I spent a considerable amount of time researching Wilhelm Reich over the weekend and I’m not done yet: I’m watching the Austrian documentary film Wer hat Angst vor Wilhelm Reich?  as I write this post. Above is the cartoon “The Man Who Boxed Sex,” a malicious parody of the ‘Orgone energy accumulator’ of Wilhelm Reich. Before leaving this space, be sure to check Kate Bush’s video of “Cloudbusting” (see link below).
These biographical notes are the fruit of my labour:
Wilhelm Reich (24 March 1897 – 3 November 1957) was an Austrian psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, and one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry.
He is chiefly remembered for three things. He tried to synthesize Marxism and psychoanalysis in studies of fascism, producing the book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, inventing Freudo-Marxism. He claimed discovery of what he called orgone energy, which many scientists still dispute and call pseudoscience. The persecution of him and his theories by the Nazi Gestapo in Germany, and later the US government (which burned his books) until his death in a US prison.
Reich continues to influence popular culture. Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev made a film about him, W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971) and Kate Bush‘s single “Cloudbusting“ (1985) describes Reich’s arrest through the eyes of his son, Peter, who wrote his father’s story in A Book of Dreams (1973); the video for the song features Donald Sutherland as Reich and Bush as Peter.