The subject of “sexuality” is basic to this work, and Reich shows clearly its importance for human life and its relevance in understanding the social problems of our time.
Reich is one of the most misunderstood, attacked, and ignored psychiatrist/scientist in history. He was persecuted for his ground-breaking work on two continents: first in Europe, then in America.
Reich told us–the door is open and the way out of the trap is clearly marked, yet few people are either willing or able to follow the path to freedom.
The trap: our physic-somatic armoring from head to toe, the chronic neurosis and muscular tension we experience daily linked to our psychological states of fear, obsession, anxiety, depression, and on and on. Since a very early age our parents, society, and every repressive assault on our natural instincts has bound us up in a suit of armor that keeps us from ever fully knowing ourselves and experiencing true unbridled pleasure. For without the experience of true pleasure, we will never know true work: creative, meaningful, and self-regulating. Pleasure and work are two sides of the same coin–you cannot have one, without the other. Reich called this unbalanced state: the emotional plague, bringing about the worst perversions and atrocities imaginable to humankind.
The Function of The Orgasm is the cornerstone of Reich’s research. It can be a tough read, but worth it. Those searching for who Reich was and what he did will find this book the core of that quest.
A deeply thought-out and provacative book
This is my first exposure to Reich, and what he has to say is more relevant today than ever. It’s easy to be misled by the title and think its about having more sex, but nothing could be further than the truth. He explores the direct relationship between neuroses (and most of society is neurotic to varying degrees as a result of being raised in an authoritarian manner) and the inability to surrender completely to the the full bio-energetic pleasure of complete orgasm. If you have studied any Tantra you may be aware that what most of us call orgasm is only a genital sneeze, in terms of the possibility available. Thus, we are cut off from the totality of what we are and this is expressed in the energetics of our experience of orgasm, and ultimately, how we live our lives. He also explores the evolution of fascism under these constraints, and how it propogates itself through society. Frightening stuff, particularly in light of current world politics. All in all, a fascinating read, slowed only by old terminology. My only disappointment was the lack of exposition of his therapeutic techniques, other than it appears he is the first to use the breath in healing. This book will open your mind to new ways of thinking about the relationships between our selves, our culture and our politics.
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