Tag Archive | "wilhelm reich"

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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Posted in Biopathies & Psychiatric Orgone TherapyComments (3)

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.

Posted in HistoryComments (2)

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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Posted in Biopathies & Psychiatric Orgone TherapyComments (7)

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


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

Dr. Morton Herskowitz

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

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

Mr. Zito and his daughter, Sheila

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wendy Kohli, PhD.
Self-Regulation and Education

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

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

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

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

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The Tragic Life, Depression and Suicide of Mindy McCready – Post-mortem analysis


On February 17, 2013, the U.S. media reported the suicide of country singer, Mindy McCready. She was once known to be a Nashville superstar, but reportedly addiction, arrest, and her boyfriend’s death culminated in her suicide at age 37. She suffered from long-standing problems, according to recent newspaper and magazine articles, and had a poor relationship with her mother. She had been in abusive relationships and was arrested in 2005 with charges of drunk driving.  In September of the same year, she was treated for her second suicide attempt, and six months later gave birth to her first son. In 2007, she was arrested for brawling with her mother while intoxicated. She was sentenced to a year in jail and two more years of probation and community service and served five months of this sentence. In 2008, when she was hospitalized for a suicide attempt, her mother gained custody of her son. More recently, in 2013, she entered a court-ordered rehabilitation center, checked herself out one day later and shortly  thereafter, she shot herself in the mouth, on the porch of her home, where her boyfriend, Wilson, had committed suicide.  Journalists reported that the suicide marked a brutal end for a singer who had once been among Nashville’s brightest stars before a toxic spiral of reckless relationships, arrests, addictions, and family fights began nearly a decade ago. People magazine quoted her former fiancé: “This is a woman who had so much talent and just self-destructed.” People reported, “A once vivacious beauty whose big voice matched her outsized confidence, McCready had fallen so far into the abyss that when local law enforcement arrived at her house on February 17th, after neighbors heard gunshots, they encountered a harrowing scene. ‘Food was out, it smelled really bad, the dog had pooped everywhere on the floor,’ says a police source. McCready was filthy. The TV was on, everything was a mess. The bed wasn’t made–it was just a bare mattress. The kitchen counter, nightstand, and bathroom were full of prescription pills.”

A short biography printed in People magazine stated the following:

“A native of Fort Myers Florida she tousled from an early age with her parents, who split when she was nine. She moved to Nashville at seventeen, and helped care for her younger brothers, Tim and Joeseph. ‘It’s a miracle that all of us survived,’ she told People magazine in 2010. ‘By the grace of God we all made it.’ But at age 18, she met veteran Nashville producer, David Malloy, and her life changed forever. The former head of RCA Nashville had said, ‘She was charming, she was drop-dead gorgeous, she was sweet, she could connect and people went nuts, and she was a great singer.’ ‘But cracks in the wall soon began to surface,’ says Morses (her music manager). ‘I think she had some emotional scars from her childhood, and she had a tumultuous relationship with her mother.  She didn’t know honesty could come with love.’  Her romance with Chan, now 46, fizzled in 1998 after a year. The former Lois and Clark star remembers her as ‘Poisonous. She was never abusive or addictive with me, but red flags were everywhere. I saw all the bad signs and told her to get out. She would start arguments, start drama. Things weren’t allowed to be good.’”
Mindy McCready: People Magazine Cover Page

People also reports that Galanti dropped her from the label after her third album. Starting with an arrest in 2004 for faking prescriptions, she spent the next four years in and out of court, particularly as her volatile relationship with aspiring singer Billy McKnight turned ugly. (She also waged a long-running custody battles over their son, Zander, who was placed in her mother’s care during McCready’s rehab and jail stint). “I lost myself in that relationship,” she told People in 2010. Everybody turned their back on me because they couldn’t stand to watch me. I was killing myself.” In between arrests, suicide attempts, and rehab stays, she would resolve to start over. “I’ve done things that are completely stupid and wrong,” she said in 2010. “But I wasn’t crazy. I was doing crazy things. I was just really empty and searching for anything to latch onto.”

There are thousands of McCreadys with similar, tragic lives, in and out of rehab and psychiatric hospitals, who eventually end their lives by suicide or self-destructive behavior.  One of my patients,  molested as a child with deep emotional wounds from childhood, had later begun abusing street drugs and was in and out of psychiatric hospitals for depression and suicidal behavior.  Few years into treatment, he stated, “Doctor, three of my friends who were doing drugs with me are dead now; it’s a miracle that I’m not dead or in prison by now.”

Sadly, we will never hear these words from Mindy Mcready.  After several psychiatric hospitalizations along with hospitalizations in rehab and detox centers, McCready’s condition continued to decline, ultimately leading her to suicide. This history is not unique to McCready; millions of lost lives throughout the world reflect the failure of the medical and psychiatric professions. We attribute this shortcoming partly to the profession’s departure from Freud’s—and by extension—Reich’s discoveries.

Among the range of medical and psychological treatment approaches, only psychiatric orgone therapy and psychoanalysis or analytical psychology can understand and penetrate a patient’s unconscious mind and explore deep emotional wounds buried in the unconscious. Other treatment modalities, although comforting and helpful to the patient,  are incapable of impacting the unconscious mind, let alone healing the wounds buried within it.

Psychoanalytically, it is not difficult to trace back McCready’s problems to her early relationship with her parents as evidenced in her later life conflicts with her parents, particularly her mother. Of course, psychoanalytic theory and technique dictate that “interpersonal” conflicts such as the one between McCready and her mother may not necessarily reflect the unconscious intra-psychic conflict within the patient. Likewise, a superficially harmonious relationship with a parent may still, in the process of psychoanalysis, reveal a deep intra-psychic unconscious conflict. Nevertheless, more likely than not, the chronicity of the conflict reflects a deeper intra-psychic conflict. In classical Freudian psychoanalysis, parental conflicts can be traced back to the early ages of three or four years old when, according to classical psychoanalytic theory, the child must experience and resolve the conflict when tensions with the same-sex parent heighten.   An unresolved conflict—referred to by Freud as the Oedipus complex—impacts the individual’s later life.  In psychoanalytic treatment, resolution of this conflict is of central importance. A psychoanalytic technique dictates that the patient lie on a couch. He or she is encouraged to “free associate”—to say whatever comes to his or her mind without censoring thoughts. Through free association and interpretation of dreams, symbols and thoughts, unconscious memories, fear, anger, and sadness associated with this period of life become conscious and by resolving these feelings of the early conflict, the patient is expected to improve.  According to Reich, the goal of psychiatric orgone therapy is the same as in psychoanalysis: to revive the earliest childhood memories.  However, the approach and technique differ enough that the approach can no longer be described as psychoanalysis.

In The Function of Orgasm, Reich states,

“The goal of my work is the same today as it was twenty years ago: the reawakening of the earliest childhood experiences. However, the method of achieving this has changed considerably, so much so in fact that it can no longer be called psychoanalysis.”

In psychiatric orgone therapy, psychiatrists place greater emphasis on a patient’s physical appearance, demeanor, speech and behavior than on the information that the patient discloses. In other words, psychiatric orgone therapist attributes less importance to what the patient says than to how he or she says it. Even the most subtle physical cues are significant and reflect a patient’s character.

For example, in The Function of Orgasm, Reich stated,

“It never ceases to be surprising how the loosening of a muscular spasm not only releases the vegetative energy, but, over and above this, reproduces a memory of that situation in infancy in which the repression of the instinct occurred. It can be said that every muscular rigidity contains the history and the meaning of its origin. It is not as if we had to derive from dreams or associations how the muscular armor developed; the armor is the form in which the infantile experience is preserved as an impairment of functioning. For example, the neurosis is not solely the expression of a disturbance of psychic equilibrium; it is, rather, in a far more justified and deeper sense, the expression of a chronic disturbance of the vegetative equilibrium and of natural motility.”

In psychiatric orgone therapy, the psychiatrist traces the pathologic changes in the patient starting far earlier than the ages of 3 or 4 years when the Oedipus complex begins. In contrast, the orgonomic psychiatrist believes that traumatic events can begin at—or just prior to—birth; nevertheless, he or she acknowledges that events in later life can—and do—exacerbate  earlier trauma.

In Reich Speaks of Freud, Reich states,

“You break the will of the infant, of the child. Not when it is in the Oedipus phase. That’s a consequence. That’s later. No, before it’s born and soon after, in the first two weeks of life. And, then, the child withdraws. It resigns with a big “NO.” It doesn’t say, “No.” It doesn’t scream, “No.” But there is an expression of “No.” It’s a giving up. You can see it in the hospitals. There’s no doubt about it. The damage is being done right there, in the very beginning –right before and after birth. There is the disposition for all the rest of it.”

Freud also discovered pre-genital developmental stages in children such as oral and anal stages that occur prior to the development of the Oedipal phase. In fact, he described issues of conflicts and fixations from those earlier stages that leave their sequelae in the later life of the child. However, psychoanalysis relies on words, and words are incapable of penetrating the stages before language development; therefore, even in successful cases, psychoanalysis is unable to penetrate beyond language development, which doesn’t begin until approximately two years old.

In a taped recording, Freud stated that he hoped his discovery of the unconscious would be a decisive help in treating neurosis. However, considering the lengthy process of the psychoanalytic technique in unearthing unconscious material, numerous obstacles and difficulties in that process and its dubious results have disappointed mental health professionals, and Freud’s techniques are no longer widely used for psychiatric treatment. In previous articles, I sited the 1993 article, “Is Freud Dead?” from Time magazine. After extensive research, the author of the article concluded that perhaps psychoanalysis is no better than many other approaches that provide false solace.

In the November 29th, 1993 Time Magazine, there was an article titled, “Is Freud Dead”? By the end of the article, the author concludes that “psychoanalysis and all of its off shoots, may in final analysis, turn out to be no more reliable than countless other pseudosciences that once offered unsubstantiated answers or false solace.”

This failure of psychoanalysis can partly be attributed to the fact that psychoanalysis relies on words, which are usually incapable of penetrating the physical or somatic domain—the tissues and fibers of the body where conflicts are anchored. Psychoanalysis and analytical psychology are unable to dislodge these conflicts from this anchor and thus become stuck, eventually stagnating while the therapeutic process falls apart. Thus, a different understanding and technique are necessary. Psychiatric orgone therapy provides this theory and technique.

As orgonomic psychiatrists, we work on a patient’s character and its counterpart, the physical and somatic domains that are reflected in a patient’s character.  We try to uncover and unmask the patient’s superficial, deceptive behavior that hides the genuine, underlying feelings and acts as a defensive structure. Like Mindy McCready, patients with superficial, vivacious personalities or those with other charming behaviors no longer deceive us. We see those behaviors as armor behind which patients hide their deeper conflicts and emotions.

In treating patients, we often face the defensive surface behavior and attitude that psychological improvement cannot be achieved, except by chance, if this defensive structure is not dealt with. The patients resist and frustrate the therapist’s efforts if the surface behavior, the armor, is not resolved.

In The Function of Orgasm, Reich states,

“I found that people reacted with deep hatred to every disturbance of the neurotic balance of their armor . . . .  The patient would complain about the emptiness of his experiences. But when I pointed out the same emptiness in the nature of his communications, in his coolness, in his grandiloquent or hypocritical nature, he became angry. He was aware of the symptoms, headache or a tic, as something alien but his character was the person himself. He was disturbed when it was pointed out to him. What was it that prevented a person from perceiving his own personality? After all it is what he is! Gradually I came to understand that it is the entire being that constitutes the compact, tenacious mass which obstructs all analytic efforts. The patient’s whole personality, his character, his individuality resisted analysis. But why? The only explanation is that it fulfills a secret function of defense and protection.”

With reasonable certainty, we can attribute Mindy McCready’s signing out from the hospital after one day—against medical advice—and her suicide a day later, to this resistance of accepting her own emptiness and her own inner conflict and refusal to face it. In other words, her unresolved armored structure prevented her from seeking genuine psychological help.

Mindy McCready and Dr. Drew

When a defensive surface layer is unveiled, repressed emotions are stirred up and moved.  A patient recognizes this movement in their organism and when there is movement, there is hope.  As painful and saddening as it may be, the release of the hidden emotions in the patient brings relief. It brings hope to the patient, making her or him feel that change is possible, that there is a movement toward healing. This changes the hopelessness that could plunge a patient to suicide. In fact, Reich stated, “However the fact speaks for itself that, as extensive and protean as my practice has been, I have not had a single case of suicide. It was not until much later that I came to understand the cases of suicide that happened during treatment. Patients committed suicide when their sexual energy had been stirred up but was prevented from attaining adequate discharge.” Of course, as therapists, we modulate the resolution of armor and the release of a patient’s repressed feelings incrementally, to ensure that he or she is capable of assimilating the feelings.

In spite of many years of conventional treatment, Mindy McCready and thousands of others like her suffered from severe depression and ultimately committed suicide, a clear indication that conventional psychiatry fails in many cases. Most physicians choose the profession with the intention to help and to heal. They feel the pain of the patients and want to alleviate it. It is painful to see the pain, suffering, and sadness that eventually destroy the person and his or her potential. It is painful for physicians to see that the patient does not improve in spite of their efforts—that the patient’s life ends tragically. Hence, it is prudent to include psychiatric orgone therapy as an extension of psychoanalysis. We believe that such an inclusion will save many lives, strengthen the profession and, of course, bring great satisfaction to psychiatrists and therapists.

Mindy McCready

 

 

For similar articles please refer to the following links:

http://www.orgone.org

http://orgonomist.blogspot.com/

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The Boston Marathon Bombing: An Orgonomic Analysis


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

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

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

Boston Marathon: President Barack Obama Issues Statement

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

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

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

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

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

President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyro

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

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

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

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

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

From Function of Orgasm by Wilhelm Reich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Contemporary somatic psychology – an overview of the field”


Based on a talk given on April 28th, 2012 at the conference entitled Somatic Psychology: Its Origins and Development.

Daniel Schiff, PhD

I want to start off by just giving you a sense of where the idea of this particular workshop or seminar came about as many of you, as I have just learned, have participated in orgonomy or have been in orgone therapy for a long time. Actually when I was thinking about the creation of this seminar I was thinking about addressing people who weren’t aware of Reich’s work, with the idea of presenting what is beginning now to emerge in the field of psychology – somatic psychology – a field of psychology that incorporates the understanding of the central role of including the total organism in the understanding of the person, of culture, and of practice of psychotherapy. It is an approach that is gradually moving into the forefront in the field of psychotherapy. Personally it is been a wait for me, and maybe for those of you who have been part of the therapeutic community and are familiar with Reich’s work. A wait for the reemergence of that which was beginning to emerge in psychology in the late 50’s and 60’s.  A reemergence of looking at human beings as not only is cognitive beings but as total beings. And a wait for the recognition in the field of psychology of Reich’s work and his role in the development of psychotherapeutic technique beyond character analysis. So I waited for a while, a good number of decades, and I have been quite pleased, especially in the past 10 years, to see this emergence happen. And I’ve also been quite pleased that Reich is noted as central in the development of somatic psychology.

To illustrate the latter I turn to the greatest source of knowledge in our planet – Wikipedia. I will read from their entry on somatic psychology.

“Whilst Pierre Janet can perhaps be considered the first Somatic Psychologist due to his extensive psycho-therapeutic studies and writings with significant reference to the body (some of which predated Freud), it was actually Wilhelm Reich who was the first person to bring body awareness systematically into psychoanalysis, and also the first psychotherapist to touch clients physically, working with their bodies. Reich was a significant influence in the founding of Body Psychotherapy (or Somatic Psychology as it is often known in the USA & Australia) – though he called his early work "Character Analysis" and "Character-Analytic Vegetotherapy"). Several types of body-oriented psychotherapies trace their origins back to Reich, though there have been many subsequent developments and other influences.”

So Wikipedia here acknowledges Reich as seminal in the development of somatic psychotherapy or body-oriented psychotherapeutic approaches. Now if you look at different curriculum on somatic psychology, and I will shortly introduce what somatic psychology is, you’ll often see reference to Reich. However, in my speaking to people who have come through some of these somatic psychology programs the representation there of Reich is often not all that accurate or not all that extensive. And yet there is the realization of the role of the body in therapy and the role that Reich played in introducing the body into psychotherapy. As a result of the current understanding in the working with trauma, where it is increasingly recognized that bringing the body back into psychotherapy is an essential element, along with the greater understanding of neurological structure and neurological development, and the development and recognition of attachment theory, many different kinds of somatic therapies have developed, a few of which are direct descendents from Reich and many are not. Many come from different routes, different origins, and as a result have different slants. As a person who has studied Reich for so many years some of these slants are not in line with that was being proposed by Reich while some seem to be nice additions to the basic frame which Reich outlined. As an aside, one of the things I really love about Reich was that he was continually updating and introducing and integrating new information into his theory even as he maintained the essential elements, central common functioning principles, present in the earliest of his work.  So now we have a lot of new understandings coming from the field of somatic psychology, some of which augment some of the principles that Reich first elucidated.

So now I will briefly introduce what somatic psychology is. Some of what I will say was inspired by a course I have been teaching for a number of years at Lewis and Clark College entitled “Somatic psychology and the art of body-mind psychotherapy”. This is a course for master’s level students in counseling psychology. They come to the course because of their interest in their bodies, their interest in working with trauma, their personal meditation experiences, their work with yoga, their work with movement. They come to this course saying “we don’t hear about this anywhere else in the program, why not?” or “how is this in any way relevant to the field of psychology?”  After this short introductory course to somatic psychology I often hear said “this course has been central in organizing my understanding of psychology, my work, and where I want to move in my life.”  How does this come about?  I believe in part it is in the organization of the course, in the inclusion of experiential exercises that students follow during the week, in a similar way to what Hefferline did with his class when he was teaching gestalt therapy,  that allows this course to be such a profound experience for the participants. Each week students write down in a weekly journal their reactions to these experiential exercises, and then in class, as a group they share their reactions.  Through a combination of personal experience, sharing of their experience, and witnessing of their fellow students’ experiences, in a short time they make contact with more of what is happening in their organism, and they begin to feel major shifts in their understanding of themselves, their emotions, and their experience of themselves and their directions. So in introducing somatic psychology to you today a missing element here will the lack of experiential exercises that allow for one to make contact with the central ideas in somatic psychology as not just as ideas but as ideas grounded in experience and emotion and feeling.  A grounding that is necessary for an understanding of what somatic psychology is truly about. For in somatic psychology there is often the use of the term embodiment, and what that means is the localizing of experience and feeling and sensation and knowledge in one somatic core. These exercises provide a ground for such localization to occur.

Now to define the field of somatic psychology let me back to Wikipedia where it states that:

“Somatic psychology is an interdisciplinary field involving the study of the body, somatic experience, and the embodied self, including therapeutic and holistic approaches to body. The word somatic comes from the ancient Greek root somat (body). The word psychology comes from the ancient Greek psyche (breath, soul hence mind) and -logia (study). Body Psychotherapy is a general branch of this subject.”

Now another way of putting this is that the field of somatic psychology focuses on the complex relationship between our bodies and our minds. Now I want you to notice the language. This language doesn’t totally go along with what Reich was proposing with orgonomic functionalism. For we see that in this language our bodies and our minds are already framed as split. So somatic psychology attempts to bridge that split but in their attempt they are still within it. In general the field of somatic psychology focuses on the complex relationship between our bodies and the many ways that our bodies provide clues to our psychological histories, the emotional responses, and interpersonal relationships. Now that is directly what Reich was talking about. Remember that Reich felt that our history was in our bodies, a history we could see. We could see our character, our defensive structure, and how it molds the way in which we interface with the world and the way we regulate our emotions. Somatic psychology, drawn from Reich, focuses on this relationship.

Now I will give you another quote, and this is from the website of Meridian University, one of the universities that has a somatic psychology graduate studies program.

“As an emerging specialization within clinical psychology, somatic psychology focuses on how embodied experience serves as an important but often neglected source of knowledge and insight into psychological concerns and interpersonal issues.”

So again here we have that same theme stated. Now I will give one more quote which will further demonstrate the breadth of somatic psychology. This one from the website of JFK University.

“From a somatic perspective, life experiences are embodied experiences; breath styles, movement patterns, musculature tensions, cognitive style, emotional expression, and relational patterns are shaped by and express past and present whole-body experiences.”

Coming back to what I do with my classes, I have students get a sense of how crucial it is to understand that all experience is influenced by that what occurs in our body. We may not be aware that our body is in the background. We often don’t know that. In the language of gestalt therapy, it is not figural, it’s not in the forefront. It’s in the background but it’s continually shaping our experience though most of us are not in contact with that. Life experiences are embodied experiences, influenced by and influencing how we breathe and our emotional expression. Every emotion compasses a particular bodily expression and how we breathe shapes our emotions, influences our feelings which then further influence our body. It’s all than one and the same. Cognitive style, emotional expression, relationship patterns – thoughts, feelings, and actions – are shaped by and express our past and present whole body experiences.

(continuing the quote from the JFK website)

“Somatic Psychology incorporates the body into its psychological investigations, considering bodily states of consciousness, postures and gestures, muscular patterns, chronic contractions and tensions, movement range and shapes, ways of breathing, skin and color tones, somatic habits, energetic qualities, use of space, and body pulsations and rhythms as a potential part of the therapy process.”

Now clearly as I read these quotes I imagine that those of you who are familiar with Reich’s work would say that these are all points that Reich has already elaborated upon. And this is the case.

Now let me just briefly do a little exercise with you that I give in my classes to give you a sense of how I try to introduce my class an understanding of the relationship between physical movement, sensation, cognition, and the feeling of emotion, and what it means when we say embodied experience.  Let’s give it a run, give it a try, and see what happens.

So what I like you to do as you’re sitting there is to just imagine a pleasant experience. Just allow yourself just for a moment to imagine a pleasant experience, I’m just going to give you a second for you to anchor that.  That’s a phrase used now, anchor that; everybody got that? As you’re imagining that pleasant experience I am going to ask you to breath in and open up your eyes wide. Breathe in and hold it with eyes wide open, hold it.  Then as you exhale and I would like you to relax your eye and make a little smile. Ok? Ok so go back to your imagined experience, bring it here, and see if you can re-enter that place. Now while you’re in that place, inhale open your eyes wide, keep holding onto that imagined experience… Now exhale lower your eyes make a little smile holding onto that imagined experience. Ok we just went through one round. What did you notice?

Student’s reply: the smile felt forced
Dr. Schiff: What happened with your imagined experience?
Student’s reply: it stayed.
Dr. Schiff: Anybody else? What did you notice?
Student: I had a hard time holding the breath that long. I wanted to exhale.    
Dr. Schiff: Ok and what happened with the imagined experience?
Student: It went away.
Student: I could feel the breathing change and felt relaxation.
Dr. Schiff: When you inhaled or exhaled?
Student: Exhaled.
Dr. Schiff: What happened with the imagined experience?
Student: It stayed there actually. I remembered more of it.
Dr. Schiff: From the inhalation or exhalation?
Student: I don’t remember. 
Dr. Schiff: So in asking these questions I’m modeling what they do a little bit in somatic psychology and what Reich did when he helped his patients focus upon their somatic experiences. Ok somebody else…
(no other responses)

Ok. So one of the things that you can hear is that people experience different things, it’s not uniform. Secondly, there is a relationship between very brief changes in one’s facial expression and breathing and one’s feelings.  For students in my class sometimes this insight is a great “aha” moment. A great “aha” that altering one’s breathing and bodily expression can change or effect so much.  So it’s through these kinds of in-class exercises and others that we begin to introduce to students something that somatic psychology does on a regular basis in its psychotherapeutic approach. What it introduces is how physical experience, heightened physical experience and breathing, influences our emotions, our feelings, our sensations, our cognitions. When many people come in for therapy they’re not aware of that, in fact the introduction of this is new to even therapists.  They’re not aware of it either. So what’s been happening in the body psychotherapy movement, which is part of somatic psychology, is an attempt to bring more and more of these somatic elements into therapy sessions. Now as many of you know, this is not anything new for students of Reich, but it is now beginning to be incorporated in non Reichian based therapies in much more direct way.

Let me generally describe what happens in somatic psychotherapy. Lets say a person comes in to therapy and they’re talking about a certain kind of feeling.   The focus in the session toward the client’s somatic experience then might heightened.  The therapist might ask questions such as, ‘ok as you say that what do you notice in your body?  What do you notice physically in the manner by which you are now speaking to me? If you take a breath right now what happens? Can you feel emotion as you’re speaking?  Where do you feel that emotion in your physical self?  If a client is talking and saying ‘I’m really excited about that’ while at the same time shrugging his or her shoulders, the therapist might say ‘can you pay attention to that shrugging of your shoulders and begin to feel that?  So while describing this process to you, based upon your knowledge of Reich’s work, you probably can see that there are certain central elements of his character analytic – vegetotherapeutic approach that are incorporated into current body psycho-therapeutic approaches, elements that help a person to begin to focus on their somatic experience and in focusing on their somatic experience become more in contact with themselves, their emotional experience, and their relationship with themselves and others.

So I’ll just read you a few more quotes describing somatic psychology.  This is from the website of Meridian University speaking to those people who are looking for graduate programs in somatic psychology.

“Somatic psychotherapists incorporate a skillful attention to breath, gesture, muscle tone, and sensation into the process of psychotherapy.”
The process of helping a client attend to their experience of muscular tension or sensations is similar to very brief interchange I had with you concerning your experience in exercise we did here.  Asking you to notice your experience.

(continuing with quotation)

“By attending to the nonverbal felt experience of the client,” this is another key word – ‘felt experience’ – “ somatic psychotherapists help clients to “get in touch” with important psychological or emotional material that had previously been inaccessible through words alone.”

Here again we see the influence of Reich, who introduced the idea that words alone cannot truly touch our affect.  When we make contact with our affect, our emotions, through our somatic experience then our affect becomes amplified and we begin to have better contact with it.

Central to somatic practice is the emphasis upon focusing on embodied experience in the present moment.  This is another teaching in somatic psychology that came directly from Reich. In therapy the client and therapist focus on what happens, what the client experiences in the present moment.  It could be between the client and therapist as they sit together.  It could be between the client and some other in his world contacted in the session through active imagination. The therapist might ask, “as you’re talking about this what do you feel right at this moment? Or “as you imagine your discussion with that person, what were you experiencing?” Again from Meridian University:

“Focusing on the embodied experience in the present moment also allows somatic psychotherapists to facilitate the expression and integration of material that addresses all aspects of the problem or issues. Aspects that have been embedded in the nervous system, muscle tissue, movement patterns and bodily habits.”

Here again we come back to the central idea that our experience is embedded in our soma, in our totality, which becomes available to us as we begin to attend, as we begin to make it our focus. Through active concentration, something Reich introduced so many years ago, comes a wealth of potential knowledge, a wealth of information that has been cut off from us. This wealth of information allows us then to have more contact of who we are in the world, what we are doing in our relationships, and with the connection between past and present experience.

So briefly that’s the field somatic psychology in a very tiny nutshell. It is highly integrated and comes from many, many different sources.  What we’re going to do today is to look some of Reich’s work and attempt to show what aspects of the field of somatic psychology developed from Reich’s work, which of his ideas were incorporated in somatic psychology, how the field progressed in different routes then did Orgonomy, and what benefit some of these different paths may have in advancing orgonomic science.

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Terrorism at Home: Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the book Reich speaks of Freud, Reich says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

III. Antithesis of the dissociated strivings.

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

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

Id = Defense and change of function
C = Armoring

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

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

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

Structure of armor resulting from interplay of dynamic forces.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wilhelm Reich – Founder of Orgone Therapy

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

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