Wilhelm Reich: The Strange, Prescient Sexologist

Olivia Laing at The Guardian:

What Reich wanted to understand was the body itself: why you might want to escape or subdue it, why it remains a naked source of power. His wild life draws together aspects of bodily experience that remain intensely relevant now, from illness to sex, anti-fascist direct action to incarceration. The writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin read Reich, as did many of the second-wave feminists. Susan Sontag wrote Illness As Metaphor as a riposte to his theories about health, while Kate Bush’s song “Cloudbusting” immortalises his battle with the law, its insistent, hiccupping refrain – “I just know that something good is going to happen” – conveying the compelling utopian atmosphere of his ideas.

Reich believed that the emotional and the political directly impact our bodily experience, and he also thought that both realms could be improved, that Eden could even at this late juncture be retrieved. He was vilified in his own era, sometimes for good reason, but many of his ideas still hum and wriggle with life.

more here.