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November 13, 1957, Vol. III, No. 3
Panel to Discuss Delinquency
A panel of speakers headed by the Reverend Howard R. Moody, of the Judson Memorial Church, will discuss next week the problem of curbing juvenile delinquency in Greenwich Village. They will meet under the auspices of the Village Independent Democrats, 224 West 4th Street, on Wednesday, November 20, at 8 p.m.
A number of people, including Mr. Moody, have been alerted to a potentially dangerous situation as the result of a recent series of incidents involving teen-agers and requiring police intervention. The Village has been singularly free of “rumbles” and the like, but Mr. Moody believes that the possibilities for violence are present and can be set off by gangs from the outside. He yesterday told the Voice that community action should “obviously precede any outbreak of violence.”
Epitaph for a Scientist
By Adam Margoshes
Wilhelm Reich died in the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, November 3. One of the greatest scientists of our time, a healthy, vigorous, robust man, full of energy and at the height of his remarkable creative powers at the age of 60, he could not take the misery of confinement, and his heart failed. As is usually the case with such men, he leaves behind no scientific heirs of comparable stature. The loss is incalculable and irretrievable.
He was in jail for contempt of an injunction obtained against him by the Food and Drug Administration. This injunction not only forbade the sale or rent of the orgone accumulator — an invention of Reich’s and his chief source of income, on which he depended for his experimental work — but also the sale and distribution of every one of Reich’s books, including the psychoanalytic classic, “Character Analysis,” on the ground that these works were “labeling” for the accumulator!
The FDA had clearly overreached its authority here, but unfortunately Reich refused to contest the injunction…Reich was the only one of Freud’s students who carried his essential work deeper and farther. Even Freud himself, in his later metaphysical period, turned his back on his greatest clinical discovery — the sexual aetiology of the neuroses and psychoses. This was the biological basis of psychoanalysis, which was repudiated by every one of the Freudian revisionists — Jung, Adler, Rank, Horney, Fromm, Sullivan, etc., including the later Freud. And this was the point at which Reich made his historic breakthrough — the discovery that sexual disfunction has its roots in orgasmic disturbance.
Despite the fashionable tendency to credit Reich with valuable early work, up to and including “Character Analysis,” and disparage his later work with orgone and weather-control, his whole theory unfolds consistently and inevitably from his original study of the orgasm reflex.
Briefly, he soon discovered that the function of the orgasm was the discharge of bioelectric energy. He then found that this energy had laws of its own, distinguishing it from electrical energy. And he found this energy — which he called orgone — in the atmosphere and in the cosmos. It was the specific life-energy, and by studying it he was able to solve the age-old riddle of biogenesis, as he explains in “The Cancer Biopathy.”
Reich learned to work with orgone, to measure it, to use it, to understand it. Through this work he gained revolutionary insight into the nature of the universe, into cancer and schizophrenia, into meteorological phenomena.
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]