The subject of "sexuality" is basic to this work, and Reich shows clearly its importance for human life and its relevance in understanding the social problems of our time.
"In the central phenomenon, the sexual orgasm, we meet with questions deriving from the field of psychology as well as from that of physiology, from the field of biology no less than from that of sociology. Natural science offers hardly another field of research that is so well equipped to exhibit the fundamental unity of everything that lives and to guard against narrow, fragmentizing specialization." --Wilhelm Reich.
As a young clinician in the 1920s, Wihelm Reich expanded psychoanalytic resistance into the more inclusive technique of character analysis, in which the sum total of typical character attitudes developed by an individual as a blocking against emotional excitations became the object of treatment. These encrusted attitudes functioned as an "armor," which Reich later found to exist simultaneously in chronic muscular spasms. Thus mind and body came together and character analysis opened the way to a biophysical approach to disease and the prevention of it.
Drawing on his medical experiences with men and women of various classes, races, nations, and religious beliefs, Reich refutes the still generally held notion that fascism is a specific characteristic of certain nationalities or a political party ideology that is imposed on innocent people by means of force or political maneuvers. "Fascism on only the organized political expression of the structure of the average man's character. It is the basic emotional civilization and its mechanistic-mystical conception of life."—Wilhelm Reich
Responsibility for the elimination of fascism thus results with the masses of average people who might otherwise support and champion it.
What is cancer? Traditionally, medical science has thought of it as an invasive tumor arising spontaneously in an otherwise healthy organism. In contrast, Wilhelm Reich defines cancer not as a tumor--the tumor is merely a late manifestation of the disease--but as a systemic disease due to chronic thwarting of natural sexual functioning. In this radically different scientific investigation of a process that ends, literally, in the putrefaction of the living body due to chronic suffocation of the tissues, Reich has arrived at the conclusion that "cancer is the most significant somatic expression of the biophysiological effect of sexual stasis." If this is so, there is a far greater possibility for the prevention of cancer than for its treatment.
The Cancer Biopathy is Volume II of The Discovery of the Orgone. Volume I is The Function of the Orgasm.
"What we are living through," Reich states, "is a genuine, deep-reaching revolution of cultural living [which] goes to the roots of our emotional, social, and economic existence...The senses of the animal, man, for his natural life functions are awakening from a sleep of thousands of years."
Reich asks us to look honestly at ourselves and to assume responsibility for our lives and for the great untapped potential that lies in the depth of human nature.
Wilhelm Reich first presented the major aspects of his clinical findings on the significance of genitality for the theory and therapy of neurosis in 1927. Reich made extensive revisions for a second edition in 1937, and again revised it in 1944. He brought his early thinking on the function of the orgasm in line with his later biophysical discoveries. Genitality is the first publication of this second revised edition.
In Children of the Future, Wilhelm Reich shows how disastrous the exclusion of genitality is to the young and its important influence on their development. In his 1932 work The Sexual Rights of Youth, published here in its revised form, Reich speaks in terms of what he sees as the real meaning of the sexual enlightenment of youth: it is not the mystery and dangers of procreation, but the essential nature of sexuality and the right of youth to genital gratification. Reich presents a new way of seeing the parental compulsion to teach. In other chapters, Reich examines attitudes toward infantile masturbation, the source of the human no, and special disturbances of the young. Reichs work is substantiated by his concrete observations and experiences with children, including case studies from the Orgonomic Infant Research Center.
In Cosmic Superimposition, Reich steps beyond the character structure of man to an understanding of how man is rooted in nature. The super-imposition of two orgone-energy systems which is demonstrable in the genital embrace is revealed as a common functioning principal that exists in all of nature. Concluding this work, Reich returns to the human sphere "to ponder about the greatest riddle of all: the ability of man to think, and by mere thinking to know what nature is and how it works."
Reich contends that man is faced with full responsibility for the murder of Christ all through the ages--for the murder of fellow human beings, no matter what the circumstances. Here is the blunt truth about people's true ways of being, acting and emotional reacting.
Here, also, the lesson of the murder of Christ is applied to the contemporary social scene. The tragedy of Reich's own death points up the fact that the problems presented in THE MURDER OF CHRIST are acute problems of present-day society.
A student of Freud's and a prominent research physician in the early psychoanalytic movement, Reich immigrated to America in 1939 in flight from Nazism, and pursued research about orgone energy functions in the living organism and the atmosphere. Where's the Truth? begins in January 1948, shortly after Reich became a target of the Federal Food and Drug Administration. He had already faced persecution by the U.S. government, having been mistaken by the State Department and the FBI for both a Communist and a Nazi. Starting in 1947, Reich was hounded by the FDA, which, in 1954, obtained an injunction by default against him that enabled it to burn six tons of his published books and research journals, and to ban the use of one of his most important experimental research tools—the orgone energy accumulator. Challenging the right of a court to judge basic scientific research, Reich was imprisoned in March 1957 and died in the U.S. Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, eight months later.
The text gathered here shows Reich's steadfast determination to protect his work. "Where's the truth?" he asked a lawyer, and that question animates this volume and rounds out our understanding of a unique, irrepressible modern figure.
Reich discusses the personally tragic but scientifically vital implications of his relationship with Sigmund Freud in a manner both simple and concise, placing the reader in a position to determine for himself what was at issue.
The book has an extensive documentary supplement containing pertinent extracts from Reich's writings as well as previously unpublished material from his archives, including letters to Freud, Adler, Ferenczi, and others involved in the early struggles within psychoanalysis. It also includes documents revealing the unrelenting hostility of the psychoanalysts toward Reich.
The importance of Karl Marx's work and its distortion by communist politicians plays an important role in Reich's account, as does the political activity in the International Psychoanalytic Association which led to his expulsion from that organization in 1934. The Norwegian press campaign against his biological experiments is also discussed.
People in Trouble is the story of one man's courageous struggle to understand the political activity of his fellow men.