Lipton’s Journal/February 14, 1955/578
A truly great man is a man who does not begin the freezing-making process until he is totally ready, until he cannot grow unless he begins to make and give. A crank, a fanatic, a dogmatist was a potential genius who froze too early, who made too early. Wilhelm Reich strikes me as being half-genius, half-crank. I know very little about his orgone theory, but I suspect that he was close to something truly tremendous, and perhaps terrified of going insane (which is the danger of growing when the road is too impacted with obstacles) he froze at the level of his orgone box, which haunts us for we feel alternately and even simultaneously that it is a lie and a truth (using truth as something on the way to Truth).
- An Austrian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who worked with Freud, Reich (1897-1957), and was the author of many clinical works, including The Function of the Orgasm (1942). He fled to the U.S. when the Nazis came to power. His eccentric and controversial theory of orgone energy, and the phone-booth size orgone accumulators he invented, got him into legal trouble and he was sent to federal prison where he died. Mailer was influenced by Reich’s ideas about sexual repression and character armor, and built his own orgone box.