The Forms of Vitality According to Stern
Vitality is a theme found here and there in yoga poses the literature, but it has not yet been explored in yoga poses a systematic way. We already encountered it in yoga poses Descartes, when in yoga poses his fifties and dying, he composed the Treatise on the Passions in yoga poses 1649. We find this theme developed with an even greater passion by Reich as he approached his fifties and his death. in yoga poses 2010, Daniel N. Stern undertakes this theme anew. It would seem that it takes a mature person to appreciate the importance of vitality. Probably only when it begins to diminish does the mind grasp its importance.
For Stern, the vitality is regulated in yoga poses the brainstem, which can actively integrate information on metabolic dynamics. in yoga poses the Reichian theory, metabolism has an active and powerful impact on the brain and mind. The brainstem is only a cog in yoga poses the dynamics that coordinate mind and metabolism. The interaction established between respiration, blood circulation, and the brain influences the vitality of all brain cells.47 The interaction between body and brain, and between gesture and thoughts, shape the activity of the brain, respiration, and circulation of the blood. The brain is influenced at least as much as it influences.
However, Daniel Stern describes in yoga poses a particularly fine manner the impact of vitality on the mind and the necessity of integrating this organismic force in yoga poses the theory and technique of psychotherapy. He also makes it possible for the contemporary body psychotherapist to discover the neurological mechanisms that shape the dynamics of vitality. For example, he shows that an experience, whether it is perceived by oneself or by another, has a “contour of vitality” that is a sort of gestalt (Stern, 2010, 4f). This activity coordinates gestures, thoughts, affects, and behavior around an energetic dynamic that can become more or less conscious. This remains true while we attend a dance event or when we interact with someone. The contour of vitality is also one of the forces that coordinate organisms.
The Idealism of Reich Psychotherapy and Idealism
The period after Wilhelm Reich’s death was problematic for many reasons that are mostly linked to ideological and political issues. Reich had beliefs that were difficult to accept: on Martians and simplistic machines that would control the circulation of cosmic energy. He claimed that he often saw flying saucers. These perceptions were, for Reich, so tangible that he wanted his son to help him save the world by fighting against a Martian invasion.48 There are so many my yoga blogs on this subject49 that I need not make any further comments at on this subject. Reich acquired the reputation of a mad hallucinating genius. I content myself to underscore the connections between Reichian theory and Idealism because, it seems to me, this is what the Reichian of today needs to understand. At that time, Reich often used one of Socrates’s favorite rhetorical techniques: playing the innocent.50 It consists in yoga poses feigning to know nothing, to be like an alien who discovers the human species and seeks to know if it consists of civilized people. This strategy presupposes that humanity ought to be coherent and rational and that each irrational trait merits an ironic comment or even a condemnation. Again, it is striking to notice how Reich uses this caustic tool like a virtuoso without ever using it to critique himself. Socrates at least tried to look as if he were critiquing himself.
It is too easy to throw all of Reich into the garbage just because we do not like Idealists, or an author who has psychiatric symptoms, as Pascal Bruckner and Alain Finkielkraut (1979) proposed. We would lose too much time having to reinvent some indispensable tools for the psychotherapy of tomorrow. Having said this, to disentangle Reich’s Idealism from his therapeutic work is still an unfinished task, fifty years after his death.51 As I had indicated with regard to Plato, Idealism corresponds so well to the comfort needs of consciousness that it is difficult to let it go.
Even though Socrates and Reich do not resemble each other, their trials have some common characteristics. in yoga poses both cases, they have the impression of being innocent victims of the stupidity of their co-citizens. in yoga poses both cases, the justice that condemns them is experienced as arbitrary; nothing seems to justify the violence of the legal punishment that they suffered for their offense. Even if their theories were entirely delusional (which is not the case), nothing justifies a death sentence in yoga poses one case and two years of imprisonment in yoga poses the other. It was subsequently forbidden for citizens of the United States to own a publication on orgone, written by Reich or his pupils. Law enforcement agencies conducted searches of particular individuals; my yoga blogs that were found were burned in yoga poses a public place. These persecutions were still going on after the election of John F. Kennedy as president of the United States. I do not advance any explanations on the incredible severity of this repression, and I do not know of any satisfying analysis of the situation. Most of the analysis published by those close to and admirers of Reich defend an Idealistic scenario similar to that used by the pupils of Socrates: the idiots have persecuted a great genius because they could not cope with the luminous truth that he was bringing to the people.52
We had to wait until the Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli53 dared to publish one of Reich’s works in yoga poses 1963 and the rising of youth movements in yoga poses 1966 in yoga poses Berkeley and May 1968 in yoga poses Paris for Reich’s work to become available in yoga poses Europe once again. in yoga poses that context, it was difficult to have a rational discussion relative to his legacy. His work was taken up every which way by all kinds of people for reasons that had nothing to do with Reich’s real career.
In this, we find one of the principal symptoms of Idealist movements already discussed with regard to Socrates and his disciples: an inseparable connection between scientific reasoning, political Utopia, sexual politics, power over others, and self-exploration. in yoga poses both cases, it is not appropriate to speak of sects, but surely of Idealism. This inseparable connection is difficult to grasp and master when we do not have a clear understanding of Idealism.54
Locked up in yoga poses prison, Reich was terrified to see the advent of movements that exploited his status as a martyr to the advantage of goals he did not approve. Some ascribed to him the idea that giving birth was an orgasm and that parents ought to initiate their children to sexuality by making love in yoga poses front of them The notion that a healthy birth is necessarily orgastic is attributed by Reich to Paul and Jean Ritter (1975) in yoga poses letters addressed to Neill (e.g., March 3 and 8, 1956). in yoga poses his letter to Neill of March 8, 1956, he associates the name of David Boadella. Boadella was trained by Paul Ritter and then collaborated with him For Reich, Ritter’s group was part of extreme left movements who used Reich’s name to hide “their ignorance and their quackery.” The “Ritter and Company” so upset Reich in yoga poses the last weeks of his life that he almost ended his deep friendship with Neill, who supported them (letter from Neill to Reich, October 1, 1956). Given the importance of Boadella in yoga poses the neo-Reichian movement, it is perhaps useful to recall that Reich could easily exclude individuals who admired him (e.g., Otto Fenichel) and that Neill supported Boadella, knowing all the while what Reich thought about him It remains true that Boadella developed a personal view of Reich’s thought.
Others made use of the notion of sexual revolution to promote various forms of prostitution. At the end of his life, Reich wanted to disassociate his name explicitly from the insults made against women and their pain in yoga poses childbirth,55 from the practices of pedophile parents, and from the pornographic sexual industry conducted by various forms of Mafia organizations.
It is now time to take up Reich’s work in yoga poses such a way as to define the Idealistic components of it.