From the book “Cosmic Supermiposition” by Wilhelm Reich M.D., Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York 1973, pp. 281-298.
The chain of events that unfolds during basic natural research demonstrates the logic of connections between various natural phenomena. The young research scientist experiences the unfolding of the logical chain of events as if there existed such a thing as “reason” in the universe. This is especially true when mathematical logic enters into the chain of sequences. It is most likely that the first ideas about an absolute “world spirit,” no matter what you name it—in other words, the beginning of religious thought—emerged from man’s capacity to observe and to reason about nature in such a fashion that consistent, objective logic emerged from this activity. We also have good reason to assume that at some time in the historic past the human animal was flabbergasted at this ability to follow logical chains of events that were beyond himself. What we are used to calling “objective natural science” is the summation of such chains of logical connections beyond ourselves.
Now this sounds like mysticism of the first order. The practical, technical business mind and the glibly brilliant intellectual are wont to sneer at such statements. However, they would fail completely in comprehending the fact that abstract mathematical reasoning is able to predict objective natural events. The deeply penetrating processes of basic scientific thought are foreign to them. So are the connections between deep intuition and crystal-clear intellectual elaborations of initially intuitive contacts with natural functions. So are, furthermore, such bio-energetic functions as the perfect care mothers give their offspring in the animal kingdom, the rational, logical activities of organs, most of the rational (objectively logical) processes in the growth of plants, the productions of a true musician or painter. To refer to these functions as the actions of an unconscious mind means nothing here. To identify “unconscious” with “irrational” is nonsense. The next question is inescapably: whence stems the unconscious mind? And, if all functions below the conscious intellect are “irrational,” how is it possible that life functioned well, long before the development of reason? There can be no doubt: natural, objective functions are, basically, rational.
The objective logic that leads from superimposition in the genital embrace to superimposition in the microcosmic (creation of matter) and in the macrocosmic realms (creation of the ring of the aurora, of hurricanes, and galaxies) stunned the discoverer and shook his emotions to their innermost depth. He has rejected the results of this logic for years and refused to believe that the conclusions to be drawn from them could possibly be true. For instance, he balked at admitting that true religion could be so very rational in spite of all its mystical distortions, that there could be such a thing as a rational core of all religious beliefs in an objective rational power governing the universe. But although he did not change his natural-scientific position and did not believe that a personified or absolute “spirit” governed the world, he found, more than ever, confirmation for the conviction that there exists and acts a physical power in the universe at the root of all being; a power, or whatever you may call it, that finally has become accessible to being handled, directed, measured, by man-made tools such as the thermometer, electroscope, telescope, Geiger counter, etc. While the discovery of cosmic orgone energy, the primordial creative force in the universe, was a triumph of enormous proportions, its importance hardly had the same emotional and intellectual impact that he experienced in the discovery of the workings of an objective functional logic in the natural functions beyond his personal being. In the midst of his emotional upheaval, he began to understand the absolute necessity of the idea of “God” among all peoples, whatever their race or whatever their kind of primitive awareness of this logic in nature may have been. It did not matter that the rational, logical chains of events in the universe had been so badly mysticized and personified; or that religious feelings and thought had been misused so often and so cruelly in the interest of secondary drives such as wars, exploitation of human helplessness, and misery, etc. “God,” at this point, appeared to be the perfectly logical result of man’s awareness of the existence of an objective functional logic in the universe. Furthermore, it now appeared quite logical that man had again and again realized, in spite of all distortion and confusion, that somehow this same logic was functioning within himself. Otherwise, how could man possibly have become aware of the logic in nature outside of himself? How could he, furthermore, fail to become aware that he played a double role in the stream of nature: first, in realizing his ability to become actively aware of the logic in nature beyond his own self; and second, in spite of this ability, in being so badly and helplessly subjected to the powerful logic beyond himself, in birth and death, in growth and love, and, above all, in his insuperable drive toward the genital embrace. He must have felt right from the beginning that his genital drive made him “lose control” and reduced him to a bit of streaming, convulsing protoplasm. Here, the now well-known human orgasm anxiety may well have originated. It is no wonder, then, that most religions which tended toward monotheistic thought condemned the genital embrace through complete denial of all pleasure, as in the Buddhist religion, and by defamation of the genital embrace as “lust,” as in the later Catholic religion. It is safe to assume that the impelling drive to overcome the basic natural function of the orgastic convulsion that rendered man helpless was later justified by the development of ugly, secondary, perverse, sadistic, cruel drives in man. The first struggles of the founders of many religions were quite obviously directed against these distortions of nature. Since no distinction between primary, natural genital drives and secondary, perverted, cruel, lascivious drives was yet possible, the most essential root of man in nature, his orgastic convulsion, fell prey to suppression, physiological blocking, and, finally, together with the secondary anti-social drives from which the primary drives were not distinguished, to severe condemnation.
In this manner, man “lost his paradise” (orgastic root in nature) and fell prey to “sin” (sexual perversion). He lost contact with one of his most crucial roots in nature and thus with nature itself, not only in the sensory and emotional but also in the intellectual realm. He could neither be in contact with nor understand nature, except in devious, mystical ways or by abstract reasoning. In higher mathematics a few human animals retained a bit of natural contact with logic in objective nature, and they stood out as particular and prominent minds separated from the rest of mankind, which had lost its sense of natural functions. Furthermore, life, God, genitality remained as if forever tabooed, inaccessible, unreachable, whether they were glorified into heaven or condemned into hell. The ambiguity of hell and heaven, God and devil, their mutual interdependence and exchangeability remained a basic characteristic of all moral theology. This sharp antithesis was reflected in many other dichotomies over the millennia, such as nature versus culture, love versus work, etc.
Let us not follow this line of sequences further. It has been dealt with on many occasions, in many different contexts of human pathology, sociology, ethnology, in early orgonomy, as well as in many other branches of human knowledge. The only additional piece of insight to be secured in this study is the basic identity between objective logic in nature, as it meets man’s senses, and the power of reasoning itself within man. Expressed in terms of our orgonometric, functional language:
To repeat: The discoverer of the primordial orgone energy, which functions within man (bioenergy) and outside man (cosmic primordial energy), found himself confronted with this functional identity of objective and subjective natural logic. He felt himself a tool of this logic, a very active and faithful tool. He followed it wherever it led him, with awe and a deep sense of responsibility as well as humility. The functional identity of biological and cosmic superimposition was the result of this symphony of outer and inner natural logic.
What basic function, then, has the discovery of the cosmic orgone energy in the flow of natural development?
It is not empty speculation to determine one’s place in the stream of natural events. What is specifically meant here is not the fact that man as an animal grew out of the cosmic evolution. The question here is what the process of the discovery of the orgone energy flow inside and outside man entails for his place in and his handling of nature. Man is not only rooted in nature; he also perceives, tries to comprehend and use nature.
The overcoming of the mystification of nature will be a necessary consequence of the discovery of the primordial dynamics of nature. Is it then too much to say that the discovery of cosmic orgone functions within the human animal may well represent a major evolutionary step forward in the direction of a functional unity of the flow of cosmic and intellectual developments, free of contradiction.
Human history leaves little doubt that until this discovery man’s intellectual activities functioned mainly in opposition to the cosmic energy. Partially, this opposition expressed itself in mystification and personification of the primordial mover and creator; in other respects, it expressed itself in the form of rigid, mechanistic interpretations of nature. This has been especially true in the last three centuries, during which the mechanistic, atomic, chemical view grew in opposition to the mystical distortion of nature. In Ether, God and Devil, an attempt was made to show that the primitive animistic view was closer to natural functioning than the mystical and the mechanistic. The mystical was overcome by the mechanistic; however, it never lost its hold on the minds of the majority of mankind. Both mysticism and mechanistics have failed as systems of thought. Mechanistics had to abdicate during the first half of this century, beginning with the discovery of nuclear radiation and Planck’s demonstration of the quantum action at the basis of the universe. The animistic view, and not the mystical, was a forerunner of functional thinking, as expressed most clearly in Kepler’s vis animalis that moves the heavens.
Orgonomy, at first without being aware of it, had picked up the thread that led in a hidden manner from the most primitive perception of nature by ancient man (animism) toward the establishment of the perfect functional identity between life energy (organismic orgone energy) and cosmic orgone energy. This identity of the two forms of existence, naturally, is a late development. Before man could ponder nature, he had to exist as an organized tiny part of cosmic orgone energy; and before he could exist, he had to develop out of a long series of predecessors. These predecessors, whether they pondered their origin or not, had to develop from very primitive plasmatic, orgonotic living beings that doubtless already possessed the ability to perceive and to react to the surrounding orgone energy ocean. This is merely a survey, to secure a firmer hold on our basic questions:
- Why was man the only animal species to develop an armor?
- Was the armoring of the organism, which clearly is responsible for the mystification as well as mechanization of nature, a “mistake” of nature?
The problem of why man was the only animal species to develop an armor around his living core bothers the orgonomic educator and physician in his daily tasks. He has to remove the armor in sick people and prevent the armoring in children. In this difficult task he not only experiences the terror that strikes when the armor is dissolved; he also suffers from all kinds of dangerous attacks on his work and very existence by people everywhere in his environment. If nothing exists beyond the confines of natural processes, why does the armoring of the human species exist at all, since it contradicts nature in man at every single step and destroys his natural, rich potentialities? This does not seem to make sense. Why did nature make this “mistake”? Why only in the human species? Why not also in the deer or in the chipmunk? Why just in man? His “higher destiny” is, clearly, not the answer. The armor has destroyed man’s natural decency and his faculties, and has thus precluded “higher” developments. The twentieth century is witness to this fact.
Or is the process of armoring in man no mistake of nature at all? Is it possible that the armor came about in some comprehensible, rational manner, notwithstanding its irrational essence and consequences?
We know it is mostly socio-economic influences (family structure, cultural ideas on nature versus culture, requirements of civilization, mystical religion, etc.) that reproduce the armor in each generation of newborn infants. These infants will, as grownups, force their own children to armor, unless the chain is broken somewhere, sometime. The present-day social and cultural reproduction of the armor does not imply that when armoring first began, in the faraway past of the development of man, it was also socio-economic influences that set the armoring process into motion. It seems rather the other way around. The process of armoring, most likely, was there first, and the socio-economic processes that today and throughout written history have reproduced armored man were only the first important results of the biological aberration of man. The emergence of the mystical and mechanistic ways of life from the armoring of the human animal are too clearly expressed and too well studied to be overlooked or neglected any longer. With the breakdown of the armor, the outlook of the human being changes in such a basic and total manner, in the direction of contact and identification with his natural functioning, that there can be no longer any doubt of the relationship between armor and mysticism as well as mechanistics.
Still, the question of how the human animal, alone among the animal species, became armored remains with us, unsolved, overshadowing every theoretical and practical step in education, medicine, sociology, natural science, etc. No attempt is made here to solve this problem. It is too involved. The concrete facts that possibly could provide an answer are buried in a much too distant past; reconstruction of this past is no longer possible.
What follows now is more than empty speculation, since it is based on present-day and abundant clinical experience. It is less than a practicable theory, since it does not provide any better hold on the problem. However, it is interesting to follow a certain line of thought, to see where it leads and, finally, to reflect upon one’s ability to think and to comprehend such things as the reality of two cosmic orgone energy streams that by superimposition produce hurricanes that spin counterclockwise north and clockwise south of the equator. Thus, our curiosity is well justified.
The development of orgonomy was guided throughout by the logical integration of natural functioning:
First: It was functional reasoning about the layering of human character structure that led to the deepest emotions confined in the armor.
Second: From the logical, functional peeling off of the armor layers resulted the discovery of the deeply hidden orgastic anxiety and the orgastic convulsion.
Third: It was reasoning about the transpersonal and transpsychological nature of the orgasm function that disclosed its bio-energetic nature and the well-known fourbeat of the life formula: tension charge discharge relaxation.
Fourth: It was functional reasoning again, more and more closely mirroring natural objective functions, that led from the life formula to the bions or energy vesicles and from there to the discovery of the radiation in bions, i.e., bio-energy.
Fifth: The same red thread of functional thinking led from the energy within living organisms to the same kind of energy outside in the atmosphere and from there further into the universe at large: COSMIC ORGONE ENERGY.
Sixth: Finally, it was again the orgasm function, abstracted into a generally valid natural principle, superimposition, that led to the understanding of the ring of the aurora and from there to the characteristic spin of multi-armed hurricanes and galactic nebulae.
The reader may well be aware of the fact that such a sequence could not possibly have been thought out arbitrarily. No human brain and no keen human fantasy could match this factual logic in the abundance of phenomena and interconnections, which yielded their secret to the natural observer who reasoned functionally.
This consistency of thought with the chain of the increasingly numerous natural functions that revealed themselves was no less amazing and at times even frightening to the observer who reasoned, than it must be to the reader of orgonomic literature covering a period of some thirty years. As the process of functional reasoning gradually unfolded, the observer not only worked out the method of this kind of functional reasoning; he also experienced most vividly his own amazement at his own power of reasoning, which was in such perfect harmony with the natural events thus disclosed. The function of reasoning itself, as part of natural functioning, came to be a major object of consideration. And here are some thoughts about the faculty of reasoning itself:
Before there was any life, there was the streaming of cosmic orgone energy. When climatic conditions were sufficiently developed on the planet, life began to appear, most likely in the form of primitive plasmatic flakes as reproduced in Experiment XX. From these flakes, single-cell organisms developed over the eons. Now cosmic orgone energy was flowing not only in the vast galactic spaces but also in tiny bits of membranous matter, caught within membranes and continuing to flow, still in a spiraling fashion, within these membranes, following a closed system of flow. We cannot assume that this tiny bit of streaming protoplasm already had developed the faculty of perceiving itself, although it already possessed the faculty of reacting to outer and inner stimuli. It was excitable, in agreement with the excitability of the orgone energy that flows outside the confines of membranes.
The confinement of a bit of cosmic orgone energy by and within membranes was the first clear differentiation of life from nonlife, of organismic from nonliving orgone energy. This much seems clear, even if it is as yet impossible to say much about the hows and whys of this genetic differentiation. Many years, unimaginable to human thinking, must have passed before this orgone energy, flowing within membranes in closed paths like the blood in higher animals, began to develop the faculty of perceiving its own flow, excitation, expansion in “pleasure,” contraction in “anxiety.”
We now have three streams of energy integrated with one another and emerging from one another: the cosmic flow, the confined flow within membranes, and the first perception of the flowing itself, i.e., orgonotic sensation. A worm or snail might well represent the stage of development where sensation was added to objective plasma current. This orgonotic sensation is most clearly expressed in the drive to superimposition in the sexual process. Convulsion and discharge of surplus energy are already present. This phase must have lasted an immense period of time until it reached the stage of the higher animals. In a deer or an elephant, objective streaming of energy and sensation of streaming are still united. There is probably as yet no contradiction, no blocking, no wonderment; only pleasure, anxiety, and rage govern the bio-energetic scene.
Then man developed. At first, over long stretches of time, he was little more than an animal that had instinctual judgment, with the first orgonotic sense of orientation already in operation. There did not yet exist what we call reasoned thinking. This type of natural functioning must have slowly developed from the exact, sure contact between nature within and nature outside the orgonotic system. Whether or not the brain has anything to do with reasoned thinking, we do not know. The purposeful behavior of animals without a developed brain indicates that life does not require a fully developed brain to function properly. It is probable that reasoned thinking, in contradistinction to primitive, orgonotic reasoning as in all animals, somehow developed with stronger gyration of the brain. Since we generally assume that functioning precedes and induces the structural development of organs, and not the other way around, we must ask what kind of functioning forced the animal brain into a higher or more complicated form of existence. Whatever the answer to this riddle may be, man slowly began to reason beyond his strong orgonotic contact and harmony with nature, which heretofore had been sufficient to keep him alive and to develop him further, even into a reasoning being. We know nothing and can know nothing about those distant times when man began to think.
It is obviously wrong, however, to assume that thinking is a sharply distinguishing mark between animal and man. The transitions, to judge from natural processes in general, are always and everywhere slow, evolutionary, stretched over immense periods of time. In the process of this development, man must have begun to reason about his own sensations of current and about his ability to perceive himself and to perceive at all. To judge from the studies of the theories of knowledge, nothing can compare with man’s amazement at his capacity to feel, to reason, to perceive himself, to think about himself and nature around him.
In thinking about his own being and functioning, man turned involuntarily against himself, not in a destructive fashion, but in a manner that may well have been the point of origin of his armoring, in the following way:
We know well from schizophrenic processes that an overstrained perception of self-perception necessarily induces a split in the unity of the organism. One part of the organism turns against the rest. The split may be slight and easily vanish again. Or it may be strong and persistent. In the process of this “depersonalization,” man perceives his currents as an object of attention and not quite as his own. The sensation of bodily currents then appears, even if only in a passing manner, as alien, as coming somehow from beyond. Can we dare to see in this sharp experience of the self the first step toward mystical, transcendental thinking? We cannot tell exactly, but the thought deserves consideration.
There is much good reason to assume that in such experiences of the self man somehow became frightened and for the first time in the history of his species began to armor against inner fright and amazement. Just as in the well-known fable, the millipede could not move a leg and became paralyzed when he was asked and started thinking about which leg he puts first and which second, it is quite possible that the turning of reasoning toward itself induced the first emotional blocking in man. It is impossible to say what perpetuated this blocking of emotions and with it the loss of organismic unity and “paradise.” We know well the consequences of the blocking of emotional, involuntary activity: it immobilizes the organism and disturbs the integration of all biological functions. This may well have occurred when man first turned his attention upon himself. From here on everything follows by its own inner logic of life-negative design (cf. fig. 51).
The conclusion following from these thoughts is clear: in attempting to understand himself and the streaming of his own energy, man interfered with it, and in doing so, began to armor and thus to deviate from nature. The first split into a mystical alienation from himself, his core, and a mechanical order of existence instead of the organic, involuntary, bio-energetic self-regulation, followed with compulsive force. In the brief sentence “Cogito, ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am) the conclusion of one’s personal existence follows from the statement of the ability to think. The fright that still overcomes man in our time when he thinks about himself; the general reluctance to think at all; the whole function of repression of emotional functions of the self; the powerful force with which man resists knowledge about himself; the fact that for millennia he investigated the stars but not his own emotions; the panic that grips the witness of orgonomic investigations at the core of man’s existence; the fervent ardor with which every religion defends the unreachability and unknowability of God, which clearly represents nature within man—all these and many other facts speak a clear language regarding the terror that is connected with the deep experience of the self. To stand aside, entirely logical and dryly “intellectual,” and observe your own inner functioning amounts to a splitting of the unitary system that only very few seem to bear without deep upset. And the few who, far from being frightened, enjoy submerging in their innermost selves are the great artists, poets, scientists, and philosophers who create from the depths of their free-flowing contact with nature inside and outside themselves; in higher, abstract mathematics no less than in poetry or music. Are they now exceptions to the rule or the original rule itself? Is the majority of the human species the exception in the sense that it deviated from its unity with the natural orgone energy flow, whereas the few did not? It is perfectly clear that the basic answer to the misery of man depends on the answer to this question. For, if the majority represents what is natural and the few are the exceptions from the “normal,” as so many want us to believe, then there is no hope of ever overcoming the split in the cultural setup, the wars emerging from this split, the splitting of character structures, the hate and universal murder. Then we would have to conclude that all the misery is a natural manifestation of the given, unalterable order of things.
If, on the other hand, the majority is the exception from the natural, and the few creators are in agreement with nature, then things would look better. It would become possible, by the most strenuous effort ever made in the history of man, to adjust the majority to the flow of natural processes. Then, if our exposition of the armoring is correct, man could return home to nature and what appears today as exceptional in a very few could become the rule for all.
It will be exactly those who suffered most from the deviation who will most strenuously object to the second possibility.
Here we encounter the possible effect of the discovery of cosmic orgone energy upon further human development in its fullest consequence. The discovery of bio-energy is here to stay. It will be opposed most severely by those who have lost contact with nature to the greatest extent. They will object. They will malign the discovery of life energy in the future as they have done for years in the past. They will defame the discoverer and the workers in the field of orgonomy. They will not shy away from any measure to kill the discovery, no matter how devilish the means of killing may be. They will shy away only from one thing: from looking into microscopes or from doing any kind of observation that confirms the existence of an all-pervading cosmic energy and its variant, bio-energy.
In this process of fighting the discovery of cosmic orgone energy, a slow but most effective process of softening up the rigidities in the armored character structures will inevitably take place. The hardest, toughest, and cruelest character structure will be forced to make contact with the basic fact of the existence of a life energy, and thus, for the first time in the history of man, the rigidity in the human structure will begin to crack, to soften, to yield, to cry, to worry, to free life, even if at first in a hostile, murderous manner. The help of medical orgonomists will do its share in the softening-up process.
It is to be expected, furthermore, that as the public discussions of orgone energy functions spread over ever-widening areas of the globe, other human problems of existence will come into flux too. They will be subjected to a new type of scrutiny, and many gaps in understanding will be filled by what is already known about the basic cosmic force. The Catholic will have to revise his attitude toward the natural genitality of children and grownups; he will learn to distinguish pornography (“lust”) from the natural embrace (“happiness,” “body”). He already has begun to change his viewpoint with regard to the sexuality of children. Government officials will learn through sharp experiences in dangerous situations that man is far more than a zoon politikon, he is an animal with emotions that determine the course of history, irrational emotions to boot, which messed up the world in the twentieth century. One could even imagine that such rigid politicians as the Russian dictators would feel a “softening” toward human affairs creep into their frozen bodies. Religion will most probably revise its basic foundations regarding the sharp antithesis of man and nature, and will rediscover the real truth, which has been proclaimed with little factual knowledge or effect by most founders of religion throughout history. Work will enter the social scene as the toughest and most efficient combatant of political irrationalism. Man will learn to work for his life and love and children and friends, and not merely babble about the politics of the day, which are forced upon him by nonworking parasites of society.
In this manner, the blocking of natural contact with the self and the surrounding world will slowly, possibly over several centuries, diminish, and finally, as the prevention of armoring in the newborn generations succeeds, will completely vanish from the surface of this earth.
This is no prophecy. Man, and not fate, is burdened with the full responsibility for the outcome of this process.