Charles R. “Chuck” Kelley, was the co-founder with his wife, Erica, of the Radix Institute and later, Kelley/Radix Education in Feeling and Purpose. He passed-away April 30, 2005. With his passing, the “Reichian Movement” lost one of its finest. Reprinted from The Creative Process Vol. II Nos. 2&3 September 1962 by Charles R. Kelley – 1962
Introduction to “What is Orgone Energy?”
The Creative Process was the only journal in America in 1960-1965 devoted to developing Reich’s work.
The article WHAT IS ORGONE ENERGY? appeared in Volume 2. The article has been quoted, misquoted and plagiarized by other Reichian publications in the 37 years since it first appeared. Here it is reprinted as it appeared, with the exception that two figures from the original article depicting cloud destruction experiments with Reich’s apparatus could no longer be used.
The original plates and photographs deteriorated too much. A new Figure 2 from the same operation has been substituted.
Charles R. Kelley
Vancouver, Washington State
What Is Orgone Energy?
|From a public lecture by the author on May 9, 1962, at the Hewitt Auditorium, Cooper Union, New York City. The lecture was the first of a series of six lectures entitled An Introduction to Orgonomy, which were sponsored by the Interscience Research Institute.|
- Franz Anton Mesmer called it animal magnetism
- Charles von Reichenbach called it odyle
- To Henri Bergson it was the elan vital, the “vital force”
- While to Hans Driesch it was the entelechy
- Sigmund Freud observed its functioning in human emotions and termed it libido
- William MacDougall, the great British – American psychologist of a generation ago, labeled it hormic energy
Dozens, if not hundreds, of lesser – known scientists have recognized its presence and have given it a name to characterize its special properties.
Among the 20th-century proponents of the concept are, for example, Doctors Charles Littlefield and his vital magnetism and George Starr White and his cosmo-electric energy. Mechanistic science in the 17th through 19th centuries embraced many of its essential qualities in the concept of the ether, while mystical human beings have embraced other essential qualities of it in the concept of god.
Orgone energy is Wilhelm Reich’s name for the substratum from which all nature is created. The best definition this author can provide for it is this: Orgone energy is the creative force in nature. This article will discuss briefly the history of the discovery of orgone energy by Reich and will describe its properties.
It will then summarize the evidence for and against the concept and, finally, will undertake to explain why it is that the concept meets such great resistance.
Reich’s Discovery of Orgone Energy
Orgone energy was originally discovered by Wilhelm Reich in his psychiatric work. As a psychoanalyst and student of Freud, Reich’s point of departure was, quite naturally, Freud’s concept of “libido.”
“Libido” is life energy, desire, the source of human striving. Reich developed the libido concept, concentrating on its physical expression and simultaneous psychological content, until he was able to show the relation of bodily attitude and emotion. This he described in CHARACTER ANALYSIS, a book which went further than any work in history in solving the mystery of the relation’ of mind and body. In this great book Reich also described the mass pathology of the animal man. This pathology consists of a chronic rigidity of the musculature which blocks the movement of energy underlying emotion and hence blocks the emotion, thus providing the psychic or emotional underpinning of mankind’s universal sickness.
Reich’s initial work on orgone energy was done, then, in depth psychology. From this it spread, quite naturally, into sociology and political science, for Reich saw quite clearly that the sickness of man was socially or culturally transmitted. His books, THE MASS PSYCHOLOGY OF FASCISM, THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION and PEOPLE IN TROUBLE deal with this enlargement of his depth psychological discoveries to the social and political scene.