Biography of Famous Sexual Figure Keeper of the Orgone Wilhelm Reich Part 1

About the famous sexual figure Wilhelm Reich aka the Keeper or the Orgone, biography and history of the sex psychiatrist.


Wilhelm Reich, the "mad genius" of sex and psychiatry, alleged self-styled martyr to scientific discovery and imagination, was born on March 24, 1897, in Dobrzcynica, a part of Galicia that was then part of the Austrian empire. Until the 1930s his ideas were held in esteem within academic circles, and although he was a dissident of Freud his theories were eminently respected. Gradually, however, his thought took on more and more original direction until by the time of his death he had been almost completely rejected by the psychiatric profession as an out-and-out schizophrenic.

Reich served in the Austrian Army during W.W.I. In 1922, he received an MD from the University of Vienna. His 1st position was as assistant at the Julius Wagner-Jauregg psychiatric clinic. During 1924-1930 he conducted clinics for industrial workers in Vienna, Berlin, and several German cities. Sometime during this period he joined the Communist party where he also attempted to be a sex counselor. When Hitler came to power, Reich emigrated to Denmark. In Copenhagen he published his Die Massenpsychologie des Faschismus (The Mass Psychology of Fascism, 1933) in which he denounced party-line communism as another form of fascism. This caused him to be expelled from the Communist party.

At the same time he was coming to be viewed with much suspicion by the orthodox psychoanalysts, especially after his book Character Analysis. At the conference of the International Psychoanalytic Association in Lucerne, 1934, he was officially shut out of that academic organization as well. Thus within a period of a few months he had been ejected by both a political and a professional organization. And now the world began closing in on him. So hostile was the Danish environment to him, that he fled to Sweden where he was also treated with suspicion and hostility.

Finally Harald Schjelderup, the Norwegian psychologist, was instrumental in securing him a teaching job at the University of Oslo. Reich worked there from 1934 to 1939. But in 1937, he fell under attack again, this time by the Norwegian press. By 1939 he had made up his mind to move to New York, where he took up psychiatric practice and lectured at the New School for Social Research until 1941.

Undoubtedly, Reich's most intriguing work has to do with the orgasm. In his Function of the Orgasm (1942) he says: "Orgastic potency is the capacity for surrender to the flow of biological energy without inhibition, the capacity for complete discharge of all dammed-up sexual excitation through involuntary pleasurable contractions of the body." This is to be thought of in contrast to mere ejaculative or erective potency. The key words here, one would guess, are "without inhibition."

Freud believed simply that sexual repression lay behind neurosis and carried that a step further by claiming that the actual physiological interruption of sexuality by whatever cause results in a certain neurosis. Moreover, one's entire personality is determined by his sexual characteristics. In this, of course, Reich concurred, but he felt that undischarged sexual energy itself is destructive and poisonous.

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