Saturday, June 23, 2012

Festival of Orgone: A Bit of History Part II

Wilhelm Reich was plagued by political and 'moral' interference during the later years of his life.   His research into the then taboo subject of sex and his vocal opinions concerning politics did help make him a target during the ultra-paranoid McCarthy Era.  However, Reich's treatment is considered one of the worst cases of censorship in U.S. history: Reich was incarcerated, his materials burned, and his equipment destroyed.  Why was there such extreme resistance to Reich and his ideas?  The FDA incinerated literally tons of Reich's materials, Tons.  Perhaps the injustices of his last years of life are why his story resonates with me so strongly.

The reactions to Wilhelm Reich and his work are as varied as human reactions to the sexual response he investigated.  Some refuse to look at it's paradoxical face and refute it while others celebrate it and bathe in its invisible light.  By painting Reich's ideas as taboo and therefore forbidden, the forces that sought to exterminate him and his ideas had instead fueled the very fire they sought to extinguish, indoctrinating Reich as a martyred saint.  Reich's legacy continues today at the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust and in the research of James DeMeo.

{Digital Image created in Adobe Illustrator }

I am only touching on brief points in Reich's history here.  I would prefer that you get his full biography from the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust and the Wilhelm Reich Wiki


Vincent said...

I don't know all the details of his life obviously but I'd say Reich probably stepped on more than a few toes with his controversial research. The thing that really jumped out at me after reading the Wiki on him was this:

He said he had discovered a primordial cosmic energy, which he said others called "God" and that he called "orgone."

I'm not even religious but I know that right there is a PRETTY BIG TOE to be stepping on. Most christians don't like science in general and if you have a scientist claiming to have discovered the generic form of God I would say that's going to cause JUST A TOUCH of outrage in the religious community.

Jesse W. Campbell said...

By the time the FDA came after him, Reich had a trail of people he'd pissed off. I wonder if it was perhaps a past time for him on some level. :-) He upset both the communists AND the Nazis. That was part of the reason he came to America. Yeah, Reich kind of woke the dragon, but he was definitely pushed by Mildred Edie Brady's article. It all seems very much like a witch-hunt after her article.

I forget about that particular big toe. I think partially on purpose. Living in South Carolina and being a Pagan and a homosexual, I've had Christian opinions shoved in my face since I was very young. It has made me somewhat rebellious on the subject.

I lost any respect I had for that religion when it's adherents paid for a billboard in my neighborhood advertising a christian website offering services to help gays turn straight. The tag line was something like, Are you tired of being Gay? I was so furious I cried. Until that point, I really had tried to give the benefit of a doubt, but the billboard made me realize that even though I have no agenda, the Christians definitely have an agenda against me.

It concerns me very little if they get their toes stepped on seeing as they've stepped on mine my whole life. It is a sore spot of mine I guess. Why should I respect someone who obviously would rather see me brainwashed or beaten to death and tied to a fence. I get very very Un-Zen about it on occasion.

This is where I switch to Magneto's side.

Vincent said...

I sympathize quite strongly with your assessment of christians. I couldn't care less about the fact that Reich stepped on their toes with the whole Orgone = god thing. I just brought it up because I know how hard they whine when their deeply flawed beliefs get challenged. And since they unfortunately wield a significant amount of power in society I figured it was one of the likely causes of why Reich was treated so unjustly.

Jesse W. Campbell said...

As always Vincent, thank you for your scintillating comments! :-)

I forget that I have strong opinions about certain things until they go ka-boom. I apologize if I came on strongly there. I had honestly over looked the God = Orgone aspect of the whole thing. Even though that is kind of what this whole mess of mine is about. LOL. Sometimes I can be slow...

I do feel the need to address a bit of hypocrisy on my end. Reich was not much for the gay love either and considered it a neurosis. Yet here I am celebrating his work. It took me a bit to figure out why I'm okay with Reich and not with the gay haters today.

During his time, Reich was pushing the understanding of sexuality as a whole and paid the price for his forthrightness. The psychology 'party line' during that time was that homosexuality was a mental illness. I like to think if Reich were around today, his opinion would be different. This is just conjecture on my part, but a lot has changed since the 50's.

Just a quiet reminder from the universe to slow my mouth / fingers down. The hurtful actions of another does not give me the right to lash out. I can feel anything I want, but me spouting hate doesn't make me any just makes me another hater.

Vincent said...

No apology needed, mi amigo. If you can't state your own strong opinions on your own ding-dang blog then where can you?

Jesse W. Campbell said...

True, True. I've always felt I've had to keep myself in check. I've been damaged by the rampages of others, so I try to keep that part of myself in I do have a temper.

I've had more success at being a laser than at being an explosion. Less clean up. :-P

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