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Date: Fri, 11 Oct 85 07:21:08 edt
From: Doug Alan <nessus>
Well, since it's been a couple of weeks and no one got the 100 point bonus question, I'll give it all away. (Henry Chai got the 10 point bonus question!)
There's this guy named Peter Reich who wrote a book called "A Book of Dreams". It's about him and his father Wilhelm Reich, who was a famous psychiatrist. Wilhelm Reich invented this thing called the Orgone accumulator which would accumulate Orgone Energy, which is life energy. If you got into one of these Orgone accumulators, it would build up your life energy. Deserts are caused by UFOs that come and suck up Orgone Energy from the atmosphere. Wilhelm Reich also invented an alternate from of the Orgone accumulator called the cloudbuster. It would sap Orgone energy from UFOs and put it back in the atmosphere. This would cause it to rain.
Now fluorescent lights and glow-in-the-dark yoyos are very very bad for one's Orgone Energy, so Wilhelm made Peter bury his yoyo. But every now and then Peter would want to play with it anyway, even though he knew it was bad for him. So he would dig it up, play with it for a while, and then bury it again. One day while Peter was still a little kid, the FDA came along and threw Wilhelm in jail where he died a few years later.
"On top of the world
Looking over the edge"
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 85 15:44:04 edt
From: Henry Chai <chai%utflis%toronto.csnet@CSNET-RELAY.ARPA>
Subject: Orgone & Orgonomy
Well, I finally got around to look more closely at "Orgone" and related stuff. I started first by locating "A Book of Dreams" by Peter Reich. When I went to get the book from one of the campus libraries, (the Science & Medicine library) I noticed that there are several other books on or by Wilheim Reich. Then I looked at the call number of "A Book of Dreams", which was RZ 460.R43, and saw that all the other books have RZ 460 as the first part of the call number. According to the Library of Congress' (LC) book classification scheme, RZ 460 is used for books on "Orgonomy", which is classified under the heading "Miscellaneous Systems of Medicine". Next I turned to the Dewey Classification System of books. The call number for books on Orgonomy is 615.856, and its heading is "Miscellaneous Therapies: Controversial and Spurious Therapies -- including Orgonomy; quackery e,g, Perkinism". So now we know where it fits! I have looked into Encylopaedia Brittanica but there is no reference to Orgonomy. The Random House Dictionary, however, defines orgonomic energy.
As I started to go thru "A Book of Dreams" and "Wilheim Reich and Orgonomy" by an Ola Raknes, the first thing I noticed was that Reich's home was called "Orgonon" and not "Organon". So why did KB use "Organon"? It seems unlikely that it's a mistake. Also "Organon" refers to a work by (I think) Aristotle; could there be a connection somehow?
Next thing I found was the amazingly simple principles employed for the Cloudbuster and the Orgone Accumulator. The former is nothing but an arrangement of telescopic metal tubes. Here I must quote two properties of orgone, the "life energry":
1. Organic substances attract and absorb orgone energy
2. Metallic substances attract and repel or reflect orgone energy
("attract and repel"? this is the type of stuff you expect from an "Orgonomist", of which said author of the book, Dr. Raknes, is one)
So the metal tubes will absorb orgone energy and will send this energy into the insides of the tube, which lead to water (for some reason water is a good absorber of orgone). When a tube is aimed at a cloud, the orgone energy will be absorbed and the cloud will be dissipated (busted). But if the cloudbuster is pointed at regions where there is no cloud, clouds nearby would be charged with orgone and/or moisture, so when the clouds are overcharged it would rain!
As for the orgone acculmulator, it is just a box with an outer layer of organic substance, e.g. wood, and a metallic inner layer. The wood will absorb orgone from the air, and the metal will in turn abosrb orgone from the wood, then send it into the inside of the box. So if you sit inside the box, you'll be charged with orgone. If there is another person inside the box with you, after a while you'll see each other glow with a bluish shimmer -- sky-blue is the characteristic color of orgone. (and that is the very reason that the sky is blue!)
And to correct Doug, radium is NOT a CATALYST of orgone. If orgone is irradiated, it will trun into DOR -- 'deadly orgone', which is brownish black in color, and needless to say it's bad for you.
All of this sounds out of this world, doesn't it? I have some trouble reading "Wilheim Reich and Orgonomy" because the author's tone is so serious, he seems to be saying "Hey! this is all true! I've seen it happen. I can't understand why some people refuse to believe it when it's so obvious! And the FDA, they said they used scientific equipment to prove the non-existence of orgone, yet they refuse to give the details of the experiments. They must be making it up!" I found many of the "experiments" or "observations" described in the book to be totally unscientific. However, I'll try to finish it and I'll keep everyone posted if anything else interesting comes up. (that is, everyone who has stayed with me so far :-)
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 85 06:40:44 est
From: Henry Chai <chai%utflis%toronto.csnet@CSNET-RELAY.ARPA>
Subject: More on Peter Reich (LONG)
I have sorta finished "A Book of Dreams" by Peter Reich (I rushed thru it). Here's what I think is relevant to "Cloudbusting".
Peter Reich (known as Peeps to his Dad) was close to his parents. When he was 10, his mother left them because she was a rather independent person and also because she got fed up with Wilhem's work. Thus Peter was very close to his dad after that. The government people came and took Wilhem away when Peter was 13 (Wilhem also died in the same year). With regrads to the line "I can't hide you from the government", I quote a passage that describe what happened when the government people FDA agents and a US marshal came in "a shiny black car". To get to the Reichs' estate, Orgonon, visitors have to pass the abandoned laboratory at the foot of the hill.
Wilhem instructed Peter to keep the government people at the lab by asking them to wait, and then to call him on the phone, so that Wilhem can be prepared. Peter did as he was told, and as he called Wilhem, who was in his study, the government people sneaked up the hill:
"Daddy! They didn't wait"
Tears tangled my words making the reciever wet and shiny. The car disappered around around the lab up the hill.
"Daddy! They're coming up! OH DADDY OH GOD THEY DIDN'T WAIT.
THEY'RE COMING UP DADDY THEY'RE COMING UP!"
The screen door slammed before the receiver hit the floor. Grass was already whipping my legs as I ran up the hill. [...]
Everett Quimbly said if you run with your hands open you could go faster so my hands were wide open going back and forth like a train all the way up to the hill like a train running. Because if I run fast enough maybe I could beat them to he top of the hill and warn Daddy. What did they want? What did they want? Why did they always make us unhappy?
Actually that time the FDA people just wanted the orgone accumulators destroyed. The actual "capturing" of Wilhem was not described.
This passage probably gave KB the line "On top of the world / looking over the edge":
He was like a man who was standing on top of the world looking over into a new world. That is what Daddy was like. He had lifted himself so he was looking the horizon to a new world, a free and happy world. He stood there on the edge of the universe looking into the future. [...] They pulled the ladder out from under him and killed him.
The "march" music of the song could have been inspired by the "Corps of the Comsic Engineers", in which Wilheim was the general, Peter was both lieutenant and sergeant, and their followers were soldiers and scouts. They believed they were soldiers fighting against UFO's.
The line "Your son's coming out" does not refer to Peter admitting his homosexuality :-). When he was about 26, Peter saw the movie "The Fly" (you know, the one about the scientist who did an experiment which caused his own body to be mixed up with a fly's so that he has the head and an arm of the fly's). It had a most profound effect on him:
In the last scene, a benevolent uncle comforts the scientist's widow and son. He tells the son that his father had "touched on knowledge of the future," and, "Maybe someday, in many years, the world willl understand his contribution," and, "he was ahead of his time". [..] Right there in the movie, people were laughing at how incredible The Fly was when sitting right there in the middle of the crowd was someone who had been through something like that and it was real. It was just more believable in a movie.
The first thirteen years of my life always seemed most real to me, more real than anything that happened afterwards. And now, suddenly, with the infant soldier fading away in the bright lights after the movie, I felt afraid that my life would be empty and lost.
The last thirteen years were lost and unhappy. The infant was frozen inside me, unable to live. [..] It took a movie to break my shell, maybe because movies are so close to dreams and I love my dreams more than reality. There had been too much sadness; not enough laughter.
That's all, can't find anything related to trains though. In another book "The Man Who Dreamed of Tomorrow" by Mann and Hoffman (with foreword by Wilhem's wife), it was mentioned that during his few months in prison Wilhem put together a book called "prayers and Poems" for Peter. Haven't found it in the library yet; maybe it would contain some more helpful stuff?
Sorry for the length (it's almost as long as some of the postings by Doug on net.music ;-), but I felt these are relevant to deeper understanding of the song.
Henry Chai, just a humble student at the Faculty of Library and Information Science, U of Toronto
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 86 00:33:18 EST
From: nessus (Doug Alan)
Subject: Re: Organon
> Doesn't Organon mean logic or something like that?
It means an "instrument for acquiring knowledge". What Kate really meant, however, was "Orgonon", which was the name of Peter and Wilhelm Reich's home in New England. Clearly Wilhelm was making a pun in naming it that -- a pun which Kate apparently missed.
Be it ever so humble,
Date: Tue, 06 May 86 15:16 PDT
Subject: spelling of Organon
Henry Chai preceded me, I note, in deciding that it was "unlikely" that the spelling of Organon was unintentional; but at this point I am willing to admit that even KT is able to commit errors, albeit of the most trivial kind. Knowing, however, of Kate's continued predilection for cigarettes, it is equally possible that the spelling is a veiled reference to an obscure document of 1659, written by the physician Walter Rumsey, entitled "Organon salutis: including divers new experiments of tobacco and coffee: how much they conduce to preserve humane health".
Mr. Chai also noted that he had a hard time reading from the original works of Wilhelm Reich, because of the seriousness of his tone. This tone is precisely what makes Reich's pathology so fascinating (for as much as we may admire the beauty of his ideas and sympathize with the persecution he suffered at the hands of the U.S. government, it must be admitted that Reich was, at least by the late 1940s, quite mad). If Reich had simply taken to stumbling through the streets of Manhattan, spouting harangues to the effect that alien DOR forces were attacking the Earth in UFOs, and that the only way to stop them was to open fire by shooting blue Orgonotic energy rays into the sky through the agency of big metal pipes, he would not be remembered today, except, perhaps, for his early work in the field of Freudian psycho-analytic scholarship. But because he channeled his dementia into the narrow and highly disciplined forms of scholarly writing, developing a large body of Orgonotical literature and publishing heavily footnoted papers regularly in the Orgonon Press, his name lives on, and his work is still sporadically referred to by some of the flakier psychologists in business today.
Partly out of a feeling of empathy for such a means of justifying one's obsessions, I have chosen to adopt Reich's pedantic forms and ponderous style in dealing with the work of Kate Bush, since this kind of obsessive interest in another person's life and work is better disguised, I think, when couched in the dry-as-dust language of the Orgonotic scholar.
From: KNIGHT@MAINE (Michael Knight)
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 87 16:22:47 EDT
Subject: Orgonon trip
Well, I did it. I finally made it up to Orgonon. I took pictures of cloudbusters and Wilhelm Reichs big fieldstone home/laboratory. I even sat in an Orgonon accumulator. I showed the Cloudbusting video to my tour guide on the museums video system. He wants a copy. Said he'd like to try and work it into the tour somehow. He also said that Kate had been there to visit, or so he'd been told. This is his first summer working there as a tour guide.
I sent pictures to IED for inclusion on in Kates birthday card. I wrote a nice note on the back of what I felt was the nicest one: a picture of Reichs tomb, complete with bust, with a cloudbuster behind it. If I make it down to the Katemas party at Joe Turners I'll bring copies so everyone else can see. IED tells me he will be sending most of them along to Kate, which doesn't bother me. I told him he could keep all of them except for the special one to Kate.
-- Mike Knight
'I let the weirdness in. Frequently.'
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 88 01:26:27 PST
From: email@example.com (Tim Maroney)
Subject: Wilhelm Reich
Much of this has been covered already, but I feel this cannot be underscored too strongly.
Wilhelm Reich was one of the three main post-Freudian psychoanalytic theorists, the other two being Adler and Jung. As a result of his pro-sexual and anti- fascist theories, Reich was constantly getting expelled from various countries, which wound up giving him a predictable messiah complex. This complex led to his later crackpot phase of orgonomy. However, to dismiss his entire corpus as crackpottery is merely to betray one's ignorance of the history of psychology. His works on character armor and the mass psychology of fascism still deserve as serious scrutiny as the works of other psychoanalytic theorists.
Wilhelm Reich was killed for scientific heresy, and that is the part of his story that Kate Bush deals with in her excellent song "Cloudbusting". "You looked too small in their big black car to be a threat to the men in power..." In the late 1950's, Reich was arrested by US government agents for publishing unauthorized medical books based on his research into orgonomy. All his books, including his psychoanalytic books from earlier in the century which contained no orgonomic references, were burned. Reich never left prison; he died of prison sickness less than a year later. The episode is a shocking and disgusting one in the history of the country, and that the scientific community did not object to Reich's execution for heresy is a powerful discredit to that community. To dismiss or trivialize it on the grounds that Reich had become a crank is to endorse the execution of heretics.
An excellent and skeptical biography of Reich can be found in the Readers and Writers series of "Beginners' Books", entitled "Reich for Beginners". Serious students should also examine his "Mass Psychology of Fascism" and "The Function of the Orgasm".
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 89 06:57:58 PST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tim Maroney)
Subject: Re: Wilhelm Reich
Dana clearly sees book-burning as a very minor thing, of no real import as long as the books being burned are the right ones. I find this mindset so incomprehensible that no possibility remains for real debate. He would no doubt find better company in Jerry Falwell's Liberty College than here.
I can only repeat that any reading of the lyrics to "Cloudbusting" shows that it concerns primarily Reich's arrest by federal agents, not orgonomy.
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 89 22:17:17 CST
From: email@example.com (Pete Hartman)
Subject: W. Reich
For a while now I've been planning on finding some books about or by Wilhelm Reich, out of curiousity about this "orgone energy" stuff mentioned in this group. The recent argument pushed me into action, and I thought that some relevant things could be made general knowledge....My source is a book called "Wilhelm Reich" (simple enough...) by Charles Rycroft. I originally thought it to be a biography, but it it more an assessment of Reich's work.
To make a long analysis short, the point of the book is that Reich was generally a brilliant man who came to many valid (or nearly valid) insights about personality and relationships, and felt it necessary to give these insights the stamp of a natural science. His understanding of the scientific method, however, seems to have been poor--he did experiments without control groups etc., and was in the habit of finding facts to support his theories rather than finding theories that fit the facts. Unfortunately, in the latter instance, he tended to interpret others' work in ways that helped his theories, but weren't necessarily valid.
The other point the author makes is that many of Reich's theories were similar to what artists and poets have been saying for some time about the nature of life, and taken in such a way have a definite validity. Had he not felt it necessary to explain these thoughts in a "scientific" way, he wouldn't have been so isolated (although in such a light such insights were hardly ground-breaking).
As far as his work being "dangerous", as XYZ/dana seems to insist, it seems unlikely to me. That's not even cited as a reason for his arrest:
"By the 1950's Reich had persuaded himself that it was possible to isolate life energy in the form of vesicles, which he called bions, and to store it in accumulators known as orgone boxes. He also believed that it was possible to cure patients with cancer and other diseases by placing them inside these boxes. In 1954 the United States Food and Drug Administration placed an injunction against the distribution of orgone boxes on the ground that the claims made on their behalf were fraudulent. Reich refused either to obey the injunction of to recognize the competence of the courts to adjudicate on matters of scientific fact. He was eventually charged with contempt of court and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. After imprisonment he was diagnosed paranoid and transferred to 'the only penitentiary with psychiatric treatment facilities,' where he was, however, declared 'legally sane and competent.' On November 3, 1957, he died of heart disease."
On the subject of the orgone boxes (the only part of treatment that could potentially be considered dangerous): "Incidentally, orgone boxes--or to give them their official name 'orgone-energy accumulators'--were constructed of alternating layers of steel wool and rock or glass wool, with celotex soft-board on the outside. Apparently they were the shape of a telephone box of coffin, and I am told that one did indeed feel a bit strange after being encased in one, probably on account of their poor ventilation." However it is worth noting that nowhere does it indicate that Reich's treatment allowed someone to stay in a poorly ventilated box to the point of physical or psychological harm.
It is also indicated that quite a bit of his practice was successful in treating psychological problems, but this success was probably more due to Reich's personality and approach than to his theories.
I think that my major outrage in the matter of his arrest is not that a brilliant man was trampled by an unfeeling government, although that has some truth to it, but that his books were burned. There was no need or excuse for such an action, and it just adds to my realization of how little the government really cares about its citizens rights.
If you want a fairly quick and seemingly fair and realistic analysis of Reich's theories, I'd recommend going to your local library and finding this book. It's only just over 100 pages, and seemed to me to be balanced between finding Reich's valid points and pointing out his obviously off-the-wall attempt to find physical explanations for why these points worked in therapy.
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 89 13:47:23 EST
From: jsd%UMASS.BITNET@MITVMA.MIT.EDU (Jonathan S. Drukman)
Subject: it's only a song!
This whole Wilhelm Reich thing is utterly ridiculous. He may or may not have been a complete loon. He may or may not have been guilty of heinous crimes against gullible idiots. He may or may not have deserved condemnation and torture at the hands of the American Government. You personally may or may not feel that medical quacks should be locked up. I have my own quite strong opinions on the subject but I'll be damned if I'm going to waste L-H bandwidth with them.
The subject is Kate.
The song is Cloudbusting.
It's a great song, no matter how you slice it. Why can't you people see music for the abstract art it is?
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (stepanek/cs assoc)
Date: 7 Jan 89 23:53:05 GMT
Subject: Re: Wilhelm Reich
Reich's accumulators were labelled as a fraud by the FDA because Reich had earlier come down on the FDA's psycho-drug policy. (I.e. Reich disagreed with the FDA's policy that drugs can [and perhaps should] be a normal part of psychiatric treatment.)
Reich did not answer the FDA's summons in court because his lawyer TOLD him that he didn't have to go to court. ("Naah, just write 'em a letter.") This same lawyer went on to be prosecuting attorney in Reich's later criminal indictment. If Reich had had a GOOD lawyer, he could have gotten the whole original case thrown out of court as being unconstitutional. ("The government can't regulate scientific discoveries, et cetera et cetera")
Meanwhile, this whole topic has gotten so far away from the original posting about a song with "Cloudbuster" lyrics that it no longer belongs in this newsgroup.
P.S.: Thank goodness most people think of the cloudbuster as a bunch of hoo-ha. Otherwise some real harm could be done to global weather.
From: iuvax!uiucuxc!rtmvax!nrc@uunet.UU.NET (Richard Caldwell)
Date: 14 Mar 89 06:59:30 GMT
Subject: Re: Orgone Accumulators on Letterman
I found a biography of Wilhelm Riech at the library (which I've yet to read). I was interested to find pictures of Riech's actual "Cloudbuster". The actual device was much more simple in appearance than the one in the Cloudbusting video, just a bunch of rods mounted on a pivoting platform. I don't think the actual device was mobile like the one in the video. The "principle" on which it was based required that it be "grounded" to a deep well of some sort.
Please note that I'm not faulting the video in any way. I think that Cloudbusting is my favorite video of all time. In fact the more fanciful version of the "Cloudbuster" might be consider to be how the device would be perceived through the eyes of a child.
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 89 08:45 PDT
Subject: Book of Dreams
Peter Reich's book A Book of Dreams has been re-issued in paperback in the United States!
It's now out in a new edition as an E. P. Dutton-Bellisk oversize paperback book. The domestic retail price is $7.95.
And get this: Kate is on the cover!
It's highly cool! The cover design features a photo by John Carder Bush (one of the shots he took at the end of one of the shooting-days, with Kate's figure at the cloudbuster, in silhouette against an orange sky).
The mystery is that neither Kate nor John Carder Bush is credited in the book. The design is credited to some other woman, and there is no I.D. of the photo itself, nor of its photographer. Pretty odd. Either Dutton is breaking copyright laws, or Kate and John requested anonymity. IED doesn't know which. Also, there is a new introduction by Peter Reich, but he too makes no mention of Kate.
But isn't this neat anyway?
-- Andrew Marvick
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 89 00:03 PDT
Subject: p. reich book correKTion
The new edition of Peter Reich's A Book of Dreams is published by Dutton-Obelisk, not "Bellisk". (Third-hand info is nearly always wrong.) Also, there is a mention of Kate on the back-cover blurb: she is listed among several pop-culture figures who have acknowledged the book's inspiring influence upon them. She is not identified in the photo, nor is John Carder Bush credited for his photograph. The brief new preface by Peter Reich is a wonderfully concise explanation of his reasons for remaining vague about his "stand" on WR's theories--words which also serve as justification for Kate's own evasiveness.
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 89 14:31:31 PDT
From: email@example.com (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Wilhelm Reich (long)
With all the talk lately about "Cloudbusting" and Wilhelm and Peter Reich, I thought it would be instructive to see how someone with a completely different perspective looks at his work. The following piece is by Martin Gardner, a well known mathematician and critic of the paranormal.
From "Hermit Scientists" by Martin Gardner (1951)
Reprinted in Gardner's Science: Good, Bad and Bogus (1981)
Reprinted here without permission
Let us turn to a more colorful scientist whose work has recently become a lively cult among the more Bohemian intellectuals of New York and elsewhere -- the psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich. Like Hubbard's dianetics, Reich's "orgone therapy" has no connection with religious dogma but is presented simply as a revolutionary discovery in biology and psychology.
Reich began his curious career in Austria as an orthodox Freudian but later broke with the psychoanalysts, founding his own publishing house in Germany in 1931. He also severed his ties with the Austrian Communist Party, having served in the same cell with the writer Arthur Koestler. Five years later, Reich opened an institute at Oslo, where he met with furious attack by Scandinavian biologists who insisted his knowledge was less than that of an undergraduate. Expelled from Norway, he came to New York in 1939 at the invitation of Dr. Theodore P. Wolfe, an associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, and lectured for a brief term at New York's New School for Social Research. [Later, he maintained] a press in Greenwich Village, and research laboratories in Forest Hills, New York, and Organon, Maine.
In Reich's best-known work, The Function of the Orgasm, he compares himself to Peer Gynt, i.e., the unconventional genius, out of step with society, misunderstood, ridiculed. Society has the last laugh, he writes, until the Peer Gynts are proved right. In [another] publication, Listen, Little Man, 1949, Reich likens himself to such persecuted figures as Jesus and Karl Marx. "Whatever you have done to me or will do to me in the future," he declares, "whether you glorify me as a genius or put me in a mental institution, whether you adore me as your savior or hang me as a spy, sooner or later necessity will force you to comprehend that *I have discovered the laws of the living*.. ."
A pamphlet by Dr. Wolfe, published by Reich's Orgone Institute in 1948, is called Emotional Plague Versus Orgone Biophysics. The purpose of the booklet is stated on the cover:
"A vicious campaign of slander and distortion against Wilhelm Reich and his work was begun early in 1947. There is no telling where it will lead. This campaign has not been confined to magazine and newspaper articles, but an agency of the United States Government has been dragged into it."
Chief signs of this "emotional plague" (Reich's term for the slander campaign) are two articles by Mildred Brady, one in Harper's (April, 1947), the other in The New Republic (May 26, 1947). The government agency is the Food and Drug Administration, at that time investigating Reich's "orgone accumulators." These are large boxes of wood on the outside and metal inside. Patients rent them from the Institute, then sit inside them to build up their orgone potential by absorbing the box's abnormally high concentration of orgone energy (a nonelectromagnetic radiant energy coming from outer space which Reich discovered in Norway in 1939). "The Orgone Accumulator is the most important single discovery in the history of medicine, bar none," Wolfe writes.
The following paragraph from a letter of Reich's published in the pamphlet, is revealing:
"It is an old story. It is older than the ancient Greeks whom we consider the bearers of a flourishing culture.. .. It was no different two thousand years later. Giordano Bruno, who fought for scientific knowledge and against astrological superstition, was condemned to death by the Inquisition. It is the same psychic pestilence which delivered Galileo to the Inquisition, let Copernicus die in misery, made Leeuwenhoek a recluse, drove Nietzsche into insanity, Pasteur and Freud into exile. It is the indecent, vile attitude of contemporaries of all times. This has to be said clearly once and for all. One cannot give in to such manifestations of the pestilence."
A word about orgone energy. Reich regards his discovery of it as comparable to the Copernican Revolution. A failure to accept it on the part of other psychiatrists is, of course, "resistance to a new concept." In Character Analysis he interprets Freud's "Id" as the action of orgone energy in the body. The energy provides a biological and physical base for psychiatry, and to operate with the old Freudian drives is, Reich asserts, like trying to drink from a mirror image of a glass of water. In The Function of the Orgasm he describes orgone energy as blue in color (it has been photographed on Kodachrome film, Wolfe tells us), and adds that it is responsible for the Northern Lights, St. Elmo's Fire, lightning, the blue of the sky, electric disturbances during sunspot activity, and the blue coloration of sexually excited frogs. "Cloud formations and thunder storms," he writes -- "phenemena which to date have remained unexplained -- depend on changes in the concentration of atmospheric orgone." In 1947 Reich measured the energy with a Geiger counter.
It is interesting to note in passing that Reich also attributes the flickering of stars to orgone energy.
Reich's most astounding discovery is reported in the article "The Natural Organization of Protozoa from Orgone Energy Vesicles," in the November, 1942, issue of his International Journal of Sex Economy and Orgone Research. In this paper, accompanied by microphotographs, Reich describes his observations of protozoa being formed spontaneously from aggregates of bions. The bion is another Reich discovery. It is the unit of living matter, consisting of a membrane surrounding a liquid and pulsating with orgone energy. Bions are constantly being formed in nature by the disintegration of both organic and inorganic matter. Under his microscope Reich observed bions grouping together to form various types of protozoa, and he has the photographs to prove it. Cancer cells, incidentally, are protozoa which develop from tissue bions. To charges of critics that protozoa get into his cultures from the air, or were already on the disintegrating material in the form of dormant cysts, Reich simply answers that it isn't so, though he gives no evidence of taking adequate precautions against either possibility.
Disciples of Reich frequently defend him by saying, "Granted that his biological work is highly suspect, you'll have to admit he's made great contributions to the field of mental therapy." This may be true. But it has somewhat the same plausibility as a statement like the following: "Granted that Professor Ludwig von Hoofenmeister errs in his theory that stars are holes in an opaque sphere surrounding the earth, you'll have to admit has has made magnificent discoveries in his study of cosmic rays."
The reader may wonder why a competent scientist does not publish a detailed refutation of Reich's absurd biological speculations. The answer is that the informed scientist doesn't care, and would, in fact, damage his reputation by taking the time to undertake such a thankless task. For the same reasons, scarcely a single classic in the field of modern scientific curiosa has prompted an adequate reply.
[In the book Gardner adds a postscript, written in 1981:]
Reich's orgonomy cult *seems* to be waning (I could be wrong!), though most of his books are back in print, and his followers are still to be found among writers, artists, and show people like Orson Bean. Numerous books about him, favorable and otherwise, have been written in recent years. His daughter Eva Reich, a pediatrician in Hancock, Maine, is active as a lecturer in orgonomy. Her father's rain-making device -- huge tubes that squirt orgone energy into the clouds -- is in her front yard. [Any Love-Hounds want to make a pilgrimmage?] For a while she was using orgone energy accumulators to treat infants at a hospital for premature babies in Harlem; but, after the director asked her to cease or resign, she chose the latter.
Eva is firmly persuaded that human auras are orgone energy. See Lynn Franklin's long, sad interview, "Like Father, Like Daughter," in the Maine Sunday Telegram, June 22, 1980. According to Newsweek (December 13, 1976): "For twenty years, Eva Reich has been hiding microfilms of portions of Reich's papers in a mushroom cave in the Catskill Mountains. Unless the courts intervene, she says, she may make these secrets available to the world."
A silly book has just crossed my desk: The Quest for Wilhelm Reich, by Colin Wilson (Doubleday, 1981). Poor Colin. He had great promise as a young writer in Britain before he went crackers over the paranormal. Wilson sees Reich as crazy, but nevertheless a genius whose discovery of orgone energy puts him in the company of Semmelweis, Mendel, and all those other great scientists who were unappreciated in their day. No book on Reich is less worth reading.
Note from Ed:
This in *no way* takes anything away from the greatness of "Cloudbusting" which is one of my favorites even among Kate's songs. It's just that I always have to laugh whenever Kate mentions in an interview that Reich was "very respected." Sometimes her philosophical ideas have to be taken with a grain of salt, I think.
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 89 02:17:04 MDT
From: Lazlo Nibble <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Since there's been a lot of "Cloudbusting" talk in the group lately, I thought I'd pass along the address for the Wilhelm Reich Museum, which is open during the summer months on Reich's old Orgonon estate. Info courtesy of the book "Weird, Wonderful America".
Wilhelm Reich Museum
Rangley, ME 04970
Hours: July-Aug: Tue-Fri 10AM-5PM, Sat-Sun 1-5PM
Sept: Sun only, 1-5PM
Getting There: Rangeley, in the northwestern part of the state, can be reached by taking Hwy. 4 N. from US Hwy. 2.
They mention that Reich's workshops are displayed intact, and that there's some hardware on display including something the book calls a "Stormbuster". Take that as you may. Hope some Love-Hounds can make a pilgrimage and report back. .. sounds like an interesting place even without the KaTe connection.
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 89 02:21 PDT
Subject: M. Gardner on Reich
First, Martin Gardner's remarks about Reich, while accurate enough, overlook the most salient aspect of Reich's work in the context of Kate Bushology: namely, its artistic qualities.
All readers of this group will know already that Kate Bush looks at the creativity of man as functions of man's artistic impulses--she sees art as "pure emotion". Yet, amazingly, the emotional--the poetic --character of Wilhelm Reich's work is practically never considered in discussions of Reichian theory! As a result, the discussions which ebb and flow in Love-Hounds miss the true point. So do the supercilious views of such debunkers of pseudo-science as Gardner--a man who, for all his intelligence, scarcely ever manages to maintain a truly scientific dispassion for the objects of his criticism. Witness his quite unnecessarily patronizing and insulting likeness of Wilhelm Reich's name with a stereotypically Germanic "quack" character he calls "Professor Ludwig van Hoofenmeister", or his equally condescending and uncalled for remarks about Colin Wilson, a writer of tremendous and unique artistic power.
The arguments against Reich which focus on an attack of his "scientific" theories are all too easy to make--Reich's "science" is a cheap target of ridicule. Yet such ridicule fails to address the fact that Reich's works continue to draw a substantial readership throughout the world. And the ridicule fails in this regard because the attraction--the beauty--of Reich's fantastic world of pseudo-science cannot be understood, nor even recognized, through an analysis of its feasibility (or lack of same) as science. It's beyond dispute that Reich's later work has no truly scientific validity, and virtually no-one--Kate Bush included--would try to argue otherwise.
That said, what draws someone like Kate Bush to the subject of Reich? In Kate's case the question of Reich's work has never become relevant to her particular interests. Since she was initially drawn only to the memoir of Reich's son Peter, and not to Wilhelm's theoretical writings, whatever knowledge of Reichian theory which she may have taken the trouble to gather is, de facto, incidental at best to her true subject of interest.
Second, contrary to Ed Suranyi's implication, Kate Bush has never said that she believes in a single one of Reich's theories. On the contrary, whenever she has been asked about the story of Cloudbusting, her replies have been conspicuously noncommittal in their wording. It's important to remember that Kate almost never rejects anyone's ideas. (Btw, some of Doug Alan's notions enjoy the rare distinction of being counted among that elite group of ideas, and are--if only for that reason--worthy of all serious Kate Bushologists' continued study. See below.) Add to this fact our knowledge that even before Hounds of Love came out Kate had become a personal friend of Peter Reich's, and it will be easy to understand why she has not come out and said "Wilhelm Reich was a nut"--even if she thinks in those terms, which she probably does not.
IED's theory, based on years of consideration of Kate's opinions and attitudes, is that Kate is pre-disposed to retain an open mind about Reich's work; not only because it would be disrespectful and unfriendly to criticize or reject it, but also because she is always trying to see strange human behaviour from the perpetrator's point of view. She does this often very deliberately and consciously. Also, she has several times made it clear that she sees no benefit in cynicism.
Ed correctly (and with evident regret) reports that Kate has called Reich a "highly respected psycho-analyst". But in describing Reich that way Kate is absolutely correct ! The fact is that until the very end of the 1930s Wilhelm Reich was a quite important figure within the legitimate European psycho-analytic community. His early training was under Freud himself, and he even drew commendation from Freud for his brilliance. His first publications presented and explored a series of challenging theories about the effect of psycho-sexual complexes on large groups. These papers pointed to a theory about Marxist communism and the value of psycho-analysis in socialist societies. Such loaded issues naturally drew enemies, and it is these political conflicts which resulted in Reich's ostracization from the psycho-analytic mainstream, not his crackpottery, which only emerged later.
By 1939, however, Reich's psychosis had begun to appear in his work. There should never have been any difficulty in recognizing it as psychotic--discussion of blue orgone rays, UFOs, rainmakers and emotional plague are not subtle hints of mental instability! IED therefore finds it extraordinary that all the fuss over Reich in recent Love-Hounds discussions focuses on the non-argument over the "scientific validity" (or lack of same) of Reich's ideas. In all these discussions, it is equally extraordinary--and very revealing--that no-one has taken the time to read Reich's books! Surely with all the insistence on the importance of the scientific method, the readers of Love-Hounds can see that no accurate assessment of the value of Reich's work can be made merely by reading the glib and facile reviews of people like Martin Gardner.
Well, IED has read some of Reich's work--two of the last collections of papers--and he would like to say that it is amazing stuff. Yes, it's kookoo. Kate would surely call it "weird". Reich's writings constitute some of the most unsettling, and at the same time the most hauntingly poetic, fantastic literature that anyone could hope to find. The distinction of his work lies mainly in the scholarly form in which it is couched: the sheer lunacy of his notions about orgone and its various miraculous properties and functions takes on a kind of bizarre elegance and power when it is exposed via his flawless academic language. And although IED has no direct data to support this, he cannot but assume that whatever attraction to Reich's own work Kate Bush might have (if indeed she has any at all) must stem from the surreality of this collision of psychotic delusion with academic form.
Kate has also, as Ed mentioned, described the cloudbuster as a machine "that could make it rain". This statement, which she has made three times that IED knows (all within a four-day period in November 1985, never before or since), is however quite clearly intended to describe the point of view of the character in the song--i.e., Peter Reich, aged 9 or so. It would be completely inconsistent with every story-synopsis Kate has ever given--of any of her songs--for her to explain Cloud- busting from a point of view which was detached from that of the songs' protagonists. Her explanation of Cloudbusting is not inconsistent in this respect. Kate stated that the cloudbuster could make it rain because Peter truly believed that the cloudbuster could indeed make it rain. It is the very "weirdness" of Peter's experience and point of view which attracts her. But this by no means indicates that Kate herself "believes" in the theories and inventions of Wilhelm Reich. On the contrary, if she truly accepted Reich's delusory universe as part of the natural world, its "weirdness" would be considerably reduced, and she would probably not consider it a "fascinating" subject for a song.
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 89 02:21 PDT
Subject: spelling of Orgonon
> Then again, Kate spelled Orgonon wrong by mistake....
IED is even more predisposed to mistrust Doug's citation re "Nice to Swallow" in light of his false claim immediately above. The fact is that John Carder Bush was once asked point blank about this very "mis"-spelling. IED quotes his eminently Bushian reply: "It may have been intentional..." Furthermore, Doug knows this, since IED has posted the information at least once before. And it may very well be a pun. If so, it's a pretty good one, and quite appropriate, considering the nature of Reich's theories about the therapeutic effects of orgasm on the psyche. A pun much like "your sun's coming out," from the same song. And IED has earlier suggested at least two other possible explanations for this spelling, in a Kate Bushological paper ("Venturing into the Garden," in The Garden, Appendix A, Wickham Street Irregular Press, Los Angeles, 1985; also posted in L-Hs, now no doubt somewhere in the oldest mountains of L-Hs archives).
The curious are encouraged to seek out this paper, which discloses a few of IED's own modest notions concerning the possible larger meaning of Side One of Hounds of Love (a body of work too often slighted as "light-weight" in comparison with The Ninth Wave ).
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 89 16:32 EST
Subject: spelling of Orgonon, Kate says...
I mention this not in my defense, but as background to Ed Suranyi's commendable concern with getting the record straight:
> p manchester writes:
>> called "The Organon Remix." Kate acknowledged in correspondence that this was a spelling error on her part, since Reich's ranch in Maine was called "Orgonon," based on "Orgone" energy, with an o.
> For the record, Kate never said this in "correspondence", at least not that IED is aware of. |>oug claims (OK, informs us with indisputable authority and credibility--satisfied, |>oug?) that Kate told him it was "unintentional". However, John Carder Bush, when asked directly about the spelling, replied, "It could be intentional." Since both |>oug and IED are now agreed that Kate cannot always be believed, you can take your pick of the available explanations of this spelling "error".
I was reporting from correspondence between me and Kate. The relevant paragraph of my letter to her of May 18, 1986 ran like this:
"I am a 43 year old professor of philosophy and speculative theology, which I believe I can verify by my first remark, which is to complain pedantically that Peter Reich follows his father Dr. Reich's practice of spelling 'Orgonon' as I have just written it, with an 'o', from 'orgone' energy, whereas your song title and lyrics for "Cloudbusting" write 'Organon'. Organon was originally the title given to the five logical treatises of Aristotle by his editor of record, Andronicus of Rhodes. It has thereafter had some currency among philosophers as a title for a general methodological tractate, or an 'instrument of thought' in the sense of a fundamental logical mechanism. I would not put it past you to be aware of this fact, at least subliminally, and to have perpetrated a deliberate pun. But I rather suspect I have caught you in a spelling error.
"Of course maybe you have a whole thing with A and O, Alpha and Omega": my ears hear the lyric in "Not This Time" as
To the A, to the O
To the A, to the O
To the O that's bursting
To keep me going and to keep the shit away.
And certainly you're right that we all sin!"
In her reply (undated, but immediate), Kate writes:
"I'm afraid the Orgonon mis-spelling IS a mistake and we were aware of this as soon as we saw the 'copy'. It is very difficult to correct everything and this one slipped through my hands but I find it a wonderful experience when errors of this kind give birth to such fascinating theories!"
(I am nervous about transcribing private correspondence, but this one issue seems to have come to her and the family from several angles, so I place this much of our exchange on the record.)
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 89 11:27 PST
Subject: spelling of Orgonon
Finally, IED would like to congratulate Mr. Manchester on his success in pinning Kate down once and for all about the "Organon" issue--a subject which has been the focus of nearly limitless printouts of debate in Love-Hounds during the past four years. IED was heartened to see, from the extract from Kate's letter to you, that the error was detected by her before the album was released, and that it was apparently a typographical error which came as a surprise to her; which indicates that it was not made by Kate (or John), but by the typesetters.
-- Andrew Marvick
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 90 17:50:30
From: Jorn Barger <email@example.com>
Subject: Reich vs Gardner
Just so's nobody thinks I don't have an opinion on the subject of Reich's cloudbusting, my 2 cents says read Peter's book before you go spouting "fundamentalist materialist" doctrine of the Martin Gardner/ CSICOP school. I'm much more willing to credit Reich's rainmaking ability than his contact with UFOs, but Peter witnessed both, and I'm not willing to dismiss his reports so baldly.
(BTW, I happened to get a phonecall from Peter just after HoL was released, just by chance at the mailorder place I was working. He said he'd spoken to KT on the phone, never met her (yet), approved of the video, thought Sutherland's little fist-punch was a little corny.)
Metaphysically speaking, though, the universe is much more magical than materialism imagines, my experience is that reality tends to adjust to your expectations in a much more interesting way than just perceptual delusions.
--jorn, whose mac now whistles "all we ever look for" when he goofs
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 1992 21:13:00 -0800
From: Peter Byrne Manchester <PMANCHESTER@ccmail.sunysb.edu>
[re Peter's letter to KaTe re Orga/onon]
'Twas me. Actually, I wrote to her with a number of observations I had about the relationship of the video to "A Book of Dreams," and used the spelling natter less as a question than as a 'hook' to catch her interest. It seems to have worked.
The relevant paragraph from my letter to her (May 18, 1986):
> I am a 43 year old professor of philosophy and speculative theology, which I believe I can verify by my first remark, which is to complain pedantically that Peter Reich follows his father Dr. Reich's practice of spelling 'Orgonon' as I have just written it, with an 'o', from 'orgone' energy, whereas your song titles and lyrics for "Cloudbusting" write 'Organon'. Organon was originally the title given to the five logical treatises of Aristotle by his editor of record, Andronicus of Rhodes. It has thereafter had some currency among philosophers as a title for a general methodological tractate, or an 'instrument of thought' in the sense of a fundamental logical mechanism. I would not put it past you to be aware of this fact, at least subliminally, and to have perpetrated a deliberate pun. But I rather suspect I have caught you in a spelling error.
And the relevant paragraph from her reply (not dated and postmark illegible, but about three weeks later):
> "I'm afraid the Orgonon mis-spelling IS a mistake and we were aware of this as soon as we saw the "copy". It is very difficult to correct everything and this one slipped through my hands but I find it a wonderful experience when errors of this kind give birth to such fascinating theories!"
In Greek 'organon' simply means 'tool'. So an 'organ' is a tool (of life), an 'organism' is a system of tools. In designating the logical treatises of Aristotle as an Organon, Andronicus of Rhodes interpreted them as a fundamental set of 'tools' for philosophical thinking (which may not have been Aristotle's view at all). By the Middle Ages, as medievalist Lionhart observes, this view of logic as a 'primer' became official and finally officious, provoking the Englishman Francis Bacon to publish a "Novum Organum" (1620) rejecting medieval philosophy and instigating the tradition of critical empiricism that evolved into what today is called 'scientific method'. Bacon wrote in Latin, where the form is 'organum', but in English translation his work is entitled "New Organon."
Two years ago someone speculated that the revisionist and anti-traditional aspect of Bacon's work might underlie the spelling in Kate's lyrics and titles for CB. I doubt it. I do still suppose that some sort of subliminal awareness of the term 'organon' on Kate's part generated the initial misspelling, but given her Catholic schooling, it is far more likely to have been Aristotle than Bacon.
It is interesting that the word 'orgasm' does NOT derive from the same root, but instead from a different Indo-European root that means 'to swell'. Wilhelm Reich may well have wanted on good scholarly grounds to emphasize the difference by the innovative spelling 'orgone' for his postulated hyper-Freudian life-energy. The name he gave his ranch in Maine, Orgonon, is based on that eccentric spelling, and violates the regular linguistic laws of formation for the particular Greek root, though once again with the advantage that it makes clear that he is NOT talking about an 'organon'.
To throw in one last twist, it could be that the Reichian spelling of Orgone/ Orgonon is behind the video's placement of the ranch with the cloudbusters in Oregon (instead of Maine). In which case we have a NEW slip/ pun to take up with Kate.
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 92 21:27:18 EDT
Subject: Patrick Moore
>> 5. Patrick Moores Dream - A Book Of Dreams by Peter Reich is one connection that comes to my mind. Who is Patrick Moore?
> Patrick Moore is a world-renowned English, popular astronomer.
which is why "the big sky" makes sense. what else would an astronomer dream about? (excepting the eradication of light pollution...).
On to "Cloudbusting" Pt. 2
written by Love-Hounds
compiled and edited
Sept 1995 June 1996