FEMALE SEXUALITY, A SOCIAL ISSUE


by Lida Prypchan
 
An understanding of female sexuality cannot be achieved by the anatomical observation of women.  It must be viewed in the light of social reality.
 
The most authentic and solid form of human participation in society is through productive work.  If we examine the level of women’s participation in productive work the elements of restriction become evident.  This situation can be explained by the following reasons, among others: firstly, history has been made by men and it is therefore they who determine how women may participate in society.  Secondly, the manner of women’s participation has been determined by the sectors of society that possess the means of production, which in turn create their own specific values within an ideology of domination.  This ideology provides for conformity in a total thought process that prevents men as well as women from truly understanding the critical situation that woman’s problem constitutes.  Thirdly, this ideology of domination perceives women as soft, weak, passive, who do not enjoy having to think and who are conformist, superficial, given to pleasure and frivolity.  This ideology of domination uses all its resources in order to reproduce this model, which permits the perpetuation of domination.  The so-called “feminine personality” has thus been created – and the social communications media impose this as much upon the minds of women as of men.  On the other hand, it has been established that biological differences between man and woman do not imply a condition of inequality on the part of woman.  Anger Egg expresses it thus: “Today one cannot accept any reason, either biological or psychological, that justifies a woman’s dependence on man, or her situation of disadvantage and inferiority.”  What happens is that this type of society proposes a model of a woman that both women as well as men have internalized.  This has resulted in a situation that generates a set of preconceptions, on a woman’s part, that she should behave according to the requirements she supposes men expect of her.  Men, consequently, share in this by completely assuming the role that society has assigned them.  We must accept the challenge of creating models that do not yet exist and invent new forms.  In short, we must get out of the mold and stop treating women as objects, a behavior mode that has come about as a result of our cultural, political and ideological conditioning.  This is not an individual task but a collective one.  A social change must come about to allow equal participation for both men and women.
Female liberation does not mean imitating men or falling into their same errors.  Whoever understands it this way is mistaken.  Female liberation involves a social change that does not exclude women from a fair wage, a change in the law that almost always protects and defends men, as well as in the social and family norms and customs that encourage sexual prejudice against women.

A MAN IN WHITE


by: Lida Prypchan
Man spends his days chasing after balls or hares, and that is the pleasure even of kings.  (Pascal)
If we analyzed everyday life with more objectivity, we would discover that there are many simple pleasures we don’t take into account when we weigh pleasant things against pain.  Simple pleasures such as being thirsty and finding water; being hungry and finding a bowl of soup; needing to urinate halfway through a trip and getting home in time; having an urgent need to defecate when waiting at the bank and finding the restrooms.  These last two mundane pleasures are taboo because of our unexpressed belief that, although we do those things, we don’t mention them, much less reveal the need to do them.  However, they are among the most essential aspects of each human being’s life.  It’s curious that in the Encyclopedia Britannica there is no entry for the term “scatology,” only for its etymological relative “eschatology,” i.e., the one that refers to the study of the doctrines dealing with the end of the world.
A man called Schurij dealt with this theme and wrote four books on it: one dealing with urine, one with bile, one with perspiration and the other with feces.  The book about perspiration doesn’t attract me in the least.  I’m content with the memory of the occasional violinists I have come across who certainly radiated an unmistakable and indescribable orchestral air of that nature. 
Pleasure and pain, like other simple ideas, can be neither described nor defined.  Experience is the only road that leads to knowledge about them.  Pleasures are neither good nor bad, since pleasure in itself is morally indifferent.  What could be classified as good or bad are the consequences of pleasure.  Instead of using judgmental terms such as “good” or “bad,” it would be preferable to substitute “inferior” or “superior” for them, because they are, in effect, pleasures of an inferior nature and others of a superior nature.  Hundreds of years ago the Chinese wrote in the I Ching, “True happiness should spring from one’s inner being.  But when one is empty inside, to the point of abandoning oneself to the attractions of the outside world, illusory happiness asserts itself from without.  This is what many call entertainment.  Those who, because of a lack of inner strength, feel the need for distraction will always find a way to entertain themselves.  Due to the emptiness of their nature, they will always act as a vacuum for outside pleasures, becoming even more lost.  In this case it is no longer a question of bad luck, misfortune or calamity.  They have lost control of their lives and whatever awaits them now depends on chance and external influences.”  One has to bow one’s head before such wisdom, because unfortunately in this century spiritual matters are of the least importance – the pace of life doesn’t seem to allow for them.  One has such a struggle just for material survival, that the little time remaining is dedicated to effortless pleasure.
I have been gradually getting away from my real objective, which was to write about the relationship between pleasure and alcoholism.  Two factors are fundamental: social conditioning and the search for pleasure, although pain should not be eliminated as a motive for drinking.  It’s a difficult chain to break, because the interests created by drinking generate such exorbitant profits.  The media respond to those interests because they translate into enormous profits for them too.  There may not be much to eat in a house, but there’s certainly a television and, who knows, maybe a VCR too, so people waste all their free time watching programs and commercials where there’s a girl dressed in black with white shoes getting out of a white car with a black chauffeur, and a man dressed in a white suit with black shoes who comes to pick her up.  Together they sit at a little table in the moonlight, while a blond man in a black tuxedo serves them a drink of the finest distilled whisky and she touches his hand and looks at him seductively, and at this moment the man dressed in white tastes his drink, throws out his chest and gives a roar like a lion, then stands up, takes the girl by the arm and gives her a kiss that leaves her in a daze.  Since the lady of the house has seen on TV how servant girls can make big leaps in rank if the right man falls in love with them, she is sure to swallow the whole commercial.

In the Limelight (The Great Slap) – CONVERSION HYSTERIA


by Lida Prypchan
A malady which varies according to the subjective
symptoms of the patient; very difficult to characterize,
each case is unique with quite individual and variable symptoms.
A lady who used to like to move house every year would make friends with the neighbors – whom until then she had ignored – on the very same day that she moved. In the midst of the entire bustle she would situate herself conveniently on the ground floor and affectionately bid her goodbyes. Finally she would say, “What a shame I have to leave, the very day I find out what wonderful neighbors I have… It seems we live too close to bother to make friends… it takes a move to find out…”
Some people think that neighbors should be kept at a distance because it is in man’s nature to take advantage, so he has a tendency to poke about into other people’s affairs. Others feel that neighbors only disturb their peace and quiet with their shrill voices and loud music, as is the case with the young man living in the house behind mine. I strike up a friendship (or at least, I used to) with anyone who inspires it within me, whether they are neighbors or not (although I would prefer they were not), as long as it is reciprocated and respected, and with anyone whose behavior and way of thinking and feeling I can admire throughout our friendship. It is very easy to strike up a friendship; the difficulty is in staying interested enough to maintain it.
When the person living on the floor above is a child, we are tormented by the sounds of marbles rolling and the television on at full blast. It can be rather more eerie when it’s an adult couple living above us. Whether it’s the middle of the evening or well into the night, strange, almost spooky sounds begin to emanate, which I could swear come from the great beyond: doors with hinges in need of grease – a sound that would reverberate within the stillness of a corpse; old bed-springs creaking rhythmically up and down in paroxysms of sound that conjure up the most unimaginable scenes (impossible to describe because they are not fit for children under forty). These macabre sounds have made it impossible for me to keep my attention fully concentrated on my exciting medical studies and I feel they are one of the main reasons why my grade point average was not the best. Be that as it may, despite the inconveniences I just mentioned, I prefer lively neighbors. They inspire more confidence, or even better, less suspicion than the quiet ones, whose long silences make us wonder what the deuce they are up to.
Automobiles sometimes provoke hostility between neighbors. To take up a neighbor’s parking spot is ground for a furious declaration of all-out warfare where the wronged party, using quite vulgar language, will inform the culprit about the imminent demise of his car. The first time I was at the receiving end of one of these declaration, I thought I was being warned about my own demise (which would have done me a great favor, since I’ve always wanted to know exactly when I’m going to die), but they were actually warning me about my car’s, which, according to another of my neighbors, was even worse, but then there are some people in this world who love their car more than their own mother.
However, there are notable exceptions in the neighborhood. It may be that those living one floor up share our feelings of uneasiness and think as we do. It’s also possible that they cry over the same things that we do, or even that they cry at exactly the same times as we do. Then I wonder why we don’t get together, even if it’s only to cry. There are often great barriers between neighbors, which can only be overcome by an extraordinary motivating force at some transcendental moment. Something like this is what happened to the main characters in Limelight (1952, considered the most perfect and the most sensitive of Chaplin’s accomplishments). In this movie, a ballerina and a frustrated comedian become acquainted through the dancer’s attempted suicide. They become good friends and eventually a deep and platonic love develops between them. Having survived her attempted suicide, the ballerina maintains that she has no feeling in her legs and after medical examination is diagnosed with “conversion hysteria.” Hysteria is a malady which varies according to the subjective symptoms of the patient. It is very difficult to characterize, as each case is unique with quite individual and variable symptoms. Although in medicine there is no sickness without a sick person, it’s important to note that most pathological conditions exhibit regular symptoms. Hysteria, however, has no consistent or unique symptoms, neither are there any bounds to its intensity or stability of duration.
We know that it occurs most frequently in women over twenty-five, that it can manifest anywhere in the body, that it may be acute (a sudden crisis) or chronic(exhibiting long-lasting symptoms or attacks), is usually precipitated by some conflict and has been extensively dramatized in Latin American soap operas (in particular by Titiana Capote and Franklin Vírgüez). The crises usually consist of fainting spells, accompanied sometimes by convulsions or aggressive, even orgasmic, explosions portrayed in excessively violent or erotic scenes, or sometimes by contortions, abnormal or bizarre gesticulations or trance-like states, which in the past were interpreted as demonic possession. “Collective hysteria” has also been reported: epidemics of St. Vito’s dance, witches’ Sabbaths, and eruptions of convulsive hysteria around Mesmer’s box. To this list I would add concerts given by certain singers, political rallies (Hitler’s), assemblies of members of religious sects (the Jim Jones massacre in Guyana) and meetings of an ideological nature such as those described in George Orwell’s novel 1984.
The explanation for collective hysteria is that when people mass together in a group their disposition becomes more feminine, more sentimental, which is why they are more easily swayed and manipulated.
Areas which can be affected by prolonged symptoms of hysteria include the motor, feeling, sensory and speech areas, as well as the neuro-vegetative system. Theresa’s case of conversion hysteria affected the motor area.
In our society the two most frequently encountered forms are: 1) crises in the form of tachycardia, migraine headaches or vague pains without physical basis, or 2) prolonged attacks, as in the case of women over thirty who complain of pain in the lower abdomen even though their clinical and paraclinical examinations show as normal. These women may even undergo surgery which results in no findings, yet they continue to complain of the same pain and change doctors repeatedly. These patients spend a great deal of money on unnecessary exploratory surgery and are prone to improve temporarily under the influence of a sympathetic doctor.
Chaplin’s character (Mr. Calvero) in Limelight found a most effective solution to Theresa’s motor disorder. A few minutes before her stage appearance as ballerina, Theresa said, “I’ve lost the feeling in my legs. I don’t think I can go out there.” In his distress, not knowing what else to do, Mr. Calvero gave her such a hard slap that so disconcerted her that she stopped her foolishness, went out on stage and immediately began dancing. It often happens that those least familiar with the subject hit upon the appropriate treatment. Such was the case with Mr. Calvero, who at that moment turned out to be the best psychiatrist Theresa could possibly have had.

IS FRIGIDITY CURABLE?


by Lida Prypchan
When I think of frigidity I am reminded of a French writer more well-known for her love affairs with great men of her century than for her literary pursuits. I am referring to George Sand, the Frenchwoman who adopted a man’s name, dressed like a man and smoked like a man. Also a revolutionary who worked with Napoleon Bonaparte, she was famous as Chopin’s lover, who went to bed at seven in the morning after working around the clock on her writing – and after watering her plants.
Maurois wrote an extraordinary biography of this woman, calling it Lélia ou la vie de George Sand. According to Maurois Lélia was Sand’s best novel. It dealt with a matter very personal to her: frigidity. She recounts in detail the trauma of the first sexual episode in her life when, at nineteen, she married a man she had always loathed.
Frigidity is the female counterpart of psychogenic impotence. It is common, but frequently escapes the doctor’s attention because it interferes less with marital relations and more often than not is accepted by patients as the normal expression of a less than passionate personality.
There are many causes. Among them we have: 1) masturbation in adolescence – supported by some authors, rejected by others. According to the first group it is a combination of narcissism and self-sufficiency: the subject would become accustomed to certain sensations, certain forms of pleasure. According to the second group, masturbation for the woman is a form of experimentation whereby she discovers what an orgasm is. To the first theory we should add that masturbation tends to accustom the woman to clitoral orgasm. 2) Some aspects of an ethical nature, for example, the case of single women who have sexual relations out of curiosity or peer pressure. 3) An inept husband can offend a newly-wed and her disgust can give rise to frigidity.
Vaginismus, whether or not accompanied by painful sensations during the sexual act, is a result of fear and disgust. This is frequently a reaction to marital conflicts, for example, an excessive number of quarrels, an alcoholic husband or an unfaithful one.
Psychotherapy associated with reassurance, and the suggestion and practical advice to breathe deeply and quietly during the sexual act is helpful in some cases of minor apprehension. In other cases a more complete investigation is suggested. In some instances, delayed orgasm caused by the woman’s requirement for long sexual build-up, or by the short duration of the act, can be confused with frigidity. It would be wise to advise the subjects to concentrate more on foreplay. Disturbance of the female orgasm may be due to an erection of very short duration or to fear of orgasm. Fear can be connected with loss of sphincter control, which is generally the result of the fear of losing control of oneself during orgasm, as is the case with hysterical patients and those with a domineering personality.
In most cases of frigidity, it is not possible to study and completely correct the situation because patients are reluctant to devote the necessary time to treatment, which is a pity, since treatment for psychogenic impotence and frigidity is not only interesting but also achieves good results. Hypnosis can be used successfully with impressionable patients and helps modify their attitude toward the sexual act and sexual activity in general.

The Oedipus Complex and Emotional Instability


by: Lida Prypchan
“KNOW THYSELF”
In 1897 Freud began what can be considered the most heroic act of his life – the psychoanalysis of his own subconscious.
The ancient oracle of Delphi had from ancient times encouraged philosophers and thinking persons to pursue the maxim “Know thyself,” but unconsciously resisting, none of them ever managed to achieve it as fully as Freud. The subconscious, the existence of which had already been surmised, was still obscure. The words of Heraclitus were still considered true: “The human mind is a distant, inaccessible territory, which cannot be explored.” It was no sudden conclusion, but the gradual intuition dawning within Freud that one must first analyze oneself before being in a position to pursue any research. For three or four years the researcher will suffer from increasing emotional instability, but eventually he will achieve a greater degree of serenity and stability, which will free him to continue his research dispassionately. Two types of investigation arise that are intimately related with his self-analysis: dream interpretation and childhood sexuality.
As Freud continued his research, he began to recognize in himself a certain amount of residual childhood sexuality. He believed he had uncovered the fact that in childhood he had experienced an excessive love for his mother and consequent jealousy of his father. His knowledge of Greek literature brought to mind immediately the tragedy of Oedipus Rex, which he interpreted as an undeniable confirmation of his theory.
Oedipus, the son Laius, King of Thebes and his wife Jocasta, is the protagonist of the Greek legend in which Oedipus kills his father without realizing it, marries his mother without knowing who she is, sires two children by her then, upon learning that he has married his own mother, tears out his eyes. For Freud, Oedipus’ act of blinding himself represented an expiation of his sin.
According to Freud, children as well as abnormal people experience the Oedipal stage between the ages of three to six. Characteristic of this stage is an excessive love for the mother and jealousy of the father, who is considered a rival. All this results in confusion because, although loving and admiring the father, the child views him with jealousy as if he were a rival. This Oedipal complex is resolved by a closer relationship between father and son, better communication and identification with the parent. Through this relationship the child assimilates his father’s identity and behavior, thus resolving his conflict.
According to Freud, everyone without exception passes through this stage and retains some trace of the Oedipus complex until adult life. However, whether an individual will become a more or less normal or neurotic person depends upon the extent to which this conflict has been resolved. The Oedipus complex must be curbed. However, while the normal person has to make only a little effort to resolve this conflict, a sick person will be forced to focus most of his energy upon overcoming it. Freud believed the Oedipus complex to be at the root of all neuroses and the main cause of an unconscious guilt complex. It could be explained as follows: a child feels guilty for harboring contradictory and destructive feelings for his father; this is intensified because the child loves and admires his father; he is subconsciously afraid that his punishment, when his father learns of his feelings, will be castration. Eventually the child experiences extreme anxiety that he will be found out and castrated, lose his mother and forfeit his father’s love and attention. This can all be resolved, depending on the relationship the child establishes with his father. If a closer father/son relationship is later achieved, the child will be able to resolve the conflict. However, if there are family problems, the child will increasingly seek refuge with the maternal figure and distance himself from the paternal figure, so the conflict will remain latent in the background. During this phase the paternal figure is essential for the child, since until now the child has had only a primitive conscience: if he resists his impulses and behaves, it is only because he is afraid of punishment from an outside source. So, in identifying with his father, the child imitates, assimilates and absorbs behavior, standards and taboos from his father, thus developing his own conscience.
Freud eventually realized, however, that many of the problems encountered in the early stages of a child’s development could be determining factors in the subsequent resolution of an Oedipus complex.
An adequate cure for the Oedipus complex depends on various factors. The child’s innate constitution is important. Extreme reactions to his behavior during this stage often cause disturbances. Excessive punishments from parents or over-indulgence of their child’s feelings are of no help in resolving emotional problems.
No strict guidelines can be established for handling children at this stage of their development.

The appetite for trivial novelty: INTROVERT OR EXTROVERT?


by: Lida Prypchan
People are classified as either introverts or extroverts. This classification is very ambiguous and not particularly practical because a person can be both introverted and extroverted. It’s just that it’s an alternating process: the classification has greater value when we analyze the frequency of the periods when introversion or extroversion occurs.
If an individual is an introvert most of the time, he is put into a niche and branded an introvert and if he acts in a completely different way he is stigmatized under the definition of extrovert. However, I am well acquainted with people who exhibit intermediate stages of personality. They are introverts who seem to be extroverts. They are congenial and sociable, while at the same time their “reserve” and “caution” is such that deep down they are classic introverts. In my opinion, the introvert is the individual who does not share his inner self with others.
The truth is that one can be an introvert with all the rest of humanity, yet a complete extrovert with just one person in the world. We see women who can share their inner self with their mother or their husband and with nobody else. It is also true that we sometimes compartmentalize our lives. We share some things with some people and other things with other people. We work with some, study with others, dance with some, fight with others; with some we make love, with others we converse, with yet others we drink. We have to realize that it’s impossible to share everything with only one person in the world. We need many different people to share in the various activities and functions of our life. It’s because of this that love relationships between people who need to mutually absorb and bind each other end so quickly and so disastrously, even though they started out so well. Only after many break-ups, heartaches and uncertainties do they realize that each has to give the other breathing room in order to love and be loved and not be the recipient of the other’s complaints and uncertainties.
Introversion has a great influence on love relationships. I think the introvert has more problems because he internalizes his love. He is often incapable of expressing the heights of beauty or revulsion we inspire in him. He feels alone and the feeling consumes him, with one result: satisfaction or frustration. After a while he reaches his limit, upon which he explodes and all that he was never capable of saying pours out in two or three hours, in an uncontrollable state of anxiety or anger, with tears, or disguised as irony – in a thousand forms! In this case it is easy to conclude that the problems lie in a lack of communication. People talk about trivialities, immerse themselves in superficialities, apparently happy, often not even listening when spoken to. We could also employ the terms introversion and extroversion to this subject, but we shall use their synonyms instead: “self-absorption” and “outward orientation.” These terms were defined by the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, who was educated in Germany. Always living outwardly, frivolously, being aware of this, that and the other, this is being an extrovert or “outwardly oriented.” But man is capable of being quite the opposite. That is to say, he can go inside himself and look within to learn more about himself and discover his ultimate reality, the truth he may hate or seek to avoid. The self-absorbed person manages to detach himself from things, he tries to be more genuine, he is surprised at his conduct, he sees himself as a stranger…and he goes on in this fashion getting to know himself, weighing each step, getting to know all that goes on around him. But man is a being destined for action, and the meaning of extroversion or outward orientation, is precisely that, outward-going action. It is logical, therefore, to wonder how we reconcile this apparent incompatibility – simply by taking into account the fact that self-absorption, the path of introversion, is followed by a stage of practical activity, putting into action what has been serenely developing in the calm of inner tranquility.
Self-absorption leads to solitude and anguish leads to feelings of abandonment – which is very close to solitude. It is only in solitude, far from turmoil and the temptation to avoid his own being, to flee from himself and intervene in other people’s loves, that man can contemplate restructuring his life. In self-absorption man bares himself and stands face to face with his real Self. Solitude makes us aware that we, our feelings, are not transferable. Anguish may or may not be a part of solitude (solitude can be pleasurable), but we experience solitude as though it were composed of especially painful notes, as if it were something gloomy coming to hover around and enshroud us in its mists. When in anguish man feels hopelessly alone. In anguish, man experiences abandonment, the ultimate and most absolute solitude of all. It seems that today everything is set up in such a way that human beings don’t have to think or reflect and are becoming an amorphous mass constantly affected by stimuli from modern society that demand attention in a thousand ways for different and varied reasons. This results in dispersion, an appetite for trivial novelty. It is only one step away from an anonymous existence. In this fashion man distances himself more and more from his inner self. With this style of life, distanced from his inner self, man can only approximate animal life and ultimately become an animal. Self-absorption does not only achieve the opposite effect, but the more soul there is in human nature, the more possibility of anguish there is also. Where there’s more soul, there’s more anguish. That is why beasts do not suffer from anguish and, sadly, there are people that to call them beasts would be an insult to the animal species.

WILHELM REICH AND THE FUNCTION OF ORGASM


by Lida Prypchan
One thing we can say about the life of Wilhelm Reich is that it was troubled.  A photograph I have at hand reveals a man with a penetrating stare, protruding lips, deep wrinkles, and an expression of disillusion.  Maybe it was because the era in which he lived lacked the understanding necessary for him to present his advanced ideas on sexuality and social reform.
He was born on March 24, 1897, an Aries, in the village of Galitzia in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire.  A fiery, determined, and impulsive personality predestined him to continual quarrels and failures.  His father, a well-to-do agriculturist, lived in the German sector of the Ukraine.  His primary interests as a child were biology and the natural sciences, motivated perhaps, by his father’s activities, which made it possible for him at the age of ten to use an experimental laboratory to raise butterflies, insects and plants under the supervision of a personal teacher.
His father died in 1914, at which point Reich was forced to return to work at his farm, which was destroyed the next year by the war.  Between 1915 and 1934 he was enrolled in the Vienna School of Medicine where he was acquainted with Freud and became interested in psychoanalysis.  After finishing his studies he began to practice as a psychoanalyst, specializing in neuropsychiatry.  Together with Freud he performed a series of investigations on neurosis and visited Russia in order to convince scientists there of the importance of psychoanalysis to Marxism. Since Reich was at that time a dedicated communist, with the rise to power of Hitler he was forced to leave Germany and relocate in Oslo, soon to move again to the United States where he established an orgone energy laboratory in New York.  After founding the Orgone Institute he acquired more that 100 hectares of land in Maine and later moved the institute headquarters to this location (a place free from repression, where he would thoroughly study  Orgonomy, otherwise know a vital energy).  In 1954 an agency that controlled food and pharmaceuticals accused him of fraud, for which he was taken to court and convicted of contempt-of-court for failing to appear.  At a subsequent trial he was sentenced to two years in 1957, apparently bordering on insanity. 
Presently, 72 of Reich’s publications have been catalogued, the most important being The Impulsive Character; Sexual arousal and Satisfaction; The invasion of Compulsory Sec-Morality; The Mass Psychology of Fascism; The Sexual Struggle of Youth; The Function of the Orgasm; and The Sexual Revolution.
There are three fundamental aspects of Reich’s work we should examine: firstly, the adequate function of orgasm; second, the discovery of orgone energy; and third, the lesson we learn from his life.  Let’s begin with the functioning of orgasm.
In order to conceive of orgastic potency (or the capability to indulge in the discharge of biological energy without inhibition) one must bear in mind that until 1923 sexology and psychoanalysis only recognized the potency of ejaculation and of the erection.  These potencies (ejaculation and erection) are the preliminary and indispensable conditions required to achieve the afore-mentioned orgastic potency.  For Reich, the key to normalcy was found in the orgasm (or simultaneous and involuntary convulsion occurring during the act of sexual intercourse).
According to Reich, in the majority of human beings raised in a collective environment where the sexuality of children and adolescents is repressed, the orgasm is found to have atrophied.
The second aspect of Reich’s work is his discovery of orgone energy.
In 1936, Reich completely dedicated and oriented his work to a biological interpretation of the psyche.  He discovered the potency of orgasm and the energy this generates, which he called orgone energy.  He maintained that unless the barriers that inhibit orgastic potency are broken down, it is not possible for the human being to reach a normal psycho-physiological state.  From now on, all of his effort was concentrated on developing a technique for acquiring, conserving, and intensifying orgastic or orgone potency.  Based on this, Reich created Physical Orgonotherapy (application of orgone energy to the patient, concentrated in accumulator boxes) and Psychiatric Orgonotherapy (liberation of the orgone energy accumulated in the human being).
It could thus be deduced that the neurosis suffered in our time is a consequence of “orgastic impotence” or, rather, the inability to fully release one’s feelings of arousal at the culmination of sexual intercourse.
In summary, it is obvious that Reich’s life, as well as being troubled, is illustrative of the conflicts he provoked during his lifetime.
Reich, who fought against every type of repression, was destined to a life of repression.  He was expelled from three countries and jailed in another.  Reformists persecuted him as a revolutionary and revolutionaries persecuted him as a reformist. 
The Stalinists persecuted him as a Trotskyist, and the Trotskyists as a Stalinist.
Freud and many others in the psychoanalytical movement and almost all of the luminaries of conventional science attacked him and did everything possible and impossible to disparage him.  Both before and after his death, his works were prohibited.  Some of them, and this I say with irony for those of us who boast of our century’s “openness of attitude,” will continue to suffer the stigma of prohibition.

The Art of Scientific Investigation

by Lida Prypchan
Chance
Undoubtedly chance has played an important role in scientific discoveries.  Its importance increases when we think about how common failures and frustrations are in research.  Probably most of the discoveries in biology and medicine have been unexpected or at least have had an element of chance, especially the most important and revolutionary ones.  This should not surprise us if we consider that if something new is revolutionary, it could hardly be foreseen relying on prior knowledge.  When some scientists talk about a discovery they have made, they say almost embarrassedly, “I found it by accident.”  This phrase shows that even when you know that chance is a factor in the formation of discoveries, the magnitude of its importance is rarely appreciated and the significance of its role does not seem to have been fully understood.  For this reason, the researcher should take advantage of this knowledge of the importance of chance in discoveries and not look at it as if it were a rarity or, worse still, as something that diminishes due credit for the discovery and that, therefore, should be underestimated.  Although scientists can not deliberately produce chance, they should be alert to recognizing it when it happens.  He who wants to dedicate his life to the advancement of science must practice his powers of observation, so that he develops that mental attitude which consists of always being on the lookout for the unexpected and getting into the habit of examining any possibility that chance offers him.  Discoveries are made by attention to all indications, however small they may be.  A good maxim for the novice researcher is “Attention to the unexpected.”
Many relate chance with luck, but it is not advisable to use the term luck in research as it can lend itself to misinterpretation.  There is no objection to using it when you want to mean simply coincidence, but for many people luck is a metaphysical concept, the sort that in a mystical way influences events, and this type of concept should not ever enter in scientific thinking.  The good scientist pays attention to every observation or unexpected event offered by chance and investigates carefully all those that seem most promising.  In this regard Alan Gregg wrote: “One wonders if that rare ability to always be aware and take advantage of the slightest deviation from the expected behavior of nature is not the true secret of the best scientific minds, a secret that could explain why some men convert the most trivial accidents into memorable events. Behind such attention lies an extreme sensitivity. “
The history of discoveries demonstrates that chance plays an important part even in those discoveries that are attributed to it completely.  For this reason, it is a misleading half-truth to refer to unexpected findings under the category of “accidental discoveries.”  If chance or accidents were solely responsible for such discoveries, any researcher would have equal opportunity to realize such discoveries from the start, whether that person is a Pasteur or a Bernard.
The truth of this problem is contained in Pasteur’s famous dictum: “In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.”  The role of chance consists simply in providing an opportunity, but it is the scientist who has to recognize it and take advantage of it.
Assessing the Opportunities
Given that the frequency of opportunities that involve making discoveries based on chance is very small, scientists spend most of their time at their work stations always attempting “something new,” and that is how they are exposed to encountering fortunate accidents.  In addition, they require an acute power of observation to see any indication that is presented and at the same time a special ability to notice the unexpected while they are waiting for the expected.  Then the scientist enters the most difficult stage of all and the one that requires what Pasteur called a “prepared mind.”  This stage consists of interpreting and clarifying the possible significance of any indication.  In this respect, Sir Henry Souttar has noted that it is that which is contained in the brain of the observer, accumulated over years of work, that makes triumph possible.  Once the discovery has been made, the scientist has to suffer the impact of skepticism and often the resistance on the part of outsiders.  In itself, mankind shows reluctance to new ideas, since new ideas are generally revolutionary ones that refute established ideas and try to establish new patterns, more evolved than the older ones.  That is why the post-discovery stage is considered one of the most difficult to work through, and this is where the scientist has to fight and sometimes, as we have seen in the past, even to lose their lives.  These are the ironies of life: in enriching humanity with their ideas, they are rewarded with death.
Fortunately, today that is not the form of payment.  I am not referring to material goods that may be given to the scientist, but only to affording them the highest respect, while trying always to keep an open mind to the new ideas they show us.  This is how we can pay them for the innumerable advances humanity receives from them.

The Feeling of Guilt

By Lida Prypchan
There will always be someone who writes about civilization, who criticizes it, who calls it the “Present Shakiness” as J.F. Baena Reyes, who, in his column Lipstick, branded the world in which we move about as a “viscous quagmire of confusion.”  And not without good reason.  We are in the era of neurosis, hurried to get who knows where.  Of those who populate the world, Reyes Baena says there are those who enjoy an exquisite pleasure in sadistically provoking the pain of others.  Others aspire to wash their guilt in the savory contentment of personal suffering.
These words, in one form or another, made me think of a game in which all take part: the game of culpability.
This game has existed since the world began.  It is as old as worry and depression. Who escapes their worries?
What changed regarding our generation is that now in any bookshop we find books like “Overcome Depression in 15 Days” with Royal cake type recipes they call “bold techniques.”
The feeling of guilt is an emotion that immobilizes us in the present moment for something we did in the past.  And feeling ourselves guilty we deceive ourselves, thinking that we pay for our mistake.  It is one thing is to learn from the past and another to mortify ourselves with something that happened and cannot be undone.  There is a very wise saying about it that says, “It is not the experience of today that drive men crazy.  It is the remorse for something that happened yesterday and the fear of what tomorrow may bring us. ”  The past and the future are what we really worry about, and meanwhile we lose the present, thinking of the other two times.
What happens with this emotion is that it seems we carry it in our blood because, from the time we are small, they give us guilt with our applesauce, and then when we become adults we give our children the same dose of guilt that we were given.
For the young, I will not end this article with the skepticism with which Baena Reyes concludes his own.  Reyes ended thus: “It is not time to gargle with words that will find no resonance in the consciousness already experienced among the people.”  I do not necessarily seek changes; all I want is that anyone who is self-absorbed, and who identifies him/herself with any of the examples that I will give below, to change, if they so desire, his/her attitude.
What are the origins of guilt?
From when we are children we are manipulated with guilt, whether it be by our parents, siblings, teachers, religion, the state or society.
One of the most typical causative dialogues for one’s guilt it that of a child with its mother.  The mother asked her daughter to bring up the chairs from the basement because they are going to eat.  The daughter is watching a program on the TV and tells her to wait for the ads to come on.  The mother tells her that it does not matter and, even if it greatly hurts her back, she herself will go for the chairs.    The daughter imagines her mother with six chairs on her back, falling down the stairs.  Then she runs and does what her mom asked.  Otherwise she will be responsible for her mother having fallen.
It is very efficient type of mentality, “I sacrifice for you.”  Some mothers remind their children of their labor pains: “I had eighteen hours straight just to bring you into this world.”  Another phrase is: “I only stayed married to your father for you.”  The child feels guilty for his/her mother’s unhappiness.

Attitudes Regarding the Mentally Ill

by Lida Prypchan
Many of my master classes are given at the Bárbula Psychiatric Hospital.  When entering the psychiatric hospital the students already expected to see some of the mentally ill residing there asking for money.  The response is always laughter and giggles.
There is a patient who usually comes up from the back or side and puts her arms around the person’s neck before asking for money.  She is loving and kind, but students do not seem to understand this and for this reason a few days ago an unpleasant situation occurred.  The professor presenting that day had not yet arrived and consequently many students were outside of the room in the hall.  What surprised me was seeing the students desperately running into the lecture hall as if fleeing the sick woman.  Once inside, the previously tranquil atmosphere turned to excitement concerning this woman.  All she had done was what she did out of habit:  ask for money.  In the end, the response of the students was laughter, entertainment, fear and disgust.  Some reacted with fear, as if expecting that she was going to hit them.  Others went along, or joked with her or with their peers about her.  Most interesting was to see the reaction of each student upon her approach and await the reaction, whether they burst into laughter or said something to her.  A shouted exchange occurred between the spectators and the person being accosted with little importance attached to what the patient felt.  I admired the attitude of some who remained in place as if nothing had happened, as if a fellow human being was present.
One might excuse this attitude because contact with the mentally ill was new for all of them and thus unusual, given the image we have about the mentally ill.
It is understood that there is a lack of information, but what I wonder is this: Where is their humanity? Or is it that these patients do not feel the contempt and rejection of others? Is there something in the students that makes them forget another person’s humanity when regarding the ill, who more than anyone, need understanding, love and acceptance?
What happens is that we have social barriers that those whom we call “crazy” don’t have.

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