Where’s the Truth? is the fourth and final volume of Wilhelm Reich’s autobiographical writings, drawn from his diaries, letters, and laboratory notebooks. These writings reveal the details of the outrider scientist’s life—his joys and sorrows, his hopes and insecurities—and chronicle his experiments with what he called “orgone energy.”
A student of Freud’s and a prominent research physician in the early psychoanalytic movement, Reich immigrated to America in 1939 in flight from Nazism, and pursued research about orgone energy functions in the living organism and the atmosphere. Where’s the Truth? begins in January 1948, shortly after Reich became a target of the Federal Food and Drug Administration. He had already faced persecution by the U.S. government, having been mistaken by the State Department and the FBI for both a Communist and a Nazi. Starting in 1947, Reich was hounded by the FDA, which, in 1954, obtained an injunction by default against him that enabled it to burn six tons of his published books and research journals, and to ban the use of one of his most important experimental research tools—the orgone energy accumulator. Challenging the right of a court to judge basic scientific research, Reich was imprisoned in March 1957 and died in the U.S. Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, eight months later.
The text gathered here shows Reich’s steadfast determination to protect his work. “Where’s the truth?” he asked a lawyer, and that question animates this volume and rounds out our understanding of a unique, irrepressible modern figure.
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7 January 1948
In the beginning of one's task one is enthusiastic about helping mankind. At the end of the same task one is worn out and has lost most or all of the enthusiasm. Humanity, for whose benefit one believed to fight, has put too many dangerous obstacles in one's path. One had to risk breaking one's neck in overcoming these obstacles. Disillusionment has overcome the searcher and helper. Humanity itself through its pestilent sergeants has obstructed its own benefits. Therefore the inventor or searcher acquires that definite expression of suffering and
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Wilhelm Reich’s many works include Character Analysis, The Function of the Orgasm, The Cancer Biopathy, Cosmic Superimposition, and earlier autobiographical writings: Passion of Youth, American Odyssey, and Beyond Psychology—all published by FSG. An early disciple of Freud’s, he came to America in 1939, published The Function of the Orgasm in 1942, and died in 1957.
Wilhelm ReichMary Boyd Higgins