Reich and Gurdjieff: Sexuality and the Evolution of Consciousness
by David M. Brahinsky, Ph.D
Trade Book 6x9 (293 Pages)
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ISBN 13 (TP): 978-1-4568-7256-4
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Pages : 293 Book Format :Trade Book 6x9
© Copyright 1995
About the Author
David M. Brahinsky has been a student of the Fourth Way and the work of Wilhelm Reich since the mid-1960s. Akhaldan II, his school for Fourth Way studies, opened in the early 1970s. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1976 from the State University of New York at Binghamton and has been teaching philosophy and comparative religion at various colleges since 1969, currently at Bucks County Community College, in Newtown, Pennsylvania.
The main subject of this book is the relationship between sexual health and spiritual evolution. Specifically, the book focuses on Wilhelm Reich's discoveries regarding sexual health and G. I. Gurdjieff's concept of spiritual evolution. The thesis is that spiritual evolution, in Gurdjieff's sense, is not possible apart from sexual health as Reich determined it.
Although contemporaries, there is no reason to believe that Reich and Gurdjieff knew each other or of each other's work. Reich was a natural scientist, a student and colleague of Freud who began his career in 1919. He made more discoveries of a revolutionary nature than seems possible for one man to realize in a lifetime, the most significant achievement being the discovery of a biological and cosmic energy he called "orgone energy."
Beginning in his childhood and continuing throughout his life, Gurdjieff (1880-1949) studied psychology, religion (both exoteric and esoteric), philosophy, mysticism, and occultism. He came in contact with schools of philosophy and science that had been, and continue to be, mostly esoteric. In these schools he learned of ideas and principles concerning the nature of consciousness which are deeply rooted in antiquity -- ideas which have been transmitted orally (for the most part) from teacher to student for thousands of years. He eventually became a transmitter himself through personal contact with students and through his writings.
Reich and Gurdjieff were giants in their fields. Reich - in the area of natural science, Gurdjieff as a teacher of ancient, esoteric ideas. A lifetime could be spent trying to comprehend the work of each without succeeding. In choosing to write of their work and to show how they are related I have thus undertaken an impossible task -- to explicate their ideas without disfiguring them beyond recognition. In attempting to do so, however, I hope to accomplish a number of things: to bring to students of Gurdjieff's ideas and to esotericism in general discoveries that make these ideas more comprehensible and to thus increase the likelihood of achieving success through work on oneself; to bring to students of Reich's work ideas connecting his discoveries and theories to ancient knowledge which I believe are based on real understanding; and to bring to those with an aim to develop his or herself a perspective anchored in the merger of Reich's discoveries and Gurdjieff's teachings which I think would be of great help in fulfilling such an aim.
Gurdjieff's teaching focused on ideas and practices he found necessary for awakening from sleep. Full awakening, for him, meant development or "crystallization" of what he called "higher-being bodies," spiritual bodies made of finer energy-matter than the physical body which can survive its death (although it is not clear whether such bodies are to be understood literally or merely psychologically -an interpretation problem that is examined throughout the text). He claimed that healthy sexuality is a vital part of this process but did not specifically or clearly characterize it.
Reich's early work centered on the nature of psychological health and disease; it was he who discovered the function of the orgasm in relation to the emotions and the psyche. Reich was not concerned with spiritual development in Gurdjieff's sense. He did, however, determine the nature of sexual health or orgastic potency and that sexual health is fundamental for psychological health. Because Gurdjieff claimed that sexual health is vital for spiritual evolution but did not describe sexual health, and because Reich is the only researcher who has determined its nature, it seems natural to merge them to form an understanding of the relationship between sexuality and the evolution of consciousness.
Many of the categories Gurdjieff utilized to describe the human organism are psychological in nature and thus have something in common with the categories of established psychology. Yet he also postulated the existence of a universal energy-matter that functions as the ground of all being including the psyche. Furthermore, he claimed that stimulation of this energy-matter within the human organism is the fundamental role his method of work plays in placing one in a position to form a spiritual or higher-being body.
During his psychoanalytical period Reich also utilized psychological concepts, but after discovering the biological basis of the psyche, the energy, which he called "orgone energy," out of which the psyche and all of being is formed, and after he determined that the free pulsation and flow of this energy within the person constitutes complete psychological and physical health, his level of discourse and analysis changed. I hope to show a profound correspondence between the levels of discourse and understanding in Gurdjieff and Reich, and further to show that Reich discovered, via natural scientific method, the energy that Gurdjieff postulated to exist.
It appears to me that Reich's discovery grounds and concretizes Gurdjieff's teaching in a way that makes it more accessible and understandable. It takes it out of the realm of philosophy or mysticism and brings it into the realm in which Gurdjieff himself claimed it belonged -- that of objective science. At the same time, Gurdjieff's teaching expresses the possibility that Reich's discoveries have implications regarding spiritual evolution with which Reich himself was not concerned.
I have presented Gurdjieff's ideas as clearly and concisely as possible although their complexity and the symbolic and allegorical manner of their presentation makes clarity a goal not easily achieved. I have attempted to express the depth and understanding contained in the ideas but some simplification was necessary, and certain ideas were left out entirely. Reich's work is also difficult to present, as a number of his students have remarked -- he discovered too much, his theories are relevant to nearly every area of inquiry, and they are very revolutionary. His research is extensive and thus only a condensed summary of some parts of it was possible. This presentation of Gurdjieff's ideas and Reich's theories therefore cannot be taken as anything close to being definitive. Because their work is so profound no summary, analysis, interpretation, or criticism can hope to capture their voices or to replace a study of their own writings. It is hoped that this book will stimulate such a study in individuals who have yet to do so and who consider themselves genuinely interested in awakening.
For it is my thesis that awakening, in Gurdjieff's sense, requires full capacity of what he called the "sexual center" -- sexual health, in other words. To understand the nature of sexual health, however, I maintain, requires Reich. Gurdjieff did not explain it nor do I believe has anyone else but Reich.
I cannot prove these assertions, of course, for we do not as yet know how to measure awakening nor is it easy to measure sexual health. But there are ways of determining more or less what Reich called "orgastic potency" -- Reich's term for sexual health, which I hope to explain in the text. My own experience working with individuals and groups for the past twenty-five years has made me a believer and I feel compelled to share those insights with those interested.
PART I: GURDJIEFF'S CONCEPTION OF THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Chapter One: Waking Up
Chapter Two: Etherokrilno
Chapter Three: Some Symbols
Chapter Four: Self-Remembering and Self-Observation
Chapter Five: First and Second Conscious Shocks
Chapter Six: Relativity
PART II: SEX
Chapter One: Gurdjieff on Sex
Chapter Two: Orgastic Potency
Chapter Three: Armoring
Chapter Four: Melting Buffers
PART III: REICH'S DISCOVERY OF THE PRIME SOURCE BIOLOGICAL LIFE ENERGY
Chapter One: Explaining the Orgasm Function
Chapter Two: Bions, Bion Radiation and Orgone Energy
Chapter Three: Experiments with the Orgone Energy Accumulator
PART IV: THE FUNDAMENTAL LAWS OF WORLD CREATION AND WORLD MAINTENANCE
Chapter One: Development of Reich's Theory of Cosmic Superimposition
Chapter Two: The Highest Laws
PART V: THE EVOLUTION AND INVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Chapter One: Consciousness and Evolution
Chapter Two: Biopathic illness
PART VI: THE FOOD OF IMPRESSIONS AND THE CRYSTALIZATION OF THE HIGHER BEING BODIES
Chapter One: How Impressions Provide Energy
Chapter Two: Impressions of the Higher Emotional Body
PART VII: SEXUALITY AND EVOLUTlON
Chapter One: Sex Energy
Chapter Two: Suppression of Sex
Chapter Three: Conclusion
Abbreviations Selected Bibliography
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