Imprint The Discovery of the Orgone Energy 1919-1939 Max Stirner Orgonomic Sociology Economics and Sex-economy
Blue Fascism Steiner's Anthroposophy, A Nazi Cult? The Mass Psychology of Buddhism Hans Hass and Energetic Functionalism



This text was written by a non-native speaker. If you have any corrections please send them to Peter Nasselstein



Peter Nasselstein



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Reich attends the usual lectures necessary for his medical studies. Of special interest are only the two lecture courses of biologist Paul Kammerer on "The Development of Puberty" and on "The Continuity Principle in Biology." Reich publicly agrees with demands to make medical studies more demanding and to prolong them considerably. He writes that the requirements for early semesters should be increased and harder examinations should be established. The studies should be completed by an obligatory practical training period of five year.

His extra-curricular thirst for knowledge he quenches by reading books on science and the humanities. Among other things he reads Schopenhauer's aphorisms, tries Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, and goes into Otto Weininger's (1880-1903) then very popular "Wagnerian" book Geschlecht und Charakter (Gender and Character) on the bisexuality of man and the inferiority of Jews and females. They have no ego and therefore no intrinsic value therefore the new man should overcome all Jewish and female elements in himself.

In autobiographical notes on his childhood and youth with a strong psychoanalytic bias he attaches great importance to his personal sexual development. He gets in contact with psychoanalytic thought by joining the private "Students Seminar for Sexology." The later psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel had initiated it in February under the auspices of the "Academic Society of Jewish Medical Students and Physicians" and then organized it together with Reich, Grethe Lehner, and Edward Bibring. After Fenichel is gone for a year to Berlin, Reich is, at the end of the semester, elected new leader of the seminar. Thereupon he reorganizes it and divides it into a biological group under Bibring and a psychological group under himself.

The seminar is composed of 20 students (16 medics, two law students, one philosopher, and one high school student). In succession one of the members lectures on a sexological theme. Reich lectures on "Basic Problems of Sexuality and Sexual Mechanism," on "A Case of Paranoid Hermaphroditism," and on "Concepts of the 'Libido' from Forel to Jung." In this lecture he stresses that for Sigmund Freud libido means, in the first place, energy which gets "transformed." This aspect draws him to Freud but at the same time he has problems with Freud's dualistic concept of the drives (sexual vs. self-preservation). Apparently Reich tends more towards C.G. Jung's monistic drive-concept while at the same time he is repelled by Jung's philosophical speculation about a kind of "will" in nature and the de-sexualization involved in Jung's concept.

In the seminar he notices with disgust the intellectualization of sexuality. For him it is the very center of man's existence while his Freudian fellow students are only concerned about far out perversions and symbolic representations of sexual drives. Already he names in an article on sex education the price one has to pay for one's unsatisfied sexuality: neurasthenia and neurosis. Of special interest is how he deals with a conservative critique of the education of enlightenment since Socrates. He agrees that one cannot educate people but then outgrows this very standpoint by directing attention to the wellspring of the problem. He points to something both enlightenment and conservative counter-enlightenment ignore: education, and enlightenment in general, is solely lacking in good sex-education.

In March he begins with the analysis of dreams. In this way he hopes to find an entry into the application of psychoanalysis. He attends a course on psychoanalysis by Isidor Sadger and has a short training analysis with him. In September Reich has his first psychoanalytic patient in treatment.



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First viva voce passed on March 20 with "excellent."

Reich lectures at the Seminar for Sexology on "From Autoerotism to Narcissism," "A Pleasure-Libido Theory," "A Case of Breakthrough of the Incest Barrier in Puberty," "Concepts of the Libido in Ibsen's Peer Gynt," and "On the Energetics of Drives." Each week at Otto Fenichel's home Reich and his student peers study psychoanalysis by discussing the literature and their own experiences. Reich has circa six months of training analysis with Paul Federn. He has two patients in psychoanalysis Freud sent to him. On February 22 for the first time he is guest of the "Wednesdays Meeting" of the Viennese Psychoanalytic Association. On October 13 he reads his inaugural lecture on Ibsen's Peer Gynt and becomes member of the Association.

For Reich, Peer Gynt represents the case of a paranoid psychosis and megalomania due to withdrawal of libido to the narcissistic stage, facilitated by incestuous fixation on the mother and identification with the father. This constellation prevents any bond with reality. For example a love affair, instead of anchoring Peer in reality, only stirs up an escape into delusions because the girl represents the mother and Peer's guilt feelings towards the father. The death of the mother, his very last bond to real life, finally carries him to total loss of reality. Restitution comes about through slow disintegration of the guilt feelings by self castration, i.e., the reality-ego condemns the delusional satisfaction of the pleasure-ego. Peer is redeemed when he comes back to the girl he left behind because by now she has the age of his dead mother. He can be himself without any incestuous conflict, finally.

In his lecture Reich presents himself as an experienced therapist, even undertaking a devastating criticism of a parallel study of Ibsen's drama by veteran (although breakaway) psychoanalyst Wilhelm Stekel. Reich is also very much preoccupied with another apostate of the Freudian cause, Alfred Adler. He accuses Adler to have suppressed sexuality from his theoretical considerations, completely. Reich especially reproaches him for isolating one aspect of infantile development, the castration complex, then separating it from its sexual background to make it, as "inferiority feeling" and its overcompensations, the sole foundation of the constitution of the ego. Accordingly for Adler therapy consists of putting an end to "inferiority feelings" by giving the "will to power" a more realistic and attainable goal while Reich believes that the causes should be removed. Causes, Adler in his blindness no longer sees. Nevertheless Adler's ego-psychology is very important for the development of Reich's later character analysis, therefore Reich's intensive study of Adler is decisive. But to what an annoying extent Reich at this time is orthodox Freudian is exemplified by his objection against Adler's theory of "female protest." According to Reich the female is passive and submissive by her very inherited nature.

Friends introduce Reich to communism. He sympathizes with "world revolution" but is more drawn to the radical individualist-anarchist Max Stirner (1806-1856) and believes that a free society can issue from the free individual only.



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Second viva voce passed on November 24 with "fair."

Before the Seminar for Sexology is closed down in summer, in its final term Reich lectures "Concerning the Discussion about Speech Impediment and Sexuality." In the Viennese Psychoanalytic Association he lectures on "A Contribution on Anal Eroticism," "Daydreams of a Female Obsessional Neurotic," and "A Contribution on the Conversion Hysterical Complex of Symptoms."

After Freud presented Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), the first hypothetical psychoanalytic attempt to explain the biological background of the drives, now Reich reads his lecture "On the Energetics of Drives" at the Association. For Reich the drive is an expression of the pleasure's strive to repeat itself. Freud considered this the masochistic "repetition compulsion" which led him to the theory of the "death instinct."

Reich explicitly turns against grasping the libido in terms of physics as long as the relationship between the quantitative motoric and the qualitative "mnemic" portions of the drives are not determined exactly. Specifically, Reich's starting point is the theory of the zoologist Richard Wolfgang Semon (1859-1918) about psycho-physiological parallelism according to which every psychological state corresponds to alterations in the nerves. While Reich dissociates himself from Semon by referring to Henri Bergson, he nevertheless accepts Semon's concepts as a reasonable working hypothesis. Reich's provisional solution of the mind-body-problem consists of considering the drive as the motor aspect of the pleasurable sensation experienced in onto- and phylogenesis, while psychologically it is an expression of the memory of past pleasure.

In his article on "The Coitus and the Sexes" his tremendous sexual experience comes through. By referring to the different courses of excitation of the sexes during coitus Reich for the first time differentiates between "biologically natural" and "humanly normal." At the explanation of the discrepancy between biological useful vs. evident in human life he insists upon a causal explanation instead of uncritically and teleologically "explaining" the given facts. In his article he writes that disturbances stem from the socially caused split between affectionate and sexual strivings. Harmony between these strivings lead to a fulfilling simultaneous climax of female and male. The coincidence of climaxes offer the best conditions for conception and, at the same time, is the best prerequisite for a healthy child.

Already Reich's orientation is less psychoanalytic but more bioenergetic which even includes first bio-electrical model images about the "sharpened" erogenity of the male as compared to the "diffused" erogenity of the female.



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Third viva voce passed with "fair" on June 30. On July 10 he gets his M.D. Enters medical specialized training and occupation as intern at the university hospital under Julius Wagner von Jauregg's assistant medical director Paul Schilder (1886-1940). Schilder's orientation is energetical. For example he speaks about a "fluidum" which issues from stimulus sources such as psychological problems. It fills up a biological "energy reservoir," producing symptoms when it overruns. Thus, according to Schilder, there is a "psychic energy." The brain is only a "switch apparatus" of this energy and furthermore its structure is nothing but "frozen psychic energy." Since, in this way, it becomes possible to grasp the functioning of the brain Freud's findings may, according to Schilder, lead to a "general theory of nature."

On May 22 the Viennese Psychoanalytic Outpatients Clinic for the Impoverished is established. It is led by Eduard Hitschmann, Reich is his assistant. Following a suggestion by Reich in September 1922 the Viennese Seminar for Psychoanalytic Therapy is established at the Clinic. Reich's fundamental technical considerations look as follows: Just as vestigial organs cannot regress back to the original organs also in the psychological realm one cannot simply penetrate to the primal repressed by reversing the formation process of the cover memories superimposing that core. One can only make conscious one after the other these representatives of the primal repressed and thus slowly reconstruct that core.

In his paper on "Two Narcissistic Types" Reich objects to Franz Alexander's opinion that the neurotic character, with his "diffuse symptoms," is based on too little libido stasis or lacking repression and therefore is nearer to health than the neurosis with its obvious, "localized symptoms." For Reich the difference is the disturbance of ego-libido, i.e., the narcissistic seclusion of the neurotic character versus the disturbance of object-libido as it shows itself in the transference. So neurosis, which is, although disturbed, open to the world, is nearer to health than the secluded neurotic character. Particularly the symptoms of the former are associated with a corresponding insight into the disorder. The neurotic character lacks this insight and his "narcissistic armor" is the biggest therapeutic problem. Reich elucidates this by presenting two neurotic characters. This is Reich's first step into a systematic characterology.

Reich lectures at the Viennese Psychoanalytic Association "On the Specificity of Forms of Masturbation." While psychoanalysis had cleared up all psychological concomitants of masturbation a "little" loophole had to be filled, still: the manner of masturbation - thus the very essential.... In contrast to his colleagues Reich approaches the sexual expression of adults directly, instead of delving evasively into the history of infantile fantasies.



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Freud's The Ego and the Id is the second hypothetical attempt to grasp the biological foundations of the psychological apparatus. Interestingly in the same year we can fix the actual beginning of the orgasm theory and its character-analytic application. According to Reich's paper "On Genitality from the Standpoint of Psychoanalytic Prognosis and Therapy" in order to assess the case the psychoanalyst has to determine whether and where fixations occurred in the development from pre-genitality to genitality. Reich stresses that therapy is a biological process and therefore proceeds according to biological laws, i.e., inexplicably even a superficial analysis can lead to health while, on the other side, the most careful analysis may not change the patient a bit as long as the biological factor, which led in the former case to health, is not taken into consideration. This biological factor is activated by uncovering genital libido. The genital development in childhood is decisive for prognosis. If genitality was already reached repression has to be removed only, otherwise genital eroticism has to be developed supplementary which is extremely difficult if one cannot hook up with anything genital from childhood. Analysis is finished only when the patient has freed her or his genitality from guilt feelings and from pre-genital contributions and withdrew it from the incest object.

In detailed ego-psychological considerations which, nevertheless, remain always embedded in the libido theory, Reich speaks about the dichotomy of life-positive self-affirmation by narcissistic libido on the one hand and self-negating guilt feelings on the other hand. It is important at which time in the libidinous development the guilt feeling counters narcissism and whether the genital phase is reached uninfluenced. This is so important because genital libido, respectively the genital-narcissistic striving, is the most powerful opponent of the guilt feeling. In this connection Reich underlines the necessity of a happy childhood.

Publicly Reich speaks out against wrong applications of psychoanalysis which exclude the very essential (infantile drives), aggravated by distorted new creations and false claims of priority. At the same time he opposes the epistemological and methodological criticisms of psychoanalysis ("Interpretation is not scientific!"). He demands that, first, these critics must gather first-hand psychoanalytic experience instead of following abstract methodological axioms. The scientific nature of interpretation becomes evident when the reconstruction of childhood experiences is confirmed by the objective case history provided by the parents and other witnesses.

At the Viennese Psychoanalytic Outpatients Clinic Reich becomes first assistant physician. Forced by circumstances he tries to shorten the long-drawn-out psychoanalytic therapy by utilizing suggestion. This shortened analysis matches with his theory of the healing function of uncovered genital libido. For example he presents a case of the healing of a tic by release of genital masturbation. At the same time Reich's psycho-somatic work begins, e.g., he criticizes that inside psychoanalysis many still underestimate to what extent organo-genic ailments are used by psychological factors. In this way he corroborates Georg Groddeck's findings although he wished Groddeck had presented them in a clearer manner.



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Reich is elected head of the Viennese Seminar for Psychoanalytic Therapy. In the manuscript of his book Der triebhafte Charakter he demonstrates that symptom-analysis has to be extended into character analysis. Seen from the new ego-psychology the relationship between ego and the developing superego is the basis of characterology. Character formation takes place by annexation of the parents either as an affirmative or a negating ego ideal and is also determined by the libidinal stage this occurs as well as by what both environment and primitive pleasure ego say to the realization of the demands of the ego ideal. It is perfect if gratification and denial of the drive are balanced. Predominant denial leads to an inhibited character. On the other hand the impulsive character was allowed extensive drive gratification but then, out of the blue, came a traumatic denial from the same parents, leading to a sharp conflict between a very infantile ego and a harsh "repressed" superego. Thus the impulsive character is torn apart between strong uncontrollable drives and a brutal superego, breaking through from time to time with the might of a repressed drive.

The isolated superego also means a schizophrenic disposition because in order to ease the burden from the conflict with both the superego and the id they can be projected by the ego into the outside world very easily. This delusional projection corresponds to the hysterical split. The difference is that in this state of "multiple personality" it comes to an alternating identification with one of the opponents, at a time, with respective amnesia. In a detailed case history Reich describes a case of sexual child abuse. Subsequently it came to a hysterical split respectively multiple personality.

At the Psychoanalytical Congress he introduces the term "orgastic potency" he differentiates from erective and ejaculative potency. According to Freud's theory there would be no neurosis without the sexual conflict. Reich specifies: "No neurosis without disturbance of the genital function." Neurosis is a "sexual illness" due to genital-orgastical impotence. In the process of recovery sublimation and satisfied genitality supplement each other. Although he states that sublimation is not enough and remain unstable, as long as the somatic libido stasis continues, he cannot preclude that there are maybe also sexual abstinent individuals with a very low libido level who are "healthy" (social performance and subjective well-being). But he can rule out this for recovered neurotics since they fell sick precisely because of the strength of their libido. Dwindling or persistence of symptoms makes no difference for healing although dwindling of the symptoms naturally is part of it in the long run. He believes that the drives function like communicating tubes. Therefore it is not necessary to approach the complexes separately rather due to the libido discharge in one place, the symptom can vanish in another place. Healing, in Reich's sense, means reaching the genital-libidinous stage which active use guards against relapse into neurosis and leads finally to the disappearance of persisting symptoms. More important than symptoms is the transformation of complete personality, i.e., an actual change of character.



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Simultaneously with Reich's presentation of Der triebhafte Charakter, Theodor Reik in his book Geständniszwang und Strafbedürfnis (Compulsive Confession and Punishment Need) reduces psychoanalysis to a libido-free ego-psychology which he chains to Freud's death instinct. Reik as well as Reich plead for mediation between superego and ego. But for Reich this has to be the first step only, followed by mediation between ego and id so that it comes to an actual satisfaction of the drive (particularly since the strength of the superego depends on the erogenous fixation). Reik reduces all libidinal functioning to "signals" between psychic entities. Reich objects to this primitive idea of a play between "persons" and insists that the neurotic conflict occurs between outer world and pleasure ego.

He formulates the various types of orgastic impotence. Chronic hypochondric neurasthenia is a bad prognostic sign because it is based on oral and anal erotization of urethrally emphasized genitals. It is characterized by genital asthenia, i.e., a pregenital fixation with bad impairment of erective, ejaculative, and orgastic potency. In masturbation the genital is treated in a pregenital way only and the body is flooded by unprocessed excitation. The more the neurasthenic approaches the syndrome of acute neurasthenia, and other forms of impotence based on castration anxiety, the more remains of genitality are there to be used therapeutically.

Reich looks into the epileptic seizure. His question is neither what causes seizures, nor the secondary benefit of the illness, and not, at all, how the illness develops, rather he wants to disclose the specific mechanism of the seizure. He points to the correlation between sexual stasis and the beginning respectively increase of seizures. After there is a damming up of libidinous excitation in the vegetative system, with an "anxiety aura" caused by stasis, the organism tries to discharge it epileptically via the muscular apparatus. The seizure is therefore a stasis-neurotic symptom and an "extragenital muscular orgasm." The seizure begins with a climax with holding of breath and a cramp lasting for seconds, subsiding in convulsions. But, while in normal orgasm convulsions are mainly in the lower part of the body, in the epileptic seizure it is the upper part. In contrast to the genital orgasm the extragenital orgasm does not discharge the stasis. This explains the sadistic character of the epileptic and his compassionate and religious reaction formations.

Reich goes into Eugen Bleuler's book Die Psychoide als Prinzip der organischen Entwicklung (The Psychoide as the Principle of Organic Development). The "psychoide" is responsible for structure and functioning of the living protoplasm. This, "the formative soul of the living," had developed in the course of evolution and is no teleological entelechy but a natural scientific entity functioning causally. Reich does not agree fully with the concept of the psychoide because the vitalistic creeps in when, in fact, Bleuler describes the evolution of the animals correctly in Lamarckistic terms - that is not by chance and selection but as reaction to outer stimuli - but cannot explain how experience is stored and by what it is activated again. For Reich the psychoide is further evidence for the soundness of the theory of the unconscious which via the psychoide imperceptible reaches down into the "organic-living." He agrees with Bleuler in his radical rejection of mechanistic as well as vitalistic theories of the living.



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Reich coins the term "genital-narcissistic character" which becomes part of official psychoanalytic terminology.

His report on the Seminar for Psychoanalytic Therapy shows that not until Reich a scientific-clinical approach was introduced into psychoanalysis by using clear patterns of presentation and by insisting upon limiting questions to the essential, avoiding speculations and mere opinions. The seminar develops that in many failing cases negative transference is the main factor but, on the other hand, making conscious its infantile origins is a potent tool of therapy because in this way therapy touches the characterological basis of the symptoms directly. In order not to get lost in detail resistances one constantly has to go back to the "character resistance." One must not follow the patient with symbolic interpretations but the neurosis has to be systematically reconstructed from the present to its infantile origin. It comes to an argument with Freud who insists that the material has to be interpreted in the sequence of its appearance.

According to Freud's Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety anxiety is a mere warning signal of the ego and therefore the cause of repression. Independently Reich formulates similar thoughts on the difference of signal-anxiety and stasis-anxiety in the manuscript of Die Funktion des Orgasmus and is able to clear up the relationship between fear and anxiety, but for him the crucial point is that the ego's fear depends on the libidinal stasis. For example a fear of castration causes the repression of genital libido, actual anxiety results from this repression and gives the affect to the fear of castration, i.e., only via somatic excitation a psychological idea can cause an affect. Therefore every "character neurosis" has an actual neurotic core which activates the pathogenic fantasies. This vegetative stasis of undischarged genital libido expresses itself directly in vasoconstriction, high pressure, heart troubles, enlarged pupils, dry mouth, cold sweat, dizziness, diarrhea, etc. Unprocessed genital libido can also flow into the muscular system and, in this way, is responsible for the "destructive drives." During the sexual act excitation flows from the vegetative into the sensitive nervous system and during the climax into the motoric nervous system to ebb away in the body.

Education has to be about prevention of neurosis not about compliance to an "objective" morality, behind which just hides the "educational compulsion." This is an ordinary neurotic compulsion with repressed hate feelings and defiance. The defiance coming from the side of the parents as well as coming from the side of the children reinforce each other mutually. The educational compulsion shows up especially in the suppression of infantile masturbation. It is based on the sexual repression of the adults they have to maintain by the suppression of their children. But, at the same time, the adults, with their repressed sexual wishes, sexually stimulate the child with plays and washings.

Reich is influenced by Siegfried Bernfeld's book Psychologie des Säuglings (The Psychology of the Infant) where Bernfeld sees the unconscious motivation of nursing in the hate directed at the baby. Bernfeld considers the development of the child as the overcoming of the trauma of birth by "progressive sexual drives," replacing "regressive drives" which result from the trauma. Yet, Bernfeld does not consider this trauma in psychological terms like Otto Rank, but, thus Reich in his review, "energetical (libidinal)." In the wake of Bernfeld, Reich emphasizes that later anxiety fits are connected with "birth anxiety," surely, but that only the movement of energy is identical while one cannot, like Rank, speak about remembering the birth trauma, particularly since one cannot know whether the baby experiences anxiety really.



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Reich is elected into the board of the Viennese Psychoanalytic Association.

At the Psychoanalytic Congress he presents his character analysis. It is analysis of the patient's behavior, expression, look, facial play, handshake, etc. Like any single symptom one can trace these character traits back to infantile experiences, too. The difference between symptom and trait is that the latter is very well rationalized. Unlike the symptom it is no alien element but worked into the personality organically. Character analysis consists of isolating the main character trait like a symptom and then to treat it accordingly.

Reich's book Die Funktion des Orgasmus, i.e., the clinical foundation of sex-economics is published. At the same time he reviews Friedrich Kraus' book Allgemeine und spezielle Pathologie der Person (General and Special Pathology of the Person). It is the first successful attempt on the basis of experimental findings to confront the functional nature of the nervous system with mechanistic concepts. For Reich the central idea of the book is the concept of the "depth person" which is the "spontaneous urging creative" core of man. It is represented by the "vegetative streaming" one can observe in the streaming of the protoplasma of the amoeba directly. Therefore, writes Reich in his review, Freud's somatic libido is identical with bioelectrical charge of the membranes of the body and their electrolytic equalization which is accompanied by mechanical movement of liquids.

Freud suggests to emancipate psychoanalysis from medicine in order to preserve its humanistic and psychological character. Reich objects that therapy and theory are intimately linked. Therefore the theory is in the best hands with physicians only. Freud himself had said that psychoanalysis once would be put upon an physiological foundation. Furthermore the actual-neurotic core of the neurosis is something somatic and almost all neurotics are suffering from physical symptoms. Reich also asks why the alleged "somatic prejudice" of physicians should carry more weight than the "philosophical prejudice" of the scholar of the humanities. But also Reich wants to avoid a complete restriction to physicians and aspires to a "Psychoanalytical Faculty" in the future.

Reich reviews an attack on mechanistic and commercialized medicine by the spiritus rector of the romantic youth movement "Wandervogel," the homosexual and anti-Semite Hans Blüher. Based on his correct observations Blüher unfortunately praises an esoteric-occult "priest medicine" as an alternative. The depths of the soul only a religious approach can fathom while somatic medicine, including psychoanalysis, leaves the self untouched, the essence of man. Illness just expresses itself in the psychological and somatic realm while always only the inner being is ill. For this reason, according to Blüher, science never touches true life and is restricted to the mere surface while Blüher himself, writes Reich, obviously trusts in the "evident nature of intuitive experience (Bergson)." Reich agrees with this, he too feels these depths, but he misses a concrete path into these depths. Blüher maintains that science had only touched the surface of the problems and took it for the whole. As an example he mentions the investigation of sexuality which is governed by higher powers science is unable to investigate, ever. Reich is absolutely aware that science operates with unrealistic concepts but in this way one is able to tackle with reality practically. He does not reject Blüher's approach completely but exhorts to a certain scientific humility.

Reich begins with the study of dialectical materialism.



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Reich begins to compile and summarize his papers on the technique of psychoanalysis. He believes that for any given situation in therapy there is only one single optimal answer. In good analyses there are few but consistent interpretations and a progress from the current to the infantile, each time starting from the most important ego-resistance. When the present-day material links itself to the infantile the character resistance dissolves by itself. After dissolution of narcissistic and sadistic strivings the libido freed concentrates in various pregenital positions. From these fixations the libido has to be liberated again to finally flow to the genital stage. By this the old oedipal situation becomes newly activated in the transference. At this point the ego-defense takes the form of castration-anxiety which drives the libido back to old fixations, from which it has to be freed again, just to be newly repelled by castration-anxiety, etc. Slowly but surely castration-anxiety is replaced by genital transference-fantasy and it comes, at last, to a true positive transference. Now this genital object-libido has to be redirected to an appropriate love-object. But here the societal rejection of sexuality hinders the conclusion of the analysis or makes it even impossible.

At the Association Reich reads on "Where does Nudist Education Lead to?" With his characteristic radicality Reich draws a straight line from nudist education to the overthrow of bourgeois society. It becomes obvious that behind Reich's political extremism is something one could call "the revolutionary uncompromising nature of the sexual drive." Once one has chosen to affirm sexuality, the very nature of the sexual drive forces one to the logical end if one does not want to fall prey to the old negation of sexuality, not without before having brought down one's child in additional conflicts by the back and forth of pseudo-liberal compromises. A change of sexual life is possible by a radical change of social order only. But Reich also stresses that one cannot praise a free sexuality as condition of a liberated mankind because sexuality is not a way to a better life but an end in itself.

Reich writes his paper on "Dialectical Materialism and Psychoanalysis." There can be no contradiction between Marxism and psychoanalysis because they both are sciences, the only difference being their fields. Since psychoanalysis is restricted to the individual it could not develop an independent sociology and thus become a competitor of Marxism just as Marxism could not explain the genesis of neuroses. But what distinguishes Marxism from psychoanalysis principally is the fact that the former has discovered the methodology which is the foundation of all science and formulated it to a weltanschauung, dialectical materialism. By translating psychoanalysis into dialectical nomenclature Reich can prove that psychoanalysis reflects the objective-dialectical natural processes correctly. He opposes the assertion that psychoanalysis is "idealistic" and argues that, quite to the contrary, it can, e.g., explain how the economic substructure is connected with the ideological superstructure concretely and how the ideology of society anchors itself in the individual - via the superego formed inside the patriarchical family. Thus down to the last detail Reich can explain exactly how the ideology of the ruling class settles down in every single member of class society.

Together with Communist physician Marie Frischauf-Pappenheim (born 1882) and six other colleagues Reich founds the "Socialist Association for Sex Counseling and Sex Research" with its six sex-hygienic advice centers. For the first time the problem of neurosis is dealt with as a problem of the masses.



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Reich defines "character" in terms of the typical reactions of the ego towards id and outer world (and thus towards the later superego). The character serves the avoidance of real-anxiety and the absorption of stasis-anxiety. Health and sickness as well as kind of character are determined by the drives which are spend in the formation of the character - in distinction to those which are available for drive satisfaction. The historical, qualitative formation of the character determines the current, quantitative: either the stasis is genital-orgastically discharged, if there is a genital character structure, or the character is pre-genitally determined and stasis continues. In contrast to the neurotic character, the genital character has his armor free at his disposal, i.e., in one situation he can surrender completely while in another he can just as well close his heart and mind. The neurotic character has an unchanging rigid armor because his ego has to defend itself against the constantly unsatisfied id and against the brutal moralistic superego. In the genital character orgastic satisfaction and sublimation complement each other because, temporarily, sexual images are not charged libidinously. In the neurotic character this corresponds to reaction formation which absorbs the libido stasis. At the bottom of the neurotic character is the "neurotic reaction basis," i.e., the totality of all character traits which shall use up libido stasis and absorb stasis anxiety. If this fails it comes to neurotic symptoms. Reich stresses that one cannot infer the character from neurotic symptoms since they can correspond to a defense against "surplus" anxiety from other libido stages than those which form the basis of the character traits.

In his description Reich refers to the armor of inorganic material of certain protozoa, like radiolaria, which protects the plasma against the outer world. At the same time he also speaks about "imperialistic wars and class struggles" as the social wellspring of real-anxiety. This signifies the two fields, biology and sociology, into which Reich wants to extend psychoanalysis.

Sexualerregung und Sexualbefriedigung, Reich's sex education brochure for the youth, appears. It provides a direct impression of his sex-political consultation work in Viennese working-class areas. He attacks the suppression of juvenile sexuality, double standards, and compulsive marriage and shows that sexual suppression arises from the interests of the propertied classes to domesticate the working people. Sexual misery and capitalist economics are linked inseparably. Compulsive marriage shall prevent the splintering of the control over the means of production, shall protect the breeding woman, and as an "ideology factory" shall form the character of the children. The prerequisite of marriage is suppression of extra- and premarital sexual life from infancy to youth. This is the background of sexual suppression issued by the propertied classes. For Reich sex education has mainly a political function, i.e., it is instrumental in destabilizing the capitalist system. Only then, after the barrier is removed, one can start to work as a physician according to the true duties of the medical profession. Therefore Reich at this time is a "politician," even forming the subversive Communist pressure group "Committee of Revolutionary Social Democratic Workers" inside the Social-Democratic Party of Austria, not although but because he is a physician! For him the "socialist physician" is nothing but the responsible physician whom the restrictions of individual therapy force into political commitment.

He undertakes a study tour to the Soviet Union.



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Reich believes he can answer Freud's question exactly how repressed infantile material survives: by the infantile kind of reaction which has become chronic and therefore is still functioning. Even when the contents, e.g., the oedipal complex, no longer exist one can reconstruct them from the form of the reaction. In this manner Reich makes the illusive unconscious tangible scientifically. Freud found that the oedipal complex perishes of the castration anxiety. Now Reich believes that it newly arises in form of characterological reactions which continue it in disguise, or which are reaction formations against it, while in the genital character it is finished by energy withdrawal. Therefore any character formation is the result of the perishing of the oedipal complex. Armoring of the ego takes place due to punishment anxiety. Aggression turns against the ego itself and the aggression thus bound inhibits somatic motor activity. The armor gets its meaningful content by identification of the ego with the refusing parent. The circumstances of coming to terms with the oedipal complex determine the kind of character.

At the Vienna congress of the "World League for Sexual Reform" Reich describes his work in the sex counseling centers. At the beginning he criticizes that in the announcement of the congress the scientific foundation of sexual reform was emphasized as if this is no matter of course. Obviously they wanted to stress the contrast to the political. But, Reich argues, one has to act according to the scientific results and so comes about the question whether sexual reform is possible under current social circumstances. The very nature of sexual reform leads into politics directly - if one takes science seriously. For example the prophylaxis of neurosis begins by replacing parental by collectivist education.

His book Geschlechtsreife, Enthaltsamkeit, Ehemoral appears. It is the first attempt to draw on psychoanalysis for Marxist criticism of bourgeois sexual order. Just as the sharpening economic conflicts are breaking up class society the same occurs with the sexual conflicts. Marxism and sexology are each the ideological expression of these crises. In this respect bourgeois sexual reform has failed miserably, e.g., it has never freed itself from the confines of marital morality. The assessment of family is absolutely the ideological criterion. To the efforts of ideologically correct sexual reformers like Max Hodann, Magnus Hirschfeld, Fritz Brupbacher, and Friedrich Wolff, who pay attention to housing problems, abortion, and matrimonial law Reich has, according to his own declaration, hardly anything to add. Original is his view from the psychoanalytic clinic, revolving around sexual needs and the psychological and ideological consequences of their suppression.

In autumn Reich moves to Berlin where he has psychoanalysis with Sandor Rado. As in Vienna also in Berlin, Reich organizes a Technical Seminar. In November Reich reads Malinowski's The Sexual Life of Savages. Malinowski could prove that without sexual restriction there are no neuroses and perversions. This becomes, e.g., evident by the fact that with the spread of Christian mission symptoms like homosexuality occur. Reich stresses Malinowski's in-depth analysis of the economics of matriarchal society, i.e., of the "substructure" with which Malinowski explains the morals and customs of the primitives. In this manner his work is a direct continuation and confirmation of L.H. Morgan's Ancient Society and Friedrich Engel's The Origin of the Family. According to Reich Malinowski's approach stands out pleasantly against other psychoanalytically influenced ethnology where pure interpretation technique predominates without consideration of economic circumstances.



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Reich deals with masochism. Originally the organism only knows the one striving of discharging inner excitations. Therefore the basic conflict between pleasure ego and outer world. Its psychological reflection is the contrast between sexual excitation and anxiety. With the formation of musculature there also occurs flight from as well as destruction of the hazard. Since the outer world does not only suppress libidinous strivings but destructive strivings as well the "destructive impulse" can turn against itself, too. In this way Reich reduces masochism to the basic conflict mentioned instead of the contrast of "eros vs. death instinct." Some analysts try to explain the death instinct by referring to life restricting products of assimilating life processes but Reich replies that here is no drive but only inhibition.

Within the pleasure principle Freud had no answer to the problem how a drive for pain is possible and therefore spoke of "primary masochism" as an expression of the death instinct. Reich found that self-abasement is a protective mechanism against the castration treat, self-torture has the function of putting a milder punishment against the feared castration, and in the fantasy of being beaten up not pain is the goal but being freed from inner excitation caught up in spastic armoring. Achieving relaxation would activate unbearable guilt feelings. Violence from without shall bring the masochist to a "bursting." This bursting is feared as well as yearned for. The masochist strives for pleasure but always meets pain. For the observer this looks as if he strives for pain.

Reich writes the manuscript of Der Einbruch der Sexualmoral about the Trobriand Islanders as an example of a genital people. What happens apart from a secure sex-economy is insignificant for Reich, but all other investigators had concentrated on that exclusively. Reich concedes that also the Trobriand Islanders suffer from psychological conflicts but they are restricted, e.g., unhappy infatuation does occur yet does not last long. Trobriand society is not the perfect example for health, anyway, because it is a society in transition from matriarchy to patriarchy. This revolves around the economic mechanism of dowry given by the relatives of the wife to the husband. Therefore the male has, in contrast to the female, an economic interest in compulsive marriage and a contradiction develops between passing sexual and lasting economical interests. The chief is polygamous and correspondingly gets more dowry. To be able to accumulate it he marries his son to the daughter of his sister in a "cross-cousin marriage." Due to his economic power constantly increasing he had only to make his son his legal heir and matriarchy would finally change into patriarchy. To secure the economically lucrative marriage the children concerned are brought up for pre-marital chastity. Reich tries to prove that the dowry-mechanism is an universal phenomenon. With this he corrects Engel's theory about the transition from primal matriarchy to patriarchy, i.e., the accumulation of wealth by tributes to the chief already begins before the formal introduction of patriarchy.

Reich establishes the German "Sexpol." This "Unified Association for Proletarian Sexual Reform" he sets up under the auspices of cultural front organizations of the Communist Party of Germany. In his work with the masses he tries to dodge neurotic resistance and counter individual moralistic inhibition by the collective atmosphere of sexual affirmation in mass meetings. Thus, in a way, he is the very founder of group therapy.



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From his previous articles and lectures on character analysis Reich compiles his long announced book Charakteranalyse. The only new part is his rudimentary characterology. The specific relationships between outer appearance, inner structure, and genesis are shown for the hysteric, the compulsive, and the phallic-narcissistic characters each. Typical for the hysterical character is importunate sexuality which contrasts with marked timidity. This is based on genital-incestuous fixation. In the oedipal phase genitality developed but was connected with anxiety. Facial expression and pace of the compulsive character are the very opposite of the hysteric, i.e., heavy and oppressive. His hesitation, doubt, and brooding derive from infantile anal erotism respectively is a reaction formation against it. In the genesis of this character the phallic phase was activated but due to harsh parents it came to a regression to the anal stage. The phallic-narcissistic character is a formation between the hysteric and the compulsive character. He is arrogant and often sadistic. The ego identifies with the erected phallus which becomes an instrument of revenge for the disappointment he suffered from his mother at the phallic stage. The aggressive behavior is a defense against a threatening regression to the passive and anal.

In the wake of biologist Max Hartmann, Reich describes the biological origins of the drives as follows: The disturbance of the physio-chemical equilibrium is the motor of acting and "trial acting," i.e., thinking. There are two kinds of this disturbance, leading to the drives of hunger or sexuality. The loss of tissue fluid leads to shrinking and reduction of surface tension. This imbalance causes unpleasure undone by the intake of substances while the increase of tissue fluid leads to an increase of surface tension, turning into pleasure by the expulsion of substances. This explains the productive and sublimable nature of the sexual drive in contrast to the hunger drive.

In a neurological journal W. Misch and K. Misch-Frankl publish a paper influenced by Reich's work. Käthe Misch was a student of Reich's and worked in his sex-counseling centers. Anxiety neurosis, psychologically hardly accessible, one can approach with a somatic therapy because states of anxiety are characterized by sympatethicotonic excitation and peripheral vascular contraction against which one can apply choline preparations. It is decisive that with its application also psychological anxiety feelings suddenly disappear. According to the Mischs this observation confirms Reich's theory brought forward in 1927 in Die Funktion des Orgasmus about anxiety based on somatic libido stasis. Correspondingly in some of their cases they were able to remove anxiety lastingly by changing sexual behavior, e.g., coitus interruptus. For states of anxiety, which are deeper anchored psychologically, choline can contribute to make the patient accessible for psychotherapy.

Reich works on the manuscript of Die Massenpsychologie des Faschismus. The national-socialist rebellion gets its reactionary contents from the influence of the petty bourgeois family. This becomes evident, e.g., in its central ideology about the nordic, the "pure," and asexual in contrast to the sensuous-animalic foreign, "lower" races. His political activism Reich tallies with his scientific conscience as follows: Gaining knowledge has to be free from ideological guidelines whereas this knowledge has to be converted into political practice according to the pleasure-unpleasure principle. In contrast to this, the conservative ideologue, right from the start, ties the process of gaining knowledge to a supernatural "world of objective values." Bourgeois liberalism refuses to draw any connections between science and value judgements, at all.



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Early in March Reich escapes to Vienna and in early May to Copenhagen where he publishes Charakteranalyse. Like in epidemic control such studies are, he says, indispensable prerequisites for a systematic prophylaxis of neuroses. Therefore individual therapy is, in the first place, an instrument of research like the microscope of the bacteriologist.

But by now Reich's main concern is not the psychological but the biological functioning of man. He begins with a criticism of the mechanical theory of sexual tension and postulates an electrolytic current between the surfaces of penis and vagina. The involuntary muscle contractions accompanying the frictions Reich links with the "closing and opening convulsions" of Galvanic stimulation. The contact of the mucous membranes brings partial relaxation, their separation new tension. When these successive electrical stimulations become faster it finally comes to a tetanus, ebbing away in muscle clonisms which discharge the energy, built up by frictions. This constitutes the four beat of mechanical tension - electrical charge - electrical discharge - mechanical relaxation. Reich reasons that this formula may be the fundamental law of the living.

In October he publishes his Massenpsychologie des Faschismus. He attacks "vulgar Marxism" which does not think dialectic-materialistically when it infers the ideological superstructure straight from the economic substructure. It denies the gap between an economic development, pushing to the left, and the orientation to the right of big masses and thus leaves the "subjective factor" to the forces of reaction. According to sex-economic insight, while material need drives into rebellion, sexual misery hinders any kind of rebellion. One can explain rational behavior in socio-economic terms while a missing class consciousness one can explain sex-economically, only. For example one cannot undo religion by taking all power away from the church and by natural-scientific education alone but one also has to target the emotions which feed mysticism. In a new sex-economic order they will find an appropriate expression. A first step is the sex-political approach propagated by Reich. He created a "mass atmosphere" which bypasses the individual defense. The anti-sexual propaganda of the reactionary forces functions only as long as the hidden sex affirmation in the masses is not clearly crystallized. Against such a sex-political work, which also attracts groups otherwise closed to communist education, the reactionaries can accomplish nothing because they have nothing to offer in this field except suppression.

The Danish minister of justice denies the renewal of Reich's six-month tourist visa. At a protest meeting Reich explains that science does not float above reality, e.g., scientists are harassed by big and little politicians like those Danish colleagues who went to the police to have him expelled. The enemies of science, Reich equates with the enemies of the living. There are two sciences, the academic science lagging behind as, e.g., orthodox psychiatry and the science moving forward as, e.g., psychoanalysis. Reich's associates turn to Ernest Jones and Freud for statements to submit to the Danish authorities. Thereupon, while confirming Reich's status as a psychoanalyst, Freud criticizes Reich's ideological fixation which impedes his scientific work. Therefore he rejects any public backing of Reich. Early in December Reich has to leave Copenhagen. Searching for a new exile he travels through Europe.



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At the beginning of the year Reich settles in the Swedish small town Malmø where he can treat his Danish students. Under the pseudonym Ernst Parell he edits the Zeitschrift für Politische Psychologie und Sexualökonomie. By publishing scientific and political articles jointly, the reader shall get used to make connections between scientific and political problems. In Malmø Reich draws up his theory of the living by combining his orgasm theory with the work of internist Friedrich Kraus, physiologist L.R. Müller, and others. According to Kraus at the interfaces between circulating salt electrolytes and stationary colloid electrolytes electrical tensions develop. By their equalization electrical energy is transformed into mechanical energy. OH-ions lead to hydration and correspond to the parasympathetic, potassium, choline, lecithin reaction; H-ions lead to dehydration, corresponding to the sympathetic, calcium, adrenaline. Seen from the totality of the organism parasympathetic and sympathetic, including their equivalents, are functionally identical with expansion respectively contraction.

At the end of May, Reich's Swedish tourist visa expires. Again Freud refuses to speak up for Reich. Reich spends the summer illegally in Sletten, Denmark, giving lessons in character analysis. Early in August the German Psychoanalytic Society informs him that he is no longer a member but this is, they say, only a formal issue since he can become a member of the Scandinavian group. At the 13. International Psychoanalytic Congress in Lucerne, Switzerland, end of August, Reich is told that he was already expelled one year ago, indeed. Reich's followers give lectures in which they advocate Reich's theories without mentioning his name, initiating a tradition lasting until today. Reich is allowed to read his paper "Psychic Contact and Vegetative Streaming" as a guest.

The repressed and the defense form "a functional identity with simultaneous antagonism." Initially the defensive function of the drive has to be destroyed so that the drive can flow freely again. Only by this procedure one can reach the vegetative streaming. It comes to states of excitation and tension, to sensations of streaming and muscle twitches. Unfortunately treatment is more complex since the defense is interlocked, i.e., any warded off drive is again a defense against a deeper drive. After breaking up the functioning fabric of repressed and repressing a seemingly indissoluble portion remains of vegetative energy not freed, the psychological contactlessness. In between the repressing defense forces and the repressed demands forms a "psychological structural layer" of inner unconnectedness, explained by the equilibrium between the repressing and repressed forces stifling any motion. Therefore not only the change of function of the drive is part of the neurosis but also contactlessness. Vegetative contact is replaced by substitute contact which any fairly sensitive person recognizes by its falseness. It does not fit into the totality of the personality organically and strikes as disturbing.

Repression is functionally identical to muscular spasms which function to hinder the emotions of pleasure, anxiety, and rage, corresponding to energy streaming to the periphery, to the center, and to the skeletal musculature respectively. Every neurotic is muscularly distonic and each character type has its specific muscular armor.

From Lucerne Reich goes to Copenhagen. At the end of October professor Harold Schjelderup, a student of Reich's, enables him to move to Oslo, Norway. There Reich lectures at the university about "The Theory of Drives and Character Analysis."



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Sex-economy is not a synthesis of Freud and Marx since its core, the theory of the orgasm as the "primary function of the vegetative apparatus," lies outside of the domains of both Marxism and psychoanalysis. From Marxism sex-economy took the dialectic materialistic method of inquiry but for its application to the psychological and physiological realms it had to be remodeled by the formulation of simultaneous identity and antithesis. The psychoanalytical method had to be drastically transformed into "character-analytic vegetotherapy." Similar to the old character-analytic procedure inhibitions of the excitation are made conscious and unmasked as defenses. In this way infantile recollections appear spontaneously, making the inhibitions understandable psychologically. Therefore the unconscious has no longer to be reconstructed but becomes directly accessible since it is concretely tangible by way of the "unconscious" muscular spasms. They are dissolved systematically, starting with the "respiratory block." The contraction of abdomen, diaphragm, and pelvic floor jointly restrict the plexus solaris, the central generator of vegetative energy. In the course of the systematic removal of muscular armoring the single convulsions of de-armored body segments finally unite to a total convulsion, Reich calls the "orgasm reflex" because it also appears during orgasm.

The unity of organismic functioning in the orgasm reflex suggests that the vegetative nervous system does not only pass information about sympathetic contraction and parasympathetic expansion but is itself of pulsatile nature, representing the "amoeba in the metazoon." Reich's bio-electric experiments indicate to him that he can trust his subjective sensations on that score. The experiments show a correspondence between subjective sensations and objective measurements of vegetative functioning. The skin of a test person is scratched and an electrode is fixed which is connected with the amplifier tube of an oscillograph, the second electrode than can take measurements of the potential between the underside of the skin and its surface at any part of the body. The non-erogenous zones have a steady resting potential while at the erogenous zones the potential rise when pleasurably stimulated and drop when unpleasure is felt, corresponding to the charging respectively discharging of the periphery of the body. Particularly clear are the results Reich achieves by stimulating the tongue with sugar (pleasure) and salt (unpleasure). Here he finds that pleasure reactions proceed wavy while in unpleasure the curve sags evenly. The wave form corresponds to tension in the center preceding the further charging of the periphery of the organism. With getting used to the stimulation by the solutions the reactions become weaker. If one gives at first salt and then sugar also the later solution causes a sagging potential in a "disappointment reaction." A positive reaction to sugar occurs again only after about 30 to 60 minutes but it is still weak. In general Reich's experiments show that the bio-electric reactions not only depend on outer stimulation but also crucially on the emotional disposition of the organism.

To investigate orgastic excitation, i.e., the core of his theory, Reich develops an indirect kind of measurement since direct application of electrodes during genital intercourse is mechanically impossible. With this indirect measurement he can document friction fluctuations of a couple caressing and kissing each other. Yet the major experiment does not take place.



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By pointing out tension-charge processes in the three kinds of reproduction, Reich tries to prove that reproduction is just a function of sexuality. According to Max Hartmann's theory of "relative sexuality" morphologically identical but sexually differentiated gametes (e.g., of certain algae) have different "strengths" of female respectively male sexuality so that, e.g., "very female" and "less female" gametes mutually react like gametes of opposite sex. Reich explains this behavior with their opposite electrical charge, striving for reduction of electrical tension. A reduction of mechanical tension Reich describes for both budding and cell division where surface tension is reduced by distributing it between two bodies. This split of one organism into two occurs with orgastic convulsions.

Reich investigates the tension-charge formula by studying the reaction of protozoa to electrical currents after Hartmann. Besides investigating electrical charge, Reich also studies mechanical tension by soaking various substances with fluids. At first he observes exactly how protozoa develop in grass infusions. Vesicles separate from the grass fibers and form heaps surrounded by a membrane. If these inner vesicles get into circular motion and smaller vesicles organize to bigger vesicles the vesicular heap develops into a paramaecium; resting heaps, where the vesicles dissolve into a homogeneous mass, develop into amoeba limax; while vorticellae maintain the vesicular character.

Then Reich swells soil, coal, and soot in water, later in potassium chloride. After a few days he observes also, e.g., in the earth crystals a vesicular disintegration and the formation of plasma-like moving structures. To exclude spores he sterilizes the preparations by cooking, later by autoclavation at 120°C. He adds diluted gelatin by which groups of the vesicles become united to "pseudo amoebae" which can divide and "eat" by sucking in free floating vesicles. Yet, compared with the fluent motion of real amoebae, they move only jerky and also they have no inner plasma streaming. Therefore he adds to the original preparation substances representing the vegetative primary antithesis: lecithin (representing expansion) and cholesterin (representing contraction). Now the preparation is, due to the lecithin, full of hose-like figures changing form slowly. They become thicker, longer, they bend, budding and branching out occur. Clearly this is no organic but a purely mechanical motion. In the next step Reich adds egg white. It forms dividing and budding cells with nuclei. Then he adds gelatin after which amoeboid structures occur which are, compared with "pseudo amoebae," more delicately structuralized, show inner streamings, and move organically.

In this way Reich develops the final mixture "Preparation 6": to Ringer's solution and potassium chloride solution, diluted red gelatin is added, then coal dust and cholesterin crystals as well as egg white, milk, and egg yolk (later he foregoes milk and replaces Ringer's solution by meat bouillon). If one adds lecithin solution to this mixture life-like structures develop suddenly: circular nucleus-like vesicles, moving long rods, circular cells with nuclei, and crawling amoeboide structures. Reich calls these life-like entities "bions." He can show that these bions have an electrical charge, coming full circle with the beginning of his bion experiments.



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Electrically charged bions of Preparation 6 turn out to be culturable in various culture media. Weakly charged preparations grow worse than stronger charged ones while preparations without any electrical charge render no cultures. Later generations render much easier a growth which is more differentiated and alive. The culture media influence the kind of cultures, e.g., in bouillon rod-structures predominate, on agar cocci. After the cultivation of Preparation 6, Reich succeeds, although to a lesser extent, also in the cultivation of "un-mixed" bion preparations: To refute the theory of spores, once for all, he heats the materials used at 180°C in a dry sterilizer. If the thus obtained potassium chloride solution is colloid, if there is an electrical charge, and if the bions do appear alive under the microscope, he inoculates from the boiling solution into meat bouillon which is, after becoming turbid, further inoculated on agar culture medium, rendering a growth. Microscopic investigation show initially spore-like, later amoeboid structures. Finally it occurs to Reich to put incandescent coal and earth crystals into autoclaved bouillon and potassium chloride solution and thus to rule out any possibility of spores once for all, really. When the bouillon solution becomes cloudy he inoculates it on an egg-containing culture medium, after growths have formed he inoculates further on blood agar and agar where cultures develop likewise. He also succeeds in the cultivation of bions from sterilized blood charcoal.

Reich's cancer research starts as a branch of bion research. He examines cancerous tissue and comes to the conclusion that the cocci and rods, which one observes in cancerous tissue, are due to autoinfection and are the essential deadly agents of the disease. According to Reich cancer cells develop like protozoa in dried grass: at first the tissue looses tumescence, then it swells again, which leads to bionous disintegration and the subsequent formation of cancer cells. In autumn Reich discovers "T-bacilli" in sarcoma. They are particularly small, lance-shaped bions, showing zigzag movements. In contrast to the blue "PA-bions," which result from the vesicular disintegration of swelling matter, the T-bacilli appear black. The biological gram coloring reaction is negative (red) for T-bacilli, positive (blue) for PA-bions. He calls them "death-bacilli" (Todes-Bazillen) since he believes that they cause cancer, but then he finds them also in healthy blood. T-bacilli injected into lab mice make the mice either die after a day or they develop a carcinoma after approximately ten days. T-bacilli injected into the peritoneum subcutaneously cause destructive inflammations. By intravenous injection carcinoma can develop in any part of the body. As a control Reich injects bions made of incandescent soot which also causes cancer after approximately ten days. This is explainable since he finds that T-bacilli not only develop from the putrid decay of protein but also in preparations of coal bions. In vitro Reich demonstrates that carbon generates T-bacilli in blood. If one adds T-bacilli to filtrated blood serum, PA-bions form in an immunological reaction. Under the microscope he observes how PA-bions immobilize T-bacilli and destroy cancer-cells. In the following period he gives lab mice injections of PA-bions and T-bacilli, confirming in vivo his in vitro-observations. Mice injected with T-bacilli do not die when PA-bions are injected afterwards.



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Reich turns away from politics and formulates a concept of social self-regulation, so-called "work democracy," which functions without a political superstructure. He does no longer distinguish between capitalists and workers because also representatives of the former group may be absolutely essential for the process of work. Vital work has to be freed from non-vital unproductive work. Today the needs function for private profit-interests as well as for politics but, contrary to this, the needs should govern the economic system and politics should be determined by those who work for the satisfaction of those needs. For this purpose all professionals should get together in autonomous organizations. Actually some of these professional organizations are existing already. But the citizens are not conscious of the natural work connections of which they are an integral part. This has to be made conscious and brought to the surface of the social process in organized form, replacing politics. Professional work shall govern the social process, no longer mere political opinion. While today high politics and diplomacy are esteemed highly the practical vital work of the common man is despised. This grotesque relation has to be reversed. The professional workers are connected by their mutual professional dependence, only the politician stands outside of this network. But he of all people wants to govern everything from above while the professional worker knows from experience that he can judge only his own professional field. Just as Reich accepts in research only unbiased direct perception, for the social scene he also insists that only that person, who is an active part of the working process, can judge this process and therefore can also govern it. If all professional workers would take the work in their respective field seriously this would break up the current political system. Life has to be freed from politics. Love, work, and knowledge should be activated as the natural foundations of society, instead.

Reich is increasingly preoccupied with psychosomatic diseases he attributes to muscular armoring, like hypertension, muscular rheumatism, asthma, peptic ulcer, etc. The central focus of his attention is, of course, cancer. He believes that shallow breathing combined with the armoring of the respective part of the body leads to a local lack of oxygen and surplus of carbon in the tissue. The tissue disintegrates whereupon T-bacilli are formed. Then the actual cancer process sets in since now the tissue regenerates in a pathological manner which brings about the tumor. The T-bacilli are also responsible for metastases.

In his cancer mice Reich finds five stages in the development of cancer disease. Ca I: directly by T-bacilli, or indirectly by traumas or carcinogens - which secondarily cause the formation of T-bacilli by putrid tissue disintegration - swelling and bionous disintegration occurs as a defensive reaction of the tissue. Already in this pre-cancerous stage early diagnosis is possible. Ca II: a further pre-cancerous stage is acutely inflamed granulation tissue. Ca III: a cancerous stage is reached when there are chronically inflamed growths in which isolated club-shaped cells with flagellae appear. Ca IV: mature cancer cells are freely moving amoeboid cells which are short-lived and easily disintegrate into T-bacilli. Ca V: the final stage is putrid decay of cancer tissue and T-intoxication of the complete organism.

By the corresponding movement of, e.g., colpidia, which motion is an expression of the inner plasma-movement, Reich stumbles upon the problem of the spinning wave. Because of the origin of those colpidia in the (bionous) break up of matter Reich believes that their spinning wave motion through the solution represents Einstein's E = m c2. He reasons that his spinning wave theory solves many contradictions in physics.



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Early this year Reich discovers "orgone radiation" in "SAPA-bions" made from sea sand. Initially Reich believes the radiation is radioactivity. His eyes get inflamed from microscoping these bions. The radiation tickles the skin and reddens it within a few minutes. Within two weeks Reich develops a painful inflammation at a spot of his skin exposed to the radiation. He finds that the radiation blackens photographic plates through their wrapping. Under the microscope he observes how SAPA-bions kill cancer cells immediately as well as bacteria and T-bacilli. Lab mice and guinea pigs become irritated in the presence of SAPA-bion cultures. SAPA-bions make the air oppressive. Reich's oscillograph stops functioning suddenly and batteries loose their charge more rapidly. In a dark room he discovers in horror that his body emits a blue colored radiation. When the cultures are present one sees in the air of the dark room surging grey-blue clouds and blue-violet points with a spinning wave flight path. Hands, cotton, porcelain, and glass are surrounded by a pale grey-blue halo.

Reich experiments with the electroscope. The apparatus discharges more slowly in an atmosphere charged by SAPA-bions. If one brings the preparation very near to the receiving plate of the electroscope this causes a discharge, after removing the preparation the original charge returns. Highly charged hands render the same effect. During his experiments with the electroscope he realizes that the radiation is neither electricity nor magnetism. Sure, his instruments become magnetic when exposed to SAPA-cultures and rubber becomes charged, i.e., it reacts at the electroscope like being electrostatically charged, but on the other hand an electrical charge weakens an "orgonotic" charge and vice versa. In addition he finds that electrical isolators soak up orgone while metals repulse it immediately.

Reich believes that with the SAPA-bions he had freed solar energy. To check this he lays pieces of rubber into the sun which charges it just like SAPA-bions do. Using rubber he now tries to determine the orgonotic state of his patients. He lays pieces of rubber on the lower abdomen and the genitalia. Rubber from patients, who have good breathing and are vegetatively alive, charge up the electroscope. For irradiation he places all of his students and patients into a Faraday cage which is filled with SAPA-bion cultures. There they get giddy and sensations of electrical tension and headache occur. They all develop a "sun tan," in time.

In August Reich leaves Oslo and emigrates to New York. One month later he resumes his laboratory work in his new home in Forest Hills. Here he makes the first orgone therapy experiments on cancer mice by subcutaneous injections of SAPA-bions. He finds that the SAPA-bions charge up the blood orgonotically and that this blood is the actual healing agent of cancer. Accordingly in the Reich blood test (a) blood is tested to determine whether cultures of T-Bacilli form in bouillon; (b) blood is autoclaved by which healthy blood disintegrates into bions, sick blood into t-bacilli; and (c) the bionous break-down of blood in physiological salt solution is observed, the faster the blood disintegrates the biological weaker it is.

last update
May 22, 2007



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