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What is Orgone Energy?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
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  • Last Modified Date: 03 January 2020
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Orgone energy is a prime factor in a kind of alternative biology that has generated curiosity for almost a century. A scientist named Wilhelm Reich developed the theory of orgone, which according to his work is a form of energy that is expressed by human sexuality and can, among other things, alter weather patterns. According to Reich, orgone represents a universal life force based on the Freudian concept of libido.

The idea of orgone energy as a kind of spiritual energy was put forward by Reich in the early part of the twentieth century. Reich created different tools and items associated with the manipulation of orgone energy. One of these was known as an orgone energy accumulator. It was essentially a box built of specific materials that orgone theorists believed would help concentrate the orgone energy.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration eventually outlawed the sale of orgone related products, and destroyed much of Reich’s inventory of products and materials. Orgone theory became marginalized in popular science, but still has remained very much alive in some parts of the literary world. Famous authors like William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and others continued to use orgone as an idea in their books, and talk about it as a popular science.

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As the orgone accumulator or ORAC continued to receive attention from devotees of Reich’s work, some famous scientists also became involved. Albert Einstein briefly considered participating in work on orgone, but reportedly distanced himself from the project because of concerns about the scientific method used by Reich and his associates. Those who valued the orgone theory kept working on it, developing other orgone related tools such as those commonly called “holy hand grenades.”

Today’s scientists differ on the reality around orgone energy. Some scientists see it as a “putative energy” or something that can’t be easily measured, but which may still be useful in body psychotherapy. Others see it as a thoroughly discredited concept, and claim that orgone is largely alive in the world of fiction. Resources on orgone theory indicate that it is still popular with some environmental groups, partly because of its focus on a universal “animal” energy as opposed to mainstream energy theory that focuses on fossil fuels and technical nuclear reactions.

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