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Thread: Wilhelm Reich

  1. #1
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    Default Wilhelm Reich

    I hope not too out of place as not often I'm in bearded marxist mode, but when it comes to sex and marxism it seems Wilhelm Reich beat a lot of people to it.

    Even if he was wrong on a lot of things, the nuclear family for one, but he was used as a symbol of protest and got checked out by the FBI. I think the problem with Reich is he missed the second half of the century so it's very dated.

    So general thoughts on Reich or Orgone Energy?

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    Our friend Danny l is the worlds leading expert on this. I'm glad you bought it up

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    I'll keep my Devo cap in the meantime. Preserving that orgone.

    I do wonder what he would have made of the von Trapp family. Sound of Music and all. With the father and the culture that comes in to denazify Germany. Maybe I;m reading it wrong. But he seems to think a nuclear family is the strong arm of conservatism. Of course, there's way more to it than that. I have The Mass Psychology of Facsism and The Sexual Revolution in front of me for reference.

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    Worlds leading reichian Danny l recently recommended everyone on dissensus do these excercises and it'll make your boner harder. I haven't started yet but I am intending to give it a go soon

    https://reichiantherapy.info/book%20...ome%20Book.pdf

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    I think we can do better than the nuclear family as a species. It has very obvious pitfalls.

    Itís just that many of the experimental alternative models have been even worse.

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    Reich was definitely onto something when he talked about character armour and this is super relevant to other conversations weíve been having here.

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    I dunno how relevant this all is now. These are the kind of thoughts I take with me to the ballot box anyway. Makes me think I'd be better going to the Orgasmatron.



    He uses Marxist definitions of rural labour right for the Bolshevik Revolution. Outdated in post-Industrial societies and I would have thought based on my own presumption, Weimar Germany.

    Where I think I disagree with him. In simple terms.

    To Reich - A patriachal family results in the kids growing up respecting an authoritarian state.
    To me - An authoritarian nationalist state substitutes itself for parental roles.

    You see it in old Hollywood post 1950 and how it changes e.g. Max Ophulsl' Caught; the woman leaves her rich husband who sees a shrink for a typist job and romance with a GP, only to recoil in Labour pains at the end.

    I'm simplyfying anyway, get confirmation bias trying to read it as I see Russia as the 'Motherland' and Germany's 'Fatherland' as a reaction to the Weimar turmoil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    I think we can do better than the nuclear family as a species. It has very obvious pitfalls.

    It’s just that many of the experimental alternative models have been even worse.
    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    Barty gets irritated/contemptuous with what he calls your citizen smith fantasising John but im more indulgent. what answers do the communists have?
    thatís not the stuff i call citizen smith. i have no problem with anyone saying that kind of thing.

    i just thought it was a bit dumb vim trying to debate and reason with it. heís operating on a complete different paradigm from where this stuff is coming from.

    itís like trying to debate the lyrics to john lennonís imagine with recourse to paul samuelson or trying to prove kind of blue is rubbish using algebra.
    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    I respect islamists

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    Quote Originally Posted by sadmanbarty View Post
    thatís not the stuff i call citizen smith. i have no problem with anyone saying that kind of thing.

    i just thought it was a bit dumb vim trying to debate and reason with it. heís operating on a complete different paradigm from where this stuff is coming from.

    itís like trying to debate the lyrics to john lennonís imagine with recourse to paul samuelson or trying to prove kind of blue is rubbish using algebra.
    Yeah agreed it was a ridiculous conversation

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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    I think we can do better than the nuclear family as a species. It has very obvious pitfalls.

    Itís just that many of the experimental alternative models have been even worse.
    the postmodern middle class throw ur toys out of the pram queer/white but white privilege cancel culture family?

    hmm. doesn't quite have the same ring to it, tbh.

    But yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    I respect islamists

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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?
    It's not just liberalism though is it? even the conservative family has been disintegrating over the past 200 years. it's capitalism, liberalism is only one manifestation of this. that's where vim slips up.

    As for alternatives: nothing. the future does not exist for the family.
    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    I respect islamists

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    I have just got in from a long session at the pub so cannot respond at my best, but I' ll just chuck in Reich was quite conservative in a lot of ways. He didn't believe in an "anything goes" liberal free fall but rather a more natural morality that assets itself when people are "healthy" however we define that. His views changed a lot over the course of his career as well. He viewed his earlier "sex-pol" work as pretty naive in later years, in particular the idea that the small gains in social sexual health he made might contribute and feed into some kind of bulwark against something with the social and poltical power of fascism. A case of him getting over-excited by a particular obsession and not being able to view it critically, which is a pretty common pattern with him.

    Also, he looked outwith of European cultures for evidence of social formations that appeared to be less damaged than ours and not to have the Freudian hangups like the Odepius conflict, and was a big fan of Malinowski's research (see "|The Sexual Life of Savages" - best Soul Jazz title ever/a book I still need to read). Freud felt that opedial formations were a human universal and Reich was - AFAIK - one of the first to question Freud's grand narative and see it as something cultural specific instead.

    A couple of other works that contribute to this line of thinking are Jean Liedoff's The Continuum Concept (about Yanomani "indians" in the Amazon) and Verrier Elwin's The Muria and Their Ghotul - about the Muria tribes people of central India and the ways in which their social setup supported (I'm assuming this is past tense now) adolescent sexuality.
    Last edited by DannyL; 25-05-2019 at 09:47 PM.

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    I should probably add that if you'd like to see more evidence of alternate social formations it's worth looking at AS Neill and the Summerhill school and the raft of "free schools" that have followed in it's wake (See David' Gribble's two books "Real Educatio"n and "Varieties of Freedom" for more). Reich and Neill were correspondents and there's a book of their letters. Neill's books on education are fucking amazing, Summerhill is still going - I visited in last year and had a kind of argument about it with Luke on Facebook.

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    I was quite drunk when I wrote the above so don't know if any of the above is useful.

    Dlaurent: I wish I was the world's leading expert, I know quite a lot about the therapeutic side of things, and have lots of practical experience here. I've done some Reichian trainings in Oslo and about 4 years of weekly sessions in the UK. I know less about the socio-political side of thigs, I've read both the books you mention but not for a few years. I think your point about outdated Marxist defintions is well made. I'd add that Reich was such a polymath, continually following the line of his emerging researches that he never went back to his earlier works and revisted and repolished them. I'm not sure how the later Reich would see these earlier poltical works.

    I agree with Jon in that I think character armour is a really important concept. Reich used to use it as way of explaining why political and social change is so hard, because our conservatism, timidity, rigidity or whatever is held in our bodies, mostly outside of awareness, and simply changing the economic set up isn't going to address this (not that it's at all simple). I often think very politically minded people seem dead to this reality or see the body and emotional and sensual life as bourgeosis indulgences , which is just - wrong. This is why he was so critical of the Left, "Red Fascists" after his communist period. He saw with a psychoanalyst's eye, alll the pent up sadism and aggression that was in movements like Stalinism and can be found in "the Left" more generally, however egalitarian the ideology. He's pretty excoriating about Marxism and other ideologies in Listen, Little Man in v straightforward language. That's why he was interested in child rearing practices and education as ways of producing "unarmoured life" or simply put less fucked up people.

    Hope this of some use?
    Last edited by DannyL; 26-05-2019 at 09:39 AM.

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