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Orgonomic Functionalism

          

Glossary of Orgonomic terms, «Emotional Plague», REO Publications, Athens 2010.

 

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.

Excerpts from the book “Ether, God and Devil” by Wilhelm Reich, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York 1973.

“…Thus, we are not concerned about philosophies but about practical tools crucial to the reshaping of human life. What is at stake is the choice between good and bad tools in rebuilding and reorganizing human society.
A tool alone cannot do this work. Man must create the tools for mastering nature. Hence it is the human character structure that determines how the tool will be made and what purpose it will serve.
The armored, mechanistically rigid person thinks mechanistically, produces mechanistic tools, and forms a mechanistic conception of nature.
The armored person who feels his orgonotic body excitations in spite of his biological rigidity, but does not understand them, is mystic man. He is interested not in “material” but in “spiritual things. He forms a mystical, supernatural idea about nature.
Both the mechanist and the mystic stand inside the limits and conceptual laws of a civilization which is ruled by a contradictory and murderous mixture of machines and gods. The civilization forms the mechanistic – mystical structures of men, and the mechanistic – mystical character structures keep reproducing a mechanistic – mystical civilization. Both mechanists and mystics find themselves inside the framework  of human structure in a civilization conditioned by mechanistic and mysticism.
[…]
Orgonomic functionalism stands outside the framework of mechanistic – mystical civilization. It did not rise from the need to “bury” this civilization; hence, it is not a priori revolutionary. Orgonomic functionalism represents the way of thinking of the individual who is unarmored and therefore in contact with nature inside and outside himself. The living human animal acts like any other animal, i.e. functionally; armored man acts mechanistically and mystically. Orgonomic functionalism is the vital expression of the unarmored human animal, his tool for comprehending nature. This method of thinking and working becomes a dynamically progressive force of social development only by observing, criticizing, and changing mechanistic – mystical civilization from the standpoint of the natural laws of life, and not from the narrow perspective of state, church, economy, culture, etc.
[…]


We understand that human thinking can penetrate only to a given limit at a given time. What we fail to understand is why the human intellect does not stop at this point and say: “this is the present limit of my understanding. Let us wait until new vistas open up.” This would be rational, comprehensible, purposeful thinking. What amazes us is the sudden turn from the rational beginning to the irrational illusion. Irrationality and illusion are revealed by the intolerance and cruelty with which they are expressed. We observe that human thought systems show tolerance as long as they adhere to reality. The more the thought process is removed from reality, the more intolerance and cruelty are needed to guarantee its continued existence.
[…]
Just as all emotions and reactions in life spring from and correspond to organ sensations and expressive movements; just as the living organism forms ideas of its surrounding world from impressions it derives from the expressions of the world around it; so all emotions, reactions and ideas of the armored organism are conditioned by its own state of motility and expression.
[…]
The unarmored being perceives the self and the surrounding world in an essentially different way than does the armored organism. Since self – awareness actually colors all other sensations and since sensation is the filter through which the world becomes manifest to us, the kind of sensations determines the kind of perception and judgments.
[…]
The living organism perceives its environment and itself only through its sensations. On the kind of sensations depends the kind of judgments developed, the reactions based on these judgments, and the over-all picture commonly known as “world image”.
[…]
Basically, nature inside and outside of us is accessible to our intellect only through our sense impressions. The sense impressions are essentially organ sensations, or, to put it differently, we grope for the world around us by organ movements (= plasmatic movements). Our emotions are the answer to the impression of the world around us. Both in awareness and self-awareness, sensory impression and emotion merge to form a functional unity.
Hence, organ sensation is the most important tool of natural scientific research.
[…]
Primitive man animated nature according to his own sensations and functions; he animated them, but he did not mysticize them, as did his successor several hundred years later. “Mysticism” here means, in the literal sense, a change of sensory impressions and organ sensations into something unreal and beyond this world.
[…]
The process of animating the surrounding world is the same with the animistic primitive as it is with the mystic. Both animate nature by projecting their body sensations. The difference between animism and mysticism is that the former projects natural, undistorted organ sensations, while the latter projects unnatural, perverted ones.
[…]
The understanding of emotions is so remote to the mechanist’s thinking that there is no room for it in his natural scientific investigation. Functionalism is simply not capable of overlooking the emotions and can include them in the realm of natural scientific research.
[…]
For the mystic, a soul “lives” in the body. There is no connection between body and soul except for the fact that the soul influences the body, and vice versa. To the mystic (and to the mechanist, if he is aware of any emotional factors at all), body and soul are rigidly separated though interrelated realms….Functional identity as a research principle of orgonomic functionalism is nowhere as brilliantly expressed as in the unity of psyche and soma, of emotion and excitation, of sensation and stimulus. This unity or identity as the basic principle of the concept of life excludes once and for all any transcendentalism or even autonomy of the emotions. Emotion and sensation are, and remain, bound to the orgone-physical excitation. This also excludes any mysticism.
[…]
The mystic may be able to describe orgonotic currents and excitations; he may even give details that are astonishingly exact. But he will never be able to comprehend them quantitatively, any more than one can put the mirror image of a block of wood on the scales.
Controlled clinical experience shows that there is always a wall between organ sensation and objective excitation in the mystic’s structure. This wall is real. It is the muscular armor of the mystic. Any attempt to bring a mystic into direct contact with his excitation triggers anxiety or even unconsciousness. He can perceive the emotion in himself as in a mirror but not as a reality. This assertion is founded on an experience I had frequent occasions to observe: if orgone therapy succeeds in dissolving the armor in the mystic, the “mystical experiences” disappear. Thus, the existence of a dividing wall between excitation and sensation is at the root of the mystical experience.
[…]
Mysticism is rooted in a blocking of direct organ sensations and the reappearance of these sensations in the pathological perception of “supernatural powers”.
[…]
The world of orgonomic “energetic” functionalism is a vigorously functioning, free, and consequently lawful and harmonic world. It has no room for a vacuum in space, which the mechanistic physicist requires because he is incapable of making sense of nature in any other way; neither has it room for ghosts and phantoms, which mysticism cannot demonstrate. Also, the world of functionalism is not a “shadow world”, as is the world of the abstract mathematician. It is a world that is tangible, full, pulsating, and simultaneously demonstrable and measurable.
[..]
Considered functionally, sensation is a feeling out of reality. The slowly groping, wavy movements of animal antennae or tentacles will illustrate what I mean. Sensation is the greatest mystery of natural science. Therefore, functionalism knows its worth and values it highly. Because he regards sensation as a tool, the functionalist is concerned with its care, just as a good carpenter cares for his plane. The functionalist will always order his intellectual activity so that it is in harmony with his “sensations”. Where the degree of emotional irrationalism is small – and it must be small for anyone who investigates nature – he listens to the gentle warnings of his sensations that tell him whether his thinking is right or wrong, clear or muddied by personal interests, whether he follows his irrational inclinations or any objective processes. All this has nothing to do with mysticism. It has to do exclusively with keeping our sensory apparatus, the tool of our research, in good condition. This condition is not a “gift,” not a special “talent,” but a continuous effort, a continuous exercise in self-criticism and self-control.
[…]
By investigating how living matter functions, we also discover a part of external nature. For what is truly alive in us is itself a part of that external nature. Thus, if we proceed carefully in studying the material that constitutes the life function, we must also find those functions that have general, cosmic validity. This is a necessary and unavoidable conclusion inasmuch as the overall functioning principle is contained even in the smallest special functioning principle.
[…]
Functional thinking does not tolerate any static conditions. For it, all natural processes are in motion, even in the case of rigidified structures and immobile forms. It is precisely this motility and uncertainty in his thinking, this constant flux, which places the observer in contact with the process of nature. The term “in flux” or “flowing” is valid, without qualifications, for the sensory perceptions of the scientist observing nature. That which is alive does not know any static conditions unless it is subjected to immobilization due to armoring.