Wilhelm Reich Essay

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Wilhelm Reich was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire on March 24th, 1897. His parents were farmers, and at a young age Reich developed a fascination with the life processes of plants and animals. His formal education at this time was provided by a private tutor.

When Reich was 14, he discovered his mother was having an affair with his tutor. After Reich reported this to his father, his mother committed suicide. Atwood and Stolorow (1977) have speculated that this tragedy may have contributed to Reich's most significant theories.

After the death of his father three years later, Reich took over the family farm until it was destroyed by the Russians in 1915. At that time he joined the Austrian Army. Upon returning from the war, Reich
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Because sexuality is often shrouded in ignorance and shame, many people are not able to attain this release and, according to Reich, are thereby doomed to ill health and neurotic disturbances.

In order to combat societal pressure and educate the youth, Reich began organizing mental hygiene clinics and sex counseling. He also began joining liberal and socialistic groups at this time, convinced that only an overthrow of authoritarian society could ultimately alleviate the neurotic suffering of its constituents. To this end, in 1930 he left his wife and daughters and traveled to Berlin to join the Communist Party. Three years later, Reich would be expelled from the Party because of his views regarding sexuality.

With the rise of Hitler, Reich left Germany and traveled to Denmark, and then fled to Sweden to escape the Nazis. Sweden expelled him, and Reich moved on to Norway, where he began his bion experiments. It was during these experiments that he discovered what he would term "orgone energy," a form of life-energy which the bions emitted. He built and began experimenting with a device intended to attract and concentrate orgone energy, the orgone accumulator, or ORAC.

In 1939, Reich accepted an invitation to lecture at the New School for Social Research in New York City, and he moved to the United States. He married again, and in 1944 his son Peter was born. He continued to experiment with the ORAC, and in 1948 he is said to
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