Research reports, articles and reviews on HUNA and related studies, with emphasis on the practical use of the HUNA system, for members of Huna Research Associates.
July – September, 1976
|Huna Research Associates
Dr. E. Otha Wingo, Editor
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|The Max Freedom Long Library
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Reich – Orgone
The Life Energy has always been an intriguing mystery to mankind. Through the ages, many philosophies have tried to define its functions in relation to the cosmos and have labeled it with various names. The Hindus called it prana; the Chinese, ch’i; the Greeks, ether (or even ambrosia, food of the gods). It was the archeus of Paracelsus, the odic force of Von Reichenbach, the animal magnetism of Dr. Mesmer. In Huna, we use the Polynesian term, mana. Not only are these essentially equivalent terms, but they share a basic premise: they are considered a metaphysical substance.
In the 1930’s a single man finally elevated the existence of the Life Energy to its rightful place in the scientific realm. What distinguished this man’s discoveries from previous attempts was his approach. Grounded in natural science and psychology, he ferreted out the essence behind the different life manifestations and devised physical means of objectifying this energy in a laboratory and of uncovering some of its basic new laws.
This man would be alive today, researching many more unexplored areas related to the Life Energy, but, like many pioneers, he too was persecuted for his beliefs. Let’s follow this man’s life and see what led him to discover and verify the Life Force, which he termed ORGONE.
WILHELM REICH was born March 24, 1897, to a prosperous farming family in the German-Ukrainian part of Austria. “Looking back on those early years,” Reich wrote in 1943, “my interest in biology and natural science was created early by the life on the farm, close to agriculture, cattle farming and breeding, etc., in which I partook every summer, practically, during the harvest. At eight to twelve years old, I had my own collection and breeding laboratory of butterflies, insects of various kinds, plants, etc., under the guidance of a private teacher. The natural life function, including the sex function, was familiar to me as far back as I can remember. That may well have determined my later strong inclination as a psychiatrist for the biological foundation of the emotional life, and also by biophysical discoveries in the fields of medicine and biology, as well as education.” (See Ola Raknes, Wilhelm Reich and Orgonomy, p. 13.)
The death of his father in 1914 placed young Reich in the position of directing all the farm work at the tender age of 17. This he did, without interrupting his school studies during the next year, until the war destroyed all the family property and put an end to his farming activities. Between 1915 and 1918 he served as a lieutenant in the Austrian army and was at the Italian front three times.
Upon discharge from the service he entered medical school at the University of Vienna. As a war veteran he was permitted to complete the six-year course in four years and graduated with excellent marks for all premedical studies in 1922. While attending school, he found no curriculum of sexology whatsoever and decided to contact Professor Sigmund Freud to see if he could help in establishing sexology as a part of their seminars. He not only gained the assistance of Freud, but formed a relationship which evolved into a rapport that would influence him the rest of his life.
Reich attained membership in the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, then under the direction of Freud, and came to be one of Freud’s most promising students. From 1924 to 1930 he was a member of the faculty, lecturing on clinical subjects and bio-psychiatric theory.
Freud had not only introduced him to the subconscious and its psychic energy, the libido, but showed him the importance of analyzing the resistance put forth by the patients before trying to delve into their subconscious wishes and dreams. While working with this type of resistance analysis, Reich determined that not only was what the patients said significant, but also how they presented themselves. As Reich himself explains, in The Function of the Orgasm, p. 171.
Since the majority of patients were incapable of following the so-called basic rule of psychoanalysis, i.e., ‘to say everything which comes to mind,’ I ceased to insist on it. Instead, I used as my points of attack not only what the patient communicated but everything he offered, in particular the way in which he made his communications or was silent. Even silent patients revealed themselves, expressed something which could be gradually unraveled and mastered. Alongside the “what” of the old Freudian technique, I placed the “how.” I already knew that the “how,” i.e., the form of the behavior and of the communications, was far more important than what the patient told the analyst. Words can lie. The expression never lies. Although people are unaware of it, it is the immediate manifestation of the character.
Thus Reich’s first major contribution to psychoanalytic therapy was a new therapeutic technique which he termed “Character Analysis.” Exploring this new concept, he realized that if he brought a certain attitude or mannerism to the attention of the patient, the patient would often change it himself. But, there came to be relapses with this technique. He then began to probe deeper into the “character armor” of his patients, looking for other traits that could expose the neurosis.
Freud had always tried to make a clear-cut distinction between an actual neurosis, which he claimed was caused by detrimental sexual activities, and a psycho-neurosis, which he thought was psychically determined and had to be treated psychoanalytically. Although Reich at first adhered to this approach, he began to notice that both were actually taking on a biological core. It also seemed that the distinguishing difference between a successful case and a failure was that the failure had never succeeded in establishing a gratifying sex life.
From clinical investigation we have learned that the function of the orgasm is the key to the problem of the course of energy in neurosis. Neuroses result from a stasis of sexual energy. The cause of this stasis is a disturbance in the discharge of high sexual excitation in the organism, regardless of whether or not this disturbance is perceived by the ego… The elimination of the sexual stasis by the orgastic discharge of the biological excitation removes every kind of neurotic manifestation. (Wilhelm Reich, The Cancer Biopathy, p. 3)
These differences of opinion appeared to be the dividing point in the working relationship between Freud and Reich. However, Reich always held Freud in the highest esteem and viewed their separation as a necessity for the advancement of psychology. In an interview with Dr. Kurt R. Eissler, representing the Sigmund Freud Archives, on October 19, 1952, Reich expressed that appreciation: “I don’t think there are many analysts who appreciate Freud’s great achievement, the discovery of a psychic energy. I don’t think there are many who know what that means… Very few have natural scientific training or the capacity to think in a natural scientific way. I don’t mean just psychological thinking. It is much more. Freud was a natural scientist in that sense. He thought in terms of quantity, energy, libido chathexis to ideas. That is where the psychoanalytic organization fell completely short, completely short. And that is where I hooked on. That is what I owe to Freud in the discovery of the Life Energy. (In a later notation, Reich suggested that “all ideas of energy, stasis and discharge came from [Dr. Josef] Breuer [Freud’s original collaborator], the sex point from Freud.”) (Wilhelm Reich, Reich Speaks of Freud, p. 121).
Reich’s preliminary observations into the individual’s neuroses had kept leading him back into the patients’ adolescent stage. It became evident that the true place to begin prevention of the neuroses was in the unspoiled protoplasm or infant. Therefore, he began research into the family formation, which soon persuaded him to investigate the social causation of neuroses. Believing that he could bring change within society through political structures, he moved to Berlin in 1930 and became active in the Austrian Socialist Party and the German Communist Party. (Note: Jerome Eden calls our attention to the fact that Reich was never a member of the Communist Party; Reich himself states, in People in Trouble: “I was never a [Party] member.”) But when he tried to explain to the Party members that the suppression of natural instinctive drives was actually embedded in the distorted instincts of the suppressors, he was violently ejected from all the activities of the Party. The following years were very insecure for Reich. With the rise of Hitler and fear of imprisonment, he fled to Denmark. There he taught and trained psychotherapists until the Nazi pressure on Danish authorities forced him again into exile. He moved across the Sound to Malmo, Sweden, where his Danish trainees could ferry over to him, but within half a year he was again expelled. In 1934, on invitation from the Psychological Institute of the University of Oslo, he sought sanctuary in Norway. There he set up his lab and began experiments in physiology, biology and biophysics. His background in physiology had always made him aware of the functions in living matter. More precise clinical observations began to reveal a four-beat rhythm applying to all functions of the autonomic system. The heart, intestines, bladder, lungs — everything in the body seemed to function in this pattern.
If the process is investigated more closely, it is observed that there are four stages to the course of excitation:
- The organs become filled with fluid; erection with mechanical tension.
- This produces a strong excitation which I assumed to be of an electrical nature: electrical charge.
- In the orgasm, the convulsion of the musculature discharges the sexual excitation: electrical discharge.
- This modulates into a relaxation of the genitals through a flowing back of the body fluid: mechanical relaxation.
I called this four-beat process the orgasm formula:
MECHANICAL TENSION →
ELECTRICAL CHARGE →
ELECTRICAL DISCHARGE →
(Wilhelm Reich, The Function of the Orgasm, pp. 274-275)
It later appeared that all living matter was governed by this rhythm. Even the protozoa under the microscope demonstrated this pulsatory expression, hence the discovery of the Life Formula itself.
Reich always tried to express both the positive and negative results of his research. He believed that failure opened the way as much as success and that one experiment always led to another. Even from childhood the question concerning the genesis of life lingered in his mind. He was convinced that the Orgasm Formula regulated life, but where was its origin? He began to take inorganic, lifeless substances, heat them to incandescence and place them in a nutritive solution. They would then swell into vesicles that began to pulsate. These vesicles he called “bions.” While observing the bions he noticed that some of them were emitting a type of energy that did not obey the laws of any energy he had known before. He had finally discovered the energy behind the different life manifestations. He summarizes this in The Cancer Biopathy, pp. 29-30: “The fundamental question of all biology concerns the origin of the inner impulses in the living organism. No one doubts that the living is distinguished from the non-living by the internal origin of the motor impulses. The internal motor impulse can be ascribed only to an energy active within the organism. The question of the origin of this energy itself is answered by the bion experiment.”
The biologically effective energy, within the organism, that generates the impulses originates from the same matter as the bion. I introduced the term “orgone” for the energy observable in motile, bionous matter, deriving it from the words “organism” and “orgastic.” Henceforth, the expression “orgonotic” encompasses all energy phenomena and processes specifically pertaining to the energy governing living matter. Every living organism is a membranous structure containing a quantity of orgone energy in its body fluids; it constitutes an “orgonotic system.”
From the etymology of the word “Orgone” it is plain to see that at first he thought Orgone Energy was limited to living matter. But Reich was never one to base a premise upon a few preliminary findings. By means of continued research with the bions, the work area soon became infested with some form of radiation. Hoping to impede its spread, he transferred the cultures to a dark basement room where he could continue his observations. To his astonishment, the darkness of the room did not remain black, but began to take on a grayish-blue color. The energy emitted by the bions seemed to be somewhere in this blue spectrum.
Up to this time Reich had spent five years in Oslo without being granted a permanent residency. In 1939, he received an invitation from the American Psychosomatic Medical Society to move to the United States, where he was appointed Associate Professor of Medical Psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Renting a house in Forest Hills, N.Y., he transferred his lab and continued his persistent research into Orgonomy. A few years later, in 1942, he was able to purchase some 280 acres in Franklin County, Maine, which became the future location for study and research into the Life Energy. To this site he gave the name Orgonon. He built laboratories, cabins for student residences and storage, an observatory and residential quarters for himself. By 1950 he had transferred almost all of his work to Orgonon, a place he could finally call home. Even through the moving, Reich’s research activities were maintained. He was constantly toying with the results of previous experiments. He had actually discovered the Life Energy through physical means, but was far from satisfied about its properties and origin.
“One day the idea ‘sun energy’ suddenly occurred to me” (he states in The Cancer Biopathy, p. 87), “providing a simple solution which sounded absurd only at first: SAPA bions had originated from ocean sand. But ocean sand is nothing more than solidified solar energy. The incandescing and swelling of the sand had released this energy once again from its material state.” Therefore, solar energy interacts with the organic materials, by means of a natural incandescing and swelling, to transform them from a non-living substance into a living, evoluting matter. Since the converting energy follows the same principles as Orgone, they must be identical. Thus, Orgone is not only the Life Energy governing the living, but the primordial, omnipresent essence, penetrating ALL matter at varying speeds.
Research with the bion cultures had to continue, but a means needed to be found for avoiding any possible harm from the concentrated energy being emitted. Reich began searching for a material that would isolate the energy from the surrounding atmosphere. Through previous observation, he had found that an organic material would attract and collect the energy, while a metallic, inorganic material would attract and repel Orgone. Based on these facts, he constructed a box-like structure with inner walls of metal to attract the bionous Orgone and outer walls of an organic nature to hold it inside. Into this structure he inserted a magnifying device to view any repercussions to the cultures. To his astonishment he again began to see the same blue vapors he had witnessed from the cultures in the dark basement. Could Orgone be blue in color? He then built another box upon the same principles, being careful not to bring it into contact with any of the bion cultures. This time the phenomena of blue rays was the same, but the box was empty.
Until this time, classical science observed that if two differently charged materials were brought into contact, their charges would even out until both were uniform. But the principle governing the flow of Orgone was different. If Reich brought two orgonotic systems into contact, the stronger system would draw the energy from the weaker. This he referred to as the “orgonomic potential.”
The “orgonotic potential” denotes all functions in nature which depend on the flow of cosmic energy, or potential, from low to high or from weaker to stronger systems. Thus the orgonomic potential is the basis of and functions contrary to the mechanical potential, heat, electromagnetic energy, mechanical potential of position, etc. The orgonomic potential is most clearly expressed in the maintenance in most animals on this planet of a temperature higher than that of the environment, and in the function of gravitational attraction. In both cases, the stronger energy system draws energy from or attracts a weaker system. In both cases, the potential is directed from low to high„ or from weak to strong. Gravitation obviously functions on this basis. (Wilhelm Reich, Selected Writings, p. 441)
So the constituency of the box was actually so designed that the outer organic material drew and absorbed Orgone from the atmosphere, while the inner layer of metal drew and reflected it inward. This device he called an ORACC (Orgone Accumulator). Later research began to reveal that the ORACC was very helpful in medical cases. If a person became ill because of a depleted level of Orgone within his own system, he could sit in the ORACC and recharge. Jerome Eden adds a helpful note at this point, suggesting that this description is too mechanistic. “It is not a matter of just ‘recharging” like a battery — but of the blood cells absorbing the Orgone, becoming tauter, filled out. This requires daily irradiations of Orgone — each person requiring different periods. The use of the ORACC is not mechanical, but functional, with [the] individual body of each person taking in what it needs at the time.” The ORACC concentrates atmospheric Orgone to a degree stronger than is present in the surrounding atmosphere, and since the human energy system is at a higher potential than the ORACC, the person would attract the Orgone from the ORACC into his own body.
In 1950 Reich began conducting experiments centered around the antagonism phenomena which he had encountered along the way with his Orgone research. He thought it might be possible that Orgone could be used as a defense against radioactivity. Obtaining some radioactive isotopes, he placed one milligram of radium in a strong ORACC. Now, something quite unexpected happened — the radioactivity “triggered” the Orgone into a reaction so violent that Reich and several co-workers became dangerously ill. The blue color which he had associated with Orgone changed to a purple and then a hazy-black. The reaction penetrated through the walls of the laboratory into the surrounding atmosphere at Orgonon. This series of tests came to be known as the Oranur Experiment.
The first series of specific Oranur Experiments did not fully reach this goal, although several important and hopeful observations were made in the intended direction. However, the main result of the Oranur Experiment proper was the nearly complete disclosure of the true nature of a type of radiation sickness that has much in common with what is known about biological effects of atomic energy. It was found, beyond any reasonable doubt, that so-called radiation sickness is not, as heretofore assumed, a direct result of NR radiation upon living tissue but an immediate expression of a severe reaction of organismic OR energy against the action of NR radiation. (Wilhelm Reich, Selected Writings, pp. 357-358)
The Oranur Experiments also introduced Reich to what he came to call DOR or deadly Orgone, visible as a black “peppery” substance in the atmosphere, or as dark gray-to-black “DOR clouds.” Even after the natural disintegration of the DOR around Orgonon, Reich was able to locate DOR clouds throughout the region. It appeared that man’s pollution and, foremost, nuclear pollution, was also “triggering” the omnipresent OR into DOR. He describes DOR in these words: A “stillness” and “bleakness” spreads over the landscape, rather well delineated against unaffected surrounding regions. The stillness is expressed in a cessation of life expressions in the atmosphere. The birds stop singing; the frogs stop croaking. There is no sound of life anywhere. The birds fly low or hide in the trees. Animals crawl over the ground with greatly reduced motility. The leaves of the trees and the needles of the evergreens look very “sad”; they droop, lose turgor and erectility. Every bit of sparkle or luster disappears from the lakes and the air. The trees look black, as though dying. The impression is actually that of blackness, or better, bleakness. It is not something that “came into the landscape.” It is, rather, the sparkle of life that goes out of the landscape. (Wilhelm Reich, Selected Writings, pp. 435-436)
In an attempt to find a way to alleviate the DOR from the atmosphere, Reich went to the principle of Orgonomic Potential: a stronger system will draw from a weaker. Construction began on a device that would be based on this principle. He needed a device that could be aimed and not merely draw energy at random. He had also noticed that water absorbed and held Orgone more than any other element. A few long, hollow metal pipes (9 to 12 feet long and about 1½ inches in diameter) were assembled and BX cables were attached to one end. The other ends of the cables were placed in a deep well to ground the DOR, while the open ends of the pipes were pointed towards the DOR cloud. Within a short time, the black DOR clouds began to shrink, a breeze set in, and the fresh blue-gray Orgone would move in where the DOR had been.
After a few experiments of this nature, it was learned that rain clouds could be influenced by this method. The term “cloud-busting” was soon used to designate the procedure of dissipating and forming orgonomic clouds, with the type-device called a “cloud-buster.” By aiming the cloud-buster directly at the center of the rain cloud, the cloud would lose its cohesive energy and dissolve. If it was aimed toward either side of the cloud, the Orgone Potential surrounding the cloud would be lowered and the cloud could draw energy from the atmosphere and thus continue to grow.
Jerome Eden adds: “Further research into the source of DOR led Reich to take an expedition into the Arizona desert in 1954. He was able to reverse the DOR-assault on that region, bringing rain and then grass to a formerly barren region. Reich concluded that DOR (which lacks oxygen and water and is also radioactive) is being produced on our own planet by two principal sources: nuclear energy production, and interplanetary visitors (UFO’s) who are using the cosmic Orgone to propel their craft. This DOR-assault, Reich warned in 1954, would eventually cause world-wide drought and desert development.”
In an attempt to bring discredit upon Reich’s discoveries, certain commercial and political interests used the Federal Food and Drug Administration to obtain an injunction against the Wilhelm Reich Foundation in 1954. The injunction was designed to stop Reich’s research and the publication of his findings, and all related materials, from accumulators to all books and printed matter were to be destroyed. Reich fought the injunction by pleading that “the realm of Basic Natural Law surrounding Orgonomy was outside the judicial domain” and refused to be forced into court as a defendant in matters of science.
On March 19, 1954, the decree of injunction was granted by default, Reich was charged with refusal to obey the injunction and the case went to trial. He was found “guilty”— not on the matter under investigation, but on contempt of court for defying the injunction — and sentenced to two years in prison. The Foundation was fined $10,000 and one of his co-workers, Dr. Michael Silvert, was also sentenced to a year in prison.
On November 3, 1957, Reich died in the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Although the FDA succeeded in its attempt to prevent Reich’s research into the science of Orgonomy by Reich himself, it was also a major setback to any advancement in Orgone research. As Jerome Eden has commented in a private communication: The FDA “destroyed the greatest scientist of this or any other century.” It is hoped that other qualified investigators will take up where Reich left off — and recover some of the ground lost in the last twenty years. A hopeful sign is the reissue of most of Reich’s books in recent years.
The guidelines which Reich set up revolve not only around a Life Energy, but around the existence of all matter: All boundaries between science and religion, science and art, objective and subjective, quantity and quality, physics and psychology, astronomy and religion, God and ether, are irrevocably breaking down, being replaced by a conception of the basic unity, a basic common functioning principle (CFP) of all nature which branches out into the various kinds of human experience… Orgonomy is not merely a branch of natural science, nor is it a mere artistic procedure, or psychology alone, or biology alone. It is, truly, in full accordance with its object of inquiry, a body of knowledge which deals with the basic law of nature. (Wilhelm Reich, Selected Writings, p. 426) — J. Will McClure
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND SOURCES for the study of WILHELM REICH
There is no substitute for the study of the works of Wilhelm Reich himself. They do require close study and cannot be skimmed or scanned quickly. It took me over a year to WORK my way through all of them. And they must be studied more closely, time and again. After a few attempts, I finally received the momentum — and direction — I needed to dig into Reich’s books, from reading Jerome Eden’s books on Reich’s discoveries. These four books were not all available at first; the fourth only recently appeared. All are published by EXPOSITION PRESS, 900 S. Oyster Bay Rd., Hicksville, N.Y. 11801.
- Orgone Energy: The Answer to Atomic Suicide. 1972. $6.00.
- Planet in Trouble: The UFO Assault on Earth. 1973. $7.50.
- Animal Magnetism and the Life Energy. 1974. $8.50.
- View from Eden: Talks to Students of Orgonomy. 1976. $8.00.
EDEN BULLETIN (Box 34, Careywood, IDAHO 83809) is a valuable quarterly report, published by Jerome Eden that is well worth the $4.00 annual subscription price. “EDEN” (besides the obvious reference to the author) is an acronym for Environmental DOR Elimination Network. The latest issue (Vol. 3, No. 4, Oct. 76) is packed with valuable information on “The Emotional Plague in UFOlogy” as well as analysis of the unusual weather upheavals that are plaguing the whole Earth. I suggest that you send $4 for a subscription and ask that it start with this issue — or better still, start with Vol. 4 and send an extra $1.25 for a copy of the October, 1976 issue.
Another book that will introduce you to Reich’s work in a very succinct manner is Wilhelm Reich and Orgonomy , by Reich’s friend and colleague, Dr. Ola Raknes (Penguin Books: Baltimore, Maryland, 1971), $1.45.
REICH’S WORKS: The following are published by Noonday Press, division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc., 19 Union Square West, N.Y., N.Y. 10003.
- The Function of the Orgasm (1973), cl.,10.95, pb., 3.95.
- The Cancer Biopathy (1973), cl., 12.95, pb., 4.95. These two volumes make up a set called THE DISCOVERY OF THE ORGONE, and are absolutely necessary to understanding Reich’s work. If you can read only one, read The Cancer Biopathy, or start with it. Don’t make any statement about Reich, or form an opinion, without first reading these books.
- Character Analysis (1972), cl., 10.00, pb., 4.50. In conjunction with this book, read Elsworth F. Baker, M.D., Man in the Trap (1967), cl. ed. by Macmillan Co., N.Y.; pb. by Avon, N.Y. (1973).
- Reich Speaks of Freud (1967), cl., 5.95, pb., 4.95.
- Selected Writings: An Introduction to Orgonomy (1973), cl. 12.95, pb., 4.95. An excellent volume containing excerpts from the major books, plus other sections not available in any other publication. A good way to read Reich himself before tackling each of the other books completely. I found I did not want to read the excerpt since I was planning to read the complete volume, but you may like to start this way.
- The Sexual Revolution (1974), cl., 12.95, pb., $3.95.
- The Invasion of Compulsory Sex-Morality (1971), cl., 10.00, pb., $3.45.
- The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1970), cl., 8.95, pb., $3.25.
- The Murder of Christ: The Emotional Plague of Mankind (1953), cl., $4.95, pb., $2.75.
- Listen, Little Man! (1974), pb., $2.45.
- Ether, God and Devil and Cosmic Superimposition (1972), cl., 10.00, pb., $3.45.
- Early Writings, Vol. I (1920-1925), cl. $10.00.
Two other books have been published by other publishers:
- Sex-Pol Essays, 1929-1934 (1972), publ. by Vintage Books, New York, pb., $2.45.
- The Impulsive Character and other writings (1974), publ. by New American Library (Meridian Books), N.Y., pb., $3.95.
THE JOURNAL OF ORGONOMY is a book-sized journal, edited by Elsworth F. Baker, M.D., published in May and November (now in its 10th year), a professional publication which keeps the reader up-to-date on the latest in orgonomic research as well as reprinting Reich’s earlier essays. The address is P.O. Box 565, Ansonia Station, N.Y., N.Y. 10023, $10 a year.
For the best account of the trial, see Jerome Greenfield’s Wilhelm Reich vs. the U.S.A. (W.W. Norton & Co., N.Y., 1974; cl. $10.00) — Otha Wingo