May 2013 Update
The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
& The Wilhelm Reich Museum
We thank you for your continual interest and support. For newcomers to our e-mail Update list, none of the names on this list--nor the names of any Museum visitors, conference attendees or bookstore customers--are shared with any other individuals or organizations. If at any time you wish to be removed from this list, please let us know.
Our previous Update (from 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 (60 of them) provide the best contemporaneous accounts of the Trust's ongoing activities over the past six years.
This Summer at Orgonon
An Ill Breeze from the Pyrenees
Assignments in the Reich College Course
Rental Cottages at Orgonon
Reich's Be Converted to E-Book
Quotes for the "Trail of Thoughts"
Goodsearch: A Means to Donate to the Trust
A QUOTE FROM REICH
We always recommend that people read Reich's own words for the facts about his thoughts, his work and his life, rather than the unreliable and oftentimes moronic narratives and misguided opinions being purveyed as facts that we see on the Internet;
in poorly researched films, books, articles and exhibits; and from other dubious sources.
While Reich's 1948 book The Cancer Biopathy is the most comprehensive account of his cancer research from the 1930s to 1947, some of his subsequent articles document his continuing cancer research, with valuable and concise descriptions of this work.
This is from "The Leukemia Problem: Approach" (Orgone Energy Bulletin, April 1951):
"In Ca [cancer] it had been established beyond any shadow of a doubt that the formation of protozoal Ca cells in tissues was itself a secondary process, a reaction, as it were, to a deeper and more basic disease process.
At the core of this primary disease process, orgonomic Ca research found a general weakness of a bio-energy, a low charge and continuous loss of bio-energy in the tissues and the RBC [red blood cells], or most outspoken in certain localizations, usually where muscular armoring and blocking of movement of bio-energy had choked off normal tissue functioning and blood circulation.
Before Ca cells developed, which usually happens late in the total Ca process, there was at work for many years, more often for decades, a slow dying process, a decay and putrefaction of tissues and blood due to characterological, bio-energetic withdrawal and resignation and to putrefaction.
The so-called T-bacillus, which gained much overall importance in the understanding of the Ca process as the years passed by, can be obtained from any kind of tissue or protein through degeneration and putrefaction. It is now this 'T-REACTION' which provokes the development of PA [packet shaped] bions from which in turn Ca cells arise.
Thus, in the last analysis, the Ca cell itself is a RESULT rather than a cause of the Ca process, though, it is also true that the Ca cells through rapid growth, infiltration of organs, and consecutive decay enhance
the dying process."
THIS SUMMER AT ORGONON: DESIGNING A "KICKSTARTER" FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN FOR THE REICH DOCUMENTARY
Last summer, in lieu of a conference, we decided that a better use of our time would be a small gathering of academics to create a syllabus for a college course on Reich.
And this July, instead of a conference, we've opted to convene a small working group to lay the groundwork for major "crowdfunding" efforts for our documentary film on Reich.
It is unfortunate for historic truth that in over 40 years not a single filmmaker has ever produced a coherent, factually accurate narrative of Reich.
All film depictions of Reich to date--whether favorable or unfavorable--are permeated with inexcusable factual distortions, so-called "expert opinions" and "interpretations", self-proclaimed "heirs to Reich", and reckless artistic license.
It's time, at long last, for the grown-ups to step in: people who've spent years in honest research and scholarship, whose goal is neither to diminish nor deify Reich, but simply to produce an intellectually truthful documentary film that is accessible to a broad audience and that can be a learning tool for future students, teachers, scientists and physicians.
How sadly ironic that filmmakers with the least knowledge of Reich--and who've done the least amount of bona fide research--have raditionally been able to find interest and funds for their projects (see the next item), thus adding to the misrepresentations of Reich.
While we continue to explore conventional financial sources for our film, "crowdfunding" presents a myriad of opportunities. And www.kickstarter.com has proven to be one of the most successful "crowdfunding" platforms. In July we'll be discussing the requirements and logistics of a Kickstarter effort to be launched once the film scripting is complete.
AN ILL BREEZE FROM THE PYRENEES
In January we received an e-mail from a young woman who described herself and her colleagues as "art researchers" who were doing a documentary film on Reich, funded by a department of the Basque government.
She announced that they would be in Rangeley for a full week in February and would arrive at Orgonon to film on the property and in the museum, and to conduct on-camera interviews with us. She did not ask if they could film the property, the museum and us--she simply told us this is what they would be doing.
Our e-mail response to her was cordial and direct:
"We are currently researching/writing/preparing a full-length factually accurate documentary about Reich's life and work, based on Reich's publications, unpublished archival materials, files from the U.S. government (State Department, FBI, Immigration & Naturalization,
and Food & Drug Administration), and other credible primary sources.
And all of the Trust's numerous resources--its property, the museum, exhibits, objects; Reich's publications; Reich's archives, etc.)--are being devoted to this documentary and no other. So at this time, we are not involving ourselves in anyone else's film projects.
The museum building is closed in the winter because of snow, low temperatures and high heating costs (the museum's regular hours are
in July, August, September). You are welcome to visit the property which is open daily to the public. But you will not be allowed to film anywhere on the property; and while we will be happy to meet you, we will not be granting any filmed interviews.
We apologize for the bluntness of this reply, but the documentary we are producing is now our most important project and we are devoting considerable time and effort to this endeavor.
The young lady e-mailed us and said she understood what we were telling her and that nonetheless they'd be making the trip to Rangeley. We agreed to meet with them for half an hour at a specific time on a specific day.
In February--on the day before our scheduled meeting--she and two young men were on Dodge Pond Road filming the property, which anyone is free to do from a public road. Then they came on to the property and up the driveway to the Conference & Office Building (formerly the Student Laboratory) where they filmed the building and its surroundings.
Next, they continued up the snow-covered driveway and were heading up the hill to the museum (the Orgone Energy Observatory) when our caretaker caught up with them. As one of the young men tried to conceal a video camera inside his coat, our caretaker asked them why they were on the property shooting footage. And the young women lied and said she had permission to do so. When our caretaker checked with us and learned that no such permission had been given, he asked them to leave the property.
The next day, they showed up at the office for our scheduled half-hour meeting, at which time we brandished printed copies of our e-mail exchanges from January and demanded an explanation for why they were on the property yesterday shooting footage and why they'd lied to our caretaker about having permission.
The young woman zigged and zagged and finally sagged, with a mix of more lies, excuses, claims of there being a "misunderstanding", and finally a sheepish apology.
But we've had so much experience with cajolers and connivers--especially filmmakers, artists and museum curators--that we don't hesitate to curtail any further contact so that we can get back to real work. Our half-hour meeting was over in five minutes.
WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS IN THE COLLEGE COURSE ABOUT REICH AT FRANKLIN & MARSHALL COLLEGE
In our January 2013 and February 2013 Updates, we presented the syllabus for a college class on Reich that is now being taught by science historian James E. Strick, Ph.D. as a full-credit, upper level course at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
The reading list is robust and these students do what most people fail to do: they get their information about Reich from reading and studying hundreds of pages of Reich's books, articles and research journals.
We've received positive feedback about the level of engagement and the quality of writing in this class, which included weekly "thought piece" assignments on the following topics:
- The Sexual Struggle of Youth (1931)
- The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933)
- "Psychic Contact and Vegetative Streaming" and the breakthrough into the biological
- Bio-electrical experiments
- Bion experiments
- Reich's ideas on "work democracy"
- Reich's experimental treatment of cancer, first using SAPA bion injections
and later using the orgone accumulator
- Orgonomic Infant Research Center
- The Oranur Experiment and cloudbusting
- Legal case against Reich and his "Response"
Equally robust are the exams in this class.
MIDTERM EXAM IN THE COLLEGE COURSE ON REICH
A. Short Answers/Definitions (Choose 8 for a total 40 points)
Orgastic potency. Libido. Character armoring. Muscular armoring. Orgasm anxiety. Sex-economy. Dialectical materialism. Principle of simultaneous identity & antithesis. Vegetative (autonomic) nervous system - sympathetic vs. parasympathetic. Basic antithesis of vegetative life. Reich's contribution to understanding otherwise arbitrary sympathetic/parasympathetic pattern (Bio-electrical Investigation, p. 65-67). Bions. T-bacilli. SAPA bions. Orgone energy and its properties.
B. Essays (Choose 2 for a total 60 points)
What evidence led Reich to his concept of "orgastic potency"? How did he defend it against objections by other psychoanalysts? Describe the path of research that led to his "orgasm formula". Relate his theory of masochism (explain it) to this chain of reasoning.
Describe the symptoms in Reich's patients that he described as "character armor" and as "muscular armor" (use cases from p. 319-21 and p. 324 of "Psychic Contact and Vegetative Streaming" and from chapter 7 of The Function of the Orgasm). How did these function as defenses?
Describe Reich's observations about contactlessness, vegetative streaming, and the orgasm reflex.
Discuss how muscular armoring and involuntary symptoms from its loosening led Reich more and more into biology and, eventually, to laboratory research in physiology. In parallel, describe how his "character analysis" developed into "character-analytic vegetotherapy," and describe how he sought to treat both character armor and muscular armor in a coordinated, unified way.
Describe Reich's development as a political, sociological, and anthropological thinker.
Include therapy vs. prevention for mass neuroses; the events of July 15-16, 1927; his engagement with Marx, Engels, Malinowski and the Trobriand Islanders; his September 1929 visit to the Soviet Union; his conflict with Freud and orthodox psychoanalysis over masochism; his SexPol organizing; his analysis of the mass psychology of fascism; the Marxist parties' rejection of his work; his critique of compulsive marriage; and his scathing 1935-36 critique of reactionary laws under Stalin in the Soviet Union.
Relate his ideas from Marx and Malinowski to his suggestion about "the lasting sexual relationship" in The Sexual Struggle of Youth (1931) and The Sexual Revolution (1936, English translation 1945).
Describe the experimental question Reich set out to answer in the bio-electric experiments of 1935-37 and why he thought libido was likely to be bio-electricity.
Describe his experimental methods (including controls) and the main findings of the experiments, i.e., erogenous zones vs. the rest of skin, resting potential vs. variation on the spectrum from catatonics to vegetatively lively people (and with muscular armoring generally). How was this last item confirmed via measurements with an electroscope?
Describe the results from the tongue, genitals in different states of emotion, palms of hands, as well as the indirect measurements on kissing.
Describe the relationship between the subjective reporting of feelings by the experimental subject and what was simultaneously recorded on the graph in a separate room.
Describe the role of the variable "state of readiness" of the organ to respond and what Reich says about its implications for human relationships.
Describe the bion experiments and the key findings. What specialized equipment and techniques were crucial? Why are the results controversial from the point of view of biological theory? What other possible motives exist for Reich's opponents in the ensuing controversy?
How did these experiments lead to the discovery of orgone energy? What unusual biological effects and properties did this energy possess that led Reich to conclude it is different from electromagnetic energy?
A PERFECT WAY TO SUPPORT US: RENTING OUR COTTAGES AS YOUR SUMMER GETAWAY
With summer coming, are you looking for a peaceful, reasonably priced get-away?
Our two furnished housekeeping cottages--available year round--offer quiet, seclusion and access to the shores of Dodge Pond, with a private dock for each cottage. Perfect for sunbathing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
And because these two cottage rentals have become an important source of income for the Trust, what a great way for you to support, in a practical way, all that we do. Please have a look at our cottages.
The smaller cottage we call "Bunchberry"--after the prolific, indigenous bunchberry plant --was originally built by Reich in the 1940s as a study. At that time while in the Rangeley area, he and his family resided at his cabin on Mooselookmeguntic Lake several miles to the west, and Reich would retreat to this study on the property he'd bought in 1942.
The other cottage that we call "Tamarack"--after one of our native trees--was built a few years after Bunchberry, is substantially larger, and provided living quarters for Reich and his family. In his writings and audio recordings, he refers to it as the "Lower Cabin" because of its location near Orgonon's south property line.
For more information, call (207) 864-3443 or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A GREAT WAY TO ENJOY THE RANGELEY LAKES REGION
Both cottages are located on the west shore of Dodge Pond with convenient access to all that the Rangeley Lakes Region has to offer:
- Easy access to the six Rangeley Lakes--Rangeley, Mooselookmeguntic, Cupsuptic, Upper Richardson, Lower Richardson, Umbagog--plus the
Cupsuptic River, Kennebago River and Kennebago Lake.
These waters offer some of the best fishing in the state of Maine, as well
as terrific canoeing, kayaking and swimming.
- 3.5 miles to Rangeley Village, where there is ample dining and shopping.
- Less than 10 miles to the Appalachian Trail, plus access to other trails closer to Rangeley.
- 10 miles to the Saddleback Mountain Ski & Recreation Area.
- Deer, moose, eagles and many small animals frequent the area.
- And the unforgettable voices of the loons can be heard daily on Dodge Pond.
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!
REICH'S BOOKS NOW BEING CONVERTED TO E-BOOKS
In March--following up on earlier discussions with our publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux --we asked FS&G about the status of converting Reich's titles to e-books. And in April we received a reply from one of FS&G's staff associate publishers.
She wrote, "You had asked, some time ago, about the delay in getting e-book editions of some of Wilhelm Reich's earlier works onto the Kindle. The digital department has just gotten back to me, and I can confirm that they're now in the process of converting all of Reich's titles into e-pub files, suitable for digital download."
We'll keep you informed about the status of these e-book editions.
QUOTES FOR THE "TRAIL OF THOUGHTS" AT ORGONON
For many years one of our forest trails at Orgonon--the Trail of Thoughts--has featured posted quotations about nature written by various notable people. As we now refurbish this trail, we think it's appropriate that all of the posted quotations are Reich's. So if you have a favorite quote from Reich that you think would be good for our Trail of Thoughts, please send it to us at: email@example.com.
GOODSEARCH: A PAINLESS WAY FOR ANYONE TO DONATE TO THE TRUST
The fact is anyone can easily support the Trust. We often tell people, "You don't have to be a doctor, scientist, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, professor, teacher, or rich person to help preserve, disseminate and advance Reich's legacy. In-kind services or financial contributions--no matter what the amount--are valuable ways to sustain our efforts."
And two years ago, several supporters told us that they were supporting us through their online shopping purchases at: www.Goodsearch.com.
Thousands of online stores are listed on the www.Goodsearch.com website. And on the site's Homepage are easy-to-follow directions for identifying your "cause" and for registering to have a percentage of your online purchases donated to your "cause." Depending on the specific store, the percentage of your purchase that will be donated to your "cause" can range from .5% to 8%.
The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust has registered as a recipient for Goodsearch donations. So if you shop online and you'd like to make us your cause, visit www.Goodsearch.com:
- In the box labeled "My Cause," type in "Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust"
- Then register to raise money for your cause
- Then go shopping
UNTIL NEXT MONTH
Please share this Update with colleagues, friends, and family who may be interested
in the life and legacy of Wilhelm Reich and the good works of The Wilhelm Reich
Infant Trust and The Wilhelm Reich Museum. Thank you again for your friendship