Academia

Wilhelm Reich: 50 Years in Hell and/or Heaven

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Psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich had his books burned by the U.S. government in the 1950s and died in prison 50 years ago, in prison basically for refusing to agree with the FDA that his work and devices had no medical value. The Boston Globe notes the opening of his personal paper archives at Harvard, and a possible trend in revival of interest in and furthering of his research.

The Wilhelm Reich Museum.

A devotee's history, with links.

A skeptic's analysis of Reich, with links.

The FBI on Reich.

Robert Anton Wilson's harrowing and wonderful play, Wilhelm Reich in Hell.

I operated a cloudbuster once. I cannot authoritatively state whether it had any effect on the weather.

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  1. “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” is a vital book to read, especially on Guy Fox Day.

  2. Reich was a fairly harmless crank, and his arrest was an injustice. Yes, he made absurd pseudo-scientific claims, but it’s hard to see under what theory he could be arrested but not every chiropractor in the country as well.

    That said, he probably could have successfully fought it were he not so nutso. He should have showed up in court with a sane lawyer; it may have been a landmark case.

  3. Leaning to skepticism about the little I know of Reich’s claims, Kim’s

    He should have showed up in court with a sane lawyer; it may have been a landmark case

    nevertheless puts me in mind of the description of our legal system as “12 citizens and a judge getting together to decide which side has the better lawyer.”

  4. Brian, I applaud your experiment.

    Write a piece on Reich without mentioning the word “orgasm” and see what happens.

    Nothing, as it turns out. Three comments.

    I don’t know whether you actually did this on purpose or whether somehow not mentioning orgasms was an oversight, but the results would seem to indicate that Reason readers are perhaps less educated than they sound. Lots of commentors here come across as all-knowing and virtually bursting with confidence in their knowledge – that projection however appears to be somewhat dishonest. You and I know that had you have done with Reich what Hit n Run writers GENERALLY do in their post by quoting the most titillating thing about a person’s comments or ideas – this comment thread would have been OFF THE HOOK! But apparently, as sexually fascinated as your all-male readership is, there’s still a few things they don;t know about the world.

    mnuez
    http://www.mnuez.blogspot.com

    P.S. I still love the comment threads here and I love the blog and I’ve mentioned this to some degree on my OWN blog. But the heartlessness of your Free Marketing dogmas occasionally makes me want to bring you guys down a notch.

  5. But the heartlessness of your Free Marketing dogmas occasionally makes me want to bring you guys down a notch.

    For the children.

  6. Maybe ‘kill it with fire’ was an overreacting unconstitutional injustice, but quickly galncing through the links, this guy seems as loony as a hundred and six U.S. cents.

  7. All I know about Reich (Wilhelm, not Robert) I learned from Orson Bean’s book Me and the Orgone. It’s a book worth reading.

    Much of the theory is bogus, but many of the techniques work. Kinda like acupuncture.

  8. Maybe ‘kill it with fire’ was an overreacting unconstitutional injustice, but quickly galncing through the links, this guy seems as loony as a hundred and six U.S. cents.

    …OK, that took me a second. Clever 🙂

    Yeah, he was a loony. But he was a pretty damned harmless and functional loony. What was done to him was just evil.

  9. “Cloudbusting”, off Kate Bush’s seminal “Hounds of Love” is a gorgeous song about Reich.
    I guess I should find out what it means.

  10. Orgone Generators for all!

  11. “But the heartlessness of your Free Marketing dogmas occasionally makes me want to bring you guys down a notch.”

    I’m heartless. Yay!

    Are you over-socialized?

    Out here.

  12. Sprinkle – I agree. DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN!! lol 🙂

    More seriously, I believe in more socialistic policies than this current administration holds to for the sake of many many people, whether “women and children”, “oppressed minorities” or others.

    And until those policies are voted into effect I propose that we EAT the women, children and oppressed minorities. 😉

    mnuez
    http://www.mnuez.blogspot.com

  13. Much of the theory is bogus, but many of the techniques work. Kinda like acupuncture.

    Technology can work even if the science doesn’t, and vice versa on many levels. I wish the MSM could grasp the fundamentals of that for just one junk science report.

    And until those policies are voted into effect I propose that we EAT the women, children and oppressed minorities.

    At the risk of losing the opportunity to make a Swift joke, wtf are you talking about?

  14. I am a big fan of Wilhelm Reich’s “Listen Little Man”. It is a nice rant against everything that is wrong with the fascist sheeple: the way they think, and their undeniable desire to goose-step. Plus, the version I have includes some nice drawings (pronounce this like mike meyers’ “Simon” character for best effect). Sure, Reich might have been a kook, but he was only as much a kook as Winston Smith (and ended up about the same way)… Moreover, like I said, “Listen, Little Man” is worth a look. (And thanks to music major petitioner-hiree Mike Plested in Texas for recommending “Listen” to me while we were putting Nolan/Badnarik on the ballot.)

  15. I’m still delving into the orgone-side of Reich’s theories myself. The only reason I’d ever give it a second glance, however, is because everything else he says makes more sense than anything I’ve read in a long time! His analysis of people’s characters, and particularly the description of Emotional Plague and the actual FUNCTIONING of orgone rings true for me in regards to both personal experience and logic. Sometimes his tone can get a bit over-bearing (re: too confident! or is that my emotional plague speaking?) but it’s good to meet a man proud of his ideas, and constanty reforming them, building one block on top of another. So in a way, I don’t really care if orgone itself is bogus, his work is the most interesting in anything to do with the workings of the human mind alone and in groups that I’ve ever come across.

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