What is Orgone Energy?
by Charles R. Kelley, from Orgone Website
|Charles R. “Chuck” Kelley, was the co-founder with his wife, Erica, of the Radix Institute and later,
Kelley/Radix Education in Feeling and Purpose.
He passed-away April 30, 2005. With his passing, the “Reichian Movement” lost one of its finest.
Reprinted from The Creative Process Vol. II Nos. 2&3 September 1962 by Charles R. Kelley – 1962
Introduction to “What is Orgone Energy?”
The Creative Process was the only journal in America in 1960-1965 devoted to developing Reich’s work.
The article WHAT IS ORGONE ENERGY? appeared in Volume 2. The article has been quoted, misquoted and plagiarized by other Reichian publications in the 37 years since it first appeared. Here it is reprinted as it appeared, with the exception that two figures from the original article depicting cloud destruction experiments with Reich’s apparatus could no longer be used.
The original plates and photographs deteriorated too much. A new Figure 2 from the same operation has been substituted.
Charles R. Kelley
Vancouver, Washington State, July 1999
What Is Orgone Energy?
|From a public lecture by the author on May 9, 1962, at the Hewitt Auditorium, Cooper Union, New York City. The lecture was the first of a series of six lectures entitled An Introduction to Orgonomy, which were sponsored by the Interscience Research Institute.|
- Franz Anton Mesmer called it animal magnetism
- Charles von Reichenbach called it odyle
- To Henri Bergson it was the elan vital, the “vital force”
- While to Hans Driesch it was the entelechy
- Sigmund Freud observed its functioning in human emotions and termed it libido
- William MacDougall, the great British – American psychologist of a generation ago, labeled it hormic energy
Dozens, if not hundreds, of lesser – known scientists have recognized its presence and have given it a name to characterize its special properties.
Among the 20th-century proponents of the concept are, for example, Doctors Charles Littlefield and his vital magnetism and George Starr White and his cosmo-electric energy. Mechanistic science in the 17th through 19th centuries embraced many of its essential qualities in the concept of the ether, while mystical human beings have embraced other essential qualities of it in the concept of god.
Orgone energy is Wilhelm Reich’s name for the substratum from which all nature is created. The best definition this author can provide for it is this: Orgone energy is the creative force in nature. This article will discuss briefly the history of the discovery of orgone energy by Reich and will describe its properties.
It will then summarize the evidence for and against the concept and, finally, will undertake to explain why it is that the concept meets such great resistance.
Reich’s Discovery of Orgone Energy
Orgone energy was originally discovered by Wilhelm Reich in his psychiatric work. As a psychoanalyst and student of Freud, Reich’s point of departure was, quite naturally, Freud’s concept of “libido. ”
“Libido” is life energy, desire, the source of human striving. Reich developed the libido concept, concentrating on its physical expression and simultaneous psychological content, until he was able to show the relation of bodily attitude and emotion. This he described in CHARACTER ANALYSIS, a book which went further than any work in history in solving the mystery of the relation’ of mind and body. In this great book Reich also described the mass pathology of the animal man. This pathology consists of a chronic rigidity of the musculature which blocks the movement of energy underlying emotion and hence blocks the emotion, thus providing the psychic or emotional underpinning of mankind’s universal sickness.
Reich’s initial work on orgone energy was done, then, in depth psychology. From this it spread, quite naturally, into sociology and political science, for Reich saw quite clearly that the sickness of man was socially or culturally transmitted. His books, THE MASS PSYCHOLOGY OF FASCISM, THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION and PEOPLE IN TROUBLE deal with this enlargement of his depth psychological discoveries to the social and political scene.
It was natural for a mind like Reich’s to generalize and deepen his understanding of libidinal energy, and as he did his medical work expanded beyond the field of psychiatry into more general areas of medicine and biology. The concept of libidinal energy developed into the more concrete concept of “bioelectricity,” which soon proved not to be electricity and in time was renamed “orgone energy.” Books dealing with this phase of Reich’s discoveries are THE FUNCTION OF THE ORGASM and THE CANCER BIOPATHY. These books constitute Volumes 1 and 2 of THE DISCOVERY OF THE ORGONE, Reich’s presentation to the world of the discovery of orgone energy.
Although orgone energy was first discovered in the human body, Reich learned through painstaking observation and experiment that it existed in free form in the atmosphere. With this finding, Reich’s work transcended the boundaries of biology and entered the realm of meteorology and atmospheric physics. These developments are described in THE CANCER BIOPATHY, THE ORANUR EXPERIMENT, and a series of articles which are covered under the general title of “weather control studies, ” published in scientific journals.
The final and most general stage of Reich Is discoveries was the cosmic function of orgone energy in the universe, and Reich here entered the realms of astronomy and astrophysics. Reich’s books dealing with this stage were COSMIC SUPERIMPOSITION and ETHER, GOD AND DEVIL.
As Reich progressed from the realm of psychiatry and medicine to biology, and from biology to physics, his concept of the energy which was the focus of all his scientific work retained its essential features. His understanding of the energy grew, and new properties were discovered, but the properties that had been discovered in the earlier, narrower realms remained true in the newer and broader ones. Through Reich’s work runs the remarkable “red thread,” the connectedness that shows each discovery to be a logical progression from the previous one, and each broader realm of nature studied to include the previous more restricted realm.
Reich did not set out to discover “cosmic” truth; he was never attempting to revolutionize scientific thought; he was not attempting to make “great” discoveries. Reich simply observed and experimented from day to day, setting down what he found, studying it honestly, and organizing the facts as they appeared, without forcing them into any pre -conceived framework. What he found was that the same energy which flowed in the sexual embrace was present in all nature, “living” and “non-living,” and that it governed the most significant and widespread natural functions.
Reich found that the same orgone energy underlay each of these classes of phenomena:
- Animal movement
3. Atmospheric and cosmic processes
- Atmospheric electricity
- Creation of matter at every scale (atom, planet, star, galaxy)
These three realms correspond to the sequence of Reich’s discoveries, from his beginning in psychiatry through biology to physics, each realm including the previous.
They are in inverse order with respect to our knowledge about them, however; for Reich explored the realm of psychiatry in breadth and depth, the broader realm of biology in a much more limited way, and only made a good start in his exploration of atmospheric and cosmic processes.
Properties of Orgone -Energy
Orgone energy, the creative force in nature, is not a form of electromagnetism nor of matter but is fundamental to both. It is the specific life energy, but life is only one particular manifestation of it. Our knowledge about it is partial and fragmentary in major respects, and is no doubt in some measure erroneous. Nevertheless, a clear and consistent picture of what orgone energy is and how it functions arises from Reich’s work.
The following ten properties of orgone energy were deduced by Reich.
It is mass free. Orgone energy itself has no inertia or weight; i. e., it is mass free. This is one of the reasons it is difficult to measure using conventional techniques. Mass is, however, intimately dependent on the characteristics of the mass-free orgone energy field with which all matter is surrounded. Measurements of weight or inertia reflect the characteristics of this field as well as of the object contained in it.
2. It is present everywhere. Orgone energy fills all space. It is present in differing degrees or concentrations (or “charges”) but is nowhere absent. It is present in vacua, whether within the atmosphere or in outer space. It is in this respect like the ether of pre-20th century physics.
3. It is the medium for electromagnetic and gravitational phenomena. Again, like the ether., orgone energy is the substratum of the most fundamental natural phenomena. It is the medium in which light moves and electromagnetic and gravitational fields exert force. One of the major tasks of orgonomy is to integrate our knowledge of orgone energy with the facts about those phenomena known to orthodox physics.
4. It is in constant motion. The continual motion of orgone energy can be observed under appropriate conditions. There are at least two characteristic types of motion, a pulsation or alternating expansion and contraction, and a flow, normally along a curving path.
5. It “contradicts” the law of entropy. Orgone energy is attracted to concentrations of orgone energy. Unlike heat or electricity, which always show a direction from higher to lower potential, orgone energy flows from lower orgonotic potential to higher. In a thermal system in which outside energy is neither added nor subtracted, heat is lost by hot objects or materials and absorbed by cool until everything within the system is the same temperature. “Entropy increases” as the heat is distributed more and more uniformly. Heat, after all, leaves the sun and goes out into space; it does not collect from space and flow into the sun. In the same way, a heater radiates heat into the room; heat does not flow from the room into the heater. These processes are in accordance with the law of entropy. Orgonotic processes work in the opposite direction. High concentrations of orgone energy attract orgone energy from their less-concentrated surroundings. “Entropy decreases” as orgone energy is distributed more and more unevenly.
It would be a mistake to think that the flow of orgone energy from lower to higher potential is only the reverse of the law of entropy or to try to represent these processes by thermodynamic equations by reversing the sign of the time parameter. Non-entropic orgonotic processes do not run their course mechanically; they are qualitatively entirely different from entropic processes. They are, in fact, the processes responsible for the growth of living things, for the process of learning, and for the evolution from simple to complex species. In non-living nature they are responsible for the growth of clouds and storms within the atmosphere, and on a cosmic scale, for the growth of galaxies and the stars within them. This leads into the next property of orgone energy.
6. It forms units which are the foci of creative activity, Orgone energy units may be living or
- bion cloud
- cell storm
- plant planet
- animal star
All of these orgone energy units have features in common. All are “negatively entropic” in the sense discussed above, so that they acquire energy from their environment. All have a “life cycle” as well, passing through birth, growth, maturity, and decline.
7. Matter is created from it. Under appropriate conditions, matter arises from mass-free orgone energy. These conditions are not rare or unusual, and Reich believed that new matter is continuously being created on this planet.
8. It is responsible for life. Orgone energy is the life energy, and as such is responsible for the special characteristics which differentiate living from non-living. This can be expressed in this way: Some orgone energy units develop the special qualities associated with life, which is a kind of chain reaction of the creative process. The qualities which seem to me to typify living as opposed to non-living orgonotic units are:
a. Reproduction of similar units from one or two parents
b. Evolution of the units in the direction of higher development
c. Presence of consciousness, the ability to experience feeling, at least to some extent, and to perceive the environment
d. Presence of volition, the ability of an individual to control its own movement
The first two properties appear to apply to all living things. The last, as far as we know, apply only to
Much more could be said about orgone energy and life since this subject has been studied most fully. For purposes of this synoptic view the above will suffice, however, with the note that Reich has greatly elaborated the role of orgone energy in the phenomena of life.
9. Separate streams of orgone energy may be attracted to each other and superimpose. The superimposition function is the fundamental form of the creative process. In free space, superimposing orgone energy streams typically show the form of two streams of energy converging in a spiral. This form is most clearly seen in spiral galaxies, and also in the form of hurricanes and other cyclonic storms. At the opposite end of the scale of sizes, mass particles are created by superimposition of two tiny streams of energy. The same process occurs in living organisms, the form then being constrained, of course, by the structure of the individual involved. Mating is a principal expression of the superimposition function in living nature; two separate streams of energy flow together and superimpose during the orgasm. The power and depth of feeling in mating reflects the intensity of the orgone energy flow that takes place.
10. It can be manipulated and controlled by orgone energy devices. Perhaps the first orgone energy device was the “bacquet” of Mesmer, a crude but apparently effective form of orgone energy accumulator. Reich developed several devices for the control of orgone energy. The best known of these is the orgone energy accumulator. The accumulator is an enclosure formed by a layered arrangement of metallic and non-metallic materials which result in a concentration of energy within the enclosure. Of equal significance is Reich’s weather control apparatus, a type of directional antenna that makes it possible to withdraw large amounts of orgone energy from a region of the atmosphere. Used properly, this apparatus can trigger large changes in the weather.
To the above ten properties of orgone energy which Reich described, I would add two others.
11. Orgone energy units “use” stored energy of various kinds in the creative process. Units of orgone energy utilize energy which is stored in various ways in building themselves up and in maintaining or increasing their size or strength. This is most clearly true of animals utilizing chemical energy of foods in metabolism and growth. Storms, which are also orgone energy systems, utilize the latent heat of condensation of water vapor as a source of stored energy. Stars may employ the heat of thermonuclear fusion in maintaining their high temperatures, although I have reservations as to whether the fusion reaction plays the key role in stellar processes that today’s astronomers believe. Fifty years ago an entirely different explanation was given by astronomers for the source of stellar heat, and fifty years from now still another may be in vogue. In any case, it is evident that orgone energy processe’s typically involve stored energy which is used in various ways in the service of the creative process.
12. “Spontaneous generation” and other orgonotic processes may require unimpeded contact with cosmic orgone energy streams.”Spontaneous generation” of living organisms seldom occurs under the laboratory conditions biological scientists impose, but these conditions are completely abnormal and foreign to nature. Life can and does continuously arise out of non-living matter under more natural conditions. This process has been described in detail by Reich. I believe an essential feature of these natural conditions may be the direct contact of the matter in which life is to develop with cosmic orgone streams. Protozoa seldom appear spontaneously in infusions which are both sterilized and enclosed in sealed containers, for example. They do appear regularly in these same solutions, sterilized and kept uncontaminated but unsealed.
Evidence for and against Orgone Energy
The evidence for orgone energy, that is to say, the evidence that there is a special energy in nature with properties such as Reich described, is too extensive to be reviewed adequately in an article such as this.
Consider these major English language publications:
- CHARACTER ANALYSIS
- THE FUNCTION OF THE ORGASM
- THE CANCER BIOPATHY
- ETHER,, GOD AND DEVIL
- COSMIC SUPERIMPOSITION
- THE MURDER OF CHRIST
- CONTACT WITH SPACE
Scientific Journals in Orgonomy:
- ORGONE ENERGY BULLETIN and CORE (seven volumes)
- ANNALS OF THE ORGONE INSTITUTE (one volume)
- ORGONOMIC MEDICINE (one volume)
- ORGONOMIC FUNCTIONALISM (seven volumes)
- THE CREATIVE PROCESS (one volume)
- Kelley, C. R. A NEW METHOD OF WEATHER CONTROL
These twenty-nine-plus volumes are a partial list of publications primarily devoted to observational and experimental work with orgone energy as such.
To it should be added major antecedent works of others which provide direct evidence of a special energy with the properties that have been described. This includes especially the works of Mesmer, Reichenbach (who published volumes of good experimental studies), the works of the “traditional” vitalists such as Bergson and Driesch, the more recent work of Charles Littlefield, George Starr White, and others too numerous to mention.
If a listing were attempted of all major works of this sort, it would require months of research just to compile, and the list itself would be many pages in length, for there are hundreds of such works in existence.
Since it is not possible to review even a substantial part of the existing evidence, I will select five items which are of particular significance to me.
One of Reich’s most significant experiments was his “Experiment XX.” This experiment concerns the transition from non-living to living matter. Experiment XX is done with clear “bion” water, an orgone energy-charged water obtained by mixing and boiling water and soil and filtering the solution.
This clear solution is sterilized under pressure and kept in sterile containers, some of which are frozen. On thawing, these still sterile solutions show flakes of matter, which upon microscopic examination contain forms with the characteristics of living cells; i. e. , pulsation, spontaneous movement, and reproduction. Experiment XX has been repeated successfully by many individuals, including the biologist Dr. Bernard Grad of McGill University.
Dr. Grad, after carefully confirming Reich’s results in several separate containers of the sterile solution, wrote:
Reich, in his monumental book, THE CANCER BIOPATHY, presented for the first time in history of science unequivocal evidence for the fact that living forms can develop from clear and autoclaved solutions. (Grad, Bernard. Wilhelm Reich’s Experiment XX. CORE, Vol. VII (3 and 4). 130-143.)
Dr. Grad’s article includes photographs of the living forms resulting from his repetition of Experiment XX.
Another of Reich Is remarkable experiments involved the introduction of nuclear energy in the form of radioactive material into strong fields of orgone energy. (Reich, Wilhelm. The Oranur Experiment. Orgone Energy Bulletin, Vol. 3 (4), 185-344, October,1951.)
The result was an extraordinarily severe widespread atmospheric reaction that, once started, raged out of control for months. It resulted in a dangerous increase in the “background” radiation level, as measured by several different Geiger counters, over an area thousands of times greater than the area affected by the relatively small amounts of radioactive material the experiment involved.
Experimental animals housed in a separate building from the laboratory in which the experiment was conducted and far beyond the range of possible harm from the radioactive material in itself died, every one of them. Autopsies performed by physicians present (and there were several present throughout the experiment) showed unmistakably the symptoms of radiation death. People became ill from the experiment and had to leave the area, and one physician nearly died.
This experiment provides evidence of orgone energy that appears to me to be irrefutable for these reasons:
1. The experimental evidence was gathered, not by one, but by several well-qualified scientists of unquestionable integrity
2. The results showed a fully consistent picture of subjective effects, objective biological effects, and measurements employing several physical instruments
3. Observations of each kind were many and repeated
4. The results are completely inexplicable in terms of traditional physics
Additional evidence for orgone energy is the effect of the Reich weather control apparatus, the “cloudbuster” as he called it.
This apparatus is a kind of antenna, which, upon being grounded into water, is said to be capable of withdrawing orgone energy from the sky in the direction it is pointed. It was claimed by Reich that it could dissipate clouds by withdrawing energy from them. It was also claimed that the device could be used to trigger rainfall when none was expected and even to break droughts.
If these claims are true, Reich’s apparatus is surely one of the remarkable inventions of all time. Are they true? I believe that I am in an especially good position to evaluate these claims, because I was for nearly three years a weather forecaster in the Air Force and because I have worked experimentally with the Reich apparatus for many years.
The results of my experiments are perfectly clear; the Reich weather control apparatus does exactly what Reich claims it does. Clouds at which the antenna is pointed shrink and disappear from the sky, while comparable clouds selected as controls do not.
Figures 1 & 2 are representative of results that I have obtained again and again.
Effect of the Reich weather control apparatus on a small cumulus cloud. Time between frames: one minute. The black “X” designates the direction of the antenna at the beginning of the apparatus I use, (From a motion picture sequence)
A “before and after” picture of another experimental cloud destruction operation. The “X” shows the target of the cloudbuster at the outset. The lower picture is the same scene 10 minutes later.
More difficult than cloud destruction are rainmaking experiments. These require careful preparation, observation of conditions, and skilled use of the 1 antenna. Let me quote the results of my experimental rain-making operations. (Kelley, C. R. A New Method of Weather Control. Interscience Research Institute, 1961)
In the five experimental rain-making operations I carried out, unpredicted precipitation occurred within 36 hours in every case. These are my only rain-making operations, so the results cannot be attributed to the omission of negative instances. The operations were each timed to begin when rain was unexpected and unlikely.
A conservative estimate of the average probability of rain within 36 hours in the five cases is 0.25. This is to say that with the conditions that prevailed at the start of these operations, the chances against rain within 36 hours are estimated to be, on the average, three to one, had these operations not taken place or had the apparatus been ineffective. From this estimate it can be further calculated that if the apparatus were ineffective, the odds against rain occurring within 36 hours on all of the five operations are more than a thousand to one. (p = .255 < .001) It is extremely unlikely that unpredicted rain would have occurred on these five occasions unless the apparatus did work.
There are additional effects brought about by the weather control apparatus of equal value as evidence but more difficult to describe briefly. The sum total of the results is fairly described, I believe, as a powerful confirmation of Reich’s description of the effects of the apparatus, and its explanation in terms of orgone energy concepts.
The weather control results are utterly incomprehensible in terms of orthodox science.
Reich described many conditions under which orgone energy phenomena could be directly observed.
Darkroom observations are especially important, both of the energy field of the body (the “aura”) and of the effects of orgone energy devices. These take on special significance in the light of the extensive closely related darkroom observations reported more than 100 years ago by Baron Charles von Reichenbach, which formed much of the basis for his discovery of the “odyle” or “odic force.”
The “odyle” is identical in major respects to orgone energy, of course. These observations of Reichenbach and of Reich have never been explained in orthodox scientific terms.
Good darkroom observations are difficult, because ideally they require absolute blackness, and an observer with especially sensitive “night” vision, both conditions being harder to obtain than it might seem to the casual reader. However, daytime observations of orgone energy can be made much more easily. All that is required is a small telescope set up near an ocean or lake to look out parallel to the surface of the water between a few inches and a few feet above the water level.
The pulsatory movement of atmospheric orgone energy is usually easily observable. Exciting to watch, this phenomenon is completely unknown to orthodox science. It cannot be explained as an effect of wind, for it frequently has a direction cross or opposite to that of the surface wind. It forms an integral part of Reich’s theory of atmospheric processes.
Effects of the Orgone Accumulator
The final item of evidence has to do with the orgone energy accumulator, which has profound effects that have been reported in detail in the literature on orgonomy.
Temperature effects are a case in point. The temperature within the orgone accumulator tends to be slightly higher than that of the environment. Reich believed this finding to be of exceptional significance. I am even more impressed by the fact that the temperatures of individuals who sit in an orgone accumulator rise quite substantially. Paul and Jean Ritter report the results of 45 separate observations with nine different individuals as subjects.
They showed an average rise in temperature of .48 degrees Fahrenheit in consequence of sitting an average of approximately 40 minutes in an accumulator. Keeping subjects ignorant of the purpose of the experiment did not prevent the rise from occurring, but substituting a plain insulated box for the accumulator did. (1Ritter, Paul and Ritter, Jean. Experiments with the orgone accumulator. (undated) Nottingham, England: The Ritter Press, 7 Magdala Road.)
The rise in body temperature is understandable as the consequence of the body becoming charged to a higher orgone energy level by the accumulator.
This increased energy level can explain, not only the rise in temperature, but the other profound biological effects, including therapeutic effects, that have been repeatedly observed and carefully reported by capable, qualified research scientists and physicians.
The above five items of evidence have been of special significance to me.
They are only a fraction of the evidence that exists, as I pointed out. What now of the evidence against the existence of orgone energy? What has traditional science done to refute or cast doubt on Reich Is claims? In the 20-plus years since Reich announced the discovery of orgone energy, no good-faith repetition of any critical orgone energy experiment has ever been published refuting Reich’s results.
Dr. Bernard Grad repeated and confirmed Reich’s “Experiment XX;” who has refuted it? I repeated and confirmed his weather control experiments; who has refuted these? The fact is, despite (and partly because) of the ridicule, defamation, and attempts by the orthodox to “bury” Reich and orgonomy, there is no counter evidence to his experiments in any scientific publication, much less a systematic refutation of the volumes of scientific work which support his position.
The “evidence” against orgone energy consists of distortions of facts, defamation, ridicule, and related activities the apparent motive for which has been to destroy Reich and orgonomy without examining the evidence.
This leads to the final and most difficult of my four subtopics.
Resistance to the Orgone Energy Concept
Perhaps the most perceptive of Reich’s insights was the realization that there are forces in human nature which blocked the discovery of orgone energy.
It is these forces which in the past distorted and then buried the work of men like Mesmer and Reichenbach. It is the same forces today which not only prevent the serious study by scientists of the concept of orgone energy, but in fact bring about attempts of every possible kind by a vicious minority to destroy the concept and those who support it. The pathological nature of these attacks is shown by their extraordinary and otherwise inexplicable
Orgone energy is not studied seriously by most scientists because scientists, like other people, suffer from the mass biological disorder which Reich described in detail, and which forms perhaps his greatest contribution to science.
The human race is sick en masse, severely sick. The Christian religion expresses an understanding of this sickness in the concept of original sin. If we examine the world around us, we see that it might easily be a world of plenty.
There are techniques and resources to satisfy nearly every human need, enough for every individual to lead a useful, happy, and productive life — yet this world is dominated by wars and threat of war, by irrational politics, in many countries taking the form of fascism in one form or another. Within countries crime and mental illness are prevalent; about one American in ten at one time or another spends time in an institution, and only a small percentage of those who are mentally ill ever reach an institution.
Man is sick en masse, and the sickness is rooted in his structure, a structure which, for some reason, has become biologically rigid. This rigidity is shown primarily by a chronic muscular tension which Reich called armor. Armor affects most of the human race throughout all the continents. The variations in type and degree of armoring are legion, but almost every human being is armored to some extent.
The effect of armor is to block or restrict the flow of orgone energy in the body, and in consequence, to block or limit the emotion rooted in this energy flow. Armor limits the capacity to experience and express deep feeling. It destroys the capacity for a natural sexuality, the most intense pleasurable emotion.
The armor shapes the character and mentality; it affects how people think, including how scientists think. Armor is the cause of psychosis, of crime, of fascism and of other political irrationality. It is the root of contradiction between mechanism and mysticism, which is so important to understanding resistance to the orgone energy concept.
Our civilization is rooted in mystical religion and mechanistic science. These together comprise the principal intellectual forces in the world we live in. Both of these forces are products of armored man. Reich has said that mankind is ruled by a contradictory and murderous mixture of machines and gods, by which he meant the mystical forces of religion and the mechanistic forces of science.
The mechanist armors himself in such a way that he cuts off his perception of and his contact with his own deepest nature. He becomes rigid and limited in his thought processes. He develops a mechanical concept of nature and becomes deterministic in his view of causality. He tends to think compulsively and has a deep-seated fear of the alive, the free, the spontaneously moving, the unpredictable, the deeply emotional. The mechanistic scientist reacts against orgone energy functions because they correspond to exactly that portion of nature that he has armored against.
For this reason, the mechanist forms a mechanical view of creation and of life.
The mystic, by contrast, is not completely cut off from his nature, from orgone energy phenomena within himself, but has distorted this contact because of his armor. The mystic is capable of achieving some great insights because he is in partial contact with his deepest nature; still his contact, especially his contact with his own body, is distorted, and in most cases, deeply distorted. The mystic tends to split off bodily love from the mental, the “spiritual, ” and often to become ascetic and anti-sexual.
This is perhaps the greatest tragedy of all, because it contributes the most to reproducing armor in the young.
A split perception of mind and body develops in the mystic, so that the mind seems to him capable of existing in nature in the absence of the body. Along with this the mystic tends to develop a magical view of causality. And the mystic, of course, forms a mystical or magical view of creation and life revolving about “spirit, ” or “god, ” which is out of contact with real physical processes. It is this view which the mystic finds most threatened by the concept of orgone energy.
Recognition of the real tangible creative process as expressed in orgone energy functions threatens the mystic’s concept of god as an intangible, essentially unknowable entity.
Figure 3 below, depicts the relation between mechanism, mysticism, and what Reich termed “orgonomic functionalism. ” Reich defined orgonomic functionalism as the natural way of thinking by the unarmored. The armor distorts natural thinking in the mechanistic or mystical direction. Both mechanistic and mystical thinking find functional thought processes foreign. Interestingly, mechanists are apt to regard them as mystical; mystics, as mechanistic.
This is a rather cursory treatment of mechanism and mysticism.
Reich discusses them in some detail in ETHER, GOD AND DEVIL and in THE MURDER OF CHRIST. Perhaps enough has been covered to show how predominant forces in our civilization are by their nature in opposition to the orgone energy concept. It will hardly be sufficient to show how deep-seated and powerful these forces are, nor to show the extreme hatred and fear that can arise from them; this is hard to believe until it is experienced personally, but to the skeptic, let me remind him that Reich’s publications were burned and banned on the flimsiest of pretexts by an agency of the United States Government, that Reich himself died in a United States prison although entirely innocent of wrong-doing, and that Reich and his work have always been subject to the most incredible attacks, involving defamation, vilification, and gross distortions of facts.
Not everyone, not even a majority react maliciously to the orgone energy concept.
In fact, most people don’t know enough about it to have an inkling of what it really is. Those threatened by the concept have largely succeeded in preventing others from investigating the evidence that exists about it. If the concept is sufficiently ridiculed and defamed, if the scientific reputations of those who support the concept are destroyed, if the work that has been carried out in the field is made to seem absurd and undeserving of serious study, then the concept of orgone energy can be carefully buried again, as it has been so many times in the past.
There is then no necessity for scientists to examine the evidence, to repeat the experiments, or to contend with the carefully thought out and consistent scientific writing the field contains.
There will always be “experts” who will lend their authority to the burial by declaring the work unworthy of serious consideration.
Matter is the primary realityMechanical view of creation
Life is a biological accident
Matter has always existed
or appears from nowhere
for no reason.
Emotion, volition, sensation
are inexplicable, or explicable
only as the results of material processes.MYSTICISM
Mind or spirit is the primary reality.Magical view of creation
Life and matter were created
by a superintelligence in an’
unobservable supernatural process.
Emotion, volition, sensation
are inexplicable or magically
The relation of mechanism, mysticism, and orgonomic functionalism. Armor causes functional thinking to split into two antithetical off shoots as shown. Human thought is almost completely dominated by these pathological offshoots.
“Mind and body” or “matter
and spirit” are different
aspects of one reality.
Creation is a continuous
observable natural process.
“sensation” are integral
parts of the creative
The many who might not be threatened by the orgone energy concept per se are threatened by the attitude others take towards it, by the scorn, the abuse, the contempt which invariably stem from pathological individuals, but unfortunately, easily infect others.
It is a sad fact that the desire to be respectable is a primary motivation among scientists. Individuals threatened by the orgone energy concept attack it by making it disreputable. “Respectable” scientists then will not consider the concept or the evidence for it.
Finally, a factor which hurts acceptance of the orgone energy concept which must not be ignored lies in the effects of the armor on the very individuals who support the concept. Those who work in orgonomy are also members of the sick human race; they too are armored, with tendencies toward mechanism and/or mysticism.
Even highly-qualified scientists professing interest in orgonomy (and there are many) are usually incapable of productive work in the field. Many brave plans for research in orgonomy are made, but few materialize. For every article in the 29 volumes of evidence for orgone energy that have been cited, there were 20 or 30 planned by supporters of orgonomy but never carried out. And it is a sad fact that the quality of those which have appeared has sometimes suffered in comparison with what could be reasonably expected of the individuals involved.
Research in orgonomy is extremely difficult; the process of actually working with orgone energy exposes the worker fully and directly to its threatening qualities. Other scientific work is easier to do because it is more peripheral, further removed from the core of life itself, and for this reason, less threatening to the scientist.
This should not be construed as an apology for what has been accomplished in orgonomy. Much of this work, particularly that of Reich himself, is of the highest caliber. At present the need for additional work to confirm experiments previously done and to carry out new research is not being met, however.
This is only partly because of the lack of funds, facilities and time, a lack, incidentally, due to the activities of the frightened and hateful souls who have so maligned orgonomy that they have destroyed the possibility for it to obtain research funds through normal channels. Of equal importance with the lack of funds and facilities are the characterological problems of those of us who would carry out the research.
In summary, the fact that the orgone energy concept is not generally accepted is not due to the absence of evidence but to a widespread pathology of the human animal. This pathology consists of a rigidity of body and character that cuts the individual off from life energy functions within himself, and makes him either blind to or threatened by the functioning of this same energy in nature.
The mass pathology works against acceptance of the orgone energy concept in many ways:
- It brings about the mechanistic -and mystical character structures which prevail in our world.
- It causes pathological fear and hatred in a minority of individuals, who attempt to destroy orgonomy by gross distortions of fact, defamation, and ridicule, and sometimes by direct violence. This minority is effective because of the characterological soil in which it works.
- The “characterological soil” consists not only of the prevailing mechanistic and mystical characters of the majority, but also the fearfulness of scientists and intellectuals to be associated with “disreputable” ideas.
- Finally, the work done in orgonomy itself suffers from the fact that the mass disorder of the human animal afflicts the proponents and investigators of the orgone energy concept as well as their opponents, and affects the amount and quality of their work.
Despite these severe problems blocking acceptance of the orgone energy concept, I believe we are on the threshold of a change.
The evidence for orgone energy is now too great to bury successfully and too strong to continue to ignore. More scientists will take the claims of orgonomy seriously, will repeat experiments and try to understand the orgone energy concept. This too will result in severe confusions, widespread denials of the evidence by threatened individuals, and other difficulties with which we are now familiar, and may be able to meet successfully
If so, the new direction in science implicit in the discovery of orgone energy will at last emerge into its own.
1. Annals of the Orgone Institute. Volume 1. New York: Orgone Institute Press, 1947. (out of print)
2. The Creative Process. Bulletin of the Interscience Research Institute. Two volumes, 1961-62.
3. International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research. Four volumes of four numbers each. New York: Orgone Institute Press, 1942-45. (out of print)
4. Kelley, C. R. A New Method of Weather Control. Interscience Research Institute Technical Report 60-1, 1961.
5. Kelley, C. R. The Ending of Wilhelm Reich’s Researches. Interscience Research Institute Technical Report 60-2, 1960.
6. Orgone Energy Bulletin and Core. Seven volumes of four numbers each. New York: Orgone Institute Press, 1949-55. (out of print)
7. Orgonomic Functionalism. Seven volumes of six numbers each. Nottingham, England: The Ritter Press, 1954-62.
8. Orgonomic Medicine. One and one-half volumes (three issues total). New York: American Association for Medical Orgonomy, 1954-55.
9. Reich, W. Character Analysis. New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1961.
10. Reich, W. Cosmic Superimposition. Rangeley, Maine: Orgone Institute Press, 1951. (out of print)
11. Reich, W. The Discovery of the Orgone: Vol. I, The Function of the Orgasm New York: The Noonday Press, 1961.
12. Reich, W. The Discovery of the Orgone: Vol. II, The Cancer Biopathy New York: Orgone Institute Press, 1948. (out of print)
13. Reich, W. The Emotional Plague of Mankind: Vol. I, The Murder of Christ. Rangeley, Maine: Orgone Institute Press, 1953. (out of print)
14. Reich, W. The Emotional Plague -of Mankind: Vol. II, People in Trouble. Rangeley, Maine: Orgone Institute Press, 1953. (out of print)
15. Reich, W. Ether, God and Devil. Rangeley, Maine: Orgone Institute Press, 1951. (out of print)
16. Reich, W. The Mass Psychology of Fascism. New York: Orgone Institute Press, 1946. (out of print)
17. Reich, W. The Oranur Experiment, First Report (1947-1951). Rangeley, Maine: Orgone Institute Press, 1951. (out of print) Reprinted in part in Wilhelm Reich: Selected Writings.
18. Reich, W. The Sexual Revolution. New York: The Noonday Press, 1962.
19. Reich, W. “Weather Control Studies. ” Reprinted in part in Wilhelm Reich: Selected Writings.
20. Wilhelm Reich. (A memorial volume by A. S. Neill, Paul and Jean Ritter, Myron Sharaf, and Nic Waal) Nottingham, England: The Ritter Press, 1958.
21. Wilhelm Reich: Selected Writings. New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1960.