Tag Archive | "Orgonomy"

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


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Wilhelm Reich and the History of Orgonomy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Conspiracy Period (Part 7 & 8)


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Conspiracy Period (Part 5 & 6)


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Conspiracy Period (Part 3 & 4)


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Conspiracy Period (Part 1 & 2)


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Orgonomic “Reichian” View of a Social Issue


Mr. Ahmadinejad, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, visited New York in September of 2007.  He was invited to speak at Columbia University on September 24, 2010.  Among the different issues that he talked about, which elicited some applause from the audience,  he was also asked the following question; “Mr. President” a student asked, “Iranian women are now denied basic human rights and your government has imposed a doctrine of punishment including execution on Iranian citizens who are homosexuals.  Why are you doing those things?”  President Ahmadinejad through a translator replied “… We in Iran do not have homosexuals like in your country.  We don’t have that in our country, in Iran there are no things like this.  We don’t know who told you those things.”  This prompted laughter and booing of the audience.

Mr. Ahmadinejad in a way is right.  There was no homosexuality “like this” in the United States too about fifty years ago.  There were no gays in the military, the policy of “don’t ask don’t tell” was unheard of, let alone repealing it.  There was no issue of gay marriage.  Such issues were unheard of. So one may ask, where did this issue come from and how did this issue gain such importance today in the United States.  The answer to this question is that the issue of homosexuality existed then, but was harshly repressed and therefore was partly hidden and partly denied.  Now how does this matter relate to orgonomy and what is the Reichian prospect of it?

The character analytic technique which was discovered and introduced by Dr. Wilhelm Reich, leads us to the recognition of the human psychological structure in a way that is different from the previously comprehended one.  It leads us to the realization that the human psychological structure is composed of three layers.  The outer layer, the middle layer, and the core.  The outer layer of the human character structure is the one that the person superficially presents to the world, usually restrained, polite, compassionate, social, etc.  The middle layer however, through character analytic techniques, is discovered to be full of conflicting feelings and secondary drives consisting of different sexual and violent perversions, desires, fantasies, rage, sadness, and in short, whatever is repressed.  This corresponds to the Freudian  unconscious segment.  In the core however, we find the good characteristics of humans, with genuine love, compassion, sexual desire with love and affection, industrious potentials, etc.  Dr. Reich, in the book, Mass Psychology of Fascism, says the following;

“Extensive and painstaking therapeutic work on the human character has led me to the conclusion that, as a rule, we are dealing with three different layers of the biopsychic structure in the evaluation of human reactions.  As I demonstrated in my book Character-Analysis, these layers of the character structure are deposits of social development, which function autonomously.  On the surface layer of his personality, the average man is reserved, polite, compassionate, responsible, conscientious. There would be no social tragedy of the human animal if this surface layer of the personality were in direct contact with the deep natural core. This, unfortunately, is not the case.  The surface layer of social cooperation is not in contact with the deep biologic core of one’s selfhood; it is borne by a second, an intermediate character layer, which consists exclusively of cruel, sadistic, lascivious, rapacious, and envious impulses.  It represents the Freudian “unconscious” or “what is repressed”; to put it in the language of sex-economy, it represents the sum total of all so-called “secondary drives…

If one penetrates through this destructive second layer, deeper into the biologic substratum of the human animal, one always discovers the third, deepest, layer, which we call the biologic core. In this core, under favorable social conditions, man is an essentially honest, industrious, cooperative, loving and, if motivated, rationally hating animal.”

Our social structure and social institutions correspond to our individual character structure. In fact, it can not be any different.  Under the superficial but harsh repression of strict, compulsory moralistic social structure, many desires and impulses are repressed.  Some of these core impulses become distorted because of environmental pressures.  Aggression becomes hate, spite, meanness, etc. Warm, open contact becomes superficiality, turbidness etc.  Others are simply repressed because they are punishable or merely dishonored in society.

We know by our experience in treatment of individuals that unless the functions of the outer layer are exposed and the secondary layer is revealed, one cannot reach the individual’s core.  This process is also true in the social domain. In the book Reich Speaks of Freud, Reich says the following:

“It goes very deep. I don’t know whether you are acquainted with the orgonomic picture of the structure of the human character–the  “core,” the “middle layer,” and the “periphery.”  It gives one a very practical tool with which to work with patients.  It is a bio-energetic tool.  You can’t get at the human character by psychoanalytic means.   You have to reach it with character analysis or orgone therapy.  Human beings live emotionally on the surface, with their surface appearance.  Correct? In order to get to the core where the natural, the normal, the healthy is, you have to get through that middle layer. And in that middle layer there is terror.  There is severe terror. Not only that, there is murder there. All that Freud tried to subsume under the death instinct is in that middle layer. He thought it was biological. It wasn’t. It is an artifact of culture. It is a structural malignancy of the human animal.  Therefore, before you can get through to what Freud called Eros or what I call orgonotic streaming or plasmatic excitation (the basic plasma action of the bio-energetic system), you have to go through hell. Just through hell!  This is true for the physician as well as the patient.  In this hell, there is confusion, schizophrenic breakdown, melancholic depression.  They are all there. I have this in Character Analysis. I don’t have to repeat it. But why bring the Life Force in here?  There is only one reason: to show you why nobody wanted to touch it or to get at the biological core where I was working at that time. Before you can reach that core, you must encounter hate, terror, murder. All these wars, all the chaos now–do you know what that is to my mind? Humanity is trying to get at its core, at its living, healthy core. But before it can be reached, humanity has to pass through this phase of murder, killing and destruction. What Freud called the destructive instinct  is in the middle layer.  A bull is mad and destructive when it is frustrated.   Humanity is that way , too. That means that before you can get to the real thing–to love, to life, to rationality- you must pass through hell. This has very grave implications for social development.  I don’t want to go into it now, but I wanted to explain why the psychoanalysts refused, unconsciously, to touch what I was working with.  If I had fully known its consequences, I would have run myself.  I don’t want to make myself better than the others, you understand. At that time, I would have run.  I couldn’t run today.  The bridges are burned behind me.  Looking back,  I understand it. It is very dangerous…”

So, if our observations, our theories, our deductions and generalizations are right and logical, which seem to be so as we see them in our patients, and which history also reflects and attests to it’s righteousness in the social domain, then Mr. Ahmadinejad and for that matter any other leader, should expect the emergence of repressed elements, some of them undesirable and not social, and some of them progressive and social, but unacceptable in the present day social structure.   This is of course if the repressive, compulsory authoritarian and harshly punitive structure in the process of democratic movements softens up.  This, from our point of view, will be a good thing, and is the only hope that eventually societies and humanity will reach to it’s core and embrace the values that humans are ordained to have.

Orgonomy, based on principles and guidelines set forth by Dr.Wilhelm Reich, can provide an understanding of natural and healthy versus unnatural and distorted, and can function as pharos to navigate through this process.

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The Science of Orgonomy (Part 5)


Video from Fall 2009 conference of the Institute for Orgonomic Science.

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The Science of Orgonomy (Part 3 & 4)


Video from Fall 2009 conference of the Institute for Orgonomic Science.

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The Science of Orgonomy (Part 1 & 2)


Video from Fall 2009 conference of the Institute for Orgonomic Science.

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Homosexuality and The Emotional Plague


Recently, the American media was barraged with news of the harassment of homosexuals and suicides that followed.  The New York Times on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010, reported the following regarding the suicide of a young promising violinist:

“Tyler Clemeni was an 18 year old Rutgers University freshman when he jumped from the George Washington Bridge in an apparent suicide in September 2010, days after he had been secretly filmed during an intimate encounter which was then broadcast on the Internet.

Mr. Clementi’s roommate and another classmate were charged in the case.  Authorities say the students used a camera in Mr. Clementi’s dormitory room to stream an intimate encounter involving Mr. Clementi live on the Internet.

Three days later, Mr. Clementi, an accomplished violinist, jumped into the Hudson River.  Witnesses told the police they saw a man jump of the bridge just before 9 p.m., said Paul J. Browne, the New York Police Department’s chief spokesman.  Officers discovered a wallet there with Mr. Clementi’s identification, Mr. Browne said.”    – The New York Times, Wednesday October 27th, 2010.

Another newsletter reported the following;

“Either way, Clementi’s death marks the fifth suicide by a gay teen in the past month.  Justin Aaberg, openly gay and just 15, committed suicide after being bullied in school.  Billy Lucas, also 15 wasn’t out, but was mercilessly bullied in school.  He hanged himself.  Asher Brown, 13, who told his parents he was gay the morning he shot himself in the head, was also bullied.  Ash Seth Walsh, also just 13, hanged himself after suffering from years of bullying.”  – Julie Gerstein, The Frisky.com, October 1st, 2010.

An abnormal condition in which a person takes pleasure in hurting another, an unwholesome love of cruelty, excessive cruelty, in the Webster dictionary is defined as sadism.  In psychiatry and psychoanalysis, sadism is attributed to different psychological mechanisms, for example, a sexual impulse which is manifested as a tendency to strike, abuse, or humiliate the object.   It is also defined as a defense against castration, fear, and the fear of ones own sexual excitement.  What might occur within the subject passively, is instead done actively to others-  “identification with aggressor”.  It is also described that the perversion of sadism depends upon the fusion of destructive energy with libidinal energy.  The discharge of aggression is in itself pleasurable, but sadism further implies pleasure in destruction of others.

There is no satisfactory explanation in general psychiatry and psychoanalysis of how this mechanism occurs, where and why the destructive energy appears, nor how it fuses with sexual energy.

In orgonomy however, we consider such behavior to be a consequence of the distortions of primary drives, which in orgonomy are called secondary drives.

We have described the emergence of secondary drives from primary drives in different articles in this journal.  In short, character analytic techniques in orgonomy  lead to the comprehension of  the human psychological structure, which schematically is composed of core, middle layer and outer layer, or periphery.  The  primary impulses which are emitted from the core of the organism, the impulses of love, sexuality, and rational anger, are fiercely blocked by outer prohibitions.  In due time, such environmental and outer inhibitions through the process of armoring, become internalized within the structure of the person. Suppression of primary motives in turn causes distortions and its distorted version in orgonomy is called secondary drives.  Secondary drives may turn inward and cause neurotic symptoms that agonize and torment the person with neurotic symptoms such as obsessional thoughts, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, etc., or it may turn into a destructive force which operates  in the social scene. The latter in  orgonomy is called  “the emotional plague”.  The development of the secondary drives are related to the mechanism of armoring which is described by Dr.Reich in different books, most essentially in Character Analysis and The Function of The Orgasm and also is described in different articles in this journal.  Hence, the orgonomic model of the human psychological structure is the following: On the surface layer, the personality of the average man is polite, compassionate and conscientious.  At the core, he is honest, benevolent and longing for love. However the surface layer and the core are separated from each other by the middle layer, an intermediate layer which is the product of the outcome of forces that are on one hand primary and genuine, and  on the other hand opposing forces from the outer layer, from the armor. As a result of this conflict and stagnation, secondary motives develop in the  intermediate layer, which  consists of cruel, sadistic, lascivious, rapacious and envious impulses.  These secondary layers represent the Freudian “unconscious”, or that which is repressed.  In the language of orgonomy and sex economy, it represents the sum total of all secondary drives.

Dr. Reich, in The Function of the Orgasm, under the topic of destruction, aggression, and sadism, states the following:

“In psychoanalysis, the term aggression, sadism and destruction and death instincts were used randomly and interchangeably.  Aggression seemed identical with destruction which in turn was “the death instinct directed against the world”.  And sadism remained the primary partial instinct which begins to be active at a certain stage of sexual development.   On the basis of their origin and intentions, I attempted to assess all the human actions that are included under the concept of “hate”.  In my clinical work, I never encountered a death instinct, a will to die, as a primary instinct corresponding to sexuality or hunger.  All psychic manifestations that could be interpreted as “death instincts” proved to be a product of neurosis. Such for instance was the case in suicide, which was either an unconscious revenge on another person with whom one identified, or an action to escape the enormous unpleasure caused by an extremely embroiled life situation.

The patients fear of death could always be traced back to a fear of catastrophe and this fear, in turn, could be traced back to genital anxiety.  Moreover, analysts who  accepted the theory of the death instinct frequently confused anxiety and instinct.  It was not until 8 years later that the matter became clear to me; fear of death and dying is identical with unconscious orgasm anxiety.  The alleged death instinct, the longing for disintegration, for nothingness, is the unconscious longing for orgastic resolution of tension….

A living creature develops destructive impulses when it wants to destroy a source of danger. In this case the destruction or killing of the object is a biologically meaningful goal.  The original motive is not pleasure in destruction. Rather the destruction serves the “life instincts”…. In short, the impulse to destroy serves a primary biological will to live. As such it does not have a sexual connotation.  It’s goal is not pleasure, even though liberation from unpleasure is an experience similar to pleasure.  ……. An animal does not kill another animal because it takes pleasure in killing. It would be sadistic murder for the sake of pleasure.  It kills because it is hungry or because it feels that it’s life is threatened. Thus, here too,  the destruction serves the “life instincts”.

Aggression in the strict sense of the word, has to do neither with sadism nor with destruction, the word means “approach”.  Every positive manifestation of life is aggressive, the act of sexual pleasure as well as the act of destructive hate, the sadistic act as well as the act of producing food. Aggression is the life expression of musculature, of the system of movement.  The reassessment of the aggression is of enormous importance for the rearing of children.  Much of the  inhibition of aggression which our children have to endure to their own detriment, is the result of equating “aggressive” with “wicked” or “sexual”. Aggression is always an attempt to provide the means for the gratification of a vital need.  Aggression is not an instinct in the strict sense of the word; rather it is an indispensable mean of gratifying every instinctual impulse. The latter is inherently aggressive because the tension demands gratification. Hence there is a destructive, a sadistic, a loco-motor and as sexual aggressiveness.

If aggressive sexuality is denied gratification, the urge to gratify it in spite of denial continues to make itself felt.  Indeed, the impulse arises to experience the desired pleasure at all costs.  The need for aggression begins to drown out  the need for love. If the pleasurable goal is completely eliminated, ie. made unconscious, or imbued with anxiety, then aggression which originally was only a means, becomes a tension releasing action in itself.  It becomes pleasurable as an expression of life, thus giving rise to sadism.  Hate develops as a result of the exclusion of original goal of love. And the hate is most intense when the act of loving or being loved is blocked.  This is what brings the sexually motivated destructive intention into aggressive actions. An example of this would be sexual murder. Its precondition is the complete blocking of the ability to enjoy genital pleasure in a natural way. Thus the perversion of sadism is a mixture of primary  sexual impulse and secondary destructive impulse.  it does not exist anywhere else in the animal kingdom and is exclusively a characteristic of a man acquired late in development, a secondary drive.

Every seemingly arbitrary destructive action is a reaction of the organism to the frustration of a vital need, especially a sexual need.”

As we described earlier, these destructive impulses in the social scene, in orgonomy are called the emotional plague .  In character analysis, there is a chapter that Dr. Reich devoted to the description of the emotional plague.  He gives examples of specific reactions of inflicted people with emotional plague. Here is the description of such behaviour in the area of sexuality:

“The sexuality of the genital character (normal healthy character) is essentially determined by the basic natural laws of biological energy. He is so constituted that naturally takes pleasure in the sexual happiness of other, in the same way, he’s indifferent to perversion and has an aversion to pornography. The genital character is easily recognized by the good contact he has with healthy children. He considers it quite natural that children and adolescents are essentially sexually oriented.  The same way he foresees or at least strives to fulfill the “often socially restricted” demand which result from those biological facts.  This attitude exists spontaneously, whether a corresponding knowledge has been acquired or not….

In the plague-ridden character, the process is usually as follows;  The secondary drive held in check by the cultural and religious ideals break through.  The sexuality of the character afflicted with emotional plague is usually sadistic and pornographic. It is characterized by parallel existence of sexual lasciviousness (owing to the incapacity to achieve gratification) and sadistic moralism. This dualism is a part of his structure;  The plague afflicted individual could not change it even if he had insight  and knowledge.  In terms of his structure he cannot be anything but pornographically lascivious and sadistically moralistic at the same time.  This is the core of the character structure of the plague afflicted person.   This structure develops viscous hatred against every process which provokes its own orgastic yearning and hence orgasm anxiety…..

Clinical investigation leaves no room or doubt that sexual gossip or defamation afford these emotionally plagues individual a kind of perverse sexual gratification; they can thus attain sexual pleasure without the natural genital function…..”

Looking to the problem of homosexual harrasment from this point of view, from the point of view of irrational hatred attributed to the emotional plague, raises the following question; If the distortion and sickness is part of the emotional structure of the perpetrator of the harassment, then why should the victim feel ashamed and guilty and commit suicide?

One of my patients, who was a lady in her late 70’s, and had chronic depression with many hospitalizations and later committed suicide, once told me that in her youth she had a sexual encounter and was made to feel ashamed of it.  Another middle-eastern patient who had a pregnancy out of wedlock and  later  had a psychotic breakdown, upon admission to the psychiatric ward, in her confused and psychotic state, painted the word “whore” all over her face with lipstick.

The answers to these questions need individual analysis of the structure of each victim.  However, we can rationally speculate that a significant part of it is the anti-sexual upbringing of children that plants the seed of guilt and shame around sexual activity.  It is however their right and naturally constituted.

Posted in SociologyComments (0)

The Scientific Basis of Orgonomy (Part 1 & 2)


This video is presented by the late Dr. Victor Sobey in October of 1993.  This version of Dr. Sobey’s talk has been edited.  Full version available from The Institute for the Study of the Work of Wilhelm Reich

Posted in Philosophy, VideoComments (0)

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