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This is a new page for the probably few site-visitors who want to go more deeply into orgonomy and study Wilhelm Reich's mature work and how he was able to make so many discoveries in a new field. I have attached below the text of C O R E's booklet on the topic. This should tell enquirers what orgonomic functionalism is and how it works. As usual I apologise for the strange state of the text in places. This is what one.com's software always does with anything that I try to transfer from my hard-drive to a website. I will try to tidy up the mistakes as soon as I can, though there usually remain a few obstinate ones that I cannot get rid of. PS Well, the software has really excelled itself this time, causing endless havoc and confusion. The full text is available as a booklet to anyone who is interested enough to want to find out more about this important part of orgonomy. The software won't let me change the size of the font in some places and has copied some of the footnotes with roman numerals and some with normal arabic ones. I have had to re-type large sections and it is still not right. I will continue with my efforts. Please be patient. The diagram containing Reich's orgonomic function symbol, the one of the front of all his books, has not been copied. You could not achieve that if you wanted to. one.com obviously have a genius programmer in their system. Also, some footnotes that appear at the bottom of the page in the original paper version now appear at the end. If you are alive enough to be interested in orgonomic functionalism, I am sure you will be able to work out to what these 'lost' footnotes refer. The printed booklet is still available, as are all C O R E's booklets. (PS October, 2015. Unfortunately all the one.com peculiarities have been transferred to Pickaweb. I am sorry about this. There is nothing I can do about it, as far as I can see.)
Introduction – What is Orgonomic Functionalism?
This short essay on orgonomic functionalism is a modest attempt to explain to students of orgonomy the exact nature of orgonomic functionalism, an expression which we come across frequently, especially in Reich’s later works, and which may be confusing to newcomers to orgonomy. Once we are familiar with orgonomic concepts we use the expression very often, possibly without realising how strange and apparently meaningless it is to newcomers to the science. Bewildered enquiries from readers of C O R E’s conference programme have recently reminded me how easy it is to do this. At the conference, amongst many other topics, we were going to have a discussion on orgonomic functionalism. Those drawn to Reich’s discoveries of muscular armouring,[i] the orgone energy,[ii] and the orgone accumulator,[iii] for example, are often quite unaware of the thought processes that enabled Reich to make such original contributions to science and how deeply different and extraordinary these thought processes were. He did not just make a few original discoveries but a whole series of massive strides over terrain that classical science either ignores or finds totally baffling. Readers may, therefore, find this booklet a helpful accompaniment to a reading of any of Reich’s major works, but in particular any written after and including The Cancer Biopathy. Of Reich’s own writings on this subject, (which will be a far better introduction than mine), I recommend his original texts, Ether, God and Devil and Cosmic Superimposition,[iv] in which the basic concepts of orgonomic functionalism are discussed and developed in detail. These are published as one volume by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Needless to say, orgonomic functionalism did not spring ready made out of Reich’s forehead and a knowledge of it will enable attentive readers to perceive glimpses of it throughout his life-work, even in his earliest works. His work becomes more explicitly functional as his explorations continue throughout his life. An understanding of orgonomic functionalism will enable the serious student of orgonomy to appreciate Reich’s writings much more deeply and, even more importantly, to think orgonomically and to see connections and opportunities for useful research that would otherwise remain unseen.
What, then, is orgonomic functionalism? Calling it a thought system gives a false impression, as if it were something we can learn from a book. It is a way of thinking about life and the universe that views any occurrence in nature as an energy process. It is not a mere philosophical technique: it is a highly practical work-tool which produces findings which can be tested scientifically. It is the energy processes of nature perceived by the energy processes of the scientific observer undistorted by muscular armouring. Orgonomic functionalism is aware of what the energy involved is actually doing, how it is functioning.[v] We do not mean functioning in the sense of classical science, as a transfer of energy, as in a steam engine or electric motor, but as a natural function of the cosmic orgone energy as discovered by Reich, for example, the discharge of bio-energy and reduction of tension when an amoeba undergoes meiosis or when a more complex organism, say, a human being, experiences the discharge of energy brought about by the orgastic release of bio-energy in the sexual embrace.[vi] These are two examples of what Reich first called the tension-charge formula, then the orgasm formula of mechanical tension → bio-energetic charge → bio-energetic discharge → relaxation, and eventually the life formula.[vii]
Lest readers think that orgonomic functionalism applies only to the world of the living, we can just as easily cite examples from non-living nature,[viii]and [ix] the lumination of the earth’s atmospheric orgone energy envelope or the pulsation of the atmospheric orgone that can be observed in certain conditions during daylight and more easily at night as the twinkle of stars or terrestrial lights.*
We have already in our short essay come across the common functioning principle,[x] an understanding of which is the major tool of orgonomic functionalism. It brings together energy processes in nature which the mechanistic scientist sees as totally disparate, with no conceivable connection, because they are bio-chemically different and occur in different systems or different organisms. As Reich points out so lucidly at the end of the chapter Animism, Mysticism and Mechanistics in Ether, God and Devil,[xi] the mechanist can see no connection between the origin of the cancer cell in the human organism and the amoeba from dead grass. Seen functionally the connection is simple and obvious, although we must not in saying that deny Reich his due and forget that it was only his courage, vitality, and openness that allowed him to see, acknowledge, and describe this process for the first time. In the same way, conventional observers will be baffled, if not outraged, by his equation (described in TheCancerBiopathy) of the sexual embrace and breast-feeding.[xii] Both involve superimposition of two highly charged orgonotic systems. As the baby approaches the mother’s nipple will erect spontaneously, if her response is not too inhibited by armouring. This is her reaching out towards the baby. If the baby’s is sufficiently alive, bio-energetically speaking, he will reach out towards the mother and embrace the nipple with his highly excited mouth. This movement out towards the mother is acknowledged even by carers unversed in the bio-energetics of breast-feeding. Midwives will describe such a positive and active response from the baby with the words – ‘this baby jumps on’. Anyone who assists mothers with breast-feeding will recognise this as a very accurate description of the baby’s strong urge towards the mother. If the baby has not absorbed any narcotic medication during birth and the birth has not been too exhausting or traumatising for her she will feel this urge to ‘jump on’ and take the breast immediately after birth. Even in rigid NHS hospitals with armoured policies and practice the importance of this energy charge between mother and baby is implicitly acknowledged. If a baby does not respond to the breast, a common way of encouraging a stronger response is to place her in skin-to-skin contact with the mother. The effect of this is readily explicable bio-energetically. As the infant’s bio-energy responds to the stimulation of the mother’s skin, her orgonotic response to the breast and nipple becomes much stronger and the baby then takes in the nipple more actively and feeds effectively.
Reich was able to see this connection only because of his own bio-energetic vitality and his ability to think and observe functionally. I think we can fairly assume that the actual observation of a baby at the breast inspired this insight and eventual formal functional formulation.
It is wrong to call orgonomic functionalism a thought system: it also reflects the character structure of the person doing the thinking. Yet again, thinking is a very limiting, inaccurate word, because functional ‘thinking’ inevitably involves feeling and sensation. Chapter III of Ether, God and Devil has the orgonomically wonderful title Organ Sensation as a Tool of Natural Research.[xiii] Such a commitment to orgonotic aliveness will strike a conventional scientist as a terrible admission, which puts the functional thinker immediately beyond the pale. The conventional scientist prides himself on his divorce from feeling and sensation, on the objectivity of science. We can use the word mechanistic to describe his mode of thought.[xiv] I shall explain that term, too, as most readers probably have no clear understanding of that either. Scientific thought now is so totally mechanistic and has such a monopoly of our understanding of the world that few people are even aware that there is any other mode of thought. The mechanist believes that the world and life can be explained entirely in terms of the already acknowledged physical and chemical forces of modern science. To the mechanist, therefore, life is nothing but a very complicated string of chemical reactions. The mechanistic scientist needs no other force to explain life.
We need to go into the history of science, particularly biology, to clarify this belief. Until the early nineteenth century there was a strong belief that the chemistry of life was somehow deeply different from that of non-life.[xv] (This distinction still survives in word form in the two classes of chemistry - organic and inorganic.) As far as I know the term functional was not in use at that time. What was in use was the term vitalism. Those who advocated a view of life that assumed it was chemically different from non-life were called vitalists.[xvi] Vitalists explained life with the assumption of some power, force, or drive in nature towards life. The mechanist biologist, especially modern supporters of Darwinian evolution, consider the belief in the existence of such a driving force in nature as utter anathema. No modern academic biologist would dare come out in public as a supporter of this view of life and orgonomic biologists often publish articles under pseudonyms to avoid scientific excommunication, particularly in the USA.
There is no democratic pluralism of thought in modern western science and the newcomer to orgonomy and functional thought needs to know this. Becoming a serious student of orgonomic functionalism puts us outside the realms considered respectable by conventional science. Those who are starting an involvement in orgonomy may be surprised to read this. The backdrop of western scientific attitudes that we all live against and which pervades all discussion, study and research, particularly in the life-sciences and medicine, is so all-pervading that few people are even aware that there are other legitimate points of view.+
This conflict between vitalism and mechanism is referred to briefly in Reich’s introductory survey at the beginning of The Function of the Orgasm.[xvii] Although this book is not specifically functional and the term does not occur in it, the final sections of the book are in fact thoroughly and explicitly functional and the whole text is imbued with a functional approach.* In chapter VII, The Breakthrough into the Biological Realm, Reich assembles what we can now see as the foundations of orgonomic medicine. He there draws together the common functioning principles within the workings of the autonomous nervous system; expansion and contraction, pleasure and anxiety, the parasympathetic and the sympathetic.[xviii]
I shall point out here, before we go into the common functioning principle, the basic orgonomic functions here. Expansion and contraction are the two opposite directions of energy movement within the organism with reference to its core. Expansion is away from the centre towards the periphery and the outer world. Contraction is movement towards the core away from the periphery and the world.[xix] This is the first characteristic that any orgonomic biologist notices when examining a biological process or function. Is the bio-energy moving outwards (expansion) or inwards (contraction)? This statement does not contradict the explanations of classical physiology. It just re-interprets them in terms of energy functions and brings them together as either expansion or contraction. Orgonomic functionalism finds a deeper realm of life – energy functions – that is foreign and invisible to mechanistic biology. This link is not made in textbooks of classical physiology. It is only a further step to realise that many chronic diseases can then be understood simply as chronic overstimulation of one or other side of the ANS, especially the sympathetic side. In the subjective, emotional realm, this equals anxiety.[xx] Amongst scientists and doctors brought up within the all-pervading western tradition it is forbidden to make any connection between physiology and emotions, so Reich’s simple and productive model has gone ignored for decades. Nothing raises the hackles of the mechanist more than a suggestion that physiology is connected with emotion. This orgonomic view of illness and the ANS will probably find some support from the many people who believe without analysing it too closely that all illness ‘is in the mind.’ Even if this intuitive understanding of illness is true, the belief has no explanation for the connecting links between the ‘mind’ and the organs affected They will probably treat the model as a mere metaphor and ignore the great deal of scientific experimentation that supports it. Orgonomic medicine does not at all assume that all illness is ‘in the mind’, but that there are different layers of human functioning, psychological and physiological ones, that reflect identical energy functions and which function in different realms and which we may experience in different realms. In both cases we are talking about bio-energetic functions. This has already brought us to another of Reich’s pioneering concepts – the common functioning principle.[xxi] This is a basic concept vital to a full understanding of orgonomic functionalism and I go into it below in more detail below.
Another characteristic of functional thought is that it is the thought processes of the thinker uninhibited by pathological blockages of bio-energy, in other words, the thought processes that reflect the free movement of orgone energy within the organism. One of Reich’s most profound discoveries was that thought processes are a reflection of armouring patterns (or the lack of them) and that the view of the world of the mechanistic scientist is inevitable and understandable, as is that of the ‘primitive’ animist who sees a ‘spirit’ in every single item in nature. Very few people in our culture are totally free of armouring, so it would appear that some armouring patterns permit one to think more or less functionally while others do not. As Reich pointed out, we all, even orgonomists, have our mechanistic tendencies and need to check our thought and work for mechanistic errors. One of Reich’s ways of confirming an orgonomic finding was that such a finding based on functionally correct assumptions automatically led on to new discoveries and formulations.[xxii] As far as I know, he nowhere stated the converse of this, but it occurs to me as an inevitable corollary – that when we come up against an apparent brick wall in our research we must be caught on an unfounded, mechanistic assumption which has, in fact, no foundation in reality. Alert readers will, I hope, realise here that classical science is all the time coming up against such ‘brick walls.’ They are an accepted part of ordinary science, whereas the striding discoveries made in orgonomy seem to the prejudiced observer to be just too good to be true. It cannot be that easy. Look how hard we are working without solving the problem. How can you be any different?
Another surprising aspect of functional thought and research is that as long as we rely on observation and fact, they speak to us clearly and eventually correct errors of thought that may have crept into our work. Reich recounts this graphically in his bion research in his history of orgonomic functionalism.[xxiii]
The common functioning principle[xxiv] is the cornerstone of orgonomic functionalism. As we have seen above, we do not have to venture far into the realm of orgonomic functionalism before we come across it. It is not a difficult principle to understand, though we can only claim to fully understand it, if we can see new common functioning principles ourselves, as we observe nature and carry out orgonomic experiments and if we make new discoveries while doing so. It can be represented quite clearly on paper as a sort of equation thus;
Movement of orgone energy
(Sorry, there should be some lines here, but the software won't copy them.)
This can also be formulated thus: anxiety ↔ pleasure.
The function common to both pleasure and anxiety within the organism is the movement of bio-energy. This can be portrayed even more graphically if we use Reich’s symbol of orgonomic functionalism, which we see on the cover of many of his books; (Reich's functionalism symbol should sit below the two items below, but has not copied.)
orgone energy in motion
This brings the attentive reader, I hope, to the obvious realisation that orgonomic science in any area works in the opposite direction to mechanistic science, which divides the object of investigation into ever smaller parts and finds out more and more about them, often mentally drawing boundaries round the parts under investigation and resolutely refusing to see what to a functionalist are the most obvious connections. This is the much criticised reductionism of modern science.[xxv] It continually sees life-processes as ‘nothing but’ processes, almost always bio-chemical ones. For example powerful emotions are explained by modern neuro-science as simply bio-chemical or bio-electrical processes.
Orgonomy looks at processes in nature and sees common processes involving orgone energy at work in them. Instead, therefore, of piling up complex and numerous facts about different things in nature, as does mechanistic science, orgonomy sees a small number of basic energy processes at work and so connects things, which to the mechanist have no connection whatever. The examples cited above on page 2 of the meiosis of the amoeba and the genital embrace in humans are a good example of two functions which orgonomically we see as functionally identical, but between which the mechanist would see no connection at all. Yet again, this connectedness is often acknowledged in broad terms, particularly by new age mystics, who say all the time that ‘everything is connected.’ This, however, like the ‘all in the mind’ slogan is only a metaphor and carries no deep understanding of how things are connected. In the orgonomic concept of the common functioning principle we can see identical processes at work in two apparently different and disconnected processes, for example, the growth of bions from a disintegrating blade of grass in water and the growth of cancer cells in devitalised tissue, brought about by the effects of muscular armouring. The common functioning principle at work here, the single bio-energetic process at work in both cases is bionous disintegration.[xxvi]
A common functioning principle does not necessarily need to be a healthy, natural function that we find in nature at large. As Reich points out in his detailed exposition of the history of functional thought reprinted in Orgonomic Functionalism, a common functioning principle may be, for example, muscular armouring or biopathic shrinkage or orgasm anxiety.[xxvii]
It is important to distinguish here between the carefully observed or sensed common functioning principle of orgonomy and the slapdash mystical labelling of things as connected or even identical that we come across which has no further understanding of the apparent connection. This slapdash labelling is rightly seen by classical science as thoroughly vague and worthless and, unfortunately, earns orgonomic functionalism a bad name, as it is usually tarred with the same brush. The slapdash mystical labelling leads to no further understanding or any possible scientific understanding, or possibilities for further investigations or useful experimentation. An orgonomically functional understanding, however, nearly always leads us on to further deeper understanding of what we are studying and further experiments. One of Reich’s tests for the correctness of a functional finding was whether or not it led to further useful findings and formulations.
Closely connected to the above observations is Reich’s (and orgonomists’ in general) use of the expression functional identity and functionally identical.[xxviii] We can say that the origin of bions from disintegrating grass in water and the origin of cancer cells in devitalised tissue in the human organism are functionally identical. Any pair of processes is functionally identical, when the same bio-energetic function or process is taking place within them. We can now see why mechanistic science is so often up against so many brick walls in its research, particularly its research into sickness and health. It understands everything in terms of bio-chemistry and must therefore inevitably see two or more processes that show quite different bio-chemical reactions as completely disparate and unconnected.
This inability to see connections is very clear in the way textbooks of physiology present the autonomic nervous system. Whether a function is innervated by the parasympathetic or sympathetic appears to be completely random and bewildering for the scientific beginner. Once we have an orgonomic understanding of the paired functions of expansion and contraction, pleasure and anxiety, we can even guess correctly which side of the ANS a physiological effect belongs to by observing its part in the functioning of the organism as a whole. Note here that expansion and contraction refer to the general direction of movement, not simply whether smooth muscle is contracting or not during a process, such as urination, when the smooth detrusor muscles of the bladder contract. As Reich points out in his schema in chapter VII of The Function,[xxix] this is an opening, relaxing, out- towards-the-world process, the opposite of a holding in or contracting. (It is worth pointing out here for the beginner in orgonomy and orgonomic medicine how important and frequent a part smooth muscle plays in the function of orgonotic pulsation, one example of which is the repeated filling and emptying of the bladder, which continues all the time in a state of health.)
a) The Orgasm Formula and Orgonotic Pulsation
c) Attraction (and Attraction and Repulsion)
a) The Orgasm Formula and Orgonotic Pulsation
Reich had worked out the orgasm formula even before he had discovered the existence of the orgone.[xxxv] At that stage in his work he was using the expression bio-energy. The formula itself needed no modifying once he had discovered the orgone and made a much more concrete foundation for his developing new science of orgonomy. The orgasm formula follows a four-beat cycle of mechanical tension → bio-energetic charge → bio-energetic discharge → mechanical relaxation. As Reich‘s work advanced he came to realise that this formula was the biological life formula itself and so modified the name. He eventually called it the life-formula.[xxxvi] This reflects the developing breadth and depth of his work and is also yet another example of the common functioning principle. It also appears to include within itself other orgonomic functions, for example lumination and attraction. See below (d) for more on this.
This function is proposed in some detail in Cosmic Superimposition,[xxxvii] both in the animate realm and the inanimate, for example in the formation of hurricanes, galaxies, and matter itself. It provides the basis for a new, orgonomic cosmology, astronomy, and meteorology. It gives us yet another example of functional identity and the common functioning principle. The biological drive towards superimposition, so familiar in the mating instinct, also occurs on the cosmic level in the formation of galaxies. Notice here how a commonly held belief amongst mystics – that there is a fundamental unity throughout the cosmos and all living beings – acquires an orgonomic explanation without in any way destroying the awareness. Unarmoured children also show the same awareness of this basic unity of life and cosmos. Orgonomy explains it without explaining it away, in the way that mechanistic science explains away so much intuitive awareness of life.
c) Attraction (and Attraction and Repulsion)
Orgone energy appears to have an attraction for itself so that any orgone system or accumulation is attracted to another orgone system.[xxxviii] This functions in both animate and inanimate nature. Thus animal organisms are mutually attracted in the sexual instinct and a highly charged cloud attracts more orgone energy to itself. One of the laws of this attraction, inevitable, if we consider the function of attraction, is that orgone energy functions in the opposite direction to other forms of energy, as observed in classical physics.[xxxix] This contradicts the laws of conventional physics, which states that if we connect two objects or systems with differing energy charges, for example a hot and a cold lump of a metal, the temperatures in the two will eventually equalise. There is therefore an inevitable direction of flow ‘downhill’ from the high to the low. (The well-known third law of thermo-dynamics, which explains the entropy in the universe.) In certain conditions this attraction turns rapidly into repulsion in an endless dance of towards and away from a material or organism.[xl] We see this in the behaviour of orgone energy in relationship to iron, where it is attracted and repelled again immediately.[xli] In good conditions it is possible to observe this. We can see the orgone particles dancing around a railway line in bright, expansive weather. Bions appear to follow the same pattern. If we observe a bion culture under the microscope we can see pairs of bions apparently linked by some invisible tie, presumably an energy attraction, dancing round each other in an endless to and fro as they cavort around each other in the fluid.[xlii] Such movement is written off as Brownian motion, incidentally, though if we observe it carefully over a longer period, it is obviously nothing of the sort.
This mutual attraction between orgone energy systems and the reverse potential law presumably has a connection with gravity. Reich’s later work on gravity was lost with his papers in prison. It is not usually mentioned in physics textbooks, but gravity follows the same law. Reich comments in one of his published diaries that Newton had discovered that gravity worked. He, Reich had discovered how it worked.[xliii]
A corollary of this function which has occurred to me while reflecting on the orgonomic understanding of health and the effects of armouring is that there must be differing levels of normal orgonotic excitation throughout the organism and that physiology uses these and the resultant forces of attraction to transport substances around the organism. Armouring will presumably disrupt this pattern of normal energy charges and affect this healthy movement. An obvious example that occurs to me is the phenomenon of persistent anaemia in some people, regardless of how much iron-containing food or medication they ingest. Since orgone energy and iron are mutually attracted, this deficit, we may conclude, may be brought about by an undercharging of the red blood cells. There is anecdotal evidence amongst medical orgonomists that haemoglobin levels can be improved by treatment in the orgone accumulator.[xliv] It would be a relatively cheap and simple experiment to check this evidence using the accumulator and a control group who did not use it.
Lumination is the expansion and increase in energy charge of an organism under certain conditions, for example in a fever,[xlv] in a state of high sexual excitation, or when threatened by some external force (anger). At first sight it would seem that lumination depends on the presence of another organism for mutual excitation to bring about lumination but this is not always so. A healthy organism luminates in response to infection, as described by Reich in The CancerBiopathy.[xlvi] Relatively unarmoured women appear to luminate in labour, too. Many of these orgonotic functions are, of course rarely seen in our culture, because most people are armoured too much for them to occur.
It may seem a truism but… the most obvious function of orgone energy is movement. This confirms the intuitive awareness that most people, especially small children have, that if something moves of its own accord it is alive. This is not absolutely true in all circumstances. Brownian motion is the obvious exception and we get other movement as we move down the scale of size in nature to electrons and similar very small particles. This is irrelevant to the function of movement in the orgone. Orgone energy outside the realm of the living is also in endless movement.[xlvii] We can see this at the level of single orgone particles that we observe in the atmosphere or inside an orgone accumulator or orgone dark-room[xlviii] and in the growth of clouds and the endless mobility of weather patterns.[xlix] It is also noticeable that the rigid authoritarian who has suppressed all their own spontaneous movement by armouring themselves continually strives to suppress the natural movement of the unarmoured child and that school, in order to enforce its discipline, above all trains young children to sit still. No small child sits still for long. All authoritarians recognise spontaneous, joyful movement as inimical to their cause of life-denial.
Readers perusing these brief summaries may have noticed how connected they all are and how easily one function moves into and becomes another. For example it is very likely that unarmoured partners luminate in a state of high bio-energetic excitation before they merge sexually. Reich in fact paired lumination and attraction as a functionally identical pair in his writings on the history of orgonomic functionalism.[l] The common functioning principle in this case is orgonotic excitation, even excitation outside the organism and in the atmosphere. He devised a fairly simple experiment to demonstrate that the gravitational attraction of the earth increases as its energy field luminates.[li] The lumination will be preceded, by mutual attraction. In mechanical or commercial sex we can assume that this mutual excitation does not occur and that the level of energy charge and discharge in any orgasm occurring is relatively low, thus producing the leaden and disillusioning sexual boredom that is so characteristic of many cynical and bio-energetically deadened people.
There are few texts on orgonomic functionalism. The obvious works to read, especially for the beginner, are Reich’s two works specifically devoted to orgonomic functionalism – Ether, God and Devil and Cosmic Superimposition, first published in 1949 and 1951 respectively. These were republished as a single volume in 1973 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and, thankfully, have been recently re-published in that format.[lii] This is by far the most important text on orgonomic functionalism and should be the foundation of any serious study. These texts are not easy to find in the British library system, though doubtless they will be obtainable via the British Library’s inter-library loan system. It can take a long time to obtain a book in that way. Three important chapters from these two texts also appear in the section on orgonomic functionalism in Selected Writings,[liii] which is probably more easily found in local libraries. This volume is at the time of writing also available and may be a more economic purchase for a young student with limited funds, as it contains many other important extracts from Reich’s books. These three chapters, Animism, Mysticism and Mechanistics, Cosmic Superimposition, and The Living Orgonome, comprise nearly 80 pages and are a significant part of the whole. Together they make an excellent introduction to orgonomic functionalism. The only recent text devoted to orgonomic functionalism, as far as I know, is Before the Beginning of Time[liv] by Jacob Meyerowitz. This is rather theoretical in approach and lacks the vigorous mental bite that all of Reich’s books have. Meyerowitz is not a therapist and so his work is not grounded in clinical experience in the way that Reich’s is. This text is still worth reading, if you wish to broaden your grasp of orgonomic functionalism. It contains many examples of worked out functional equations and common functioning principles. If you find the basic principle of orgonomic functionalism difficult to grasp from this brief exposition, reading through a large number of examples may help you to develop a feeling for functionalism.
Once you have grasped the basic principles of orgonomic functionalism you will see the functional aspects of any orgonomic work. An orgonomic research worker may write an article about cloudbusting or childbirth, for example, without mentioning orgonomic functionalism, but almost certainly the approach in such work will be functional. The writer will have used orgonomic functionalism as a work-tool to make connections that a mechanistic researcher would not see or allow himself to make. It will be good practice for the beginner to peruse such orgonomic writings and see if they can locate any specifically functional assumptions or discoveries.
The journal OrgonomicFunctionalism,[lv] published irregularly by the Wilhelm Reich Museum, consists only of reprints of Reich’s own writings, many of them rare and intellectually and scientifically priceless writings that have been unavailable for years. The first four issues contain a series The Developmental History of Orgonomic Functionalism[lvi], in which Reich recounts the development of his mode of thinking and experimenting in some detail. Issues 5 and 6 contain further articles with a different title but which appear to be a continuation on Orgonomic Functionalismin Non-Living Nature.[lvii] This journal is a vital contribution to orgonomic knowledge and literature. C O R E possesses a full set and serious students are welcome to come and study them by arrangement.
If you are already interested in orgonomic functionalism it is very likely that you already know something of orgonomy in general. It is not usually a part of orgonomy that jumps off the page at the beginning student of orgonomy. Most students that I have met at first become interested in the psychological or socio-political side of orgonomy. To use and work within orgonomic functionalism you certainly need a wide general knowledge of orgonomy and at least some experience of your own orgone energy in motion. Before you have got very far in your studies you will come up against the depressing fact of the inevitable dearth of teaching resources in this country. This is particularly true of the UK and I imagine is also true of many other countries, especially those of the former communist bloc. C O R E has for some time now been trying to establish a course in basic orgone therapeutics which included a component on orgonomic functionalism and which in general should form a good foundation for anyone wishing to work in the field. Alas, serious interest in this country is at such a low level that we have not been able to start the course yet. We still hope to do so. Our network of interested students is building up and so this possibility may not be too far off now. In the meantime you will be out on your own and just have to do the best you can with the bare resources available at present.
We run day workshops on various aspects of orgonomy and these do attract some interest. It would be quite possible to run a day on orgonomic functionalism if there is enough interest. Please contact C O R E and register your interest, if you wish to be informed when we organise such a workshop.
* For more information on the observation of the atmospheric orgone energy, see C O R E’s booklet Observing the Atmospheric Orgone Energy.
+ For a good discussion of this question see Forbidden Science by Richard Milton.
* Reich’s clear and precise formulation of orgonomic functionalism comes relatively late in his writings and was the result of his questioning his own thought processes. He wondered what it was in his own work and thought that had allowed him to make discoveries that most other scientific workers had been unable to make. It is clear that he was in fact working functionally all the time, right from the beginning of his life-work, but at first in a less articulate and worked out way.
* T˚ = the temperature within a small orgone accumulator: T = the temperature inside a control container similarly constructed but with no steel layers and therefore no accumulating capacity. In dull weather with low atmospheric energy levels there is little or no temperature difference. In good conditions with a highly charged atmosphere there is a difference of a few tenths of a degree Celsius.
1 Reich W (1983); The Function of the Orgasm, chapter VII, 1, Muscular Attitude and Bodily Expression
2 Reich W (1973a); The Cancer Biopathy, chapter III, The Actual Discovery of Orgone Energy, FSG.
3 DeMeo J (1999); The Orgone Accumulator Handbook, Natural Energy Works, Greensprings, Oregon.
[iv] Reich W (1973); Ether, God and Devil and Cosmic Superimposition, published as one volume, FSG.
[v] Reich W (1973b); Ether, God and Devil, chapter I, The Workshop of Orgonomic Functionalism, FSG.
[vi] Reich W (1983); op cit, chapter VII, 5, The Orgasm Formula: Tension → Charge → Discharge → Relaxation
[vii] Reich W (1973a); op cit, page 226.
[viii] Reich W (1994, 1996); Orgonomic Functionalism in Non-Living Nature, Parts One and Two, Orgonomic Functionalism, Vols 5 and 6, Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund, Rangeley, Maine.
[ix] Reich W (1973b); op cit, chapter VI, 2, Movement.
[x] Ibid, pages 103-104, also published as an extract in Selected Writings, (2000), pages 302-304, Welcome Rain Publishers, New York.
11 Reich W (1973b); op cit chapter IV, Animism, Mysticism and Mechanistics, also printed in Selected Writings.
[xii] Reich W (1973a); op cit, page 383.
[xiii] Reich W (1973b); op cit, chapter III, Organ Sensation as a Tool of Natural Research.
[xiv] Ibid, chapter IV, Animism, Mysticism and Mechanistics,
15 Nordenskiöld E (1946); The History of Biology, pages 406-407, Development of Organic Chemistry, Tudor Publishing, New York.
16 Thain M, Hickman M (1954); Penguin Dictionary of Biology, page 654, Vitalism, Penguin Books, London.
[xvii] Reich W (1983); op cit, pages 22-24.
18 Ibid, chapter VII, 6. Pleasure (Expansion) and Anxiety (Contraction): Primary Antithesis of Vegetative Life.
20 Ibid, chapter VIII, 6. Typical Psychosomatic Diseases: Results of Chronic Sympatheticotonia.
[xxi] Reich W (1973b); op cit, page 103.
[xxii] Ibid, page 113.
[xxiii] Reich W (1992); pages 14-15, Orgonomic Functionalism, volume 4, Wilhelm Reich Trust Fund, Rangeley, Maine.
[xxiv] Reich W (1973b); op cit, page 103.
24 Bynum W F et al (eds) (1983); MacMillan Dictionary of the History of Science,entries man-machine and reductionism. MacMillan, London.
25 Ibid, page 104, and also Reich W (1973a); pages 237-245, The Development of Protozoa in Grass-Infusions: The Key to the Understanding of Cancer.
26 Reich W (1990); The Developmental History of Orgonomic Functionalism, in Orgonomic Functionalism, pages 1-29, Vol 1, Spring 1990, Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund, Rangeley, Maine.
[xxviii] Reich W (1973b); op cit, chapter IV.
28 Reich W (1983); op cit, chapter VII, 6, Pleasure (Expansion) and Anxiety (Contraction): Primary Antithesis of Vegetative Life.
[xxx] Reich W (1990); op cit.
30 Reich W (1996); Orgonomic Functionalism in Non-Living Nature: Lumination and Attraction, in Orgonomic Functionalism, Vol 6, 1996.
[xxxiii] Ibid, pages 9 – 17.
33 Reich W (1973a); op cit, chapter IV, 3, Enclosing the Radiation and Making It Objectively Visible.
[xxxv] Reich W (1983); op cit, page 275.
[xxxvi] Reich W (1973a); op cit, page 5.
[xxxvii] See reference 4.
38 Reich W (1973b); op cit, chapter IV, The Living Orgonome, and chapter V, Superimposition in Galactic Systems,
39 Illingworth V, (ed) (1991); Penguin Dictionary of Physics, thermodynamics, pages 483-484, Penguin Books, London.
[xl] Reich W (1973a); op cit, chapter IV, 4, The Orgone Accumulator.
[xlii] Ibid, page 59.
[xliii] Reich W (1999); American Odyssey, page 246, FSG.
44 Reich W (1999); American Odyssey, page 247, and personal communications from medical orgonomists.
45 Reich W (1973a); op cit, chapter VIII, 1, Orgonotic Cell Lumination: The Effect of the Orgone Accumulator and the Therapeutic factor.
[xlvii] Reich W (1973b); op cit, chapter VI, 2, Movement.
[xlviii] Reich W (1973a); op cit, chapter IV, 3, Enclosing the Radiation and Making It Objectively Visible.
49 Reich W (2000); The Principles of Cloudbusting, pages 441-447, in Selected Writings, Welcome Rain Publishing, New York.
56 Reich W (1996); Orgonomic Functionalism in Non-Living Nature: Lumination and Attraction, in Orgonomic Functionalism, Volume 6.
[li] Reich W (1996); Orgonomic Functionalism, Volume 6, page 2.
[lii] See reference 4.
[liii] Reich W (2000); Selected Writings, V, Orgonomic Functionalism, pages 279-356, Welcome Rain Publishers, New York.
[liv] Meyerowitz J (1994); Before the Beginning of Time, rRp Publishers, Easton, Pennsylvania.
[lv] Orgonomic Functionalism; published irregularly by the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund, Orgonon, PO Box 687, Rangeley, Maine.
56 Reich W (1990-1996); The Developmental History of Orgonomic Functionalism in Orgonomic Functionalism, Volumes 1-4, 1990-1992, Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund, Rangeley, Maine.
[lvii] Reich W (1994 and 1996); Orgonomic Functionalism in Non-Living Nature, Parts One
and Two, in Orgonomic Functionalism, Volumes 5 and 6, Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust, Rangeley, Maine.
FSG = Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York
Posted October 7th, 2012, last revised August 5th, 2016.