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Thread: Wilhelm Reich

  1. #16
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    I think that's what I was looking for. I will look for the books you mentioned as I know little about what followed, let alone his later work, and especially the 'ethnographic' books as I though Reich was a bit narrow, concentrating on Communism and Hitler a bit too much.

    I like the Freudian hangups. Which are why I became interested in him I guess. The political depth psychology side of things. Even though I lean more towards Jung on those, with archetypes, and welling up from nature opposed to Freudian repression, so you'd expect people to be the same everywhere, which is where the socio-economics comes in that makes Reich at least historically interesting for me. Though actual Reichian therapy is nothing I'd actually considered as yet, interested if you don't mind explaining what it involves?

    Reading Colin Wilson's The Quest for Wilhelm Reich at the moment and I'm only on the first chapter but it gives me a bit more background on him. He starts by talking about how Reich coined a term, 'emotional plague', taking for granted they must be motivated by envy or hatred to describe people who disagreed with him. I'll try to post what I learn from the Wilson book as I work through it.

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    Yeah, it was the fusion of politics and psychoanalysis that first appealed to me. I think I first heard of him reading Robert Anton Wilson in my teens.
    .
    Couple of things to bear in mind I guess - firstly, 'cos of the way his career ended, he never had the chance to do the kind of semi-formal retrospective summing up of his career and contemplate his legacy. Plus the polymath factor and you have quite a fractured body of work, it's kinda hard to know where to start. Second, the idea of orgone energy freaks people out and everyone tries to understand it through their own frameworks rather than taking Reich's seriously on the subject. I get why people don't, it sounds absurd and mad when you first encounter but I think if you don't take this concept seriously (maybe just as an intellectual experiment for starters) you never really get him. I've never read Wilson but I'm would bet real cash money that's what he tries to do. Be interested to see what you make of it. The therapy text thing that Luka links to above does this - he doesn't "believe" in this part of Reich so he dismisses it but this shows a pretty superficial understanding. Orgone is built into Reich's work, it's a fundamental, uncomfortable as that might be intellectually.

    This is a really good interview with Jim Strick who has just taken over as trustee of the Reich Museum and has written an amazing book about Reich's lab work, Wilhelm Reich: Biologist:
    http://againsteveryonewithconnerhabi...-wilhelm-reich

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  4. #18
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    I was more into the swagger of existenitalism with some historical mysticism thrown in as a late teenager, when I met Colin Wilson a few times, and I'm not far into his book but sure he won't over intellectualise it. Which is the last thing it needs. He wrote about all kinds of weirder esoteric things himself.

    It's the recent political climate (or my awareness of it) that's got me into the political psychology. There's lots that could be said about the current collective consciousness and so orgone energy and similar things aren't really that abstract to me.

    Will listen to the interview going to sleep as I'm drunk myself now.

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  6. #19
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    Oh really? What was he like?

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    Danny to what extent do you think it is orgone I am talking about in the fluctuations in superhuman abilities thread?

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    He was writing the foreword for a girlfriends dads book. It was only brief but still gave me a bit of a bragging right at the time. I still brag about probably a bit much as I was only young. Drove an old jag all the way to Birmingham and apparently lived in a shed full of books. Not really as weird as I expected only having read a bit about him. Most of the conversation was about the book he was writing the foreword for which was basically Joseph Campbell style mythological history.

    Listening to the interview you posted last night, it's nice to listen to people to speak that still think Reich is relevant; the part about noting in the column at the end of Mass Psychology of Facism about the demagoguery of the Trump regime doesn't surprise me. But of course it's just as bad in half of Europe.

    Maybe it's just me but I feell only what I can describe as my Orgone is all over the place because of it. I'm trying to read as little news as possible.

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  10. #22
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    I don't know. IHmmm.... do think orgone is a real phenomena that you can/will encounter if you start mucking around with his stuff.

    But on a personal level, and using the language of conventional biology, you can also understand rapid changes of mood (depression into good feeling), as as an expansion of the parasymphathetic nervous system, a switch from activation of the sympathetic system to the parasympathetic. There's quite a lot of writing around about this now. From contraction to expansion is another way to think of it.

    I tend to think "with" this rather than think of orgone as such, probably 'cos the inherent strangeness of the latter concept.

    But when you've experienced this shift - which I have a lot now - you kinda end up thinking thoughts and cognition are less important than people think they are. Whole crap trains of thought dropping off like dead skin when you breathe a little differently. This is at the root of my ambivalence about talking therapies.

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  12. #23
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    That to Luka obvs.

    This is just the beginning of what IIRC is quite a good piece of the para/sympathetic nervous system division.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article...better-health/

    Perhaps some kind soul could try and find the full thing and post it here?

    That kinda thinking is coming into psychotherapy via books like "The Polyvagel Theory" by Stephen Poges and Bessel van de Kolk's "The Body Knows the Score". None of this stuff mentions orgone obvs.

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  14. #24
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    I've been experimenting with kind thoughts. It is an effort. I have to remind myself to do it. Reach out a tendril of compassion to someone walking ahead of me on the street. See how the whole feeling-world morphs in response, the invisible atmosphere we live within changing. I spent the 90s thinking, mistakenly or otherwise, that I needed to affect a kind of screw-face and put up huge psychic defences to walk down the street and unpicking those habits of mind is very difficult.

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  16. #25
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    That's great. I hope it goes well. Weird creatures aren't we. My old therapist used to have a Buddhist epigraph on her website "We bind ourselves without a rope" which really resonated with me.

    The screwface thing would be what Reich would call an armouring pattern. Character armour - the psychological attitudes that support that, muscular armour - the physical tensions that go along with it. Two sides of the same thing.

    One of my first big revelations with this stuff was letting a tension go in my jaw and experiencing a lack of a need to defend myself. Really blew my mind, that I'd been carrying that around for years.

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  18. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    The village raising a child stuff works where there is an agreed set of values and assumptions. trickier from where we have to start from. With children you're really trying to inculcate a set of values, to program them to reproduce your own values. No one is going to give up that perogative. Its fundamental.

    This is obviously the stuff vim lives for where liberalism gives rise to irresolveable contradictions. Barty gets irritated/contemptuous with what he calls your citizen smith fantasising John but im more indulgent. what answers do the communists have?
    Well inevitably the communists are better at describing the problem than they are at coming up with a workable solution. :-)

    Part of the early stages of capitalism was a process of getting adults out of the villages and into cities to work in factories. So it was no longer possible for the village to raise the child in the same way. You can see this process continuing now with "freedom of movement" meaning that wage earners are essentially forced away from their country of origin (and family) to earn a living somewhere else.

    There is a trend towards the nuclear family, atomisation. Children are the future workers and now have to endure highly pressurised school and then shit jobs to fully become adults. What does along with the nuclear family is that kids are the private property of their parents, rather than having agency of their own or being the responsibility of society.

    (Silvia Federici's "Caliban and The Witch" is a really good book which covers how early capitalism screwed over women and robbed them of a lot of the freedom and agency they had in feudalism).

    Obviously people try to resist this and there have been various formal and informal experiments around this. Also look at any school in London and you will see lots of different shaped families so there is less stigma around not having a mum and a dad etc. But the fundamentals remain - there are a lot more single parents with people who help, than the village raising the child.

    There are some ways around this which don't require abolishing capitalism - one of them is 24 hour free at the point of service childcare in every community. One might be universal basic income (although there are problems with that).

    We've probably spoken before on here about home schooling and Steiner schools and kids who grew up in communes and let's just say that I think these are noble experiments but I am not a fan.

    Also we need to drastically revise the role of the mum and the dad and abolish patriarchy. There is some pretty out there stuff happening about abolishing pregnancy too which I have not fully got into yet.

    My curry has arrived!

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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    We've probably spoken before on here about home schooling and Steiner schools and kids who grew up in communes and let's just say that I think these are noble experiments but I am not a fan.
    Met so many fucked up people from those experimental schools. Not to judge them, just saying that it's no solution to being a human being.
    Took a rest stop that wasn't on the schedule

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  22. #28
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    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2...vTZpyomegXmWz4

    I mentioned Stephen Porges upthread. Tickets for this event a mere 187. The therapy world is such a racket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pattycakes_ View Post
    Met so many fucked up people from those experimental schools. Not to judge them, just saying that it's no solution to being a human being.
    I'm a little sceptical here. Whenever I talk about Summerhill, people start falling over themselves in their eagerness to tell me how it can't possibly work, it's only for poshos, it'll fuck em up etc etc. People experience me talking about it as a provocation. It's a really interesting reaction.

  24. #30
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    I mean,

    home schooling and Steiner schools and kids who grew up in communes
    ... is a very broad set.

    Are all educational experiments to be tarred with the same brush? Can we not conceive of schooling that's better than what we have now?

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