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August 2007 Update
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The Trust's Busiest Year Ever
A Successful International Conference
2007 Conference Presenters
Archives of the Orgone Institute
2007 Conference - Transcript of Opening Remarks
Thanks to the Rangeley Community
THE TRUST'S BUSIEST YEAR EVER
We apologize for having gone so long without issuing our regular Updates. In fact, our last true Update was in April, with two one-page Updates on May 31 and July 10 that were simply "Conference Reminders," that also included information about last-minute changes.
The reason for this is because 2007 has, predictably, been the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust's busiest year ever, with all of our efforts and resources devoted to our recent:
WILHELM REICH IN THE 21st CENTURY:
2007 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ORGONOMY
Saddleback Mountain & Orgonon – Rangeley, Maine
July 29, 30, 31 – August 1, 2007
...and to our participation in:
THE WILHELM REICH EXHIBIT
Jewish Museum Vienna (Austria)
November 2007 – January 2008
...and to preparations involving access to:
THE ARCHIVES OF THE ORGONE INSTITUTE
(i.e. "THE WILHELM REICH ARCHIVES")
Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University
...and to pursuing a motion-picture "development deal" for:
A FEATURE FILM ABOUT WILHELM REICH
"SPARKS OF LIFE" - Screenplay by Kevin Hinchey
For more information, click here.
A SUCCESSFUL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Over 120 people--from across the United States and eight foreign countries--attended
"Wilhelm Reich in the 21st Century: 2007 International Conference on Orgonomy,"
comprising 19 presenters representing numerous organizations, affiliations, nationalities,
The Conference's formal sessions took place over three days at the beautiful new lodge
at Rangeley's Saddleback Mountain, while our more informal events--Museum and
property tours, social gatherings, and additional presentations--were held at Orgonon.
We've already been besieged with inquiries about whether we have any plans to make
available printed abstracts of presentations, printed versions of presentations, or DVDs
or audiotapes of these presentations. We deeply appreciate everyone's interest as
expressed in these inquiries, but regrettably we have no choice but to revisit these issues
at a later time.
Once the Conference was over, we immediately needed to shift focus back to our work
for the Wilhelm Reich Exhibit in Vienna, and even more importantly, to completing our
work involving The Archives of the Orgone Institute, i.e. finalizing Access Policies and Procedures for scholars and researchers, and assembling the Archives' Table of Contents.
A CONFERENCE OVERVIEW
Until such time as we post any Conference reports or comments, we think the following
items will help convey the scope of this event and the inspiring collection of knowledge
and talent that made this Conference such a success:
- 2007 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
- 2007 CONFERENCE PRESENTERS
- ARCHIVES OF THE ORGONE INSTITUTE
- 2007 CONFERENCE OPENING REMARKS
2007 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
SUNDAY – JULY 29, 2007
Reception & Cocktail Party
Orgonon (Conference Building)
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Music by New York jazz musicians Connie Crothers & Richard Tabnik
MONDAY – JULY 30, 2007
9:00 – 9:40 a.m.
"Welcome and Opening Remarks"
Mary Higgins & Kevin Hinchey
9:40 – 10:15 a.m.
"Vegetotherapy in Norway"
Rolf M. Løvvang, Ph.D.
10:25 – 11:00 a.m.
"Vegetotherapy, Psychosomatic Unity, and Psychiatry"
Conny Huthsteiner, M.D.
11:00 – 11:35 a.m.
"The Centrality of Pulsation and the Function of the Orgasm in Orgone Therapy: Our Roots in Nature"
Harry Lewis, M.A., M.S.W., ED.D
11:50 – 12:25 a.m.
"Bioenergetic Principles of Orgonotic Contact: Their Application to Medical and Social Orgonomy"
Peter Crist, M.D.
12:25 – 1:00 p.m.
"The Practice of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy in the Current Psychiatric Milieu"
Morton Herskowitz, D.O.
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Lunch at Saddleback
2:00 – 2:35 p.m.
"Applications of Reich's Legacy in Midwifing & Nursing"
Renata Reich Moise, M.S.N.
2:35 – 3:10 p.m.
"Orgone Therapy and Children"
Dale Rosin, D.O.
3:10 – 3:30 p.m.
Excerpts from film Right From the Start, with commentary
Peter Crist, M.D.
3:45 – 5:15 p.m.
Panel Members: Crist, Herskowitz, Huthsteiner, Lewis, Løvvang, Moise, Rosin
Moderator: Philip Bennett, Ph.D.
Orgonon (Orgone Energy Observatory)
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The Orgone Energy Observatory was open for special tours by Mary Higgins and Kevin Hinchey.
This allowed people to visit the Observatory before and after dinner. There were also special tours given on Wednesday afternoon.
TUESDAY – JULY 31, 2007
9:00 – 9:10 a.m.
9:10 – 9:55 a.m.
"The Troll Circle: The Social Construction of Wilhelm Reich as Pseudo-Scientist"
Håvard Nilsen, Ph.D.
9:55 – 10:40 a.m.
"The Place of Reich's Bion Experiments in the History of Biology and Medicine"
James Strick, Ph.D.
10:50 – 11:40 a.m.
"Modern Microscopy & the Reich Blood Tests: Switching from Revolutionary to Normal Science"
Stephen Nagy, M.D.
11:50 – 1:00 p.m.
"Scientific Research on the Orgone Energy Accumulator and on Reich's Concept of Biopathies"
Stefan Müschenich, M.D.
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Lunch at Saddleback
2:00 – 3:10 p.m.
"Orgonomic Medicine – Part 1: Two Cases of Graves Disease"
"Orgonomic Medicine – Part 2: A Preliminary Report"
Alberto Foglia, M.D.
3:10 – 3:40 p.m.
"Some Notes on the Reich Blood Tests"
"A Report on Workshops in Orgone Biophysics"
Peter Crist, M.D.
3:50 – 5:15 p.m.
Panel Members: Crist, Foglia, Müschenich, Nagy, Nilsen, Strick
Moderator: Philip Bennett, Ph.D.
Orgonon (Conference Building)
8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
This evening's lectures are optional--i.e. additional presentations to the Conference's daily formal schedule
--to which all conference attendees, as well as their family and friends, are welcome to attend.
8:00 – 8:30 p.m.
"The Norwegian Press Campaign Against Reich"
8:30 – 9:00 p.m.
"Reich's 1954-55 Weather-Engineering Expedition to Arizona and California"
Conny Huthsteiner, M.D.
9:00 – 9:30 p.m.
"Wilhelm Reich's Concepts of Work Democracy"
Philip Bennett, Ph.D.
WEDNESDAY – AUGUST 1, 2007
9:00 – 9:10 a.m.
9:10 – 10:00 a.m.
"Contemporary Applications of the Reich C.O.R.E. Methods for Drought Abatement and Desert-Greening: (1977-2007)"
James DeMeo, Ph.D.
10:15 – 11:35 a.m.
3 PRESENTATIONS & PANEL DISCUSSION
"Orgonomy and Agriculture: Energetic Quality of Fertile Soil and Fresh Food"
Joseph Heckman, Ph.D.
"A View From the Outside: Considerations for Getting Reich's Medical Therapies to Patients"
Ron Maio, D.O., M.S.
"Orgonomic Research: Overcoming Obstacles"
James DeMeo, Ph.D.
Panel Members: Heckman, Maio, DeMeo
Moderator: Philip Bennett, Ph.D.
11:45 – 12:45 p.m.
"The Archives of the Orgone Institute"
Mary Higgins & Kevin Hinchey
2:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Tours of the Orgone Energy Observatory and the Orgonon property, including Reich's two cabins, Reich's cloudbusters, Dodge Pond, and nature trails.
6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
COOK-OUT: Choice of steak, chicken, lobster, vegan
Music featuring jazz musicians: Conny Crothers & Richard Tabnik, and Andy Kahn
2007 CONFERENCE PRESENTERS
PHILIP BENNETT, PH.D.
Dr. Bennett has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from New York University. While attending graduate school, he was in therapy with one of the original group trained by Dr. Reich. He currently teaches part-time in the Graduate School of Education at Fairfield University, devoting the rest of his time to gardening and studying and writing about Reich's thinking. His current project
is an article entitled "The Concept of Work Democracy in the Writings of Wilhelm Reich."
In it, Bennett focuses on the six articles on work democracy that Reich wrote between 1938
and 1944, and the themes about this topic revealed in Reich's explicit definitions of the phrase.
PETER CRIST, M.D.
Dr. Crist has had a love of science and a curiosity about what goes on between people from as early as he can remember. As a college freshman biology student he first became acquainted
with Wilhelm Reich and orgonomy, which led him to eventually becoming a medical orgonomist. He has been on the faculty of the American College of Orgonomy training program for medical orgonomists since 1982, and has been president of the ACO from 1991 to 1998, and from 2003
to present. He is also chairman of the ACO's "Social Orgonomy Committee." Board-certified
in internal medicine, psychiatry and medical orgonomy, Dr. Crist treats adults, children, couples
and families in his private practice in Stockton, New Jersey.
JAMES DEMEO, PH.D.
Dr. DeMeo formally studied the earth, atmospheric, and environmental/social sciences at Florida International University and the University of Kansas, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1986. At University of Kansas, his research focused specifically upon Wilhelm Reich's controversial discoveries, in particular those involving use of the cloudbuster. DeMeo has undertaken field research in the arid American Southwest, Egypt, Israel, sub-Saharan Eritrea, and Namibia, Africa. DeMeo served on the Faculty of Geography at Illinois State University and the University of Miami, is a former Research Associate of the American College of Orgonomy,
and is on the Advisory Board for the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) and the Natural Philosophy Alliance (NPA). He founded the Orgone Biophysical Research Lab and Greenspring Center in rural Ashland, Oregon, holding
the post of Director since 1978.
ALBERTO FOGLIA, M.D.
A medical doctor since 1980, Dr. Foglia previously worked in internal medicine, family practice,
and surgery. He received his Swiss Board Certification in Psychiatry in 1987. From 1987-1989
he worked closely with the American College of Orgonomy, and since 2006 has served as
Clinical Associate of the ACO. He served as Fellow and Chief in a private psychiatric hospital
in Switzerland from 1989 to 2002, while simultaneously in private practice as an orgone therapist. Since 2002 he has run an orgone therapy practice. And in 1999 he began treatment of somatic diseases using the orgone energy accumulator and the medical DOR-buster.
JOSEPH HECKMAN, PH.D.
Dr. Heckman is a Professor of Soil Science at Rutgers University where he teaches courses in Soil Fertility and Organic Crop Production. As a Soil Fertility Specialist, he conducts research and extension programs focusing on soil fertility management of agronomic and horticultural crops with the goal of optimizing nutrition and soil quality in support of plant, animal, and human health.
MORTON HERSKOWITZ, D.O.
Dr. Herskowitz trained with Wilhelm Reich in the 1940s and 1950s, and has been a practicing orgone therapist since then. He is President of the Institute for Orgonomic Science (I.O.S.)
in Philadelphia, and the author of Emotional Armoring: An Introduction to Psychiatric
MARY BOYD HIGGINS & KEVIN HINCHEY
Mary Higgins and Kevin Hinchey are Board Members of The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust,
and are Director and Associate Director, respectively, of The Wilhelm Reich Museum.
CONNY HUTHSTEINER, M.D.
Dr. Huthsteiner is a medical orgonomist in private practice and Vice-President of the Institute
for Orgonomic Science (I.O.S.). She has been an avid student of orgonomy since 1980 when
she had her first orgone therapy session while working as a jazz singer. Huthsteiner attended medical school at the University of Munich in Germany, and trained in psychiatry and
psychosomatic medicine in Germany, at the Mayo Clinic, and at Boston University. The
daughter of a psychiatrist, Huthsteiner was influenced as a child by A.S. Neill and Reich.
She is also interested in orgone physics, weather research, and medical applications, and
recently collaborated with Dr. Ron Maio on a proposal for clinical studies involving orgone energy blankets.
HARRY LEWIS, M.A., M.S.W., ED.D.
Dr. Lewis has been a practicing orgone therapist for the last 25 years. He trained and was associated with Victor M. Sobey, M.D. who had been a trainee of Wilhelm Reich from 1948
to 1957. Dr. Lewis has an active private practice in New York City, where he has also been
on the faculty of The New School for Social Research for the last 30 years. He holds a clinical degree in psychiatric social work from Fordham University and a doctorate in psychology and anthropology from Columbia University, Teachers College. He is co-founder with Dr. Daniel Schiff of The Institute for the Study of the Work of Wilhelm Reich, and has organized seminars and lectures and training in orgonomy for the last 20 years, in New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon.
ROLF M. LØVVANG, PH.D.
Dr. Løvvang graduated from the University of Bergen, is a specialist in clinical psychology,
and received his training in vegetotherapy from Bjorn Blumenthal. Together with John Ivar Johansson he founded the Psykologkontoret in Sentrum, Bergen. He is currently a member
of the Norwegian Institute of Vegetotherapy, and is actively involved with programs and preservation efforts at the Wilhelm Reich House in Oslo, Reich's former home.
RON MAIO, D.O., M.S.
Dr. Maio is Director of the Office of Human Research Compliance Review (OHRCR)
within the Department of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) at the
University of Michigan. He is also a Professor in the University of Michigan's Department
of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Maio and Dr. Conny Huthsteiner are currently designing an experimental clinical trial on the therapeutic use of orgone energy blankets on burns.
RENATA REICH MOISE, M.S.N.
Renata is the granddaughter of Wilhelm Reich, and the daughter of Eva Reich M.D. and
William Moise. Born two-and-a-half years after Reich's death, she was immersed from birth
in the immense tragedy of his imprisonment and death. Renata obtained a Masters Degree
in Nurse Midwifery from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, and currently practices at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, Maine. She is part of Maine Coast Women Care--a four-nurse midwife practice--performing water births, as well as all the other facets
of midwifery within the hospital. Renata has found Reich's legacy to be empowering in her life, and also immensely challenging to carry into the modern medical system. She is also a painter.
STEFAN MÜSCHENICH, M.D.
After graduating as a clinical psychologist at the University of Marburg, Germany, Dr.
Müschenich entered medical school became an M.D. 1995. For many years he worked
as a physician and scientist at the medical school teachings hospitals at the Universities
of Freiburg and Münster. After completing his specialization in psychiatry and psychotherapy
4 years ago, he started a private practice in Münster, Northwest Germany. Besides his
training as an orthodox psychologist, psychiatrist, and psycho-therapist, for the last
25 years Müschenich has been involved in all aspects of orgonomy, including bion
experiments and Reich Blood Tests.
STEPHEN S. NAGY, M.D.
Dr. Nagy became interested in Reich's work in 1969, and has had an interest in optical microscopy since that time. His photomicrographs have been recognized in the Nikon Small World International Photomicroscopy Competition and by the Olympus Bioscapes International Photomicroscopy Competition, and have consistently been in the top 50 images judged in the last three years. Nagy is a Board-certified Adult Psychiatrist and is a certifee in Addiction Medicine
by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. At various times he has been affiliated with the American College of Orgonomy, the Institute for Orgonomic Science, and the Orgone Biophysical Research Laboratory, but currently has no organizational ties. He practices medicine in Montana.
HÅVARD NILSEN, PH.D.
Dr. Nilsen is an historian and social scientist, educated at the Universities of Oslo, Strasbourg, and Cambridge. He is affiliated with a project group writing the History of the University of Oslo for the biocentary in 2011. Nilsen was a Research Fellow at the Department of History, University of Oslo (1999-2005). In 2000-01 he was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Nilsen has published articles in Norwegian and international journals, as well as several books. He has been at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation's book reviewer of
non-fiction, and worked as editor of non-fiction at Cappelen, one of Norway's biggest publishing houses. Today Nilsen is also editor at Res Publica, a publishing house and think tank.
DALE ROSIN, D.O.
Dr. Rosin did his residency in general psychiatry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry
of New Jersey/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ. He also did his fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the NJ/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Rosin is board certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and in medical orgonomy by the American College of Orgonomy in Princeton, NJ. He has been in private practice for 18 years, treating infants, children, adolescents and adults in Somerville, NJ and the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rosin says he loves treating infants, children and adolescents as well as adults, who are really just big children.
Haakon Sandoy is an accomplished motion picture director, producer, and screenwriter
in Norway, with feature film and documentary credits. He is also the President of the
Friends of the Wilhelm Reich House in Oslo, a support organization for the preservation
of what was Reich's home and laboratory in the 1930s.
JAMES STRICK, PH.D.
Dr. Strick is Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environment and Chair of
the Program in Science, Technology and Society, at Franklin and Marshall College. Originally trained in microbiology, and later in history of science, Dr. Strick has published extensively
on the history of ideas and experiments about the origin of life, including Sparks of Life: Darwinism and the Victorian Debates over Spontaneous Generation (Harvard, 2000) and,
with Steven Dick, The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology (Rutgers, 2004). He is also the editor of two six-volume collections of primary sources: Evolution and
the Spontaneous Generation Debate (Thoemmes, 2001) and The Origin of Life Debate: Molecules, Cells, and Generation (Thoemmes, 2004).
We are deeply grateful to all of these presenters, all of whom invested considerable time, effort, and personal expenditures--with no compensation whatsoever--to participate in
this 2007 International Conference on Orgonomy. Without them, this Conference would
not have been possible.. It was a pleasure and an honor to have worked together with
all of them.
ARCHIVES OF THE ORGONE INSTTUTE
Mary Higgins and Kevin Hinchey concluded the formal Conference presentations with a
discussion about the Archives of the Orgone Institute. Below are some key points:
- Prior to his imprisonment, Reich stored his Archives in two separate locations
in the Orgone Energy Observatory (now the Wilhelm Reich Museum): in a
photographic dark room on the first floor, and in a large closet off of Reich's
study and library on the second floor.
- On March 8, 1957--four days before he was taken to prison--Wilhelm Reich
signed his Last Will & Testament.
- In his Will, Reich stated that "...my study--including my library and
the Archives--shall be sealed right after my death by the proper legal
authorities, and no one shall be permitted to look into my papers until
my Trustee, hereinafter named, is duly appointed and qualified and takes
control and custody thereof."
- Reich went on to write that "I therefore direct my Trustee and his
successors that nothing whatsoever must be changed in any of the
documents and that they should be put away and stored for 50 years
to secure their safety from destruction and falsification by anyone
interested in the falsification and destruction of historical truth."
(See complete text of Reich's Will)
- Wilhelm Reich died on November 3, 1957 in the Federal Penitentiary
in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
- In early 1959, during her first visit to Orgonon, newly-appointed Trustee
Mary Boyd Higgins discovered that the Archives were gone, removed
illegally the previous year by Aurora Karrer, the last woman in Reich's life,
who transported the materials hundreds of miles away to the house that
she shared with her mother in Bethesda, Maryland.
- In 1960, a legal action by The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust against
Ms. Karrer resulted in the bulk of the Archives being turned over to
the Trust. Subsequent legal actions over the years to recover still
missing materials were unsuccessful.
- In 2007, the Trust took possession of additional archival materials that
Ms. Karrer had not returned in 1960.
- In the 1970s, publisher Roger Straus, of Farrar Straus & Giroux, contacted
Richard Wolfe--Chief Librarian of the "Rare Books and Special Collections"
at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University--to see if the
Library would be interested in adding Reich's Archives to its collections.
- In October 1973, The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust signed an agreement with
the Countway Library, whereby Reich's archival materials would be periodically
given to the Library over the years, to be stored in their Rare Books and Special Collections, with the Trust retaining all copyright title and publishing rights.
- Several years ago, the Countway's "Rare Books and Special Collections"
was renamed "The Center for the History of Medicine."
- The Archives of the Orgone Institute comprise 282 archive boxes--totaling
98 cubic feet of materials--which are stored in the temperature-controlled
environment of the Countway's "Center for the History of Medicine."
These Archives are one of the Countway's largest collections.
- The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust is currently finalizing its Access Processes
and Procedures, by which scholars and researchers will submit applications
to the Trust for access to the Archives.
- Holmes Hall is the Reading Room at the Countway's Center for the History
of Medicine, where archival materials will be brought out for scholars and
researchers to study. See: Holmes Hall Policies and Procedures.
2007 CONFERENCE – OPENING REMARKS
Monday – July 31, 2007
Fifty years ago, on March 22, 1957--two days before his 60th birthday--Wilhelm Reich was delivered to the Federal Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to serve a two-year sentence
for contempt-of-court. Reich had been convicted on May 7, 1956 of violating a 1954 Federal Decree of Injunction.
This Injunction had banned the interstate shipment of orgone energy accumulators by Reich himself or by The Wilhelm Reich Foundation. It banned from interstate commerce any
so-called labeling for these accumulators, which included any of Reich's literature containing any statements, representations, or suggestions that "the alleged orgone energy exists."
The Injunction ordered the recall and destruction of all orgone accumulators and their parts, which were owned or controlled by Reich or the Foundation. It ordered the destruction of specific published materials as labeling for the orgone accumulators including all issues of
The International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone-Research, The Annals of the Orgone Institute, and the Orgone Energy Bulletins.
The Injunction also cited the titles of ten hardcover books written by Reich, and ordered these books withheld from distribution until such time as all references to orgone energy were deleted.
By the time Reich entered prison in March of 1957, the directives of this Injunction had been carried out:
Boxes and boxes of these books burned by the United States government.
And to compound the enormity of this tragedy, fifty years ago this Fall--seven-and-a-half months after entering the Lewisburg Penitentiary--Wilhelm Reich died of heart-failure
on November 3, 1957 at the age of 60.
And so today--a half century later--the year 2007 carries with it a mix of emotions. It seems only fitting that it be a time of reflection, as well as anticipation...and a time of both sadness
And what we should certainly celebrate--as we begin today--is the friendship...generosity...
the spirit of cooperation...and the significant achievements of our Conference presenters.
All of whom responded--without any hesitation--when I asked for their help last year in putting together this Conference. All of whom are here voluntarily and without compensation, since none could be provided. All of whom have invested considerable time, personal expense, and effort to travel here from numerous European countries and from across the United States.
That these presenters have gathered here this week to share their experience, their research,
and their practical applications of Reich's legacy...that they are here with us to collectively strategize for more widespread applications of orgonomy in the future...is a rare opportunity
and a gift to all of us...for which we should all be deeply appreciative. And Mary Higgins
and I would like to thank all of our presenters for making this Conference possible.
Of equal cause for celebration are the rest of you, whose personal or professional interest in Reich's legacy is being manifested in a tangible and practical way this week by your support
for this Conference, and by what we hope will be your enthusiastic participation. That all
of you are here today--in the conveniently located, easy-to-reach Rangeley Lakes Region
of Maine--is the result of significant expenditures of your time, effort, and money. And to
you also, Mary and I are deeply grateful.
The year 2007 has long been the subject of considerable discussion, speculation, and expectation, and not solely because it commemorates the 50th year of Reich's death. But, rather, because of particular stipulations in Reich's Last Will and Testament, which he signed on March 8, 1957.
In the Will's opening paragraph, Reich wrote:
"I made the consideration of secure transmission to future generations of a
vast empire of scientific accomplishments the guide in my last disposition.
To my mind, the foremost task to be fulfilled was to safeguard the truth
about my life and work against distortion and slander after my death."
Later in the Will, in discussing his Archives--which, at the time, were stored in the Observatory at Orgonon--Reich directed that these Archives:
"...should be put away and stored for 50 years to secure their safety from
destruction and falsification by anyone interested in the falsification and
destruction of historical truth."
Yet now--a half-century later--in what some people like to call a "milestone" year, any anticipation and expectation about Reich's Archives and about the future of Reich's legacy
needs to be tempered with a dispassionate appraisal of how Reich's life and work are
commonly perceived today.
Which means that the implicit sadness of this so-called "milestone year" needs to be acknowledged...needs to be reflected upon...to remind us that much of the past is still with us...
to help us appreciate the formidable challenges to Reich's legacy in the 21st century...and to better understand the potential and promise of the practical applications of this rich legacy.
And so it's appropriate that we reflect on the sadness over the loss of this pioneering physician and scientist...over the silencing of this great mind 50 years ago...sadness over what else Reich might have achieved if had lived and worked un-encumbered even a few years longer. And what might have been in the past five decades...what, of Reich's legacy, might have taken root in some substantial way in this country in the past 50 years if not for Reich's incarceration and death...if not for the chilling effect of a government Complaint for Injunction that declared that "orgone energy is non-existent"...if not for the chilling effect of book banning and book burning in this democracy...if not for the very real fear of the knock on the door here in America and, with it, the fear of loss of profession and livelihood that haunted those who had worked with Reich...if not for the chilling effect of the American Medical, Psychiatric, and Psychoanalytic Associations in this country who cooperated with the Food and Drug Administration to discredit Reich...and who continually condemn, dismiss, and misrepresent his legacy.
And while no one should diminish the fact that we are here this week in a spirit of hope, optimism, and fellowship, let's not deceive ourselves and misconstrue our enthusiasm
and our hope for Reich's legacy as any indicator of any significant mainstream interest in his work. Beyond the confines of a relatively small, informal, loosely-knit global community interested in Reich...comprising perhaps several thousands of people...beyond this small number, the year 2007 is utterly meaningless.
Here in America, for example--Reich's adopted country--who and how many in academic, medical, psychiatric, psychoanalytic, and natural scientific circles know or care when
Wilhelm Reich died...know or care that his books, research journals and bulletins were
burned in this country in the 1950s?
Who among them cares or has ever thought about the lost opportunities of Reich's legacy...
of what might have been in the past five-decades here in America?
And who and how many in these professional communities have actually read and studied
any of the over 7000 pages of Reich's writings and publications that are publicly available
today...including 21 hardcover books...plus reprints of Reich's research journals, bulletins,
and other materials?
So who and how many in these professional circles could possibly know or care about
282 archive-boxes of additional primary materials at the Countway Library of Medicine
at Harvard University?
And what of this notion--that many people have--that it's simply a matter of time before these academic, medical. and scientific communities give serious consideration to Reich's legacy?
How can any of us simply believe that Reich will be vindicated by history without trying
to define--or at least imagine---exactly how and when and by whom this vindication might happen?
For example, where today in America--if anywhere--are the young biologists, chemists,
medical students, physicians and researchers who are reading primary materials by Reich,
And in what American medical school...medical program...research laboratory...or scientific curriculum...do we see any indication that Reich's work may some day be discussed, considered, tested and practiced... or that current applications of Reich's medical and scientific research--
some of which will be presented at this Conference--might also be given serious consideration?
And where today--if anywhere--are the young physicists who are reading:
And in what university physics curriculum or research program is there any indication that these texts may some day be read and discussed to understand orgone bio-physics?
In America certainly--as well as other countries--Reich's name has been kept alive largely
by those practicing orgone therapy. And today we'll be hearing from some of those people.
And this is certainly cause for celebration...that every day Reich's therapeutic methods are providing help for pain.
But where today, in America, are the young psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, therapists, and psychologists who are reading Reich's books, such as:
And how many of these people have ever listened to the hours of available CDs of Reich himself discussing therapeutic issues and technique with his orgone therapists?
The result of this litany of distortion, dismissal, and silence is a cumulative and corrosive portrayal of Reich and his legacy that is replicated and metastasized in books, newspapers,
magazines, professional journals, academic dissertations...on National Public Radio, on television, and in film...and now, on countless websites across the Internet, the premier
source of information today and for all future generations...
A cumulative and corrosive portrayal of Reich as pseudo-scientist and medical charlatan...
of the discovery of orgone energy as fantasy and fraud...of over two decades of Reich's laboratory research and scientific field-work as unworthy of serious attention...and of the
orgone accumulator as an object of ridicule that Reich was promoting as a sexual device
and as a cure for cancer.
None of which is true...but all of which has produced enduring and measurable consequences.
- In America, major funding sources for medical and scientific research completely dismissive of anything to do with orgone research...
- In America, among college academics in the natural sciences, there is reticence--and even fear--of including or mentioning Reich's scientific work in their curricula...
- In today's publishing world in America, little interest in Reich's unpublished manuscripts...
- And in terms of The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust and the Museum, major funding
sources for historic preservation, archival preservation, educational programs,
and capital endowments uninterested in anything to do with Reich's legacy.
All of which begs the obvious question, "Where in this dispassionate appraisal of how Reich
is commonly perceived...where might we find reasonable cause for sustainable hope for the future?".
To which I would suggest that perhaps we can find some hope in the realization that what happened to Reich in his lifetime is not unusual at all...that although Reich's legacy itself is remarkable--and perhaps unparalleled in its breadth and dimension--what happened to Reich himself is nothing more than another tragic example of one of history's most frequent themes: the pioneer and the innovator, misunderstand and maligned in his own lifetime.
And the truth is, given the scope and the vast implications of Reich's work...given the patterns of human behavior and human history across the centuries...had Reich's work been embraced and accepted in his time, that would have been an historic anomaly.
Which is not to lessen the tragedy of Reich's fate or mitigate our outrage, but merely to place Reich's life and legacy into a more useful and accessible context that more people might
understand. After all, history is replete with countless examples of pioneers in science and medicine, in politics and social thought, in arts and industry, and other disciplines who have
been scorned in their lifetime...and subsequently vindicated by history.
And by vindicate, we mean "to clear, as from an accusation or suspicion"...or "to uphold or justify by argument or evidence."
And it's precisely in this common, well-documented theme of vindication by history that we can find great hope for Reich's legacy...as long as we don't place that hope in some impersonal
and inevitable forces of history...but, rather, by constantly trying to define exactly how and
by whom this vindication might happen...and by defining what might be specific, concrete evidence of vindication.
- Significant funding sources for medicine, scientific research, and historic and
archival preservation supporting projects involving Reich's legacy...
- The experimental use of Reich Blood Tests, the orgone accumulator, and the
DORbuster here in America, as acceptable alternatives to traditional medicine...
- And conferences about various aspects of Reich's legacy that might routinely
attract hundreds of people.
But what is disheartening and counterproductive is that for decades, in the minds of many people, the primary instrument for this vindication--if not the sole instrument--are
Wilhelm Reich's Archives.
We know factually from countless e-mails to us...from Internet postings and websites we've read...and from personal conversations...that many people honestly expect that somewhere in
Reich's Archives is a specific statement, paper, report, document or file...a particular set of equations or formulas...which, when brought out into the light of the 21st century, will be the equivalent of a scientific slam-dunk...at which time the medical and scientific worlds will
have no choice but to admit that they were wrong about Wilhelm Reich.
These are unrealistic expectations, bordering on the mystical, which confer undue burdens upon what is a truly unique and important collection, comprising a total of 98 cubic-feet of materials, contained within 282 archive boxes. Furthermore, this longstanding, inordinate focus on materials that have not been accessible ignores and diminishes the existence and value of over 7000 pages of Reich's publications that are publicly available today to anyone who cares to
In 1954, in his written Response to the Judge--explaining why he would not appear in court
to answer the original Complaint for Injunction--Reich wrote:
"If painstakingly elaborated and published scientific findings over a period
of 30 years could not convince this administration or will not be able to
convince any other social administration of the true nature of the discovery
of the Life Energy, no litigation in any court anywhere will ever help to do so."
To which we might add:
"If 7000 pages of publicly available primary resources have not convinced
the American medical and scientific communities of the true nature of the
discovery of orgone energy, it is unlikely that anything in the Archives--
in and of itself--is immediately going to do so."
Vindication by history will not be that simple. And this is not to lessen the genuine excitement and hope that we should be feeling about what are significant contributions and new knowledge in Reich's Archives.
But because these Archives are part of a broader context of currently available resources,
any expectation or intellectually honest appreciation of these Archives requires significant understanding of these other primary materials.
In fact, each of us--without exception--might do well this year to revisit these primary materials...to read...re-read...and reflect...to refresh ourselves with what is available in
Reich's books, journals and bulletins. Because if we're not reading primary resources
written by Reich, how can we expect others to do so?
Orgonon, too, is a primary resource, for which we've designed ample time this week for
you to visit. More than any other place where Reich lived and worked--Vienna, Berlin, Copenhagen, Malmo, Oslo, and Forest Hills, New York--Orgonon in Rangeley, Maine embodies Reich's natural scientific legacy of orgone energy research.
It was at Orgonon where Reich investigated the laws, properties, and all manner of practical applications of atmospheric orgone energy...and where, in September 1949, construction on
the Orgone Energy Observatory was completed at a cost of $42,000--approximately $350,000
in today's currency.
Three months later--in December 1949--the Wilhelm Reich Foundation was incorporated
here in the State of Maine. And the Foundation's Charter itself is a fascinating primary resource, as eloquent an expression of Reich's vision as the Orgone Energy Observatory itself. In this Charter, Reich said that the purpose of his Foundation was:
- "To conduct research and teaching in cosmic orgone energy (orgone physics,
orgone biophysics), and natural science generally...its medical, technical,
other and all future applications...
- "To establish, operate, and maintain observatories for scientific purposes...
- "To establish, operate, and maintain clinics and hospitals for orgonomic
medical research and medical orgone therapy...
- "To establish, operate and maintain bio-energetic research in agriculture...
- "To acquire and preserve the instruments, library, and archives of Wilhelm Reich...
- "To preserve the discoveries of Wilhelm Reich and secure them for posterity by the establishment of institutions of learning, maintenance of museums, or otherwise...
- "To publish any material concerning the discoveries and work of Wilhelm Reich,
and all future work of the corporation based on these discoveries."
Reading these words, can Reich's vision be any clearer? Can the missed opportunities of the
past 50 years be more pronounced? And can our future tasks be more precisely defined?
Conferences and anniversary events of all stripes are necessary and well-meaning occasions,
as they aspire to address and fulfill our human need for personal contact and fellowship and common cause. But 50 years after Reich's death, any commemoration of his life and legacy demands that we all aspire and commit to much more than simply that.
In 1997, for example, Wilhelm Reich's 100th birthday was deservedly marked and celebrated in numerous events here in America and throughout the world by organizations, affiliations, and individuals of significant practical accomplishment. And here in Rangeley, we've periodically marked and celebrated various anniversaries of The Wilhelm Reich Museum.
Yet the widespread silence...distortion...misrepresentation...and honest misunderstandings
persist a decade later...
Bearing this in mind, then, throughout this Conference I would ask us all to think about
the next thirty years...when the generations that immediately followed Reich's will be gone...and when the baby-boomer generation--comprising many of our presenters this week--when that generation will be vanishing. Because the approximate end of the next
thirty-years will coincide with two additional anniversaries of paramount importance in
So this week, we should all be asking ourselves: "Where--if anywhere--will Reich's medical and natural scientific legacy be significantly vindicated or understood by the year 2039... specifically January and February 2039?" which will mark the 100th anniversary of Reich's historic discovery of a specific biological energy in a specific microscopic culture in a specific laboratory in Oslo, Norway. A specific biological energy that he called "orgone."
And "Where--if anywhere--will Reich's medical and scientific legacy be vindicated by
the following year...specifically July 2040?"...the 100th anniversary of Reich's discovery of atmospheric orgone energy, here above one of the Rangeley Lakes...an energy that provided relief for pain...that could be accumulated and concentrated for the experimental treatment
and prevention of disease...an energy that could propel a motor...and that could be used responsibly, in the right hands, for weather experimentation.
What significant and intellectually honest appreciation--if any--of Reich's legacy will
there be in America on the occasion of those two monumental scientific anniversaries?
Or will the years 2039 and 2040 be occasions to sadly commemorate a medical and
scientific legacy that simply withered away and could not take root here in Reich's
adopted country, despite the true efforts and support of a small community of people?
And so, if this anniversary year of 2007 is truly to be a milestone year--as we all believe it should be--then let this be a milestone year for the appropriate reasons:
Not simply because we rightfully commemorate the 50th year of Reich's death...and certainly not because of any unrealistic expectations that have been unfairly imposed upon the Archives.
Let 2007 be a milestone year for these reasons:
That on the solemn occasion of the 50th year of Reich's death...and the hopeful occasion of
the opening of Reich's Archives to scholars and researchers...and the hopeful occasion of
this gathering...of this representation of a community of people touched and inspired by
...that in the true spirit of what Reich called "work democracy," we collectively commit to expanding our current efforts, programs, and practical applications of Reich's legacy.
But more importantly, that we here in the 21st century collectively resolve to devote whatever attention, strategies, and resources are necessary...and to marshal whatever collateral support
is required...to bring Reich's documented legacy of orgone energy research...together with today's living legacy of orgone research to the attention of the academic, medical, and
scientific communities in this country.
And this resolve needs to be foremost in our minds during all of this Conference's activities, presentations, and discussions.
And it's to these presentations and discussions that we now turn...
Board Member – The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
Associate Director – The Wilhelm Reich Museum
THANKS TO OUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS IN THE RANGELEY COMMUNITY
We extend our warmest thanks to the entire staff at Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley, Maine,
for their professionalism, hospitality, and attentiveness to detail. But our special thanks go
to Saddleback's JoAnne Taylor: from the moment we first announced our 2007 Conference
back in December 2005, JoAnne worked cheerfully and tirelessly to help us define our needs,
and to ensure that our needs were fulfilled. Thank you for everything, JoAnne.
We'd also like to thank Rick Godaire and Gene White of the Town of Rangeley for their
invaluable assistance...Tom Danforth for his advice and guidance...Steve Philbrick for his
support...the entire staff of the Rangeley Chamber of Commerce for directing our presenters
and attendees to the appropriate agencies and individuals for suitable lodging...and to all
of the businesses in Rangeley and Oquossoc for whom our Conference participants had
nothing but praise.
And thank you to our wonderful guides here at The Wilhelm Reich Museum, and to our
reliable network of local volunteers, for their extraordinary efforts during Conference week.
UNTIL NEXT MONTH
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