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wilhelm reich: lifeforce explorer
by Alex Burns (alex@disinfo.com) - December 20, 2000
Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) was a psychoanalyst and student of Sigmund Freud, who pioneered the study of the orgasm and human sexuality. In his pursuit of a mature society free from sexual neuroses, prostitution, venereal disease and perinatal violence, Reich championed birth control and sex education for adolescents. He considered genital sex culminating in orgasm as a peak experience.

But these impressive acheivements, which influenced the 1960s 'Sexual Revolution', have been overshadowed by Reich's 1956-57 battle with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who confiscated and burnt his books, leaving Reich to die in prison. Although this persecutory incident is well known, being regularly mentioned in First Amendment defences and brilliantly satirized by Robert Anton Wilson's play 'Wilhelm Reich In Hell' (1986), it was perhaps the inevitable outcome of Reich's professional career.

Always tough-minded, Reich extended Freud's 'abreactive theory' into new realms with his 'Peer Gynt' paper, which led to Reich joining the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in 1920. Reich argued that neurosis was a form of stasis, laying the groundwork for dynamic evolutionary psychology. His most important early writings were 'The Function of the Orgasm' (1927), which extended Freud's 'libido' human sexuality theory and revealed the formula of 'Tension, Charge, Discharge, Relaxation'; 'Character Analysis' (1933), which continued his 'Sex-Pol' sociological analyses and 'Character Armor' concept; and 'The Mass Psychology of Fascism' (1933), a brilliant angry polemic which exposed the 'group-think' and emotional personality engineering at the core of the Communist and Nazi parties (Reich was denounced vigorously in return and forced to flee to Denmark and Sweden, settling in Norway). Reich's book 'The Sexual Revolution' (1936) consolidated his early period. Genital gratification and the avoidance of compulsory sex-morality was touted as the key to avoiding a pathological society (influencing Anton LaVey and the early Church of Satan).

'The Bion' (1938) extended the scope of Reich's research from bodywork and the bioelectric nature of pleasure and anxiety to consider a vast cosmology and the origins of life. Reich claimed to have discovered 'Orgone' ('Lifeforce'), and explored the implications in 'Bion Experiments and the Cancer Problem' (1939), which led to attacks by University of Oslo scientists. Reich fled to America, discovering Orgone in the atmosphere in 1940 and linking the energy to Geiger counters in 1947. Over the next decade, Reich would clinically train psychiatric orgone therapists and edit journals, publishing 'The Murder of Christ' (1946), 'The Cancer Biopathy' (1948), 'Ether, God and Devil' (1951), 'Cosmic Superimposition'(1951), 'People In Trouble' (1953) and 'Contact With Space' (1957). He conducted research into eye-segments and epilepsy/schizophrenia (possibly foreseeing 'Eye Movement Desensitization and Re-processing' therapy).

On January 1st 1951, Reich performed a now notorious experiment called 'Oranur' ('Orgone Anti-Nuclear') in which he discovered 'Deadly Orgone Radiation' (DOR). Some critics trace his misunderstood martyr and longterm emotional sickness from this period. In 1952 and 1953 Reich experimented with weather control and cloudbusting, and developed a keen interest in the UFO phenomena.

Reich's Orgone Energy Accumulator device was central to the FDA, who objected in 1955 to the sale on the grounds that there was no scientific evidence that it worked. Reich fought the conspiracy charges, but was imprisoned and died on November 3, 1957, one week before his scheduled release. This tragic end-game epitomised Cold-War paranoia, sealing Reich's reputation as an 'Outsider' too dangerous for the scientific and allopathic medical establishment.

Despite disinformation, Reich's work has seeped into contemporary culture and Humanistic psychotherapies, and influenced Colin Wilson, William S. Burroughs and Robert Anton Wilson.

more information  

Wilhelm Reich: 1897-1957
L.J. Hurst has posted several photos of 'Orgonon', Wilhelm Reich's home and research facilities, and current site of the Wilhelm Reich Museum.

The Magickian's Connoisseur Collectibles
An intriguing device . .caveat emptor!

Unusual Alternatives
Ordering details for orgone blankets.

A Wilhelm Reich quote in answer to Sigmund Freud.

Critical Evaluation of the Life Energy Research of Wilhelm Reich (Orgone Theory)
Bernhard Harrer offers a sober critical assessment of Reich's orgone research: "No sign of any specific life energy could be found . . .In more than a few places in his original papers, meauring flaws and experimenter effects clearly could be observed . . .No verified implications of a specific life energy could be detected in the biophysical findings of Dr. Wilhelm Reich."

Wilhelm Reich
Brief but well-researched Wilhelm Reich bio.

Character Armor: Wilhelm Reich
Brief definition of 'character armor', an element of Wilhelm Reich's character-analytic approach.

Reich, Wilhelm - Encarta Online Concise
This MSN 'Encarta' encyclopedia entry is interesting for what it *doesn't* say about Wilhelm Reich.

Wilhelm Reich and Orgone
'Mystical World Wide Web' offers a brief Wilhelm Reich bio and description of orgone.

The Last Words Of Wilhelm Reich
Mysterious Discordian parody of Wilhelm Reich's last thoughts.

Wilhelm Reich
Brief Wilhelm Reich bio with sections on published works, scientific experiments, personal life and controversies. Well laid out.

Wilhelm Reich and the American 'Justice' System
Brief article on the burning of Wilhelm Reich's books by the FDA within the context of First Amendment rights.

How To Build An Orgon-Accumulator
Plans for Wilhelm Reich's 'Orgone Accumulator', a legendary device featured in the writings of William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard and others.

Bioenergetic Analysis
Gerald Peck's brief essay examines Reich's bio-energetic models within the wider context of the alternative health movement.

Optimum Life Force
Site for an Orgone/Pulse therapist. An indication of how Wilhelm Reich's perspectives have been integrated into the alternative health movement.

Wilhelm Reich
A personal reflective essay on Wilhelm Reich's legacy: "The books of Wilhelm Reich gave me the best answers on all my questions. He was one of the great scientists and thinker of this century."

Wilhelm and Peter Reich
Brief Wilhelm Reich bio with reference to his influence on music and popular culture.

Wilhelm Reich
Brief Wilhelm Reich essay in Swedish.

Nümbrechter Geschichte in Bildern
Contact details and photos of orgone researcher Joachim Trettin.

I Still Dream Of Orgonon
Features a very extensive bibliography of Wilhelm Reich's writings and contemporary institutions.

Orgone Energy Accumulators
Details on natural energy accumulators designed by Wilhelm Reich, including ordering information.

Ezequiel Gonzalez provides a collection of links and contact information for contemporary Orgonomy institutions.

The New Age
Brief bio and nice animation: "In the United States, Dr Reich made the epochal observation of this same living energy in the atmosphere and then as the motive force of UFOs in his milestone work: "Contact Wtih Space" (1957, Core Pilot Press)."

Public Orgonomic Research Exchange
Open collection of resources, articles and research papers on Orgonomy. The 'Orgonomy Mailing List' is defunct, but the research on cloudbusting, bions, work democracy and other relevant subjects is interesting. PORE and Jamerling Ogg have been accused of spreading disinformation and distorting Reich'd doctrines. Read critically but thoughtfully.

The Wilhelm Reich Museum
Site offering a glimpse into 'Orgonon', the home and workplace of Wilhelm Reich located in Maine's Rangeley Lakes Region. Tour, photos of Reich's artwork and housekeeping cabins information is offered.

Wilhelm Reich In Hell: Excerpts
Introduction and brief excerpts regarding the Emotional Plague from Robert Anton Wilson's eye-opening play 'Wilhelm Reich In Hell'. One of the most incisive summaries of the psycho-pathological modern society available.

Orgone Forgone
B.A. Laska and 'LSR Projekts' have compiled a series of Wilhelm Reich-oriented research papers and articles in German.

Skeptical Inquirer Smears Reich (Again): A Rebuttal
Martin Gardner was one of the earliest and most vocal scientific skeptics who attacked Wilhelm Reich. Orgone Biophysical Research Laboratory's James DeMeo offers a rebuttal of Gardner's distortions and shows exactly what information has been left out of public debates.

G.I. Gurdjieff and Wilhelm Reich
An intriguing synthesis of Reich's bodywork with Gurdjieff's stark 'Work' and self-observation exercises. Is this a cure for the Emotional Plague?

Deutscher Orgon Services
Extensive German language Wilhelm Reich site, including information on Orgonomy; possible AIDS cures; forums; Orgone Accumulators;

Modern Love
Brief article in German exploring the influence of Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Reich on the 'Sexual Revolution'.

Penn Library: Wilhelm Reich Collection
Details of the Wilhelm Reich collection of personal and research papers available at Penn University's Center for Judaic Studies Library. Invaluable for serious researchers.

The Skeptic's Dictionary: Orgone
Critical definition of Reich's 'orgone' energy and feedback from Reichians. Typically sarcastic like some mainstream accounts: "If the government burned his books, Reich must have been on to something BIG!!!"

Last Will & Testament of Wilhelm Reich
Wilhelm Reich's will helped establish Eva Reich as the successor and interpreter of his work. Interesting historical document offers insights for the careful researcher into Reich's longterm agendas and state of mind.

Wholistic Energy Re-structuring
A unique and dynamic synthesis of the psychotherapeutic work and systems perspectives of Nikolas Tesla and Wilhelm Reich.

The Historical Roots of Gestalt Therapy Theory
Rosemarie Wulf's insightful essay explores the influence of Wilhelm Reich upon Fritz Perls and Gestalt Therapy.

A leading manufacturer of orgone-related equipment.

An example of innovative new therapies utising Reichian techniques and methodologies.

General Chronology of Events
This chronology from the 'Trufax' team puts Wilhelm Reich's struggles with authoritarian governments into a wider Cold War geo-political perspective.

The Astrophysics of Wilhelm Reich
Intriguing essay that explores the similarities between Wilhelm Reich's elaborate cosmology and the theories of Immanuel Velikovsky.

A new variation on Wilhelm Reich's Orgonomy: "Rafi Rosen extensively studied Orgonomy or the Orgon-theory of Wilhelm Reich. He discovered that it is possible to sense this Orgon or life energy directly. Rafi noticed that people's eyelids blink to the slightest energy variations. Then, he utilised this sensitivity in order to detect if a place/area or a body part has life energy."

Living Energy Systems
Vibrational technologies developed to harness Wilhelm Reich's orgone energies. Also suggestive of a link to Alchemy and Feng Shui.

Correa/Reich Affair
Offers an insight into just one recent incident of in-fighting and position jockeying within the Orgonomy movement.

Body Armour
An excellent historical essay on Wilhelm Reich's concept of Body Armour and his break with Sigmund Freud.

PSPB Perspective On Wilhelm Reich
Informative 1997 speech by Alberto Pesso, a representative of Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor therapy: "Whenever I read and re-read Reich's thought and theories (as I did in preparation for this conference) I am ever again impressed and moved by his dedication to the amelioration of human misery, which he saw as a consequence of the denial of true human nature."

Wilhelm Reich: An Introduction
Covers the exploits of conspiracy theorist Kenn Thomas on the pursuit of truth regarding Wilhelm Reich. Combines fun humour with facts not found elsewhere on Reich's cultural influences.

The Life and Work of Wilhelm Reich
Listing of books and films regarding Wilhelm Reich in an interesting overview of his career: "Even long after his death, his work has been subject to constant misinterpretation and defamation . . .But to this day, although large elements of his work have seeped, mostly uncredited, into various fields of science and culture, Reich as a historical figure has remained essentially an outsider."

Reichian and Process Styles of Work
'Process Work' and 'Reichian Work' are often confused as psychotherapy forms. In this essay, Nick Totton explains the difference with clarity and precision.

Philosophy Behind Integral Regression Therapy
Reich's Breathwork is combined with Regression techniques for powerful results. Therapist Roger Woolger explains the specifics.

Hathaway Alignment System
Wilhelm Reich's body therapy is often combined with yoga and breathwork. This site features information from the 'American Yoga Foundation' that is useful for background and theoretical contexts.

A site focusing on sacred sexuality with a Reichian perspective.

Institute of Biodynamic Psychology and Psychotherapy
This site offers further insights into the integration of Wilhelm Reich's psychotherapy and massage into contemporary frame-works.

The Human Energy Field in Relation to Science, Consciousness, and Health
Gloria Alvino has written a must-read essay exploring human energy fields and links to contemporary quantum physics and healing sciences. Very useful background for understanding Wilhelm Reich.

The Montauk Project and the Philadelphia Experiment
Explores links between Wilhelm Reich, the Montauk Project and the Philadelphia Experiment.

Wilhelm Reich and Orgone Energy
Brief Wilhelm Reich biography, picture, bibliography and selected writings. Useful for the beginning Seeker After Truth.

Naked Beneath Your Clothing
John Veltheim offers some provocative thoughts about body-hatred, the geneology of clothing, the healing power of nakedness in psycho-therapy and the body-image roots of self esteem and some addiction problems. A Reichian and Naturism perspective is clear throughout.

Depth Psychology: Freud, Unconscious Instincts and Motivational Conflicts
A collection of quotes from a variety of psychological schools and disciplines, useful for appreciating the context within which Wilhelm Reich worked.

Be Fruitful And Multiply: Divine Revelation & Human Sexuality
A paper on human sexuality written from a Christian Apologetics perspective which considers gender identity, homosexuality and other issues. Is this what Wilhelm Reich was fighting against?

The Good Ole' Guns and Drug War, Law 'n Order Madness Page !!
Basically a very detailed bibliography on psychological warfare; authoritarian institutions; social and individual engineering; propaganda and other topics. For those interested in Wilhelm Reich's writings, there is plenty of further invalauble material here for you to discover.

The American College of Orgonomy
The American College of Orgonomy (A.C.O.) is a non-profit educational and scientific organization devoted to setting and maintaining standards for work in the field of orgonomy. Medical orgone therapy has proven to be effective in the treatment of a wide range of emotional and physical illnesses, including asthma, hypertension, anxiety, depression, bipolar illness, and schizophrenia. Excellent information resource on applications of Reich's methodologies and research.

The Institute for Orgonomic Science and Orgonomy
Non-prophet organization founded in 1982 to clinically train psychiatric orgone therapists and offer seminars. The sections on Armoring in the training section are very useful introductory material. Regarded as more conservative in outlook than James DeMeo's PORE.

Orgone Biophysical Research Lab
This site includes the research papers of James DeMeo and describes the distortion of Reich's ideas by Jamerling Ogg of 'Public Orgonomic Research Exchange' (PORE) and other skeptics. DeMeo was an academic who founded his own private institute after ten years of harassment for his open study of Reichian phenomena.

Artes de Cura
Very informative Brazilian site focusing on the Healing Arts. You will see the influence of Wilhelm Reich in a new manner, after reading these very well researched articles.

Center For Orgonomic Studies
An extensive exploration of Orgonomy and Wilhelm Reich's influence on contemporary psychotherapy. Includes training programs, lectures, articles, resources and precise definitions.

Keely is regarded as a controversial researcher, but his site features informative free energy, alternative health and conspiracy related material, including articles on Wilhelm Reich.

One of France's most extensive Wilhelm Reich information sites, with many essays and articles.

Body Pleasures and the Origins of Violence
Neurophysiologist James W. Prescott considers the socio-cultural roots of Wilhelm Reich's Emotional Plague and Sex-Economy, and comes to some disturbing conclusions about our inherent capacities for violence.

Emotional Engineering: Hitler Youth
Some of Wilhelm Reich's finest work was on the Mass Psychology of Fascism and the emotional engineering of Hitler's Youth Corps. Eric Rentschler considers the evidence and adds his own research. Complex and detailed, but invaluable reading for the serious researcher.

International Psycho-historical Association
Although not strictly a Reichian, Lloyd deMause and the 'International Psychohistorical Association' have pioneered socio-cultural research into the effects of early childhood and birth trauma on wars, rumour panics and other phenomena. If you didn't believe that Reich's Emotional Plague existed, deMause's extensively annotated academic research will chillingly reveal just how prevalent it has always been.

Another Orgone Research Laboratory
A collection of experimental papers on aether, orgone, Tesla Coils and Geiger-Muller tubes. The essay regarding the 'Planetary Flow of Orgone' is particularly intriguing from a systems perspective.

Wilhelm Reich vs U.S.A
Court document details from Wilhelm Reich's battles with the FDA. For the serious researcher, this is a potential treasure trove of information awaiting further study.


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