June 2012 Update
The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
& The Wilhelm Reich Museum
We thank you for your continual interest and support. For newcomers to our e-mail Update list, none of the names on this list--nor the names of any Museum visitors, conference attendees or bookstore customers--are shared with any other individuals or organizations. If at any time you wish to be removed from this list, please let us know.
Our previous Update (from April 2012) as well as all previous updates, dating from March 2004, available online. You can access them through the Updates option at the top of this page or via the Quick Links along the left side of the page. These Updates (57 of them) provide the best contemporaneous accounts of the Trust's ongoing activities over the past six years.
Spring and Summer at Orgonon
Natural Science Program Summer Schedule
July 11th - Evening of Music at Orgonon
New Book Due Out in August
Foreign Publishing Activity
Future Publishing Plans
Next Book: Writings on the Orgone Accumulator
Reich's Legacy in Layman's Terms
A QUOTE FROM REICH
As he often did toward the end of the year, 45-year old Reich took stock of where he was
in this December 1942 diary entry:
I have only 30 or 40 years left for this work. With each new
step I have lost pupils and friends: from psychoanalysis to
character analysis, from character analysis to vegetotherapy,
from psychotherapy to biology to orgone therapy. There must
be a way for each step to retain its workers without my losing them. There must be a way to hold everything together."
Regrettably, Reich did not have 30 or 40 years left in which to work. He died 15 years later in a federal prison at the age of 60.
SPRING AND SUMMER AT ORGONON
After a cold and costly winter, spring came early to Rangeley, Maine. The ice was officially declared out of Rangeley Lake at 6:21 p.m. on April 16, one of the earliest ice-outs since 1880 when records began to be kept. (The earliest ice-outs were April 14 in 1921 and 1945; the latest ice-out dates were May 24, 1882 and May 22, 1972.)
By mid-April the loons had returned to the lakes and could be heard on Dodge Pond where our two rental cottages, Tamarack and Bunchberry, are located. Spring fishing started early, and during the second half of May temperatures climbed at times to nearly 80 degrees.
And at Orgonon we've been preparing for a typically busy summer:
- On Saturday, June 2, the first family of the season from the Adoptive and Foster Care Families of Maine (AFFM) arrived at Tamarack for a week’s vacation.
Since 1989, the Trust has made this cottage available at no cost to adoptive, foster and kinship children and their families who could not otherwise afford a summer camp experience as a family. This is our way of fulfilling Reich's wish in his
Last Will & Testament for this cottage to be used "as a summer home for children."
- On Sunday, July 1, the Wilhelm Reich Museum will open for the season. Summer hours in July and August are Wednesday to Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m., and Saturdays in September, 1:00-5:00 p.m. Admission is $6.00. Special
tours at other times throughout the year are by special arrangement for $100.
- Also on Sunday, July 1: our 9-week Natural Science Program--now in its 24th year--will begin. More information on this year's program schedule can be found below.
- During the week of July 9, a group of college academics will be at Orgonon
to complete work on the syllabus for a one-semester, 14-week college course about Wilhelm Reich. For more information, see our April 2012 Update.
- On Wednesday, July 11, an Evening of Music fundraiser for the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust will be held in our Conference Building. More information can be found further in this Update.
NATURAL SCIENCE PROGRAMS AT ORGONON:
SUNDAY AFTERNOONS IN JULY AND AUGUST
Inspired by Wilhelm Reich's interest in the natural environment, the Trust began its
Natural Science Program in 1989. Today this program provides year-round environmental, educational and recreational activities for all ages, free of charge to the general public.
Throughout the summer, naturalists and environmental educators use Orgonon’s 175 acre property of fields, forests, trails, wetlands and shore frontage on Dodge Pond--plus our sheltered Outdoor Classroom and Conference Building--to share their knowledge of
the Rangeley Lakes habitat.
During the other seasons, the Trust sponsors family-oriented workshops, community events, and outreach programs to local schools.
Here are the 2012 summer programs:
- July 1: Liking Lichens – with Christine Blais
- July 8 : Trees of Our Region – with Warren Balgooyen
- July 15: Mushrooming – with Michaeline Mulvey
- July 22: Environmental Concerns – with Warren Balgooyen
- July 29: To be announced
- August 5: Lynx vs. Bobcats – with Game Warden Scott Stevens
- August 12: Owls – with Jennifer Perry
- August 19: Why Save Seeds – with Rosalie Deri & Dave King
- August 26: To be announced
Program Time: 2:00-4:00 p.m., Sundays in July & August, rain or shine. Free of charge.
Meeting Place: Meet at the Outdoor Classroom of the Wilhelm Reich Museum. Drive past the white Office & Conference Building, take the right fork up the hill to museum parking.
Dress Appropriately: These nature programs include some hiking on Orgonon's trails. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and clothes appropriate for weather and bug conditions.
EVENING OF MUSIC AT ORGONON – WEDNESDAY, JULY 11th
"THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK"
A musical performance by pianist
Pianist Andy Kahn of Philadelphia--who performed at Orgonon's Evenings of Music
series in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011--returns for a solo performance to
benefit the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust.
Andy's repertoire features tunes written by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Harry Warren, Johnny Mercer, Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart, Irving Berlin and other American standard songwriters. With Be-Bop and Jazz taking their cues from their songs, Andy also plays some of his favorite jazz selections, lending his own improvisations.
Offering anecdotes about the composers and pointing out special elements of songs woven into our country's musical history, Andy lends a personal touch as he takes his audiences on a guided tour of America’s unique musical contribution to the arts, "Jazz and the Standard Song."
Time: 7:00 p.m. - Wednesday, July 11th
Place: Office & Conference Building at Orgonon - Dodge Pond Road, Rangeley
Contribution: $10.00 for adults and $3.00 for children 12 and under.
Refreshments will be served. Tickets are available at the Museum Office and Bookstore
at Orgonon, and at the Rangeley Chamber of Commerce in town. For more information,
call (207) 864-3443 or e-mail: email@example.com.
Andy Kahn has been a longtime friend and supporter of the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
in numerous ways, including providing the piano score for Man's Right to Know, our
28-minute biographical DVD about Wilhelm Reich. And we are always appreciative
of his generous donation of time and talents for the Trust's many needs and activities.
NEW BOOK DUE OUT IN AUGUST
August is the publishing date for Where's the Truth? - Letters and Journals, 1948-1957,
the fourth and final autobiographical volume comprising Reich's letters and journals.
The three preceding volumes are: Passion of Youth – An Autobiography, 1897-1922; Beyond Psychology – Letters and Journals, 1934-1939; and American Odyssey – Letters and Journals, 1940-1947. (There is no volume of Reich's journals from 1922 to 1934 since those materials were inexplicably missing from his archives after his death.)
Where's the Truth? starts eight months after a 1947 article in New Republic magazine entitled "The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich" incited an "investigation" of Reich's work by the Food and Drug Administration. The book ends with Reich's death in prison.
At some future date, we will share the details of the difficulties we faced in bringing
this book to fruition. These difficulties were the direct result of the commonplace distorted narratives of Reich that have influenced publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux
since the death of its founder and president, Roger Straus, in May 2004.
FOREIGN PUBLISHING ACTIVITY
In addition to finalizing the work on Where's the Truth?, the Trust has also been busy with two foreign publishing projects:
- We are working with a Greek publisher and with Farrar, Straus & Giroux on a new Greek edition of The Function of the Orgasm.
- We were contacted earlier this year by a German publisher who wants to issue a collection of the Zeitschrift für Politische Psychologie und Sexualökonomie, the journal that Reich published in Scandinavia from 1934 to 1938.
FUTURE PUBLISHING PLANS
Where's the Truth? isn't even out yet and people are already asking us about plans for publishing future books. Which often indicates a false assumption that when Reich died he left behind a stockpile of completed book manuscripts that the Trust can now simply dust off and send to the publisher.
While we appreciate the interest, we wish more people would read, re-read and study more of the over 7,000 pages of Reich's books, bulletins and journals that are currently available--and would use these materials as the basis for research and practical work--rather than focusing undue attention on some future book.
Reich's archives--98 cubic feet of materials in over 1,700 files contained in over
200 archive boxes at Harvard University's Countway Library of Medicine--are a rich resource of unpublished material for the serious researcher.
But no, there is no stockpile of completed book-length manuscripts ready for publication.
In fact, starting in 1960 with Selected Writings - An Introduction to Orgonomy, eight of the 23 titles issued through the partnership of the Trust and Farrar, Straus & Giroux were compilations of published and unpublished materials:
14 titles were re-issues of previously published books (asterisks denote the 10 titles which were banned in America in 1954 by Federal court order, then burned in 1956 and 1960):
And one book, Reich Speaks of Freud (1967), was created from a 1952 interview
Beyond Psychology (1994), American Odyssey (1999), and Where's the Truth? (2012) were the most difficult and time-consuming books to produce: each manuscript was painstakingly assembled from selected diary entries, letters and other materials located in dozens of different files at the Countway Library of Medicine.
As for future publishing plans--yes, we are already focused on our next book which
we announced in our October 2010 Update: a compilation of published and unpublished materials about the historic origin, chronological development, and applications of the orgone accumulator.
NEXT BOOK: SELECTED WRITINGS ABOUT THE ORIGIN, DEVELOPMENT AND USES OF THE ORGONE ACCUMULATOR
We can think of no more urgent task for our next book than to provide a comprehensive and factually accurate narrative about the most misunderstood, misrepresented and maligned aspect of Reich's work: his invention and uses of the orgone energy accumulator
as a scientific and medical research tool.
To this day, the orgone accumulator is still the focal point for distortions and ridicule
of Reich's work in books, book reviews, articles, on TV and film, and from major psychiatric, psychoanalytic and medical organizations.
And even among many favorably disposed to Reich, there seems to be insufficient understanding of Reich's research from February 1939 to October 1940 that culminated in the first full-size orgone accumulator for human use in autumn 1940.
Few people seem to be aware that the orgone accumulator is, in fact, a modified Faraday cage--a commonplace scientific apparatus--and that Reich's development of the orgone accumulator began with his observations and experiments using Faraday cages.
This book will comprise selections of published and unpublished materials from:
This book--like the college course syllabus and our documentary film storyline--will "connect the dots" from disparate primary materials to present a factual and coherent narrative that will be accessible to general audiences.
And like Beyond Psychology, American Odyssey and Where's the Truth?, this book will be years in the making.
INTRODUCING REICH’S LEGACY IN LAYMAN’S TERMS
Below is the text of a three-page Introduction to the documentary film storyline which we use when approaching people in film and finance who know little or nothing of Reich. We feel it is crucial to use layman’s terms to introduce Reich’s life and legacy to these people.
A DOCUMENTARY FILM ABOUT WILHELM REICH, M.D.
I. A Court-Ordered Bookburning in the United States of America
On August 23, 1956, six tons of books plus medical and scientific research journals—written and published by Austrian-born research physician and scientist Wilhelm Reich
—were removed from storage in New York City and burned in a municipal garbage incinerator by order of a United States federal court injunction.
On March 17, 1960, additional copies of these publications were burned in New York
by order of this same court injunction.
All of which raises the obvious question: “What was deemed so objectionable in these published materials as to ‘merit’ their actual destruction by order of a federal court?”
That is a question that is answered in our storyline for a full-length documentary film
about Wilhelm Reich, M.D. This film will chronicle the events of Reich’s life and work
that culminated in one of the most heinous examples of censorship in American history
and the death of this remarkable physician-scientist in a federal penitentiary in 1957.
II. The Importance of a Documentary Film About Wilhelm Reich, M.D.
In America, where Reich emigrated four days before the start of World War Two, he is largely unknown to the general public.
In Europe, however, Reich's name is far more recognizable for his early years as a pioneering psychoanalyst, psychiatrist and anti-fascist; and as the author of two classic books in 1933: Character Analysis and The Mass Psychology of Fascism.
And in intellectual circles worldwide, Reich's name and work continue to fascinate.
For example, from 1960 to 2012 the New York publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux has published 23 book titles by Reich; his writings have been translated into over two dozen languages; and Reich's archives are located at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University, one of the world's premier medical libraries.
Still, one can ask, "So what compelling reason is there for producing an American documentary film about Austrian émigré Wilhelm Reich, other than shedding some light on an obscure, albeit extreme episode of government censorship?"
The compelling reason for producing this film is the compelling nature of Reich's work itself: a medical, scientific and sociological legacy with profound relevance and practical applications today for human health and the health of the planet.
And Reich documented this legacy in publications that were banned and burned in America.
III. What Was in These Banned and Burned Publications?
- Psychoanalytic and Psychiatric Clinical Work (1920s – 1930s)
Considered one of Freud's most talented students, Reich gradually moved beyond conventional psychoanalysis to develop new therapeutic techniques that led to a deeper understanding of the mind-body relationship.
For this, Reich was ostracized by the traditional psychoanalytic and psychiatric communities. But his book Character Analysis is still hailed as a classic and various psychosomatic modalities have evolved from his therapeutic innovations.
- Social Work (1920s – 1930s)
Reich brought his psychiatric and psychoanalytic work into counseling centers he founded in the working-class districts of Vienna and Berlin. And as a well-known anti-fascist writer and speaker, he opposed the rise of authoritarianism and Naziism.
Consequently, his writings were banned by the Nazi and Communist parties. And today his book The Mass Psychology of Fascism is still regarded as an incisive study of the human character structure and social conditions that underlie fascism.
- Biological Laboratory Experiments (1936 – 1950s)
Using higher magnification microscopes than were typically used at the time, together with innovative time-lapse filming, Reich discovered and documented new micro-organisms that revealed crucial links to the origin of cancer cells.
Reich's discoveries were dismissed and attacked by the European and American medical communities. Today, a published science historian is writing a book for Harvard University Press that favorably re-evaluates these experiments.
- Diagnostic Blood Tests (1937 – 1950s)
Using these newly discovered micro-organisms and high-magnification microscopes, Reich developed blood tests that identified the cancer process
in the body prior to the appearance of tumors.
This research was dismissed by American medical authorities at the time. And despite contemporary replications, it is unknown in traditional medicine today.
- Experimental Medical Treatment (1941 – 1950s)
Reich applied a form of radiation that he had originally discovered in these micro-organisms for the experimental treatment of patients with terminal cancer, early cancer, and other degenerative diseases.
Despite Reich's promising results and with no claims for cures, the FDA--with support from the American Medical, Psychiatric and Psychoanalytic Associations--spent years to enjoin Reich's work and ban his publications.
- Weather Research (1952 – 1956)
Reich's laboratory research led to environmental and atmospheric studies and field work in which he developed new technologies that showed verifiable results for alleviating drought conditions in New England and Arizona.
Despite recent replications, the widespread narratives of Reich's scientific and medical work in America are so distorted that his documented weather research is either dismissed or unknown in the scientific community.
IV. A Stigmatized Medical and Scientific Legacy
In Europe and America, opposition to Reich's work conjoined the worst excesses of government authority with the politics and powers of major medical, psychiatric, and psychoanalytic organizations, as well as reckless newspaper and magazine journalism.
The final result: banning and burning Reich's publications in the United States of America.
And today's public and "official" narratives of Reich--which continue to emanate from government, medical, psychiatric, psychoanalytic and media institutions--have successfully stigmatized much of Reich's legacy despite the availability of 23 book titles by Reich and the accessibility of his archives at Harvard's Countway Library of Medicine.
Moreover, the factual inaccuracies of these pervasive narratives have found their way into academic scholarship and Internet content, so that Reich's medical and scientific legacy is routinely misstated, ridiculed and dismissed today.
Worst of all, since Reich's death in 1957, the chilling effect of these powerful institutions and their narratives has been the silencing of any significant appraisal or practical applications of Reich's medical and scientific research.
V. The Relevance of Reich's Legacy to Human Health and the Health of the Planet
The unifying theme of Reich's 35-year medical and scientific legacy is health:
- emotional and physical health in his psychiatric/psychoanalytic/sociological work
- the origin and development of cancer cells in his micro-biological experiments
- early detection and experimental treatment of disease in his medical work
- alleviating drought conditions for planetary health in his weather research
Reich's achievements in these areas constitute "new knowledge" that is as relevant today as when he was alive. And as Reich acknowledged and documented, this new knowledge brings with it great promise as well as challenges, unanswered questions and doubts.
Reich's life is an exciting story of discovery, accomplishment and conflict, and film provides the boldest medium for telling this story. Our goal is to draw upon primary materials and other credible resources to produce a factually accurate 90-100 minute narrative of Reich's
life and legacy that will be exciting, accessible and relevant to mainstream audiences.
UNTIL NEXT MONTH
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in the life and legacy of Wilhelm Reich and the good works of The Wilhelm Reich
Infant Trust and The Wilhelm Reich Museum. Thank you again for your friendship