There once was a man named Wilhelm Reich, who not very long ago, discovered something very important. He discovered energy! But not just any energy. He discovered and measured, Life energy. The energy intrinsic to the health and wellbeing of all living things. For this discovery, he was ostracized, his work burned and destroyed, and his name and reputation smeared. He was known as one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry. This is a short summery of his life and his discoveries.
Wilhelm Reich was born in Dobzau Gilicia, which is now apart of the Ukraine. After his parents died in 1914, he joined the army and served during World War 1 from 1915 to 1918. When the war ended, he tried his hand at Law, but found it a bit unsatisfactory. Reich then moved on to science and medicine. Caught between a Reductionist view of the world, and a Vitalists, he was driven to answer the question, "What is Life?"
In 1919, Reich met Sigmund Freud for the first time, and the two quickly became friends and started working together. After working with farmers, laborers and students, Reich observed that neurotic behaviors such as Obsessive-compulsive Disorder was likely due to an unconscious attempt to control their chaotic lifestyles and anti-social personalities. He found that Body posture, speech and behavior patterns were all defense mechanisms, which he dubbed "Character Armor". This Character Armor he hypothesized was possibly due to sexual repression.
Roughly 5 years later, Reich began publishing several papers on the idea of what he called, "Orgastic Potency". Believing that much of our emotional, mental and physical stress, gets stuck in the muscles and other parts of the body (Character Armor). Reich proposed that there was a strong link between psychological illness and sexual repression. He argued that an uninhibited orgasm would allow someone to let go of their ego selves, and release the emotion and stresses buried deep within the body.
He also began taking drastically different approaches to treating his patients then what was orthodox at the time. Including sitting opposite his patients and having actual discussions with them. He believed that it was important that his patients see him as human. He also began experimenting more with the concept of Character Armor, applying acupressure to certain muscles in the patients body, to see if it could release any negative emotions or memories that may be trapped within. Surprisingly, many of these experiments worked, and Reich would see waves of pleasure move through their bodies, which he called, "The Orgasm Reflex".
In 1934, Reich moved to Norway, where the direction of this worked changed towards physiology and natural science. He was interested in trying to ground his theory of the Orgasm in biology. Reich believed that Freud's theory of the libido was inadequate, and he wanted to know what additional element was needed to be present for pleasure to be felt. He started his search by looking at electricity as the missing element. Later he proposed his theory for the formula of the Orgasm, which simply put, goes something like: Mechanical Tension -> Bioelectrical Charge -> Bioelectrical Discharge -> Mechanical Relaxation.
In order to substantiate his theory, Reich bought an oscillograph to try and find and measure these bioelectrical charges. Reich used the oscillograph to trace the bioelectrical charges given off by his friends, students or anyone who was willing to volunteer to be apart of his experiment.
Between 1935 and 1939, Reich began conducting what he called, "The Bion Experiment". He would examine protozoa by growing cultured vesicles using iron, sand, grass and animal tissue and boiling them and adding potassium and gelatin. He would heat the materials to incandescence with a heat-torch, and by doing so, he could see brightly, glowing blue vesicles, which he named "Bions". He believed that these Bions were a rudimentary form of life, because when he poured the cooled substance onto a growth medium, bacteria were born. Besides the blue Bions, he observed another kind of vesicle. A smaller red, lancet shaped vesicle.
Although the blue bions seem to generate life, the red bions, which he called "T-bacilli", seemed to degenerate life. After obtaining some samples of cancerous tissue from the local hospital and analyzing it, he found a larger quantity then normal of these Red Bions within the tissue. Concluding that death from cancer was due to cells undergoing "bionous degeneration", which allow the red bions to flourish in the absence of healthy blue bions, degenerating the health of the patient.
Reich was convinced that the glow coming from the bions was a form of radiation. He needed to isolate the cultures from other potential sources of radiation to be sure, so he built a Faraday cage, made of wire, wood and cotton, with a small opening to see into.
After placing several cultures inside and peering through the opening for a while, he began to see strange flashes of light, and what looked like bluish vapors forming inside. Even after Reich had taken the cultures out, dismantled and washed the Faraday cage, then reassembling it, the strange bluish vapor was still visible. In-fact, he noticed that that this radiation would continue to form inside the cage even without the cultures inside. From this, he was able to conclude that this same energy existed in the atmosphere as well, and he called this, "Orgone Energy".
He then began experimenting with the Faraday cage, trying to improve its efficiency at collecting this Orgone Energy. Trying different materials to see what worked best to attract and hold this energy inside. Reich found that fiberglass, cotton or wool best held the energy, while metal seemed to attract it. He would build the cage by alternating metallic materials to attract the energy, with non-metallic materials (fiberglass, cotton, wool) to hold this energy. Reich called this device, the "Orgone Accumulator". With a more sufficient way to accumulate the Orgone Energy in place, Reich turned his attention back to the energy itself. Over the years that followed, Reich was able to discern many different properties associated with this energy.
Some of it's properties are; it's a cosmic energy that is found present throughout all space; it is vital for all living organisms; when concentrated it gives off a bluish color; it can be accumulated through the air, food, sunlight and atmosphere; it pulsates and contracts rhythmically; all matter attracts it at different rates; and is different from bioelectricity. This energy has been observed around living blood cells, people, animals and plants (effectively the aura), and even seen amongst mountain ranges. Because of this, Reich even theorized that the Earth had a blue aura before satellites were able to confirm this.
Utilizing the Orgone Accumulator, Reich was able to demonstrate how Orgone Energy can charge plant seeds to promote healthy and abundant plant growth. In a person it increases energy and helps relax the body; eases tension; increases blood flow; increases apatite; helps digestion; eases pain; increases core body temperature; helps the body resist damage and recover from injuries; promotes cellular growth; and promotes an emotional sense of well-being; among other benefits.
During Reich's last years of research with Orgone Energy, he began to make breakthroughs in weather modification using this energy. He was also looking into ways to use this energy to detoxify radioactive waste. And he also began developing a motor which utilized concentrated Orgone Energy.
In 1947 after an article was published distorting Reich's work, likening it to superstition, and his patients to a cult. One that needed to be dealt with. After reading this article, Reich sent out a press release correcting the author on the misinterpretations and other misunderstandings involved. However, no one published it, all the while the article smearing Reich continued to circulate. After this, suspicion of Reich's motives began to rise, and soon the FDA began to investigate him.
Over the next several years, Reich's name and work continued to be drug through the mud, and in 1954, the FDA obtained a court injunction which inevitably led to the banning and burning of Reich's books, and all accumulators to be destroyed. This has been cited as one of the worst examples of censorship in U.S. history for maintaining unorthodox points of view. In 1956 Reich was sentenced to Prison for 2 years. Wilhelm Reich died November 3rd 1957, exactly 1 week before his parole hearing.
When I first heard of Wilhelm Reich and his Orgone Energy, believed that he had indeed discovered a new energy, that if given an ample opportunity to be proven to mainstream science, could have revolutionized science and medicine, creating whole new fields of research. However, like most things that directly, or indirectly promoting something other then the physical, it was sneered at and tossed out, without so much as a second glance.
As it turns out though, I was wrong. Wrong about Orgone Energy being a new kind of energy. In-fact there is another energy that was discovered over 2,500 years ago that shares almost every characteristic with Orgone Energy. It's called, Chi. More specifically, yang chi, as in, 'Yin and Yang'. They are two universal forces that both compliment and oppose one another. Together, their interaction is said to be what creates everything in existence. Yin is a passive force; yielding, cool, dark, etc. While Yang is an active force; pushing, warm, light, etc.
Some of the benefits thought to be attributed to Yang energy is; increased sense of energy, increase core body temperature, improves resistance to injury, hastens recovery from injuries, improves blood flow, promotes an emotional sense of well-being, among countless other benefits. Some of the benefits you might not even believe.
There are other things that Orgone and Yang energy have in common, such as: People acquire yang from the air, food, sunlight and atmosphere. It is vital to the health and well-being of all life. It makes up all matter. It high concentrations, it feels warm, and even is said to begin to take on electrical properties. It exists throughout space. It even gives off a bluish color. But the kicker is, it, like Reich's Orgone Energy, is connected to sex.
Yang energy is responsible for sexual urges. In-fact, it may be one of the more abundant ways to accumulate Yang energy within you. There is a fairly common energetic practice where one abstains from any sexual act for 100 days, during this time, they try and turn these sexual urges, and essences, into pure Yang energy which is then stored in a major chakra, often one of the lower ones. When enough of this concentrated Yang is stored within a chakra, it begins to feel warm, or even hot. With more energy now in your system, it promotes better health and vitality. Since it is said to be the same energy that makes up matter, it can also help protect your body.
Concentrating and transmuting this energy is often done in deep, relaxed states of meditation. Relaxing the breath is a big part of meditation, since breath rate has a direct link to relaxation. This could also bring us back to how Yang exists within the air and atmosphere.
By now it should be fairly easy to see that there are many similarities between Orgone and Yang energy. They also shared a similar fate in western society. Both were cast off a 'Hocus Pocus' superstition. Interestingly enough though, after 50 years, science is beginning to turn around and revisit the subject, but now its under the title, Bioelectricity, or Bioenergy.
So, perhaps Wilhelm Reich wasn't as crazy as some would have liked to believe. I personally believe Reich accidentally validated the existence of an energy long thought to be a myth.
Maybe our ancestors weren't as dumb as we thought...
Imagine waking up to that face....
Till Next Time!