reviews of neither left nor right
"Spot on. Insightful, brilliantly researched and written, a book that anyone who loves this nation needs to read."
-former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft
"A book that all Americans worried about the fate of this nation should read before it is too late."
-Dennis Miller
"A must read for all who value freedom."
-Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America
reviews of neither left nor right
"Spot on. Insightful, brilliantly researched and written, a book that anyone who loves this nation needs to read."
-former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft
"A book that all Americans worried about the fate of this nation should read before it is too late."
-Dennis Miller
"A must read for all who value freedom."
-Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America

Why is Trump Viciously Hated by the Far Left?

When Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in 2016, her supporters on the left were in a state of emotional shock and disbelief. With eight years of the Obama administration behind them, their timetable of what they had planned for America’s future was almost a reality and now that illusion was shattered, at least temporarily. They soon recovered their senses, reorganized and directed their attacks on Donald Trump for what he stands for, a strong authority that wants to protect America from the anti-authoritarian left’s progressively destructive agenda.
Are All People on the political left anti-authoritarian?
No. People to the left of the political center are true liberals. In distinction to the pseudo-liberal/communists who are farther to the left, the true liberal stands for individual authority, has physical aggression at his disposal and is pro-American. However, because of less contact with his biological core the true liberal is blinded to the destructiveness of those who are on the extreme left and becomes their handmaidens. True liberals are Lenin’s “useful idiots”.This distinction between the true liberal and the pseudo-liberal/communist requires an understanding of socio-political characterology necessary if any sense is to be made of social processes and political events.

23 Comments

  1. Regarding true liberals: I see your point about true liberals supposedly having less contact with their core (than conservatives) and therefore they don’t recognize the destructiveness of the pseudo-liberal. But I wonder if, actually I assume that, this is true about neurotic, armored true liberals, not all true liberals! If orgonomists claim that the true liberal and conservative are both natural biological types, than how can all true liberals be armored? The reason I ask that question is I have the impression that when conservatives and liberals are claimed to be biological types, what is being described are not armored conditions, but natural ones. For example, it has been said that there are “liberal and conservative amoebas.” I assume that what is being described is not two forms of armored amoebas, but rather, natural unarmored types. It is said that liberal organisms have a stronger spinning wave function than pulsation function, and based on that it is said that since the spinning wave function is more peripheral to the organism, that kind of organism is not as in contact with the core as a conservative organism, where the pulsation function is stronger than the spinning wave function. And perhaps it could be said therefore that the conservative is not as in contact with the periphery somehow, whatever that would mean or imply. But these seem to me to be lopsided views of nature. Wouldn’t we expect that an unarmored liberal or conservative might have a stronger spinning wave or pulsation function without that stronger function somehow overshadowing or being used as a defense against the other function?

    So are true liberals Lenin’s “useful idiots”? Or does that only apply to armored true liberals; just as presumably armored conservatives were Hitler’s “useful idiots.” Somehow it doesn’t seem correct to me that nature would play favorites, that nature would prefer the conservative to the liberal or vice versa. I suspect that the view of all liberals as being somehow less in contact with their core than conservatives is an armored conservative view, rather than an unarmored conservative view; just as the view of armored liberals that all conservatives are out of contact is a prejudicial, distorted view arising from the hatred that an armored organism feels for its contrasting type. It is said that under healthy conditions (actually it is said “in a authoritarian society,” which seems to be implied as being more healthy) liberal and conservative are in a state of attractive opposition, and that in an anti-authoritarian society, liberal and conservative are in a relation of antagonistic opposition. So liberal and conservative are not always adversaries. They are apparently paired functions. I’m not sure what the CFP of that paired function is. Perhaps it is simply: “biophysical political type.” But the fact that liberal and conservative can either be in an antagonistic relation or an attractive relation seems to me to demonstrate that they are not necessarily natural enemies, at least not in a destructive sense. I would assume that end in an unarmored (not an authoritarian–which is by definition armored) society, both types could work in concert with each other for their mutual benefit.

    Regarding the use of the term “anti-authoritarian”: is the destructive agenda of the armored, pseudo-liberal left anti-authoritarian? It seems to me to be quite the opposite: it seems quite authoritarian, much much more authoritarian that Trump is, if he even is authoritarian! I’m not sure that authoritarianism is the dimension that distinguishes right from left! One piece of evidence that the right is not necessarily more authoritarian then the left is that libertarians, who are definitely anti-authoritarian in the literal, concrete sense, have much more in common with conservatives then they do with pseudo-liberals. Perhaps if we were living in an age where true liberalism was much more prevalent, libertarians would find themselves more allied with these true liberals than with conservatives. That would actually seem to me to be a much more natural alliance. I think the current libertarian alliance with conservatives exists only because of the current predominance of the authoritarian pseudo-liberal left over true liberalism. The “classical” or “19th century” liberal was pro free market, for example. And historically, true or classical liberalism was a movement concurrent with the rise of the bourgeoisie in the spread of free market capitalism, which was not necessarily something that the conservative of the 19th in previous centuries was in favor of. So historically speaking, who is more pro-freedom: liberals or conservatives? It really depends on the age one is living in. There have been times in history where liberalism represented the healthier, more natural impulse; and there have been other historical periods where conservatism represented the more natural, healthy impulse. They are two aspects of nature, and as I have said, I don’t think nature plays favorites or manifests in an asymmetrical, lopsided fashion where one side of the yin-yang is healthier than the other.

    Authoritarianism is not healthy! It is an armored social phenomenon! Healthy organisms do not organize themselves in an authoritarian fashion!

    • The questions that you raise can be brought up, when appropriate, in the SociaL Orgonomy seminars conducted by the American College of Orgonomy.

    • Dr. Holbrook makes very good points here.

      I would like to add that in psychoanalytic theory the id has both aggressive and affectionate impulses (Freud, New Introductory Lectures, p. 120) and the social instincts (i.e. ego and object drives) are based on a binary of egoism and altruism (Freud, Totem and Taboo p. 73; Introductory Lectures p. 148).

      The altruistic liberal who emphasizes helping others with social safety nets is a valid approach, just as the egoistic conservative who emphasizes competition is a valid approach.

      Some altruists can have problems with aggression and become echoists who are people pleasers, self-effacing, have problems with saying no, avoid conflict, and are submissive with authority.

      Some egoists can have problems with affection and become narcissists who are selfish (lack empathy), compulsive workaholics, who have problems with acknowledging feelings, look to create conflict, and are defiant with authority.

      There are many variations of character pathology and armoring on both sides. Additionally, both sides can have characterological deficits (i.e. not just defensive armoring). For example, the egoist can fail to traverse the father complex and not form a true guilt conscience or social feeling in which he feels equal to peers or siblings under an authority figure (Freud, The Ego and the Id p. 37). The altruist can also fail to traverse the father complex and develop a sense of guilt regarding remaining loyal to his own desires and drive for recognition, in parallel.

      Work-democracy can only be understood from an appreciation of both sides

    • I see a dialectic that begins with the universality of Marxism and capitalism and that references a psychoanalytic model of activity-passivity, egoism-altruism, narcissism-echoism, power-belonging, etc.

      In step 1 you have the early socialists who wanted to make a society based on altruism in which everyone works for the common good. However, this view was based on the idealization of others and was in denial about the racism, egoism, and competitiveness of others. Countries like the USSR who tried to set this up saw a return of these denied parts and these systems moved from socialism to totalitarianism with egoists, like Stalin, taking over positions of power and creating atrocities.

      On the other side you have the egoists who were racists and the great example is Nazism. They idealized themselves and denied what was bad in themselves and scapegoated the Jews. Racism at this stage was that the marginalized group or groups were fundamentally different and weren’t allowed to have the same rights as others. This led to atrocities and there was the return of altruism in the allies who rallied together to defeat them and established the UN. Additionally, nazism becomes the shared term of unacceptable evil for most nations brings cultures together.

      In step 2, you have the left saying that the marginalized groups are fundamentally different than the main group and have the acceptance of capitalism. It’s like the previous denial of racism and egoism in step 1 became an introjection of the moral inferiority of the racists. As in melancholia in which the abandoning aggressor is introjected and the hate for him or her becomes a self-attack, the leftists now begin to self-attack that they might be unconscious racists. Some on the left say that race is fundamental and that universalism can never happen because we can never understand what marginalized groups had to go through and along with the constant micro-aggressions the dominant group will make, the marginalized groups will always have to return to themselves in order to have true belonging. The political goal can only be having equal representation of every group even though it might keep the class system of opportunity and wealth inequality intact.

      On the side of the egoists, in step 2 you have the basic acceptance of the marginalized groups. They aren’t seen as fundamentally different and don’t have their right threatened, except as a backsliding to step 1 when they are invoked as evil and fundamentally different. Instead they are seen as viable competitors and the projections that they receive are based upon cheating in the capitalist game. For example, Mexicans aren’t seen as ‘all bad’ like the Jews were, but instead they are seen as sending us “their worst, their criminals” and screwing us on trade deals. Now we know that there isn’t good evidence for this, just like there isn’t good evidence for voter fraud, but the right-wing news focusses on all the exceptional stories to play into this projection. We know it’s a projection because as much as capitalists like Trump talk about love of America we know that they employ foreign workers, buy Chinese steel, try to get out of paying taxes, and “cheat” themselves. Additionally, instead of the previous trust in governmental authority we now see

      Again, in step 2, the position that other groups are fundamentally different belongs to the left where it was with the right in step 1.

      When the right-wing machine researches memes and comes up with “all lives matter” as the chant against “black lives matter” it is reprehensible in so far as it is used to motivate the base to enact agendas that are really about tax cuts for the rich, as we have all just seen. However, so far as it is a true universalism and we all band together to oust racists as well as sadists and power-trippers from positions of power, it is a just position.

      I’d like to add that in step 2 both left and right accuse each other of being in step 1. The right bandies socialism about all the time and many talk about “cultural marxism” while the left will call people on the right Nazis even though there is a discernible difference between racism in step 1 and 2.

      For me step 3 is a meritocracy that overcomes class by abolishing inheritance. Class conflict is based on inheritance and passing on money and opportunity to children who have not earned it and then influencing politics so one gets to enjoy unearned wealth and privilege, and even stands to increase it through giving it to stockbrokers and non-productive investments. In contrast, children who have done nothing to deserve it, have to drop out of high school to help their families, have to focus on protecting themselves and families because of growing up in dangerous neighborhoods, and deal with trauma passed on from both racial and lower class conditions. This is fundamentally unfair and a true meritocracy would address this and give these children a chance to realize their potential.

      To be clear, meritocracy means that people can have less or more than others based upon their work, but as long as this isn’t passed on to further generations then it isn’t class conflict.

      The altruists find some egoism in themselves to compete and the egoists finds the altruism in themselves to recognize the unequal starting point and remedy it- both saying that all lives matter and all people have equal opportunity.

      • Replying to TCP: thank you for your comment on my comment, but I wish to make it clear that the point of view that you describe is much different from what I articulated. When I refer to the true liberal, I am not referring, for example, to someone who would approve of your “meritocracy” system, where a person’s wealth would be confiscated at the end of their life. I would say your proposal lies somewhere on the spectrum between socialism and communism. The true liberal, as described by Ellsworth Baker in his book Man In The Trap, would not consent to such a system. Also, the general framework you describe is a psychoanalytic one rather than an orgonomic one, and I feel that the differences between the two frameworks are quite radical.

        • I would add also that in today’s political climate, the true liberal would be perceived as a moderately right-wing conservative. I would say that most of the current Republicans in Congress are quite probably to the left of the true liberal.

        • Hi Dr. Holbrook. Would you say that Reich’s concept of work-democracy would be better conceptualized by a different guiding principle than merit determining one’s place in competency hierarchies? If so, what is that principle?

          If we are no longer in an authoritarian culture (as Dr. Konia likes to lament) and the social fabric has changed a good deal, how is it valuable to be talking about the liberal from Baker’s day? It’s comparable to evaluating someone’s wealth against the wealth of others in the past without factoring in inflation. Technology has changed how people interact and Americans are no longer embedded in faith-based groups like they were.

          As far as Baker’s liberal not being willing to consent to a system in which he can’t pass all his wealth on to his children, I would say that for the 80% of Americans who own 7% of the wealth in this country do not seem to have much to lose (The bottom 50% of families have a 11,000 net worth!). Please look at the tax system and wealth inequality at the time of Baker and Reich, Dr. Holbrook, and tell me if the true liberal of that time faced the same class conditions that he faces now.

          Why would wealth be confiscated at the end of someone’s life? If money existed then the rich would find a way to funnel it to their kids and therefore keep the class based society going that interferes with meritocracy. A person’s job position would be tied to a certain type of housing structure and access to different recreational options and upon leaving the job, these things would change. As far as personal possessions go, it would be ridiculous to think someone would want to confiscate someone’s clothes, his grandfather’s rifle, or something of that nature.

          I admire Freud a great deal and think that his model of personality is more complex and subtle than any other model I have found. I also admire Reich a great deal, but that is because they earned my respect and not because I have swallowed their ideology and wave their flag. It’s not valuable to say that the orgonomic model is different, but it would be valuable for you to argue for why it is better.

          • Dear TCP,

            Before responding to the main content of your most recent post, I would like to comment on a few elements of what you wrote that I think distract from the discussion and are unnecessarily and unjustifiably antagonistic.

            I’m not sure why you think it necessary to comment that you admire Freud and Reich, “but that is because they earned” your “respect and not because” you “have swallowed their ideology and wave their flag.” Apparently you are congratulating yourself for not falling into the ideology/flag trap, while accusing others of having done so. Can you clarify who you are talking about and what is your basis for coming to that conclusion?

            For some reason you also feel it necessary and logical to declare that “It’s not valuable to say that the orgonomic model is different…”. You then instruct me that “it would be valuable” for me “to argue for why it is better.”

            Why all the animus?

            You also choose not to identify yourself my name, using only a set of letters, while at the same time you apparently know who I am, because you identify me as “Dr. Holbrook” even though I had never identified myself as a doctor in my initial comments. So I’m not sure who I am talking to.

            Now to proceed to discuss some of the knowledge content of your comments rather than your style. You say that you think Freud’s “model of personality is more complex and subtle than any other model” you have found. Apparently one of the things you are asking me to explain rather than just assert is why I might prefer an orgonomic model to a Freudian one. The simple answer is that I prefer the orgonomic model because it describes why genital love forms the basis for individual and ultimately societal health; and unlike Freud, who because of his models of love, sexuality, and aggression believed that a genitally-organized society was impossible (see for example Civilization And Its Discontents) Reich concluded that genitality was an obtainable and necessary goal both on the individual and societal level.

            You ask whether I would “say that Reich’s concept of work-democracy would be better conceptualized by a different guiding principle than merit determining one’s place in competency hierarchies? If so, what is that principle?”

            I think you are not understanding Reich’s concept of work democracy. Reich defined work democracy this way:

            “Work-democracy is defined as the natural and intrinsically rational work relationships between human beings. The concept of work-democracy represents the reality (not the ideology) of these relationships, which, though usually distorted because of the prevalent biological armoring and irrational ideologies, are nevertheless at the basis of all social achievement.” [Reich, W. 1931/1951. The Invasion of Compulsory Sex-Morality. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, footnote [1951], Pages 78-79, italics in original.]

            So: Reich is talking about the “work relationships between human beings,” but he is not conceptualizing these work relationships in an economistic or even political manner. He distinguishes “social” from “political” processes:
            “I never believed in the ability of the Socialists and Communists really to solve human emotional problems….I knew well their dry, economistic orientation….I was never duped by politics, but I was slow in distinguishing ‘social’ from ‘political’ processes. I have a high regard for Karl Marx as a 19th-century thinker in economics. Today I deem his theory far surpassed and outdated by the discovery of the cosmic life energy. Of Marx’s teaching, I believe only the living character of human productivity will remain. This is an aspect of his work that is utterly neglected…”. [Reich, W. 1953/1976. People In Trouble: Volume Two of The Emotional Plague of Mankind. Translated by Philip Schmitz. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, page 10.]

            He did not feel that the solution to the core sociological problem of man was an economic one having to do with objecting to “tax cuts for the rich” as you do, or something that would be solved by a system of “meritocracy” where wealth would be confiscated upon a person’s death and redistributed:

            “When I was under the spell of the great socialist movement and worked for years, as a physician, among the underprivileged strata of the people, I fell into the gross error of thinking that ‘The capitalist was responsible for human plight.’ It took the brutal experience of the deteriorating Russian Revolution to free me from this error. They had killed the capitalists, but misery continued to grow; diplomatic intrigues, political maneuvering, spying and informing on others, all of which they had set out to eradicate, were more powerfully at work than ever.” [Reich, W. 1949. Ether, God and Devil. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pages 46-47.]

            “The European freedom movement… between 1918 and 1935….labored under the illusion that authoritarian ideology was equivalent to the life process of the ‘bourgeoisie,’ while freedom reflected the life process of the ‘proletariat’…. authoritarian and progressive ideologies have nothing to do with economic class distinctions. The ideology of a social stratum is not an immediate reflection of its economic condition. The emotional and mystical excitations of the human masses most play at least as large a role in the social process as do purely economic interests. Authoritarian coercion crisscrosses all social strata in all nations, just as do progressive thought and action. There are no class boundaries in character structure…” [Reich, W. 1949/1974
            (Originally written in 1929). The Sexual Revolution: Toward A Self-Regulating Character Structure, 4th Edition. Translated by Therese Pol. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Preface to the third edition, 1945, page xv, italics in original.]

            “…ideology can no longer be regarded as a mere reflection of economic conditions. As soon as an ideology has taken hold of and molded human structure, it becomes a material, social power. There is no socioeconomic process of historical significance which is not anchored in the psychic structure of the masses and activated in the form of mass behavior. There is no “development of production forces per se,” but only a development of and inhibition of the human structure, its feeling and thinking on the basis of economic and social processes. The economic process, i.e., the development of machines, is functionally identical with the process of psychic structure in the men who create it, propel it, inhibit it, and are affected by it. Economy without an active drive structure is unthinkable; conversely, there can be no human feeling, thinking, and acting without an economic foundation and its consequences.” [Ibid., page xxiv, italics in original.]

            The crippled character structure of the masses and their incapacity to take responsibility for their own freedom was what Reich believed stopped the human race from developing a more rational social structure, rather than questions of economics or class:

            “Today the principal social question no longer is: ‘Are you rich or are you poor?’ but: ‘Do you endorse and do you fight to secure the greatest possible freedom for human life?” [Ibid., page xvi.]

            “What is meant here by freedom is the genuine freedom of personal and social development, the freedom from the fear of life, from economic suppression of any kind, from reactionary inhibitions of development; in brief, the free self-determination of life. We should not have any illusions about it: There is at work, in the masses, a reactionary, murderous, development-inhibiting force which brings to ruin again and again all the efforts made by the fighters for freedom. This reactionary for us in the masses expresses itself in a general fear of responsibility and fear of freedom. These are no moral judgments. This fear is deeply rooted in the biological constitution of man of today.” [Reich, W. (1946). The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Third, revised and enlarged edition, translated by Theodore Wolfe. New York: Orgone Institute Press. Pages 283-284, italics in original)

            Reich basically described himself as a liberal, but he was referring more to a kind of psychobiology than a political ideology:

            “…it appears that development, freedom, infinity and indeterminism group together as one set of variations which is paired with the other set, structure, law, finity and determinism. Again, this grouping has nothing whatsoever to do with ideologies. I personally would feel inclined to prefer the first set of variations to the second. The ideologically conservative mind, on the other hand, would prefer the second set.” [Reich, W. October, 1950. Finity and infinity; determinism and freedom, Orgone Energy Bulletin Vol. 2, No. 4, page 175.]

            Although contrasting himself with the conservative, he recognized the tragic limitations of liberal ideology:

            “In the ethical and social ideals of liberalism we recognize the representation of the superficial layer of the character, of self-control and tolerance. The ethics of this liberalism served to keep down ‘the beast’ in man, the second layer, our ‘secondary impulses,’ the Freudian ‘unconscious.’ The natural sociology of the deepest, nuclear layer is alien to the liberal. He deplores the perversion of human character and fights it with ethical norms, but the social catastrophes of the century show the inadequacy of this approach.” [Reich, W. (1946). The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Third, revised and enlarged edition, translated by Theodore Wolfe. New York: Orgone Institute Press. Page viii.]

            “The freedom peddler [i.e., the pseudo-liberal] makes out of matters of truth a bait to lure people into a trap…he believes that he defends the truth if he is righteous. The conservative, who, out of an instinctive knowledge of the great difficulties connected with the pursuit of truth, defends the STATUS QUO in social living, is by far more honest. He has, at least, a chance of remaining decent. THE FREEDOM PEDDLER MUST, IF HE WISHES TO GET ALONG, SELL HIS SOUL OVER TO THE DEVIL.” [Reich 1953, The Murder of Christ, Rangeley, ME: Orgone Institute Press, page 173; emphasis and text within brackets added by me.]

            The truth is, Reich did not envision a political solution to the social problems of mankind:

            “Government by politicians must be replaced by the natural scientific regulation of social processes.” [Reich, W. 1949/1974
            (Originally written in 1929). The Sexual Revolution: Toward A Self-Regulating Character Structure, 4th Edition. Translated by Therese Pol. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
            1945 preface to the third edition, page xix.]

            Reich’s view was that human beings will not be capable of forming a healthy society or discovering a healthy form of sociopolitical functioning until the masses of people are sufficiently free of armoring to be capable of genital love: genitality.

            “Since the core of emotional functioning is the sexual function, the core of political (pragmatic) psychology is sex politics.” [Ibid., page xxiii.]

            “…the nucleus of psychic structure is sexual structure and…the cultural process is essentially a process of sexual needs…”. [Ibid., page xxv.]

            I think these passages make it pretty clear what Reich didn’t believe would solve human misery. The question remains: what would true “work democracy” look like? In practical terms, what form would the “work relationships” in such a society take, in terms of economic structure? Surely there has to be some kind of economic structure to society even if it is a genital society.

            It seems to me that Reich’s language and thinking imply a type of economic system which would require and enable the individual citizen to take responsibility for their own lives, while at the same time providing for freedom of movement and functioning. It seems to me that a classical liberal (not modern, pseudo-liberal) form of democratic capitalism provides the greatest opportunities for people to take responsibility for their own lives and to have the freedom to express their biological energy in a healthy manner.

            As you can see from my familiarity with a broad range of Reich’s political writings, after 40 years of being a fan I do have some grasp of Reich’s sociopolitical concepts. But I still have a lot to learn from his sociopolitical writings, and I have not yet read every chapter and sentence of these writings. This discussion has inspired me to try to read more. I had collected the above favorite passages over the years, but there are still a lot of sections of these books which I have not read and so perhaps it may still be possible to acquire a more thorough understanding of the work democracy concept, which I find to be by far the most difficult concept in all of Reich’s oevre. In trying to prepare to write these concepts, I did note that all of these books mentioned above have an index with “work democracy” listed. I look forward to reading those passages in an attempt to flesh out my understanding of how Reich believed these work relationships would function in a healthy society.

          • One more short comment: you write that “….we are no longer in an authoritarian culture (as Dr. Konia likes to lament)…”. I can understand how you would get the impression that Dr. Konia is lamenting the passing of authoritarian culture, I certainly often feel that his writings might lead someone to that conclusion, but actually I don’t think that he intends to convey that kind of view. The reason I wrote my initial comment is that I think he can be misunderstood, and perhaps isn’t being as clear about these matters as I wish he would be. In my original comments I am drawing some distinctions and trying to clarify some things, but orgonomy is a very radical set of observations about human life, and certainly Reich was no authoritarian, and neither is Konia.

          • Hi Dr. Holbrook
            “Can you clarify who you are talking about and what is your basis for coming to that conclusion?”
            It was in your minimal response. I sketched out basic positions for myself and you only alluded to differences without doing the same.
            “Why all the animus?”
            An uncharitable expectation that you would be more like Dr. Konia than you actually are.

            I linked to my blog, which features my name in a couple areas. It is Trevor
            https://www.amazon.com/Economics-Libido-Bisexuality-Superego-Centrality/dp/1782201777
            I searched your name but know nothing about you and we have never met.

            I don’t think Reich’s model is so unique here, other than his insistence to stay with the part-object reference to the genitals. Many psychoanalysts, including Freud would talk about regression and introversion of the libido to similar effect. There are also others who mention a primary phallic stage (which can go along with primary penis envy) as opposed to the later, classical phallic stage. I agree that Freud was more cynical than Reich, at least until Reich moved to the US, but wouldn’t you agree that the early Reich was idealistic and that the late Reich would admit that Freud had been right about the communism of the early 20th century?

            To say that genitality (i.e. a condition in which everyone could be open, confident, unarmored, comfortable with aggression, and loving… and have healthy orgasms) is obtainable, is no less naïve sounding than a communist saying that humans will have all these traits once the economic conditions change after the state withers away. Obtainable how, obtainable when,…? I agree that the position that economic conditions will change people alone doesn’t take into account individual psychology and is reductionistic but the reason Reich was political is because he saw that individual therapy alone would not reach and transform enough people. How are you proposing we get to a society based on genitality?

            Does a genital society not have any competition? Does a genital society not have any hierarchies in which those who know more or are more skilled are in higher positions in work groups?

            What is the effect of ideology if not the state in which a king’s son gets to become king without his individual merit being taken into account. What is ideology if not the state in which the sons and daughters of the rich get to take over companies without their individual merit being taken into account, or in which they get to pass their unearned money over to wall street speculators to make more money for them? The position I put out is not asking for altruistic self-sacrifice for others, and that everyone deserves the same no matter what they do. The USSR and other socialist regimes failed and deserved to fail. The capitalist who innovates and works hard is not to blame for the human plight. The unchecked greed of speculators and those with unproductive labor that led to recessions did cause misery for many who lost their houses, their retirement savings, and more.

            When Republicans try to polarize their base with pro-life, anti-immigrant, and other sentiments they are tapping into the emotional and mystical armoring of the lower classes, wouldn’t you agree?

            “The crippled character structure of the masses and their incapacity to take responsibility for their own freedom was what Reich believed stopped the human race from developing a more rational social structure, rather than questions of economics or class”

            I agree with this. Again, the question is whether you believe that you will reach everyone with therapy to change this and then re-organize society, or whether you believe that you have to go deeper into ideology to create social change, and that the new society will begin to address the problem of mass armoring in society.

            “It seems to me that Reich’s language and thinking imply a type of economic system which would require and enable the individual citizen to take responsibility for their own lives, while at the same time providing for freedom of movement and functioning.”

            Could you describe how the economic system would enable the individual citizen to exercise their freedom and desire to take responsibility for their own lives and work, and how it is different from our current one, or the one from the 1940s? Can you do so in a way that doesn’t reference economic classes and the fact that many of the lower classes have to deal with crime, broken homes, and many issues that limit them in contrast to upper classes. Of course this isn’t to say that upper class households are not dysfunctional, but as one patient put it, they can “wipe their tears away with the next check from dad.”

            If you are an individualist, as you seem to suggest, then how do you justify the inequality in opportunity that exists? I have not argued for any equality in outcomes, but taken the principle of individual freedom and the ability to compete with others as the starting point of my political discussion. Your idea that a person’s wealth is confiscated upon their death also needs to be put into context. The person whose wealth is “confiscated” is dead, so what injustice is being done to their ghost?

          • Hi Trevor (you can call me “David”),

            Thank you for your respectful response.

            I looked but didn’t see a link to your blog, can you provide it? I’d be interested in taking a look. A friend who is following our conversation provided me with a link to Karnak Books’ page about your book and I read the description and reviews. Congratulations on such an achievement.

            As far as my background, I am an adult and child psychiatrist in private practice since 2002, which is also when I began my formal training affiliation with the American College of Orgonomy. I have not attended a formal psychoanalytic Institute, unless one would regard the American College of Orgonomy’s training program, which includes extensive and ongoing training in Reich’s character analytic technique, as a psychoanalytic training program (I do, although Reich’s method emphasizes process more than content in the therapy work). I did have a year of weekly individual supervision with David Mayer, a psychoanalyst who trained with Margaret Mahler and Edith Jacobson; another year of weekly individual supervision with Donald Spence, a well-known psychoanalyst and author who wrote about narrative truth versus historical truth; and about six years of weekly group supervision with Nancy McWilliams, an internationally-renowned psychoanalyst, teacher, and author of several highly eclectic introductory surveys of psychoanalytic theory that are commonly used in graduate programs of clinical psychology and perhaps psychoanalytic institutes (I’m not sure about the latter). I have also been a voracious reader over the decades and I have read very widely in psychoanalysis in past years, acquainting myself at least superficially with all the major schools of thought, more deeply when it comes to Freud, Klein, Winnicott, Bion (I especially like Freud, Winnicott, and Bion), Bollas (love him, read almost everything he wrote), Stolorow and Orange (their early work), Atwood (love his view of psychosis, an area I could probably say I specialize in), Louis Sass (another brilliant writer on the schizoid condition), Bromberg, Jessica Benjamin, Karen Maroda, and others. In recent years I have settled into more focused. scholarly, repeated explorations of Reich, finding him to be an inexhaustible source of enlightenment.

            I am also a former actor. I noticed that you write psychoanalytic essays about film. I have an IMDb page and you can watch me get shot with two arrows in the trailer for Stephen King’s Creep Show II. Not very high fallutin’ stuff. My father is the actor Hal Holbrook.

            My profile on Psychology Today’s therapist-finding website gives a good and short overview of my orientation in my practice and how I present myself to the world. Since I find that people consistently misunderstand and distort orgonomy, I don’t mention on the site that I am a medical orgonomist, although I don’t hide that in my professional life either.

            Are you familiar with the book, Reich Speaks Of Freud? It’s a transcript of an interview of Reich by Kurt Eissler, who was in charge of the Freud archives at the time. In the interview Reich provides his perspective on the differences between his work and Freud’s.

            Now to try to address some of the questions and points you raise. One thought that struck me as I was rereading our posts is that quite simply, Reich’s concept of work democracy is NOT a political concept! That is precisely what, I think, makes it so difficult to understand. He did not and was not trying to lay out a political or economic theory about how societies should function. He was trying to explore and understand how societies do function. He was actually trying to understand the underlying psychodynamics (he would say something like “biopsychic” functioning) of social life. Not how work relationships should function, but how they actually do function.

            So your discussion of what kind of political or economic system is the best one is probably actually outside of the realm of Reich’s sociological observations and theorizing. I’m not exactly sure how much concrete help Reich provides in such a discussion. We are left to imagine for ourselves what kind of political or economic system might most closely enable Reich’s vision of human life to proceed.

            In Baker’s book Man In The Trap, there is a long chapter on what he identified as sociopolitical character types. To anyone familiar with the neoconservative writings of the 50s and 60s, it is clear that Baker was heavily influenced by that movement (I happen to be very fond of those writings also). Baker was clearly a conservative with a life story perhaps typical for such an orientation: he grew up in a log cabin in Northern Canada (if memory serves the Northwest Territories) 50 miles from the nearest neighbor. I think his father was a trapper, I don’t remember. Baker put himself through college and medical school and also spent time in Vienna getting some formal psychoanalytic training, until he eventually discovered Reich’s work and dedicated himself to it. (I, on the other hand, grew up on the Upper Westside of Manhattan right in the middle of the cultural world of the radical left of the 1960s, which I was strongly influenced by at the time.)

            I would say that one cannot truly understand Reich’s sociological orientation without a deep understanding of his theory of genitality, since his sociological theory is an outgrowth of his observations on the importance of the capacity for genital love. (For a look at his earliest writings on the subject, I recommend his book Genitality In The Theory And Therapy Of The Neuroses). That’s why he called it “sex-politics” or “sex-economy.” You characterize Reich as having an “insistence to stay with the part-object reference to the genitals.” Actually, I would say Reich’s orientation was the reverse: Reich was researching the capacity for whole-object genital relating, the complete development of an integration of the capacity to love with the capacity for sexual satisfaction:

            “It is the sexual energy which governs the structure of human feeling and thinking. ‘Sexuality’ is the life energy per se.” (Reich, 1935/1969, p. xxv, italics in original)

            “The inner make-up of the love function determines every single feature in every single other activity of the individual.” (Reich, 1953/1976, page 42)

            “Orgastic potency is the capacity for surrender to the flow of biological energy without any inhibition, the capacity for complete discharge of all damned-up sexual excitation through involuntary pleasurable contractions of the body.” (Reich, 1942/1971, page 79, italics in original) “A further characteristic of orgastic potency is the ability to focus temporarily the entire affective personality on the genital experience despite any conflicts.” (Reich 1927/1980, page 32, italics in original)

            “If sexual excitation is checked, there is a vicious circle: the checking increases the stasis of excitation, and the increased stasis diminishes the ability of the organism to decrease it. Thus, the organism acquires a fear of excitation, in other words, sexual anxiety. The sexual anxiety, therefore, is caused by an external frustration of instinctual gratification, and is anchored internally by the fear of the damned-up sexual excitation. This is the mechanism of orgasm anxiety. It is the fear of the organism–which has become unwilling to experience pleasure–of the overpowering excitation of the genital system. Orgasm anxiety forms the basis of the general pleasure anxiety, which is an integral part of the prevailing human structure. It usually shows itself as a generalized fear of any kind of vegetative sensation or excitation or the perception of these [italics mine-DH ]. Since joy of living and orgastic pleasure are identical, general fear of life is the ultimate expression of orgasm anxiety.” (Reich 1942/1971, page 136, italics in original except where indicated)

            “General psychic contactlessness is only the general reflection of orgasm anxiety, that is, fear of orgastic contact…” (Reich 1949, page 325, italics in original)

            “Every form of neurosis has its characteristic form of genital disturbance.” (Reich 1942/1971, Page 138, italics in original)

            “In the final analysis orgasm anxiety is behind all armored manifestations.” (Baker 1967, page xxxiii)

            [References:

            Baker, E. 1967. Man In The Trap. New York: Collier Books.

            Reich, W. 1927/1980. Genitality In the Theory and Therapy of Neurosis. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux. [Originally published 1927 with the title, The Function of the Orgasm. This is an entirely different book than the 1942 book of the same name].

            Reich, W. 1935/1969. The Sexual Revolution, 4th Ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

            Reich, W. (1942/1971) The Function of the Orgasm. Translated by Theodore P. Wolfe. New York: The Noonday Press

            Reich, W. (1949). Character Analysis, 3rd ed. Translated by Theodore P. Wolfe, M.D. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

            Reich, W.1949/1953. Ether, God and Devil/Cosmic Superimposition. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973.

            Reich, W. 1949/1996. Processes of Integration in the Newborn and the Schizophrenic. Orgonomic Functionalism 6. Rangeley, Maine: The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust.

            Reich, W. 1950. Orgonomic Functionalism, Part II. OrgoneEnergy Bulletin V2N1, pages 1-15. New York: Orgone Institute Press.

            Reich, W. 1953.. The Murder of Christ. Rangeley, Maine: Orgone Institute Press.

            Reich, W. (1953/1976). The Murder of Christ. New York: Pocket Books.]

            I would have to disagree strongly with you when you say that you think Reich’s theory of genitality was not particularly unique!

            You write: “To say that genitality (i.e. a condition in which everyone could be open, confident, unarmored, comfortable with aggression, and loving… and have healthy orgasms) is obtainable, is no less naïve sounding than a communist saying that humans will have all these traits once the economic conditions change after the state withers away.”

            I would say the difference is that communism (including contemporary instances when it is mislabeled as liberalism) is a theory and system which is not based on how people actually function. Genitality, on the other hand, is attainable. At the very least, we all function with some degree of genitality, or else we would be dead. This has to do with the fact that Reich’s theory of genitality is not only a psychological, but a biological theory, since Reich proposes that orgastic potency is the basis for both psychological and biological health. So although very few of us are fully orgastically potent–in other words have a completely free and full capacity for genital love–, we all have some capacity.

            You write: “Obtainable how, obtainable when,…? I agree that the position that economic conditions will change people alone doesn’t take into account individual psychology and is reductionistic but the reason Reich was political is because he saw that individual therapy alone would not reach and transform enough people. How are you proposing we get to a society based on genitality?”

            Reich’s sociological theory was similar to his theory of psychotherapeutic technique: one works from the outside inwards, from the most superficial to the most deep. One does this by removing characterological and somatic impediments to natural health, which emerges spontaneously if the therapeutic work is precise enough. He discovered that the character-analytic approach, wherein the therapist focuses on the character defense before attempting to uncover and analyze the underlying impulse, unleashed a spontaneous psychbioenergetic and emotional process in the patient which allowed for a full-bodied response to the therapeutic work, including in some cases noticeable activation and participation of the autonomic nervous system, as opposed to the classical psychoanalytic method, which tended to produce a more shallow, exclusively intellectual (central nervous system, brain-centered) experience in therapy. It might be fair to say that this full-body response to the character-analytic pointing-out to the patient of his defenses provides evidence that in some sense character analysis is a biological intervention which addresses BOTH psyche and soma.

            So what did Reich say is the main obstacle to health on the societal level? What he called the “emotional plague,” which is the sum total of the societal forces that not only present an obstacle to individual and societal healthy functioning, but actually actively seek to destroy genital love and genital functioning. Thus Konia’s attempt to elucidate the emotional plague in his two books and on his blog. The plague needs to be identified and ways have to be found to prevent it from destroying the emotional health of children and adults. The idea is that will then clear the way for the natural development of a genital society, whatever that may look like.

            Reich was highly biologically focused in his writings, especially his later writings. Thus he focused in his writings on the biological, physiological aspects of adult sexuality. What can sometimes be lost or distorted is that he was actually writing about the biological aspects of the capacity to love.

            With genitality comes the ability to be social, to be productive and work and in the pursuit of knowledge, to be capable of giving, to be kind, to be altruistic when appropriate, to make a socially constructive contribution and to share in the responsibility to protect healthy life.

            Reich proposed a schematically simple tripartite model for psychic (psychological) structure: three layers; superficial, middle or “secondary,” and the core. The superficial layer is the layer of the persona: how the person presents themselves to the world and functions in most of their every day activities. The middle layer is the layer that contains most of the armor, which sequesters the destructive impulses created by the frustration of natural core needs. The core is natural man. Unlike Freud, who wrote in Civilization And It’s Discontents (which has been said to have been written directly as a response to Reich’s sociological idealism) that “Man is a wolf to man,” Reich did not consider destructive aggression as a natural occurrence or drive. He concluded that destructive aggression only occurs when man’s natural biological needs, including the need for genital love as well as basic needs for food and shelter, were blocked. Reich asserted that most thought systems designed to explain man’s nature, including religious systems and Freud’s psychological model, confused the secondary, middle layer with the core; in other words, civilization had mostly so far not truly recognized or understood the core and it’s functioning and had only perceived the secondary layer, where all the neurosis and sadism and emotional pestilence is. This led to the perception of human beings as being at least partly evil in their basic nature. The secondary layer is mostly covered up in every day life by the superficial layer, which functions both to deceive the outer world and at the same time to maintain some kind of contact with the core and to work in concert with the core in an attempt to just sequester and destroy the destructive middle layer. The middle layer, in contrast, attempts to destroy the core and the superficial layer, which functions to contain the destructive impulses of the middle layer. The middle layer is where the emotional plague lives. So in this sense, the middle layer is both “the patient” and the focus of our sociological “curative” efforts.

            To try to answer your discussion of why does it make sense for wealth to be inherited rather then re-distributed, I think I would probably have to reach for a classical liberal view of human behavior, as I’m not sure that Reich ever comments on something like this, or if he did, whether I would agree with his conclusions, which may have still been flavored by how deeply steeped in the socialist movements of World War II era Europe he had been. I would say that people work harder when they know they can pass along their wealth to the people and causes they personally love, then if they don’t have that option and they know that their wealth will simply be taken away upon their death. I think this sort of thing applies more widely and generally: I don’t think that human beings get out of bed in the morning to go to work in order to serve the needs of an abstract public “Mankind.” I think when you’re exhausted and hungover or whatever, you generally don’t give a crap about mankind and would rather sleep. But if you won’t be able to eat, or the people you love won’t be able to eat unless you get up and go to work, you’re going to get up and go to work and be productive. So I think that an economic system that allows for self interest is a more productive system. I think that every economic system is “trickle down,” be it a completely unregulated market-based system or a totally centralized totalitarian communist system. The only difference is where the wealth trickles down from. It is in the nature of civilization that capital needs to be concentrated in order to get things done. I think that entrepreneurial systems based on reward for results (my version of your “meritocracy”) tend to get things done better and more efficiently than bureaucratic systems based on political power and the protection of privilege.

            I think that some degree of inequality is inevitable and necessary for living systems to function. Which kind of sky looks healthier and more vibrant to you: a bright blue sky with intermittent puffy clouds (concentrations of water vapor and ionic charge) or a colorless single sheet of thin stratus clouds, where everything is “equal” and that sky has no pulsation, no movement. This is the way smog, a dead and stagnant atmosphere, looks.

            My understanding of economic science is that research shows that in countries with freer economic systems and lower taxes there is generally higher productivity, a higher GDP, and a higher overall standard of living including for the poorest members of society (the poor in such countries are doing better than the poor in countries with less free, more distributionist economic systems). I think this is a good example of how the way things actually function is more important than the way we think they “should” function. Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” where seemingly amoral self interest produces social good, is another example. I’ll never forget an interview I saw with Obama when he was running for President the first time. He was on the CBS Morning News with Charlie Gibson. Gibson asked him whether he would be in favor of lowering capital gains tax rates if it actually stimulated the economy and resulted in higher tax revenue, thus providing more money to find social welfare programs and other activities of government. There have been many instances in economic history when lowering tax rates actually increased GDP and thus increased tax revenue in spite of lower tax rates. Obama and Gibson were not arguing about whether or how often this actually happens or not. Gibson was asking IF that were true, would Obama be willing to lower capital gains taxes in order to provide the government with more money to fund its programs. Obama replied that he would not be willing to lower capital gains taxes even if it provided the government with more money. Gibson asked why not? Obama said, “Because it would be wrong.” This is a good example of moralistic thinking, as opposed to “functional thinking, “a term that Reich liked to use. When societies base their ideological systems on “shoulds” that have the superficial appearance of benevolence instead of on what IS, then suffering and confusion result. And I actually think that is an example of the emotional plague at work. Results, not intentions or superficial sentiment, are what is important.

          • Hi David

            If you click on my red highlighted name it will take you to my blog (I’ve slowed down on it in the last year or so because I’m writing my next book). The book was an achievement for a doctoral student, but I’m no longer happy with it. I stand behind most of the theoretical sketches, but I didn’t use clinical examples… but that is rectified in the new one. Thanks for letting me know a little bit about you.

            Marx doesn’t say much about what Communism would be like, Reich doesn’t say much about what work democracy would be like, Nietzsche doesn’t say much about what the over-man would be like in concrete ways. The only thing a scholar can do is to show guiding principles in their work and show the implications of these principles. One of Reich’s most famous quotes is “love, work, and knowledge are the wellsprings of our lives, they should also govern it” and a scholar would look into Reich’s works like “Listen, Little Man!” and other works that are very political and try to define what stops love, work, and knowledge from governing. I agree that Reich will have many comments on the character structure of the masses there, but he will also talk about dynamics between leaders and followers and those with power in society. There are political ideas.

            RE: a deep understanding of genitality. I would say that I have read most of Reich’s books and eagerly followed the development of somatic psychology of Reich to the second wave of Lowen, Kelley, Pierrakos, etc. into the 3rd wave of Kurtz, Ogden, etc.

            Again, you will have to give me arguments to convince me that genitality in Reich is substantially different than regression or the introversion of libido in other models (along with some psychodynamic defenses). I am aware of loving (“the genital embrace”) and that Reich isn’t just talking about sex, but where other models reference this in terms of human relationships, narcissism, etc., Reich uses a part-object reference. As one of your quotations shows, Reich is functionally defining these things in interpsychic and not just biological terms:

            “A further characteristic of orgastic potency is the ability to focus temporarily the entire affective personality on the genital experience despite any conflicts.” (Reich 1927/1980, page 32, italics in original) 

            Regression and defensive formations of character have major effects on the body of an individual, and the body can be the best point of access to work with some patients, some of the time. However, everything you are sharing about orgasm anxiety can be translated into psychosocial developmental terms. With patients who have regressed to the point in which they no longer have work, love, or friendship and with high functioning patients who only have one aspect of their personality that has regressed in this way, it is possible to work with them from getting into this fear of life, their thoughts about God and other relations to non-humans (supernatural entities, their bedroom, animals, inanimate things, etc.). Orgonomists do not have a monopoly on helping patients heal, and patients who do talk therapy can report that a knot in their stomach released, their shoulders dropped, or some other physical change accompanied the verbal intervention.

            I appreciate Reich’s idea of the red thread and working from the most recent armoring of the individual, back to the deepest armoring formed earlier in life… I appreciate a lot of Reich’s clinical ideas.

            Reich’s somatic approach was particularly unique, and Reich’s idea that the sexual act and orgasm is a good way to assess the health of a patient is unique, but so long as the latter references psychopathology and interpsychic relations, Reich is noting what many others have noted.

            “I would say the difference is that communism (including contemporary instances when it is mislabeled as liberalism) is a theory and system which is not based on how people actually function.”

            Please read some of Marx, David, and see if he is not describing how classes actually functioned in history.

            Dr. Konia seems mostly interested in talking about the liberal plague, liberal cluelessness, and only pays lip service to the plague on the political right. It seems like you both valorize capitalism to the point that you do not see any of the plague’s manifestation in it. I think that you understand that the plague is omnipresent in society, but somehow you do not think that it would have influenced some of the laws (which were made by law-makers suffering from the plague).

            There is overlap between Reich and Freud on the aggressive drive in the concept of the emotional plague. Even if one has the position that aggression is primarily frustration-aggression and reactive, which I would agree with, aggression becomes a drive in psychopathology for some individuals. Some people are “pesty” as Reich called it and are bitchy or prone to anger, and because of pathology they will be in a bad mood and want to hurt others, and are pre-consciously looking for a justification for their anger and subsequent sadism. IF you believe in the emotional plague then Reich and Freud are on the same page when it comes to aggression being a drive (albeit Reich would say this was a secondary layer). As I mentioned, Freud’s unconscious isn’t just destructive id impulses alone and includes affectionate ones and is much more complicated.

            “I would say that people work harder when they know they can pass along their wealth to the people and causes they personally love, then if they don’t have that option and they know that their wealth will simply be taken away upon their death”

            Are you saying this is a natural core function, or part of the emotional plague?

            “I don’t think that human beings get out of bed in the morning to go to work in order to serve the needs of an abstract public “Mankind.”

            I agree, but as politics show, Conservatives have no problem with big government when their tax money goes to the military and they get to enjoy the social narcissism of identifying with their country’s big, powerful military. Moreover, many conservatives support legislation that goes against their individual financial interest, just as liberals do. There are roads that go beyond individual self-interest and viewing people as self-interested rational actors is naïve.

            “So I think that an economic system that allows for self interest is a more productive system.”

            David, I want a system that rewards merit too. Is it your position that all those who come from the poor classes should be free to die from their lack of future planning (i.e. lack of savings, insurance, etc.) while the entrepreneurial classes are subsidized by the government in regards to writing off their business failures (a popular example being Trumps enormous tax credit for being one of the few who managed to fail with a casino)? Is it a real meritocracy when the government assists the rich who fail, but do not help the poor who have good ideas but no capital? Are you saying that there is no “bureaucratic systems based on political power and the protection of privilege” in capitalism?

            I think that you need to look at the statistics regarding the quality of healthcare in the US vs. other countries, illiteracy rates in the US vs. other countries, and other earmarks of “standard of living.”

            “… This is a good example of moralistic thinking, as opposed to “functional thinking, “a term that Reich liked to use. When societies base their ideological systems on “shoulds” that have the superficial appearance of benevolence instead of on what IS, then suffering and confusion result. And I actually think that is an example of the emotional plague at work. Results, not intentions or superficial sentiment, are what is important”

            Could you do me the favor of pointing out the plague functioning on the political right (outside of the obvious examples of fascism)? You quoted Reich about “the prevalent biological armoring and irrational ideologies, are nevertheless at the basis of all social achievement” but now you seem to be valorizing social achievement and an uninhibited market. Could you tell me how this is not contradictory?

            I also very much agree with you that results and not intention are the basis of morality. You will have to argue for why the utilitarian approach is the the proper stance towards ethical and moral stances.

          • the last paragraph should read that I very much disagree with you that results and not intentions are what is important. Conscience is related to our interpersonal relations with others and not our intellect. This position very much seems to fit in the tertiary layer of Reich’s model.

          • One more comment, David.

            My main question in the last reply was whether you thought that therapists would make enough people healthy and that a future work-democracy would arise from this, or whether political change would arise from going deeper into the ideology (of unhealthy people and “the plague”) and that this would bring about a new political-economy.

            The sociology of Marx is the study of class conflict that issues from the plague, and I reference his thought (and not socialist regimes of the last century) because I would argue that they tried to appeal to altruistic impulses where Marx has always pointed to egoistic impulses (i.e. slaves and lower classes desiring freedom, and those who innovate new technology, labor practices, and the means of production wanting to displace the former masters or elite) as the motor of history.

            I very much doubt that therapy will change people en masse and if this is your position, please argue for it. Otherwise, if the impulse for more individualism and freedom is what we must reckon with for the next political change, I would like to ask you what you think could or should be changed in our current system to foster this principle?

            My impression at this point is that you are for the status quo and are not political. Am I right?

    • I think that true liberals are, as Dr. Konia states, less in contact with their core. They are, in general, more intellectual, which means energy is drawn to the brain. They cannot seem to distinguish between the current left and their more old-fashioned liberalism, and therefore are ignorant of the damage they do. I understand that much of the younger generation is living in a state of real confusion, but older people, alive before the sixties debacle, are acting the same, thereby facilitating those still in power on the left to regain their momentum and finish the job.

      • Thank you for your comment. With the anti-authoritarian transformation of society and the shift to the political left in the social mainstream it is difficult to distinguish the true liberal from the pseudo-liberal’communist on the extreme left. The confusion is the result of the emotional plague’s invasion into every area of society including, in particular, the political arena.

      • None of what you write here is an argument. They are just assertions.

        Your feelings about things don’t count as facts.

        Similarly, David can’t assert that Obama is irrational because he’s not being a good utilitarian without first arguing for the superiority of utilitarian ethics, and then showing that the Republicans themselves are consistent with utilitarian principles.

      • In his book Man In The Trap (1967; New York: Collier Books), Baker presents a diagram outlining the various sociopolitical characters on the left and the right (page 156). At the center of the diagram is a category (neither left nor right) described as “unarmored ideal health.” On page 155, Baker states: “The liberal characters live largely in the superficial layer while conservative characters function primarily in the core and middle layers. The ideally healthy person lives only in the core and reacts from it in all circumstances. His intellect and feeling are in harmony, not at odds.” On page 158 he writes that “The healthy character….spontaneously wishes to do his share for his community and nation and for the world as a whole, but he does not expect easy solutions to difficult problems and he will not give up his own identity for the sake of others. This attitude, if generally held, would probably result in some form of ‘work democracy’ as outlined by Reich.”

        In his book The Emotional Plague, Dr. Konia writes:

        “…’liberal’ and ‘conservative’…[are] BOTH…LEGITIMATE ATTITUDES TOWARD THE WORLD, and when socially represented in equal numbers, the opposing forces of left and right are in equilibrium.” (Page 91-92, my emphasis)

        In Listen Little Man! Reich told the reader about the effects of World War II, ‘…you found yourself exactly where you were before it broke out. Perhaps a little more to the “left” than the “right,” but not one millimeter FORWARD!’ ( Reich, W. 1948, Listen Little Man, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, p. 102, italics in original)

        I think that genitality combines and integrates both liberal and conservative tendencies, and that if one or the other tendency dominates, that is probably a sign of the presence of armoring. In other words, I think that when we are describing the liberal character types or the conservative character types, we are either describing armored people, or we are describing characteristics in genital characters that are integrated and balanced.

  2. As far as the left side of the spectrum as a whole is concerned you always speak of the true liberal character and the pseudo-liberal character/communist, only. What is about the socialist character, or did he/she simply vanish due to the “compression”, resulting from the social red shift? Isn’t there a “grey” zone between true liberals (white) and pestilent pseudo-liberals (black)? And what is the function of that “grey zone”?

    • With the leftward tsunami of the political mainstream in Western Society’s and the instability of socio=political characters on the left, it does not make sense to distinguish between leftists beyond the true liberal and the pseudo-liberal/communist.

  3. Marx, Freud, Reich are discussed as if they are at the same level of rationality. But it can be shown both Marx and Freud did everything possible to suppress the truth that the basic conflict in human society is between genitality/work-democracy and the emotional plague.

    See how Marx did everything to suppress Max Stirner (the champion of individual and social self-regulation): http://www.lsr-projekt.de/poly/eninnuce.html. Marx even concocted a whole pseudo-science to counter Stirner! Freud did everything to get rid of Reich and erase him from the annals of science. Both Marx and Freud were archenemies of genitality and work-democracy.

    Interestingly “Freudo-Marxists” like Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Otto Fenichel and the “Frankfurt School” were always vehement opponents of Reich full of hatred and contempt.

  4. Dr. Holbrook speaks in terms of functionalism not utilitarianism. The results of a behavior indicate the motivational forces (the bio-energy morphed by the individual’s character) behind said behavior. For example the results of the project “Great Society” on the black community were horrible. The allegedly utilitarian motive behind these policies of the Democrats was not responsibility/freedom but the reconstitution of slavery.

  5. Reply to TCP’s three comments on 4/15/18:

    Hi Trevor,

    Sorry for the delay in responding.

    I’m buying your book. Your blog looks interesting.

    You write: “…a scholar would look into Reich’s works…and try to define what stops love, work, and knowledge from governing.”

    The question of what stops love, work, and knowledge from governing human life was preliminarily addressed by Reich in the appendix called “The Weapon of Truth” in The Murder of Christ. I strongly recommend reading The Weapon of Truth, I think it’s one of his most important pieces of writing. In it, he introduces the concept of what he called the “countertruth”:

    “There must be some crucial truth of a DIFFERENT kind that obstructs the truth proper. We call it the COUNTERTRUTH.” (Reich, W. 1953/1956. The Murder of Christ. New York: Pocket Books, page 263, emphasis in original.) “The FULL [understanding of the] truth…always includes the [understanding of the] COUNTERTRUTH.” (Ibid., page 266, italics in original.) “The COUNTERTRUTH…may tell you that in a certain group or in a certain situation the application of the basic truth would be disastrous.” (Ibid., page 231, italics in original.) “Before proclaiming a truth, one should know the OBSTACLE to this truth.” (Ibid., page 230, italics in original). “TRUTH IS BEING EVADED BECAUSE IT IS UNBEARABLE AND DANGEROUS TO THE ORGANISM WHICH IS INCAPABLE OF USING IT….To force upon the fellow man truth which he cannot live, means stirring up emotions impossible for him to carry; it means endangering his existence; it means kicking off balance a well-set, even if disastrous, way of life.” (Ibid., page 221, italics in original.) “…the TRUTH PEDDLER….will do more harm than any lie has ever done.” (Ibid., page 223, italics in original.)

    “Had early sex-economy in the late 1920s succeeded in fully developing a mass movement on a ‘SEX-POLITICAL’ basis, one of the greatest disasters in the history of mankind would’ve been set into motion; not because what was told in public at that time was not the truth, but because it was not the FULL truth, which always includes the COUNTERTRUTH. And the countertruth in this case was: THE GENITAL SUPPRESSION OF INFANTS AND ADOLESCENTS WAS NECESSARY; ITS OMISSION WOULD’VE BEEN FATAL, SINCE THESE CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS HAD TO ADJUST TO A SOCIAL STRUCTURE WHICH REQUIRED ARMORING AGAINST EMOTIONAL FREEDOM. UNARMORED CHILDREN COULD NOT HAVE EXISTED IN THE SOCIETY OF 1930 ANYWHERE ON THIS PLANET.” (Ibid., page 266, emphasis in original)

    “Truth, as a manifestation of Life’s fullest contact with itself and its environment, is inextricably bound up with Life’s energy economy. Truth, accordingly, if lived fully, stirs up the deepest emotions, and with the deepest emotions it stirs to high activity the urge for the genital embrace….SINCE, NOW, THE CORE OF THE ENERGY RELEASE OF THE LIVING HAS BEEN EXCLUDED AND OSTRACIZED BY MEN FOR AGES, TRUTH NEEDS MUST BE EVADED, TOO…” (Page 220, emphasis in original)

    So here Reich points to a general observation, and once again does not and perhaps cannot describe specifics. The general idea is that since there has never been a healthy society (except possibly the primitive society of the Trobriand Islanders in the South Pacific, described by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski), it is probably impossible for us to know what such a society would actually look like. But Reich felt it would function according to the principles of work democracy.

    Konia, in his book Neither Left Nor Right (2013. Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing) describes work democracy this way:

    “…WORK DEMOCRACY…is…democracy based, not on abstract utopian ideals, but on actual work relationships. Reich, who discovered it, described work democracy as embodying essentially two conditions:
    -A worker is anyone who does socially necessary work, that is, not only the manual laborer.
    -Social responsibility rests with the society of the workers and not with politicians, religious leaders or state functionaries.

    Work, in this sense, means work as a biological, not a mechanical, function. In a work democratic society the qualitative and quantitative properties of an individual’s work function and nothing else determine his social rank or status. This requirement in one stroke satisfactorily addresses all the work-related problems inherent in a hereditary or class-based society. Genuine social achievement is a measure of work democracy.” (Page 86, emphasis in original)

    “Formal democracy is a distortion of work democracy resulting from the presence of human armor.” (NLNR, Page 46)

    I wish I could offer something more specific about what work democracy would look like! I am inspired to read all the passages in Reich’s sociological books that are referred to under “work democracy” in his indices. Perhaps one could get more of a flavor from researching all that.

    You write that you have “eagerly followed the development of somatic psychology of Reich to the second wave of Lowen, Kelley, Pierrakos, etc. into the 3rd wave of Kurtz, Ogden, etc.” I don’t mean to sound unnecessarily judgmental or critical, but I just want to comment, in case you wouldn’t have guessed it otherwise, that I don’t regard any of those listed as being people who have carried forward Reich’s concepts without brother massive distortions and omissions. I have researched a lot of these people and also the current “Reichean” movements in Europe. What is pretty consistent in the people on your list and other “Reicheans” is that they are mostly on interested in right after his “vegetotherapy” phase, which is the phase where he was talking about the somatic work in terms of the vegetative (autonomic) nervous system. That correlates with his European period before he came to America and discovered the orgone. I’m always amazed that people can claim to represent a continuation of Reich’s work in any way when they completely omit the powerful influence of his work with orgone energy. It seems quite dramatically intellectually dishonest to me. Again, I don’t mean to be contentious, I’m just saying….

    You write, “you will have to give me arguments to convince me that genitality in Reich is substantially different than regression or the introversion of libido in other models (along with some psychodynamic defenses).

    I’m not sure what you mean here. In what way is genitality equivalent to “regression or introversion of libido”?

    You write, “I am aware of loving (‘the genital embrace’) and that Reich isn’t just talking about sex, but where other models reference this in terms of human relationships, narcissism, etc., Reich uses a part-object reference.”

    In the orgonomic view, genitality would not be thought of as a part-object phenomenon. Quite the contrary. Genitality would be conceptualized as the fullest possible integration of part-object functions. I’m guessing that when you reference regression or introversion of the libido, you are referring to the notion of genitality as a part-object. At the ACO, we think of the psyche in general and character as a “whole function,” as opposed to somatic functions, which we think of as “part-functions.” So genitality does not refer to the physical part-function of the genitals, but to the whole psychic (psychological) function of a character type in which earlier psychosexual stage is, including the phallic stage, have been given up as part of the process of development into the most mature and integrated, “psychically genital” functioning where in the capacity for genital love is fully developed and unimpeded by earlier psychosexual fixations.

    You write that, “the body can be the best point of access to work with some patients, some of the time….Orgonomists do not have a monopoly on helping patients heal, and patients who do talk therapy can report that a knot in their stomach released, their shoulders dropped, or some other physical change accompanied the verbal intervention.”

    I agree with all that.

    Reich described the dialectic between the verbal therapy and the somatic (“biophysical “) work in these passages:

    “…vegetotherapy is nothing other than character analysis in the biophysiological sector and character analysis is vegetotherapy in the psychological realm.” (Reich 1934-1939/1994, page 239)

    “No matter whether we release emotions from the character armor by way of ‘character-analysis,’ or from the musculature, by way of ‘vegetotherapy,’ in either case we cause plasmatic excitations and motions. What moves is essentially the orgone energy….In every case, whether we…dissolve defense mechanisms or muscular spasms, we work on the orgone energy of the organism.” (Reich 1949, page 359)

    “…CHARACTER STRUCTURE…appears as the sum total of the relationship between the orgonotic energy system and the sensory-motor system which has to perceive the plasmatic currents, to execute the energy discharges and coordinate all energy functions into an orderly, total, unitary functional system: ‘orgonotic system.’ (Reich 1949, Pages 458-459)

    “When a character inhibition would fail to respond to psychic influencing, I would work at the corresponding somatic attitude. Conversely, when a disturbing muscular attitude proved difficult to access, I would work on its characterological expression and thus loosen it up.” (Reich 1942, pages 241-242)

    Reich, W. 1934-1939/1994. Beyond Psychology: Letters and Journals 1934-1939. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

    Reich, W. 1942. The Function of the Orgasm. New York: The Noonday Press.

    Reich, W. 1949. Character Analysis. New York: Orgone Institute.

    One thing that I have been very interested in thinking about for the last 10 years or so is the relationship between what Reich called “word language” and what he called “expressive language,” the nonverbal language of the body.

    “The living expresses itself in movements….The term ‘expression’….means, literally, that something in the living system ‘presses itself out’, and consequently, ‘moves’. This can mean nothing but the movement of the protoplasm, that is, expansion and contraction. The literal meaning of ‘emotion’ is ‘moving out’, which is the same as ‘expressive movement’. The physical process of plasmatic emotion or expressive movement always goes with an immediately understandable meaning which we call the emotional expression.” (Reich, W. 1949. Character Analysis, 3rd Ed. New York: Orgone Institute Press, page 360).

    Reich conceptualized words as in some sense actually originating in the body, with the brain functioning more like a “switchboard” which integrates words and ideas that come from the body:

    “It is clear that language, in the process of word formation, depends on the perception of organ movements and organ sensations, and that the words which describe emotional states render, in an immediate way, the corresponding expressive movements of living matter.” (1949, page 361). “Language as well as the perception of other’s behavior renders the respective physiological state unconsciously…” (ibid, Page 333).

    Dr. Konia has also written extensively about this. He states:

    “…ideas as well as words originate from the perception of organ sensation. The cortical speech centers…merely integrate the various components of the speech function…” (Konia, 1983, page 233).

    Konia, C. 1983. For The Record: Orgonotic Functions of the Brain, Part III. Journal of Orgonomy 17(1): 101-112.

    Reich, W. 1949. Character Analysis, 3rd Ed. New York: Orgone Institute Press.

    Of course Freud also referred to the relationship of the psyche to the body, especially in his earlier writings. There is the familiar reference from The ego and the id that “the ego is first and foremost a bodily ego’ (1923b, XIX, 26). He saw drives as derived from the body, defining “drive” as “the psychical representative of the stimuli originating within the organism and reaching the mind, as a measure of the demand made upon the mind for work in consequence of its connection with the body.” (Freud, 1915, page 122).

    An interesting recent development has been the founding of a field of research called “neuropsychoanalysis” by Mark Solms, who is a neuropsychologist and psychoanalyst. Solms founded a journal titled “Neuropsychoanalysis” in 1999 and has written a number of books on the subject (see for example Solms, 1997; Solms and Turnbull 2002; Kaplan-Solms and Solms 2002; Pace-Schott, Solms, et al 2003). Solms has provided neuroscientific evidence supporting many of the views of Freudian psychoanalysis, especially Freudian dream theory. In particular, Solms emphasizes neuroscientific evidence for the primacy of emotion in the operation of the human brain and psyche. Since any discussion of emotion tends to have to involve at some point a discussion of the body, Solms’ emphasis on emotion leads to a kind of neuroscience which doesn’t leave out the body entirely. For example he writes:

    “…the operation of the viscera [i.e., the internal organs of the body] …forms the basis of our basic motivations or ‘drives’ (as Freud called them), and modifications in our drives are experienced, above all, as emotions…..the limbic system [the parts of the brain that process emotion] as a whole may be regarded as the ‘association’ area for visceral information. The perception of visceral information is registered consciously as feelings of emotion and (via association) as reminiscences, in the form of: ‘I saw that, and it made me feel like this.’” (Solms and Turnbull 2002, pages 28-29). Solms describes the “…unified experience of consciousness…” by explaining that “….what binds our external perceptions together is the fact that they are grounded in our internal perceptions—which are, in turn, perceptions of our bodily selves.”(pages 74-75). “Emotion is akin to a sensory modality—an internally directed sensory modality that provides information about the current state of the bodily self…” (page105). We can see here resonances with Reich’s way of looking at things.

    Freud, S. 1915. Instincts and their vicissitudes. Standard Edition, 14:111.

    Kaplan-Solms, K., Solms, M. 2002. Clinical Studies in Neuropsychoanalsis, 2nd Edition. New York: Karnac Books.

    Pace-Schott, E., Solms, M., Blagrove, M.,Harnad, S. 2003. Sleep and Dreaming: Scientific Advances and Reconsiderations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Solms, M.1997. The Neuropsychology of Dreams.

    Solms, M., Turnbull, O. 2002. The Brain and the Inner World: An Introduction to the Neuroscience of Subjective Experience. New York: Other Press. [This is actually an excellent general introduction to neuroscience for the lay reader and an interesting review for scientists as well].

    Another example of a current researcher who emphasizes the mind-body connection is Antonio Damasio (1994, 1999, 2003, 2010), a neurologist and neuroscientist who has proposed a theory of consciousness that has some echoes with orgonomic theory, because both Damasio and Konia point to the reticular activating system (RAS, a structure in the brainstem) as perhaps the most pertinent locus for integration of inputs from above (cortical structures of the brain) and below (neurons providing information from the body) in the formation of consciousness.

    Solms and Turnbull (2002) describe Damasio’s 1999 proposal this way: “…the ‘state’ of consciousness is a product of the ascending activating system of the brainstem, which monitors the internal milieu of the body….just as the association zones of the posterior cortex not only retrieve and analyze external perceptual information but also store it, so too these deeper, inwardly directed networks” [of the RAS] “contain representational ‘maps’ of our visceral functions….” [The] “conscious state is generated by a virtual body….” [which] “represents ‘you’—the most basic embodiment of your self. More than that, it represents the current state of your self: ‘This is me, I am this body, and, right now, I feel like this.’”(page 90, italics in original); “…the little person in your head is literally a projection of your bodily self.” (page 93). “Consciousness has everything to do with being embodied…” (page 94).

    Damasio, A. 1994. Descartes’ Error. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

    Damasio, A. 1999. The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness. San Diego: Harcourt, Inc.

    Damasio, A. 2003. Looking For Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc.

    Damasio, A.2010. Self Comes To Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain. New York: Random House, Inc.

    So we have all these examples of how there is a dialogue between psyche and body.

    You write that “Dr. Konia seems mostly interested in talking about the liberal plague, liberal cluelessness, and only pays lip service to the plague on the political right.”

    In his book, The Emotional Plague (2008, Princeton, NJ: A.C.O.) Konia writes:

    “…’liberal’ and ‘conservative’…[are] BOTH…LEGITIMATE ATTITUDES TOWARD THE WORLD, and when socially represented in equal numbers, the opposing forces of left and right are in equilibrium.” (page 91-92, my emphasis)

    Dr. Konia says that the reason why he focuses on the left in his books and blogs is that the left is currently in ascendency, and so at the present time the left presents the greatest danger, just as during World War II the Nazi right presented the greatest danger.

    Even the title of his second book (Neither Left Nor Right) reflects the problems associated with both sides.

    In NLNR (2013. Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing) he writes that the “…functional way of thinking is able to combine the rational elements of the political left with the emotional component of the political right. In healthy thinking rationality and objectivity are not opposed to emotionality and subjectivity–they support each other.” (Page 272)

    You write: “It seems like you both valorize capitalism to the point that you do not see any of the plague’s manifestation in it.”

    Konia does point out that “Many of the typical problems that occur under state socialism are now happening in capitalist economies under corporate socialism. In our high-pressured, service-oriented economy, corporate employees are often trained in a mechanical fashion and interact in a bored, mindless way with the public.” (NLNR, page 78).

    You write: “There is overlap between Reich and Freud on the aggressive drive in the concept of the emotional plague.”

    There is a very significant qualitative difference between the general issue of aggression and the concept of the emotional plague. Natural aggression is quite different from plague activity. Reich describes his view on the nature of aggression this way:

    “‘Aggression’ in the strict sense of the word has nothing to do with either sadism or destruction. Its literal meaning is ‘approaching’. Every positive manifestation of life is aggressive; pleasurable sexual activity as well as destructive hateful activity; sadistic activity as well as the securing of food. Aggression is the living manifestation of the musculature, the system of motion and locomotion. Much of the pernicious inhibition of aggression which our children have to suffer is due to the equation of ‘aggressive’ with ‘wicked’ or ‘sexual.’ The goal of aggression is always that of making possible the gratification of a vital need. Aggression is, therefore, not an instinct in the proper sense, but the indispensable means of gratifying any instinct….If aggressive sexuality is barred from gratification, the urge to obtain gratification remains, nonetheless. The impulse arises to obtain it by all possible means. The aggressive tone begins to drown out the tone of love. If the pleasure aim has been completely eliminated, if it has become unconscious or beset with anxiety, then aggression–originally only a means to an end–becomes itself the behavior which will release tension. Aggression then becomes pleasurable as such. In this way, sadism arises. The loss of the real love aim results in hatred. One hates most when one is prevented from loving or being loved.” (Reich, W. 1942/1971. The Function of the Orgasm. Chapter V: The Development of the Character-Analytic Technique, Section 4: Destruction, Aggression and Sadism. Translated by Theodore P. Wolfe. New York: The Noonday Press, page 131-132, italics in original)

    In contrast to healthy aggression, the emotional plague is a specific phenomenon involving an attempt to literally destroy any kind of healthy activity, be it in the realm of love, work, or knowledge. The plague immobilizes and confuses people. It is never direct–contradistinction to natural aggression–and it’s stated motives are never it’s true motives. The plague and the healthy core are in a constant battle to sequester and eliminate each other. In fact, it could even be stated that natural aggression and the plague are in an antagonistic relationship.

    In reference to this passage from my most recent comments: “I would say that people work harder when they know they can pass along their wealth to the people and causes they personally love, than if they don’t have that option and they know that their wealth will simply be taken away upon their death,” you ask, “Are you saying this is a natural core function, or part of the emotional plague?” I am saying this is a natural core function, not at all an example of the plague.

    You write: “Conservatives have no problem with big government when their tax money goes to the military and they get to enjoy the social narcissism of identifying with their country’s big, powerful military.” I don’t think that conservatives support for the military is caused by narcissistic identification and displacement so much as by rational fear and uninhibited healthy aggression. I often feel that pseudo-liberals are unafraid of things they should be afraid of, and afraid of things that they shouldn’t be afraid of.

    You write that “viewing people as self-interested rational actors is naïve.” I think that generally speaking, people know what they need better than distant and external authorities do. This is one of the reasons, for example, why I believe that markets are more rational than bureaucracies, and why I believe that state rights are important.

    In reference to this sentence I wrote: “So I think that an economic system that allows for self interest is a more productive system,” you comment that you “want a system that rewards merit too.” But in this sentence I’m talking about a system that allows for the pursuit of self interest, not about a system that rewards merit. Without allowance for the pursuit of self interest, there is no freedom. And if merit is to be rewarded, who is going to judge what has merit, who has it, and how they should be rewarded? Unless I am misunderstanding what you are saying, it seems to me that this notion falls into the same old traps of bureaucracy and social engineering. instead of trusting the free and spontaneous movement generated from within people.

    That is one highly characteristic difference between conservatism and pseudo-liberalism: conservative thinking tends to focus on how people motivate themselves–on the spontaneous energy generated from within individuals–, versus pseudo-liberal thinking tends to focus on the idea of external systems motivating and directing people, as if people were machines instead of biological systems. In this sense, conservative thinking is more biological–it recognizes the spontaneous activity of living systems–, versus pseudo-liberal thinking, which is mechanical and focuses on the need to externally manipulate people as if they had no rational, living, spontaneousinternal compass.

    You ask: “Is it your position that all those who come from the poor classes should be free to die from their lack of future planning (i.e. lack of savings, insurance, etc.) while the entrepreneurial classes are subsidized by the government in regards to writing off their business failures (a popular example being Trumps enormous tax credit for being one of the few who managed to fail with a casino)? Is it a real meritocracy when the government assists the rich who fail, but do not help the poor who have good ideas but no capital? Are you saying that there is no ‘bureaucratic systems based on political power and the protection of privilege’ in capitalism?”

    I refer to this passage by you mostly in order to show that I’m not ignoring it; but I think that the answers to these questions are highly complex and technical, in other words they are practical questions about financial regulation, taxation, etc. Even attempting to think about these questions, let alone provide answers, would require a long, long essay. One simple comment does come to mind: I am skeptical about government “too big to fail” programs. I am skeptical about the idea that these were necessary at the outset of the Great Recession of 2008. I think it probably would’ve been economically healthier to let those large businesses fail. I have more confidence than the people in charge that the market system is able to right itself. I’m also skeptical about tariffs and trade wars, although I do wonder whether it makes sense to allow other countries to impose tariffs on our exports without some sort of response.

    You write: “I think that you need to look at the statistics regarding the quality of healthcare in the US vs. other countries, illiteracy rates in the US vs. other countries, and other earmarks of ‘standard of living.'” Actually, I think that the quality of healthcare in the United States is clearly superior (although eroding rapidly due to the disruptions of the Affordable Care Act). I also think that the standard of living in our country is superior. But perhaps the easiest way to address this question is: where would you rather live? I think it’s clear that America is attractive to people from all over the world who are risk-takers. People who want to gamble on their own individual ability to succeed. One other thing that seems clear to me is that there are far more opportunities to get richer (or poorer) in this country then and others. In most others, that kind of volatility is sacrificed in orde seems clear to me is that there are far more opportunities to get richer (or poorer) in this country then and others. In most others, that kind of volatility is sacrificed in the name of security. So I guess it’s a subjective choice: would one rather feel secure or would win rather gamble on one’s own ability to succeed? I think the answer to that question determines which kind of country one would rather live in. I think America favors those with a healthy aggressive attitude.” I mean that statement in a literal, factual way, not as some kind of polemic.

    “… This is a good example of moralistic thinking, as opposed to “functional thinking, “a term that Reich liked to use. When societies base their ideological systems on “shoulds” that have the superficial appearance of benevolence instead of on what IS, then suffering and confusion result. And I actually think that is an example of the emotional plague at work. Results, not intentions or superficial sentiment, are what is important.”

    You ask if I could point out examples of plague functioning on the political right. I think that any phenomenon that inhibits natural, spontaneous, healthy functioning, either from the left or the right, is an expression of the emotional plague. As I had written at the outset of these commentaries, it seems clear to me that there are both right and left forms of authoritarianism. I think it’s extremely important to distinguish authoritarianism from authority. Both the authoritarianism from the right and from the left are expressions of the destructive secondary layer and inhibit the functioning of free and spontaneous love, work, and knowledge. Authority, on the other hand, comes from the core. If the function of authority needs to temporarily behave in a way that superficially resembles authoritarianism, for example under chaotic social conditions, it is still authority and not authoritarianism. And I think it is very difficult for authoritarian phenomena to return to a freer and more core-expressive state of being. Chaos is always the excuse for authoritarianism from the right or the left to seize control.

    I would say that the plague from the right tends to be openly brutal, whereas the plague from the left turns to disguise it’s motives beneath rationalizations. So for example the Nazis were openly brutal, whereas the Soviets were even more brutal but claimed to be doing it for the good of all mankind. The plague on the right tends to have contempt for the workings of the mind. The plague on the left uses the mind in the service of the plague. The plague on the right limits love by repressing loving sexuality. The plague on the left limits love by encouraging loveless sexuality. The plague on the right exhibits armored thinking of the mystical type. The plague on the left exhibits armored thinking of an overly mechanical type, seeing humans and human society as a type of machine. “…the common thread of mechanism and mysticism…is the desire to deny the fact that man is an animal, a sexual being….What do angels and robots have in common? Answer: Neither has an animal nature and both are asexual.” (Harman, R. 2014. ACO Sociopolitical Orgonomy course lecture handout, page 12.) The plague on the right exhibits rigid armored thinking by insisting on absolutes. The plague on the left exhibits flabby armored thinking by insisting on complete relativism. The plague on the right encourages excessive obedience. The plague on the left encourages excessive rebellion.

    You write: “You quoted Reich about ‘the prevalent biological armoring and irrational ideologies, are nevertheless at the basis of all social achievement” but now you seem to be valorizing social achievement and an uninhibited market. Could you tell me how this is not contradictory?” The full quote was: “Work democracy [is the] functioning of natural and intrinsic rational work relationships among human beings. The concept of work-democracy represents the reality (not the ideology) of these [natural work] relationships, which, though usually distorted because of the prevalent biological armoring and irrational ideologies, are nevertheless at the basis of all social achievement.” I don’t understand what you mean by saying that I “seem to be valorizing social achievement and [typo? You meant to write “in” instead of “and”?] an uninhibited market.” I gather you are saying there is some kind of contradiction between Reich’s notion of work relationships as composing the basis of social achievement as opposed to me supposedly proposing social achievement as being based on marketplace relationships? Can you clarify and restate your question before I proceed based on my assumptions? I’m not even sure my paraphrase/interpretation of your question makes sense to me.

    You write: “I also very much [dis]agree with you that results and not intention are the basis of morality. You will have to argue for why the utilitarian approach is the the proper stance towards ethical and moral stances.” Are you equating an emphasis on results with an amoral utilitarian approach? If so, I would simply ask where is the morality found: in the intention or in the result? It seems pretty clear to me that the morality lies in the result. You disagree with that? I actually think this is a typical conservative versus liberal point of view; liberals believe that morality is based on intentions, versus conservatives believe that morality is based on results. The conservative view seems so self-evident to me that I’m finding it somewhat difficult to articulate why it is the correct view. To me, the liberal argument is tantamount to saying that fantasy is more moral than reality. And I actually think that is a very typical liberal paradigm: fantasy and ideology is favored over reality, due to the predominance of ocular armoring in liberals versus the predominance of muscular armoring in conservatives.

    In your second post on 4/15/18 you write, in reference to your argument that intentions are more important than results: “Conscience is related to our interpersonal relations with others and not our intellect.” I don’t understand how this sentence supports your view. I think that it actually supports my view, and not yours, because intentions are a product of the intellect, as opposed to two results, which occur in our interpersonal relations, where reality happens. Your next sentence reads: “This position very much seems to fit in the tertiary layer of Reich’s model.” Are you saying of that the intellect is located in the tertiary (superficial) layer? If so, yes, I think that is at least partially true. The ego, and to a degree conscious experience, is located in the superficial layer. The secondary layer is unconscious (repressed or split off). I would say that in the more heavily armored individual, the core is mostly outside of conscious awareness, whereas the less armored individual has better conscious contact with their core. So I would say that in the armored individual (especially in the presence of ocular armoring, as in the armored liberal) intentions are located in the superficial layer and are not in contact with the core; so that in the presence of ocular armoring the individual does not perceive how badly their intellect and intentions are out of touch with reality (results).

    In your third post on 4/15/18 you write: “My main question in the last reply was whether you thought that therapists would make enough people healthy and that a future work-democracy would arise from this, or whether political change would arise from going deeper into the ideology (of unhealthy people and “the plague”) and that this would bring about a new political-economy.”

    I think more the latter than the former. But the catch is that the knowledge of the emotional plague will probably not take hold in a heavily armored populace. People cannot be “educated” into health. Actually that is a typical armored liberal view: that what is lacking in people is knowledge and if people just had more knowledge, everything would fix itself. But there seems to need to be a kind of magic ingredient in people for them to be able to use what Reich called “functional” knowledge. And the magic ingredient seems to be a predisposition to being able to think and to function “functionally” at least to some degree. Here “functional thinking” refers to thinking and functioning as nature functions, i.e., having some degree of “core contact,” some access to the natural core which functions as nature functions and which correctly perceives natural functions. This seems to be true in therapy also. Patients who have more poor contact and a greater ability to think and perceive functionally make much more progress in therapy. In effect, there seems to need to be some “holes in the armor” through which the patient can perceive their own illness. And the same thing as required, it seems to me, of a society: there has to be some kind of critical mass of health present for the society to have a chance of effectively utilizing functional knowledge. So it’s a dilemma and all I can say is we just have to do the best we can to try to bring about the societal conditions that are needed. Reich felt it was hopeless unless we focus on how children are raised, so that they can develop relatively free of armor. They in turn will “know” how to create a healthier society.

    You write: “The sociology of Marx is the study of class conflict that issues from the plague…”. Can you describe how the plague causes class conflict?

    You write: “Marx has always pointed to egoistic impulses (i.e. slaves and lower classes desiring freedom, and those who innovate new technology, labor practices, and the means of production wanting to displace the former masters or elite) as the motor of history.”

    Can you give some examples of how the displacement of former masters or elites by slaves, members of the lower classes, and technological and workplace innovators has resulted in the betterment of society?
    You write: “…if the impulse for more individualism and freedom is what we must reckon with for the next political change, I would like to ask you what you think could or should be changed in our current system to foster this principle?

    I’m not sure about “individualism,” I don’t think I have used that word or concept in these commentaries. As far as how more freedom might improve society: the way I would interpret and answer that question is that at the most fundamental level, I believe what would need to occur is that children would be raised in a less armored way. Those less armored children would then grow into adults who were in better contact with how things function, so they would create new political and economic models which we may not be able to guess about right now. How to prevent armoring? I think the most radical and fundamental answer might be: educate people from an early age to more clearly recognize their own anxieties, and how those anxieties cause all kinds of dysfunctional behaviors, including the continual “murder of Christ” (Reich’s metaphor for the murder of genitality) in us all. In addition, emotions such as anxiety and their expression should be recognized as healthy, rather than being classified as “disorders” that are to be medicated away or talked away or meditated away, etc. People should be taught that the best way to help another human being is to simply listen to them. For the most part that is more important than giving advice or soothing or reassuring people. Simply listening to people and facilitating their self-expression, especially when they are in great distress, is the best way to help others. But it requires being able to recognize and handle one’s own anxieties that are spurred by other people’s suffering. Another important method for creating a more healthy society is to promote the integration of sex and love in adults, rather than the suppression and/or splitting and isolation of either sex or love. Another way to promote a healthy society would be to educate the general population as to the nature of characterological and somatic armoring and its role in emotional, psychological, and somatic suffering/disease. Starting in elementary school, all children should be taught about these things as well as about the emotional plague.
    As to work democracy, I don’t really have a good understanding of what that would look like or whether I would even agree that it’s the correct way to organize society.
    You write: “My impression at this point is that you are for the status quo and are not political. Am I right?”

    No. My recommendations above are not the status quo and neither does orgonomy represent the status quo. I think that genitality combines and integrates both liberal and conservative tendencies, and that if one or the other tendency dominates, that is probably a sign of the presence of armoring.
    In his book Man In The Trap (1967; New York: Collier Books), Baker presents a diagram outlining the various sociopolitical characters on the left and the right (page 156). At the center of the diagram is a category (neither left nor right) described as “unarmored ideal health.” On page 155, Baker states: “The liberal characters live largely in the superficial layer while conservative characters function primarily in the core and middle layers. The ideally healthy person lives only in the core and reacts from it in all circumstances. His intellect and feeling are in harmony, not at odds.” On page 158 he writes that “The healthy character….spontaneously wishes to do his share for his community and nation and for the world as a whole, but he does not expect easy solutions to difficult problems and he will not give up his own identity for the sake of others. This attitude, if generally held, would probably result in some form of ‘work democracy’ as outlined by Reich.”


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