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January 2013 Update
From
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 June 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 (59 of them) provide the best contemporaneous accounts of the Trust's ongoing activities over the past six years.

New in the Bookstore: Where's the Truth?
Sale: All Four Autobiographical Books
Catalog of Reich's Personal Library
College Course on Reich



A QUOTE FROM REICH

We always recommend that people read Reich's own words for factual descriptions of his work, rather than the unreliable, distorted and oftentimes asinine narratives on the Internet; in poorly researched films, books, articles and exhibits; and from other dubious sources.

Below is an excerpt from a summary of his work which Reich wrote to an American publisher on August 24, 1948:

"Since it might appear unusual that a bio-psychiatrist should work as an expert in the realm of non-living nature, I believe it will be helpful to give the following summary:

My present work began in the realm of psychiatry and psychoanalysis, with natural scientific investigations of the energy at work in human emotions.

This led to the discovery of the bio-energy in the living organism, termed organismic orgone energy; and further to the discovery of the same type of a basically physical orgone energy in the atmosphere.

Orgonomy is not psychiatry, but the science of biophysics of the emotions, thus also including psychiatry, and physics in the realm of basic cosmic orgone energy.

It is not mysticism, but natural scientific, experimental investigation, also of mystical emotions and experiences.

Orgone energy is energy before matter (not after matter, as is atomic energy). It is studied by means of Geiger-Müller Counters and other physical instruments.

It follows entirely new, hitherto unknown functional laws of nature, and not the well known mechanical laws of electricity, heat, or mechanics."

This quote is from our new book, Where's the Truth? – Letters and Journals (1948-1957). 


NEW BOOK NOW AVAILABLE IN OUR BOOKSTORE

WHERE'S THE TRUTH?
Letters and Journals (1948–1957)

by
Wilhelm Reich, M.D.

Edited by Mary Boyd Higgins
Introduction by James E. Strick, Ph.D.

Where's the Truth? is the fourth and final volume of Wilhelm Reich's autobiographical writings, an account of the last years of his life and scientific career drawn from his diaries, letters and laboratory notebooks. These writings reveal the details of the outrider scientist's life--his joys and sorrows, his hopes and insecurities--and chronicle his experiments with what he called "orgone energy".

A student of Freud's and a prominent research physician in the early psychoanalytic movement in Vienna and Berlin, Reich emigrated from Oslo to America in 1939 in flight from Naziism, arriving in New York four days before the outbreak of World War Two. In New York, and later in Maine and Arizona, he pursued his research about orgone energy functions in the living organism and in the atmosphere.

Where's the Truth? begins in January 1948, several months after Reich became a target of the Federal Food and Drug Administration. Starting in December 1939, he’d already faced possible persecution by the U.S. government, having been mistaken by the State Department and FBI for both a Communist and a Nazi.

Beginning in the summer of 1947, Reich was hounded by the FDA which, in 1954, obtained an injunction by default against him that enabled it to burn six tons of his published books and research journals, and to ban the use of one of his most important experimental research tools: the orgone energy accumulator.

Challenging the right of a court to judge basic scientific research, Reich was imprisoned in March 1957 and died in the U.S. Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania eight months later at the age of 60.

The text gathered in this volume shows Reich’s steadfast determination to protect his work. "Where's the truth?" Reich asked a lawyer. And that question animates this volume and rounds out our understanding of a unique, irrepressible modern figure. 


BOOKSTORE SALE: $90 FOR THE 4-VOLUME SET OF REICH’S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL BOOKS

Passion of Youth - An Autobiography (1897-1922), Beyond Psychology - Letters and Journals (1934-1939), American Odyssey - Letters and Journals (1940 -1947), and Where's the Truth? - Letters and Journals (1948-1957) are now available as a 4-volume set for $90. Bought separately, these books would cost $115. A $25 discount! 



NEW IN OUR BOOKSTORE: CATALOG OF REICH’S PERSONAL LIBRARY

For years, visitors to the Wilhelm Reich Museum have commented on Reich's impressive personal library which is located in the bookshelves of his study on the second floor of the Orgone Energy Observatory. Serious scholars, particularly, often remark on Reich's intellectual breadth and curiosity as evident by this eclectic collection.

A bound 143-page Catalog of Wilhelm Reich’s Personal Library is now available in our bookstore for $26.95. To anyone interested in Reich's life and work, especially the serious scholar, this catalog provides a deeper understanding of Reich's intellectual pursuits and the evolution of his work.


 

CREATION OF A SYLLABUS LEADS TO A WILHELM REICH COURSE IN A U.S. COLLEGE

During the week of July 9, 2012, a small group of college academics met at Orgonon and completed the syllabus for a one-semester college course about Reich's life and work.

The class was designed as a "Level 300" course, meaning that students will know from this designation that this is a serious, upper-level class, and not some easy "gut" course.

As a basic template, the course content was organized as a once-a-week, 2¾ hour class, with the intent that this syllabus would provide a fluid prototype that could accommodate variations by professors wishing to teach this class. Which is exactly what happened.

Science historian James Strick, Ph.D.--a professor at Franklin & Marshall College who is writing a book for Harvard University Press about Reich's bion experiments--was part of the group designing the initial syllabus at Orgonon. At the same time, he was re-working the content for a twice-weekly course which he subsequently listed in his college catalogue for Spring 2013. Twelve students signed up and Professor Strick is now teaching the course.

Below is the initial syllabus that was completed at Orgonon in July 2012:

COURSE TITLE:
Sex, Lies and Bookburning:
The Life and Work of Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm Reich, M.D. (1897-1957) is famous as a brilliant psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who developed the technique of character analysis and authored the book of that name, long a staple text in psychology and psychiatry courses.

Eventually Reich's pioneering work on muscular armoring led to the development of numerous "body therapy" techniques widely popular today. He also wrote the incisive critiques of the rise of Nazism (The Mass Psychology of Fascism, 1933) and of the onset of reactionary social and political conditions under Stalin (The Sexual Revolution, 1945; original German version Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf, 1936).

Within the Socialist and Communist parties in Austria and Germany, he led a political movement for reform of birth control and abortion laws from the late 1920s to 1933.

Reich became an experimental scientist starting in 1934, attempting to put a firm scientific foundation under Freud's theory of libido, the energy source behind human drives, including sexual drives. This led to a complex series of experimental and theoretical works that grew by an inherent logic from biology and physiology, through cancer research, to the discovery of a previously unknown form of biological and atmospheric energy that Reich called orgone.

Reich's experimental use of orgone energy in attempting to treat human diseases led to a confrontation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which considered his work quackery. An FDA witch hunt culminated in a legal case in 1954 in which Reich took a principled stand that a court of law cannot judge scientific discoveries. Eventually the government imprisoned Reich on a technicality, convicting him of contempt of court. He died in a federal prison in 1957.

This course examines the development of Reich's thought and clinical and experimental work in psychiatry, sociology, biology, biophysics, and eventually pure physics. We will evaluate his conflict with the U.S. government and consider that case as an example of the complex relations between science, law and government institutions.

The course will include written assignments, a research paper, and midterm and final exams.

READING LIST

Complete books and publications to be read:

  • The Sexual Struggle of Youth by Wilhelm Reich
    English translation of original 1932 German publication

  • The Bio-electric Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety by Wilhelm Reich
    Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1982 (first published in 1934 and 1937 in German)

  • The Bion Experiments on the Origin of Life by Wilhelm Reich
    Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979 (first published in 1938 in German)

  • Bion Experiments and the Cancer Problem by Wilhelm Reich
    Published in 1939 in English in Oslo/Copenhagen/Rotterdam

  • Orgonomic Diagnosis of the Cancer Biopathy – compiled by Chester Raphael, M.D. and Helen MacDonald, Ph.D.
    Published in 1952, based on a course on cancer given by Wilhelm Reich, M.D. at Orgonon, Rangeley, Maine, during July and August 1950.

Excerpts to be read (via eDisk) from:


READINGS AND CLASS CONTENT

Reading for Class #1

  • from The Function of the Orgasm, pp. 3-37
    Chapter I – "Biology and Sexology Before Freud"

CLASS #1: Introduction to Reich's Life and Work & to the Prevalent Distorted Narratives of Reich

  • Introduction to the major themes of the course:

    1. Reich's energy concept as a consistent "red thread" in his psychoanalytic, psychiatric, medical and scientific work

    2. the mainstream perceptions and distorted narratives about Reich's life and work, and the unreliability and intellectual dishonesty of many of these narratives

    3. Reich's publications (1920s-1950s) and his habit of revising earlier editions to reflect the evolution of his work.

  • Reich's childhood. Military service in World War I. Intellectual development during his early years in medical school at the University of Vienna.

  • This class takes us up to Reich's first meeting with Freud in the autumn of 1919.

Reading for Class #2

  • from The Function of the Orgasm, pp. 38-110
    Chapter II – "Peer Gynt"
    Chapter III – "Gaps in the Theory of Sex and Psychology"
    Chapter IV – "The Development of the Orgasm Theory" up to the end of Part 3

  • from Early Writings - Volume One, pp. 199-221
    "Further Remarks on the Therapeutic Significance of Genital Libido"
    (expanded version of Reich's lecture at the 8th International Psychoanalytic Congress in 1924 in which he introduced the concept of "orgastic potency")

CLASS #2: Reich in Vienna (1920-1927)

  • Reich as a young, pioneering psychoanalyst and psychiatrist in Vienna.

  • This class takes us up to the day that Reich was "politicized": July 15, 1927.

Reading for Class #3

  • from The Function of the Orgasm, pp. 117-249
    Chapter V – "The Development of the Character-Analytic Technique"
    Chapter VI – "A Biological Revolution That Miscarried"

CLASS #3: Reich in Vienna (1927-30)

  • Reich's left-wing activities. The evolution of his psychoanalytic work. The growing ideological rifts between Reich and Freud.

  • This class takes us up to Reich's last meeting with Freud in September 1930, a few weeks before Reich moved from Vienna to Berlin.

Reading for Class #4

  • from Character Analysis, pp. 225-269
    Chapter XI – "The Masochistic Character"

  • from The Mass Psychology of Fascism, pp. 3-103
    Chapter I – "Ideology as a Material Force"
    Chapter II – "The Authoritarian Ideology of the Family in the Mass Psychology of Fascism"
    Chapter III – "The Race Theory"
    Chapter IV– "The Symbolism of the Swastika"

CLASS #4: Reich in Berlin (1930-32)

  • Reich's psychoanalytic work. Membership in the German Psychoanalytic Society. Involvement in left-wing politics to counter the rise of Naziism. Efforts to unify the various German sex-political organizations. Writings.

  • This class takes us up to Reich's founding of his own press (Sexpol Verlag) in early 1932 to publish The Sexual Struggle of Youth and The Invasion of Compulsory Sex Morality.

Reading for Class #5

  • The Sexual Struggle of Youth - entire 1932 text (88 pages)

  • from The Invasion of Compulsory Sex Morality
    Chapter I – "The Origin of Sexual Repression", pp. 3-37
    Part II – "The Problem of Sexual Economy", pp. 145-157

CLASS #5: Reich in Berlin (1932-33)

  • Left-wing responses to The Sexual Struggle of Youth. Reich's involvement with political youth groups. Finishes a new manuscript on psychoanalytic technique (Character Analysis) which Freud agrees to publish. The Nazis come to power.

  • This class ends with Reich fleeing from Berlin to Vienna after the Nazi newspaper condemns The Sexual Struggle of Youth (March 1933).

Reading for Class #6

  • from Beyond Psychology – Letters and Journals (1934-1939), pp. 1-14
    "Introduction – Reich's Development (1922-1934)" by Mary Boyd Higgins, Editor

  • from Character Analysis, pp. 285-254
    Chapter XIII – "Psychic Contact and Vegetative Streaming"
    (expanded version of Reich's 1934 lecture at the 13th IPA Congress in Lucerne)

  • from The Function of the Orgasm, pp. 250-367
    Chapter VII – "The Breakthrough into the Vegetative Realm"
    Chapter VIII – "The Orgasm Reflex and the Technique of Character-Analytic Vegetotherapy"

CLASS #6: Reich in Denmark and Sweden (1933-34)

  • Hostile climate in Vienna. Freud cancels contract to publish Character Analysis. Invited to practice and teach in Copenhagen. Therapeutic work continues evolving from the psychic to the psychosomatic. Turmoil in left-wing political activities.

  • This class takes us up to Reich's expulsion from the International Psychoanalytic Association at the 13th IPA Congress in Lucerne (August 1934).

Reading for Class #7

  • Bio-electrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety
    Entire text: pp. xi-129 + Electro-photographs on pp. 131-161

CLASS #7: Reich's Bio-electrical Experiments at the University of Oslo (1934-35)

  • Moves to Oslo where he has been invited to teach at the Psychological Institute of the University of Oslo, and to have access to the Institute's laboratory. Carries out bio-electrical experiments to investigate the possible electrical nature of sexuality.

  • This class brings us up to Reich planning his next experiments: investigating the internal vegetative currents of protozoa.

Reading for Class #8

  • The Bion Experiments on the Origin of Life
    Entire text: pp. 3-192 + Bibliography on pp. 193-198

CLASS #8: Reich's Bion Experiments in Oslo (1936-39)

  • Uses high-magnification microscopes and time-lapse filming to study protozoa. Discovers new micro-organisms in sterile, decaying organic substances which he names "bions". Some bions kill cancer cells, other bions produce cancer cells. Bion experiments with mice. Hostile medical, scientific, media response to bion research.

  • This class brings us up to Reich's discovery in January 1939 of a biological radiation in certain bion cultures that he will call "orgone energy".

Reading for Class #9

  • from International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research, Vol. 1
    "The Discovery of the Orgone", pp. 115-130
    (first publication about orgone energy, published again in The Cancer Biopathy)

  • from International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research, Vol. 3
    "Thermical and Electroscopical Orgonometry", pp. 3-16
    (published again in The Cancer Biopathy)

  • Bion Experiments and the Cancer Problem, pp. 3-25

  • from International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research, Vol. 2
    "Experimental Orgone Therapy of Cancer", pp. 38-46
    (published again in The Cancer Biopathy)

CLASS #9: Discovery of Orgone Energy & Early Orgone Research in Oslo and America (1939-40)

  • Discovers a radiation in bion cultures. Visual, thermical, subjective manifestations of this radiation. Names the radiation "orgone energy". Uses Faraday cages to isolate and contain orgone energy. Effects of orgone radiation on cancer cells. Emigrates to America. Experimental orgone treatment of cancer mice. Faraday cages evolve into small orgone energy accumulators. Discovery of orgone energy in the atmosphere.

  • This class brings us up to the construction of the first large orgone energy accumulator for human use in New York (Autumn 1940).

Reading for Class #10

  • from International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research, Vol. 1
    "The Carcinomatous Shrinking Biopathy", pp. 131-155
    (published again in The Cancer Biopathy)

  • from International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research, Vol. 2
    "Experimental Orgone Therapy of Cancer", pp. 1-38, 47-92
    (published again in The Cancer Biopathy)

  • Orgonomic Diagnosis of the Cancer Biopathy - entire 1952 text (62 pages)
    (based on a course on cancer given by Wilhelm Reich, M.D. at Orgonon, Rangeley, Maine, during July and August 1950)

CLASS #10: Medical and Scientific Applications of the Orgone Energy Accumulator in America (1941-1956)

  • Meetings with Einstein. Experimental orgone energy treatment of terminal cancer patients. Reich Blood Tests as a diagnostic tool. Case histories from other physicians.

Reading for Class #11

  • from Character Analysis, pp. 355-398
    Chapter XIV – "The Expressive Language of the Living"

  • from International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research, Vol. 4
    "Some Mechanisms of the Emotional Plague", pp. 34-53
    (Reich's first publication about the Emotional Plague)

  • from The Mass Psychology of Fascism, pp. 360-395
    Chapter XIII – "On Natural Work Democracy"

  • from Children of the Future, pp. 3-21
    "Source of the Human ‘No'" (from Reich's 1952 interview for the Freud Archives)
    "Children of the Future" (Reich's 1950 report on Orgonomic Infant Research Center)

CLASS #11: Other Aspects of Reich's Work (1940s-50s)

  • Psychiatric orgone therapy. Emotional Plague. Work Democracy. Child-rearing and adolescence.
  • This class brings us up to Reich's plans to test the effects of orgone radiation on nuclear radiation sickness at the time of the Korean War (1950-51).

Reading for Class #12

  • from Where's the Truth? – Letters and Journals (1948-1957), pp. 245-251
  • from Selected Writings, pp. 351-466
    Chapter VI – "Orgone Physics: The Oranur Experiment" (first published in 1951)
    Chapter VII – "Cosmic Orgone Engineering" (first published in 1954-55)

  • from Cosmic Orgone Engineering (C.O.R.E.), Vol. VI, pp. 45-70
    (reports of Reich's weather engineering experiments)

  • from Where's the Truth? – Letters and Journals (1948-1957), pp. 128-132

CLASS #12: Orgone Energy-Nuclear Energy Experiments & Weather Engineering Work (1950-56)

  • The ORANUR Experiment in Maine (1951). Reich's weather engineering work in Maine, elsewhere in New England and in Arizona (1952-56).

Reading for Class #13

  • correspondence between European psychoanalysts containing slanders about Reich

  • reviews of Reich's English-language books and published research journals containing a mix of favorable and unfavorable comments

  • excerpts from the writings of Kerouac, Burroughs, Mailer, Bellows and other writers containing a mix of admiration and factual misrepresentations about Reich.

  • 1947 New Republic article, "The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich", by Mildred Brady which precipitated the FDA's seven-year campaign against Reich

  • statements about Reich from the official publications of the American Medical, Psychoanalytic and Psychiatric Associations

  • articles in magazines and newspapers--heavily influenced by the Mildred Brady article--containing slanderous, factually inaccurate statements about Reich

  • excerpts from files of the FBI, INS (Immigration & Naturalization Service) and FDA

  • factually inaccurate narratives about Reich from more recent sources

CLASS #13: Reception and Perception of Reich's Work in America (1940s –50s)

  • Rumors and slanders about Reich in the American psychoanalytic community prior to his emigration in 1939. In 1942 Reich starts publishing his work in English which attracts a new and wider audience. Hostility to his work in the American Psychoanalytic, Psychiatric and Medical Associations. Interest in Reich's sexual theories and therapeutic techniques among writers, artists, musicians, actors. FBI and INS investigations. 1947 Brady article instigates FDA campaign against Reich.

  • This class takes us up to February 1954 when Reich is served with a federal Complaint for Injunction.

Reading for Class #14

  • Complaint for Injunction (filed February 10, 1954) which declared orgone energy "non-existent" and sought to enjoin Reich from the interstate shipment of orgone accumulators and from the dissemination of information about accumulators.

  • Reich's written Response to the judge (February 22, 1954) in which he declared that a court of law has no jurisdiction over matters of scientific research and subsequently refused to appear in court to respond to the Complaint.

  • Decree of Injunction (March 19, 1954) issued by default, which ordered the destruction of orgone energy accumulators, the destruction of much of Reich's publications, and the withdrawal from circulation of other publications.

  • from Wilhelm Reich vs. the USA (by Jerome Greenfield), pp. 200-223, 242-254

CLASS #14: U.S. Government's Legal Case Against Reich (1954-57) and Summary of Reich's Legacy and Contributions

  • FDA decision to seek an Injunction against Reich. The role of U.S. Attorney for the state of Maine, Peter Mills, Reich's former attorney. Complaint for Injunction. Reich's Response to the Complaint. Decree of Injunction. Contempt of Court charges against Reich. Trial for criminal contempt of court. Destruction of orgone energy accumulators (1956). Destruction of Reich's books, research journals, bulletins, other materials (1956 and 1960). Reich dies in prison (1957)

  • Summary of Reich's legacy and its contributions to psychoanalysis, psychiatry, biology, medicine, science, sociology and politics.

NOTE: In addition to these readings, educational materials for classes will also include films, audiotapes, unpublished writings and other resources from Reich's archives--i.e., the Archives of the Orgone Institute--which are managed by the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust of Rangeley, Maine.



UNTIL NEXT MONTH

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