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.
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.
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.
"I looked up every day from behind the bars to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Her light shone brightly into a dark night." With these words, Wilhelm Reich described his experience as an "enemy alien" imprisoned on Ellis Island in the aftermath of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
American Odyssey, compiled from his correspondence and journals, chronicles Reich's first years in America. They were years of prodigious accomplishment in which he developed the orgone energy accumulator-the so-called orgone box; published his first books in English; made breakthroughs in his investigation of orgone energy in social pathology, physics, astronomy, and cancer; and interested none other than Albert Einstein in testing his theories. America brought a new marriage, a new son, a new group of students, and a new laboratory. But these were years of fierce struggle as well: the denial of an American medical license, the refusal of a patent on the orgone accumulator, and, finally, a slanderous article that would incite the Food and Drug Administration to the dogged attack on Reich that would continue until his death in another prison cell ten years later.
American Odyssey reveals more than a period in the life of an embattled scientist. It discloses the social and intellectual life of a country in a tumultuous time in history.
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 manneuvers. "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.
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.