Author Topic: The genius of Wilhelm Reich  (Read 51 times)

truthaboutpois

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Re: The genius of Wilhelm Reich
« on: April 06, 2015, 07:40:58 am »
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, 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, a former student of Reich's, put up $5,000 to guarantee his visa. Wolfe also pulled strings with Adolph Berle, 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 19 August on the SS Stavangerfjord, the last boat to leave for the States before the war began on 3 September. 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 experience 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. In January 1940 he wrote to Lindenberg to break 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.

Orgonomy and The Orgone Energy Accumulator
Reich first said he had discovered a life force or cosmic energy, an extension of Freud's idea of the libido, in New York in 1939. He said he had seen traces of it when he injected his mice with bions and in the sky at night through an "organoscope," a special telescope. 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 (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.

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 testing the boxes on human beings suffering from cancer and schizophrenia. In one case the test had to be stopped prematurely because the subject 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.