Begründer der Vitamin D3 Forschung – Dr. Michael Holick – So fing alles an –
bis heute: University Lecture: The D-Lightful Vitamin D for Health by Michael
F. Holick - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP81YMvs4yI
Als Bücher erhältliche Schriften Reichs
Seit Ende der 60er Jahre wurden Reichs Schriften in Deutschland wieder gedruckt. Hauptsächlich im Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch erschienen einige Bücher aus den zwanzger, dreißiger und vierziger Jahren, hiervon gab es in der Regel auch Taschenbuchausgaben bei Fischer. Diesen "offiziellen" Ausgaben lagen in der Regel jene Versionen zugrunde, die von Reich selbst Ende der 40er Jahre in den U.S.A. veröffentlicht worden waren. Gegenüber den Originalfassungen aus früheren Jahren hatte es dabei z.T. erhebliche Änderungen gegeben, und z.T. handelt es sich um Rückübersetzungen ins Deutsche von Büchern, die von Reich ursprünglich auf Deutsch verfaßt und die von anderen in den 40er Jahren ins Englische übertragen worden waren (siehe dazu auch Bemerkungen unter Bibliographien.)
Davor und daneben gab es eine Reihe von Raubdrucken. Dabei handelt es sich z.T. um Schriften, die bislang noch nie auf Deutsch erschienen waren (und von denen es z.T. bis heute keine lizensierte deutschsprachige Ausgabe gibt), z.T. aber auch um die Originalfassungen jener Schriften, deren spätere Versionen (welche den "offiziellen" Ausgaben bei Kiepenheuer & Witsch und bei Fischer zugrunde liegen) von den ursprünglichen abweichen - mitunter erheblich.
Die in den 80er Jahren bei Nexus erschienenen Titel (Sexualität und Angst; Äther, Gott und Teufel; Menschen im Staat) sind eher der Kategorie Raubdrucke zuzurechnen; die Editionslage ist hier zudem nur dürftig dokumentiert. Die später von Stroemfeld übernommenen Titel sollen zumindest besser editiert sein.
Bei den in den 90er Jahren bei Zweitausendeins erschienen sechs Bänden aus dem Spätwerk hingegen handelt es sich um lizensierte und sorgfältig bearbeitete Ausgaben. Der überwiegende Teil dieser Schriften war von Reich selbst bereits in englischer Sprache verfaßt worden und wurde in den 90er Jahren ins Deutsche übersetzt; noch auf deutsch verfaßte Anteile wurden im Original verwendet (d.h. hier keine Hin-und Rückübersetzung). [nach oben]
Die schwer zugänglichen Veröffentlichungen nach 1933
Nach seinem Ausschluß sowohl aus der kommunistischen Partei als auch aus der psychoanalytischen Vereinigung 1933/1934 gründete Reich im skandinavischen Exil und später in den U.S.A. verschiedene Zeitschriften, die natürlich 1933-1945 keinen Eingang in die deutschen Bibliotheken fanden. Die arg verzögerte Entnazifizierung einerseits wie auch die in seinem neuen Heimatland einsetzende Verleumdung andererseits führten dazu, daß auch nach 1945 seine Zeitschriften offenbar von keiner deutschen Bibliothek abonniert worden sind.
Erst um 1980 herum wurde eine Mikroverfilmung fast aller nach 1933 veröffentlichten Schriften in der Bestand der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek aufgenommen. Diese Mikrofilme können von dort im Rahmen der Fernleihe bezogen werden ( Katalog-Nr. R359 ). Mikrofilm-Lesegeräte gibt es an den Universitäts- und Staatsbibliotheken; in der Regel stehen dort auch Geräte zur Verfügung, mit denen man papierne Kopien anfertigen kann. Der Wilhelm Reich Museum Bookstore bietet sowohl die Mikrofilme selbst als auch gebundene papierene Kopien derselben zum Kauf an: http://www.wilhelmreichtrust.org/bookstore.html
Die Orientierung in den Schriften nach 1933 erleichtert die unten angefügte Tabelle (siehe unten bei Bibliographien), vor allem was die Frage der Wiederveröffentlichungen und Übersetzungen angeht.
Seit 1990 wurde unter dem Titel "Orgonomic Functionalism" eine Zeitschrift ausschließlich mit Artikeln von Reich herausgegeben. Einige waren bereits in den 40er oder 50er Jahren in einer seiner Zeitschriften erschienen, überwiegend handelte es sich jedoch um bislang unveröffentlichte Texte. Der bislang letzte Band 6 von "Orgonomic Functionalism" kam 1996 heraus; die Zeitschrift scheint eingeschlafen zu sein. Bezug ebenfalls über das Wilhelm-Reich-Museum in Maine (s.o.)
Zur "Zeitschrift für Politische Psychologie und Sexualökonomie" (1934-1938) existiert bereits ein instruktiver Eintrag bei Wikipedia, und unter http://www.lsr-projekt.de/zpps/zpps.html ist das komplette Inhaltsverzeichnis einsehbar. Dort sind auch einige Artikel als Volltext erschließbar - allerdings nur sehr wenige von Reich selbst. - Für den Herbst 2013 ist ein kompletter Nachdruck der ZPS angekündigt; näheres siehe hier. [nach oben]
Hier ist die Lage deutlich übersichtlicher: es gibt fünf wesentliche, von denen zwei derzeit vergriffen sind.
Wilhelm Reich von Bernd A. Laska, erstmals 1981 in der Reihe "rowohlts monographien" erschienen (6. Aufl. 2008). Kurz und knapp (150 Seiten), prägnant, inhaltlich sauber. Der Schwerpunkt liegt auf dem Werk und seinen Bezügen zu den wissenschaftlichen und politischen Strömungen der Zeit, Persönliches hingegen kommt nur am Rande vor. ISBN 3 499 50298 4
Wilhelm Reich und die Orgonomie von Ola Raknes, einem Therapeuten, Schüler Reichs aus Osloer Zeiten und Anhänger auch in den späteren Jahren. Ebenfalls knappe und korrekte Darstellung, erschien 1973, seit langem vergriffen.
Wilhelm Reich von Ilse Ollendorf-Reich, Ehefrau der Jahre 1940-1954. Hier mehr Persönliches, vor allem aus jenen Jahren. Erschien 1975, seit langem vergriffen.
Wilhelm Reich - Pionier des neuen Denkens von David Boadella, erschien 1981 und war lange Zeit die umfassendste Biografie in deutscher Sprache (400 Seiten) mit Schwerpunkt auf dem körperpsychotherapeutischen Werk. Erschien 2008 erneut im Schirner-Verlag; ISBN 978-3-89767-602-2
Wilhelm Reich. Der heilige Zorn des Lebendigen von Myron Sharaf, einem Schüler und Mitarbeiter Reichs in den Jahren um 1950 herum. Erschien 1984 in englischer Sprache (unter dem Titel: Fury on Earth) und wurde erst 1994 auf Deutsch veröffentlicht. Gründlichst recherchierte und umfassendste (640 Seiten) Biographie, die sich vor allem darum bemüht, auch bei skeptischer Distanz dem späten Reich gerecht zu werden. ISBN-13: 978-3922389606 [nach oben]
Der unveröffentlichte Nachlaß
Reich hatte testamentarisch verfügt, daß alle unveröffentlichten Schriften nach seinem Tod über fünfzig Jahre unter Verschluß zu halten seien. Diese Frist ist 2007 abgelaufen, sein Nachlaß ist somit jetzt grundsätzlich zugänglich. Der Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund (als Erbe) hat die Bestände der Bibliothek an der Havard Medical School in Boston zur Verwahrung übergeben, wacht jedoch weiterhin über den Zugang. Dieser muß mit präzisen Angaben beantragt werden; das Antragsverfahren ist auf der Internetseite des Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund erläutert. Dort findet sich auch ein Inhaltsverzeichnis des Nachlaß-Archivs: http://www.wilhelmreichtrust.org/archives.html
Die wahrscheinlich vollständigste Bibliographie sowohl von Reichs Schriften als auch zur Orgonomie insgesamt stammt von Peter Nasselstein und findet sich bei http://www.orgonomie.net/hdobiblio.htm
Die in der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek vorhandenen Schriften von und über Wilhelm Reich ( 390 Titel ) sind einsehbar unter: https://portal.d-nb.de/opac.htm?query=Woe%3D118599097&method=simpleSearch
Die Orientierung in Reichs Schriften ist durch mehrere Umstände erschwert. So veröffentlichte er manche Schriften unter verschiedenen Titeln, wie auch umgekehrt unter gleichem oder ähnlichem Titel zu verschiedenen Zeiten ganz unterschiedliche Texte herausgegeben wurden. Nach 1933 erfolgten manche Veröffentlichungen anonym oder unter Pseudonym. Eine Reihe von Zeitschriftenveröffentlichungen gingen später nahezu unverändert in Bücher ein. Manche Texte wurden von Reich auf Deutsch verfaßt, von Mitarbeitern ins Englische übersetzt, und liegen heute auf Deutsch in der Regel als Rückübersetzungen durch Dritte vor, nur selten im deutschen Original. In dieser etwas unübersichtlichen Lage kann die folgende Tabelle der Schriften nach 1933 eine gewisse Hilfe bieten. Sie ist unvollendet; der Autor (Christian Rudolph) ist für ergänzende Hinweise dankbar (über das Kontaktformular auf dieser Webseite.)
Wilhelm Reich (24 March 1897 – 3 November 1957) was an Austrian psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, and one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry. He was the author of several influential books and essays, most notably Character Analysis (1933), The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933), and The Sexual Revolution (1936). His work on character contributed to the development of Anna Freud's The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence (1936), and his idea of muscular armour – the expression of the personality in the way the body moves – shaped innovations such as body psychotherapy, Fritz Perls's Gestalt therapy, Alexander Lowen's bioenergetic analysis, and Arthur Janov's primal therapy. His writing influenced generations of intellectuals: during the 1968 student uprisings in Paris and Berlin, students scrawled his name on walls and threw copies of The Mass Psychology of Fascism at the police.
After graduating in medicine from the University of Vienna in 1922, Reich studied neuropsychiatry under Julius Wagner-Jauregg and became deputy director of the Vienna Ambulatorium, Freud's psychoanalytic outpatient clinic. Described by Elizabeth Danto as a large man with a cantankerous style who managed to look scruffy and elegant at the same time, he tried to reconcile psychoanalysis with Marxism, arguing that neurosis is rooted in physical, sexual and socio-economic conditions, and in particular in a lack of what he called "orgastic potency." He visited patients in their homes to see how they lived, and took to the streets in a mobile clinic, promoting adolescent sexuality and the availability of contraceptives, abortion and divorce, a provocative message in Catholic Austria. He said he wanted to "attack the neurosis by its prevention rather than treatment."
From the 1930s onwards he became an increasingly controversial figure; from 1932 until four years after his death no publisher other than his own published his work. His promotion of sexual permissiveness disturbed the psychoanalytic community and his associates on the political left, and his vegetotherapy, in which he massaged his disrobed patients to dissolve their muscular armour, violated the key taboos of psychoanalysis. He moved to New York in 1939, in part to escape the Nazis, and shortly after arriving there coined the term "orgone" – derived from "orgasm" and "organism" – for a cosmic energy he said he had discovered, which he said others referred to as God or ether. In 1940 he started building orgone accumulators, devices that his patients sat inside to harness the reputed health benefits, leading to newspaper stories about sex boxes that cured cancer.
Following two critical articles about him in The New Republic and Harper's, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration obtained an injunction against the interstate shipment of orgone accumulators and associated literature, believing they were dealing with a "fraud of the first magnitude." Charged with contempt in 1956 for having violated the injunction, Reich was sentenced to two years in prison, and in June and August that year over six tons of his publications were burned by order of the court, one of the most notable examples of censorship in the history of the United States. He died in jail of heart failure just over a year later, days before he was due to apply for parole.
1 Early life
1.2 Death of parents
2 1919–1930: Vienna, medicine and psychoanalysis
2.1 Undergraduate studies
2.2 Introduction to Freud
2.3 First marriage and graduation
2.4 Vienna Ambulatorium, Sex-Pol clinics
2.5 Orgastic potency
2.6 Rest cure in Switzerland
3 1930–1934: Germany, Denmark, Sweden
3.1 Character Analysis
3.2 Verlag für Sexualpolitik
4 1934–1939: Norway
4.2 Bion experiments and T-bacilli
4.3 Opposition to his ideas
4.4 Personal life
5 1939: Move to the United States
5.1 Teaching, second marriage
5.3 Experiment with Einstein
5.4 Arrested by the FBI
5.5 Purchase of Orgonon
6 1947–1957: Legal problems and controversy
6.1 Brady articles and the FDA
6.2 Orgonomic Infant Research Center
6.3 Divorce, cloudbusters
6.5 Chasing UFOs
6.6 Conviction and sentencing
6.7 Book burning
7 Reception and legacy
7.1 In psychoanalysis
7.2 In the humanities and popular culture
7.3 In the sciences
9 See also
12 Further reading
Reich was born the first of two sons to Leon Reich, a farmer, and his wife Cäcylie (née Roniger) in Dobrzanica, Galicia, then part of Austria-Hungary, now in Ukraine. There was a sister too, born one year after Reich, but she died in infancy. His father was by all accounts a cold and jealous man. Both parents were Jewish, but decided against raising the boys as Jews. Reich and his brother Robert were brought up to speak only German, were punished for using Yiddish expressions, and were forbidden from playing with the local Yiddish-speaking children.
Shortly after his birth the family moved 167 km SE to Jujinetz, a village in Bukovina where his father took control of a cattle farm leased by his mother's uncle, Josef Blum. As an adult, Reich wrote extensively in his diary of his sexual precocity. He maintained that his first sexual experience was at the age of four when he tried to have sex with the family maid (with whom he shared a bed), that he would regularly watch the animals have sex, that he used a whip handle sexually on the horses while masturbating, and that he had almost daily sexual intercourse from the age of 11½ with another of the servants. He wrote of regular visits to brothels, the first of which took place when he was 15, and said he was visiting them daily from the age of around 17. He also developed sexual fantasies about his mother, writing when he was 22 that he masturbated while thinking about her.
It is impossible to judge the truth of these diary entries, but Reich's second daughter, psychiatrist Lore Reich Rubin, told Christopher Turner that she believed Reich had been a victim of child sexual abuse, and that this explained his lifelong interest in sex and childhood sexuality.
Death of parents
He was taught at home until he was 12, when his mother was discovered having an affair with his live-in tutor. Reich wrote about it in 1920 in his first published paper, "Ueber einen Fall von Durchbruch der Inzestschranke" ("About a Case of Breaching the Incest Taboo"), presented in the third person as though about a patient. He wrote that he would follow his mother when she went to the tutor's bedroom at night, feeling ashamed and jealous, and wondering if they would kill him if they found out that he knew. He briefly thought of forcing her to have sex with him too, on pain of threatening to tell his father. In the end he did tell his father, and after a protracted period of beatings and mistreatment she committed suicide in 1910, for which Reich blamed himself.
With the tutor ordered out of the house, Reich was sent to an all-male gymnasium in Czernowitz. It was during this period that a skin condition first appeared, diagnosed as psoriasis, that plagued him for the rest of his life, leading several commentators to remark on his ruddy complexion. It was also during this time that his visits to brothels increased; he wrote in his diary of his professed feelings of disgust for the women, despite the daily visits. His father died of tuberculosis in 1914, and because of rampant inflation the father's insurance policy was worthless, so no money was forthcoming for the brothers. Reich managed the farm and continued with his studies, graduating in 1915 mit Stimmeneinhelligkeit (unanimous approval). The Russians invaded Bukovina that summer and the Reich brothers fled, losing everything. Reich wrote in his diary: "I never saw either my homeland or my possessions again. Of a well-to-do past, nothing was left."
1919–1930: Vienna, medicine and psychoanalysis
Reich joined the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First World War, serving from 1915 to 1918, for the last two years as a lieutenant with 40 men under his command at the Italian front. When the war ended he headed for Vienna, enrolling in law at the University of Vienna, but found it dull and switched to medicine after the first semester. He arrived with nothing in a city with little to offer; the overthrow of the Austria-Hungarian empire a few weeks earlier had left the newly formed Republic of German-Austria in the grip of famine. Reich lived on soup, oats and dried fruit from the university canteen, and shared an unheated room with his brother and another undergraduate, wearing his coat and gloves indoors to stave off the cold. He fell in love with another medical student, Lia Laszky, with whom he was dissecting a corpse, but it was largely unrequited.
The question, "What is Life?" lay behind everything I learned. ... It became clear that the mechanistic concept of life, which dominated our study of medicine at the time, was unsatisfactory ... There was no denying the principle of creative power governing life; only it was not satisfactory as long as it was not tangible, as long as it could not be described or practically handled. For, rightly, this was considered the supreme goal of natural science."
Reich first met Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) in 1919 when he asked Freud for a reading list for a seminar on sexology. It seems they left a strong impression on each other. Freud allowed him to start seeing analytic patients in September that year, though he was just 22 and still an undergraduate, which gave him a small income. He was accepted as a guest member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Association, becoming a regular member in October 1920, and began his own analysis with Isidor Sadger (1867–1942). He lived and worked out of an apartment on Berggasse 7, the street where Freud lived at no. 19, in the Alsergrund area of Vienna.
One of Reich's first patients was Lore Kahn, a 19-year-old woman with whom he had an affair. Freud had warned analysts not to involve themselves with their patients, but in the early days of psychoanalysis the warnings went unheeded. According to Reich's diaries, Kahn became ill in November 1920 and died of sepsis after sleeping in a bitterly cold room she had rented as a place for her and Reich to meet (both his landlady and her parents had forbidden their meetings). Kahn's mother suspected that her daughter had died after a botched illegal abortion, possibly carried out by Reich himself; Christopher Turner writes that she apparently found some of her daughter's bloodied underwear in a cupboard.
It was a serious allegation to make against a physician. Reich wrote in his diary that the mother had been attracted to him and had made the allegation to damage him. She went on to commit suicide, and Reich blamed himself. According to Turner, if Kahn did have an abortion, she was the first of four of Reich's partners to do so: his first wife had several, and his long-term partners Elsa Lindenberg and Ilse Ollendorf (his second wife) each had one at Reich's insistence.
First marriage and graduation
Two months after Kahn's death, Reich accepted her friend, Annie Pink (1902–1971), as an analysand. Pink was Reich's fourth female patient, a medical student three months shy of her 19th birthday. He had an affair with her too, and married her in March 1922 at her father's insistence, with psychoanalysts Otto Fenichel and Edith Buxbaum as witnesses. Annie Reich became a well-known psychoanalyst herself. The marriage produced two daughters, Eva (1924–2008) and Lore (b. 1928), both of whom became physicians; Lore Reich Rubin also became a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.
Because he was a war veteran Reich was allowed to complete his six-year medical degree in four years, and received his M.D. in July 1922. After graduating he worked in internal medicine at the city's University Hospital, and studied neuropsychiatry from 1922 to 1924 at the hospital's neurological and psychiatric clinic under Professor Julius Wagner von Jauregg (1857–1940), who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1927.
Vienna Ambulatorium, Sex-Pol clinics
In 1922 Reich began working in Freud's psychoanalytic outpatient clinic, known as the Vienna Ambulatorium, which was opened on 22 May that year at Pelikangasse 18 by Eduard Hitschmann (1871–1957). Between 1922 and 1932 it offered free or reduced-cost psychoanalysis to 1,445 men and 800 women who could otherwise not afford to pay for it, many of them shell-shocked because of their experiences during the war. It was the second such clinic that had opened under Freud's direction; the first was the Poliklinik in Berlin, opened in 1920 by Max Eitingon (1881–1943) and Ernst Simmel (1882–1947). Reich became the assistant director of the Vienna clinic under Hitschmann in 1924 and worked there until his move to Berlin in 1930.
He was only 25 at the time, but Danto writes that "when Reich entered the [Ambulatorium's] conference room after a full day at the clinic, his relative youth vanished. He spread an electrifying energy all his own. His deep-set eyes, wavy hair and high forehead of the rebellious German intellectual barely tempered by the military mannerisms of a Prussian army official."
Sharaf writes that working with labourers, farmers and students allowed Reich to move away from treating neurotic symptoms to observing chaotic lifestyles and anti-social personalities. Reich argued that neurotic symptoms such as obsessive-compulsive disorder were an unconscious attempt to gain control of a hostile environment, including poverty or childhood abuse. They were examples of what he called "character armour" (Charakterpanzer), repetitive patterns of behaviour, speech and body posture that served as defence mechanisms. Danto writes that Reich sought out patients at the Ambulatorium who had been diagnosed as psychopaths, believing that psychoanalysis could free them of their rage.
He opened six free sex-counselling clinics in Vienna, each one overseen by a physician, with three obstetricians and a lawyer on call, offering what he called Sex-Pol counselling for working-class patients. Sex-Pol stood for the German Society of Proletarian Sexual Politics. Danto writes that Reich offered a mixture of "psychoanalytic counseling, Marxist advice and contraceptives," and argued for a sexual permissiveness, including for young people and the unmarried, that unsettled other psychoanalysts and the political left. The clinics were immediately overcrowded by people seeking help. He also took to the streets in a mobile clinic, driving to local parks and out to the suburbs with other psychoanalysts and physicians. Reich would talk to the teenagers and men, while a gynaecologist would fit the women with contraceptive devices, and Lia Laszky, the woman Reich fell in love with at medical school, would speak to the children. They also distributed sex-education pamphlets door to door.
Reich joined the faculty of the Psychoanalytic Institute in Vienna in 1924, and became its director of training. According to Danto, he was well-regarded during this period for the weekly technical seminars he chaired at the Ambulatorium, where he gave papers on his emerging theory of character structure, arguing that psychoanalysis should be based on the examination of unconscious character traits, later known as ego defences.
In 1927 Fritz Perls who was to develop Gestalt therapy several years later (together with his wife Laura) became a member of Reich's technical seminars. Reich's concept of character analysis influenced Perls to a large extent. Reich's first book, Der triebhafte Charakter: Eine psychoanalytische Studie zur Pathologie des Ich ("The Impulsive Character: A Psychoanalytic Study of the Pathology of the Self"), was published in 1925. It was a study of the anti-social personalities he had encountered in the Ambulatorium, and it argued the need for a systematic theory of character. The book won him professional recognition, including from Freud, who in 1927 arranged for his appointment to the executive committee of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. The appointment was made over the objection of Paul Federn (1871–1950), who had been Reich's second analyst in 1922 and who, according to Sharaf, regarded Reich as a psychopath. Reich found the society dull and wrote that he behaved "like a shark in a pond of carps."
Beginning in 1924 Reich published a series of papers on the idea of "orgastic potency," the ability to release the emotions from the muscles and lose the self in an uninhibited orgasm, an idea that Freud came to call Reich's "Steckenpferd" (hobby horse). Reich argued that psychic health and the ability to love depended on orgastic potency. He wrote: "It is not just to fuck ... not the embrace in itself, not the intercourse. It is the real emotional experience of the loss of your ego, of your whole spiritual self." He argued that orgastic potency was the goal of character analysis. Sharaf writes that, whereas Reich's work on character was well received by the psychoanalytic community, his work on orgastic potency was unpopular within psychoanalysis from the start and was later met with ridicule; he came to be known as the "prophet of the better orgasm," and the "founder of a genital utopia."
He published Die Funktion des Orgasmus in 1927, and presented a copy of the manuscript to Freud on the latter's 70th birthday on 6 May 1926. Freud did not appear impressed. He replied "that thick?" when Reich handed it to him, and took two months to write a brief but positive letter in response, which Reich interpreted as a rejection. Freud's view was that the matter was more complicated than Reich suggested, and that there was no single cause of neurosis. He wrote in 1928 to another psychoanalyst, Dr. Lou Andreas-Salomé: "We have here a Dr. Reich, a worthy but impetuous young man, passionately devoted to his hobby-horse, who now salutes in the genital orgasm the antidote to every neurosis. Perhaps he might learn from your analysis of K. to feel some respect for the complicated nature of the psyche."
Rest cure in Switzerland
Reich's brother died of tuberculosis (TB) in 1926, the same disease that had killed their father. Turner writes that a quarter of deaths in Vienna were caused by TB in the 1920s. Reich himself contracted it in 1927 and spent several weeks in the winter of that year in a sanitorium in Davos, Switzerland, where TB patients went for rest cures and fresh air before antibiotics became widely available around 1945. Turner writes that Reich underwent a political and existential crisis in Davos; he returned home in the spring angry and paranoid, according to Annie Reich. Some months later he and Annie were on the streets during the July Revolt of 1927 in Vienna, when 84 workers were shot and killed by police and another 600 were injured. It seems that the experience changed Reich; he wrote that it was his first encounter with human irrationality. He began to doubt everything, and in 1928 joined the Communist Party of Austria:
As if struck by a blow, one suddenly recognizes the scientific futility, the biological senselessness, and the social noxiousness of views and institutions, which until that moment had seemed altogether natural and self-evident. It is a kind of eschatological experience so frequently encountered in a pathological form in schizophrenics. I might even voice the belief that the schizophrenic form of psychic illness is regularly accompanied by illuminating insight into the irrationalism of social and political mores.
In 1929 he and his wife visited the Soviet Union on a lecture tour, leaving the two children in the care of the psychoanalyst Berta Bornstein. Sharaf writes that he returned even more convinced of the link between sexual and economic oppression, and of the need to integrate Marx and Freud.
From 1925 to 1933 Reich worked on the ideas that he published as Charakteranalyse: Technik und Grundlagen für studierende und praktizierende Analytiker (1933), revised and published in English in 1946 and 1949 as Character Analysis. Robert Corrington writes that the book, regarded as Reich's masterpiece, sought to move psychoanalysis away from the treatment of symptoms toward a reconfiguration of character structure.
For Reich, character structure was the result of social processes, in particular a reflection of castration and Oedipal anxieties playing themselves out within the nuclear family. Les Greenberg and Jeremy Safran write that Reich proposed a functional identity between the character, emotional blocks, and tension in the body, or what he called muscular or body armour. (He blamed Freud's jaw cancer on his character armouring (Charakterpanzer), rather than on his smoking: Freud's Judaism meant he was "biting down" impulses, rather than expressing them.) He argued that dissolving the muscular armour would bring back the memory of the childhood repression that had caused the blockage in the first place.
Verlag für Sexualpolitik
Reich and his wife moved to Berlin in 1930, where he set up clinics in working-class areas, taught sex education and published pamphlets. He joined the Communist Party of Germany, but grew impatient with them over their delay in publishing one of his pamphlets, Der Sexuelle Kampf der Jugend (published in English in 1972 as The Sexual Struggle of Youth). He set up his own publishing house in 1932, calling it Verlag für Sexualpolitik, and published the pamphlet himself. His subsequent involvement in a conference promoting adolescent sexuality caused the party to announce that it would no longer publish his material. In March 1933 Freud advised him that Reich's contract with the International Psychoanalytic Publishers to publish Character Analysis was cancelled; Sharaf writes that this was almost certainly because of Reich's stance on teenage sex.
He had several affairs during his marriage, which ended in 1933 after he began a serious relationship in May 1932 with Elsa Lindenberg, a dancer and pupil of Elsa Gindler. He was living with Lindenberg in Germany when Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933. On March 2 that year the Nazi newspaper Völkischer Beobachter published an attack on Der Sexuelle Kampf der Jugend. He left with Lindenberg for Vienna the next day. They moved to Denmark, where Reich was excluded from the Danish Communist Party in November 1933 (without ever having joined it) over his promotion of teenage sex and the publication that year of The Mass Psychology of Fascism, which they regarded as "counterrevolutionary." There were multiple complaints about his promotion of abortion, sex education and the attempted suicide of a teenage patient; Turner writes that when his visa expired, it was not renewed.
He tried to find support among psychoanalysts in the UK so that he could settle there, and was interviewed in London by Ernest Jones (1879–1958), Melanie Klein (1882–1960), Joan Riviere (1883–1962), and James Strachey (1887–1967). They decided that he had been "insufficiently analysed" and had an unresolved hostility toward Freud. Anna Freud (1895–1982), Freud's daughter – whom Jones had contacted about Reich's desire to move to England – wrote in 1938: "There is a wall somewhere where he stops to understand the other person's point of view and flies off into a world of his own ... He is an unhappy person ... and I am afraid this will end in sickness." He and Lindenberg moved instead to Malmö in Sweden, which Reich described as "better than a concentration camp," but he was placed under surveillance when police suspected that the hourly visits of patients to his hotel room meant he was running a brothel, with Lindenberg as the prostitute. The government declined to extend his visa, and the couple had to move briefly back to Denmark, with Reich using an assumed name.
From 1930 onwards Reich began to treat patients outside the limits of psychoanalysis's restrictions. He would sit opposite them, rather than behind them as they lay on a couch (the traditional psychoanalyst's position), and began talking to them and answering their questions, rather than using the stock, "Why do you ask?" analyst's response. He had noticed that after a successful course of psychoanalysis his patients would hold their bodies differently, so he began to try to communicate with the body using touch, rather than verbally. He asked his male patients to undress down to their shorts, and sometimes entirely, and his female patients down to their underclothes, and began to massage them to loosen their body armour. He would also ask them to simulate physically the effects of certain emotions in the hope of triggering them.
He first presented the principles of what he called character-analytic vegetotherapy in a paper called "Psychischer Kontakt und vegetative Strömung" (Psychological Contact and Vegetative Current") in August 1934 at the 13th International Congress of Psychoanalysis at Lucerne, Switzerland, and went on to develop the technique between 1935 and 1940. His second wife, Ilse Ollendorf, said it replaced the psychoanalytic approach of never touching a patient with "a physical attack by the therapist."
The approach undermined the psychoanalytic position of neutrality. Reich argued that the psychoanalytic taboos reinforced the neurotic taboos of the patient, and that he wanted his patients to see him as human. He would press his thumb or the palm of his hand hard (and painfully) on their jaws, necks, chests, backs, or thighs, aiming to dissolve their muscular, and thereby characterological, rigidity. He wrote that the massage brought back the repressed memory of the childhood situation that had caused the repression. If the session worked, he would see waves of pleasure move through their bodies, which he called the "orgasm reflex." According to Sharaf, the twin goals of Reichian therapy were the attainment of this orgasm reflex during sessions, and orgastic potency during intercourse. Reich considered calling his approach "orgasmotherapy," but thought better of it for political reasons.
Just before the Lucerne conference Reich was asked to resign from the International Psychoanalytical Association for prioritizing his revolutionary agenda over Freud's ideas. He arrived at the conference furious over his treatment. Turner writes that he cemented his reputation as a madman, camping in a tent outside the conference hall and reportedly carrying a large knife in his belt. According to the psychiatrist Grete Bibring, Paul Federn declared, "Either Reich goes or I go."In October 1934 he and Lindenberg decided to move to Norway, where Harald K. Schjelderup (1895–1974), professor of psychology at the University of Oslo, had invited him to lecture on character analysis and vegetotherapy. They ended up staying there for five years.
During his time in Norway Reich's work turned more in the direction of physiology and natural science. He now attempted to ground his orgasm theory in biology, exploring whether Freud's metaphor of the libido was in fact an electricity or chemical substance, an argument Freud had proposed in the 1890s but had abandoned. Reich argued that conceiving of the orgasm as nothing but mechanical tension and relaxation could not explain why some experience pleasure and others do not. He wanted to know what additional element had to be present for pleasure to be felt. Sharaf writes that Reich was influenced by the work of the Austrian internist Friedrich Kraus (1858–1936), who had argued in his Allgemeine und Spezielle Pathologie der Person (1926) that the biosystem was a relay-like switch mechanism of electrical charge and discharge. Reich argued in 1934 that the orgasm is such a bioelectrical discharge, and proposed the "orgasm formula": mechanical tension (filling of the organs with fluid; tumescence) → bioelectrical charge → bioelectrical discharge → mechanical relaxation (detumescence).
Turner writes that in 1935 Reich bought an oscillograph and attached it to friends and students, who volunteered to masturbate, suck each other's nipples, and scratch, lick and kiss each other, while Reich read the tracings. One of the volunteers was a young Willy Brandt (1913–1992), the future chancellor of Germany, who was at the time Reich's secretary's boyfriend, living in Norway to organize protests against the Nazis. Reich described the oscillograph experiments in 1937 in Experimentelle Ergebniße Über Die Elektrische Funktion von Sexualität und Angst (The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety).
Bion experiments and T-bacilli
From 1934 to 1939 Reich conducted what he called the bion experiments, which he published as Die Bione: Zur Entstehung des vegetativen Lebens in Oslo in 1938 (published in English in 1979 as The Bions: The Origins of Life). He examined protozoa and grew cultured vesicles using grass, sand, iron and animal tissue, boiling them and adding potassium and gelatin. Having heated the materials to incandescence with a heat-torch, he wrote that he had seen bright, glowing, blue vesicles. He called them "bions" and believed they were a rudimentary form of life, halfway between life and non-life. He wrote that when he poured the cooled mixture onto growth media, bacteria were born, dismissing the idea that the bacteria were already present in the air or on other materials.
In what Sharaf writes was the origins of the orgone theory, Reich said he could see two kinds of bions, the blue vesicles and smaller red ones shaped like lancets. He called the former PA-bions and the latter T-bacilli, the T standing for Tod, German for death. He wrote in The Cancer Biopathy (1948) that he had found T-bacilli in rotting cancerous tissue obtained from a local hospital, and when injected into mice they caused inflammation and cancer. He concluded that, when orgone energy diminishes in cells through aging or injury, the cells undergo "bionous degeneration." At some point the deadly T-bacilli start to form in the cells. Death from cancer, he believed, was caused by an overwhelming growth of the T-bacilli.
Opposition to his ideas
Scientists in Oslo reacted strongly to his work on bions, deriding it as nonsense. Tidens Tegn, a leading liberal newspaper, launched a campaign against him in 1937, supported by scientists and other newspapers. Between September 1937 and the fall of 1938, over 100 articles denouncing him appeared in the main Oslo newspapers. In 1937 the Norwegian pathologist Leiv Kreyberg (1896–1984) was allowed to examine one of Reich's bion preparations under the microscope. Kreyberg wrote that the broth Reich had used as his culture medium was indeed sterile, but that the bacteria were ordinary staphylococci. He concluded that Reich's control measures to prevent infection from airborne bacteria were not as foolproof as Reich believed. Kreyberg accused Reich of being ignorant of basic bacteriological and anatomical facts, while Reich accused Kreyberg of having failed to recognize living cancer cells under magnification.
Reich sent a sample of the bacteria to a Norwegian biologist, Theodor Thjøtta of the Oslo Bacteriological Institute, who also blamed airborne infection. Kreyberg and Thjøtta had their views published in the country's largest newspaper, Aftenposten, on 19 and 21 April 1938, Kreyberg referring to "Mr. Reich" and alleging that Reich knew less about bacteria and anatomy than a first-year medical student. When Reich requested a detailed control study, Kreyberg responded that his work did not merit it.
By February 1938 his visa had expired. Several Norwegian scientists argued against an extension, Kreyberg saying, "If it is a question of handing Dr. Reich over to the Gestapo, then I will fight that, but if one could get rid of him in a decent manner, that would be the best." The writer Sigurd Hoel (1890–1960) asked: "When did it become a reason for deportation that one looked in a microscope when one was not a trained biologist?" Reich received support from overseas, first from the anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski (1884–1942), who in March wrote to the press in Norway that Reich's sociological works were "a distinct and valuable contribution toward science," and from A.S. Neill (1883–1973), founder of Summerhill, a progressive school in England, who argued that "the campaign against Reich seems largely ignorant and uncivilized, more like fascism than democracy ..."
Norway was proud of its intellectual tolerance, so the "Reich affair", especially following the 1936 expulsion of Leon Trotsky, put the government on the spot. A compromise was therefore found. Reich was given his visa, but a royal decree was issued stipulating that anyone wanting to practice psychoanalysis needed a licence, and it was understood that Reich would not be given one. Throughout the affair Reich issued just one public statement, when he asked for a commission to replicate his bion experiments. Sharaf writes that the opposition to his work affected his personality and relationships. He was left humiliated, no longer comfortable in public, and seething with bitterness against the researchers who had denounced him.
Reich's home in Frogner, Oslo. A blue plaque reads: "The physician and psychoanalyst WILHELM REICH (1897–1957) lived and worked here 1935–39. Developed character analysis and the body-oriented therapy."
According to Sharaf, 1934–1937 was the happiest period of Reich's personal life, despite the professional problems. His relationship with Elsa Lindenberg was good and he considered marrying her. When she became pregnant in 1935, they were initially overjoyed, buying clothes and furniture for the child, but doubts developed for Reich, who felt the future was too unsettled. Sharaf writes that, to Lindenberg's great distress, Reich insisted on an abortion, at that time illegal. They went to Berlin, where the psychoanalyst Edith Jacobson helped to arrange it.
In 1937 Reich began an affair with a female patient, an actress who had been married to a colleague of his. According to Sigurd Hoel, the analysis would stop because of the relationship, then the relationship would end and the analysis would start up again. The patient eventually threatened to go to the press, but was persuaded that it would harm her as much as it would Reich. Around the same time, Reich also had an affair with Gerd Bergersen, a 25-year-old Norwegian textile designer. Despite the affairs, Sharaf writes that, as the newspaper campaign against Reich gained pace, he developed an intense jealousy toward Lindenberg, demanding that she not have a separate life of any kind. He even physically assaulted a composer she was working with; Lindenberg considered calling the police but decided Reich could not afford another scandal. His behavior took its toll on their relationship, and when Reich asked her to accompany him to the United States, she said no.
1939: Move to the United States
Teaching, second marriage
When Hitler annexed Austria in March 1938, Reich's ex-wife and daughters had already left for the United States. Later that year Theodore P. Wolfe (1902–1954), a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, traveled to Norway to study under Reich. Wolfe offered to help Reich settle in the States, and managed to arrange an invitation from The New School in New York for Reich to teach a course on "Biological Aspects of Character Formation." Wolfe and Walter Briehl (1897–1982), a former student of Reich's, put up $5,000 to guarantee his visa. Wolfe also pulled strings with Adolph Berle (1895–1971), an official in the State Department. Reich wrote in his diary in May 1939:
I am sitting in a completely empty apartment waiting for my American visa. I have misgivings as to how it will go. ... I am utterly and horribly alone!
It will be quite an undertaking to carry on all the work in America. Essentially, I am a great man, a rarity, as it were. I can't quite believe it myself, however, and that is why I struggle against playing the role of a great man."
He received the visa in August 1939, and sailed out of Norway on August 19 on the Stavenger Fjord, the last boat to leave for the States before the war began on September 3. He began teaching at The New School, where he remained until May 1941, living first at 7502 Kessel Street, Forest Hills, Queens, where he conducted experiments on mice with cancer, injecting them with bions. He built a small Faraday cage to examine the vapors and lights he said the bions were producing. In October 1939 his secretary Gertrud Gaasland introduced him to Ilse Ollendorf, 29 years old at the time. Reich was still in love with Lindenberg, but Ollendorf started organizing his life for him, becoming his bookkeeper and laboratory assistant. They began living together in the Kessel Street house on Christmas Day 1939. She was eight weeks pregnant, but according to Turner he insisted that she have an abortion. Five years later, in 1944, they had a son, Peter, and were married in 1946.
Sharaf writes that Reich's personality changed after his experiences in Oslo. He became socially isolated and kept his distance even from old friends and his ex-wife. His students in the United States came to know him as a man that no colleague, no matter how close, called by his first name. He wrote to Lindenberg in January 1940 breaking off their relationship once and for all, telling her that he was in despair, and that he believed he would end up dying like a dog.
It was in New York in 1939 that Reich first said he had discovered a life force, or cosmic energy, an extension of Freud's idea of the libido. He said he had seen traces of it when he injected his mice with bions and had seen it in the sky at night through a special telescope he called an "organoscope." He called it "orgone energy" or "orgone radiation," and the study of it "orgonomy." He argued that it is in the soil and in the air (and indeed is omnipresent), is blue or blue-grey, and that humankind had split its knowledge of it in two: "ether" for the physical aspect and "God" for the spiritual. The colour of the sky, the northern lights, St Elmo's Fire, and the blue of sexually excited frogs are manifestations of orgone, he wrote. He also argued that protozoa, red corpuscles, cancer cells and the chlorophyll of plants are charged with it.
In 1940 he began to build insulated Faraday cages that he said would concentrate the orgone, and called them "orgone accumulators." The earliest boxes were for lab animals. He built his first human-sized, five-foot-tall box in December 1940, and set it up in the basement of his house. Turner writes that it was made of plywood lined with rock wool and sheet iron, and had a chair inside and a small window. The boxes had multiple layers of these materials so that they were, in effect, boxes within boxes; this caused the orgone concentration inside the box to be three to five times stronger than in the air, Reich said. Patients were expected to sit inside them naked.
The accumulators were tested on mice with cancer, and on plant growth. He wrote to his supporters in July 1941 that orgone is "definitely able to destroy cancerous growth. This is proved by the fact that tumors in all parts of the body are disappearing or diminishing. No other remedy in the world can claim such a thing." Although not licensed to practise medicine in the United States, he began to test the boxes on human beings suffering from cancer and schizophrenia. In one case the test had to be stopped prematurely because the subject, who had cancer, heard a rumour that Reich was insane; there were stories, which were false, that he had been hospitalized in the Utica State Mental Hospital. In another case the father of an eight-year-old girl with cancer approached him for help, then complained to the American Medical Association that he was practising without a licence. He asked his supporters to stick with him through the criticism, believing that he had developed a grand unified theory of physical and mental health.
Experiment with Einstein
In December 1940 Reich wrote to Albert Einstein (1879–1955) saying he had a scientific discovery he wanted to discuss, and in January 1941 visited Einstein at his home in Princeton, where they talked for nearly five hours. He told Einstein that he had discovered a "specific biologically effective energy which behaves in many respects differently to all that is known about electromagnetic energy." He said it could be used against disease, and as a weapon "in the fight against the Fascist pestilence." (Einstein had signed a letter to President Roosevelt in August 1939 to warn of the danger of Nazi Germany building an atom bomb, and had urged the United States to set up its own research project.) Einstein agreed that if an object's temperature could be raised without an apparent heating source, as Reich was suggesting, it would be "a bomb."
Reich was much encouraged by the meeting and hoped he would be invited to join Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study. During their next meeting he gave Einstein a small accumulator, and over the next 10 days Einstein performed experiments with it in his basement, which involved taking the temperature above, inside and near the device, and stripping it down to its Faraday cage to compare temperatures. He observed a rise in temperature, which Reich argued was caused by orgone. One of Einstein's assistants pointed out that the temperature was lower on the floor than on the ceiling. Einstein concluded that the effect was simply due to the temperature gradient inside the room. "Through these experiments I regard the matter as completely solved," he wrote to Reich on 7 February 1941.
Reich responded with a 25-page letter in which he tried to change Einstein's mind. To rule out the influence of convection he told Einstein he had introduced a horizontal plate above the accumulator, wrapped it in a blanket, suspended it freely in the room, buried it underground and placed it outside. He wrote that in all these circumstances the temperature difference remained, and was in fact more marked in the open air. Einstein did not respond to this or to Reich's future correspondence – Reich would write regularly reporting the results of his experiments – until Reich threatened three years later to publish their previous exchange. Einstein replied that he could not devote any further time to the matter and asked that his name not be misused for advertising purposes. Reich believed that Einstein's change of heart was part of a conspiracy of some kind, perhaps related to the communists, or prompted by the rumours that Reich was ill. Reich published the correspondence in 1953 as The Einstein Affair.
Arrested by the FBI
Reich lost his position at the New School in May 1941 after writing to its director, Alvin Johnson (1874–1971), to say he had saved several lives in secret experiments with the accumulator; Johnson was aware of Reich's claims that he could cure cancer, and told him the New School was not an appropriate institution for the work. Reich was also evicted from Kessel Street after his neighbours complained about the animal experiments. His supporters, including Walter Briehl, gave him $14,000 to buy a house, and he settled into 9906 69th Avenue.
On 12 December 1941, five days after Pearl Harbor and the day after Germany declared it was at war with the United States, Reich was arrested in his home at 2 a.m. by the FBI and taken to Ellis Island, where he was held for over three weeks. He identified himself at the time as the Associate Professor of Medical Psychology, Director of the Orgone Institute. He was at first left to sleep on the floor in a large hall, surrounded by members of the fascist German American Bund, who Reich feared might kill him, but when his psoriasis returned he was transferred to the hospital ward. He was questioned about several books the FBI found when they searched his home, including Hitler's Mein Kampf, Trotsky's My Life, a biography of Lenin, and a Russian alphabet book for children. After threatening to go on hunger strike he was released, on 5 January, but his name remained on the "key figures list" of the Enemy Alien Control Unit, which meant he was placed under surveillance.
Turner writes that it seems Reich was the victim of mistaken identity; there was a William Reich who ran a bookstore in New Jersey, which was used to distribute Communist material. The FBI acknowledged the mistake in November 1943 and closed Reich's file. In 2000 it released 789 pages of the file, which said:
This German immigrant described himself as the Associate Professor of Medical Psychology, Director of the Orgone Institute, President and research physician of the Wilhelm Reich Foundation and discoverer of biological or life energy. A 1940 security investigation was begun to determine the extent of Reich's communist commitments. A board of Alien Enemy Hearing judged that Dr. Reich was not a threat to the security of the U.S. In 1947, a security investigation concluded that neither the Orgone Project nor any of its staff were engaged in subversive activities or were in violation of any statute within the jurisdiction of the FBI. ...
In November 1942 Reich purchased an old farm on Dodge Pond, Maine, near Rangeley, with 280 acres (1.1 km2) of land, at a cost of $4,000. Calling it Orgonon, he started spending summers there, and had a one-room cabin built in 1943, a laboratory in 1945, a larger cabin in 1946, and an observatory in 1948. In 1950 he decided to live there year-round, and in May that year moved from New York with Ilse, their son Peter, and Reich's daughter Eva, with the idea of creating a centre for the study of orgone. Several colleagues moved there with him, including two physicians with an interest in orgone, and Lois Wyvell, who ran the Orgone Press Institute. Orgonon now houses the Wilhelm Reich Museum, as well as holiday cottages available to rent, one of which is the cottage Reich lived in with his family.
1947–1957: Legal problems and controversy
Until 1947 Reich enjoyed a largely uncritical press in the United States. One journal, Psychosomatic Medicine, had called orgone a "surrealist creation," but his psychoanalytic work had been discussed in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Psychiatry, The Nation had given his writing positive reviews, and he was listed in American Men of Science.
His reputation took a sudden downturn in April and May 1947, when articles by journalist Mildred Edie Brady (1906–1965) appeared in Harper's and The New Republic, the latter entitled "The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich", with the subhead, "The man who blames both neuroses and cancer on unsatisfactory sexual activities has been repudiated by only one scientific journal." Brady's ultimate target was not Reich but psychoanalysis, which Turner writes she regarded as akin to astrology. Of Reich she wrote: "Orgone, named after the sexual orgasm, is, according to Reich, a cosmic energy. It is, in fact, the cosmic energy. Reich has not only discovered it; he has seen it, demonstrated it and named a town – Orgonon, Maine – after it. Here he builds accumulators of it, which are rented out to patients, who presumably derive 'orgastic potency' from it." Brady argued that the "growing Reich cult" had to be dealt with.
At the top of his copy of the New Republic article, Reich wrote the words "THE SMEAR." Turner writes that Reich sent out a press release correcting some of Brady's points, but no one published it, though other publications reproduced her story.
In July 1947 Dr. J.J. Durrett, director of the Medical Advisory Division of the Federal Trade Commission, wrote to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking them to look into Reich's claims about the health benefits of orgone. The FDA assigned an investigator to the case, who learned that Reich had built 250 accumulators. The FDA concluded that they were dealing with a "fraud of the first magnitude." Sharaf writes that the FDA suspected a sexual racket of some kind; questions were asked about the women associated with orgonomy and "what was done with them." From that point on, Reich's work came increasingly to the attention of the authorities.
Orgonomic Infant Research Center
Reich set up the Orgonomic Infant Research Center (OIRC) in 1950, with the aim of preventing muscular "armouring" in children from birth. Meetings were held in the basement of Reich's house in Forest Hills. Christopher Turner writes that several children who were treated by ORIC therapists later said they had been sexually abused by them, though not by Reich. One woman said she was assaulted by one of Reich's associates when she was five years old. Children were asked to stand naked in front of Reich and a group of 30 therapists in his basement, while Reich described the children's "blockages." Reich's daughter, Lore Reich Rubin, told Turner that she believed her father was an abuser, though she did not say she had been abused by him and acknowledged that she had no evidence. She believed that Reich himself had been a victim of it as a child, which is why he developed such a keen interest in sex and childhood sexuality.
The sexual allegations apart, several people discussed how the vegetotherapy sessions had hurt them physically as children, as therapists pressed hard on certain parts of the body to loosen body armour. Reich's son, Peter, wrote in his autobiography, Book of Dreams (1973) about the pain this had caused him. Susanna Steig, the daughter of William Steig, the New Yorker cartoonist, wrote about being pressed so hard during Reichian therapy sessions that she had difficulty breathing, and said that a woman therapist had sexually assaulted her. Turner writes that in 1952 a nurse from New Jersey complained to the New York Medical Society that an OIRC therapist had taught her five-year-old son how to masturbate. The therapist was arrested, but the case was dropped when Reich agreed to close the OIRC.
Reich and Ollendorff divorced in September 1951, ostensibly because he thought she had had an affair, though she continued to work with him for another three years. Even after the divorce he continued to suspect her of having affairs, and persuaded her to sign confessions about her feelings of fear and hatred toward him, which he locked away in the archives of his Orgone Institute. He also wrote several documents denouncing her. He was himself having an affair at the time with Lois Wyvell (d. 2005), who ran the Orgone Institute Press.
Also in 1951 Reich said he had discovered another energy that he called Deadly Orgone Radiation (DOR). He wrote that accumulations of DOR played a role in desertification, and he designed a "cloudbuster," two rows of 15-foot aluminium pipes mounted on a mobile platform, connected to cables that were inserted into water. He believed that it acted to unblock orgone energy in the atmosphere, and said that it could cause rain. Turner describes it as an "orgone box turned inside out."
He conducted dozens of experiments with the cloudbuster, calling his research "Cosmic Orgone Engineering." During a drought in 1953, two farmers in Maine offered to pay him if he could make it rain to save their blueberry crop. Reich used the cloudbuster on the morning of 6 July, and according to Bangor's Daily News – based on an eyewitness account that was probably from Peter Reich – rain began to fall that evening. The crop survived, the farmers declared themselves satisfied, and Reich received his fee.
Over the years the FDA interviewed physicians, Reich's students and his patients, asking about his use of orgone accumulators. On 29 July 1952 three FDA inspectors arrived at Orgonon unannounced. Sharaf writes that Reich detested unannounced visitors; he had once chased some people away with a gun just for looking at an adjacent property. He told the inspectors they had to read his work before he would interact with them, and ordered them to leave.
The attention of the FDA triggered belligerent responses from Reich, who called them "HIGS" (hoodlums in government) and the tools of red fascists. He developed a delusion that he had powerful friends in government, including President Eisenhower, who he believed would protect him, and that the U.S. Air Force was flying over Orgonon to make sure that he was all right. In February 1954 the United States Attorney for the District of Maine filed a complaint seeking a permanent injunction under Sections 301 and 302 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, to prevent interstate shipment of orgone accumulators and to ban promotional literature. Reich refused to appear in court, arguing that no court was in a position to evaluate his work. In a long letter to Judge Clifford, he wrote:
My factual position in the case as well as in the world of science of today does not permit me to enter the case against the Food and Drug Administration, since such action would, in my mind, imply admission of the authority of this special branch of the government to pass judgment on primordial, pre-atomic cosmic orgone energy. I, therefore, rest the case in full confidence in your hands.
The injunction was granted by default on 19 March 1954. The judge ordered that all accumulators, their parts and instructions be destroyed, and that books mentioning orgone be withheld.
Turner writes that the injunction triggered a further deterioration in Reich's mental health. From at least early 1954, he came to believe that Earth was being attacked by UFOs, or "energy alphas," as he called them. He said he often saw them flying over Orgonon – shaped like thin cigars with windows – leaving streams of black Deadly Orgone Radiation in their wake, which he believed the aliens were scattering in order to destroy the planet. He and his son would spend their nights searching for UFOs through telescopes and binoculars, and when they believed they had found one would roll out the cloudbuster to suck the energy out of it. Reich claimed he had shot several of them down. Armed with two cloudbusters, they had fought what Reich called a "full-scale interplanetary battle" in Arizona, where Reich had rented a house as a base station while he cleaned up the desert with a cloudbuster. He also wrote in Contact with Space that in March 1956 the "very remote possibility" occurred to him that his own father had been from outer space.
In late 1954 he began an affair with Grethe Hoff, a former patient who was married to an associate of Reich's, the psychologist Myron Sharaf (1927–1997), who in 1983 published one of the key biographies of Reich. The couple had had their first child a year before Hoff left him for Reich. The affair had ended by June 1955, but the marriage was not repaired. In August 1955 Reich began a relationship with Aurora Karrer, a medical researcher, and in November moved out of Orgonon to an apartment in Alban Towers, Washington, D.C., to live with her, using the pseudonym Dr. Walter Roner.
Conviction and sentencing
While Reich was in Arizona in May 1956, one of his associates sent an accumulator part through the mail to another state in violation of the injunction, after an FDA inspector posing as a customer requested it. Reich and another associate, Dr. Michael Silvert (1906–1958), were charged with contempt of court; Silvert had been looking after the inventory in Reich's absence. Reich at first refused to attend court, and was arrested and held for two days until a supporter posted bail of $30,000. Representing himself during the hearing, he admitted the violation but nevertheless pleaded not guilty and hinted at dark conspiracies; during a recess the judge apparently suggested a psychiatric evaluation to Reich's ex-wife, Ilse Ollendorff, but this was not communicated to Reich. The jury found him guilty on 7 May 1956 and he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. Silvert was sentenced to a year and a day, the Wilhelm Reich Foundation was fined $10,000, and the accumulators and associated literature were to be destroyed.
On 5 June 1956 two FDA officials traveled to Orgonon to supervise the destruction of the accumulators. Most of them had been sold at that point, and another 50 were with Silvert in New York. Only three were at Orgonon. The FDA agents were not allowed to destroy them, only to supervise the destruction, so Reich's friends and his son Peter chopped them up with axes as the agents watched. Once they were destroyed, Reich placed an American flag on top of them.
On 26 June the agents returned to supervise the destruction of the promotional material, including 251 copies of his books. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a press release criticizing the book burning, although coverage of the release was poor, and Reich ended up asking them not to help because he was annoyed that they had failed to criticize the destruction of the accumulators. In England A.S. Neill and the poet Herbert Read (1893–1968) signed a letter of protest, but it was never published. On 23 July the remaining accumulators in New York were destroyed by S.A. Collins and Sons, who had built them.
On 23 August six tons of his books, journals, and papers were burned in the 25th Street public incinerator in New York, the Gansevoort incinerator. The burned material included copies of several of his books, including The Sexual Revolution, Character Analysis and The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Though these had been published in German before Reich ever discussed orgone, he had added mention of it to the English editions, so they were caught by the injunction. As with the accumulators, the FDA was supposed only to observe the destruction. The psychiatrist Victor Sobey (d. 1995), an associate of Reich's, wrote: "All the expenses and labor had to be provided by the [Orgone Institute] Press. A huge truck with three to help was hired. I felt like people who, when they are to be executed, are made to dig their own graves first and are then shot and thrown in. We carried box after box of the literature." It has been cited as one of the worst examples of censorship in U.S. history.
Reich appealed the lower court's decision in October 1956, but the Court of Appeals upheld it on 11 December. He wrote several times to J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, requesting a meeting. He appealed to the Supreme Court, which decided on 25 February 1957 not to review the case. On 12 March Reich and Silvert were sent to Danbury Federal Prison. (Silvert committed suicide in May 1958, five months after his release.) Richard C. Hubbard, a psychiatrist who admired Reich, examined him on admission, recording paranoia manifested by delusions of grandiosity, persecution, and ideas of reference:
The patient feels that he has made outstanding discoveries. Gradually over a period of many years he has explained the failure of his ideas in becoming universally accepted by the elaboration of psychotic thinking. "The Rockerfellows (sic) are against me." (Delusion of grandiosity.) "The airplanes flying over prison are sent by the Air Force to encourage me." (Ideas of reference and grandiosity.)
On 19 March Reich was transferred to the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary and examined again. This time it was decided that he was mentally competent and that his personality appeared intact, though he might become psychotic under stress. A few days later, on his 60th birthday, he wrote to his son, Peter, then 13:
I am in Lewisburg. I am calm, certain in my thoughts, and doing mathematics most of the time. I am kind of "above things," fully aware of what is up. Do not worry too much about me, though anything might happen. I know, Pete, that you are strong and decent. At first I thought that you should not visit me here. I do not know. With the world in turmoil I now feel that a boy your age should experience what is coming his way—fully digest it without getting a "belly ache," so to speak, nor getting off the right track of truth, fact, honesty, fair play, and being above board—never a sneak... .
He applied for a presidential pardon in May, to no avail. Peter visited him in jail several times, where one prisoner said Reich was known as the "flying saucer guy" and the "Sex Box man." Reich told Peter that he cried a lot, and wanted Peter to let himself cry too, believing that tears are the "great softener." His last letter to his son was on 22 October 1957, when he said he was looking forward to being released on 10 November, having served one third of his sentence. A parole hearing had been scheduled for a few days before that date. He wrote that he and Peter had a date for a meal at the Howard Johnson restaurant near Peter's school.
Reich failed to appear for morning roll call on 3 November and was found at 7 a.m. dead in his bed, fully clothed but for his shoes. The prison doctor said he had died during the night of "myocardial insufficiency with sudden heart failure." He was buried in a vault at Orgonon that he had asked his caretaker to dig in 1955. He had left instructions that there was to be no religious ceremony, but that a record should be played of Schubert's "Ave Maria" sung by Marian Anderson, and that his granite headstone should read simply: "Wilhelm Reich, Born March 24, 1897, Died ..." None of the academic journals carried an obituary. Time magazine wrote on 18 November 1957:
Died. Wilhelm Reich, 60, once-famed psychoanalyst, associate and follower of Sigmund Freud, founder of the Wilhelm Reich Foundation, lately better known for unorthodox sex and energy theories; of a heart attack; in Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary, Pa; where he was serving a two-year term for distributing his invention, the "orgone energy accumulator" (in violation of the Food and Drug Act), a telephone-booth-size device that supposedly gathered energy from the atmosphere, and could cure, while the patient sat inside, common colds, cancer, and impotence.
Reception and legacy
The psychologist Luis Cordon writes that Reich's slide from medical and scientific respectability concluded with the consensus inside and outside the psychoanalytic community that he was at best a crackpot, and at worst was suffering from a serious illness. The psychoanalyst Richard Sterba (1898–1989) wrote that Reich was a brilliant clinician during the 1920s, but he was viewed by other analysts, according to Sharaf, as paranoid and belligerent; there were rumours from the late 1920s that he was mentally ill and inaccurate accounts of his having been hospitalized. Paul Federn became Reich's second analyst in 1922; he later said he had detected "incipient schizophrenia" and called Reich a psychopath. Sandor Rado (1890–1972) had Reich as an analysand in 1931 and later declared him schizophrenic "in the most serious way." Reich's daughter Lore, a psychiatrist, believed that he was bipolar.
According to Sharaf, psychoanalysts tended to dismiss as ill anyone from within the fold who had transgressed, and this was never done so relentlessly as with Reich. His work was split into the pre-psychotic "good" and the post-psychotic "bad," the date of the illness's onset depending on which parts of his work a speaker disliked. Psychoanalysts preferred to see him as sane in the 1920s because of his work on character, while political radicals regarded him as sane during the 1930s because of his Marxist-oriented research.
Despite Reich's precarious mental health, his work on character and the idea of muscular armouring contributed to the development of what is now known as ego psychology, gave rise to body psychotherapy, and helped to shape the Gestalt therapy of Fritz Perls (1893–1970), the bioenergetic analysis of Reich's student, Alexander Lowen (1910–2008), and the primal therapy of Arthur Janov (b. 1924).
In the humanities and popular culture
His early psychoanalytic work, his writing about fascism, and his later writings about orgonomy influenced several generations of intellectuals, including the writers Saul Bellow (1915–2005), William Burroughs (1914–1997) and Norman Mailer (1923–2007), and the founder of Summerhill School in England, A. S. Neill. The French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926–1984) wrote in 1978 that the impact of Reich's critique of sexual repression had been substantial. Sharaf wrote in 1983 that Paul Mathews and John M. Bell started teaching a course on Reich in 1968 at New York University through its Division of Continuing Study, and it was apparently still being taught at the time Sharaf was writing, making it the longest-running course ever taught in that division.
Reich's pursuit by the FDA arguably made him more popular than he would otherwise have been. The Austrian-American philosopher Paul Edwards (1923–2004) said that the opposition to Reich intensified Edwards' attachment to him, writing in 1977 that "for some years many of my friends and I regarded him as something akin to a messiah."
Several well-known figures used orgone accumulators, including Orson Bean (b. 1928), Sean Connery (b. 1930), Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997), Paul Goodman 1911–1972), Jack Kerouac (1922–1969), Isaac Rosenfeld (1918–1956), J. D. Salinger (1919–2010), William Steig (1907–2003), and Robert Anton Wilson (1932–2007). An accumulator made an appearance as the Orgasmatron in Woody Allen's film Sleeper (1973). Turner writes that the evil Dr Durand Durand in Barbarella (1968) seems to be based on Reich; he places Barbarella (Jane Fonda) in his Excessive Machine so that she dies of pleasure, but rather than killing her the machine burns out.
Mailer – who owned several orgone accumulators, including some in the shape of eggs – wrote about Reich enthusiastically in The Village Voice, as a result of which Orgonon became a place of pilgrimage and the orgasm a symbol of liberation. He told Christopher Turner:
The Function of the Orgasm was like a Pandora's box to me. It opened a great deal because to me personally, I'd been struck with an itch in my own orgasm. So much was good in it; so much was not good in it. And his notion that the orgasm in a certain sense was the essence of the character, gave me much food for thought over the years. So there were many, many years when I felt that to a degree when your orgasm was improving, so were you improving with it ... What was important to me was the force, and clarity, and power of [Reich's] early works, and the daring. And also the fact that I think in a basic sense that he was right.
Reich continues to influence popular culture. Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev made a film about him, W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971). Patti Smith's "Birdland" on her album Horses (1975) is based on Reich's life, Hawkwind's song "Orgone Accumulator" (1973) is based on Reich's invention. In Bob Dylan's "Joey" from Blood on the Tracks (1975) the eponymous gangster spends his time in prison "reading Nietzche and Wilhelm Reich." He is also a character in the opera Marilyn – Scenes from the Fifties (1980) by Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero.
Kate Bush's single "Cloudbusting" (1985) described Reich's arrest through the eyes of his son, Peter, who wrote his father's story in A Book of Dreams (1973); the video for the song features Donald Sutherland as Reich and Bush as Peter. Robert Anton Wilson's musical Wilhelm Reich in Hell (1987) is about Reich's confrontation with the American government. The Australian designer Marc Newson produced a range of orgone furniture, most famously his Orgone Chair (1993).
In the sciences
The mainstream scientific community dismissed Reich's orgone theory as pseudoscience. Physicians and other researchers with an interest in him began in the 1960s to organize study groups. In 1967 one of Reich's associates, Dr. Elsworth Baker (1903–1985), set up the bi-annual Journal of Orgonomy, which is still published, and in 1968 founded the American College of Orgonomy in Princeton, New Jersey, to train physicians in orgonomic therapy.
From 1961 the New York publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux began republishing all his major works, leading to renewed interest in his research in the 1970s. The Orgone Biophysical Research Lab was founded in 1978 by Dr. James DeMeo, a geographer, and the Institute for Orgonomic Science in 1982 by Dr. Morton Herskowitz. Sharaf wrote in 1983 that contributors to the Journal of Orgonomy who worked in academia often used a pseudonym in case their careers suffered, leading to what he called the "self-fulfilling prophecy" that orgonomy was not a valid area of study because so few researchers had shown an interest in it. In 2007 the Associated Press reported that a conference at Orgonon discussed seeking FDA approval for clinical trials of orgone accumulator blankets to treat burn victims. There was renewed interest again in 2008, when the Reich archives at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University were unsealed; Reich had left instructions that his unpublished papers be stored for 50 years after his death.
Speaking to Christopher Turner, Peter Reich said of his father: "He was a nineteenth-century scientist; he wasn't a twentieth-century scientist. He didn't practice science the way scientists do today. He was a nineteenth-century mind who came crashing into twentieth-century America. And boom!"
Selected early papers
• "Ueber einen Fall von Durchbruch der Inzestschranke" ("About a Case of Breaching the Incest Taboo"), Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft, VII, 1920
• "Triebbegriffe von Forel bis Jung" ("Forel's Argument Against Jung"), "Der Koitus und die Geschlechter" ("Sexual Intercourse and Gender"), Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft, 1921
• "Ueber Spezifitaet der Onanieformen" ("Concerning Specific Forms of Masturbation"), Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, VIII, 1922
• "Zur Triebenergetik" ("The Drive for Power"), Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft, 1923
• "Kindliche Tagtraeume einer spaeteren Zwangsneurose" ("Childhood Daydreams of a Later Neurosis"), Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, 1923
• "Ueber Genitalitaet" ("About Genitality"), Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, IX, 1923
• "Die Rolle der Genitalitaet in der Neurosentherapie" ("The Role of Genitality in the Treatment of Neurosis"), Zeitschrif für Aerztliche Psychotherapie (Journal for Medical Psychotherapy), IX, 1923
• "Der Tic als Onanieequivalent" ("The Tic as a Masturbation Equivalent"), Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft, 1924
• "Die therapeutische Bedeutung der Genitallibido" ("The Therapeutic Importance of Genital Libido"), and "Über Genitalität vom Standpunkt der psa. Prognose und Libidotheorie." ("On Genitality From the Standpoint of PENSA. Prognosis and Libido Theory") Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, X, 1924
• "Eine hysterische Psychose in statu nascendi" ("Hysterical Psychosis in Statu Nascendi"), Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, XI, 1925
• Der Sexuelle Kampf der Jugend, Sexpol Verlag, 1932 (pamphlet)
• "Dialektischer Materialismus und Psychoanalyse", Kopenhagen: Verlag für Sexualpolitik, 1934 (pamphlet)
• Der triebhafte Charakter: Eine psychoanalytische Studie zur Pathologie des Ich, Wien: Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, 1925
• Die Funktion des Orgasmus: Zur Psychopathologie und zur Soziologie des Geschlechtslebens, Wien: Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, 1927
• Sexualerregung und Sexualbefriedigung, Münster Verlag, 1929
• Geschlechtsreife, Enthaltsamkeit, Ehemoral: Eine Kritik der bürgerlichen Sexualreform, 1930
• Der Einbruch der Sexualmoral: Zur Geschichte der sexuellen Ökonomie, Kopenhagen: Verlag für Sexualpolitik, 1932, 2nd edition 1935
• Massenpsychologie des Faschismus, 1933
• Psychischer Kontakt und vegetative Strömung, 1935
• Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf: Zur sozialistischen Umstrukturierung des Menschen, 1936
• Experimentelle Ergebniße Über Die Elektrische Funktion von Sexualität und Angst, 1937
• Menschen im Staat, 1937
• Die Bione: Zur Entstehung des vegetativen Lebens, Sexpol Verlag, 1938
• Die Entdeckung des Orgons Erster Teil: Die Funktion des Orgasmus, 1942
• Rede an den kleinen Mann, 1945
• (ed.) Zeitschrift für Politische Psychologie und Sexualökonomie (Journal for Political Psychology and Sex-Economy), using pseudonym Ernst Parell, 1934–1938
• (ed.) Klinische und Experimentelle Berichte (Clinical and Experimental Report), c. 1937–1939English
• The Discovery of Orgone, Volume 1: The Function of the Orgasm, 1942 (Die Entdeckung des Orgons Erster Teil: Die Funktion des Orgasmus, translated by Theodore P. Wolfe)
• Character Analysis, 1945 (Charakteranalyse, translated by Theodore P. Wolfe)
• The Sexual Revolution, 1945 (Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf, translated by Theodore P. Wolfe)
• The Mass Psychology of Fascism, 1946 (Massenpsychologie des Faschismus, translated by Theodore P. Wolfe)
• The Discovery of Orgone, Volume 2: The Cancer Biopathy, 1948
• Listen, Little Man!, 1948 (Rede an den kleinen Mann, translated by Theodore P. Wolfe)
• The Orgone Energy Accumulator, Its Scientific and Medical Use, 1948
• Ether, God and Devil, 1949
• Cosmic Superimposition: Man's Orgonotic Roots in Nature, 1951
• The Invasion of Compulsory Sex-Morality, 1951
• The Oranur Experiment: First Report (1947–1951), 1951
• The Murder of Christ (The Emotional Plague of Mankind), 1953
• People in Trouble (The Emotional Plague of Mankind), 1953 (Menschen im Staat)
• The Einstein Affair, 1953
• Contact with Space: Oranur Second Report, 1951–1956, 1957
• (ed.) International Journal of Sex-Economy & Orgone Research, 1942–1945
• (ed.) Annals of the Orgone Institute, 1947–1949
• (ed.) Orgone Energy Bulletin, 1949–1953
• (ed.) CORE – Cosmic Orgone Engineering, 1954–1955
• Selected Writings: An Introduction to Orgonomy, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1960
• Reich Speaks of Freud, Souvenir Press, 1967
• Sexpol. Essays 1929–1934, Random House, 1972
• The Sexual Struggle of Youth, Socialist Reproduction, 1972 (Der Sexuelle Kampf der Jugend)
• Early Writings: Volume One, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975
• The Bion Experiments: On the Origin of Life, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979 (Die Bione: Zur Entstehung des vegetativen Lebens)
• Genitality in the Theory and Therapy of Neurosis, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1980
• Record of a Friendship: The Correspondence of Wilhelm Reich and A.S. Neill (1936–1957), 1981
• The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety, 1982
• Children of the Future: On the Prevention of Sexual Pathology, 1983 (the chapter entitled "The Sexual Rights of Youth" is a revision of Der Sexuelle Kampf der Jugend)
• Reich's autobiographical writings in four volumes:
• Mary Boyd Higgins and Chester M. Raphael (eds.), Passion of Youth: An Autobiography, 1897–1922. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1988
• Mary Boyd Higgins (ed.), Beyond Psychology: Letters and Journals 1934–1939, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994
• Mary Boyd Higgins (ed.), American Odyssey: Letters and Journals 1940–1947, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999
• Mary Boyd Higgins (ed.), Where's the Truth?: Letters and Journals, 1948–1957, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
Abrahams, Ian. Hawkwind: Sonic Assassins. SAF Publishing Ltd, 2004.
Bauer, Henry H. (2000). "Wilhelm Reich," in Science or Pseudoscience? University of Illinois Press.
Blumenfeld, Robert (2006). "Wilhelm Reich and Character Analysis", Tools and Techniques for Character Interpretation. Limelight Editions.
Brian, Denis (1996). Einstein: A Life. John Wiley & Sons.
Cordon, Luis A. (2012). "Reich, Wilhelm" in Freud's World: An Encyclopedia of His Life and Times. Greenwood, pp. 405–424.
Corrington, Robert S. (2003). Wilhelm Reich: Psychoanalyst and Radical Naturalist. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Danto, Elizabeth Ann (2007). Freud's Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis & Social Justice, 1918–1938. Columbia University Press, first published 2005.
DeMarco, Donald and Wiker, Benjamin D. (2004). "Wilhelm Reich", Architects of the Culture of Death. Ignatius Press.
Freud, Sigmund (1928). "Letter from Freud to Lou Andreas-Salomé, May 9, 1928" in Ernest Jones (ed.), The International Psycho-Analytical Library, 89, pp. 174–175.
Greenberg, Leslie S. and Safran, Jeremy D. (1990). Emotion in Psychotherapy. Guilford Press.
Grossinger, Richard (1982). "Wilhelm Reich: From Character Analysis to Cosmic Eros", Planet Medicine: From Stone Age Shamanism to Post-industrial Healing. Taylor & Francis.
Guntrip, Harry (1961). Personality Structure and Human Interaction. Hogarth Press.
Karina, Lilina and Kant, Marion (2004). Hitler's Dancers: German Modern Dance And The Third Reich. Berghahn Books.
Moy, Ron (2007). Kate Bush and Hounds of Love. Ashgate Publishing.
Reich, Peter (1973). A Book Of Dreams. Harper & Row.
Reich, Wilhelm (1920). "Ueber einen Fall von Durchbruch der Inzestschranke," Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft, VII.
Reich, Wilhelm (1942). The Function of the Orgasm.
Reich, Wilhelm (1953). People in Trouble.
Reich, Wilhelm (1957). Contact with Space: Oranur Second Report, 1951–1956.
Reich, Wilhelm (1973). Ether, God and Devil. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Reich, Wilhelm (1974). The Cancer Biopathy. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1948).
Reich, Wilhelm (1982). The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety.
Reich, Wilhelm (1988). Leidenschaft der Jugend/Passion of Youth. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Reich, Wilhelm (1994). Beyond Psychology: Letters and Journals 1934–1939. Farrar Straus & Giroux.
Reich, Wilhelm (1967). Reich Speaks of Freud. Souvenir Press.
Sharaf, Myron (1994). Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich. Da Capo Press; first published by St. Martin's Press, 1983.
Sterba, Richard F. (1982). Reminiscences of a Viennese Psychoanalyst. Wayne State University Press.
Søbye, Espen (1995). Rolf Stenersen. En biografi. Forlaget Oktober (in Norwegian).
Turner, Christopher (2011). Adventures in the Orgasmatron. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Yontef, Gary and Jacobs, Lynn (2010). "Gestalt Therapy" in Raymond J. Corsini and Danny Wedding. Current Psychotherapies. Cengage Learning.
Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth (2008). Anna Freud: A Biography. Yale University Press, first published 1988.
Bendix, Richard (1947). "Review. The Mass Psychology of Fascism, by Wilhelm Reich", American Journal of Sociology, 53(2), September pp. 149–150.
Brady, Mildred Edie (26 May 1947). "The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich", The New Republic.
Burgess, J. Stewart (1947). "Review. The Mass Psychology of Fascism, by Wilhelm Reich, Theodore P. Wolfe", Social Forces, 25(4), May, pp. 469–470.
Cooper, Kim (26 September 2011). "Very Different Tonight: The Contagious Nightmares of Wilhelm Reich", Post45.
Edwards, Paul (1977). "The Greatness of Wilhelm Reich," The Humanist, March/April 1974, reprinted in Charles A. Garfield (ed.) (1977). Rediscovery of the Body. A Psychosomatic View of Life and Death. Dell, pp. 41–50.
Elkind, David (18 April 1971). "Wilhelm Reich -- The Psychoanalyst as Revolutionary; Wilhelm Reich", The New York Times.
Encyclopaedia Britannica (2012). "Wilhelm Reich".
Isaacs, Kenneth S. (1999). "Searching for Science in Psychoanalysis", Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 29(3), pp. 235–252.
Kirkpatrick, Clifford (1947). "Review. The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich", Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 250, March, pp. 137–138.
Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (4 January 1971). "Back Into the Old Orgone Box", The New York Times.
MacBean, James Roy (1972). "Sex and Politics: Wilhelm Reich, World Revolution, and Makavejev's WR", Film Quarterly, 25(3), Spring, pp. 2–13.
Murphy, James M. (4 January 2012). "The man who started the sexual revolution", The Times Literary Supplement.
Roeckelein, Jon E. (2006). "Reich's Orgone/Orgonomy Theory," Elsevier's Dictionary of Psychological Theories. Elsevier.
Rubin, Lore Reich (2003). "Wilhelm Reich and Anna Freud: His Expulsion from Psychoanalysis", Int. Forum Psychoanal, 12, pp. 109–117.
Sheppard, R.Z. (14 May 1973) "A family affair", Time magazine.
Sobey, Victor (24 September 1956). "An Eyewitness Report of the Burning of Scientific Books in the USA, 1956"
Time magazine (18 November 1957). "Milestones, Nov. 18, 1957" (obituary).
Turner, Christopher (6 October 2005). "Naughty Children", London Review of Books, 27(19).
Turner, Christopher (8 July 2011). "Wilhelm Reich: the man who invented free love", The Guardian.
Turner, Christopher (23 September 2011). "Adventures in the Orgasmatron", The New York Times.
United States Department of State (2 March 2000). "FBI adds new subjects to electronic reading room".
• "Mikrofilm-Bestand der Staatsbibliotheken in Berlin, München und Bremen aus dem Nachlaß Wilhelm Reichs" (Wilhelm Reich archive on microfilm, from the private archive of Dr. Eva Reich).
• "Material published by Dr. Wilhelm Reich," Firestone Library, Princeton University (microfilm from Eva Reich).
• "Man's Right to Know", documentary on Reich, Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust.
• Recording of Reich speaking, Orgonon, 3 April 1952.
• The Journal of Orgonomy, The American College of Orgonomy.
Books about Reich
• Baker, Elsworth F. (1967). Man In The Trap. Macmillan.
• Boadella, David (1971). Wilhelm Reich: The Evolution Of His Work. Henry Regnery.
• Boadella, David (ed.) (1976). In The Wake Of Reich. Coventure.
• Cattier, Michael (1970). The Life and Work of Wilhelm Reich. Horizon Press, 1970.
• Cohen, Ira H. (1982). Ideology and Unconsciousness : Reich, Freud, and Marx. New York University Press.
• Corrington, Robert S. (2003). Wilhelm Reich: Psychoanalyst and Radical Naturalist. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
• Chesser, Eustice (1972). Reich and Sexual Freedom. Vision Press.
• Chesser, Eustice (1973). Salvation Through Sex: The Life and Work of Wilhelm Reich. W. Morrow.
• Dadoun, Roger (1975). Cent Fleurs pour Wilhelm Reich. Payot.
• De Marchi, Luigi (1973). Wilhelm Reich, biographie d'une idée. Fayard.
• Gebauer, Rainer and Müschenich, Stefan (1987). Der Reichische Orgonakkumulator. Frankfurt/Main: Nexus Verlag.
• Greenfield, Jerome (1974). Wilhelm Reich Vs. the U.S.A.. W.W. Norton.
• Herskowitz, Morton (1998). Emotional Armoring: An Introduction to Psychiatric Orgone Therapy. Transactions Press.
• Johler, Birgit (2008). Wilhelm Reich Revisited. Turia & Kant.
• Kavouras, Jorgos (2005). Heilen mit Orgonenergie: Die Medizinische Orgonomie. Turm Verlag.
• Kornbichler, Thomas (2006). Flucht nach Amerika: Emigration der Psychotherapeuten: Richard Huelsenbeck, Wilhelm Reich, Erich Fromm. Kreuz.
• Lassek, Heiko (1997). Orgon-Therapie: Heilen mit der reinen Lebensenergie. Scherz Verlag.
• Mairowitz, D. & Gonzales, G. (1986). Reich For Beginners. Writers & Readers.
• Makavejev, Dusan (1972). WR Mysteries of the Organism. Avon Publishers.
• Mann, Edward (1973). Orgone. Reich And Eros: Wilhelm Reich's Theory Of The Life Energy. Simon & Schuster.
• Mann, Edward & Hoffman, Edward (ed.) (1980). The Man Who Dreamed Of Tomorrow: A Conceptual Biography Of Wilhelm Reich. J.P. Tarcher.
• Martin, Jim (2000). Wilhelm Reich and the Cold War. Flatland Books.
• Meyerowitz, Jacob (1994). Before the Beginning of Time. Rrp Publishers.
• Mulisch, Harry (1973). Het seksuele bolwerk. De Bezige Bij.
• Ollendorff, Ilse. (1969). Wilhelm Reich: A Personal Biography. St. Martin's Press.
• Raknes, Ola (1970). Wilhelm Reich And Orgonomy. St. Martin's Press.
• Reich, Peter (1973). A Book Of Dreams. Harper & Row.
• Ritter, Paul (ed.) (1958). Wilhelm Reich Memorial Volume. Ritter Press.
• Robinson, Paul (1990). The Freudian Left: Wilhelm Reich, Geza Roheim, Herbert Marcuse. Cornell University Press, first published 1969.
• Rycroft, Charles (1971). Reich. Fontana Modern Masters.
• Seelow, David (2005). Radical Modernism and Sexuality : Freud, Reich, D.H. Lawrence and Beyond. Palgrave Macmillan.
• Senf, Bernd (1996). Die Wiederentdeckung des Lebendigen (The Rediscovery of the Living). Zweitausendeins Verlag.
• Sharaf, Myron (1994). Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich. Da Capo Press; first published by St. Martin's Press, 1983.
• Sinelnikoff, Constantin (1970). L'Oeuvre de Wilhelm Reich. François Maspero.
• Turner, Christopher (2011). Adventures in the Orgasmatron. HarperCollins.
• Wilson, Robert Anton (1998). Wilhelm Reich in Hell. Aires Press.
• Wilson, Colin (1981). The Quest for Wilhelm Reich. Doubleday.
• Wright, Paki (2002). The All Souls' Waiting Room. 1st Book Library (novel).
• Wyckoff, James (1973). Wilhelm Reich: Life Force Explorer. Fawcett.
• Butts, Robert E. (1993). "Sciences and Pseudosciences. An attempt at a new form of demarcation", in John Earman. Philosophical Problems of the Internal and External Worlds: Essays on the Philosophy of Adolf Grünbaum, Volume 1. University of Pittsburgh Press.
• D'Aloia, Alessandro (15 October 2004). "Marxism and Psychoanalysis: Notes on Wilhelm Reich's Life and Works", Marxist.com.
• Diercks, Christine (2002). "The Vienna Psychoanalytic Polyclinic ('Ambulatorium'): Wilhelm Reich and the Technical Seminar", Psychoanalysis and History, Winter 2002, 4(1), pp. 67–84.
• Franzen, D.E. (1980). "American inquisition: the FDA's persecution of Wilhelm Reich", Reason, 11(9), pp. 30–34.
• Hinchey, Kevin (24 September 2011). "The True Story of a Court-Ordered Book Burning in America: Publications of Research Physician-Scientist Wilhelm Reich, M.D.", William Reich Infant Trust.
• Gebauer, Rainer & Muschenich, Stefan (1987). "Die Psycho-Physiologischen Wirkungen des Reich-schen Orgonakkumulators auf den Menschlichen Organismus," University of Marburg-Lahn.
• Hebenstreit, Günter A. (2010). "Die Elektrophysiologie erogener und nicht-erogener Hautzonen in Verbindung mit der Spannungs-Ladungs-Formel Wilhelm Reichs", Department of Psychology, University of Vienna.
• Jones, Lewis (7 August 2011). "Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex by Christopher Turner: review", The Daily Telegraph.
• Kendrick, William (3 April 1983). "The Analyst as Outsider", a review of Myron Sharaf's Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich, The New York Times.
• Kramer, Peter D. (27 June 2011). "The Great Proselytizer of Orgasm", Slate.
• Laska, Bernd A. (1981). "Sigmund Freud contra Wilhelm Reich", Wilhelm Reich. Bildmonographie. Rowohlt, Reinbek.
• Lothane, Zvi (2001). "The Deal with the Devil to 'Save' Psychoanalysis in Nazi Germany," Psychoanalytic Review, 88, pp. 195–224.
• Moss, Donald and Shane, Paul (1999). "Body Therapies in Humanistic Psychology," in Donald Moss (ed.). Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology: A Historical and Biographical Sourcebook. Greenwood.
• Nitzschke, Berndt (1999). "Psychoanalysis during National Socialism: Present-day Consequences of a Historical Controversy in the 'Case of Wilhelm Reich'," Psychoanalytic Review, 86, pp. 349–366.
• Pietikainen P. (Spring 2002). "Utopianism in psychology: the case of Wilhelm Reich", J Hist Behav Sci, 38(2), pp. 157–175.
• Rabinbach, Anson G. (Winter 1973). "The Politicization of Wilhelm Reich: An Introduction to "The Sexual Misery of the Working Masses and the Difficulties of Sexual Reform", New German Critique, 1, pp. 90–97.
• Rieff, Philip (11 September 1960). "Cosmic Life Energy Was Just What the Doctor Ordered", review of Wilhelm Reich's Selected Writings, The New York Times Book Review, 3, 26.
• Rieff, Philip (September 1964). "The World of Wilhelm Reich," Commentary, 38(3), pp. 50–58.
• Rieff, Philip (1987). "The Therapeutic as Martyr: Reich's Religion of Energy," in Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith After Freud. The University of Chicago Press, first published 1966.
• Schatzberg, Arthur (July 1972). "Wilhelm Reich: Self-Destined Victim and Social Casualty. A Study of His Trial and Appeal", Arch Gen Psychiatry, 27(1), pp. 73–77.
• Time magazine (24 January 1964). "Morals: The Second Sexual Revolution" (cover story).
• Wertham, Fredric (2 December 1946). "Calling all Couriers," The New Republic.
Wilhelm Reich (* 24. März 1897 in Dobzau, Galizien, Österreich-Ungarn; † 3. November 1957 in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA) war ein österreichisch-US-amerikanischer Psychiater, Psychoanalytiker, Sexualforscher und Soziologe. Mit der von ihm ab 1934 entwickelten Vegetotherapie war er Mitbegründer der Körperpsychotherapie. Nach 1940 entwickelte er seine umstrittene Orgonomie.
3.1 Philosopie und andere Wissenschaften
4 Schriften (Auswahl)
Wilhelm Reich wurde 1897 als erster von zwei Söhnen des Gutsbesitzers Léon Reich und dessen Frau Cecilia geboren. Reichs Geburtsort Dobzau, auch Dobrzanica, liegt im damals österreichischen Teil Galiziens, der Ort Jujinetz, wo Reich den Großteil seiner Kindheit verbrachte, in der Bukowina, dem damals östlichsten Teil des k.u.k. Österreich-Ungarn. Reichs Eltern waren zwar jüdischer Herkunft, hatten sich aber vom jüdischen Glauben gelöst, weshalb Reich keine religiöse Erziehung erhielt. Er wurde zuhause von Privatlehrern unterrichtet, bis er auf das Gymnasium von Czernowitz ging. Mit einem dieser Privatlehrer unterhielt Reichs Mutter zeitweilig eine intime Beziehung, die der etwa elfjährige Wilhelm entdeckte. Seine Mutter verübte Suizid, als er vierzehn war; sein Vater wurde depressiv, erkrankte und starb 1914. Der siebzehnjährige Reich musste nun die Leitung des Gutsbetriebs übernehmen, wurde aber 1915 durch einrückende russische Truppen zur Flucht gezwungen. Er trat der k.u.k.-Armee bei und blieb bis zum Kriegsende 1918 im Militärdienst.
Wilhelm Reich ging anschließend nach Wien und studierte, nach einem Semester Rechtswissenschaften, Medizin. Er wurde durch ein Seminar zur Sexualität, das sein Kommilitone Otto Fenichel außeruniversitär organisiert hatte, auf Sigmund Freud und die Psychoanalyse aufmerksam. 1920, noch als Student, wurde er – eine große Ausnahme – in die Wiener Psychoanalytische Vereinigung aufgenommen. Ohne jemals eine Lehranalyse abgeschlossen zu haben, praktizierte er mit kaum 23 Jahren als Psychoanalytiker und leitete von 1924 bis 1930 das Wiener Seminar für Psychoanalytische Therapie, wo man praktische Probleme der Behandlung systematisch erforschte. Aus den dortigen Diskussionen und aus einer konsequenten Weiterentwicklung der Freudschen Libidotheorie zur Orgasmustheorie (1927) gingen seine therapietechnischen Innovationen hervor: von der Widerstandsanalyse zur Charakteranalyse (1933), danach zur körperorientierten Vegetotherapie (1935) und in den 1940er Jahren zur Orgontherapie.
Unter dem Eindruck der Geschehnisse beim Wiener Justizpalastbrand vom 15. Juli 1927 trat Reich in die Kommunistische Partei Österreichs ein und wurde politisch aktiv. Unter anderem eröffnete er mit Marie Frischauf und anderen kommunistischen oder sozialdemokratischen Ärzten in verschiedenen Stadtteilen Wiens Sexualberatungsstellen.
Reich heiratete 1921 in Wien eine ehemalige Patientin, die Medizinstudentin Annie Pink, die später ebenfalls Psychoanalytikerin wurde. Aus der Ehe, die bis 1932 dauerte, gingen zwei Töchter hervor: 1924 Eva und 1928 Lore. 1933 wurde die Balletttänzerin Elsa Lindenberg, die Reich in Berlin kennengelernt hatte, im skandinavischen Exil ohne formelle Eheschließung seine zweite Frau; sie blieb jedoch, als Reich 1939 nach New York emigrierte, in Norwegen. In den USA heiratete Reich Ilse Ollendorff, die aus Deutschland emigriert war. Diese Ehe, aus der 1944 der Sohn Peter hervorging, wurde 1954 geschieden.
Reich war mit A. S. Neill befreundet und schickte später seinen Sohn Peter auf dessen Schule Summerhill.
Mit der Orgasmustheorie führte Reich ein Kriterium für psychische Gesundheit und somit auch als Therapieziel ein: die orgastische Potenz. Zugleich betonte er, dass dieses Ziel nur schwer erreichbar ist und die Neurose als Massenerscheinung ohnehin nicht durch Einzeltherapien zu beseitigen sei, sondern nur durch Prophylaxe. Sowohl wegen seiner Auffassung von psychischer Gesundheit als auch wegen der im Gebot der Prophylaxe implizierten politischen Konsequenzen geriet Reich schon um 1926 in einen schwelenden Konflikt mit Freud, der schließlich – ohne jede sachliche Auseinandersetzung – im August 1934 zu Reichs Ausschluss aus der Internationalen Psychoanalytischen Vereinigung (IPV) führte.
Seit Mitte 1927 hatte Reich außerdem, parallel zu seiner Arbeit innerhalb der Psychoanalyse, eine Synthese von Marxismus und Psychoanalyse (siehe: Freudomarxismus) auf theoretischer wie praktischer Ebene versucht. Er war 1930 von Wien nach Berlin gegangen, wo er der KPD beitrat und 1931 den Deutschen Reichsverband für Proletarische Sexualpolitik gründete, kurz: die Sexpol. Auch diese Arbeit war so konfliktträchtig, dass er 1933, vor allem wegen seines Buches Massenpsychologie des Faschismus, aus der Partei ausgeschlossen wurde. Reichs Buch Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf (1936) enthält eine scharfe Kritik der rückschrittlichen Entwicklung in der Sowjetunion unter Stalin.
Reich lieferte mit seiner Massenpsychologie des Faschismus die erste größere, aus psychoanalytisch-gesellschaftskritischer Sicht geschriebene Auseinandersetzung mit dem Faschismus bzw. dem Nationalsozialismus. Er behauptet einen fundamentalen Zusammenhang zwischen autoritärer Triebunterdrückung und faschistischer Ideologie. Die patriarchalische (Zwangs-)Familie als Keimzelle des Staates schaffe die Charaktere, die sich der repressiven Ordnung, trotz Not und Erniedrigung, unterwerfen. Das später von Erich Fromm entwickelte Konzept des autoritären Charakters sah Reich als verwässerndes Plagiat seiner Theorie an.
Als Reich Ende 1930 nach Berlin kam, begann Fritz Perls, der bereits 1927 in Wien an Reichs „Technischem Seminar“ teilgenommen hatte, eine Lehranalyse bei ihm. Sie wurde durch die Emigration Reichs im Frühjahr 1933 beendet. Reichs Einfluss war maßgeblich für Perls' spätere Entwicklung der Gestalttherapie.
1933 floh Reich zusammen mit seiner Frau vor den Nationalsozialisten zunächst nach Wien und emigrierte dann nach Dänemark. Seine Bücher wurden zu dieser Zeit in Deutschland verbrannt. 1934 verlor er die Aufenthaltsgenehmigung für Dänemark und floh deshalb nach Norwegen. Im August 1939, kurz vor Beginn des Krieges, übersiedelte Reich mitsamt seinem Labor nach New York, was nur möglich war, weil er einen Lehrauftrag an der New School for Social Research erhalten hatte. Dort hatte er Einfluss auf spätere Körperpsychotherapeuten wie Alexander Lowen, die insbesondere seine Erweiterung der psychoanalytischen „Redekur“ zu einem psychosomatischen Konzept schätzten. Reich hatte in den 1930er Jahren von dem damals zu den führenden Physiologen zählenden Friedrich Kraus das Konzept der „vegetativen Strömung“ übernommen und seine Charakteranalyse zur Vegetotherapie weiterentwickelt.
Parallel dazu hatte Reich ein gut ausgestattetes Labor eingerichtet, mikrobiologische Forschungen durchgeführt und schließlich vesikuläre Gebilde im Grenzbereich zwischen Anorganischem und Organischem gefunden, die er nicht zu identifizieren vermochte und deshalb mit einem neuen Begriff als Bione bezeichnete. Die Arbeit mit ihnen führte ihn zum Postulat einer „spezifisch biologischen“ Energie, die er Orgon nannte. Diese sei, so Reich, in Orgonakkumulatoren konzentrierbar und biophysikalische Grundlage seiner Therapie.
Ein 1955 verfügtes gerichtliches Verbot der Verwendung dieser Orgon-Akkumulatoren sowie die Verfügung, diese Geräte selbst sowie alle seine Bücher zu vernichten, wurde von Reich nicht akzeptiert, da es sich um eine wissenschaftliche Frage handele, die nicht von einem Gericht zu klären sei. Nachdem ein Mitarbeiter Reichs gegen das gerichtliche Verbot verstieß, Orgon-Akkumulatoren über Grenzen der US-Bundesstaaten zu transportieren, wurde Reich 1956 zu einer zweijährigen Haftstrafe wegen „Missachtung des Gerichts“ verurteilt. Reich trat die Strafe am 12. März 1957 an und starb während der Haft am 3. November 1957. Als Todesursache wurde Herzversagen angegeben; eine Autopsie seines Leichnams fand jedoch nicht statt.
Reichs Bücher wurden zu Werbeschriften für den „Orgon-Akkumulator“ erklärt und unter Aufsicht der Food and Drug Administration (FDA) verbrannt; sie bestand auf der Verbrennung aller Arbeiten Reichs, wenn in ihnen das Wort Orgon vorkam, oder, sofern nicht, wenn ihnen gedankliche Vorarbeit für die Orgonomie unterstellt werden konnte, so dass fast alle publizierten Schriften Reichs betroffen waren.
Reich verfügte in seinem Testament, dass sein Nachlass erst fünfzig Jahre nach seinem Tode der Öffentlichkeit zur Verfügung gestellt werde; die Dokumente wurden demgemäß im November 2007 von der Bibliothek der Harvard University Medical School für wissenschaftliche Studien freigegeben.
Reich hinterließ ein interdisziplinäres Werk, das weit über die Grenzen der Psychologie oder Psychoanalyse hinausgeht: Auf der Makroebene ragen seine Arbeiten bis hinein in die politische Soziologie; auf der Mikroebene erstrecken sie sich über Biologie, Mikrobiologie bis hin zur Paraphysik. Man kann seine Beschäftigung als jeweils logische und unmittelbare Konsequenz der zuvor erbrachten Ergebnisse aus Forschungsarbeiten betrachten, die bei der Frage nach dem Verständnis und der Therapie psychischer Beeinträchtigungen ansetzen. Der heute mögliche Gesamtüberblick über sein Lebenswerk lässt deutlich erkennen, dass ein roter Faden seine Arbeiten durchzieht. Reich beginnt als Psychoanalytiker, beschreibt sehr ausführlich das Vorhandensein der verschiedenen Abwehrmuster des Menschen (Charakterpanzerungen, zunächst psychisch, dann somatisch) und die Möglichkeiten ihrer Auflösung. Seine konsequente Verfolgung der energetischen Basis (was Freud Libido-Ökonomie nannte, aber nicht weiterverfolgte) führte ihn zur Frage, was denn eigentlich das Lebendige sei, zur Entwicklung der Sexualökonomie und schließlich zur „Entdeckung des Orgons“. Seine besondere Aufmerksamkeit galt der Erforschung der Krebserkrankungen, seiner Meinung nach eine Erkrankung des gesamten Organismus, der eine gestörte Pulsation des Orgons im Körper zugrunde liege, die wiederum in der Unfähigkeit des Organismus wurzele, sich vollständig den vegetativen Zuckungen im Orgasmus hinzugeben. Diese Unfähigkeit, die orgastische Impotenz des Menschen bzw. ihre Behebung, ist ein Kernpunkt seiner Arbeit.
In der Praxis gebührt ihm das Verdienst, dass er als einer der ersten die praktische Beratung in Sexualfragen forderte und auch durchführte. Darüber hinaus hat er selbst unter erschwerten äußeren Bedingungen die „klinisch-therapeutische Arbeit mit Unterschicht-Klienten“ geleistet. In diesem Zusammenhang muss auch sein sexualpädagogisches Wirken in der proletarischen Jugendbewegung erwähnt werden ("Der sexuelle Kampf der Jugend").
Zahlreiche Autoren, auch wissenschaftliche Kritiker, bestätigten, dass Reichs Werk durch Stringenz und Logik gekennzeichnet ist (Fragestellung, Forschung, Ergebnisse, neue Implikationen). Die sexuelle Revolution der 1970er Jahre hat sich kaum - und wenn geschehen, dann oft in Verkennung seiner Auffassung von Sexualität - auf Reich berufen. Das Besondere seines Werks ist die Entdeckung der ganzheitlichen Sicht des Menschen, die u. a. in den Annahmen gipfelte, dass „Erinnerungen immer von entsprechenden körperlichen Auswirkungen begleitet werden, (...) Emotionen sich in Form eines Muskelpanzers im Körper manifestieren“.
Philosopie und andere Wissenschaften
Reichs Theorien über das „Orgon“ wurden und werden in der akademischen Naturwissenschaft nicht für diskussionswürdig erachtet. Sie werden gemeinhin als parawissenschaftlich betrachtet und provozierten heftige Reaktionen, auch von Wissenschaftlern, z. B. von Peter R. Hofstätter und Erwin Ackerknecht. Seine Arbeiten polarisierten und polarisieren heute noch sehr stark. Die frühen Beiträge im Rahmen der Psychoanalyse, auch noch deren Weiterentwicklung zur Charakteranalyse, fanden noch breite Zustimmung, doch schon sein Postulat der orgastischen Potenz als Therapieziel traf auf Skepsis und, insbesondere bei Freud, auf Ablehnung. Die Fortentwicklung der Charakteranalyse zur Vegetotherapie, also die Begründung der Körperpsychotherapie, wurde von der Mehrzahl seiner Kollegen, innerhalb und außerhalb der Psychoanalyse, als Irrweg betrachtet.
Albert Einstein, der 1941 privat Reichs Messungen an einem Orgonakkumulator überprüfte, konnte Reichs Postulat einer noch unerforschten Energieart nicht bestätigen. Er gab Reich eine konventionelle Interpretation der beobachteten Phänomene und schrieb ihm: „Ich hoffe, dass dies Ihre Skepsis entwickeln wird, dass Sie sich nicht durch eine an sich verständliche Illusion trügen lassen.“
Reichs Theorien gerieten nach seinem Tod 1957 schnell in Vergessenheit. Ein Jahrzehnt später wurde er von der Studentenbewegung wiederentdeckt. Um 1964 brachte Monika Seifert die Kunde vom Werk Reichs aus England mit. Man las Reich zunächst nur als Freudo-Marxisten und als Herold einer sexuellen Revolution. Die einschlägigen Raubdrucke - insbesondere von Funktion des Orgasmus, Massenpsychologie des Faschismus und Charakteranalyse wurden von fliegenden Händlern in großer Zahl auf dem Campus vieler deutscher Universitäten zu günstigen Preisen verkauft und wurden zu Bestsellern. Einige Jahre später entdeckte man Reich als Begründer der körperorientierten Psychotherapie und bald danach, mit dem Aufkommen der esoterischen New-Age-Bewegungen, auch als Entdecker einer von ihm in seinen späten Jahren postulierten „primordialen“ Lebensenergie Orgon. Unabhängig von dieser breiteren Rezeption hat sich seit 1967 in den USA das „American College of Orgonomy“ etabliert. Körperorientierte Psychotherapieverfahren gründen auf Reichs Ideen, wurden aber von Nachfolgern wie Alexander Lowen, später Gerda Boyesen und heute von verschiedenen Vertretern der Körperpsychotherapie so stark nach neuen Erkenntnissen in der Psychologie und der Neurobiologie modifiziert, dass die ursprünglichen Vorstellungen von Reich oft nur noch wenig Bedeutung haben.
Reichs (potenzielle) Bedeutung für die Ideengeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts deutlich zu machen, wurde erstmals von Paul Edwards, dem Verfasser eines einst weitverbreiteten Lehrbuches zur Philosophie und Haupt-Herausgeber der achtbändigen Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967 ff.) in einem ausführlichen Artikel über Reich in diesem grundlegenden Nachschlagewerk versucht. Edwards, der sich eines Urteils über Reichs Orgontheorie weitgehend enthält, hebt besonders Reichs Bedeutung als Religionskritiker hervor, der in seiner Charakterlehre gründlicher als Freud und andere die psychische (und somatische) Verankerung des religiösen Fühlens im Individuum erforscht habe. Außerdem betont Edwards die Bedeutung der Theorien Reichs für das Leib-Seele-Problem in der Philosophie des Geistes.
Bernd A. Laska, der 1975–1982 die Zeitschrift „wilhelm-reich-blätter“ herausgab, versucht mit einem 1985 begonnenen „paraphilosophischen“ Projekt, Reichs Rang als Aufklärer aus seinem Gegensatz zu Freud (als dem einflussreichsten Aufklärer im 20. Jahrhundert) abzuleiten, wobei er es für nebensächlich hält, welchen wissenschaftlichen Status nicht nur Reichs spätere Orgontheorie, sondern auch die psychologischen Theorien Freuds und Reichs aktuell haben. Reich ist dabei nach Laskas Auffassung eine von drei „Schlüsselfiguren“, deren Schicksale in der Geschichte der neuzeitlichen Aufklärung trotz unterschiedlichster Kontexte erstaunliche Ähnlichkeiten aufwiesen und auf prinzipiell gleiche inhaltliche Positionen zurückzuführen seien: Neben Reich, der von Freud ins Abseits „verdrängt“ wurde (s. Weblink unten), La Mettrie, dessen Ideen im 18. Jahrhundert von Voltaire, Rousseau u. a. ausgeschaltet worden seien wie die Stirners im 19. Jahrhundert von Marx und Nietzsche.
Zum 100. Geburtstag (1997) und zum 50. Todestag (2007) Reichs fanden weltweit Kongresse bzw. Symposien über seine Ideen statt, die meist von Anhängern, aber in einigen Fällen auch von neutralen Institutionen veranstaltet wurden.
1985 veröffentlichte Kate Bush ein Video zu ihrer Single Cloudbusting, in dem der kanadische Schauspieler Donald Sutherland Wilhelm Reich darstellt und Kate Bush seinen Sohn Peter. Das Video basiert auf der Geschichte, dass Reich 1953 in Maine von Farmern engagiert wurde um Regen zu erzeugen. Trotz anders lautender Wettervorhersage regnete es innerhalb von 24 Stunden, und Reich bekam eine mit den Farmern für den Erfolgsfall vereinbarte Summe.
Der österreichische Filmemacher Antonin Svoboda produzierte 2009 die TV-Dokumentation Wer hat Angst vor Wilhelm Reich? und stellte 2012 den Spielfilm Der Fall Wilhelm Reich über die letzten Lebensjahre Reichs im Exil in den Vereinigten Staaten vor, in dem Klaus Maria Brandauer in der Rolle Reichs zu sehen ist.
• Der triebhafte Charakter (1925). In: Frühe Schriften I, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1977
• Die Funktion des Orgasmus (1927). Revidierte Fassung: Genitalität in der Theorie und Therapie der Neurose/Frühe Schriften II, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1982
• Dialektischer Materialismus und Psychoanalyse (1929)
• Der Einbruch der Sexualmoral (1932). Erweiterte und revidierte Fassung: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1972
• Die Massenpsychologie des Faschismus (1933). Erweiterte und revidierte Fassung: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1971
• Charakteranalyse (1933). Erweiterte Fassung: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1970
• Was ist Klassenbewusstsein? (1934) – (Pseudonym „Ernst Parell“)
• Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf (1936), rev. Neuauflage: Die sexuelle Revolution, Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Frankfurt am Main 1966
• Die Bione (1938)
• The Function of Orgasm (1942). Deutsches Original: Die Funktion des Orgasmus (völlig verschieden von dem Buch gleichen Titels 1927), Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1969
• The Cancer Biopathy (1948). Deutsches Original: Der Krebs, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1974
• Listen, Little Man! (1948). Deutsches Original: Rede an den kleinen Mann, Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main 1984
• Ether, God, and Devil (1949). Deutsches Original: Äther, Gott und Teufel, Nexus, Frankfurt am Main 1983
• Cosmic Superimposition (1951)
• The ORANUR Experiment – First Report (1951)
• People in Trouble (1953). Deutsches Original: Menschen im Staat. Nexus, Frankfurt am Main 1982; verbesserte Auflage: Stroemfeld, Frankfurt am Main 1995
• The Murder of Christ (1953). Übersetzt von Bernd A. Laska als Christusmord, Walter, Olten/Freiburg 1978
• Contact with Space, The ORANUR Experiment – Second Report (1957)
Im Verlag und Vertrieb Zweitausendeins erschienen 1995–1997 Reichs „Späte Schriften“ in deutscher Übersetzung in sechs Bänden: 1) Die Bionexperimente; 2) Orop Wüste (Artikelsammlung), 3) Das ORANUR-Experiment – Erster Bericht; 4) Das ORANUR-Experiment – Zweiter Bericht; 5) Die kosmische Überlagerung; 6) Christusmord
Postum erschienen außerdem einige Bücher mit (auto-)biografischem Material:
• Reich speaks of Freud, New York 1967. Deutsch auszugsweise (Raubdruck) als Wilhelm Reich über Sigmund Freud, o. O./o. J. (Schloß Dätzingen 1976)
• Beverley A. Placzek (ed.): Record of a Friendship (Correspondence Wilhelm Reich/Alexander S. Neill), New York 1981. Deutsch als Zeugnisse einer Freundschaft, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1986
• Leidenschaft der Jugend. Eine Autobiographie 1897–1922 (frühe Arbeiten und autobiographische Manuskripte), Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1994
• Beyond Psychology (Letters and Journals 1934–1939), New York 1994. Deutsch als Jenseits der Psychologie, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1996
• An American Odyssey (Letters and Journals 1940–1947), Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York 1999
• Where's the Truth? Letters and Journals 1948–1957, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York 2012
• David Boadella: Wilhelm Reich. Leben und Werk des Mannes, der in der Sexualität das Problem der modernen Gesellschaft erkannte und der Psychologie neue Wege wies. Scherz, Bern/München 1981; überarbeitete Neuausgabe unter dem Titel Wilhelm Reich. Pionier des neuen Denkens. Eine Biographie. Ebd. 1996, ISBN 3-502-13052-3 (engl. Orig. 1973).
• Wilhelm Burian: Psychoanalyse und Marxismus. Eine intellektuelle Biographie Wilhelm Reichs. Makol, Frankfurt 1972; Neuausgabe: Sexualität, Natur, Gesellschaft. Eine psycho-politische Biographie Wilhelm Reichs. Ça-Ira, Freiburg im Breisgau 1985, ISBN 3-924627-04-5.
• Karl Fallend, Bernd Nitzschke (Hrsg.): Der „Fall“ Wilhelm Reich. Beiträge zum Verhältnis von Psychoanalyse und Politik. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt 1997, ISBN 3-518-28885-7; überarbeitete und mit einem aktuellen Vorwort versehene Neuauflage: Psychosozial-Verlag, Gießen 2002, ISBN 3-89806-147-7 (Vorwort zur Neuauflage).
• Karl Fallend: Wilhelm Reich in Wien. Psychoanalyse und Politik. Geyer-Edition, Wien 1988.
• Jerome Greenfield: USA gegen Wilhelm Reich. Zweitausenundeins, Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 3-86150-107-4 (engl. Orig. 1974).
• Birgit Johler (Hrsg.): Wilhelm Reich Revisited. Turia + Kant, Wien 2008, ISBN 978-3-85132-501-0.
• Martin Konitzer: Wilhelm Reich zur Einführung. Junius, Hamburg 1989; 2., überarbeitete Auflage 1992, ISBN 3-88506-879-6.
• Bernd Nitzschke: Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). In: Volkmar Sigusch und Günter Grau (Hrsg.): Personenlexikon der Sexualforschung. Campus, Frankfurt am Main/New York 2009, ISBN 978-3-593-39049-9, S. 578-585.
• Ilse Ollendorff-Reich: Wilhelm Reich. Das Leben des großen Psychoanalytikers und Forschers, aufgezeichnet von seiner Frau und Mitarbeiterin. Kindler, München 1975, ISBN 3-463-00606-5 (engl. Orig. 1969).
• Charles Rycroft: Wilhelm Reich. Dtv, München 1972, ISBN 3-423-00847-4 (engl. Orig. 1971).
• Myron Sharaf: Wilhelm Reich. Der heilige Zorn des Lebendigen. Die Biografie. Simon & Leutner, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-922389-60-0 (engl. Orig. 1983).
• Christopher Turner: Adventures in the Orgasmatron. How the Sexual Revolution Came to America. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York 2011, ISBN 978-0-374-10094-0
Commons: Wilhelm Reich – Sammlung von Bildern, Videos und Audiodateien
Wikiquote: Wilhelm Reich – Zitate
2.↑ Wilhelm Reich: Menschen im Staat. (1937/1953), Stroemfeld, Frankfurt Main 1995, S. 42
3.↑ Vgl. Wilhelm Reich: Erfahrungen und Probleme der Sexualberatungsstellen für Arbeiter und Angestellte in Wien. In: Der sozialistische Arzt, 5(1929), S. 98–102
4.↑ Weil in den Zeitschriften der Psychoanalytiker nur kurz sein „Austritt“ gemeldet wurde, veröffentlichte Reich 1935 einen Bericht über den Ausschluss Wilhelm Reichs aus der IPV
5.↑ Hier ist zu beachten, dass die seit 1971 im Handel befindliche Version der Massenpsychologie des Faschismus (Verlage k&w, Fischer-TB) eine von Reich terminologisch stark veränderte (Umwandlung marxistischer Begriffe) und um einige später, zwischen 1935 und 1945, geschriebene Kapitel erweiterte ist.
6.↑ Neuveröffentlichung 1966ff unter dem Titel Die Sexuelle Revolution
7.↑ Vgl. auch den kritischen Bericht über die Moskauer Prozesse in Reichs Zeitschrift für Politische Psychologie und Sexualökonomie.
8.↑ Für eine Zusammenfassung der Kritik an Fromm vom Standpunkt Reichs mit ausführlichen Zitaten aus mehreren Rezensionen siehe Bernd A. Laska: Über Erich Fromm
9.↑ Bernd Bocian: Fritz Perls in Berlin. Wuppertal: Peter Hammer 2007, S. 200ff, 248ff
10. ↑ Beschreibung im Vorwort zu seinem Buch Die Bione (1938), nachgedruckt als Die Bionexperimente. Zweitausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 1995, S. 15-25
11. ↑ Ausführlich dazu: Jerome Greenfield: USA gegen Wilhelm Reich. Zweitausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 1995, 486 S.
13. ↑ Karl-Heinz Ignatz Kerscher, Taini Kerscher: Wilhelm Reich - die theoretischen Grundlagen der Sexualpädagogik. Grin, München u. a. 2008, S. 36 ff.
14. ↑ Helmut Johach: Von Freud zur humanistischen Psychologie : therapeutisch-biographische Profile : Sigmund Freud, Lou Andreas-Salome, Sándor Ferenczi, Georg Groddeck, Wilhelm Reich, Erich Fromm, Fritz und Laura Perls, Ruth C. Cohn. Transcript, Bielefeld 2009, S. 189.
15. ↑ Friedrich Koch: Sexualität und Systemveränderung? Zur Bedeutung Wilhelm Reichs für die Sexualpädagogik. In: Hans-Jochen Gamm/Friedrich Koch (Hrsg.): Bilanz der Sexualpädagogik. Frankfurt am Main/New York 1977, Seite 39 ff. - Friedrich Koch: Sexualpädagogik und politische Erziehung. München 1975.
16. ↑ Walter Leitmeier: Kompetenzen fördern: Gestalttherapeutisches Lehrertraining für Religionslehrer. Lit Verlag, Berlin/Münster 2010, S. 157.
17. ↑ Gustl Marlock: Handbuch der Körperpsychotherapie. Schattauer, Stuttgart/New York 2006, S. 898.
19. ↑ Dokumentiert in der Broschüre The Einstein Affair, hrsg. v. Orgone Institute Press, Rangeley ME/USA 1953
20. ↑ Vgl. Albrecht Götz von Olenhusen/Christa Gnirss: Handbuch der Raubdrucke 2. Verlag Dokumentation, Pullach bei München 1973, S. 335–353
24. ↑ Conference on New Research in Orgonomy 2007 (Abstract of Papers; PDF; 441 kB) 1. Wilhelm-Reich-Symposion Mainz des „Arbeitskreises Wilhelm Reich“ (Univ. Mainz) Kongress „Sexualität und Lebensenergie“ der deutschen Wilhelm-Reich-Gesellschaft Jüdisches Museum Wien, Ausstellung Wilhelm Reich 2007 Sigmund Freud Privat Universität Wien, Symposium 50 Jahre nach Wilhelm Reich, 2007