Glossary of orgonomic terms

The Glossary contains terms introduced by Reich in order to describe new concepts that came to light through the study of the functions of orgone.

Anorgonia: Condition of the organism that arises when orgone is withdrawn from a certain part of the body or when a part is lacking excitation. It is brought about when the plasmatic system is immobilized.

Bions: Energy vesicles which—as Reich believed—represent transitional stages in the organization of matter, between the non-living and the living. As he observed, they form constantly in nature during the decomposition of organic matter and the deconstruction of inorganic matter and they can be reproduced in the laboratory. He believed that bions are charged with orgone, i.e. with life energy, and under certain conditions can develop into protozoa.

Biopathy: A term devised by Reich to denote a disturbance of the bioenergetic pulse of the plasmatic system of the organism (cf. entry “plasmatic currents”), due to armoring. According to Reich: “Sexual stagnation represents a fundamental disturbance of the biological pulsation. […] A chronic disturbance of the [sexual] function must of necessity coincide with a biopathy. […] The central mechanism of biopathies is a disturbance in the discharge of biosexual excitation.” He distinguished biopathies into psychic and somatic, depending on whether they manifest in the psychic or the somatic realm of the organism. Thus, neuroses, psychoses, attitude and behavioral problems belong to the psychic biopathies, whereas we list under somatic biopathies many chronic conditions from the full spectrum of clinical pathology—the so-called “psychosomatic” disturbances—such as: allergies, bronchial asthma, headaches and migraines, many gastrointestinal disturbances, autoimmune diseases, type II diabetes, obesity, many gynecological problems, ischemic heart disease, idiopathic arterial hypertension, idiopathic epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cancerous shrinking etc.

Biophysical functionalism: See orgonomic functionalism.

Character analysis: Originally a modification of the traditional Freudian psychoanalytic technique, which was introduced by Reich. He put character and the defenses he posed in therapy in the center of analysis and not the symptoms and the disclosure of their unconscious content. The discovery of muscular armoring, however, lead gradually to the development of a new technique, called characteranalytic vegetotherapy. The later discovery of organismic orgone (bioenergy) further developped characteranalytic vegetotherapy, leading to the more inclusive orgonetherapy. (See, “orgone therapy, psychiatric and physical”.)

Character (character structure): The organization of the psychic structure of a person, the stereotypical way of acting and reacting. The orgonomic concept of character is functional and biological and not static, psychological or moralistic.

Character, genital (genital character structure): Non neurotic character, which does not suffer from sexual stasis and is therefore capable for natural self-regulation, based on his orgastic potency.

Character, neurotic (character neurosis, neurotic character structure): The character which, due to chronic sexual stasis, functions according to the moralistic dictates of compulsive morality.

Cosmic superimposition: A fundamental function which according to Reich manifests widely in nature. It is the mutual excitation, attraction and fusion, of two or more energy systems. This process is involved in the creation of matter in the universe and the reproduction of living beings.

DOR: The toxic and potentially deadly, mutated orgone. Reich in his Journal Orgone Energy Bulletin explains the term DOR as follows: “This mutated condition of orgone was called DOR, from the initials of the words Deadly Orgone Radiation.” According to Reich, this toxic mutation of orgone results from its overexcitation either due to nuclear radiation (radioactivity) or by devices or facilities using high tension voltage and ionizing radiation (e.g. high voltage electricity, X-ray machines, microwave appliances etc.).

Emotional Plague: The destructive action of the neurotic character, when expressed in social scene.

Experiment XX: It is the name of an experiment aimed at the study of the organization of bions from mass-free orgone. (The term “mass free energy” was used by Reich to denote the energy whose existence does not presupposes the presence of matter.) Reich, through a series of experiments, was studying the lumination of orgone on samples of bion water. One of the samples was left in the open air and froze. When the sample was thawed, it contained thick flakes. Under the microscope and in magnification of 3000x, Reich observed that the flakes exhibited contracting and expanding bionous vesicles which were emitting a strong radiation. Reich wrote about the experiment: “Between 1936 and 1945, we prepared bions exclusively from completely organized matter (humus, grass, iron, sand, coal etc.). The difference with Experiment XX was that it was the first time we were able to obtain orgone vesicles carrying all the criteria of living matter, not from completely organized matter, but from mass-free orgone.” (From Reich’s book The Cancer Biopathy, Orgone Institute Press, p. 53.) [Preparation of Bion water: We pass earth through a sieve and after autoclaving it in sterile water or tap water for an hour, at 120o Celsius and 15atm of pressure, we pass it through a filter. The filtered water is called “bion water” (Cf. The Cancer Biopathy, Orgone Institute Press, p. 55.)]

Mechanism, mechanistic thinking: A philosophical system of thought according to which, matter with all its expressions and interconnections is the only reality of the universe. Matter is all that is needed to explain the natural processes that are taking place within both the mechanical and the biological energy systems. The mechanist has lost contact with his deep biological core, fearing its natural and spontaneous expressions and, because of his muscular and characterological rigidities, he experiences a fragmented picture of the world and himself, perceiving both as the sum of partial mechanical systems, unconnected by a common functional, unifying principle.

Mysticism, mystical thinking: A philosophical system of thought according to which the natural organ sensations and the mechanistic way of thinking are not enough for the understanding of reality. Only by experiencing the “mystical” union with the transcendental being—often identified with God—can lead to a complete understanding of both the material and the immaterial reality. The mystic has retained contact with his biological core but because of his particular armoring, distorts and misinterprets the core’s natural expressions and attributes them to supernatural powers. According to Reich “Mysticism means, literally, the change of sensory perception and organ sensations to something non real and outworldly”. (From the book Ether, God and Devil.)

Orgasm: The unitary, involuntary convulsions of the total organism at the acme of the genital embrace. Because of its involuntary character and the prevailing orgasm anxiety, it is suppressed in most humans of those civilizations which repress infantile and adolescent sexuality.

Orgasm anxiety, orgasmic anxiety: Anxiety which appears at the final and complete surrendering of the organism, when the person is giving in to its involuntary orgasmic convulsions.

Orgastic impotence: The absence of orgastic potency that characterizes the average man today. The incomplete sexual discharge results in the damming up of biological energy (orgone) in the organism, thereby feeding energy to all kinds of biopathic symptoms and to mass manifestations of irrationalism in social life.

Orgastic potency: The ability for complete surrender to the involuntary spasm of the organism (orgasm) and full discharge of sexual excitation during the acme of genital embrace. It characterizes the genital character, which lacks any characterological or muscular armor. We should differentiate between orgastic potency and erectile potency and ejaculation, as the latter are mere prerequisites for the former.

Orgasm reflex: A characteristic, unitary, involuntary somatic expression of the unarmored organism, which we observe at the acme of the sexual act and, under special conditions, at rest.

Orgone accumulator: “The Orgone Energy Accumulator is an instrument assembled and materially arranged in such a manner that life energy, present in the atmosphere of our planet, can be collected, accumulated and made usable for scientific, educational and medical purposes.” (From the pamphlet The Orgone Energy Accumulator: Its Scientific and Medical Use, p. 12.) The materials which comprise its panels are metallic and organic (non metallic) materials which are placed in successive layers so that the last inside layer is metallic and the last outside layer is organic.

Orgone biophysics: The field of orgonomy that deals with biophysical research.

Orgone, orgone energy: According to Reich, it is a primordial, primary cosmic energy that is found everywhere in the universe. He believed he proved its existence visually, thermally, with the electroscope and the Geiger-Muller counter. In the living organism he called this energy bio-energy or Energy of Life.

Orgonetherapy: Physical orgonetherapy: The bioenergetic charging of the organism with an orgone accumulator, which attracts cosmic orgone from the atmosphere and concentrates it inside the enclosure.

                  Psychiatric orgonetherapy: The mobilization of the blocked energy (orgone) of the organism to achieve the free and spontaneous expression of repressed emotions, through the gradual dissolution of muscular and characterological armoring and always pursuing the establishment of orgastic potency

Orgonometry, orgonometric equations: Reich coined the term “orgonometry” to designate the study of the relationships between natural processes (which are manifestations of orgone energy), based on the thought process of orgonomic functionalism. Orgonometric equations are schematic representations depicting the functional way of associating natural processes.

Orgonomic functionalism (or energetic or biophysical): The functional thought technique which guides clinical and experimental orgone research. The main characteristic of functional thinking is that its system of thought is in harmony with the way nature functions. This technique was developed during the study of the formation of human character and led to the discovery of orgone in the organism and the atmosphere, proving that it is capable of approaching correctly the basic natural functions of both living and non-living processes.

Orgonomic potential, reverse: Reich assinged this term to the innate and characteristic quality of orgone to move spontaneously from a weaker charged orgonomic system to a stronger charged orgonomic system, which attracts and holds it. The reverse orgonomic potential explains the charging of orgone accumulators, the operation of the cloudbuster and the medical DOR-buster. It is obvious that such a spontaneous natural process is incompatible with the second law of thermodynamics and the principle of entropy, according to which the flow of energy from systems of low potential towards systems with higher potential can only happen with the expenditure of work and never spontaneously.

Orgonomy: The natural science which studies orgone energy and its functions.

Plasmatic currents: Sensations of energy flow which run freely through the unarmored and therefore spontaneously pulsating living matter. Their subjective perception reflects the objective transmission of bioplasmic excitation. The absence of armor is a necessary prerequisite for the undisturbed unity of the subjective feeling and the objective excitation of the protoplasm. Reich thought these currents originate from the cell plasma (protoplasm), in other words from a very deep biological level, which is common to all living creatures in nature. In his Journal Orgone Energy Bulletin, Vol. 2, No 3, 7/1950, in an article titled “Orgonomic Functionalism” (p. 102) Reich states: “In observing protozoal plasma convulsions one never has the impression of anxiousness or disarrangement of the organism. The total plasma convulsion can be readily observed in certain protozoa (vorticella). Here, after a period of charging by intake from the fluid of highly charged bions (=energy vesicles), repeated convulsions set in which are followed by a relaxation. The vorticella possesses no nerves. The orgastic convulsion thus is an expression of protoplasmatic charge which is independent of the existence of a formed nervous system.

Pleasure anxiety: The fear of pleasurable excitation. A paradox at first sight, it nevertheless constitutes a pronounced characteristic of civilized man and is a result of man’s sex-negating upbringing. It manifests when there is expansion and movement of orgone in the organism.

SAPA-bions: These are bions prepared from ocean sand and they led Reich to the discovery of the orgone. In his book The Cancer Biopathy, he writes that in January 1939, one of his assistants was doing a presentation for a visitor at Reich’s laboratory in Oslo. By mistake, she heated to incandescence sand from the ocean instead of earth. During examination of the preparation at magnifications of 2.000-4.000x he found formations reflecting light sharply, which consisted of packets containing 6 to 10 vesicles. Reich named these bions SAPA from the words SAnd and PAcket. These bions were emanating an intense radiation which led Reich to the discovery of the orgone.

Secondary drives: Violent, destructive and perverse impulses created by the transformation of natural primary drives when the latter attempt to break through armoring in order to express themselves. The person believes they emerge “spontaneously” from within and some think their expression a completely natural thing, considering them equal to every other genuine and spontaneous expression of man’s nature.

Sex-economy: The body of knowledge within orgonomy which deals with the economy of biological energy (orgone) in the organism.

Sexual stasis: The damming up of sexual energy due to the inhibition of sexual release. It feeds energetically every somatic and psychic biopathy, as well as the social irrationalism of man.

Stasis anxiety: The anxiety caused by the stasis of sexual energy in the bioenergetic center of the organism, when its orgastic discharge is inhibited.

Stasis neurosis: Every somatic and psychic disturbance which originates directly in the stagnation of sexual energy. In the core of this stasis, we regularly find stasis anxiety.

T-bacilli: When Reich was studying coal bions he discovered tiny lancet-shaped bodies. He named them T-bacilli, i.e. death bacilli (after the German word Tod=death), because of two observations that connected them with the process of dying: a) T-bacilli develop during degeneration and putrid decomposition of living and non-living protein. b) When injected in large quantities, T-bacilli can kill within twenty four hours. Large concentrations of T-bacilli were found in the tissue of cancer tumors, both at dissected mice and cancer patients’ blood or tissue (e.g. vaginal or tongue epithelium and skin) displaying pre-cancerous alterations. (Cf. The Cancer Biopathy)

Vegetotherapy: A therapeutic technique based on the principles of sexual economy. It was named thus, because its therapeutic goal was to free the bound energy of the Autonomic Nervous System (Vegetative system) and restore the vegetative equilibrium of the patient and hence his orgastic potency. It was a development of Reich’s characteranalytic technique and, after the discovery of atmospheric orgone, he renamed this technique, (psychiatric) orgone therapy.

Work-democracy: The system of social administration which results when the natural, inherently rational work relations between people function unhindered. The term “work-democracy” represents the established reality and not the ideology of work relations which—though usually distorted due to the prevailing armoring and irrational political ideologies—form the basis of all social achievement.