Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm Reich
Birth 1897
Death 1957

Austrian-American psychoanalyst and philosopher and pupil of Freud. He believed that sexual repression results in neuroses which lead to violence and blind submission, and called for a sexual revolution involving secularising marriage, legalising abortions and divorce and making orgasm culturally acceptable. He claimed to have discovered ‘life force’, or orgone, which forms the basis of libidos and is the driving force of all living organisms. He proposed that orgone could be used to cure cancer and invented a device to produce rain and prevent hurricanes. This led to accusations that he was a paranoid fraud, and he died of a heart-attack whilst in prison. It’s interesting that Reich’s books were burnt in both Nazi Germany and in the democratic USA.

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