Why People Can’t “Get” the Emotional Plague

In today’s anti-authoritarian society the emotional plague, like the coronavirus, has taken on the dimensions of a pandemic. But, in contrast to the coronavirus, it operates in front of everyone’s eyes without being seen. Before positive changes can occur in our disintegrating society, people must first have an awareness that the existence and operation of the emotional plague can operate in any person and that it can be played out in almost every area of social life,

The reason that people can’t “get it” that the emotional plague exists in them and in others is because of the distorted ways that they habitually think. Whether they know it or not, people usually think about themselves and others in moral – good versus bad – terms. Based on the effect of armor on people’s thought processes, this distorted way of thinking is a barrier that prevents them from looking at personal and social problems from a scientific, functional perspective. According to moralistic thinking, since the emotional plague is “bad”, how could everyone including oneself be a carrier? However, the emotional plague is a disease, a bio-social, medical condition similar to any other pathological state of humans. Like other medical diseases, it is understood and treated as such.

Only when the emotional plague is accurately recognized for what it actually is, not as a moral failing, by a sufficient number of people as a truly pathological condition in the social realm that is present in latent form and can appear socially in all armored humans including oneself, will it be possible to correctly “treat” its highly contagious and destructive social symptoms. This is an area where the natural scientist who is knowledgable in the functional science of social orgonomy will be of help.

For those not familiar with the term emotional plague, I suggest reading the section on Socio-Political Character Types in Man in the Trap, by Elsworth Baker.


  1. Thanks. Dr. Konia.

  2. I forget if I posted this on Dr. Konia’s blog before, but this is a little collection of some of my favorite passages describing the emotional plague. I put it together about a month ago. I thought this might be helpful and/or enjoyable for people to either read for the first time or take a fresh look at:

    The emotional plague

    “The emotional plague is the acting out of behaviors and attitudes in the social sphere that are destructive to life and natural, healthy, spontaneous functioning.” (Whitener, page 47)

    “[The emotional plague] permeates every area of social life, and everyone is a carrier, yet no one is aware of its existence. It is infectious and the disease can be transmitted from one person to another, yet neither the afflicted individual nor its next victim recognizes his symptoms. In fact the disease’s existence depends on its remaining hidden from awareness. Like a virulent virus, it is disintegrating the fabric of society and crippling core life functions by attacking its victims at their most vulnerable place. However, this is not a physical disease but a bioemotional disease, one that manifests in the realm of emotions. As it spreads from one person to another, it destroys it’s victims by producing confusion, uncertainty, and paralysis.“ (Konia 2008, page xvii)


    “Plague-ridden individuals have a strong tendency to form social circles. Such circles become centers of public opinion, which is characterized by a violent intolerance…”. (Reich 1949, page 260)

    “It is possible to objectively determine the occurrence of an emotional plague attack by recognizing its effects on the victim. The emotional plague attack results in confusion and paralysis when plague victims think, believe, or feel that whatever they do in response to being attacked is wrong.” (Konia 2008, page 27)

    “The mere existence of different ways of living provokes [the “emotional plague” character’s] antagonism….He always arrives at a conclusion before thinking it through; his opinion is set prior to the investigation….The emotional plague is intolerant of rational thinking that might expose it. Consequently it is inaccessible to argument. The given motive of an action is never the actual motive. This is true whether the hidden motive is conscious or unconscious. Such a person seriously and honestly believes his stated goal is correct and rational. But he is acting under a structural compulsion and cannot act except in this manner.

    Such a character has no insight at all to the destructiveness or unfairness of his actions. He tries constantly to change his environment so that his manner of living is not interfered with. Everything that he encounters that is contrary to his mode of living or thinking provokes his anger and opposition. His opposition, however, is so well camouflaged by socially accepted mores that it is difficult to refute or even to detect….They are particularly skillful in character defamation from which they receive a kind of perverse satisfaction of a sexual nature.“ (Baker, pages 160-163)

    “The emotional plague character is incapable of being honest and acting truthfully. Dishonest politicians, for example, are highly skilled at using this maneuver to control people: The reasons they give for their ideas and actions are often highly convincing and always well rationalized, usually for some common good or for the good of a particular group. These rationalizations cover up the true motive, which is always in the service of dominating or destroying the life of others.” (Konia 2013, Page 134)

    “NEITHER THE PLAGUE INDIVIDUAL NOR HIS VICTIM IS AWARE OF AN ATTACK. It seems to come out of nowhere….When the victim is prominent, the plague operates by sequestering the person from the mainstream of society. The plague individual or group is highly skilled at enlisting the support of others through manipulating public opinion.” (Konia 2008, page 128)

    “…the healthy individual has no impulse whatsoever to impose his way of living on other people, for the motives for his way of living have to do with his own way of life and not that of others. The emotional plague individual differs from the healthy individual in that he makes his life demands not only on himself, but primarily and above all on his environment. Where the healthy individual advises and helps, where he, with his experiences, simply lives ahead of others and leaves it to them whether they want to follow his example or not, the plague individual imposes his way of living on others by force. Plague individuals cannot tolerate views which threaten their armorings or which disclose their irrational motives. The healthy individual experiences only pleasure when his motives are discussed; the plague individual becomes furious. The healthy individual, where other views of life disturb his life and work, fights in a rational manner for the preservation of his way of living. The plague individual fights against other ways of living even where they do not touch him at all. The motive of his fight is the provocation which other ways of living represent by their mere existence.” (Reich 1949, page 251)

    “The specific plague reaction likes to make use of…moral…condemnation….In contradistinction to the psychotic individual, he experiences his own impulses which he projects to other people not in a masochistic way as a threat. Rather, he uses gossip and defamation in a sadistic way, ascribing to others what he does not dare to take cognizance of in himself….The way of living of the…healthy individual reminds the plague-ridden individual painfully of his own…weakness and this represents a threat to his neurotic equilibrium. All that remains for him to do is to drag into dirt the other fellow….In every case of this kind of plague reaction, one will find that precisely those characteristics are being described to the healthy individual against which the plague-ridden individual fights in himself in vain, or which, with a bad conscience, he is living out.” (Reich 1949, pages 267-268)

    “The emotional plague’s purpose, usually masked by a stated ‘higher’ goal, is to stop the pleasure and satisfaction that arise spontaneously when people engage in activities involving learning and working together. At times this dynamic can be seen in policies…which in effect disrupt…economic productivity…”. (Whitener, page 47)

    “Top-down management is useful to the emotional plague. This form of management is the opposite of Reich’s work democracy, wherein individuals who do the work have control and decision-making power over practical aspects of how to organize and accomplish tasks chosen by and assigned to them. With the emotional plague the sole head arbitrarily makes decisions for others with or without knowledge of the tasks involved; there is no place for cooperative, rational decision-making and individual initiative.“ (Whitener, pages 48-49)

    “The essence of all kinds of authoritarian rule is that it inhibits the natural self-regulatory functions. The task of a genuine free order can be nothing but that of preventing any inhibition of natural functions….Democracy, if it is serious and genuine, is identical with natural self-regulation of love, work and knowledge. Dictatorship, human irrationalism, on the other hand, is identical with the inhibition of this natural self-regulation.” Reich 1946, page 304)

    “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 force in the masses expresses itself in a general fear of responsibility and fear of freedom.” (Reich 1946, pages 283-284)

    “….Communism in its present form as Red Fascism is not a political party like other political parties. It is organized emotional plague….If you ask a Liberal or a Socialist or a Republican what his social beliefs are, he will tell you frankly. The Red Fascist will not tell you what he is, who he is, what he wants. This proves that hiding is his basic characteristic….The hiding, conspiring, conniving are there before any political goals are conceived to fill them…The sole objective of the conspiring is power with no particular social ends….The organized emotional plague relies upon and uses consistently what is worst in human nature, while it slanders and tries to destroy all that threatens its existence. A fact to the emotional plague is only a matter of convenience; it does not count in itself. Accordingly, there is no respect for facts….This attitude toward fact and truth, history and human welfare, is not specifically a characteristic of Red Fascism. It is typical of all politics. Red Fascism differs from other forms of politics in that it eliminates all checks and controls over the abuse of power…” (Reich 1953/1976, pages 205-206)

    “…freedom need not be first achieved; it is spontaneously existent in all natural life functions. What has to be achieved is the elimination of all the obstacles that stand in the way of freedom….Nothing extraordinary has to be fought for. Life is to be set free; that is all.” (Reich 1946, page 305)

    “It is no accident, but supported by fact, that life-negating philosophy always emphasizes the divisive element, such as the differences among peoples in nationalism, the differences among families in family ideology, the differences of wealth in the financial principle, the differences of social rank in the authoritarian principle. On the other hand, life-asserting philosophy stresses the common element, the common biological origin of all human animals, the common features in man, animal, and nature, the common life interests and necessities, etc.” (Reich 1949/1973, page 105)

    “…man and his society are mentally ill in the strictest psychiatric sense of the word.” (Reich 1953/1976, page 6)

    ”We observe that human thought systems show tolerance as long as they adhere to reality. The more the thought process is removed from reality, the more intolerance and cruelty are needed to guarantee its continued existence.” (Reich 1949/1973, page 16.


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

    Konia, C. 2008. The Emotional Plague. Princeton, NJ: A.C.O. Press

    Konia, C. 2013. Neither Left Nor Right. Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing.

    Reich, W. (1946). The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Third, revised and enlarged edition, translated by Theodore Wolfe. New York: Orgone Institute Press.

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

    Reich, W. (1949/1973). Ether, God and Devil. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

    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.

    Whitener, V. 2019. The Emotional Plague in Everyday Life II. Journal of Orgonomy V51 N2. Princeton, NJ: The American College of Orgonomy Press.

    • Many thanks, David.

  3. You’re welcome, Dr. Konia! Thank you!

  4. Dr. Konia, how can you recognize the emotional plague in yourself. Are there any criteria?

    • You can recognize it by seeing the destructive effect that it has on others.

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