Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bad Luck

It was very unfortunate for Reich that he attracted so much support from intellectuals, artists, novelist, poets, philosophers, and other non-scientists instead of from the medical doctors and scientists as he wanted. The suport of these non-scientists made his work look even more cultish and unscientific than the scientists would have thought it was otherwise. The orgone accumulator was thought of as a fad for beatniks instead of as a  medical tool to be evaluated on it's merits by professional experts. Reich would have been rejected anyway by the experts, of course, because his thinking was too far out of step with theirs, but he was not helped by being additionally considerd a beatnik guru. 

If he had been favorably reviewed in Astounding Science Fiction by John Campbell, for example, a lot of scientists and engineers would have built accumuators and done experiments with them, more experiments than Reich could afford to do. The Dean Drive got a good write-up from Campbell, and within two years more than 100 readers, mostly engineers, wrote in to say they had built one and tested it. Reich was unlucky in his choice of fans. What he got were mostly useless intellectuals instead of people whose opinions counted for something. 

And as I say, the scientific community would have rejected him anyway, but at least he would have gotten more of a fair chance instead of being dismissed as a fad for people whose opinions do not count. 

Another possibility would have been if he had attracted some rich businessman who saw a chance to make money on the accumulator. THe business world does not give a damn about the opinions of scientists if there is money to be mkade. They will buy favorable scientific reports, bribe editors of scientific journals, give big grants to researchers to discover whatever facts will help them make a profit, and fund Congress to pass the laws they want passed. If Reich had gotten a major drug company on board to market accumulators, they would have become the standard medical treatment regardless of what scientists thought of them. Look at how the business community has sold GM foods despite all the scientific evidence against them. Or look at the Global Warming business, which is contrary to all the scientific facts, but is being marketed successfully because there is so much money in it. 

But Reich had the bad luck to be taken up by intellectual novelists and artists instead of by people who could help him.

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