WNPR

The Contributions of Wilhelm Reich

May 12, 2016

Wilhelm Reich was  a once promising psychoanalyst and scientist under the guidance of Freud in pre-World War II Europe. He promoted "sexual revolution" to support his belief that sexual repression was linked to bodily and societal ills like neurosis and even fascism.

He hoped to transform us in every sphere: health, marriage, economics, morality, and government. It was in sex, he believed, that we found the integrated self, liberated from the alienating culture and the authoritarian state. 

This was a radical view in fascist Europe, forcing Reich to take his ideas to what he believed was a more liberal-minded America. 

What he found was different: By the late 1940s, he had survived the Nazis by escaping to America, only to have all his books and work burned by the United States government. His radical views had alienated the scientific community, who refused to try and replicate his earliest, and most promising scientific studies into the origins of cancer;  the Communist Party of which he was once a member; and the United States government. He came up against a perfect storm fear and puritanism in Cold War America.

In 1957, he died -- with barely a mention -- in prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. 

This hour, we explore the legacy of the forgotten Wilhelm Reich. 

You can contribute the crowdfunding campaign to create Reich's documentary here.  It ends on Friday, June 18, 2016.

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Colin McEnroe, Chion Wolf, and Greg Hill contributed to this show.