Core Concepts Series: XII. The Change of Function of the Impulse

Note: Impulse is synonymous with pulsion, striving and drive.

The change of function of the impulse may be the most important concept in orgonomy. The term refers to an organism’s modification of its own expression under the influence of an external stimulus through the reallocation of some fraction of the inspiring energy cathexis. The division of this object-libidinal cathexis is called the dissociation of the unitary striving and the investment of a fraction of its energy in a narcissistic countercathexis is called reaction formation. The phrase ‘reaction formation’ can refer to both the narcissistic countercathexis itself and the process of its formation. The dissociation of the unitary striving can never occur independently of reaction formation and vice versa.

The unitary striving is a hypothetical drive which, like all drives, arises from a certain libido-economic disequilibrium. It is inspired by some cathexis of libido, a quantity of energy that can be exhausted by a certain expression such that a subjective feeling of satisfaction results. By default, the organism acts in the most cathartic way, preferring to discharge the entire cathexis by making the expression which releases the greatest quantity of libidinal energy – whatever that means. In the unitary striving, all the organism’s energetic resources, directly or indirectly, are employed in making the most cathartic expression, to wit, the original goal of the drive. That particular expression can only manifest if the entire cathexis is discharged in its actualization because a different expression would result if less energy was employed. Furthermore, the unitary striving corresponds to a unique, time-varied physiological state characterized by certain movements, a specific time-varied muscular tonus and body fluid distribution, a specific pattern of nervous excitation, a certain subjective experience, &c. If the expression that would discharge the entire cathexis is made, libidinal economy will exist at equilibrium, meaning the object-libidinal and narcissistic psychic currents will be of equal magnitude such that no drive demands subsequent expression.

The dissociation of the unitary striving occurs when some fraction of the inspiring cathexis is prevented from being discharged in the aforementioned most cathartic expression. Before the unitary striving is dissociated, the cathexis animates the organism as it is seamlessly discharged in the optimal expression. In other words, both the unitary striving and the associated energy cathexis are extinguished by expression in the absence of dissociation. Under the influence of an external, unpleasurable stimulus, however, the unitary striving is dissociated. A stimulus’s unpleasurable quality may even stem from the fact that it inspires the organism’s interruption of its own unitary striving. Regardless, if during the unitary striving the organism encounters such a stimulus, the original cathexis (or whatever remains of it) is divided and the organism instantaneously and unconsciously invests a portion of its energy in a narcissistic countercathexis (א). This quantity of energy in turn animates the organism in a narcissistic withdrawal. Since the entirety of the initial cathexis no longer animates the expression that gratifies the unitary striving, the organism is no longer capable of making that same expression. This is the mechanism of all repression.

The narcissistic countercathexis formed during the dissociation is called a reaction formation and the process whereby it is formed is also called reaction formation. Reaction formation can never take place independently of the unitary striving’s dissociation because, if the initial cathexis of object-libido is not divided, an expression which employs the entire cathexis must be made and there can be no energy left to invest in a countercathexis. Just as the initial cathexis of object-libido is seamlessly discharged in the unitary striving when dissociation doesn’t occur, the new countercathexis or reaction formation is seamlessly discharged in the narcissistic withdrawal. A reaction formation should only exist for an infinitesimal duration (ב) because, as a cathexis, it is spontaneously discharged or divested from, specifically in the withdrawal gesture. Furthermore, the reaction formation inspires a behavior which distances the organism from the unpleasurable stimulus, thereby making itself unnecessary. The original function of the impulse – or more correctly, the expression – was to discharge the entire cathexis of object-libido. After the unitary striving is dissociated, the function is to discharge the narcissistic countercathexis in withdrawal. That’s why it’s called the change of function of the impulse.

Before the pulsion to withdraw can be expressed in the act of withdrawing, the organism’s libidinal economy is disequilibrated, just as it was before the organism began its initial object-libidinal endeavor. When the organism has withdrawn and discharged the countercathexis, libidinal economy seems to attain an equilibrium. However, since a narcissistic retraction can never, it seems, be as cathartic as the original goal of the drive, a fraction of the original cathexis of object-libido remains. In the words of Wilhelm Reich, “the original object of the drive is not relinquished but merely repressed” (1). This energetic remnant seems to be involved in the organism’s further association of the unitary striving with harm so long as it is never discharged, but it also may play a role in learning and memory. A libido-economic equilibrium can only be said to result insofar as the remnant is repressed or excluded from subjectivity. The organism can choose to experience cheap simulacra of the benefits afforded by true libido-economic equilibrium (satisfaction, peace, genital function &c.) by renouncing the original goal of the drive. This is pathological, does nothing to relieve the cathexis and incurs many consequences which will be discussed in future installments.

A peculiar recursive recapitulation often arises when the function of the impulse is changed. If during the narcissistic withdrawal another unpleasurable stimulus is encountered, the narcissistic pulsion can be dissociated in the same way the unitary striving was. If this happens, a fraction of the countercathexis must be invested in an even more narcissistic countercathexis which inspires a retraction within a retraction, ad infinitum. Any one of these narcissistic retractions can be conceptualized as a kind of unitary striving with respect to the subsequent retraction since a pathological equilibrium was attained through repression. However, the total quantity of libido at the organism’s disposal becomes smaller and smaller as does the amount bound in the subsequent cathexes which proliferate in number. In historic civilization, all children undergo a process of successive, recursive dissociations: the formation of the layers of character or the ego.

(א) If the analyst continually brings the patient’s attention back to his own retracted condition and elucidates its function of warding off a deeper, repressed expression or disposition, and does so without reference to the nature thereof, that expression or disposition will break through and the retracted condition will eventually be surrendered. For this reason, it is thought that the narcissistic libido invested in the more superficial, retracted condition was originally object-libido proper to a deeper, repressed pulsion.

(ב) This may seem to contradict Reich’s claim that “the reaction formation is not a process that takes place once, but is a continuous one and, as well shall presently see, one which spreads (2).” There is no contradiction here because Reich is describing chronic reaction formations that have become crystallized into the structure of personality due to subsequent dissociations of the narcissistic pulsions. In such cases, the countercathexes are preserved because the withdrawal maneuver is not allowed to take place fully. Such cases belong to the larger category of reaction formations, and it can be said that the central endeavor of Reichian therapy is to restore the instantaneous quality to such chronic reaction formations such that the energies they bind can be liberated and reunited in the aforementioned original cathexis of object-libido. However, in its purest form, I maintain that the reaction formation, like all cathexes, is spontaneously divested from, specifically in the expression of narcissistic retraction.

(1) Reich, Wilhelm – Character Analysis – Chapter VIII. The Genital Character and the Neurotic Character – 3. Sublimation, Reaction Formation, and Neurotic Reaction Basis pg. 189

(2) Ibid pg. 189

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I’m Too Indie for the “Indiethinkers”

In June or July 2019, my research partner José Silvestri and I traveled to St. Augustine, Florida to meet Justin and Arya Murphy, Luke Ford, and some other young men gathered at Barnes & Noble for an “Other Life meet-up.” Seeing that I was itching to treat on what I research, Dr. Murphy invited me to give a short talk on Wilhelm Reich, his psychoanalytic ideas, the orgasm theory, and, briefly, orgone energy. When I concluded, he informed me that he had secretly recorded the whole thing, claiming he did so in secret so I would speak more naturally, or something to that effect. I would later discover that the recording of my rather mundane and purely informative speech, a combination of regurgitation and synthesis, was cut short at exactly thirty-three minutes and archived.

At the time I did not know what an “other life” was. My one and only life, that which I put toward the world for worldly interactions is the same entity as the libidinal economist who publishes here. It turns out not everyone can easily inform someone who happens to be a beautiful woman, for instance, about orgastic potency in a purely scientific way. I have always assumed everyone is like me though I also understood I was different in a way I couldn’t put my finger on. Could this have something to do with why people are still so reluctant to spread the good news?

Months later I found myself on, a well-organized, forum style website with easy access to past posts and tools for sorting them. It was one of the nodes enclosed in a loose conglomeration of independent intellectuals all connected through Justin. Justin had left his post as a professor at some college in the midst of being investigated for calling someone a “retard” on the internet. Indiethinkers promised to be an online safe harbor for all those weary of the university and its silly antics, mainly its censorship. I was “grandfathered” into the program at ten dollars a month in exchange for factoids about maximizing reach and getting views, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Recapitulating the general trend in user interface layout exemplified by the descent of Windows 10 and IOS, indiethinkers would later migrate to an opaque facebook style feed complete with liking and @-ing features. Keep in mind I can only remark on the parts of the site I had access to. As to what frat house rites went on above, it’s anybody’s guess.

I was very enthusiastic about sharing what I found in the only books to have been burned by the U.S. federal government on domestic soil. Imagine my excitement. Tyranny, violence and poverty resulted from epidemic sexual dysfunction. The entire economy existed at the expense of everyone’s sexual fulfilment and, even more interesting, people entered disadvantageous relationships – economic, political and sexual – because of universal but unacknowledged traumatic experiences! But wait; it gets even better! People had no recourse to exit these relations because, as soon as they did, intolerable but unconscious bodily excitations seized them as they teetered precariously between exercising their true wills and falling back into subservience! Furthermore, Dr. Reich discovered that, in a therapeutic setting, every such hurdle could be overcome by visceral expression, that each hurdle concealed an older, more repressed hurdle, and that once they were all finally done away with, a specific orgasm reflex appeared at the height of sexual excitation!!! I call it the lost reflex. With a few exceptions, all this fell on deaf ears. Sex-economy was just my version of their own unique projects.

When I posted Medicine Should Be Abolished, Justin said in a nicer way that no one would read a ten page blog post from a nobody and that every paragraph should be broken down into its own article centered around one idea. In other words, he suggested that I create several scattered premises leading nowhere instead of an argument with premises and a conclusion that follows. This would have allowed me to make the most impressions as they’re called, maximizing the odds of accumulating a following that I could extract money from. This didn’t sit well with me but such comments inspired me to write the Core Concepts Series so people could at least know what the terms meant. Justin was generous enough to include the first, Libido, in his Signs of Life newsletter. Without bothering to ask me what the purpose of my series was, he sent an email to hundreds stating that it was

[a] “core concepts’ series on Reichian psychoanalysis. These are intended as short and useful explainers for specific topics in Wilhelm Reich’s philosophy.

Justin Murphy, December 2, 2019

When I told him it was on my philosophy, not Dr. Reich’s, he seemed irritated and said, in a nicer way, that no one would care about what I had to say so we have to pull a bait and switch. This made me feel as though I was reduced to a mere deterritorialized flow of desire – no longer human, a string of text to be channeled into a monetization hopper, a set of capacitor states to be employed in the illusion that, with enough views, likes and retweets, the stinking corpse of humanity can be galvanically reanimated like a severed frog leg, the illusion that the internet is anything more than drunken escape from the reality of mass sexual dysfunction, its advocates bent on turning every social relation into parasitism and wiping out the last vestige of genitality which, by its otherworldly power, continues to gnaw at their hearts and induces them to depict their putrid interiors in their work for all to see … need I go on?

The devastating article How To Have Mind-Blowing Orgasms, which not even I am Hyperborean enough to keep on my blog, was also met with crickets chirping on indiethinkers for the most part. I guess everyone already knows how to have mind-blowing orgasms – but then again, even the most superficial orgonomic survey of “society” suggests otherwise. In an effort to avoid redundancy, the self-explanatory title was submitted as a hyperlink. I also included an excerpt from the paragraph which related reactions to George Floyd’s murder with unconscious, muscular suffocation of the genitals (armoring) and proclaimed the futility of diverting energies naturally concerned with orgastic convalescence into substitute actions. One person, according to the WordPress data, presumably of the female sex, circumnavigated to the article by entering the title in a search engine instead of clicking the link directly. Rest assured, Justin will never know she had any interest in such base things – or that she wasn’t already an orgasm expert.

Dr. Murphy was caught off guard! Evidently he was excited and curious but couldn’t risk upsetting the balance of whatever he thought our relationship was. Like Mime, the disgusting dwarf from Siegfried, he only needed to know one thing. But instead of asking forthrightly, he was compelled to plot and connive. He knew this was a delicate situation; he had garnered undeserved respect. Sincerity and authenticity had to be excluded from the calculations lest they ruin everything again … but there wasn’t enough to bite! There was nothing for him to beat down with that negative cathexis his unreciprocated labor as a scholar endowed him with. Yes, I’m talking about that. Like a typical “doctor of philosophy,” he had to get me to spell it out for him so he could deflect my outward enterprise and secure another dopamine ejaculation for his mesolimbic pathway, his disgusting food, while I was to hobble off and seek another path to acceptance. I tell you he’d need, generously, a hundred thousand indie thinkers to do what we do here in solitude and with the whole world despising us: positive science.

Thrice it was yours to ask questions,
thrice I stood at your behest:
but empty knowledge you sought;
the want that lies at your door,
your own need you know not;
now when I find it, your wits are dazed;
hear, you fallen dwarf:
Only he who has never known fear
can forge Nothung anew!

The Wanderer, Siegfried Act I

Exposed to the infallible cipher of orgonotic expression, he was forced to divulge that, to him, there’s no way an article called How To Have Mind-Blowing Orgasms could actually be about having mind-blowing orgasms. Judging only the title, he condemned as “humorous” and “click-baity” my solemn work on an issue which will soon require the world’s life. Then he cunningly demanded a description that also conveniently appealed to his band for their precious time. Sensing the ruse, I commented something to the effect of: “I didn’t want anyone who couldn’t handle it to see it.”

As if I just needed to get the insolence out of my system so we can all go on pretending, he deleted the comment from his website. Maybe he thought that since he couldn’t keep his composure entertaining such ideas, no one could. Maybe he thought it wasn’t me but my “other life” commenting and that I wouldn’t remember. I only have one life. Regardless, it took less than a year for indiethinkers to embody the very narrow-mindedness, censorship and mean-spirited games it was allegedly a reaction against – unless you think this one doesn’t count. You can’t just sweep things under the rug because you have a doctorate and a smartphone. I immediately reinstated the comment, pointed to the fact that it disappeared, and drove home the point he’s a “doctor of philosophy.” Philosophy? get real. Then I assaulted the page with my mouse and found that the areas I clicked later disappeared like my deleted comment.

Unwilling to tolerate such gas-lighting, I absconded and deprived them of my work. What the hell was I doing there? learning these things, I suppose. To be fair, indiethinkers is what you make out of it. But I think it should be called the indie-but-not-too-indiethinkers. I wish Justin the best, but his endeavor – not the one he talks about – will fall flat on its face because he forgot one very important thing. If you don’t know what that is, ask your “other life.” As for me, I think I’ll have no problem getting by in the real world.

Core Concepts Series: XI. The Basic Libidinal Conflict: Instinct vs. Outer World – Part 2

Elaboration and Foray into Desiring-production

In the absence of external prohibitions or internal narcissistic inhibition, the organism will discharge inner tension through expression. If our formulation equating libido with potential energy in bodily tissue is correct, the organism can potentially experience an infinite variety of pulsions, each one corresponding to an optimal expression that affords the greatest possible catharsis. The expression that completely discharges one cathexis would be useless for another. Though more potential energy is probably consumed in a set of pull-ups than in the orgasm reflex, for instance, the former is inferior when it comes to sexual catharsis. We are also familiar with expressions that require very little movement but subjectively seem to relieve intense psychic burdens. On top of all this, we find that inner tensions can be resolved by ceasing to dispense with our energies (rest) and adding more energy to our bodies (eating). What can we make of these apparent contradictions? Investigating how a pulsion becomes disconnected from the expression it would optimally manifest as may be useful in solving this riddle.

But what does this mean, without inhibition? Previously we gave the example of the amoeba and its aquatic habitat, claiming that external water functions as narcissistic inhibition because it offers resistance to the object-libidinal expression of reaching. But by this logic, the amoeba’s membrane and organelles are co-conspirators in repression, for our protozoan would have the lowest potential energy if it was shredded into the smallest possible pieces and diffused evenly in the water. Not even the free-flowing amoeba is comfortable with that kind of catharsis! Now we are entering the realm of – I’ve always wanted to use this word – Deleuzoguattarian desiring-production. The organism’s morphology has intrinsic inhibitory properties that obstruct immediate dissipation of potential energy, energy we claim is libidinal (1).

The animation of the organism in expression, to wit, the conversion of this energy into work, is itself mediated by these inhibitory, structural properties. For instance, the same chemical energy from food inspires different functions in different tissues because of structural differences. Compare the high energy food metabolite ATP’s role in the contraction of skeletal muscle with its role in the establishment of electric potential across a neuron’s membrane. Here, different types of fixed structures operating mechanically mediate the dissipation of potential energy according to their mechanical and chemical properties. This results in the performance of specific, characteristic functions (contraction, membrane charging &c.), energy-dissipative (א) processes which we consider to be expressive. Any one of these processes is characterized by countervailing forces whose dynamics recapitulate the psychic currents governing the organism’s total expression. Complementarily, an unfathomable number of these microcosmic events contribute to the organism’s total expression, be it predominantly object oriented or narcissistic, wherein the common theme, structural modification of energy dissipation, is preserved and recapitulated on a large scale by the organs. This is analogous to an engine, whose mechanical structure gradually extracts work from burning gas in a controlled way rather than letting it all explode in one ecstatic fireball.

Now that we have filed Nothung down to splinters, so to speak, we are better equipped to speculate about which expressions are optimal when it comes to relieving a libidinal cathexis, that is, which are sex-economically preferable to the organism, affording the most complete catharsis. Since we have become labyrinthine and hideous enough to understand – and, God forbid, produce – the above paragraphs, it would behoove us to observe infants. We are justified in doing so because, experience has shown, experiences further convolute the pathways of object-libido and inspire chronic narcissistic inhibition or libidinal investment. It is also useful at this point to distinguish between the morphological components of narcissistic inhibition and the narcissistic gestures we intuitively make or understand without reference to the sciences. As a side-benefit, we will be able to assess what the sum of scientific knowledge actually represents.

Initially, infants act in an uninhibited way according to what are commonly called the instincts, behaviors that aren’t “learned.” Over the course of their development, however, we find children adopt chronic inhibitions which obstruct the more direct manifestations of object-libido as outward expression. Analysis of neurotics’ repressed complexes has shown that this is accomplished by converting a quantity of object-libido into narcissistic libido. The conversion is concomitant with renouncing the original goal of the drive, viz. the expression which would completely discharge the inspiring energy cathexis and, not to mention, require the entire cathexis in order to manifest. A portion of the energy that would otherwise animate the organism in the optimal expression is employed to resist that same expression, preserving some fraction of the cathexis. Again, this only occurs when endeavors to contact the outside world are met with sufficient unpleasure, unpleasure which creates subjective tension (excitation) exceeding that due to the cathexis which initially inspired the pulsion to make contact with the world.

These learned inhibitions, resolutions to the conflicts between instinct and outer world, eventually crystallize into a kind of parasitic homunculus foreign to the organism. Freud called this the ego (das Ich, the I) a word borrowed from Nietzsche through the physician Georg Groddeck (2). This psychic structure can be said to contain a set of narcissistic libido investments that, like the steel cylinders of an engine, conscript the explosive forces of expression to its own end: self-preservation (or more correctly, relief from the tension arising from intolerable perceptions). Its somatic manifestation is a system of chronically held muscle contractions. We also see a subjective identification with the processes of inhibition and ignorance of the repressed object-libidinal strivings. In orgonomy, these investments are considered pathological insofar as they prevent authentic emotional expressions such as the orgasm reflex. In the next article, we will discuss in detail how a pulsion’s function is changed under the influence of an external pressure and how the organism internalizes this change through libidinal investment, a concept Wilhelm Reich calls change of function of the impulse.

(א) Though these may dissipate energy in one respect, they are certainly capable of creating potential energy in other areas.

(1) Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Félix – Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia – 1. The Desiring Machines – 4. A Materialist Psychiatry pg. 26-27

(2) Nietzsche, Friedrich – Thus Spoke Zarathustra – Translator’s (Kaufmann) notes for Part 1, Discourse 4, On the Despisers of the Body pg. 5

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Core Concepts Series: X. The Basic Libidinal Conflict: Instinct vs. Outer World – Part 1


Previously we stated that the pulsion or impulse is nothing more than the force exerted by the organism on the world or on itself in the conversion of biological energy into work. We also stated that the pulsion’s existence denotes a libidinal tension or pressure – a quantity of potential energy in terms of biophysics – that an expression can discharge. The forces preventing the potential energy from being discharged in expression we have termed narcissistic. It follows that the pulsion and expression are continuous without narcissistic inhibition, as is seen with infants. In other words, an action and the pulsion with which we associate it are artificially separated components of a single identity, initially. The presence of narcissistic inhibition determines if a pulsion is disconnected from the expression which would relieve its tension.

The most primordial drive, then, is the drive to divest from cathexes of libido, viz. the drive to relieve inner tension and feel pleasure. If our formulation equating libido with potential energy is correct, catharsis is impossible without transferring energy into the environment, usually through relating to objects. However, the environment does not always permit object-libidinal expression and there are a finite number of ways the organism can relate to the environment such that libido-economic equilibrium results.

Limitations imposed by the outer world regulate the organism’s power. In the example of the amoeba, we saw that the water it inhabits has the same function as the narcissistic current, offering resistance to the object-libidinal expression of reaching. Though higher organisms face similar challenges, their narcissistic inhibition often arises from intolerable bodily excitation.

Like the energy which inspires the organism to contact the outer world, such intolerable excitations constitute inner tensions. However, they inspire hostility, fear or anxiety. Their intolerable quality is probably related to a high frequency of signals in the nervous pathways involved in sensation and perception. These cathexes can be relieved by destroying, fleeing or withdrawing from the stimulus, actions which both expend energy and interrupt the organism’s continued perception thereof. Like the pulsion to relate to the outer world, the narcissistic retraction is also a pulsion whose tension is relieved by movement, though it be directed inwardly. We believe that all this is mediated by differences in the magnitudes of opposing forces, mechanical and electric, contending in the tissues of life.

“If we assume that Hartmann’s theory is correct (certain aspects of which were supplemented by the investigations of Kraus and Zondek), psychic energy must derive from simple physiological and mechanical surface tensions, grounded in the chemistry of cells … the disturbance of the physio-chemical equilibrium which is brought about by these tensions turns out to be the motor force of action – in the final analysis, most likely also the motor force of thinking (1).”

Wilhelm Reich, 1933

Based on the results of the therapy character analysis and critical inquiry into masochism and the quantitative problem of libido, Wilhelm Reich concluded that Freud was correct in his original conception of the basic libidinal conflict: “frustration issues from the outer world (2).” That is to say the organism endeavors to relate to objects in the most cathartic, pleasurable way by default. Renunciation of this drive arises from external limitations and frustrations, not, as Freud would later claim, a countervailing death drive equally innate to the organism. As we shall later see, the phenomena attributed thereto are conditional and dependent on the preservation of cathexes which can, in fact, be divested from. In the coming articles, we will describe how interactions with external frustrations divide the object-libidinal current against itself giving rise to secondary drives and describe a hierarchy of preferred emotional functions and transformations which is based on cathartic magnitude and whether frustrating conditions prevail.

(1) Reich, Wilhelm – Character Analysis – Chapter XII: Some Observations On the Basic Conflict Between Need and Outer World pg. 271-272

(2) Ibid pg. 280-281

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Core Concepts Series IX: The Pulsion

If libido is the energy that animates an organism in expression, and if adequate expression results in a libido-economic equilibrium, then the pulsion or drive itself can best be conceptualized as a force in the Newtonian sense of the word. As a body in mechanical equilibrium is acted upon by equal and opposite forces, so a libidinal economy in equilibrium is characterized by equal magnitudes of the object-libidinal and narcissistic psychic currents. Thus if the narcissistic current cannot oppose the object-libidinal current, an outward expression must take place. In the same way, an overpowering narcissistic current results in inhibition. Of course we can only conceive of these quantities ordinally for now, but they are quantities nonetheless.

In microbial life, the libidinal currents have a very direct relationship to Newtonian forces. For instance, in the amoeba’s production of a pseudopodium – an object-libidinal expression – the cytoskeletal filaments must overcome the pressure of the water in which it lives, else the organism will be unable to relate to objects such as prey. The production of force is ultimately accomplished by the conversion of chemical energy into work. This same conversion takes place in the animal’s object-libidinal expression. These depend on electric and chemical potential energy being released in the skeletal muscles and the nerve fibers that trigger their depolarization. However, the libidinal currents in an animal have a more convoluted relationship to force.

The skeletal muscles, those organs ultimately responsible for the expression, develop tremendous force and expend a tremendous amount of potential energy as mechanical work. Contrastingly, the nerves that trigger them lose a comparatively minute amount of potential energy in the propagation of a signal. Furthermore, the signals that ultimately arrive at the skeletal muscles must originate, physiologists maintain, in the sensorimotor cortex of the brain (1). Here, the neurons have a very small volume and therefore require less work – less energy – to polarize (א) than do the long fibers innervating the skeletal muscles. On top of all that, their signal can be modified or altogether stopped at very many intermediate synapses. And as the total expression is thought to depend on the difference in magnitude between the object-libidinal and narcissistic currents, whether any one of these neurons will contact the next in the signaling cascade depends solely on the magnitude of the electric current flowing into the initial segment exceeding that of the electric current flowing out (2). I don’t think it is a stretch to say that the excitation of nerve and muscle tissue recapitulates object-libidinal expression and that their stored potential energy is similar to the narcissistic reservoir of libido. Perhaps these stores constitute the narcissistic reservoir.

As I stated previously, object-libidinal expressions of a sexual nature are characterized by the flow of fluid toward the organism’s periphery. During these we see a reduction of tension (dilation) in the peripheral blood vessels but a great increase in the pressure (ב) exerted by the blood in the genitals in turgescence. Force (muscle tone) is developed by genital muscles such as the ischocavernosus and bulbocavernosus (3). A strong electric potential (4) denoting potential energy develops on the penis and vagina mucosa (in orgastically potent characters). If these phenomena indicating sexual excitation are to appear, the object-libidinal current must overcome the narcissistic current and whatever forces are responsible for their appearance cannot be cancelled by forces acting in the opposite direction.

There is also a muscular mechanism that can inhibit the object-libidinal pulsion. In the expression of rage, for instance, the arms may apply force to and do work on an object, e.g. in punching. In extension, the triceps brachii contracts and pulls the forearm about the elbow which acts as a fulcrum. Were the biceps brachii to simultaneously develop an equivalent tension (force), the arm would be in mechanical equilibrium and unable to accelerate toward the object. This inhibition, like the expression it represses requires – as far as we are concerned – another input from the “voluntary” nervous system. One should also keep in mind that afferent fibers communicate information concerning the amount of force developed in a skeletal muscle to the brain.

In analysis, the word pulsion often is followed by “to …,” e.g., the pulsion to murder the father. The formulation we just introduced implies that, in order for such a pulsion to exist, there must be some libidinal pressure, a quantity of potential energy that would be released were it not for some preventive mechanism. Recall that this quantity of energy constitutes a cathexis and its expenditure is a cathartic event. Wilhelm Reich discovered that the real world action which psychoanalysts linguistically attach to an energy cathexis is largely independent from the actual, physical energy thereof, and that these cathexes can be completely divested from, practically speaking, without performing the action, e.g. murdering one’s father. That is to say, the preservation of the cathexis is not, as psychoanalysis implies, the only way to prevent the action from taking place.

(א) Potential energy in metabolic products from food is converted into work used to separate electrically charged particles that exert attractive forces on each other. During the excitation of a neuron, these charges are allowed to come back together. An amount of energy must be consumed resetting – repolarizing or recharging if you will – the cell membrane. The electric work done to charge a capacitor is proportional to the surface area, so the smaller the neuron, the less work it takes to polarize.

(ב) Pressure is force applied over an area ( P = F/A ) and is measured in units of force per unit of area, e.g. pounds per square inch.

(1) Widmaier, Raff & Strang – Vander, Sherman, & Luciano’s Human Physiology: The Mechanisms of Body Function – Chapter 10 – Control of Body Movement – The Brain Motor Centers and Descending Pathways they Control pg. 320

(2) Widmaier, Raff & Strang – Vander, Sherman, & Luciano’s Human Physiology: The Mechanisms of Body Function – Chapter 6 – Neuronal Signaling and the Structure of the Nervous System – Section C: Synapses – Synaptic Integration pg. 179

(3) Reich, Wilhelm – The Bioelectric Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety – 1. The Orgasm as an Electrophysiological Discharge pg. 9-10

(4) Reich – The Function of the Orgasm – Chapter IX – From Psychoanalysis to Biogenesis, Part 1. The Bioelectric Function of Pleasure and Anxiety pg. 370

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Core Concepts Series: VII. Object Libido and Narcissistic Libido

Libido is invested in two opposing directions: toward the world and away from the world. The energy that inspires an impulse concerned with contacting the external world is called object libido. Before gratification, such impulses coincide with a subjective feeling of tension. Union with the “desired” object relieves tension, as plainly evidenced by the relaxation which occurs when striving is ceased. In psychoanalysis, this is called catharsis and is said to coincide with a return of the libido to the “narcissistic reservoir.” When the libido is withdrawn from the external interest or doesn’t come out in the first place, it is called narcissistic libido (1). Note that this concept describes a phenomenon much more general and fundamental than the tangentially related phenomenon called narcissism by modern psychology. A narcissistic retraction is not always cathartic or satisfying. Often they result from frustration and do nothing to relieve the tension arising from the inability to reach the drive’s original goal. The only tension relieved by this retraction is usually that which signifies overpowering fear. In Character Analysis, Wilhelm Reich calls narcissistic withdrawals of libido flights of the “energy cathexis” toward the center (interior) of the organism (2).

An antithesis is formed by these two functions: towards (object libido) and away from (narcissistic libido) the world. Hunger and sexuality are object-libidinal, to wit, orientated toward the world. Both of these relieve inner tension. When the organism reaches out into the world to make contact with an object, and this endeavor is successful, unsuccessful or results in injury or a perception of danger, the energy is narcissistically withdrawn. To use a classical example, the genital attraction of a boy in the oedipal situation to his mother is an object-libidinal pulsion consisting of a quantity of moving energy and a corresponding expression: that energy’s animation of the body. If the consequence of this expression is the mother becoming enraged, the libido is narcissistically withdrawn for the purpose of self-preservation. This is evidenced by the fact that here, the body (whose movement requires energy) is not animated in outward expression. We will talk about how this is accomplished biophysically and what must be done with this energy in future installments. Similarly, when a squirrel endeavors to cross a street but sees an oncoming car, he must prevent his body from accomplishing the drive’s original goal through narcissistic retraction.

Although these two functions are in one sense antithetical, it is important to remember that they stem from a common substance, general biological energy. They only differ in flow direction and direction of investment. In orgonomy, such a relationship is called an antithetical functional identity; two seemingly opposing functions share a common identity. Investigation from the sex-economic standpoint reveals that we are dealing with definite, conserved quantities of libido. Further these can be divided and set against each other in order to create ever more complicated inhibitions. In such cases, object-oriented and narcissistic energies exert libidinal pressures on each other, leading to ambivalence and many other strange behavioral phenomena (3).

Finally, the oscillation of libidinal investment between these poles is identical to the orgastic function. The first half of the function, characterized by tension and charge, is in its purest form an object-libidinal endeavor. The end phase, characterized by discharge and relaxation, is a narcissistic retraction. In the coming articles, we will use this formulation to show that object libido and narcissistic libido compel the organism to make objective physical movements. We will also describe the relationship these energies have to sexuality, anxiety and the function of the autonomic nervous system.

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(1) Reich, Wilhelm – The Bioelectric Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety – 2. Sexuality and Anxiety: The Basic Antithesis of Vegetative Life pg. 36

(2) Reich – Character Analysis – Chapter XII – Some Observations on the Basic Conflict Between Need and Outer World pg. 276

(3) Reich – Character Analysis – Chapter XIII – Psychic Contact and Vegetative Current – The Change Of Function of the Impulse pg. 296-308

Core Concepts Series: VI. The Orgastic Function – Part 2

Recapitulation of the Orgastic Function in Other Expressions

Although the orgastic function was discovered through studying the orgasm, it is thought to be recapitulated in all expressions. In other words, all our expressions embody the tension and resolution proper to the orgastic cycle, providing they are not obstructed by some pathology. Of necessity, this means that they begin with a cathexis, an investment of libido, and culminate in catharsis, a divestment of libido. Let us explore some expressions that would generally be considered non-sexual and follow the path of the drive energy with an emphasis on biomechanics.

In the first half of the expression of rage, for instance, we are seized by a certain tonus of the striated muscles, those organs whereby we influence the external world. Subjectively, its virtue is discernible from other physiological states and we know it as anger. Here we observe a mechanical tension and, necessarily, some change in the electric properties of the muscles. A cathexis of the same kind with which Freudian psychoanalysis is concerned has been formed and sex-economy has been disequilibrated. If we wish to artificially delineate between psyche and soma, we may say that psychically, the pulsion has been charged with drive energy. Somatically, the organism has begun to consume its reserves of energy by upholding this tonus. It is preparing to destroy whatever agent precludes its pleasure (1). In muscle contraction, the muscles develop force or tension (2) as microscopic fibers pull on one another. The rapid extension of the muscles in combat seems to relieve this tension because, when the situation is resolved, the body ideally resumes a state of relative relaxation and the nerves cease to inspire such an intense tonus in the skeletal muscles. Thus we roughly have the tension, charge, discharge and relaxation of the orgastic function. It is interesting to note that when the orgastic function is precluded in its sexual form, it is recapitulated in this defensive form such that the conditions under which the orgasm reflex can occur are reinstated!

In the expression of fear, we have a very similar response. Again, the tonus of the skeletal muscles is augmented as the organism prepares to escape, a maneuver requiring tremendous quantities of energy. The movement entailed is inherently cathartic and if the organism can escape the threat, a sex-economic equilibrium is achieved and the libido is available again to be invested in other ways.

Although anxiety cannot properly be called an expression, it nonetheless embodies those attributes which characterize the orgastic function (if it ever is divested from). It is a general contraction of the organism universally exhibited across all phyla. That is to say it is exhibited even by organisms without muscular or nervous tissue. The anxiety affect will arise in different situations depending on the creature’s morphology (3). Whereas a unicellular organism will instantly exhibit this response in a dangerous situation, an animal, having a muscular system, will first attempt to destroy or flee the threat, oftentimes fighting to the death. Therefore it is actually very unusual for an animal to exhibit such a response while the microbe, on the other hand, can often be found playing dead, implying to the predator it isn’t worth the energy.

That all being said, in human anxiety the muscular system is chronically contracted. However, we suspect that the final tension developed by the muscles in anxiety is very insignificant and similar to that of relaxed musculature. According to Plonsey and Barr, a muscle in absolute contraction develops a force similar to that of a relaxed muscle. That is to say a muscle’s tension is greatest when it is only partially contracted (4). Entering the anxiety state then can be considered a pseudocatharsis in which tension is taken out of the muscles not through expression, but through repression.

Here we see tension as a function of striation spacing. After a certain point, the muscle filaments slide past each other to such an extent that they begin to shield each other from the motor-chemical reactions involved in their mutual pulling. (5)

Of greatest significance is the fact that, for the anxiety tonus to be achieved, viz. for the muscles to reach their greatest degree of contraction, the tension force proper to the rage tonus must have been developed at some instant during the contraction. Of equally great significance is that, for the anxiety tonus to be divested from, viz. for the muscles to relax and regain their original length, the muscles must again develop the intermediate force, that tension which foretells the expression of rage or fear. Wilhelm Reich’s discovery that destructive rage impulses break through upon the analytic dissolution of anxiety (6) corroborates our theory. However, all this requires further investigation.

Another expression that mirrors the orgastic function is labor. All organisms devote a portion of their lives to the procurement, transformation, construction and exchange of various things. Even when we think we are resting, our bodies perform very many operations and labors. However, if we only concern ourselves with things we can directly experience, we can see that there is a portion of the day in which we perform labors vastly different from our rest and recreation. Again, these demand a mechanical tension and an electric charge and when we have finished the job, we ideally divest from this cathexis of libido and relax, having maintained the unnatural structures that can allow the most natural thing about us to emerge from its sanctum.

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(1) Reich, Wilhelm – The Bioelectric Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety – 2. Sexuality and Anxiety: The Basic Antithesis of Vegetative Life – pg. 37

(2) Plonsey, Robert & Barr, Roger C. – Bioelectricity, a Quantitative Approach Second Edition – Chapter 11. Skeletal Muscle pg. 330

(3) Reich – The Bioelectric Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety – 2. Sexuality and Anxiety: The Basic Antithesis of Vegetative Life – pg. 37-38

(3) Plonsey, Robert & Barr, Roger C. – Bioelectricity, a Quantitative Approach Second Edition – Chapter 11. Skeletal Muscle – Sliding Filament Theory pg. 339

(4) Ibid. pg 339-340

(5) Reich – The Function of the Orgasm – Chapter V – The Development of the Character-analytic Technique – Part 3. Character Armor and the Dynamic Stratification of the Defense Mechanisms pg.147

Core Concepts Series IV: The Orgasm Theory – Part 2

The Orgasm Reflex

Part one dealt with the development of the orgasm theory, gave a brief description thereof and gave an account of its reception. This part will describe the orgasm reflex and the sexual intercourse between orgastically potent men and women.

Sex between orgastically potent lovers takes on a certain form not because it is a practice or a performance, but because it is governed by uninhibited biological instincts. It does not take place because one wants to prove his “potency” or her “sexual liberation,” to invoke jealousy, anesthetize oneself, act out oedipal wishes, fulfil a tradition or receive some kind of compensation. To the orgastically potent man or woman, this conjugation is part of a primordial life process and functions to guarantee psychic and somatic vigor, equilibrate libidinal economy and afford some of the highest pleasures in life. All the perversions described herein diminish the magnitude of catharsis in the orgasm. From an economic standpoint, this is ultimately perversion’s raison d’être; it consumes libidinal energy, precluding the extreme accumulation of excitation and rapid, complete discharge that characterize the orgasm reflex.

If the orgasm reflex is to occur, several conditions must be satisfied and all precluding factors must be absent. “Anxiety, unpleasure, and fantasies” (1) must be entirely absent from the experience. Wilhelm Reich explicitly delineates from “onanistic coitus,” the fantasy-ridden, masturbatory sex which Lacan assumed to be the only kind of sex possible. There can be no uncertainty or contradictory impulses. The lovers must be genuinely well-disposed towards each other, meaning they are neither lying to themselves nor lying to themselves about lying to themselves and so on. As we will later explore, such dishonesty has a major physiological component: the chronic rigidification of the muscular system. For now, understand that it is this rigidity which prevents the body from involuntarily convulsing in the orgasm reflex.

Reich describes the reflex in great, clinical detail in chapter four of The Function of the Orgasm (pg. 85-116), but I will reproduce what I think are the most important takeaways. Of great significance is the wave propagated along the body’s longitudinal axis. The pelvis rotates inwardly toward the head and independently of the lower back. As the pelvis reaches the fullest extent of its rotation, the upper body begins to curl forward while the relaxed head and neck fall backwards with gravity. Reich remarks that it is as if the organism attempts to bring together “the two ends of the trunk (2).” Meanwhile, the pelvis has begun to fall, and, by the time the upper body has reached its most inwardly curled position, the pelvis has more or less straightened out whereupon it begins to rotate inwardly again while the upper body falls. This whole cycle repeats several times and is entirely involuntary.

“Orgastic potency is the capacity to surrender to the flow of biological energy, free of any inhibitions; the capacity to discharge completely the dammed-up sexual excitations through involuntary, pleasurable convulsions of the body.”

Wilhelm Reich – The Function of the Orgasm pg. 102

It is also noteworthy that, leading up to the reflex, excitation is evermore concentrated in the genitals and that the orgastic convulsions coincide with the rapid flow of excitation from the genitals into the rest of the body. This is experienced as the resolution of tension. The steeper the descent from excitation, the more satisfying the orgasm. Moreover, whereas the pleasure at the beginning of such intercourse is of a voluntary, sensory virtue, it assumes an involuntary, primarily motor virtue by the time of the climax. Psychoanalytically speaking, this coincides with the momentary dissolution of the ego and the total surrender to the instinctual.

Above all, what distinguishes orgastic potency from orgastic impotence is the complete discharge of sexual excitation in the orgasm reflex. Below are two graphics from The Function of the Orgasm (pg 111):

In neurosis, extreme excitation and deep relaxation are impossible. The organism cannot tolerate a high degree of excitation or relaxation because of an inability to surrender to involuntary somatic processes.
Orgastic potency is characterized by the capacity to tolerate, accumulate and completely discharge extreme excitation.

The fact that excitation is completely discharged in the reflex is of greatest importance. Reich writes: “the energy source of neurosis is created by the difference between the accumulation and discharge of sexual energy (3).” As I said in Part 1, the neurotic symptoms serve to metabolize the libidinal energy that is not exhausted in expressions such as the orgasm reflex. Among these symptoms is the aforementioned somatic rigidity which prevents the convulsions. Thus orgastic potency is established when this pathological rigidity is eliminated and vice versa. It is the motor convulsions which equilibrate sex-economy, possibly through the transfer of mechanical energy from the body into the environment.

The concept of orgastic potency is an indispensable component of clinical orgonomy. Without this goal, therapy is pointless because the patient will not establish a self-regulating sex economy. It will remain in a state of congestion and, since the stases of libido are preserved, the neurotic will always struggle uphill against his or her symptoms. Thus neurosis is identical to orgastic impotence; “not a single neurotic is orgastically potent (4).”

(1) Reich, Wilhelm – The Function of the Orgasm – Chapter IV. The Development of the Orgasm Theory, Part 3. Orgastic Potency pg. 102

(2) Reich – Character Analysis – Chapter XIV. The Expressive Language of the Living, Part 2. Plasmatic Expressive Movement and Emotional Expression pg. 367

(3) Reich – The Function of the Orgasm – Chapter IV.The Development of the Orgasm Theory, Part 4. Sexual Stasis – The Energy Source of the Neurosis pg. 111

(4) Reich – The Function of the Orgasm – Chapter IV. The Development of the Orgasm Theory, Part 3. Orgastic Potency pg. 102

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Core Concepts Series: III. The Orgasm Theory – Part 1

Development and Overview

Wilhelm Reich’s orgasm theory shields the Queen of the Sciences from the vulgar, repulsing the vain fact collectors, the theoretical dabblers and those who would appropriate her principles for their own wicked ends. It is subject to ridicule at first and later the most vehement hostility. Nonetheless, it has furnished a physiological metric, orgastic potency, by which we can determine if a neurosis has been resolved, independently of culturally constructed ideas of health which rest on no biological basis.

During the 1920s, psychoanalysts classified as actual neuroses those monosymptomatic diseases relegated by orthodox medicine to the “psychosomatic” realm. Freud surmised that these were caused by the incomplete metabolism of sex-hormones and, in accordance with his libido-economic theory, sex and masturbation were prescribed. Psychoneuroses such as hysteria, perversion and masochism, on the other hand, required analysis. Despite this distinction, Reich recalls that Freud “was of the opinion that every psychoneurosis centered around ‘an actual-neurotic core’ (1).” In other words, a stasis of libido lies at the root of every neurosis.

Clinical experience led Reich to hypothesize that both actual neuroses and psychoneuroses were caused not merely by a libidinal stasis, but by a total disturbance of genital function. While none of his female patients were able to have orgasms, about thirty percent of his male patients were able to have erections and ejaculate. However, their sexuality, like that of his female patients, was characterized by symbolic fantasy and the absence of motor, involuntary, pleasure-oriented behavior. The economic function of such fantasizing can be nothing other than to withhold a quantity of libido and prevent its discharge in the sexual act. It is the ego’s defense against momentary dissolution.

Because their sexual characteristics handicap catharsis, it became necessary to classify the genital function of these neurotic males as pathological, despite their ability to impregnate. Meanwhile, it was observed that when a neurosis is completely resolved, to wit, when a patient’s sex-economy gains the capacity to regulate itself, a specific, involuntary reflex thenceforth appears at the height of sexual excitation. This orgasm reflex, a total convulsion of the body and temporary loss of consciousness at the climax of genital embrace (2), eventually became a metric signifying the resolution of neurotic illness. Why? because, it was found, that the orgastic convulsions discharge the libidinal stases that otherwise nourish a neurosis. When orgastic discharge is precluded, neurotic symptoms appear in order vent the stasis of libido and establish a sex-economic equilibrium, albeit a pathological one. At the same time, when the libido is invested in the production of neurotic symptoms, it cannot be exhausted in the orgastic discharge. The role of sexuality goes far beyond reproduction; it maintains the energetic hygiene of the organism. The capacity to allow the orgasm reflex to take place is called orgastic potency.

The orgasm theory, presented in 1926, was rejected by the psychoanalytic community. It implied that the analysts themselves were neurotic and sexually dysfunctional. The Freudians are still of the opinion that sexual repression is necessary if something bad is to be avoided. Sound familiar? Several testified that they encountered any number of female neurotics with intact genital function, but, as we shall explore in future installments, the essence of a neurotic’s disease is that he cannot tell he’s a neurotic, let alone anyone else. He interprets his symptoms to be parts of his identity and, if they are prevalent among the public, he will consider them to be normal. While operating the first public psychoanalytic clinic, Reich surmised that over eighty percent of people in interbellum Central Europe were orgastically impotent. After that sham of a sexual revolution in the 1960s and 70s, I estimate it is even higher today.

(1) Reich, Wilhelm – The Function of the Orgasm – Chapter IV. The Development of the Orgasm Theory, Part 2. Supplementation of Freud’s Conception of the Anxiety Neurosis pg. 90

(2) Reich, Wilhelm – The Function of the Orgasm – Chapter IV. The Development of the Orgasm Theory, Part 3. Orgastic Potency pg. 95-115

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Core Concepts Series: II. Introduction to Libidinal Economy

In the 1920s, when Wilhelm Reich began to study under Freud, three approaches to psychoanalysis were commonly employed: the topographical, dynamic and economic approaches. The topographical approach was concerned with the conscious and the unconscious: the heights and depths of psychic life. In therapy, it was handicapped in effectiveness for reasons we shall explore later. Often it could only impart to the patient an intellectual understanding of his or her neurosis, leaving the neurotic symptoms and character traits untouched. A Freudian axiom, something to the effect of “neuroses are resolved when the analysand becomes conscious of the unconscious” was later revised to state that neuroses may be resolved if that parameter is satisfied (1).

Those who practiced the dynamic approach realized that a cathexis is more completely dissolved when the affects, viz. the emotions, surrounding the cathexis are re-experienced (abreaction). It was found, however, that certain personality traits function to resist the surfacing of these affects, and that the key to the resolution of neurosis lies in the cessation of these traits. The dynamic approach – though its assumptions are correct – failed to address these “resistances,” character traits that compel a patient to resist analysis.

The economic approach was able to overcome these problems. As the field of economics is concerned with the distribution of scarce resources, so the economic approach to psychoanalysis was concerned with the distribution of libidinal energy amongst the various drives and mannerisms. Thus it deals with ordinal quantities of libido. We will refer to this approach as libidinal economy or sex-economy and its subject matter is the economic or quantitative problem of libido. How much drive energy is invested in which ideas, neurotic symptoms, performances &c.? How do these investments regulate expression, conceal desire and relieve the pressures which arise from psychic conflicts? What factors determine the magnitude of catharsis during the gratification of a drive? These are the questions that sex-economy seeks to answer. Considering the libido in this fashion requires us to affirm the premise of the dynamic approach and further affords us a way to dissolve the resistances that prevent affects from surfacing. Sex-economy also refers to an individual’s libidinal metabolism, the ways in which one’s drive energy is exerted or frustrated. The interplay of instinctual demands with external forces determines the characteristics of one’s sex-economy. It is molded by specific experiences and the socio-familial atmosphere at large.

Sex-economic equilibrium is the condition which occurs either prior to cathexis or following the gratification of a drive. It is subjectively experienced as peace or satisfaction. By as of yet unknown means, drive energy continually flows forth from the organism and compels it to strive towards objects. Tension is experienced prior to this movement and the movement alleviates the tension. Before resolution, sex-economy is said to be in a state of disequilibrium and there exists a stasis or cathexis of libido which demands resolution. Object-libidinal union and other cathartic expressions function to regulate sex-economy and promote the increased health and vitality of the organism, but when these are precluded by internal and external conditions, we are compelled to vent drive energy in an incomplete, pathological fashion, e.g. fetishism.

In fact, neurosis is characterized by the acute fear of catharsis and a neurotic’s instinctual drives have, in a sense, been transformed to favor the upholding of cathexes. From a neurotic frame of reference, equilibrium becomes synonymous with libido-metabolic constipation since there is no conception of the repressed drives. I call this pathological sex-economic equilibrium and it will be discussed more thoroughly in future installments.

Investigation into the economic problem of libido has explained the failures of the topographical and dynamic approaches. The dynamic abreaction is handicapped insofar as the energies of the affect in question are bound in a neurotic’s character structure. Wilhelm Reich’s inquiry into sex-economy has yielded a theory of character formation which posits that chronic attitudes consume the energy which would otherwise be liberated in abreaction. These attitudes are adopted to resolve various conflicts between instinctual and societal demands; their performance exhausts the libido, preventing expressions deemed inappropriate by a life-negating culture. Since a purely dynamic approach does not consider the economic function of character formation, it cannot free the libido employed in the chronic upholding of neurotic character traits. Moreover, the study of sex-economy has shed light on a number of social and biological mysteries that will later be covered in this series.

(1) Reich, Wilhelm – Character Analysis – Chapter II. The Economic Viewpoint in the Theory of Analytic Therapy pg. 11

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