by Charles R. Kelley
R. "Chuck" Kelley, was the co-founder with his wife,
Erica, of the Radix Institute and later,
Kelley/Radix Education in Feeling and Purpose.
passed-away April 30, 2005. With his passing, the "Reichian
Movement" lost one of its finest.
Reprinted from The Creative Process Vol. II Nos.
2&3 September 1962 by Charles R. Kelley - 1962
"What is Orgone Energy?"
The Creative Process was the only journal in America in 1960-1965
devoted to developing Reich’s work.
The article WHAT IS ORGONE
ENERGY? appeared in Volume 2. The article has been quoted, misquoted
and plagiarized by other Reichian publications in the 37 years since
it first appeared. Here it is reprinted as it appeared, with the
exception that two figures from the original article depicting cloud
destruction experiments with Reich’s apparatus could no longer be
original plates and photographs deteriorated too much. A new Figure
2 from the same operation has been substituted.
Charles R. Kelley
Vancouver, Washington State
What Is Orgone
public lecture by the author on May 9, 1962, at the
Hewitt Auditorium, Cooper Union, New York City. The
lecture was the first of a series of six lectures
entitled An Introduction to Orgonomy, which were
sponsored by the Interscience Research Institute.
Franz Anton Mesmer called it
Charles von Reichenbach called it
To Henri Bergson it was the
the "vital force"
While to Hans Driesch it was the
Sigmund Freud observed its functioning in human emotions and termed
William MacDougall, the great British - American
psychologist of a generation ago, labeled it hormic energy
if not hundreds, of lesser - known scientists have recognized its
presence and have given it a name to characterize its special
Among the 20th-century proponents of the concept are,
for example, Doctors Charles Littlefield and his vital magnetism and
George Starr White and his cosmo-electric energy. Mechanistic
science in the 17th through 19th centuries embraced many of its
essential qualities in the concept of the ether, while mystical
human beings have embraced other essential qualities of it in the
concept of god.
Orgone energy is Wilhelm Reich’s name for the substratum from which
all nature is created. The best definition this author can provide
for it is this: Orgone energy is the creative force in nature. This
article will discuss briefly the history of the discovery of orgone
energy by Reich and will describe its properties.
It will then
summarize the evidence for and against the concept and, finally,
will undertake to explain why it is that the concept meets such
of Orgone Energy
Orgone energy was originally discovered by Wilhelm Reich in his
psychiatric work. As a psychoanalyst and student of Freud, Reich’s
point of departure was, quite naturally, Freud’s concept of "libido.
"Libido" is life energy, desire, the source of human striving.
Reich developed the libido concept, concentrating on its physical
expression and simultaneous psychological content, until he was able
to show the relation of bodily attitude and emotion. This he
described in CHARACTER ANALYSIS, a book which went further than any
work in history in solving the mystery of the relation’ of mind and
body. In this great book Reich also described the mass pathology of
the animal man. This pathology consists of a chronic rigidity of the
musculature which blocks the movement of energy underlying emotion
and hence blocks the emotion, thus providing the psychic or
emotional underpinning of mankind’s universal sickness.
Reich’s initial work on orgone energy was done, then, in depth
psychology. From this it spread, quite naturally, into sociology and
political science, for Reich saw quite clearly that the sickness of
man was socially or culturally transmitted. His books, THE MASS
PSYCHOLOGY OF FASCISM, THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION and PEOPLE IN TROUBLE
deal with this enlargement of his depth psychological discoveries to
the social and political scene.
It was natural for a mind like Reich’s to generalize and deepen his
understanding of libidinal energy, and as he did his medical work
expanded beyond the field of psychiatry into more general areas of
medicine and biology. The concept of libidinal energy developed into
the more concrete concept of "bioelectricity," which soon proved not
to be electricity and in time was renamed "orgone energy." Books
dealing with this phase of Reich’s discoveries are THE FUNCTION OF
THE ORGASM and THE CANCER BIOPATHY. These books constitute Volumes 1
and 2 of THE DISCOVERY OF THE ORGONE, Reich’s presentation to the
world of the discovery of orgone energy.
Although orgone energy was first discovered in the human body, Reich
learned through painstaking observation and experiment that it
existed in free form in the atmosphere. With this finding, Reich’s
work transcended the boundaries of biology and entered the realm of
meteorology and atmospheric physics. These developments are
described in THE CANCER BIOPATHY, THE ORANUR EXPERIMENT, and a
series of articles which are covered under the general title of
"weather control studies, " published in scientific journals.
The final and most general stage of Reich Is discoveries was the
cosmic function of orgone energy in the universe, and Reich here
entered the realms of astronomy and astrophysics. Reich’s books
dealing with this stage were COSMIC SUPERIMPOSITION and ETHER, GOD
As Reich progressed from the realm of psychiatry and medicine to
biology, and from biology to physics, his concept of the energy
which was the focus of all his scientific work retained its
essential features. His understanding of the energy grew, and new
properties were discovered, but the properties that had been
discovered in the earlier, narrower realms remained true in the
newer and broader ones. Through Reich’s work runs the remarkable
"red thread," the connectedness that shows each discovery to be a
logical progression from the previous one, and each broader realm of
nature studied to include the previous more restricted realm.
Reich did not set out to discover "cosmic" truth; he was never
attempting to revolutionize scientific
thought; he was not attempting to make "great" discoveries. Reich
simply observed and experimented from day to day, setting down what
he found, studying it honestly, and organizing the facts as they
appeared, without forcing them into any pre -conceived framework.
What he found was that the same energy which flowed in the sexual
embrace was present in all nature, "living" and "non-living," and
that it governed the most significant and widespread natural
Reich found that the same orgone energy underlay each of
these classes of phenomena:
3. Atmospheric and cosmic
These three realms correspond to the
sequence of Reich’s discoveries, from his beginning in psychiatry
through biology to physics, each realm including the previous.
are in inverse order with respect to our knowledge about them,
however; for Reich explored the realm of psychiatry in breadth and
depth, the broader realm of biology in a much more limited way, and
only made a good start in his exploration of atmospheric and cosmic
Orgone energy, the creative force in nature, is not a form of
electromagnetism nor of matter but is fundamental to both. It is the
specific life energy, but life is only one particular manifestation
of it. Our knowledge about it is partial and fragmentary in major
respects, and is no doubt in some measure erroneous. Nevertheless, a
clear and consistent picture of what orgone energy is and how it
functions arises from Reich’s work.
The following ten properties of orgone energy were deduced by Reich.
1. It is mass free. Orgone
energy itself has no inertia or weight; i. e., it is mass free.
This is one of the reasons it is difficult to measure using
conventional techniques. Mass is, however, intimately dependent
on the characteristics of the mass-free orgone energy field with
which all matter is surrounded. Measurements of weight or
inertia reflect the characteristics of this field as well as of
the object contained in it.
2. It is present everywhere. Orgone energy fills all
space. It is present in differing degrees or concentrations (or
"charges") but is nowhere absent. It is present in vacua,
whether within the atmosphere or in outer space. It is in this
respect like the ether of pre-20th century physics.
It is the medium for electromagnetic and gravitational
phenomena. Again, like the ether., orgone energy is the
substratum of the most fundamental natural phenomena. It is the
medium in which light moves and electromagnetic and
gravitational fields exert force. One of the major tasks of
orgonomy is to integrate our knowledge of orgone energy with the
facts about those phenomena known to orthodox physics.
4. It is in constant motion. The continual motion of
orgone energy can be observed under appropriate conditions.
There are at least two characteristic types of motion, a
pulsation or alternating expansion and contraction, and a flow,
normally along a curving path.
5. It "contradicts" the law of entropy. Orgone energy is
attracted to concentrations of orgone energy. Unlike heat or
electricity, which always show a direction from higher to lower
potential, orgone energy flows from lower orgonotic potential to
higher. In a thermal system in which outside energy is neither
added nor subtracted, heat is lost by hot objects or materials
and absorbed by cool until everything within the system is the
same temperature. "Entropy increases" as the heat is distributed
more and more uniformly. Heat, after all, leaves the sun and
goes out into space; it does not collect from space and flow
into the sun. In the same way, a heater radiates heat into the
room; heat does not flow from the room into the heater. These
processes are in accordance with the law of entropy. Orgonotic
processes work in the opposite direction. High concentrations of
orgone energy attract orgone energy from their less-concentrated
surroundings. "Entropy decreases" as orgone energy is
distributed more and more unevenly.
It would be a mistake to think that the flow of orgone energy
from lower to higher potential is only the reverse of the law of
entropy or to try to represent these processes by thermodynamic
equations by reversing the sign of the time parameter.
Non-entropic orgonotic processes do not run their course
mechanically; they are qualitatively entirely different from
entropic processes. They are, in fact, the processes responsible
for the growth of living things, for the process of learning,
and for the evolution from simple to complex species. In
non-living nature they are responsible for the growth of clouds
and storms within the atmosphere, and on a cosmic scale, for the
growth of galaxies and the stars within them. This leads into
the next property of orgone energy.
6. It forms units which are the foci of creative
activity, Orgone energy units may be living or
All of these orgone energy units
have features in common. All are "negatively entropic" in the
sense discussed above, so that they acquire energy from their
environment. All have a "life cycle" as well, passing through
birth, growth, maturity, and decline.
7. Matter is created from it. Under appropriate
conditions, matter arises from mass-free orgone energy. These
conditions are not rare or unusual, and Reich believed that new
matter is continuously being created on this planet.
8. It is responsible for life. Orgone energy is the life
energy, and as such is responsible for the special
characteristics which differentiate living from non-living. This
can be expressed in this way: Some orgone energy units develop
the special qualities associated with life, which is a kind of
chain reaction of the creative process. The qualities which seem
to me to typify living as opposed to non-living orgonotic units
a. Reproduction of
similar units from one or two parents
b. Evolution of the units in the direction of
c. Presence of consciousness, the ability to
experience feeling, at least to some extent, and to
perceive the environment
d. Presence of volition, the ability of an
individual to control its own movement
The first two properties appear to
apply to all living things. The last, as far as we know, apply
Much more could be said about orgone energy and life since this
subject has been studied most fully. For purposes of this
synoptic view the above will suffice, however, with the note
that Reich has greatly elaborated the role of orgone energy in
the phenomena of life.
9. Separate streams of orgone energy may be attracted to
each other and superimpose. The superimposition function is the
fundamental form of the creative process. In free space,
superimposing orgone energy streams typically show the form of
two streams of energy converging in a spiral. This form is most
clearly seen in spiral galaxies, and also in the form of
hurricanes and other cyclonic storms. At the opposite end of the
scale of sizes, mass particles are created by superimposition of
two tiny streams of energy. The same process occurs in living
organisms, the form then being constrained, of course, by the
structure of the individual involved. Mating is a principal
expression of the superimposition function in living nature; two
separate streams of energy flow together and superimpose during
the orgasm. The power and depth of feeling in mating reflects
the intensity of the orgone energy flow that takes place.
10. It can be manipulated and controlled by orgone energy
devices. Perhaps the first orgone energy device was the "bacquet"
of Mesmer, a crude but apparently effective form of orgone
energy accumulator. Reich developed several devices for the
control of orgone energy. The best known of these is the orgone
energy accumulator. The accumulator is an enclosure formed by a
layered arrangement of metallic and non-metallic materials which
result in a concentration of energy within the enclosure. Of
equal significance is Reich’s weather control apparatus, a type
of directional antenna that makes it possible to withdraw large
amounts of orgone energy from a region of the atmosphere. Used
properly, this apparatus can trigger large changes in the
To the above ten properties of orgone energy which Reich
described, I would add two others.
11. Orgone energy units "use" stored energy of various
kinds in the creative process. Units of orgone energy utilize
energy which is stored in various ways in building themselves up
and in maintaining or increasing their size or strength. This is
most clearly true of animals utilizing chemical energy of foods
in metabolism and growth. Storms, which are also orgone energy
systems, utilize the latent heat of condensation of water vapor
as a source of stored energy. Stars may employ the heat of
thermonuclear fusion in maintaining their high temperatures,
although I have reservations as to whether the fusion reaction
plays the key role in stellar processes that today’s astronomers
believe. Fifty years ago an entirely different explanation was
given by astronomers for the source of stellar heat, and fifty
years from now still another may be in vogue. In any case, it is
evident that orgone energy processe’s typically involve stored
energy which is used in various ways in the service of the
12. "Spontaneous generation" and other orgonotic
processes may require unimpeded contact with cosmic orgone
energy streams."Spontaneous generation" of living organisms
seldom occurs under the laboratory conditions biological
scientists impose, but these conditions are completely abnormal
and foreign to nature. Life can and does continuously arise out
of non-living matter under more natural conditions. This process
has been described in detail by Reich. I believe an essential
feature of these natural conditions may be the direct contact of
the matter in which life is to develop with cosmic orgone
streams. Protozoa seldom appear spontaneously in infusions which
are both sterilized and enclosed in sealed containers, for
example. They do appear regularly in these same solutions,
sterilized and kept uncontaminated but unsealed.
Evidence for and against
The evidence for orgone energy, that is to say, the evidence that
there is a special energy in nature with properties such as Reich
described, is too extensive to be reviewed adequately in an article
such as this.
Consider these major English language publications:
Books by Reich:
Scientific Journals in
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SEX
ECONOMY AND ORGONE RESEARCH (four
ORGONE ENERGY BULLETIN and
CORE (seven volumes)
ANNALS OF THE ORGONE
INSTITUTE (one volume)
ORGONOMIC MEDICINE (one
THE CREATIVE PROCESS (one
These twenty-nine-plus volumes are a
partial list of publications primarily devoted to observational and
experimental work with orgone energy as such.
To it should be added
major antecedent works of others which provide direct evidence of a
special energy with the properties that have been described. This
includes especially the works of Mesmer, Reichenbach (who published
volumes of good experimental studies), the works of the
"traditional" vitalists such as Bergson and Driesch, the more recent
work of Charles Littlefield, George Starr White, and others too
numerous to mention.
If a listing were attempted of all major works
of this sort, it would require months of research just to compile,
and the list itself would be many pages in length, for there are
hundreds of such works in existence.
Since it is not possible to
review even a substantial part of the existing evidence, I will
select five items which are of particular significance to me.
One of Reich’s most significant experiments was his
"Experiment XX." This experiment concerns the transition from
non-living to living matter. Experiment XX is done with clear "bion"
water, an orgone energy-charged water obtained by mixing and boiling
water and soil and filtering the solution.
This clear solution is
sterilized under pressure and kept in sterile containers, some of
which are frozen. On thawing, these still sterile solutions show
flakes of matter, which upon microscopic examination contain forms
with the characteristics of living cells; i. e. , pulsation,
spontaneous movement, and reproduction. Experiment XX has been
repeated successfully by many individuals, including the biologist
Dr. Bernard Grad of McGill University.
Dr. Grad, after carefully
confirming Reich’s results in several separate containers of the
sterile solution, wrote:
Reich, in his monumental book, THE
CANCER BIOPATHY, presented for the first time in history of
science unequivocal evidence for the fact that living forms can
develop from clear and autoclaved solutions. (Grad, Bernard.
Wilhelm Reich’s Experiment XX. CORE, Vol. VII (3 and 4).
Dr. Grad’s article includes photographs
of the living forms resulting from his repetition of Experiment XX.
Another of Reich Is remarkable
experiments involved the introduction of nuclear energy in the form
of radioactive material into strong fields of orgone energy. (Reich,
Wilhelm. The Oranur Experiment. Orgone Energy Bulletin, Vol. 3 (4),
The result was an extraordinarily severe
widespread atmospheric reaction that, once started, raged out of
control for months. It resulted in a dangerous increase in the
"background" radiation level, as measured by several different
Geiger counters, over an area thousands of times greater than the
area affected by the relatively small amounts of radioactive
material the experiment involved.
Experimental animals housed in a
separate building from the laboratory in which the experiment was
conducted and far beyond the range of possible harm from the
radioactive material in itself died, every one of them. Autopsies
performed by physicians present (and there were several present
throughout the experiment) showed unmistakably the symptoms of
radiation death. People became ill from the experiment and had to
leave the area, and one physician nearly died.
This experiment provides evidence of
orgone energy that appears to
me to be irrefutable for these reasons:
1. The experimental
evidence was gathered, not by one, but by several
well-qualified scientists of unquestionable integrity
2. The results showed a fully consistent picture
of subjective effects, objective biological effects, and
measurements employing several physical instruments
3. Observations of each kind were many and
4. The results are completely inexplicable in terms
of traditional physics
Additional evidence for orgone energy is
the effect of the Reich weather control apparatus, the "cloudbuster"
as he called it.
This apparatus is a kind of antenna, which, upon
being grounded into water, is said to be capable of withdrawing orgone energy from the sky in the direction it is pointed. It was
claimed by Reich that it could dissipate clouds by withdrawing
energy from them. It was also claimed that the device could be used
to trigger rainfall when none was expected and even to break
If these claims are true, Reich’s apparatus is surely one of the
remarkable inventions of all time. Are they true? I believe that I
am in an especially good position to evaluate these claims, because
I was for nearly three years a weather forecaster in the Air Force
and because I have worked experimentally with the Reich apparatus
for many years.
The results of my experiments are perfectly clear; the
control apparatus does exactly what Reich claims it does. Clouds at
which the antenna is pointed shrink and disappear from the sky,
while comparable clouds selected as controls do not.
Figures 1 & 2
are representative of results that I have obtained again and again.
Effect of the Reich weather control
apparatus on a small cumulus cloud. Time between frames: one minute.
The black "X" designates the direction of the antenna at the
beginning of the apparatus I use, (From a motion picture sequence)
A "before and after" picture of another
experimental cloud destruction operation. The "X" shows the target
of the cloudbuster at the outset. The lower picture is the same
scene 10 minutes later.
More difficult than cloud destruction are rainmaking experiments.
These require careful preparation, observation of conditions, and
skilled use of the 1 antenna. Let me quote the results of my
experimental rain-making operations. (Kelley, C. R. A New Method of
Weather Control. Interscience Research Institute, 1961)
In the five experimental rain-making operations I carried out,
unpredicted precipitation occurred within 36 hours in every case.
These are my only rain-making operations, so the results cannot be
attributed to the omission of negative instances. The operations
were each timed to begin when rain was unexpected and unlikely.
conservative estimate of the average probability of rain within 36
hours in the five cases is 0.25. This is to say that with the
conditions that prevailed at the start of these operations, the
chances against rain within 36 hours are estimated to be, on the
average, three to one, had these operations not taken place or had
the apparatus been ineffective. From this estimate it can be further
calculated that if the apparatus were ineffective, the odds against
rain occurring within 36 hours on all of the five operations are
more than a thousand to one. (p = .255 < .001) It is extremely
unlikely that unpredicted rain would have occurred on these five
occasions unless the apparatus did work.
There are additional effects brought about by the weather control
apparatus of equal value as evidence but more difficult to describe
briefly. The sum total of the results is fairly described, I
believe, as a powerful confirmation of Reich’s description of the
effects of the apparatus, and its explanation in terms of orgone
The weather control results are utterly
incomprehensible in terms of orthodox science.
Reich described many conditions under
which orgone energy phenomena could be directly observed.
observations are especially important, both of the energy field of
the body (the "aura") and of the effects of orgone energy devices.
These take on special significance in the light of the extensive
closely related darkroom observations reported more than 100 years
ago by Baron Charles von Reichenbach, which formed much of the basis
for his discovery of the "odyle" or "odic force."
The "odyle" is
identical in major respects to orgone energy, of course. These
observations of Reichenbach and of Reich have never been explained
in orthodox scientific terms.
Good darkroom observations are difficult, because ideally they
require absolute blackness, and an observer with especially
sensitive "night" vision, both conditions being harder to obtain
than it might seem to the casual reader. However, daytime
observations of orgone energy can be made much more easily. All that
is required is a small telescope set up near an ocean or lake to
look out parallel to the surface of the water between a few inches
and a few feet above the water level.
The pulsatory movement of atmospheric orgone energy is usually easily observable. Exciting to
watch, this phenomenon is completely unknown to orthodox science. It
cannot be explained as an effect of wind, for it frequently has a
direction cross or opposite to that of the surface wind. It forms an
integral part of Reich’s theory of atmospheric processes.
Effects of the Orgone Accumulator
The final item of evidence has to do
with the orgone energy accumulator, which has profound effects that
have been reported in detail in the literature on orgonomy.
Temperature effects are a case in point. The temperature within the orgone accumulator tends to be slightly higher than that of the
environment. Reich believed this finding to be of exceptional
significance. I am even more impressed by the fact that the
temperatures of individuals who sit in an orgone accumulator rise
quite substantially. Paul and Jean Ritter report the results of 45
separate observations with nine different individuals as subjects.
They showed an average rise in temperature of .48 degrees Fahrenheit
in consequence of sitting an average of approximately 40 minutes in
an accumulator. Keeping subjects ignorant of the purpose of the
experiment did not prevent the rise from occurring, but substituting
a plain insulated box for the accumulator did. (1Ritter, Paul and
Ritter, Jean. Experiments with the orgone accumulator. (undated)
Nottingham, England: The Ritter Press, 7 Magdala Road.)
The rise in body temperature is understandable as the consequence of
the body becoming charged to a higher orgone energy level by the
This increased energy level can explain, not only the
rise in temperature, but the other profound biological effects,
including therapeutic effects, that have been repeatedly observed
and carefully reported by capable, qualified research scientists and
The above five items of evidence have
been of special significance to me.
They are only a fraction of the
evidence that exists, as I pointed out. What now of the evidence
against the existence of orgone energy? What has traditional science
done to refute or cast doubt on Reich Is claims? In the 20-plus
years since Reich announced the discovery of orgone energy, no
good-faith repetition of any critical orgone energy experiment has
ever been published refuting Reich’s results.
Dr. Bernard Grad
repeated and confirmed Reich’s "Experiment XX;" who has refuted it?
I repeated and confirmed his weather control experiments; who has
refuted these? The fact is, despite (and partly because) of the
ridicule, defamation, and attempts by the orthodox to "bury" Reich
and orgonomy, there is no counter evidence to his experiments in any
scientific publication, much less a systematic refutation of the
volumes of scientific work which support his position.
The "evidence" against orgone energy consists of distortions of
facts, defamation, ridicule, and related activities the apparent
motive for which has been to destroy Reich and orgonomy without
examining the evidence.
This leads to the final and most difficult
of my four subtopics.
the Orgone Energy Concept
Perhaps the most perceptive of Reich’s insights was the realization
that there are forces in human nature which blocked the discovery of
It is these forces which in the past distorted and
then buried the work of men like Mesmer and Reichenbach. It is the
same forces today which not only prevent the serious study by
scientists of the concept of orgone energy, but in fact bring about
attempts of every possible kind by a vicious minority to destroy the
concept and those who support it. The pathological nature of these
attacks is shown by their extraordinary and otherwise inexplicable
Orgone energy is not studied seriously by most scientists because
scientists, like other people, suffer from the mass biological
disorder which Reich described in detail, and which forms perhaps
his greatest contribution to science.
The human race is sick en masse, severely sick. The Christian
religion expresses an understanding of this sickness in the concept
of original sin. If we examine the world around us, we see that it
might easily be a world of plenty.
There are techniques and
resources to satisfy nearly every human need, enough for every
individual to lead a useful, happy, and productive life -- yet this
world is dominated by wars and threat of war, by irrational
politics, in many countries taking the form of fascism in one form
or another. Within countries crime and mental illness are prevalent;
about one American in ten at one time or another spends time in an
institution, and only a small percentage of those who are mentally
ill ever reach an institution.
Man is sick en masse, and the sickness is rooted in his structure, a
structure which, for some reason, has become biologically rigid.
This rigidity is shown primarily by a chronic muscular tension which
Reich called armor. Armor affects most of the human race throughout
all the continents. The variations in type and degree of armoring
are legion, but almost every human being is armored to some extent.
The effect of armor is to block or restrict the flow of orgone
energy in the body, and in consequence, to block or limit the
emotion rooted in this energy flow. Armor limits the capacity to
experience and express deep feeling. It destroys the capacity for a
natural sexuality, the most intense pleasurable emotion.
shapes the character and mentality; it affects how people think,
including how scientists think. Armor is the cause of psychosis, of
crime, of fascism and of other political irrationality. It is the
root of contradiction between mechanism and mysticism, which is so
important to understanding resistance to the orgone energy concept.
Our civilization is rooted in mystical religion and mechanistic
science. These together comprise the principal intellectual forces
in the world we live in. Both of these forces are products of
armored man. Reich has said that mankind is ruled by a contradictory
and murderous mixture of machines and gods, by which he meant the
mystical forces of religion and the mechanistic forces of science.
The mechanist armors himself in such a way that he cuts off his
perception of and his contact with his own deepest nature. He
becomes rigid and limited in his thought processes. He develops a
mechanical concept of nature and becomes deterministic in his view
of causality. He tends to think compulsively and has a deep-seated
fear of the alive, the free, the spontaneously moving, the
unpredictable, the deeply emotional. The mechanistic scientist
reacts against orgone energy functions because they correspond to
exactly that portion of nature that he has armored against.
reason, the mechanist forms a mechanical view of creation and of
The mystic, by contrast, is not completely cut off from his nature,
from orgone energy phenomena within himself, but has distorted this
contact because of his armor. The mystic is capable of achieving
some great insights because he is in partial contact with his
deepest nature; still his contact, especially his contact with his
own body, is distorted, and in most cases, deeply distorted. The
mystic tends to split off bodily love from the mental, the
"spiritual, " and often to become ascetic and anti-sexual.
perhaps the greatest tragedy of all, because it contributes the most
to reproducing armor in the young.
A split perception of mind and body develops in the mystic, so that
the mind seems to him capable of existing in nature in the absence
of the body. Along with this the mystic tends to develop a magical
view of causality. And the mystic, of course, forms a mystical or
magical view of creation and life revolving about "spirit, " or
"god, " which is out of contact with real physical processes. It is
this view which the mystic finds most threatened by the concept of
Recognition of the real tangible creative process as
expressed in orgone energy functions threatens the mystic’s concept
of god as an intangible, essentially unknowable entity.
Figure 3 below, depicts the relation between mechanism, mysticism, and what
Reich termed "orgonomic functionalism. " Reich defined orgonomic
functionalism as the natural way of thinking by the unarmored. The
armor distorts natural thinking in the mechanistic or mystical
direction. Both mechanistic and mystical thinking find functional
thought processes foreign. Interestingly, mechanists are apt to
regard them as mystical; mystics, as mechanistic.
This is a rather cursory treatment of mechanism and mysticism.
discusses them in some detail in
ETHER, GOD AND DEVIL and in
MURDER OF CHRIST. Perhaps enough has been covered to show how
predominant forces in our civilization are by their nature in
opposition to the orgone energy concept. It will hardly be
sufficient to show how deep-seated and powerful these forces are,
nor to show the extreme hatred and fear that can arise from them;
this is hard to believe until it is experienced personally, but to
the skeptic, let me remind him that
Reich’s publications were burned
and banned on the flimsiest of pretexts by an agency of the United
States Government, that Reich himself died in a United States prison
although entirely innocent of wrong-doing, and that Reich and his
work have always been subject to the most incredible attacks,
involving defamation, vilification, and gross distortions of facts.
Not everyone, not even a majority react maliciously to the orgone
In fact, most people don’t know enough about it to
have an inkling of what it really is. Those threatened by the
concept have largely succeeded in preventing others from
investigating the evidence that exists about it. If the concept is
sufficiently ridiculed and defamed, if the scientific reputations of
those who support the concept are destroyed, if the work that has
been carried out in the field is made to seem absurd and undeserving
of serious study, then the concept of orgone energy can be carefully
buried again, as it has been so many times in the past.
then no necessity for scientists to examine the evidence, to repeat
the experiments, or to contend with the carefully thought out and
consistent scientific writing the field contains.
There will always
be "experts" who will lend their authority to the burial by
declaring the work unworthy of serious consideration.
Matter is the primary reality
Mechanical view of creation
Life is a biological accident
Matter has always existed
or appears from nowhere
for no reason.
Emotion, volition, sensation
are inexplicable, or explicable
only as the results of material processes.
Mind or spirit is the primary reality.
Magical view of creation
Life and matter were created
by a superintelligence in an’
unobservable supernatural process.
Emotion, volition, sensation
are inexplicable or magically
The relation of mechanism, mysticism, and orgonomic functionalism.
Armor causes functional thinking to split into two antithetical off
shoots as shown. Human thought is almost completely dominated by
these pathological offshoots.
"Mind and body" or "matter
and spirit" are different
aspects of one reality.
Creation is a continuous
observable natural process.
"sensation" are integral
parts of the creative
The many who might not be threatened by the orgone energy concept
per se are threatened by the attitude others take towards it, by the
scorn, the abuse, the contempt which invariably stem from
pathological individuals, but unfortunately, easily infect others.
It is a sad fact that the desire to be respectable is a primary
motivation among scientists. Individuals threatened by the orgone
energy concept attack it by making it disreputable. "Respectable"
scientists then will not consider the concept or the evidence for
Finally, a factor which hurts acceptance of the orgone energy
concept which must not be ignored lies in the effects of the armor
on the very individuals who support the concept. Those who work in orgonomy are also members of the sick human race; they too are
armored, with tendencies toward mechanism and/or mysticism.
highly-qualified scientists professing interest in orgonomy (and
there are many) are usually incapable of productive work in the
field. Many brave plans for research in orgonomy are made, but few
materialize. For every article in the 29 volumes of evidence for
orgone energy that have been cited, there were 20 or 30 planned by
supporters of orgonomy but never carried out. And it is a sad fact
that the quality of those which have appeared has sometimes suffered
in comparison with what could be reasonably expected of the
Research in orgonomy is extremely difficult;
the process of actually working with orgone energy exposes the
worker fully and directly to its threatening qualities. Other
scientific work is easier to do because it is more peripheral,
further removed from the core of life itself, and for this reason,
less threatening to the scientist.
This should not be construed as an apology for what has been
accomplished in orgonomy. Much of this work, particularly that of Reich himself, is of the highest caliber. At present the need for
additional work to confirm experiments previously done and to carry
out new research is not being met, however.
This is only partly
because of the lack of funds, facilities and time, a lack,
incidentally, due to the activities of the frightened and hateful
souls who have so maligned orgonomy that they have destroyed the
possibility for it to obtain research funds through normal channels.
Of equal importance with the lack of funds and facilities are the
characterological problems of those of us who would carry out the
In summary, the fact that the orgone energy concept is not generally
accepted is not due to the absence of evidence but to a widespread
pathology of the human animal. This pathology consists of a rigidity
of body and character that cuts the individual off from life energy
functions within himself, and makes him either blind to or
threatened by the functioning of this same energy in nature.
mass pathology works against acceptance of the orgone energy concept
in many ways:
It brings about the mechanistic
-and mystical character structures which prevail in our
It causes pathological fear and
hatred in a minority of individuals, who attempt to destroy
orgonomy by gross distortions of fact, defamation, and
ridicule, and sometimes by direct violence. This minority is
effective because of the characterological soil in which it
The "characterological soil"
consists not only of the prevailing mechanistic and mystical
characters of the majority, but also the fearfulness of
scientists and intellectuals to be associated with
Finally, the work done in
orgonomy itself suffers from the fact that the mass disorder
of the human animal afflicts the proponents and
investigators of the orgone energy concept as well as their
opponents, and affects the amount and quality of their work.
Despite these severe problems blocking
acceptance of the orgone energy concept, I believe we are on the
threshold of a change.
The evidence for orgone energy is now too
great to bury successfully and too strong to continue to ignore.
More scientists will take the claims of orgonomy seriously, will
repeat experiments and try to understand the orgone energy concept.
This too will result in severe confusions, widespread denials of the
evidence by threatened individuals, and other difficulties with
which we are now familiar, and may be able to meet successfully.
so, the new direction in science implicit in the discovery of orgone
energy will at last emerge into its own.
1. Annals of
the Orgone Institute. Volume 1. New York: Orgone Institute
Press, 1947. (out of print)
2. The Creative Process. Bulletin of the
Interscience Research Institute. Two volumes, 1961-62.
3. International Journal of Sex-Economy
and Orgone Research. Four volumes of four numbers each. New
York: Orgone Institute Press, 1942-45. (out of print)
4. Kelley, C. R. A New Method of Weather
Control. Interscience Research Institute Technical Report
5. Kelley, C. R. The Ending of Wilhelm Reich’s
Researches. Interscience Research Institute Technical Report
6. Orgone Energy Bulletin and Core. Seven
volumes of four numbers each. New York: Orgone Institute
Press, 1949-55. (out of print)
7. Orgonomic Functionalism. Seven volumes
of six numbers each. Nottingham, England: The Ritter Press,
8. Orgonomic Medicine. One and one-half
volumes (three issues total). New York: American Association
for Medical Orgonomy, 1954-55.
9. Reich, W. Character Analysis. New York:
Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1961.
10. Reich, W. Cosmic Superimposition. Rangeley,
Maine: Orgone Institute Press, 1951. (out of print)
11. Reich, W. The Discovery of the Orgone: Vol. I,
The Function of the Orgasm New York: The Noonday Press,
12. Reich, W. The Discovery of the Orgone: Vol. II,
The Cancer Biopathy New York: Orgone Institute Press, 1948.
(out of print)
13. Reich, W. The Emotional Plague of Mankind: Vol.
I, The Murder of Christ. Rangeley, Maine: Orgone Institute
Press, 1953. (out of print)
14. Reich, W. The Emotional Plague -of Mankind: Vol.
II, People in Trouble. Rangeley, Maine: Orgone Institute
Press, 1953. (out of print)
15. Reich, W. Ether, God and Devil. Rangeley, Maine:
Orgone Institute Press, 1951. (out of print)
16. Reich, W. The Mass Psychology of Fascism. New
York: Orgone Institute Press, 1946. (out of print)
17. Reich, W. The Oranur Experiment, First Report
(1947-1951). Rangeley, Maine: Orgone Institute Press, 1951.
(out of print) Reprinted in part in Wilhelm Reich: Selected
18. Reich, W. The Sexual Revolution. New York: The
Noonday Press, 1962.
19. Reich, W. "Weather Control Studies. " Reprinted
in part in Wilhelm Reich: Selected Writings.
20. Wilhelm Reich. (A memorial volume by A. S. Neill,
Paul and Jean Ritter, Myron Sharaf, and Nic Waal)
Nottingham, England: The Ritter Press, 1958.
21. Wilhelm Reich: Selected Writings. New York:
Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1960.