I was a student in the NYU class of 1969 given by John Bell on Wilhelm Reich's research.This book opened my thinking to the concept of cosmic awareness and what is now referred to as the primal paradox. Orgone energy work of Reich is the most important research of the 20th century and is being overlooked. This book is a way into the micro world of quanta and the macro world of black holes. He is one of the greatest minds of the 20th century and his time will come. His written word has only grown in its gravitas for the present day. Read his Mass Psychology of Fascism for its analysis of the present plague of disturbed leaders on today's scene.
Wilhelm Reich has been categorized in pop culture only through the briefest of references to his eccentric devices, but what lies underneath this thin veil of culturally exaggerated concepts is one of the most undying bodies of work ever put forth into the psychoanalytical community.
A man ultimately persecuted for his farsighted methods and uncanny ability to synthesize then current therapeutic techniques and his own insights on human emotionality and sexuality, Reich blazed a trail of new research that set the stage for some of the most articulate examples of the somatic method of psychology to date.
In this book, Reich takes liberty in discussing the Jungian archetypes that haunt the collective soul of humanity, and bend it towards its sporadic relationship with what he dubs "God", only in the Einsteinian sense. He muses as to how exactly humanity became so separated from nature, and more importantly, from itself, separating the joys of the complete human organism for the schizophrenic schism of mind centric psychology.
I would highly recommend this book to the novice Reichian student, With a healthy cautionary grain of salt towards the second half of the book where reich trades in his social insights for the somewhat more speculative science of orgone physics.
Absolutely brilliant. Human suffering and the way out of it handed on a plate. Neither mystical nor mechanical but functional. Connects the dots from the micro to the macro, from the bio-energetic function of the orgasm to the energetic pulse of the universe, from the armored thinking/feeling/perceiving of the individual human organism to culture/society at large.
In this late reflection, composed of two books written in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Reich stands back to reflect on the journey that brought him to his mature view of orgonomic functionalism. He details his struggles with Freud on the concept of the death drive and the notion that the primary drives in the unconscious are negative and destructive of order. In rejecting both the death drive (Freud in 1920) and in seeing the core of the unconscious as expressing itself through positive orgonomic streamings, he was able to break free from symptom analysis and talk about the total character structure and its armoring. While symptoms could be isolated by the talking cure, the consequent revelation usually failed to unleash the deep affect that should accompany the traumatic memory. Reich discovered that the center of the painful memory is a blockage in positive genital life-energy. This muscular and emotional blockage is best seen as an armoring in which a counter-cathexis moves back into the psychic economy and stops the healthy outward flow of orgone. From this realization of character and its armoring, Reich moved on to a study of bioenergetic fields and mircoscopic phenomena. In his last years he pushed much further into the inner logic of this general energy called "orgone" and found that it was more basic than any form of electromagnetic energy. In his final extrapolations he created a cosmology of cosmic superimposition in which he argued that a deep energy caused two separate orgone systems to superimpose themselves on each other, often in a wave or spiral pattern. This became his model for the genesis of galaxies. Hence Reich started his career with a reworking of Freud's libido theory and ended up with an orgonomic cosmology that showed (or so he hoped) the role of orgone in all forms of life and growth. He further inverts Freud by taking Freud's negative concept of the "oceanic feeling" and transposes it into a positive cosmic and "true religious" feeling that connects the self to the infinite universe. In a strange way, these two short books represent a kind of transcendentalist religion of nature, even though Reich was deeply suspicious of religion and mysticism (often equating them with patriarchy and the emotional plague). Students of Reich who have not read these later works, partly written in English, miss some of the poetic power and visionary quality of this radical naturalist and psychoanalyst.