer of Darius the Great to protect his country from lies will never be heard by God unless His children are brought up the way they are ordained to.

In Reich Speaks of Freud, Reich stated:

"Unless medicine, education, social hygiene succeed in establishing such a bio-energetic functioning in the mass of the population.... Nothing will change. I have had much medical experience in that. I have pulled many a child out of that mire. As long as that is going on, nothing will happen in the right direction. Nothing! No constitution, no parliament, nothing will help. Nothing, I say. Nothing will change for the better. You can't impose freedom on the ruined bio-energetic systems of children." (Reich Speaks of Freud, Wilhelm Reich discusses his work and his relationship with Sigmund Freud, A Condor Book Publishing, 1972, P. 31,).

In order to achieve this freedom, Reich argued:

You have to establish youth centers, you have to train many physicians. You have to teach sex economy. You have to bring human psychology into your politics. You have to do more. You have to revamp your whole way of thinking, so that you don't think from the stand point of the state and the culture and this or that, but from the stand point of what people need, what they suffer from. Then you arrange your social institutions accordingly. Not the other way around. Now that is foreign to the mind of Marxist politician today. They only think in terms of "productive forces" they think in terms of state. I think in terms of human beings and what they need. If I had anything to say politically, everything which exists would be arranged in accordance with what the child needs, the infant needs, the adolescent needs, you need, I need, and everybody needs. Now here sociology becomes separated from politics for the first time. (Reich Speaks of Freud, Wilhelm Reich discusses his work and his relationship with Sigmund Freud, A Condor Book Publishing, 1972, P 49)

For Darius the Great's prayer to be realized and to avoid repeating disasters caused by emotional plague, we must, as Reich implores us, revamp our thinking to move toward a social order that is based upon children's need to respect and promote genuine feelings and desires–to choose health over sickness, to let the children grow as they are ordained to and become adults incapable of lying and cheating.

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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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Wilhelm Reich – Founder of Orgone Therapy

Annals of The Institute for Orgonomic Science (December, 2015)

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