December 14, 2012
Dear Friend of the ACO:
Doesn’t this child look safe, secure and at home under her umbrella? Protected from the storm, she looks quite delighted and full of life. She doesn’t need to be taught how to enjoy life. That comes naturally. She does need our help, however, to protect her sweetness and life from dangers both natural and human.
Last year, in my holiday appeal I said:
Orgonomy itself is still a young science that has struggled to survive even in its infancy in an often hostile world. It too needs to be nurtured and protected.
It is also important to have a place that is safe and secure to get out of the storm, to work and be productive whether that storm is meteorological or the storm of human problems and destructiveness.
With those words I had in mind the introduction of our Property Improvement Project to create a more suitable home for orgonomy but I was also very much thinking about the storm of attacks on Wilhelm Reich and orgonomy that had occurred after the June 2011 release of a new book purportedly about Reich and, by appearance scholarly and highly-referenced. The book was, in fact, extraordinarily biased and slanderous.
As the squall of articles and “reviews” that followed focused more on denigrating Reich and his ideas than on critiquing the book, its publication became little more than one more occasion to attack Reich and orgonomy. They just can’t leave Reich alone. [See “Attacks on Orgonomy”]
Within a few months, however, the entire racket died down and the book has now slipped below the 50th position when the search phrase “Wilhelm Reich” is used on the Amazon website. It is heartening to see that such noise can fade into oblivion while that same search phrase shows that Reich’s classics: Character Analysis, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, and The Function of the Orgasm maintain the first, second and third place rankings, respectively.
It is impossible to truly assess the overall damage to Reich’s good name and the image of orgonomy from such a storm of dirt. But it has passed over without evidence of any direct harm to the ACO’s efforts to keep Reich’s good name and work alive.
The high quality of our work is the true foundation for the solidity of the home that we have been building for orgonomy. This is our guarantee of shelter from such “sound and fury signifying nothing.” On the other hand, we never could have imagined the magnitude of the actual storm that we weathered this year with Hurricane Sandy! The College lost electrical power and phone service for two full weeks. Our Executive Director, Debra Sansanelli, kept all functions going from her home as best she could. Once utilities were restored, the ACO was entirely back in operation within days and just in time to hold our first ACO Movie Night. We were also able to hold our monthly training seminars and meetings for November, albeit delayed by two weeks.
The storm blew down most of the large evergreens at the front of our property, one of which blocked our driveway [see photos]. We were very fortunate, however, that neither the headquarters nor laboratory building sustained any direct damage from falling trees. Basement flooding did put our furnace and hot water out of operation and items stored there were damaged when the sump pumps were inoperable until we got a portable generator in place.
We are still assessing the full extent of the damage from Hurricane Sandy, the cost of the cleanup, our preparedness for handling such disasters in the future as well as implications for our property improvement project that have come to light from the recent storm. I will be coming to you again in the next couple of months regarding a Storm Clean-up and Preparedness Fund once our needs are known in more detail.
While this disaster set back our property improvement project by several months and revealed things that will require additional expense, I believe it will also bring to light new opportunities for improving our property. Stay tuned.
Thank You for Your Support
I want to say again that I am more pleased and appreciative than I could ever put into words about your overwhelmingly positive response to our last two fundraising letters. The 2011 Holiday appeal brought in over $70,000 – $30,000 of which was designated for the Property Improvement Project (PIP) – and the Summer appeal, entirely dedicated to PIP, brought in nearly $31,000.
I will detail the state of our finances below but I want to highlight here that thanks to your generosity this is the first year in many years that we have not and will not have to withdraw funds from our investment accounts to cover operational expenses. This is true despite the fact that we have simultaneously taken on a major property improvement initiative.
For years we have called the ACO investment accounts our “rainy day fund,” a reserve to cover unexpected expenses. It is like an umbrella to be used as protection against the storm of any financial emergency including the breakdown of costly equipment like the furnace, damage to the building or property as recently occurred during Hurricane Sandy, or legal fees to defend ourselves in the event of a storm of irrational attacks on our work. For many years, with the exception of this year, we have also had to use this reserve to cover the cost of ACO operations or other shortfalls in our budget.
The Themes of Our Recent Appeals are Central to the ACO’s Future
I believe your help came because we touched you deeply with several themes that have run throughout our letters, updates and appeals to you over recent years:
||> The need to protect and nurture the health and life in infants and children.
> There must be more to life.
> The vital necessity of making contact with new people to carry the work of orgonomy into the future.
> Developing a home for orgonomy protected from storms both human and natural where we can be proud to introduce the science to family, friends and colleagues.
Each of these themes entails major undertakings that will require lifetimes of hard work to carry them to fruition. Every bit of the support you have given us is a step toward those goals. I want to touch on each of them in this report to remind you of their importance to the core reason for our work.
The Future of Humanity is in Our Children
No baby is born neurotic or emotionally sick.
If a child grows up from infancy in an environment that genuinely satisfies her need for expressing and receiving love and emotional contact she will be able to have satisfaction in love. If that same child has support for satisfying her spontaneous natural needs and impulses to move, be active, creative and productive she will also grow up able to find satisfaction in work. Such a child does not need to be taught that there is more to life. She already lives it fully.
Our work as parents, concerned human beings, and as professionals, either medical orgonomists or social orgonomists, is to see the natural healthy, capacity for pleasure and then support and nurture it in children such as the girl with the umbrella. We must also be vigilant and protect such sweetness from danger. Natural dangers such as major weather are simple compared to finding ways to protect her from the storms of the biosocial dysfunction we know as the emotional plague in those who would destroy it out of an intolerance of their own feelings of pleasure.
Functional knowledge that we have to offer at the ACO in medical and social orgonomy training programs, public education programs, and publications can inform her parents and professionals how to help her develop an umbrella she can use to fend off these storms when she needs to, but also to be able to put that umbrella down and enjoy the sunshine when it comes out.
More to Life
How many people are living with their full capacity for satisfaction and joy in work and love? The phrase, “more to life,” is a concise statement of an essential part of what orgonomy and the work of the ACO is about. It conveys the sense of restriction that most of us grew up with, or even without apparent restrictions, the terrible emptiness of contactlessness. But “more to life” also conveys the hope that a deeper and more satisfying experience in love and work is possible.
Most of us grew up with neurosis and armoring that restrict and constrict our natural liveliness. Some of us have been able to maintain or renew contact with a sense that despite those restrictions there is more inside us. “More to life” is all about helping the natural capacity for pleasure, satisfaction and exuberance within us live again. This is the core of any genuine therapy and central to orgonomy and the work of the ACO.
Who We Must Reach
All too many people have lost contact with the effect of the restrictions on their lives and don’t even sense them enough to do anything about them. Or if they do sense their limitations it is only in a muted way that fails to compel them to change. Henry David Thoreau poignantly described this common human condition with, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
This is a sad commentary on the observation that most people merely survive rather than live fully. To reiterate what we have said before, our audience is not the “mass of men” in the general public. We must find those whose desperation is not so quiet and who know that despite their restrictions, “There has to be more to life.” We must find those who want deeper satisfaction and a greater capacity for joy in their lives.
Our Reports to You
In recent years there has been so much more going on at the ACO that in an attempt to keep you better informed these appeal letters have become lengthy. They have also become an annual report of how we are doing, a newsletter of past and upcoming events, and a progress report on our activities and our functioning in the world. This is the fourth consecutive year that my holiday appeal has to some extent served these other functions beyond fundraising. If you wish, you may review back issues on our “Support the ACO” page to get an idea of our progress.
Continuing to Develop a Home for Orgonomy
Until we have formalized some of these other functions that these letters have taken on, I will continue to summarize our activities here and refer you to our website whenever we are able to post details there. For example, we do have an excellent Property Improvement Project (PIP) webpage where we have published updates and photos of our PIP progress. I encourage you to check them out.
Our Property Improvement Project was introduced a year ago in our 2011 holiday appeal, with a more complete description in our 2012 summer update. By the beginning of this fall, except for refurbishing our driveway/parking area, we had completed 95% of Phase I – the removal of “detractors.” The additional thinning of trees and clearing of overgrowth and brush further enhanced the open campus aesthetic we want.
We are now well into Phase II – the addition of improvements and “attractors.” Much of this work, particularly early on requiring studies, surveys, permits and design work, is less obvious and visible but has been equally as important as Phase I. Refurbishing and repaving our driveway/parking area is a significant part of Phase II that will greatly improve our appearance, especially as to first impressions for new visitors. It is also the last remaining major detractor that must be removed.
To make this costly part of our improvement project a financially sensible capital investment, we must improve drainage on the property (see details in the summer update). I am very pleased that our summer appeal brought forward donors who, seeing the long-term value of this “invisible” property improvement, gave us enough money to accomplish this essential part of our project. We still must raise the estimated $23,000 needed for PIP in 2013, as described in our 2012 summer appeal and on our PIP webpage.
We have proceeded with the necessary studies for wetlands delineation, property survey and research as well as conferring with government agencies to be sure that we are basing such major decisions on solid factual information. This work has taken longer than expected, even without taking into account the delay from Hurricane Sandy. But the slowdown from this delay has actually been advantageous giving us time to further evaluate, modify and refine our plans that will likely simplify and reduce the cost of the drainage project.
We are also at the point in Phase II that we need the professional expertise of a landscape architect to help us determine how to best accomplish the overall look and ambiance we want for the property. We are exploring hiring a qualified person in our area but we certainly welcome the assistance of a volunteer to work actively on that with us.
A Developing Team of Volunteers
It has been great to see the generosity of so many people who have come forward to help the ACO. Our total volunteer force has grown to number 24, up from nine in 2011. The PIP grounds crew who have put in hard work on our property is now at 12 [see photos]. One volunteer even brought his small tractor from his home in Pennsylvania to help move large stones and other material into an out-of-sight staging area, clear the ground for extension of the grassy areas in our “savannah,” and move rocky soil to form a surface for our utility road and the beginnings of a trail up into the woods [see photos].
In addition to the property improvement crew we also have a growing team of Social Orgonomy Presentation Series volunteers now numbering six who provide essential support for our public events by posting flyers, handling registration, greeting newcomers and taking care of refreshments. We also have a highly qualified and dedicated volunteer who has taken responsibility for essential, detailed work and development of the ACO website.
These recent activities have engaged volunteers and are also building a warm sense of community within the ACO. We welcome anyone to contact our Executive Director, Debra Sansanelli, to volunteer your time and labor to help, and to offer your expertise that might be of use to our various projects, or actually in any area.
Our Home Is Working For Us
The whole point of our property improvement project is to have a safe and secure home for our core functions and to develop new activities to accomplish the goal of attracting and making better contact with those people who already have the sense that “there has to be more to life.”
In fact, as anticipated in our summer update, we began a new session of the didactic course on October 5th, 2012 with a class comprised of one medical orgonomy trainee and eight social orgonomy trainees, all with excellent credentials in a wide variety of fields. And very encouragingly, three out of the nine are in their early 30s or younger. This three-year course is the first step in the training program for medical as well as social orgonomy trainees. Following its completion, each member will be interviewed to determine whether they will proceed with additional training: for the medical orgonomy trainees this includes the three continuing education clinical seminars, held each month at our headquarters; and for the social orgonomy trainees the quarterly Social Orgonomy Case Presentation Seminar; and, in addition, for the social orgonomy therapists the monthly Character Analytic Seminar.
Attracting such high quality new people to our training programs to sustain and continue them is the key to our ongoing survival, success and growth. In order to accomplish this we need to expand our contact with a larger audience of those people who may be interested in our work. Having the best possible home for this to take place is what the Property Improvement Project is all about.
Meanwhile, we also continue to offer our public Social Orgonomy Presentation series that are consistently drawing audiences that exceed our 50-seat capacity at the ACO headquarters. Dr. David Holbrook’s presentation, “Emotions Speak Louder Than Words” was very well received with one of our largest audiences ever, with 76 attendees at the Paul Robeson Center in Princeton. We will continue to offer four presentations a year in this larger off-campus venue.
In addition, there is significant interest in both the advanced and the introductory laboratory course in orgonomic science, and a June 2013 date at the ACO campus is under consideration. We will keep you informed as our plans develop.
We are also already seeing some of the other effects we hoped for from our property improvement project. As orgonomists, volunteers and staff feel good about our headquarters, they have spontaneously proposed new events, presentations and courses open to the public that might be held at our home.
At Home on Our Property
In late October our Executive Director, Debra Sansanelli wrote me to say:
I took a long walk on the "new" property for the first time last week. I had never really wanted to do that previously even after the barns were down because of the trees and undergrowth. Now that everything has been cleared so well, it was a pleasure to walk around. I even went for a walk up the new trail because I could see all around and didn't feel like something was going to jump out at me from the bushes.
As I mentioned, I used to live in a house with a beautiful meadow and woods behind it...and now I'm in a 3rd floor condo with a balcony overlooking a commons area with grass and trees. As nice as it is to look out on, it's not my own backyard. Now that the ACO's property is so nice, I want to go out there – I feel like I have a backyard again even though it's not my own. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and it's a pleasure to be able to enjoy it at the ACO in a way I have never been able to do so before.
Our property improvement project manager, Jim Wittes, also recently wrote:
My overall impression of the PIP effects is that the ACO headquarters property has become much more open and expansive in look and feel. There is now more simplicity and "oneness" to the property which had been partially obscured by an overgrowth of invasive plants and competing trees and a neglected swimming pool embankment that foreshortened the rear yard and blocked the long view. It's as if the ACO is becoming more open to the world. I think nature [in the form of Hurricane Sandy] did us a big favor by demolishing the "spruce line" which would have been more appropriate for the side boundary of the property rather than visually bisecting it.
After two other volunteers and I removed some branches near the driveway culvert, I saw something that was unfamiliar and unexpected: a great blue heron swooped down from over the parking area and landed right at the water's edge in that culvert. I wish I had been able to photograph the scene. To me this was an example of a bird with a 6' wingspan accepting the invitation of more open access to a little roadside brook that held the possibility of food.
New Activities at Our Home
I am very pleased that so many of the various events that we mentioned in our summer update have been coming to fruition. To celebrate the grounds improvements made possible by the near completion of Phase I of the Project, our volunteers and supporters joined us for our very first annual ACO summer picnic on Sunday, August 26th. It was wonderful to sit back, relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the property and each other's company on a perfect summer's day [see photos].
We also had the successful premier of ACO Movie Night on Friday, November 16th. A group of nearly 30 enjoyed the screening of the award-winning movie, The King’s Speech. The size of the group was perfect to facilitate a lively and thought-provoking post-film discussion led by Dr. Susan Marcel and myself. Among the attendees were several new to the ACO including one from Long Island, New York who said:
I read Wilhelm Reich years ago and decided to find out what is happening now. When I googled Reich I ran across the ACO website which was very good. I found it the most rational and professional of all of the various Reich-related organizations on the Internet. From the ACO website I learned about this event and thought it would be the easiest and least threatening way to make some contact with the College and learn more about you. Thank you for having it.
We also had some young people at Movie Night including a recent psychiatry residency graduate who actively engaged in the discussion, as did Dr. Marcel’s college-aged son who helped us pick The King’s Speech. Her high school-aged daughter brought a friend, both of whom insured that there was popcorn aplenty. This is a good beginning with exactly the kind of response we hoped to have with a warm, welcoming atmosphere where people feel comfortable to come and engage with us and learn what we have to offer. We were also able to handle parking for the entire audience on our property with the assistance of a volunteer parking attendant, demonstrating that we can easily handle groups of this size on campus without incurring the expense of hiring parking shuttles.
We plan to continue Movie Night approximately four times a year on months that we do not have the public Social Orgonomy Series presentations, i.e., November, March, May and July. The next screening is scheduled for Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 7:00 PM, with discussion to be led by Dr. Raymond Mero and the movie to be announced.
We hope to see you at our campus at one of our upcoming events.
Additional New Activities Have Been Proposed
Suggestions for other activities at our headquarters have also arisen. We are working on a proposal by Dr. Charles Konia to develop a course in social orgonomy open to the public. Dr. Edward Chastka has agreed to evaluate the feasibility of this course, as well as to organize and develop ways to promote it to a new audience.
One of our supporters citing a recent commentary in the media about the lack of critical thinking ability in current public discourse also suggested that the ACO offer a course in “rational functional thinking.”
Last year we also mentioned a “Meet the Orgonomist Series.” We are currently exploring in-depth, single evening or afternoon discussions with various orgonomists on a variety of topics. Proposals from orgonomists who want to present include functional looks at twelve-step programs, heart disease, menopause, and the latest psychiatric diagnostic system.
New ACO Activities Overseas
Many people in Europe are interested in orgonomy and Wilhelm Reich’s work. A lot of you living there have already been very generous contributors to the ACO despite little direct contact with us. We cannot thank you enough for your support and are pleased that as part of our current outreach we will be sponsoring an overseas conference on Wilhelm Reich, his discoveries and legacy, and how they are surviving in the face of the modern emotional plague. Our European colleagues are developing this event which is scheduled to take place on April 5-6, 2014 in Milan, Italy. Again we will keep you updated as details evolve.
We Need Increased Staff Time
For the past several months, because of our significant increase in activities, we have been evaluating the need for increasing staff time in order to support ongoing activities while taking on new initiatives. In one of those fortuitous “good news, bad news” situations our current administrative assistant, Jill Schwartz, had to leave us for family reasons to return to her native Chicago. Jill’s family needs had always meant limited hours for us but we now opened up the option to find someone available for more hours if needed. Our Executive Director immediately began the interviewing process and has hired Rose Littlefield, who started December 10th. Rose is well qualified for administrative duties and also has considerable customer service experience that will help us greatly in our increased public outreach. Her flexibility will also allow for the possibility of adding hours as we need them. We wish Jill the best in her future endeavors and welcome Rose to the ACO team.
We Have So Much to Offer
We have often referred to the treasure trove of knowledge, insights and practical help that orgonomy brings to a wide range of life and world problems. A few months ago I spoke with a friend about a functional approach in business consulting that addresses work-related problems and work organizations. Recently, he told me he hears almost everyone he talks to allude to such problems in their lives. He said, “There is a real place for the kind of insights that orgonomy seems to offer there.” I told him that was the very reason that I decided to offer our next Social Orgonomy presentation on February 2nd, 2013, “Are You Satisfied With Your Work Life?” as an open discussion of work-related problems. His excited response was, “That’s great. There should be hundreds of people who would be interested in that.” My reply was, “That is absolutely true but our problem is how to make contact with those people to let them know what we have to offer.”
Our Problem is to Find Those Who Can Hear Us
The essence of the College’s major current and ongoing challenge is to solve the problem of how to find and make contact with new people who can hear what we have to offer.
Henry David Thoreau eloquently stated the essence of our problem:
“It takes two to speak the truth, — one to speak, and another to hear.”
Without knowing orgonomic terms for it, Thoreau clearly understood back in the 1840s the bioenergetic basis of contact: the integration of excitation and perception where genuine social contact results when one person as the excitant speaks and is integrated with another as the percipient who accurately perceives and hears the truth that is said.
What good is the knowledge we have to share if we do not make contact and it is not heard? “
More to Life” in the ACO Organization Itself
As many of you can relate, most of us became involved with orgonomy because we felt there had to be more to life and we wanted to make a difference in the world. “More to life,” also applies to our organizational life. We want the ACO to be a thriving, vibrant organization that is able to keep functional orgonomic knowledge not just alive but developing and growing in its influence in the world. We want to do more than merely survive. This distinction is crucial at this point in our development as an organization. I will return to it when we talk about our finances below.
Contact With the Public
I spelled out in my summer update: Attraction and promotion are two key functions related to making contact with any element of the public.
We have been assessing and working on improving our image to help us attract new people who will come to us, our campus, our events, programs and training at our home where we have always been more able to make contact. But as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said:
“We don't get to know people when they come to us; we must go to them to find out what they are like.”
This again speaks to the dilemma I discussed last year (see 2011 Holiday Appeal) that both Reich and Baker had about whether the home for orgonomy should be near population centers or isolated in pristine nature. We must attract people but we must also find ways to go out to people and promote what we have to offer by making contact with people where they are. This is a much more difficult problem to solve but we are working on it.
In a recent strategic planning group meeting we once again discussed the importance of making contact with young people who will therefore have enough time to develop their interests and eventually train as medical orgonomists. We said that a major problem with the ACO’s contact with the public is that we don't really know what matters to young people. We can again use the basic orgonomic understanding of social contact as the integration of excitant and percipient to help us do that better. We have had a tendency to act like we have a truth that we must find a way to get them to hear (we are the excitant they are the percipient). As soon as a young person, or anyone for that matter, feels such an agenda it is the kiss of death for contact. We need to find ways, places etc. to listen to young people, to hear what is of concern to them (be the percipient while they are the excitant). I know that as orgonomists we are very good at that in our offices with individual young people, but we have not been so good at that in social group settings. Reich did that in Vienna in the late 20s and early 30s when he went out and listened to young people's sexual concerns. That may be the last time anyone in orgonomy has really done that to such an extent. If you have any suggestions or ideas about how we can better do this, by all means get in touch with us here at the College.
The State of Our Finances
In my thank you above I said that because of your generosity the ACO’s financial position in 2012 is healthier than it has been in recent years. As I wrote about the good news regarding our last two fundraising letters, I was tempted to downplay our success. I was concerned that telling you the news of our wonderful fundraising success this year might make you less likely to donate. Although I don’t know if this applies to our donors, I think some people are more likely to contribute in an emergency. But I want you to know the truth: both the good news and the bad news because I believe your generosity comes out of a sense of trust in what we are doing and trust can only come with the truth.
The truth is that, while for this one year we are in better fiscal health than we have recently been, we are not yet out of the woods financially. Our financial health will not be secure until our ongoing activities – particularly fees and tuitions from our training programs and income from publications –can support our operations. In that happy circumstance, instead of relying on donations to survive, we could use them to support new initiatives and genuine expansion of the College. It has been wonderful this year for the ACO to have a bit of a breather from fiscal anxiety. The reality, however, is that at this point in our history our very survival is, in fact, precariously dependent on your generosity just to keep our basic operations going.
Let’s go to the numbers to help you objectively see where we are. Our annual budget is around $230,000 (every time I see that number I am amazed that we accomplish so much with such a small budget.) Our tuition and training course fees for 2012 were $58,725, which with the addition of the $9,000 in fees for the new didactic course totaled $67,725 compared to the 2011 training income of $55,731. Our publications (books and journals) brought in $12,200 to date in 2012, which will end up about the same as 2011 at $12,980. There was a gratifying increase in support for our social orgonomy series with 2012 designated donations of $8,850 up from $2,820 in 2011. Our member donor program has been an increasing and steady source of income since we instituted it in 2009 and is now up to about $16,000 in 2012. Our other income including registrations, silent auction and other donations for the Annual Dinner, Board of Regents member dues and some from other minor sources stayed about the same in 2012. The major improvement therefore in our financial status in 2012 was due to one- time general donations that so far this year have totaled $48,824, up from $15,730 in all of 2011.
The problem is that we don’t know if we can rely on that level of increase or if it is a “fluke.” We had budgeted a predicted 2012 income of $32,000 in that category, which we greatly exceeded. For 2013, it would be irresponsible to assume we can count again on the same level of generosity that we had this year. As a result we have kept the budgetary prediction for 2013 at the same $32,000, which is still counting on great generosity from you. Even with that prediction, our 2013 budget still shows a shortfall of $20,000. Our hope, of course, is that you will once again come through for us with another banner year of donations. If we don’t achieve that we will have to cover the deficit by withdrawing from our “rainy day fund.”
The other good financial news this year is that we found a buyer for one of the paintings that Kenneth Noland, the well-known, color-field artist, donated to us in the 1980s. For years there had been no market for the three paintings of his we had. But this year, through some diligent research, our Executive Director tracked down a buyer for the most valuable one and negotiated a respectable price of $80,000. Because of our successful fundraising efforts this year, we were able to put the entire proceeds from the sale into our “rainy day fund.” With that replenishment, the fund is now up to $323,000, from the meager $243,000 that it had shrunk to at year’s end 2011.
Money is the Lifeblood
Money is the lifeblood of an organization, a metaphorical use of the term in the English language dating back to the 1500s. In this case I believe it represents a specific functional equivalent far beyond the mere metaphor or analogy. In an organization, money functions as a “liquid medium” to carry energy to each part of the organization to keep it going, much the same way that blood serves the same function as it carries oxygen and nutrients to each organ, tissue and cell of an organism.
In a for-profit organization money comes in exchange for the production of goods or services. If a part of such an organization does not bring in enough money to support its ongoing operations, that part either has to be supported by more profitable parts or dropped from the organization. Witness the selloff of subsidiaries of corporations that are not profitable and their purchase by someone who believes they can be made profitable. Some “organs” of such an organization (the same word root) are “profit centers” and can become money producing “organs.” Others are known support functions that are not expected to produce money and are expected to be supported in turn.
In a not-for-profit organization such as the ACO we do have “organs” that produce cash such as the training programs, publications including the Journal of Orgonomy, and some events. Many not-for- profit organizations especially colleges and universities have a specific cash-producing “organ” in the form of an endowment that brings in passive income from investments as lifeblood for that organization. We recently calculated that given modest investment income strategies the ACO would need an endowment of $6 million to cover our current budget of $230,000 per year. Taking into account that we do have income-producing activities at present, we would need an endowment of around $3 million to cover the shortfall in our current budget.
Our existing “rainy day fund” of $323,000 produces little income from our very conservative investment strategy designed to protect the principle. So to put things in perspective, we would need nearly 10 times the value of our current investment account as an endowment to support ongoing operations merely at current levels. (And we MUST grow beyond this if we are to be successful.)
A New Model of Organizational Health and Sickness
One of the remarkable things that orgonomic functional thinking can do is show us how energy can function identically in two systems as different as an organism in the biological realm and an organization in the social realm. Such a perspective can give us a new biosocial medical model of organizational health and sickness. This view can help us identify problems and to more clearly see new solutions for our own organization.
The ACO has been suffering from negative cash flow for many years. If money is the lifeblood of an organization, then negative cash flow is the equivalent of a dropping blood count or worsening anemia in an individual. We know in medicine that a low or deteriorating blood count can occur for many reasons. These can range from poor blood production from a number of causes to acute or chronic blood loss. We also know that the rate of decline in the blood count is an important diagnostic measure that can help differentiate the cause.
There was a period some years ago where I would have to say that the ACO’s cash flow deficit was so great that the diagnosis of our problem was organizational bleeding. Over several years we slowed the bleeding by cutting back staff expenses, developing as many other cost-saving measures as possible, and developing more rigorous accounting and budgetary procedures while at the same time trying to improve our sources of income. The detailed evaluation and addressing of these problems was an important contribution by the volunteer ACO Business Advisory Board (BAB) overseen by the Executive Committee (EC).
Such accounting and budgetary structures are the equivalent of blood vessels in an organism that in health tightly contain every drop of blood and keep track of where it is going. Such structures are only as good, however, as our contact with them. A crucial part of what we accomplished, therefore, was to institute both good financial structures for the ACO as well as thorough reviews and oversight of our finances by our EC and BAB.
In previous years we appealed to you just to help us survive. As I have already said, our ultimate goal is to have an organization that is not merely surviving but thriving, and able to be increasingly productive. Neither a bleeding man nor a starving man, however, can be concerned about joy and happiness or finding more satisfaction in love and work. They are focused on survival. This year our organization is neither bleeding cash nor starving thanks to you, for the first time in many years. We have also made modest progress in being self-sustaining with our activities. This perspective, however, indicates that the true energetic character of our condition remains serious. We are not yet at a true healthy state. Fortunately we are not hemorrhaging, but it would be more accurate to say we have a type of anemia.
The accurate functional description of our financial breather this past year is that your generous donations gave us a much needed, life-sustaining transfusion. Hopefully, repeated transfusions over time will stimulate the healthy functioning of our organs to naturally greater productivity. Or, at least give us time to develop activities that will be life sustaining.
Our “rainy day fund” is the equivalent of having blood in the bank for when the anemia gets too severe or if there is an unexpected hemorrhage. In fact, for the past several years we have been using it to self- transfuse to offset the relatively steady blood loss or low blood count that we have been experiencing. We will, however, need to continue to have those transfusions for some time until we have found the “food”, i.e., “new blood,” to incorporate into our organization as students, members, volunteers and other workers that will keep our work alive and growing.
When there is a steady surplus of money from our activities, or an endowment, we can then, as an organization, consider how to find “more to life.” In such a case we could identify the activities that the ACO might do that would more deeply satisfy the needs of the organization and bring genuine expansion. (The organizational equivalent of joy.)
“New Blood” Is More Than “Lifeblood”
We often talk about the vital necessity of bringing “new blood” into the ACO. All of our efforts are driven by this most urgent need of making contact with and engaging new people who will become actively involved in the work of the organization. Calling both new people and money “blood” is not functionally accurate and may confuse our thinking.
I believe identifying money as the “lifeblood” of an organization is an accurate use of the word “blood” and is a true functional equivalent to blood in an individual organism. What then is “new blood,” connoting new people, functionally equivalent to in an organism? Such new people may bring new money so it is not entirely wrong to equate them with money. I think, however, that is only partly right. If we can accurately identify the true functional equivalent, we can describe actual energetic processes functioning identically in different realms. Such descriptions are much more profound and useful than an “analogy” or “metaphor” either of which may be largely intellectual. A more accurate, true picture, therefore, is to regard this “new blood” as functionally equivalent to “new cells” in an organism.
We MUST find and develop such “new cells” who may populate various functional work units in the ACO. Carrying our model further, we understand this to mean that each new “cell” can make up various “tissues” and “organs” within the College. For example, the medical orgonomy training program is the “organ” of the ACO that serves the vital core function of developing new medical orgonomists of the highest quality. This organ has various differentiated structures, the equivalent of “tissues” that include the didactic seminar, three clinical seminars, and individual tutorials for the trainees that help the organ to fulfill its function. Each of the cells has its own position and function within these tissues and the larger organ of the training program. This is the equivalent of cell differentiation in an organism so that each “cell” best serves its particular function as faculty member, didactic course member, clinical associate, etc. to discharge the organ’s overall function of training medical orgonomists. For training in natural truths to occur there have to be cells differentiated into both functions of those who speak and those who hear.
The training “organ” also has structures (“tissues”) such as the training committee and administrative staff that support the function of the “organ.” These are each integrated in different ways with and supported by the rest of the ACO and its differentiated structures such as the Executive Committee and the Board of Regents.
Going back to our comparison of “lifeblood” and “new blood” there is no doubt that money is absolutely vital, but just like blood it is temporary and can come and go. New people as the cells that form new tissues and organs or revitalize the old ones can last a lifetime. In fact, a source for this kind of revitalization is more fundamentally necessary for our long-term survival than outside sources of money. Such new cells can and do become the sources of spontaneous generation of new money (blood).
The Soma and Psyche of an Organization
These organizational components of individuals as the equivalent of “cells” and various individuals making up “tissues” and a work group made up of those as the equivalent of an “organ,” describe the organizational structures that are equivalents of the somatic structures in an individual.
For years we have identified the “core functions” of the ACO as training, public education, publications and research. Each of these represents a major “organ” or “arm” of the organization. Each of them has the equivalent differentiation of “cells” within it along the lines we just described for the medical orgonomy training program. These are the “somatic” equivalents in the organization.
In addition to somatic structures that are a reflection of component and quantitative aspects of functioning, an individual organism also has psychic aspects that reflect the whole and qualitative way the individual relates to themselves and the world. These are the three layers represented by the words: nature (the specific basic healthy core needs, impulses and expressions), character (the typical way of functioning that can be either healthy or neurotic), and personality (the way the individual meets the world with his or her character and nature). 1
These individual psychic aspects seen in the biological realm of organisms also have their functional equivalents in the social realm in organizations. I call them: core function, culture and image.
In past appeal letters I have discussed these, most particularly our core function and our image. The more fully an organization can make contact with its core function, express and bring it to fruition the more productive and successful it will be. I especially emphasized the importance of clarity about the core functions of the ACO and in our 2010 Holiday appeal stated:
Over the years, our core function has become more clearly defined: to preserve the quality of work in orgonomy and to develop and expand this science so that many more people can benefit from the unique and remarkable perspective that orgonomy offers.
That same year we began to use images of babies to convey what we are about and in the process we connected with the deeper core function that we serve which is:
To make the world a better place for the future of humanity by supporting the health in the children of the future.
This is the true core function as it underlies everything we do, whether that is to preserve the quality of work in the field or to develop and expand the science. AND children are the most important group of people we want to see benefit from orgonomy.
Last year I began to discuss more fully the importance of our image for our contact with the public and spelled it out more fully in the summer appeal. We are continuing to pursue this especially in our property improvement project but we are also looking at improving the attractiveness and quality of the many other ways we meet the world, including our website and even our logo, which are under consideration for being revised.
Our organizational culture (character) is the one of the three layers that we have not yet directly focused on in these reports. There isn’t space now to do justice to this important aspect of our functioning so we will have to come back to it more fully at some point in the future. In the meantime, here are some brief observations that indicate significant changes are already visible in the way people are functioning within the organization in recent years.
Since its inception in 2001 the social orgonomy training committee has become a model exciting and satisfying work group. More recently, the Property Improvement Project group has also been a catalyst for productivity, increased clarity and efficiency, and a proactive approach that has permeated the whole organization. I believe it is no accident that both of these relatively new “organs” have accomplished some of the most productive and exciting work that the ACO has seen in recent years. This spirit is infusing the ACO.
Keep Alive the Truths of Functional Knowledge
I am drawn to quoting great writers and thinkers as I have done in this letter because it helps remind me that the true principles of life and deep perceptions about the human condition embodied in functional knowledge are not mystical or something that only Wilhelm Reich could see or an orgonomist can see. These are truths that are there for all to see. In fact, Reich described the human perceptual problem when he introduced his book, Ether, God and Devil, with the quotation from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
What is the hardest thing of all?
That which seems the easiest
For your eyes to see,
That which lies before your eyes.
In the 1940s Wilhelm Reich said: “Love, work and knowledge are the wellsprings of our lives, they should also govern it.” This is as profoundly true today as it was then. For those who can see it, are open to it and willing to work for it, orgonomic functional knowledge can offer the reality of much greater satisfaction in their love life, their work life and in deepening their knowledge of life and nature.
These deep truths described by Wilhelm Reich in his discoveries and work, and which have continued to be developed by orgonomists since his time, are gifts that the ACO has to offer humanity. Unfortunately, most people do not even know or feel that the world is in such desperate need of them. We need your help to continue the essential work of finding those who can hear the truth. Otherwise, as Thoreau tells us, without someone who hears we have not spoken the truth.
In this Holiday Season give us a gift to help us continue to share the gifts of functional knowledge to make that all too quiet desperation in the masses of people become noisier. Help us make contact with those who are already making noise because they have that sense that their life and the world could be so much more. The Old Testament’s 98th Psalm says: Make a joyful noise unto the LORD. In this Holiday Season help us make that joyous sound.
We Are Finally Seeing Some Results
More than ever in my many years with the ACO I feel we are making progress in the direction that we need to go. The reality of any sustained work that is worthwhile is that there must be a long grind often with little obvious results before there is movement forward. I am more hopeful than ever that we are seeing signs of success in that forward movement.
Our property is taking on an expansive feeling, an opening up to the world. We have made contact with new people including some young people, and crucial for the long-term prospects for orgonomy, we now have several younger people in our training programs. And, I hope I’ve been clear how we need your support to help us continue to better establish a more public and welcoming home for the on- going work in orgonomy.
Donate Now in 2012 to Insure a Tax Deduction
I hope you will be able to contribute to the ACO in 2012 before you may lose the tax advantage of your donation to us. Allow me to explain.
For years the U.S. tax code encouraged private charity. In the face of enormous deficits, and, unfortunately for many not-for-profit organizations including the ACO, one of the proposals on the table to increase revenue for the Federal government is to either eliminate charitable donations as a deduction or limit the amount that can be deducted to a specific percentage of income. This may well affect some of you who have been so generous with us in the past.
We do not know what new legislation will bring after the first of the year so I hope you will take advantage of the current tax code rules that apply to donations made until the end of 2012. Under these rules you can claim a deduction for your contributions to the ACO as a qualified 401(c)3 registered charity.
There Is No Better Investment In the Future
Go back to the image of the child at the beginning of this letter and take a few moments to recognize that your contribution to the American College of Orgonomy supports efforts to create a home for orgonomic knowledge to be used to keep such delight alive and help to shelter it. The American College of Orgonomy has so much to offer.
I hope you will join with us by continuing your financial support to insure our success in this monumental task. With the enclosed card or on-line at www.orgonomy.org, please send your donation or sign up as a member donor so we can count on a steady income to sustain us in the coming months and years ahead. And if you are not already on our e-mail list, please help us make contact with you more quickly by joining our mailing list online. From all of us at the ACO, I wish you and yours a happy Holiday Season and a healthy New Year, and I hope to see you in the near future at one of the events at our “home.”
Peter A. Crist, M.D.,
Please support the ACO today
1 Crist, P. “Nature, Character and Personality,” Journal of Orgonomy 27(1):48-60, 1993