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Orgonomy and Natural History
Thank you for your interest in this new page, which is a new venture for C O R E, and possibly the first such page anywhere on the web. The theme of this page may surprise you. Most people talk of nature as something outside ourselves and think of nature as birds, trees, fish, flowers, and wild animals, forgetting that human beings are animals and that more common factors unite us with the rest of living nature than the things that separate us from it. Most people who comment on humanity, of course, concentrate on the things that make humans different from the rest of living nature, the things that 'make us human'. This is part of the problem, that most human beings feel separate from nature and that they have a right to exploit her freely and without this having any effect on us.
Water Micro-Life Day at Brockholes
Note for 2017: This event will be running again this year over the May bank holiday weekend, Saturday to Monday, inclusive. See Brockholes website for details. I look forward to meeting some of you there. (Just to make it clear, this was last year, 2015. This event involves a lot of heavy lifting and so this year, 2016, so soon after major surgery, I won't be able to manage this event and it has been cancelled. I hope to run a similar event later this year. See this page or the News Page for further info or the Brockholes own website, www.brockholes.org .) If you want to say hello to C O R E in the shape of me, Peter Jones, over the May bank holiday weekend, May 23rd-25th, you can find me at the activities room at Brockholes on those three days between about 11 am and 4 pm. Admission is free. I will be busy and surrounded by some of C O R E's microscopes and other equipment, not to mention hordes of busy, excited children examining samples of water collected from the various standing water sites at Brockholes. (For information about Brockholes, where it is, etc, please use the link below.)
A Murmuration of Starlings at Brockholes
Today I paid a visit to our local nature reserve at Brockholes (www.brockholes.org ). The 'murmuration' of starlings every evening at sunset is well-known to bird-lovers and Brockholes sees one every evening apparently. As I walked home along the exit road I noticed a cloud of starlings swooping and whirling like some giant organism in the sky above one of the lakes there. I observed them both with the naked eye and through my 10x binoculars. They were quite close to me and at times almost overhead. They certainly did things to my own orgone energy. I felt swirlings in my chest and solar plexus as I watched. Surely this behaviour must be some orgonotic phenomenon? Do the birds become a single organism, like a collection of cells, as they move around like some giant amoeba in the sky? Watching them, I could not get the image of an amoeba out of my mind. Unfortunately I had no camera with me. A film of this behaviour would be very relevant material for the study of orgonotic pulsation. What an experience! (25. 11. 14.)
At the bottom of this page you will find the complete text of C O R E's booklet, Natural History and Orgonomy. As far as I know this booklet is the first attempt to make connections between the everyday interest in nature, common enough in our society, and nature within us, our own orgone energy and its spontaneous movement. How much we feel at one with nature depends on how freely our own orgone energy within can move. Have you ever wondered why one person can look at a beautiful mountain and see it as something they could excavate away to make a profit and another, perhaps you, yourself, looks at it and sees it as a home to eagles, deer, and a myriad of smaller invisible animals and plants. Have you ever wondered why 'nature' everywhere in our society is in danger of being destroyed? This is not an accident.
So the point of this page is to bring home to readers the deep natural connection between nature without and nature within and to help people become aware of the connections between psychology and bird-watching or organic farming or weather- watching. Weather-watching? Yes, the state of the atmospheric orgone energy is an important factor in life and the behaviour of the natural world, a factor that most people do not know about and completely ignore. It is my experience that most people interested in 'nature' - bird-watchers, organic gardeners, fishermen, walkers, and so on - are in fact the last people to be interested in psychology and the motivations for people's behaviour, including their own. They may bewail the destruction of the natural world, but treat this as if it were the result of conscious decisions by people rather than deep individual and social tides that most people are unaware of, even when they are the victims of them themselves.
To put it in a nutshell, many people, probably most people, think it more important to be able to get from A to B quickly than to be able to hear the birds singing outside their home, (if there are any to sing), or to see the stars at might in a clear sky unaffected by light pollution. This preference is not an accident. It is one of the effects of the culture we have created for ourselves and the things we have decided are important. On a deeper level this loss of contact with nature outside ourselves is because we have lost contact with nature within ourselves and this comes about because of the fact that most of us, apart from a fortunate few, have armoured ourselves against the awareness of nature within. Most people do this as babies, long before they have any conscious awareness of 'nature', though as small children most of us retain enough of this awareness to feel a love of nature and the living world. This awareness often disappears as people get older. Most small children, unless they are very severely armoured, much more than most people, still identify with nature and wild creatures. Most small children are natural vitalists. (A vitalist is someone who thinks there is a vital force, unique to life, behind the processes of nature. Vitalism has been completely chased out of the classroom and laboratory by modern mechanistic science since the early nineteenth century.)
Orgonomy, of course, suffers from the ridicule and contempt heaped on vitalism and anyone seen to be tainted with it by modern mainstream science.
Most people claim to like nature, but what about nature within?
Natural History and Orgonomy
Reading The New Amateur Naturalist[i] by Nick Baker has inspired me to write this booklet. This interesting, informative book shows a warm sympathy for nature, but makes not a single mention of the life energy. This is predictable as such a concept is totally beyond the pale now. Some knowledge of this life energy and a feeling for it, both within yourself and in nature at large, will deepen your delight in the natural world, of which you are a part. This booklet is an attempt to show to the young naturalist some connections with the little known science of orgonomy, the science of the cosmic orgone energy, discovered in the late nineteen thirties by Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). Although he made this discovery[ii] in the realm of psychology, it is obviously an important discovery for biology and an understanding of nature, in which we include mankind, as well as the things that most people think of when they talk of nature - birds, fish, insects, animals, trees, and flowers. What is cosmic orgone energy and what has it got to do with the study of the natural world? If you are interested in science of any sort, but in particular the science of the living world, something may be stirring within you at the mention of a life force that is active throughout nature. You may be interested in nature and her ways but feel there is something missing in what you have been taught at school or what you find in the books you have read. You certainly won’t have been taught anything about this force if you attend an ordinary school or university. It is quite possible, if you are studying biology, that you have been taught quite the opposite, briefly and in passing. Many advanced textbooks written for undergraduates start with a short history of biology. These often mention vitalism, the widely held belief in the past that there is a vital force at work in nature, and the belief that life comes into being naturally of its own accord from dead matter, spontaneousgeneration. The authors of modern textbooks state that these are completely wrong and have been disproved decisively by modern biology. They are usually treated as some hopeless superstition of old on a par with the belief that the earth is flat.[iii] (Apparently people a long time ago did believe that mice originated in old rags and wheat seeds. Even the great Aristotle is said to have believed that fish were created from the mud of rivers. It is easy to laugh at these beliefs and place them on a par with such superstitions.) If your text goes into any detail it will certainly mention Pasteur, who is considered to be the main protagonist in the dispute between those who thought spontaneous generation occurs in nature and those who did not.
You may not have even heard of Pasteur, though his name is about us all the time in the term pasteurised, which is so common now that it doesn’t even need a capital letter. His famous experiment with sealed flasks and swan-necked tubes attached, often illustrated in university textbooks of biology or micro-biology, is always taken to be the ultimate proof that spontaneous generation, the birth of living forms from previously dead materials does not occur.[iv]
Reich’s experiments, in which he discovered simple forms, transitional from the non-living to the living, have been confirmed and developed by orgonomists since his death,[v] though this is not known outside orgonomy. As far as I know, no-one has made any connections between this discovery and the wider study of nature and biology. Even at Orgonon, the Wilhelm Reich Museum, which is open to the public and which organises children’s activities for the study of nature, there does not seem to be any connections made between orgonomy and nature at large. I enjoy the study of natural life, the breeding and migration of birds, seasonal flowers and the cycle of growth and decay that we see every year in the country and in our gardens, and in particular freshwater life. These are all manifestations of the cosmic orgone energy. How can we connect knowledge and awareness of this energy and the study of nature in the everyday world?
At first, when we read about or, better still, repeat the bion experiments or build our own orgone accumulator, there seems to be no connection between these and going for a walk with a pair of binoculars to look at birds or a bottle to collect a sample of water from a pond. As a gardener you may have even closer contact with the living world as you tend your compost heap, manure your soil, plant out seedlings and pick fruit or flowers or lift vegetables from the soil.
Practical exercises that you can do on your own are in heavy type. They are an important part of orgonomic study and will help you to understand and feel orgonotic processes in nature. If you wish to sense your own orgone energy more clearly, see C O R E’s booklets What is Orgone Energy? and Sensing the Orgone.
What is orgone energy? Who discovered it? Why haven’t I heard of it before? What has it got to do with the world of animals, birds, insects, plants, trees, and fish? Wilhelm Reich gave the name orgoneenergy to the life energy, which he discovered in the nineteen thirties. You may have come across the idea of a life energy or life-force in yoga, acupuncture, oriental medicine, or philosophy in general. These schools of knowledge assume the existence of a life-energy, but, as far as I know, none of them have ever devised any experiments to prove its existence or found ways of using it therapeutically or scientifically. A great deal of experimental work and observation led Reich to this discovery. The serious amateur can repeat some of these experiments. Most of them have been repeated and confirmed by orgonomists since Reich’s death in 1957.[vi]
Reich discovered this energy in an unlikely area for a natural scientist – the realm of sexuality and emotions.[vii] He sensed that there was an energy behind feelings, sensations, and sexuality, the libido of Sigmund Freud, Reich’s mentor in his younger days. Reich took the existence of libido seriously and followed the concept tenaciously. His patients reported sensations of something moving within their bodies when they felt a powerful emotion.[viii] Though this sensation of movement is scientifically ignored nowadays most people refer to it all the time. Music gives us a tingle, we feel butterflies in our stomachs when we are anxious, and sense something reaching out to us when we look at another person, unless, of course, we get no response. (We shall shortly observe this reaching out in the natural world.) For Reich it was not enough just to talk about these sensations: he wanted to know exactly what this energy was and how it functioned.
He did experiments to measure the changes in electric potential of the skin in different emotional states.[ix] The results were promising, but it was clear that what people felt moving was not just electricity, even though an electrical mechanism could be measured. It was not strong enough to explain the powerful sensations of his experimental subjects. His subjects and patients in therapy talked of currents and sensations of movement, expansion and contraction, pleasure and anxiety, within themselves. Were these currents a natural function that occurred throughout nature? Could they be observed in simple organisms where it was possible to see much more clearly what was going on within a creature?[x]
He started observing amoebae and found that he could indeed see currents within them (cytoplasmic streaming). He could also observe quite easily the expansion or contraction of these creatures, a process that he had observed in his patients and experimental volunteers and which they had described subjectively to him.[xi][Here we have our first direct link between orgonomy and the study of living nature. We can collect some water from a puddle out in a garden, park or local wood and probably find some amoebae in it. If not, we can even ‘brew’ our own amoebae from an infusion of grass or hay. See below.]
Reich did not accept the conventional explanation that the amoebae got into the water as spores attached to the grass. He made careful investigations of the air, the water and the grass and found no ‘spores’.[xii] He examined the grass under the water in a very ingenious way and discovered a process that no-one else had noticed before. He called it bionous disintegration.[xiii][In the sample of water that you have collected from a ditch or puddle there will also certainly be lots of bions, though, until you have actually repeated Reich’s bion experiments yourself, you will probably not be able to recognise them as such.]
Once he had seen bionous disintegration in dead grass in water, he wondered whether it occurred with other materials, especially solid, inorganic substances that had never been alive. He tested many materials and found that almost all of them produced bions – sand, iron filings, coal-dust, ash, and others. A culture of sea-sand bions affected people’s skin. When held close to the skin it caused a tingling sensation and if held there long enough it produced a redness, like sunburn. Looking at these preparations for a long time under his microscope he got sore, inflamed eyes.[xiv] It seemed that the bions were giving off some sort of radiation. To find out exactly what this was Reich tried to construct a container that would isolate it, so he could take measurements where there was some radiation and where there wasn’t. He found this impossible. It appeared to be everywhere. He had hit upon the libido, the energy of life, that Freud had postulated years ago, and which most people had quietly forgotten about.[xv]
Just as biology textbooks routinely give us a summary of history that proves that ‘spontaneous generation’ cannot occur, physics textbooks routinely tell us the story of the Michelson-Morley experiment that ‘proves’ that the ether, the traditional name for the cosmic energy presumed by most people till then to fill space[xvi], does not exist. For another view of this experiment, see reference [xvii].
The apparatus that he had built to isolate the radiation ended up concentrating it. He had devised an energy accumulator. When he had named the energy as orgone this became the orgone accumulator.[xviii] A further discovery, more a putting together of observations and interpretations than finding out something new, was his concept of pulsation, which he realised was the natural life-process per se.[xix] This was direct result of the bion experiments and the discoveries that followed from them. Orgonotic pulsation is the life-formula itself, according to Reich. (Orgonotic means charged with orgone energy.)
Reich’s work developed rapidly in many directions as he forged ahead with his research, making connections and discoveries at a rate that left most people standing and in most cases unable to follow him. He was no respecter of the conventional boundaries between the sciences and saw no reason why he should not move from psychology into physiology and from physiology into biology and eventually from biology into physics and cosmology. Orgonomy embraces all these commonly separated spheres of knowledge. Orgonotic pulsation in fact embraces psychological, physiological, and biological functions.
Reich devised the formula for orgonotic pulsation in the realm of sexuality as the orgasm formula.[xx] The something moving reported by his patients and his experimental subjects in his bio-electrical experiments, as we know now, was the life-energy itself. He discovered that the greater was a person’s capacity for the discharge of this energy at the climax of the sexual embrace, the less energy there was left for aggressive, destructive impulses. This capacity for discharge depended on the capacity for surrender to the spontaneous convulsions of the orgasm.[xxi] (The muscular armouring that he had discovered during his therapeutic work interfered with the body’s natural reflexes and damaged people’s capacity for sexual surrender. The effects of armouring are particularly relevant to the protection of the natural world. Only a person hardened by armouring and cut off from their sense of oneness with the natural world is willing to destroy forests, wild habitats, and wild animals without a qualm.) According to his observations the pattern of energy build-up and discharge followed the formula:- mechanical tension → bio-energetic charge → bio-energetic discharge → mechanical relaxation.[xxii] At first he called this the orgasm formula. As his research with micro-organisms and orgone energy advanced he realised that this formula of charge-discharge was followed by life throughout nature. He named it orgonotic pulsation.[xxiii][We can observe this at work throughout nature, if we know where to look. It is, of course, going on within us as human animals all the time, too, and you may well be aware of it within yourself.]
Where might you observe orgonotic pulsation out in the natural world? You will not have to look far. As Reich pointed out in his writings, it is often difficult to see what is in front of our very eyes. A marvelous example of orgonotic pulsation is below your very feet, if you are outdoors standing on the earth, the humble earthworm, on whose endless efforts the whole economy of nature is founded. [Take a hand-fork and turn over some soil a few inches deep. If the soil is at all healthy, you will find several earthworms in it. Place some of the soil on a newspaper or tray and put a worm on the soil so that you can observe it moving easily. You will see a wave of expansion and contraction passing along the worm as it moves. (Return the worm to the soil after a minute or two, so that it can get on with its vital job of making soil.) A worm is composed of almost identical segments,[xxiv] each one surrounded by a circle of muscle that can, like all muscle, contract and relax. When the segments do this in a rhythmic sequence a wave of peristalsis passes along the worm.[xxv] Peristalsis is the movement of the gastro-intestinal tract that pushes food along from the stomach to the rectum and eventually out of the body as waste matter. You can, if you focus on your own body sensations, feel this pulsation, even though you cannot normally see it. You can listen to it with a stethoscope. (You can buy one for a few pounds.) Orgonotic pulsation is also easily observable in the movements of the jellyfish. See page 15 for details.]
I have just looked the word peristalsis up in my medical dictionary to see what it says, and even this text likens peristalsis to the movement of a worm:
the wormlike movement by which the alimentary canal or other tubular organs with both longitudinal and circular muscle fibres propel their contents, consisting of a wave of contractions passing along the tube.[xxvi]
Orgonomically a wave of contractions means a wave of excitation. Darwin, the great biologist, wrote a book on the life and behaviour of earthworms.[xxvii] He was an outstanding observer and obviously able to see things that no-one else had seen before. For all that he did not notice the similarity between the human digestive tract and the movement of the worm. This is a strange omission as the common factor, pulsation, must be an evolutionary link and Darwin’s major interest in biology was evolution. This shows us how one’s mental model can blind one to certain things, or on the other hand enable you to see connections that other people do not see. By recognising common functioning principles at work orgonomists link processes that conventional biologists would never link. Another Victorian biologist and researcher who has been written out of the history books, H C Bastian (1837-1915), also noticed pulsation as a basic feature of life. He referred to it as contractility.[xxviii]
We can also observe this pulsation in a water sample taken from a ditch or puddle, if it contains water fleas, daphnia. This could be the same sample that you looked at to find an amoeba. They are very common in water with lots of decaying matter in it. [These creatures are transparent, so you can, under a microscope, observe their body functions. You can see their digestion going on and the expulsive contractions as they excrete waste matter. You can observe the heart beating and even eggs and young within the female. If you cannot find any wild ones, you can buy these quite easily at most pet shops, as they are sold as fish food.]
The Common Functioning Principle and Orgonomic Functionalism
Reich’s widening of the grasp of the orgasm formula to the all-embracing function of orgonotic pulsation is a classic example of the common functioning principle. Orgonomy is all the time bringing processes together in which the energy functions are the same, even if superficial aspects seem quite different. This earns us a great deal of ridicule from conventional scientists. Ridicule, however, does not disprove a theory or an observation. What does confirm an observation as Reich kept saying, is if it leads to new discoveries or connections. By this standard Reich’s many applications of the common functioning principle are amply confirmed, as are those of orgonomists working since his death.
Reich devised a symbol to connect a common functioning principle with a pair of variations and it appears on the front of all his books. (I am sorry - this illustration has not been copied by the system. I will try and add it as soon as I can. No, I've found the logo and the system won't copy it. I'm sorry about that.)
We are not far into this essay and the words function and orgonotic and orgonomic keep coming up all the time. Without realising it we are in the world of orgonomic functionalism.[xxix] You are probably not used to the idea of science having a philosophy behind it. To most people, especially scientists actually practising science in their laboratories, science is just science, and they get on with it. In fact there are many unspoken assumptions behind western science, many of them unknown to most scientists. One of these unspoken beliefs is that there is no such thing as a life-force or life energy.[xxx] Reich thought a great deal about the thought processes that allowed him to uncover things that other people had walked past and not seen. He realised that he was following energy processes in nature, functions rather than structure and fixed anatomy. He also realised that his ability to think like this was unusual and depended on his own aliveness. He was able to look and see what other observers could not see. He realised that the observer’s aliveness was a crucial factor in scientific research and wrote an important chapter to this effect – Organ Sensation as a Tool of Research.[xxxi]
Orgonomic functionalism’s main tool is the use of the common functioning principle, commonly abbreviated as CFP.[xxxii] We have already met a simple example that is easy to observe and understand – the common function of pulsation or peristalsis seen in both the movement of a worm and the action of the intestinal tract within a human being or other mammal. As you can see from these examples, orgonomic functionalism works in the opposite direction to that of conventional science, which always analyses, dividing things by noticing differences between them. In this science differences between things are always more important than common features. In orgonomy common functions above all are important. This means that we are all the time bringing things together in pairs that share a CFP. You don’t have to understand functionalism formally in order to think, observe, and work functionally. Small children, until their armouring affects them too deeply, are always functionalists and notice CFPs in a naïve way.
The Microscope in Orgonomy
Reich’s most important experiment on his way to the discovery of the orgone was the bion experiment. If you want to understand nature and biology orgonomically, you need to repeat these experiments yourself. If you wish to repeat them, please see either Reich’s own works or C O R E’s booklet Three Experiments with the Microscope for the Amateur Orgonomist. This gives detailed information on how to carry them out, information on the sort of microscope needed, and suppliers in the UK. It is enough to say here that you will need a binocular instrument with phase contrast facility. The amateur nature-lover does not normally use such a microscope, if she uses one at all. Such a microscope will also be much more expensive than the sort of instrument that you may be using at the moment. This will probably be either a stereoscopic microscope with a fairly low magnification or a monocular microscope with only brightfield lighting. Some school or college microscopes do give magnification up to x1000 or even higher with certain eyepieces, so in theory it should be possible to do the bion experiments using such an instrument. You may find it very tiring looking down only one eyepiece for long periods. The bions are so interesting that you will want to observe them, especially to start with, for a long time, possibly hours on end. At certain stages of the experiments you do need, anyway, to observe frequently or for long continuous periods to catch the appearance of the bions and the micro-organisms that they coalesce into. We ourselves have only repeated the experiments using our two different binocular instruments. However, we must remember that much of the most important microscopic work was done by the great pioneers using monocular instruments.[xxxiii] That was all they had at the time. So if some adventurous spirit tries the experiments using a monocular microscope, good luck to you. We would be pleased to hear about your experience. It may seem horribly expensive to buy a binocular laboratory microscope. However, this will not just be useful for the bions. You will find you then have an excellent optical facility available for all sorts of investigations, as well as other advanced orgonomic work. If you are seriously thinking of buying a binocular microscope, please see the booklet cited above.
The Bion Experiments
So what are these bions that I keep referring to? And what are the bion experiments? Can we observe them in nature at large?
Let us start with the experiments and see how the bions evolve. I have already referred above to the process of bionous disintegration that Reich saw while observing grass blades under water. In this process the grass started to swell, produce small vesicles, highly excited very small bubbles of orgone energy surrounded by a membrane. Some of these were free and very motile, in the water surrounding the grass: some were still within the grass tissue, bulging out within a membrane at the edge of the grass. At some point these swellings would break free as an independent organism.[xxxiv] Reich repeated the experiments with solid non-living materials and found that they too underwent swelling and broke down to produce bions with some of the characteristics of the living.[xxxv] He observed this before he named them. Many of these solid materials that have never been alive before are substances commonly found in the natural world – sand, soil, iron, clay, slate, various stones, glass, ash, to mention just a few. It is easy to grind up small amounts of these materials yourself and to test them to see if they produce bions. Once you have carried out these investigations and know what the bions look like and how they behave, you can see them in samples of standing water, as the ground on which this water is standing usually consists of these materials, often of several of them mixed together. If you have retained the sample of water that you first collected to observe an amoeba, you can have a look at it under your microscope, if you have one available. You will almost certainly see bions moving about in between the larger particles and organisms. The full title of Reich’s book on this work is The Bion Experiments on the Origin of Life.[xxxvi] He claimed that he had discovered the mysterious (until then) process by which inanimate matter takes the first step towards living matter. It has always been assumed by biologists that this step must have occurred some time in the past but that it happened so long ago in conditions so different from those on the planet now that we may never be able to reproduce it.[xxxvii] Darwin’s theory of evolution needs such a step, but he shrugged his shoulders at the idea of discovering how it happened, even though he agreed that it would be a hugely important discovery, if someone could prove that it was in fact taking place in nature.[xxxviii] Most biologists take the same view nowadays. Modern biology is caught in its own trap. It assumes that life is a complex bio-chemical process that, before it can start, needs all the chemical ingredients for life as we know it, complex proteins and carbohydrates and either DNA or RNA. If we see life as a bio-energetic process, then all we need is a charge of bio-energy contained within a membrane and we have a simple unit of life able to perform certain simple functions – expand and contract, move, and possibly even ‘remember’ information. (We shall come to the information later.) This basic unit has a synthesising tendency. Bions form motile clumps.[xxxix] We can see this tendency clearly in a bion preparation made from ground up drawing pastels of different colours. The fine particles retain their original colours and we can observe a clump of bions of different colours. This is a basic bion experiment that you can repeat yourself. It is in principle no more difficult than any other bion experiment with ground solid materials.
The Living Orgonome
Reich gave the name living orgonome to the forms that occur in nature again and again in many guises. These shapes moving orgone energy makes when confined within a membrane, as it is within living organisms. It is also the title of a very interesting chapter in his seminal work Cosmic Superimposition.[xl] Reich shows in this chapter how the basic form of motion of the orgone free in the atmosphere, the spinning wave, produces certain easily recognisable forms within living organisms when it still ‘tries’ to move forwards, but is limited by the surrounding membrane of the organism. (See illustrations, reprinted with permission of the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund.) Most people with any feeling for nature who have observed any living organisms will recognise these shapes as typical of life. If we presented these illustrations from Cosmic Superimposition with no explanation, most observers would assume that they are pictures of organisms such as starfish, worms, flatworms, amoebae and so on.
They are in fact the forms of the plasmatic flakes of primordial life formed in Experiment XX. In this experiment we filter the water above the solid matter in a bion culture prepared from soil, freeze it for several weeks, and then allow the water to thaw. Reich discovered that these flakes form from condensed orgone energy in clear water containing no solid materials. He saw ‘radiating particles’ of bionous matter. At high magnification, x3000, they could be seen to pulsate, as do bions otherwise obtained. These developed into protozoa. As a beginning student of orgonomy you probably do not have available such high magnification, though you can still see movement in the flakes at a magnification of x1000 or x1500, which you may have if you have done the bion experiments. (See C O R E’s booklet on the bion experiments – Three Experiments with the Microscope for the Amateur Orgonomist - for more information, if these are new to you.) Experiment XX is written up in The Cancer Biopathy.[xli] While the refinements and checks that Reich carried out to control his findings are quite complex, the basic experiment as far as the production of flakes is not too difficult and can be repeated by an amateur who has already done the bion experiments.
On the opposite page Reich shows the living orgonome form in commonly occurring simple organisms; eggs, shells, worms, snakes, and also in animal organs, for example, the ear, stomach, brain, and, above all, the embryo. It is quite probable that if you have a lively feeling for nature you have already noticed this similarity of form in many things commonly seen in nature. D’Arcy Thompson, the author of a classic text on form in nature,[xlii] claims that these shapes are simply the result of mechanical forces and inevitable given the conditions of growth. Reich’s arguments and experiments make a case for a different, orgonomic explanation. The chapter of Cosmic Superimposition containing these illustrations and arguments – chapter IV, The Living Orgonome - is essential reading for any student of orgonomic biology.
Just as I have suggested that you look for orgonotic functions in nature at large, you will find it interesting to look for these orgonome forms, once you are aware of these shapes and their significance. If you dissect small organisms you will also find the orgonome. You do not need a great deal of skill or equipment to take apart a small flower or an insect to find these forms. You can see many of them easily enough without taking anything apart – examples that occur to me as I sit writing are the wings of insects, the tiny body-parts of many crustaceans and insects, flower petals, leaves, the wings of birds, and eggs of both insects and birds. Many of these can be examined with a simple magnifying glass, which will enlarge them, where necessary, enough to show you the shape of the orgonome.
These shapes are observed in their purest form in simple organisms - amoebae, protozoa, worms, and microbes. The bean-like form of the bion is the most basic living orgonome of all. You will find it helpful to observe moving items under a microscope to locate these forms. A low-magnification stereoscopic microscope, an excellent instrument for viewing moving small organisms, makes these observations very interesting. [The living orgonomes in a few mls of dirty pond-water observed under such a microscope will keep you busy for days.]
Abiogenesis and Heterogenesis
Abiogenesis means the origin of life from non-living materials. Heterogenesis, now rarely used in modern biology, means the origin of one form of life from another form of life. Both these processes are thought by modern biologists not to occur at all. In the nineteenth century heterogenesis was a much more common term and several well-known biologists claimed to have proved that heterogenesis did occur. The classic work on this topic is by a Frenchman, Félix Pouchet, Hétérogénie. The best known British worker in this field was H C Bastian, mentioned above. His main work, The Beginnings of Life,[xliii] contains a large section on heterogenesis.[xliv] He also published another large work on the subject much later in his life when he had returned to his biological research, Studies in Heterogenesis.[xlv] Some of the experiments in this book are fairly simple and within the scope of a motivated amateur with a suitable microscope.
The embarrassing thing, for ordinary science, that is, about these experiments, at least the ones that I have tried myself, is that, like the bion experiments, they are confirmed by careful repetition. Bastian appears to have been right, or at least he was right in some of his experiments. He would describe Reich’s grass infusion experiment as a test of heterogenesis, as the protozoa originate from the disintegrating tissue of something previously alive, grass. One of Bastian’s experiments links his work and Reich’s, the origin of bacteria in the setae of a cyclops.[xlvi] I think that these so-called bacteria are in fact bions. They appear in exactly the same way and according to exactly the same time pattern as bions and once they have come into existence they behave like bions. Bastian obviously had no concept of the bions or the process of bionous disintegration and so he would be bound to assume that they were some form of simple known life.
If we leave the dead cyclops longer and observe its gradual breakdown it produces bions in enormous numbers all over its external body. Other crustaceans do the same. If you repeatedly take samples of standing freshwater you may be able to find and study a dead cyclops or other crustacean in this condition. You can, anyway, repeat Bastian’s investigation and then see the further development of bionous disintegration on the outside of the cyclops as time passes.
While repeating this investigation of Bastian’s, as described in his Studies, I was the lucky witness of an even rarer example of heterogenesis. Several rotifers were unexpectedly entangled in the abdominal appendages of the cyclops that I was examining These all appeared to be dying quite rapidly, presumably from the shortage of oxygen in the tiny amount of water under a coverslip sealed round its edges. One of these rotifers was still just about alive. It slowly managed to move away from the cyclops and then remained stationary while the following process occurred. It withdrew all its external appendages into itself and seemed to be dead. It was more or less rectangular in shape with the posterior end slightly narrower than the anterior. I could see that there were still some movements and what looked like cilia whirling within what was left of the organism. The whole form occasionally appeared to be stretching and squirming. After some time, a couple of hours, slight invaginations formed at both ends and these slowly became deeper and deeper, giving the impression that there was more or less a dotted line between the two. The whirling motions within and the squirming movements continued. Suddenly to my utter amazement, the line between the two invaginations ‘unzipped’ quickly and two apparently identical ciliates swam away into the surrounding water. (See my paper for details.[xlvii])
Now a rotifer is a multicellular organism, a metazoan, and must, according to the DNA theories of modern biology, have its own DNA that will allow its cells to produce only the appropriate materials to form other rotifer cells. According to these theories, it is completely impossible for rotifer DNA to produce the materials of any other living organism. Nevertheless I am absolutely certain that I observed the above. What I saw is only what Bastian claimed is happening in nature all the time, when external circumstances encourage it.[xlviii] If you observe enough you may be lucky enough to observe a similar heterogenic transformation yourself. Orgonomy needs many, many observers to repeat these observations and, if possible, to record them on film to prove our point.
Symbiogenesis does not occur in my Penguin Dictionary of Biology, published in 1994. It is now accepted as the explanation for the origin of certain organelles within the cells of simple organisms.[xlix] According to the theories of symbiogenesis, these organelles started out as separate, independent primitive organisms and were absorbed by larger host organisms without being destroyed by them, as they provided functions that were of benefit to the host and the host‘s surrounding presence benefitted them, too.[l] It is a process similar to symbiosis, two organisms living together to their mutual benefit, but involves the complete merging of the two forms and a new form of life. Apparently this claim has been confirmed by the fact that the organelles have very similar DNA to still existing bacteria that live independently. This theory was first put forward by a Russian biologist, Merezhkovsky,[li] and taken up by a modern advocate, Lynn Margulis, the US biologist.[lii] As far as I know there is nothing specifically orgonomic about symbiogenesis. I just have a hunch that the process of merging and the creation of a new living form with further developed functions has some bio-energetic explanation. When serious orgonomic biology is more established and orgonomic research is conducted without the severe restrictions at present limiting our work, the lack of funds and facilities and the shortage of trained orgonomic biologists, further research may confirm this hunch. If the investigation of this theory appeals to you, you have a ready-made field of enquiry, once you have obtained some training and experience in orgonomic biology.
Remember here the use of the orgone accumulator. If it can be shown to have an effect on a biological process, we can assume that orgone energy is involved in some way. If Reich’s claims are true, an input of orgone energy from an accumulator is going to have an effect on almost all biological processes. Biologists have already demonstrated this in a simple example - frequent confirmation of the seed-germination experiment.[liii] In this experiment two groups of seeds germinate in identical conditions, except that one of them is placed in an orgone accumulator for some hours each day. This experiment consistently shows that the orgone-treated seeds germinate faster and produce larger seedlings.
Rupert Sheldrake and Morphogenic Fields
There are not many theories or ideas in modern biology that relate directly to orgonomy. Working with the life energy, whose existence mechanistic science denies altogether, often in the most abusive and hostile terms, we can expect our work to be received as superstitious, flat-earth nonsense. I know of one theory which has been similarly received by many scientists, but which connects with orgonomy. This is Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance.[liv]
In all his books, but in particular in A New Science of Life, he posits the idea that all living organisms have their own fields that transmit information of future growth patterns, memory, and behaviour. He claims that this is the ‘memory’ and information-carrier of nature and that it explains many strange and so far unexplained occurrences in nature. He has been ridiculed by most conventional scientists for daring to suggest this theory.[lv] However, he has been thoroughly scientific and has suggested various experiments to test his theories. He is all the time almost falling over a concept of a life energy in his theorising, but never actually posits such a concept. He is not interested in investigating Reich’s work with a view to using it to explain his own theories, which I think orgonomy could do. An independent researcher could investigate this field.
Natural History Activities that Touch on Orgonomy
What can a young student of orgonomy interested in natural history do that will be interesting orgonomically and which may lead to some interesting biological research? How can we bring together these two interests? This short essay will, I hope, have given you a few ideas. The observation of pulsation and excitation, two basic functions of the orgone energy, without any optical instruments between yourself and what you are observing is simple enough. We have seen how earthworms pulsate. This can easily be observed externally. (Much pulsation in nature is internal and therefore invisible, though many simple organisms, for example water fleas, are transparent and we can observe their internal pulsation with optical assistance.) [Another easily observed example of pulsation is the wave-motion of the jellyfish.] Reich cited this as an image to follow when he was working with his patients whose breathing was inhibited by muscular armouring. He called this way of re-mobilising the breathing and the orgasm reflex the jellyfish movement. The patient lies on their back, draws their feet up towards their buttocks, so that their knees are raised somewhat in the air, and as they breathe out they are asked to part their knees and lift their pelvis off the couch. As they do this, if they are not too armoured, the stomach should yield, the shoulders tilt forward, and the head glide backwards in an attitude of surrender.[lvi] If the patient could not give in to these normally involuntary movements they would at least start to feel the rigidities in their body that were preventing this involuntary surrender. This awareness is an important part of breaking down the rigidities of the armouring.[lvii] You could observe widely in nature at large to see if you can observe this reflex response anywhere else.
[A good example of excitation is the highly excited movement of young animals when they are being fed by a parent or mother. We see this in young birds as the parent drops food into their beaks. The infant birds flap their wings at an enormous rate, possibly at a higher rate than adult birds do when flying, though I have not counted these rates myself.] To count and know these rates would in itself be a small orgonomic study of some importance. It seems to me a significant fact about excitation and feeding that the young birds experience this high level of excitation even though there is no physical contact between feeder and fed as there is in the mammal world. Lambs wag their tales vigorously when suckling. This bio-energetic bond between infant and mother in the mammal world, is highly charged and very important for both the infant and mother for their mutual health. Kittens when suckling make vigorous kneading movements with their paws against the mother-cat’s udder [If you know any human mother who is suckling a baby, you could ask her if she minds your watching her baby while feeding and see if you can see what the human equivalent is of the tail-wagging and kneading.] Many patterns of behaviour or physiology occur throughout the natural world in creatures of greatly differing size, so this little study is not as ridiculous as it may sound to someone new to orgonomy. (Orgonomy counts human beings as part of the natural world.) In his The Descent of Man Darwin cites reports by other naturalists of the mating dance and courting behaviour of tiny, barely visible insects.[lviii] We all know of such behaviour in birds, say, or larger mammals. Courting behaviour is, in itself, a way of mutually exciting energy prior to mating.
If we consider the atmospheric orgone energy as part of the natural world, then the observation of the atmosphere and weather conditions and any accompanying effect on animal behaviour can also become part of your natural history activities. (An awareness of your own energy state and the atmospheric conditions are an important part of your research equipment in orgonomy. If your own orgone energy is sluggish and unresponsive on a particular day, you will be unaware of many things that you would otherwise notice. All of us have such days and you need to be aware of it when you are having such a day.) An experimental life energy meter is available from James DeMeo’s OBRL.[lix] With such an apparatus you can measure the energy charge of soil-samples or water and even of single plants, flowers or fruit. If you made many observations over several seasons you could even see if there is any correlation between animals’ breeding patterns, for example and the background bio-energetic charge of crucial factors, for example water in the case of amphibians or water organisms or soil in the case of plants. Zoologists and botanists usually explain the onset of breeding behaviour or budding, for example, as governed by the increasing length of the day in spring.[lx] It may be that these behaviours are also related to the rising background orgone energy levels that come with spring. The decisive effect of extra orgone energy on the germination process appears to confirm this.
Further Study of Orgonomy and Orgonomic Research in Biology
You may be wondering how to learn more about orgonomy and how to get some simple research projects started. Certain difficulties face all serious students of orgonomy in this country. First there are hardly any of you at all; secondly there are hardly any teaching resources available here. C O R E has for years been trying to set up courses. We have been unable to start these for lack of interest, even though we have the knowledge and resources to run them. For the time being you will have to teach yourself with the help of Reich’s many books and the few written by orgonomists since his death. See C O R E’s A Student’s Guide to Orgonomic Literature and Resources for some guidance. Very little in the field of natural history or biology has been written since Reich’s death.
For all these difficulties you can still get started without a teacher. Your first task is to build yourself an orgone accumulator, one large enough to sit in or a small one for biological experiments.[lxi] A full-size one suitable for therapeutic use will certainly leave enough materials to make a small experimental accumulator with out any extra cost. If you do this, you can sense the effect of extra orgone input on yourself and also do the seed-germination experiment a few times with different seeds in varying conditions to get the feel of the experiment and find out which factors affect the outcome. If you also make some of the observations mentioned earlier – the earthworm’s peristalsis, the jellyfish’s movements, young animals feeding, the pulsating organs of daphnia, the expansion and contraction and with a little luck, division of an amoeba into two daughter cells, you are already well on the way to acquiring some knowledge of and feeling for orgonotic process and functions in nature. Notice that I say feeling for these. Without a capacity to sense these functions both within and outside yourself no amount of theoretical knowledge will enable you to fully understand and empathise with these orgonotic processes. This is the problem with spreading knowledge of orgonomy. Many people, especially technically trained scientists, do not seem to be alive enough to grasp its significance and understand the processes at work. What is blatantly obvious and visible to an orgonomist (and possibly to a small, not too badly armoured child) may be completely invisible and meaningless to someone whose energy is not so responsive. This is just one of the endless difficulties that we have to live with in our study of orgonomy.
This is a short beginner’s course in orgonomic natural history. This work will doubtless raise questions that require further orgonomic observations and investigations, possibly a formally worked out research programme. If you need help to undertake these tasks, please contact C O R E. We shall be delighted to hear from you and to do anything we can to help you. If you get stuck we could demonstrate something for you or allow you to use our laboratory equipment, if this would help you to solve your difficulty. Often an apparently major difficulty in orgonomic research will quietly dissolve, if you remain open and patient enough and let your materials speak to you, as they will, if you do not bully them.
Access to Books and Articles
I have deliberately cited many sources so that you can see where I have got my information from and learn more about the subject. If these books are not in your local library, staff will obtain them for you. Fill in a card with the details in the endnotes, and they will get the book for you. This wonderful system costs at present in Lancashire only 60p per book. Your library can get rare books and articles for you. C O R E’s small but comprehensive library of orgonomic publications and literature related to orgonomic research – the history of biology, heterogenesis, microscopy, physics, and freshwater biology can also help you.
A good introduction to orgonomy in general is Reich’s SelectedWritings, first published in 1960 by FS&G and republished several times since then, the latest edition by Welcome Rain, New York in 2000. Hundreds of Reich’s books are available on line on ABE Booksearch.
FS&G in the endnotes = Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York.
[i] Baker N (2005); The New Amateur Naturalist, Harper Collins, London.
[ii] Reich W (1944); The Discovery of the Orgone, Part I, The Function of the Orgasm, reprinted (1983); Souvenir Press, London, and several other US editions.
[iii] See, for example, descriptions of orgonomy as ‘balderdash’ (page 78) and ‘a concoction of blatant absurdities’ (page 109) in The History of Psychoanalysis by Reuben Fine, Continuum, New York.
[iv] Purves et al (1997); Life: The Science of Biology, page 518, Sinauer and Freeman, Sunderland, Massachusetts, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
[v] See, for example, Baker C F and Dew R A (1984); Bion Migration, in Annals of the Institute for Orgonomic Science, Vol 1, No 1, Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania and DeMeo J (2002); Bion-Biogenesis Research and Seminars at OBRL: Progress Report, in Pulse of the Planet, No 5, Ashland, Oregon.
[vi] See reports in orgonomic journals such as Annals of the Institute for Orgonomic Science, Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, and Pulse of the Planet, OBRL, Ashland, Oregon.
[vii] Reich W (1983); ibid and The Discovery of the Orgone, Part II, The Cancer Biopathy, (1973), Vision Press, London, and various US editions since then.
[viii] Reich (1983); op cit, pages 270-271.
[ix] Reich W (1982); The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety, FS&G.
[x] Reich W (1979); The Bion Experiments on the Origin of Life, chapter 1, The tension- Charge Formula, FS&G.
[xi] Reich W (1982); op cit, pages 29-32, Sexuality and anxiety as opposite excitations of the vegetative life apparatus.
[xii] Reich W (1973); op cit, pages 51-52,
[xiii] Reich W (1979); op cit, pages 45-52.
[xiv] Reich W (1973); The Cancer Biopathy, pages 15-27,The Vesicular Disintegration of Swelling Matter.
[xv] Fine R (1990); op cit, pages 44-45 and page 50 and passim. Continuum, New York.
[xvi] Ohanian H C (1994); Principles of Physics, pages 758-759, The Speed of Light: The Ether, Norton, New York.
[xvii] DeMeo J (2002); Dayton Miller’s Ether-Drift Experiments: A Fresh Look, in Pulse of the Planet, No 5, OBRL, Ashland, Oregon.
[xviii] Reich W (1973); op cit, chapter IV, The Objective Demonstration of Orgone Radiation, 4, The Orgone Accumulator.
[xix] ibid, The Function of the Orgasm in the Orgone Energy Metabolism of the Cell, page 228.
[xx] Reich W (1983); op cit, chapter VII, 5.
[xxi] Reich W (1983); op cit, page 102.
[xxii] ibid; chapter VII, The Breakthrough into the Biological Realm, 5, The Orgasm Formula: Tension → Charge → Discharge → Relaxation.
[xxiii] Reich W (1973); op cit, Orgone Energy Vesicles (Bions) and the Natural Organisation of Protozoa, 5, Fusion and Interpenetration.
[xxiv] Phillips Dales R (1967); Annelids, pages 19-21, Hutchinson, London.
[xxv] ibid; Locomotion of the earthworm, pages 125-128.
[xxvi] Weller B F (1989); Baillière’s Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Nursing and Health Care, Peristalsis, page 709, Baillière Tyndall, London.
[xxvii] Darwin C (1881); The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, John Murray, London.
[xxviii]Bastian H C (1872); The Beginnings of Life, Vol I, page 127, MacMillan, London.
[xxix] For an introduction to this world, see Reich’s twin texts, published as one volume, Ether, God and Devil and Cosmic Superimposition, (1973), FS&G.
[xxx] See Mayr E (1982); The Growth of Biological Thought, The Belknap Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, page 52, for current views on ‘vitalism’. He states that no modern biologist supports vitalism, the belief in a life-energy. He also assumes that this belief is completely unscientific and that this energy cannot be investigated scientifically. Reich’s formulation of the laws of the orgone energy is based on experimentation, much of which the amateur orgonomist can repeat him/herself.
[xxxi] Reich W (1973a); Ether, God and Devil, chapter III, Organ Sensation as a Tool of Research, FS&G.
[xxxii] ibid; chapter IV, Animism, Mysticism and Mechanistics. pages 100-120.
[xxxiii]Ford B J (1985); Single Lens, The Story of the Simple Microscope, Harper and Row, New York.
[xxxiv]Reich W (1979): op cit, page 39
[xxxv] Reich W (1979); op cit, pages 45-46.
[xxxvi]Reich W (1979); op cit.
[xxxvii] Purves et al; op cit, page 518
[xxxviii] Desmond A, Moore J (1992); Darwin, page 595, Penguin Books, London.
[xxxix]Reich W (1973); op cit, illustration 4, page 22.
[xl] Reich W (1973a); op cit, chapter IV, The Living Orgonome. This chapter is also reprinted in SelectedWritings.
[xli] Reich W (1973); op cit, pages 60-73.
[xlii] Thompson D W (1997); On Growth and Form, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. This was first published in 1917 and in a revised form in 1942. The edition cited is an abridged version.
[xliii] Bastian H C (1872); The Beginnings of Life, in two volumes, MacMillan, London.
[xliv] ibid, Part III, Heterogenesis.
[xlv] Bastian H C (1903) Studies in Heterogenesis, Williams and Norgate, London.
[xlvi] ibid, pages 307-308.
[xlvii] Jones P (2005); The Heterogenic Origin of Ciliates from a Dying Rotifer, as yet unpublished, text available from C O R E on request.
[xlviii] Bastian H C (1872); op cit, Vol II, Appendix D, On the Variability of the Lower Forms of Living Matter, pages liii-cviii.
[xlix] Purves et al; op cit, pages 555-556.
[l] Wakefield T (2001); Liasons of Life, chapter 6, Rewriting Genesis, Wiley, Chichester.
[li] ibid, page 137.
[lii] Margulis L (1993); Symbiosis in Cell Evolution, Freeman, New York.
[liii] See reference 5.
[liv] Sheldrake R (1985); A New Science of Life, Blond, London.
[lv] For a summary of the reception of Sheldrake’s theories by the conventional scientific community, see Appendix, A1, to the above title,
[lvi] Reich W (1983); op cit, page 334.
[lvii] ibid; pages 313-314.
[lviii] Darwin C (1879); The Descent of Man, page 322, republished as a Penguin Classic (2004), Penguin Books, London.
[lix] The Experimental Life Energy Meter, available from Natural Energy Works, PO Box 1148, Ashland, Oregon 97520, USA. http://www.orgonelab.org/naturalenergy.htm
[lx] Purves et al; op cit, pages 795-799, Photoperiodic Control of Flowering.
[lxi] See C O R E’s booklet A Seed-Germination Experiment with the Orgone Accumulator for instructions on how to make such a small experimental accumulator.
Posted August 9th, 2012. Last revised May 15th, 2017
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