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President's Message (PDF)

VIDEO Dr. Peter Crist tells of three significant recent anniversaries and looks to the ACO’s future in the 21st century.

December 20, 2019

Dear Friend of the ACO:

2018 marked the ACO’s 50th anniversary year. How did we celebrate? No big gala event. No fireworks. We did what we do best: we got to work. And work we did.

ACO Momentum
In our December 2017 Annual Report, we said, “…it feels like we’ve overcome some inertia and are gaining momentum…” [1] and included a photograph of children with a sled-load of presents, which we compared to the gifts the ACO has to offer to a world that desperately needs them. We reiterated that sense in our brief December 18, 2018 appeal and again showed the same picture.

That sensation persisted throughout 2018 and strengthened in 2019, as the ACO experienced an explosion of activities. In November 2018, we kicked off “A Different Kind of Psychiatry” case presentation series, open to the public at the ACO campus. The series has continued monthly, increasing the number of all of our public events, including case presentations, special events, social orgonomy presentations, conferences and ACO Movie Nights, from seven in 2017 to nine in 2018 and sixteen in 2019. In addition, in December 2018, we mounted our first ACO west coast event since the 1980s. Underlying these new initiatives lies the quiet steady bedrock of our ongoing core activities. The ACO medical orgonomy training program has trained physicians since our founding in 1968 and continues with 16 members participating in ongoing clinical seminars, the fees from which provide our largest source of income other than donations. The ACO training program in social orgonomy has, since 2001, brought functional knowledge to a wide range of fields, including therapists who treat individuals, families and couples and others in disciplines that include business, law, education and administration. Currently we have seven in that program who continue to impact the world with their work and enhance their professional needs by participating in a specially-tailored seminar that also provides income to the ACO. The Journal of Orgonomy has been published biannually since 1967 and in 2018 published a special 50th anniversary two-issue volume focused on medical orgone therapy. 2018-2019 also saw a continued steady stream of other public education events as mentioned below in “A Story for Everyone.” The past two years have demonstrated unprecedented results in both what we’ve done and how we’ve done it.

2018-2019, Banner Years to Celebrate the ACO’s 50th Anniversary
At our November 4, 2018 monthly clinical associates’ meeting, our executive director, Debra Sansanelli, arranged a display of flyers, announcements and other printed materials which covered public events for 2018 as well as some already scheduled for 2019.

The collage reproduced here tells a story about the remarkable amount of work the ACO accomplished in 2018, which was also months before we were in full swing for 2019. In these reports we usually chronicle the College’s year of work, and announce the upcoming ones that are scheduled, but there’s not enough space to do that this time. To give you an idea of how much we’ve achieved and how much we have planned, provided at the end of this letter are comprehensive lists of completed ACO activities covering both 2018 and 2019 and upcoming ones scheduled for 2020.

The Deeper Story
The lists tell a story of the remarkable amount of work the ACO performed in two years and has planned for the next. But I believe the more exciting and valuable story of 2018-2020 lies in how we do our work rather than how much we do. [2]

The Too-Muchness of Orgonomy
Despite focusing on the quality rather than the quantity of the ACO’s work, my head still spins with the “too-muchness,” of what we’ve been doing. [3] Wilhelm Reich struggled with the same problem about orgonomy itself:

The greatest difficulty in grasping the orgone theory lies in the fact that the discovery of the orgone has solved too many and too great problems all at once…No one has felt the TOO-MUCHNESS [emphasis in the original] as painfully as myself. I have not gone after the facts, but the facts and connections streamed to me…The plethora of [them], especially concerning the relationship of the human animal to his universe, can be explained by a very simple analogy:

Did Columbus discover New York, or Chicago, the fisheries in Maine, the plantations in the South, the great water works or the natural treasures on the West coast of America?

He did not discover, did not build or work out all of this in detail. He only discovered a part of a seacoast that up to that time was unknown to European man. The discovery of the barren coastal stretch on the Atlantic Ocean was the key to everything that in the course of a few centuries has become “North America.”

The discovery of the cosmic energy succeeded in a similar fashion. I have in reality made only ONE SINGLE discovery: THE FUNCTION OF ORGASTIC PLASMA CONTRACTION [emphasis in the original]. [4] It represents the coastal stretch from which everything else has developed. [5]

That single discovery opened the door to understanding that regulation of biopsychic energy is the basis of emotional health, and that pulsation is the basis of life and ultimately that spontaneous energy movement is the basis of all of Nature. Beyond the strip of coastline represented by Reich’s discoveries lies an immense continent of unexplored nature on which we can develop a body of knowledge regarding how nature truly functions.

The sheer quantity of information in the field is hard enough to digest, but the very subject matter central to orgonomy is often too much for people. When sex rears its ugly head, people get crazy. Serious discussions of sexuality often run afoul of armored, human squeamishness and smutty, pornographic attitudes about natural sexual functions. [6]

The fact that Reich’s understanding of the function of the orgasm went much deeper than the usual meaning of the word, “orgasm,” also often creates confusion. [7]

To complicate matters further, we live in an age of sexual overexcitation but without satisfaction. We see confusion about sexuality in general and ignorance about a distinction between healthy and neurotic sexuality to a degree even greater than in Reich’s day. It’s always tempting to avoid the subject altogether.

Discoverers and Explorers
Like Columbus, Reich was an explorer. He discovered a new continent of human knowledge. The earth sees the likes of a Reich once a millennium if we are lucky. Tragically he succumbed to the dangers that can abound on voyages of discovery. Since his death in 1957 others have continued to explore the new world he discovered.

Settlers of a New Land
Reich’s student and colleague Dr. Elsworth Baker established the ACO fifty years ago as a small colony with a few new settlers on the equivalent of Columbus’s Atlantic seaboard. We have kept the colony alive and have been developing it as a safe harbor to build and shelter our ships for exploring the vast new continent discovered by Reich.

Exploration Since Reich
In setting sail to continue to explore Reich’s discoveries, we also see that our quest is like the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804 to 1806, commissioned by the U.S. government to explore the vast stretch of western America known as the Louisiana Purchase.

It remains for us, as it was for them, to explore the new world, set off across the land, map it, grasp its extent and locate its resources, both obvious and hidden. With that knowledge we can find ways to settle and develop the new continent beyond the narrow strip of Atlantic coastline.

The ACO Expedition
Our experience over the past several years at the ACO, has felt as if we, like Lewis and Clark have been hauling keelboats upstream, portaging canoes, trekking overland, climbing mountains looking for passes to allow us to cross a continental divide to reach waters that flow to another ocean.

The Source of Our Momentum
In 2018 and 2019, the source of our momentum became clearer. Like any vital organization, the ACO is a living system that moves spontaneously. It is not a machine that must be made to move. This crucial piece of functional knowledge has helped us tap into the natural current of the ACO’s core function that carries our work forward. Our job is not to push the river but to find the spontaneous flow and ride with it. Applying this viewpoint has supported our functioning in a dynamic, creative and exciting way with new programs that are connecting us with new people.

Fifty Years of a Miraculous Quest
For the past fifty years, the ACO has been exploring the continent of functional knowledge in the realms of medicine, sociology, biology, and physics. We’ve been keeping it alive as well as documenting it for posterity much as Lewis and Clark collected specimens to send back home to reveal realities of the new territory they had explored.

It’s a miracle the College exists but it’s an even greater miracle we’re still here after half a century. [8] And more than that, 2018 and 2019 showed we are not just alive but developing momentum as a living dynamic organization. As always, it’s miraculous that we accomplish as much as we do with our limited staff and bare-bones budget. The quality and numbers of new, creative initiatives in the past two years exceeded anything we’ve previously done and reconfirmed the remarkable nature of our existence.

Thank You for Being a Part of the Miracle
In December 2017, I said, “Every time you consider what we do to survive, grow, develop orgonomic knowledge and bring it to the world, please remember you are an essential part of the ACO miracle.” [9]

We can’t thank you enough for supporting our work. Your ongoing generous donations make it possible. One way to show our appreciation is to tell you what we’ve done, our thinking behind it, how we’re doing it and what we plan to do from here.

A Story for Everyone

The “too-muchness” of orgonomy can be used to our advantage. Within the vast continent of functional knowledge lies a story for everyone. [10] Our new case presentation series brings our audiences true-life stories about therapy. One member of our Business Advisory Board said, “I think this is the most important initiative the College has ever undertaken to inform people about medical orgone therapy.”

As described by one attendee at a presentation, “It’s the closest thing the ACO has done to giving new people a feel for what orgone therapy is like without having to commit to doing it.”

In the past two years we’ve also drawn new people with events offering a wide range of subjects including functional voice training, memoir stories about childhood and medical training, laboratory courses and sociopolitical discussion groups. ACO Movie Nights have covered a variety of topics, most notably in the past two years about drug and digital screen addictions. Each represents a different part of orgonomy that tells its own story.

Man, the Storytelling Animal
People love stories. There is something compelling about them. Storytelling is uniquely human. [11] Most animals live in the moment and stay focused on the present. Man is the only animal that contemplates his own place in history or looks for his historical roots.

Man’s Roots
For millennia man lived and travelled in tribes, bands and clans of related people that rooted him in a social context. With the advent of agriculture, humans settled in villages where they put down geographic roots as well.

Adrift from Our Roots
As the means of transportation developed from horse to carriage, train to automobile and airplane, man travelled farther and farther from his birthplace. His roots in the land and with a particular social group became increasingly tenuous. The anti-authoritarian transformation of our society in the 20th century strained family ties further and people have become even more removed from reliable, solid roots.

A Longing to Know One’s Roots

In the face of these changes in society, the longing to feel rooted not only remains but has often grown stronger. Small wonder that genealogy has become such a popular hobby. DNA analyses show ties to specific groups of people and regions. I’ve recently experienced how tracing one’s family tree provides a sense of connection with social and geographic roots.

A Personal Search for Family Roots
My curiosity about roots began in childhood when I read my grandmother’s genealogy books during visits to her home in Connecticut. Her copy of the Genealogy of the Bingham family in the United States especially of the state of Connecticut, contained records and stories about my mother’s father’s family. Grandpa Bingham died before I was born but I poured over records and stories about his family.

Recently I connected with the Bingham Association whose website refreshed my memory about the contents of my grandmother’s books. One Thomas Bingham came to Connecticut in the 1650s from Sheffield, England. His father, also Thomas Bingham, was noted to be a “master cutler of Sheffield” and his father in turn, also named Thomas, hailed from Sheffield as well.

On a recent trip to England, armed with names and dates from the on-line genealogy, we visited the Sheffield city archives. Their published transcripts of original parish registers from the Sheffield Cathedral revealed records of baptisms, marriages and burials of my Bingham ancestors.

After we’d been there an hour, the staff archivist approached our table. “Did you find your relatives?”


“You’ve come a long distance from New Jersey. We don’t usually bring it out but would you like to see the original parish register?”

I could hardly contain my excitement. “Yes. Definitely.”

Guided by what we’d found in the transcribed records, we leafed through large, leather-bound books of parchment pages. In them we identified entries of a marriage in 1577 of a Thomas Bingham to a Maria Longley, and baptisms of his son Thomas, the cutler, in 1588 and in 1642 of his son, Thomas of Connecticut.

The beautifully calligraphed original records of my ancestors in quill-pen handwritten on parchment made me catch my breath and brought tears to my eyes. The emotional power and visceral sense of the ties across the ages surprised me.

Who knows the untold adventures hidden in the simple dates contained in those archives? Such stories were made even more intriguing by other research that revealed that Thomas’s mother, Anne Fenton Bingham, brought him to Connecticut sometime between 1652 and 1659. What would induce a widow in her late 40s or early 50s to take such a voyage to a new world with her young, 10 to 17-year-old son?

Much to Learn from Stories of Early America
As I searched my family tree, I found some well-documented stories that I did not have to imagine. One branch of the Binghams led back to William Bradford who came to America on the Mayflower. In Of Plymouth Plantation, considered a classic of early American literature, he wrote the story about the early days of the Plymouth colony. [12] Of the 102 who landed in Plymouth Bay on December 20, 1620, only 52 survived to the spring of 1621. At one point only six were well enough to gather wood, fix meals and take care of the rest struck down by the deprivations of the first winter without adequate shelter and an illness that devastated them. Bradford survived the illness and when the first governor died suddenly and unexpectedly in April, Bradford was named governor, a position he held for a total of 30 one-year terms, although not all consecutively.

The meager crops in the first two years left them near starvation. At that point, Bradford decided to scrap their communal approach to farming and provide private farm plots for each family. The next year saw a spontaneous industriousness emerge that resulted in a bountiful harvest. Each family, working in their own interests, brought in far more that year than the equal rations received from the common storehouse in prior years. Some reaped surpluses that they could trade with others for needed goods and services. A remarkable experiment in functional socioeconomics.

Another Bingham line turned up a well-recorded story of an ancestor, Margaret Stephenson Scott, who died at the age of 76 in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts when she was hanged as a witch. The branches of the family tree revealed stories of the best and worst of early America. Bradford survived terrible hardships to lead a colony in developing embryonic systems of self-government and free enterprise. Margaret Scott fell victim to the emotional plague of human destructiveness imported from Europe along with the settlers longings for a new life in a New World.

Finding Roots through Orgonomy
As exciting as were the discoveries of ancestral roots, they paled in comparison to my experience as a teenager when first reading works by Wilhelm Reich. With him I found a home where my lifelong passion for observing and connecting with the natural world and its beauty could live and thrive. His writings revealed a scientific method that used subjective feelings as a pathway to the objective understanding of Nature. Prior to reading Reich, I’d never discovered anyone who could also make sense out of the confusing reality of the way people act in the world. I only wish more young people could experience the clarity and genuine rootedness I felt reading Reich’s work, which motivates me to see what the ACO can do to bring this possibility to as many people as we can.

Man’s Roots in Nature

Reich took the question of one’s roots many steps deeper than the familial and geographic and asked, “In what manner is Man rooted in Nature?” [13] The fundamental question of man’s relationship to nature permeated all of Reich’s work. It was in evidence in his earliest observations about the difference between a patient’s healthy core and their neurotic character. [14] It took a deeper form in his later writings in Cosmic Superimposition, where he provided some of his most stunning observations in “Stage and Meadow” about the differences between human and natural functioning. This book from late in Reich’s career established dizzying links between human emotions, hurricanes and the cosmology of galaxies. In a “Survey on Man’s Roots in Nature” he said:

What has orgonomy to offer here? Does it collect the remaining fragments of a shattered old world picture that went to pieces or does it start anew?

It starts from scratch, in a basic, fundamentally independent fashion, without borrowing theories from classical science. Not because it wants to but because it HAS to. Its point of departure is not the electron nor the atom; it is not a linear motion in empty space, nor is it a world spirit or an eternal value. Its point of departure is the observable and measurable functions in the cosmic orgone ocean; from which all being, physical as well as emotional, emerges. Man, from this viewpoint, is, together with all other living beings, a bit of specially organized cosmic orgone energy. [emphases in the original] [15]

A New Language for a New Science
To “start from scratch” required Reich to develop a new language, as happens with any new body of knowledge that must handle previously unknown concepts and phenomena. Reich coined the word “orgone” to identify the form of energy he’d discovered. He derived it from “organism” and “orgasm,” because he had first worked with it in its organismic form in treating patients and because its discovery followed logically from his investigation of the function of the orgasm. [16]

Miscommunication with a New Language
New words and redefined existing ones can cause confusion in communication with someone not familiar with the language of orgonomy. A number of years ago someone asked me, “What sort of psychiatry do you practice?”

“Medical orgonomy.”

“What does Japanese paper folding have to do with medicine?”

People hear words in the ways that are familiar to them. We can create miscommunication if we use a word in a way different from its common usage. Reich described the function of the orgasm as the coastline from which all the rest of orgonomy developed. But if we use the word “orgasm” with someone who is not a native speaker of the language of orgonomy, they will justifiably assume we mean the same as they do unless we clarify our specific meaning.

Liabilities to Communication
We need to interest new people in orgonomy but several things work against us:

• The too-muchness of orgonomy.
• A new language.
• Lack of public awareness.
• Controversy surrounding Wilhelm Reich.
• Distortions about Reich and orgonomy.

Addressing Our Communication Problems
For some time, we’ve been working on handling these problems:

• To address the too-muchness of orgonomy we’ve attempted to parse out separate aspects of our work into individual websites separate from the main ACO website at To try to attract people to ACO Movie Night in 2013 we introduced our first sister website in For a specific focus on therapy we launched in 2018. (We are rethinking this approach, as mentioned below in “A Clear Path Forward…”.)
• To be sure we are communicating in a common language with people new to us, we’ve been working hard to remove jargon from our public presentations and written material. [17]
• To overcome the lack of public awareness we’ve initiated numerous promotional activities that include print ads, advertorials and on-line promotions using e-mail blasts, press release postings and a social media presence, particularly on Facebook.
• To deal with the frequent confusion about the word “orgonomy” and the controversy and distortions surrounding Wilhelm Reich and his work, we have subtly distanced ourselves in recent years from both Reich and the word orgonomy.

We will outline below several factors that have recently coalesced and caused us to completely rethink that approach. We have concluded that we must strengthen rather than weaken our connections with Reich and orgonomy.

The ACO’s Roots in Orgonomy and Reich’s Work
The ACO, founded by Dr. Elsworth Baker more than 50 years ago in 1968, developed from Baker’s eleven years of work with Reich and his pledge to him to carry on the new science of orgonomy. [18] As described previously, the training seminars conducted by Baker and continued since his death at the ACO are a direct continuation of those started by Reich. [19] Orgonomy and Reich’s work are the heart of the College and who we are.

A Clear Path Forward in the Wilderness

Especially in the age of the internet, we cannot possibly separate ourselves from them, nor should we try. A speaker at a conference I attended earlier this year in Boston discussed doctors promoting their work through social media. He said, “Your brand is what Google says it is.” Also, a recent Google audit of activity on the ACO website showed several thousand visits directly to our “Wilhelm Reich” page but they do not stay long. Plus a contact at the social media company owned by the Boston speaker told us that they usually recommend integrating separate websites into one to enhance search engine optimization.

We have a lot of work to see how best to make these changes. But we are now clear that we need to embrace “orgonomy” and the name Wilhelm Reich rather than distance ourselves from them. We want anyone who searches the internet for information about these subjects to come to us for authoritative information rather than go elsewhere. [20]

One of the simplest and best ways to embrace Reich is to show his work through direct quotations from his writing. We are in the process of incorporating samples of those on our website as well as in the Journal of Orgonomy. We have also hired a writer to compose a simple straightforward piece on “What is Orgonomy?” to make available to the public on our website and in materials we distribute. We are also planning to work with media and public relations professionals to develop an integrated approach to branding (or rebranding) the ACO in light of this new clarity about our situation in the modern world. The tagline, “orgonomy, a fresh look at life,” with the image at the beginning of this letter is a first stab at a new and fresh way to present ourselves on-line and elsewhere. We welcome your reactions to it.

2019, the 80th Anniversary of Orgonomy
In 1939, Reich discovered the primary energy in the atmosphere and named it the orgone. With that he named the science of its study “orgonomy,” as astronomy is the study of stars (astros, Greek for stars).

Orgonomy’s Roots in Psychoanalysis
2019 also marks the 100th anniversary of Reich’s first meeting with Sigmund Freud. That encounter and Reich’s subsequent immersion in psychoanalysis sparked a process of functional thinking that ignited the development of the science of orgonomy. Functional thinking is thinking as nature functions. [21] It is remarkable to realize that the tools to explore this new continent were invented less than 100 years ago.

What’s in an Anniversary?
Anniversaries often affect us deeply even if we are not consciously aware of them. Such anniversary reactions indicate that they must represent a perception of something more than an abstract idea. From Latin, annus “year” + the Latin, versus “turned,” anniversary represents one turn around the cosmic clock of the earth’s orbit in relation to the sun.

Wilhelm Reich’s discoveries about our place in the cosmos help us understand how we are affected by such cosmic events. Functionally we are each but a small packet of orgone energy connected to the vast cosmic ocean of energy.

But we know all too well that talk about “cosmic energy” in our current social climate creates problems because then we are seen as mystical and either accepted with open arms by the new-age camp and burdened by its attendant mystical distortions or on the other hand dismissed and ignored by the scientific community whose cosmology is trapped in the lifeless view of mechanistic physics that speaks of energy but has no basis for understanding a real, mass-free energy. Reich’s genius was the capacity to step outside the usual views of armored man and look at natural functions and our roots in the cosmos in a functional way that was neither mystical nor mechanistic.

The core function of the American College of Orgonomy is to keep the legacy we inherited from Reich alive and support its growth so it can thrive.

A Special Anniversary Expedition Report
In addition to this Annual Report and Holiday Appeal, we’ve been working on a special, expanded report to commemorate the ACO’s 50th anniversary, the 80th anniversary of orgonomy and the 100th anniversary of functional thinking as a specific discipline. “The ACO: 50 Years and Beyond, Orgonomy: 100 years of Functional Knowledge” will be made available when completed. In it we combine: an historical look at our roots with Freud and Reich; a primer on functional concepts related to our current circumstances especially about contact, movement, work and work organizations; a report on the past two year’s activities; an analysis of the implications of some of those activities; a celebration of a remarkable two years; a report on a number of breakthroughs that have allowed us to be in the position we’re in; an outline of what is now needed for us to succeed in our work and a plan for how to stay on course.

Surveying the Terrain
The sensation of the ACO gaining momentum described in the December 2017 Annual Report begged the question: What is momentum? That led to physics equations about momentum that helped to define our feelings in more objective terms. Those insights were the initial thread that led to others that will be spelled out in more detail in the special anniversary report.

For example, considering the basis for our momentum brought us to Newton’s laws of motion and from there to the history of views regarding movement in nature that culminated in Reich’s revolutionary discoveries. Those, in turn, led us to see the ACO more clearly as a spontaneously moving and functioning work organization whose core function needs expression. We also turned to the Newtonian physics definition of work to provide additional insight into work as a core life function.

In the expanded report, we will return to basics in a simple functional understanding of contact and its significance for our relationship with the public and ourselves. We also explore the connection between contact and spontaneous movement and its manifestations in the ACO. All of these ideas are but a part of the special report in which you will be able to read about our explorations of the land of functional thinking.

Beyond Columbus and Lewis and Clark

As I’ve stated earlier, the spirits of Columbus along with Lewis and Clark are alive in the ACO. In addition to taking the equivalent of inland expeditions to assess the extent of our continent, we are also setting sail in a vast ocean to explore new worlds. We need people to join us on all of these journeys.

The Three I’s Revisited
In the 1980s, a retired fundraiser explained to me the concept of the three i’s. For the purposes of bringing in money, institutions have constituents who are interested, those who are involved and those who are invested. We have extended these categories beyond fundraising to indicate deepening levels of contact with the ACO and the level of someone’s relationship with our activities. [22]

ACO Explorations and Excursions
Those who are interested might follow and read reports in the Journal of Orgonomy or a book published by the ACO Press that would represent the story of the equivalent of one of our sea explorations or a Lewis and Clark expedition.

The involved group embodies people who have come on board. We’re looking to attract and book our tours with new passengers interested in an adventure unlike any they've previously experienced. Our recruits may range from those who are on board to see the new land for the first time and simply want to learn more as sightseers or passengers to those who are familiar with the land and will roll up their sleeves and work alongside us.

These are not luxury cruises. Many of our excursions are working excursions much like sailing-trip tours in which participants help sail the ship. Some of our ships are rustic and designed more for working than carrying passengers, but we’re developing plans to improve our accommodations.

Investors may range from passengers who buy a ticket and pay their way to those who back an entire expedition, pay for our supplies, and buy the boats to carry everyone else. Investors may also help underwrite those who have not yet been able to pay their own passage.

An Historic Quest
We are in the midst of an historic quest. Our undertaking has never felt more hopeful. We are in for an unprecedented journey. It would be remarkable if we could find a flood tide to carry our ship into open waters to bring its cargo of treasures and riches to ports of call far and wide. In the past two years we’ve seen signs more than ever of that possibility.

A New View of the ACO Colony
We’ve often described the ACO property as serving the function of a safe harbor for our work. This now feels more like a true functional equivalence than a metaphor. We need a place to safely build, shelter and deploy our variety of watercrafts. This view paints a picture of the ideal ACO colony as a seaport at the mouth of a river accessible to exploration into the interior of the continent. Here seaworthy ships with a deep draft capable of long voyages to unexplored parts of the new world can anchor in the harbor; shallow-bottom river boats can navigate inland to survey the land and engage with new people; and highly maneuverable canoes capable of reaching small tributaries deep into the land and riding the rapids, can be sent out. Our 50/100 anniversary report will contain more details about the functional equivalence between ACO activities and various vehicles needed to support a colony.

Expanding our Harbor
In recent reports we’ve expressed the concern that we’ve been forced into a nomadic existence for our larger events. [23] Three of our events in 2018-2019 filled or exceeded the 30-seat capacity for comfortable seating in our presentation room. Sooner than expected we need to expand our harbor to accommodate larger vehicles for public education. In November we engaged a Princeton architect to develop an integrated plan for our building. This would include adding a new wing to accommodate a 60-seat meeting space, which would hold the vast majority of our public events for some time to come.

In the twelve years since 2007, when we expanded our public presentation offerings to several a year, we’ve offered 85 public events. Of these, 28 were held off-site to accommodate larger audiences and try to attract new people. The attendance at 23 out of those exceeded the 30 attendees that would comfortably fit in our current space. Our envisioned new space with 60 seats, however, would have accommodated all but 4 of them. The new wing would also include a comfortable lobby with a registration area and new restrooms. We also envision upgrades to our existing space to improve the functionality of our seminar room, conference room and administrative offices.

Total architect and engineering fees for the project are estimated at $45,000. The first phase at a cost of ~ $15,500 will evaluate our program needs and existing conditions and give us a schematic design and building renderings. Phase two for ~ $ 29,500 will give us construction documents, pricing and permitting and construction administration. We need your help immediately with the architectural and engineering fees. Once we have established a reasonable estimate of the overall building cost, we will come back to you later in 2020 to ask for your help to make the vision of an enlarged and renovated building a reality.

Opening Our Home to Contact with Nature

We have also been working with a landscape architect to help us design nature trails to allow access to the upper, most beautiful part of our property. This would allow our seminar members and visitors to our public events the opportunity to connect with nature during their time with us. It could also serve as a means to attract new people and would also facilitate orgonomic science events, such as the workshop we are planning for June 6, 2020, “The Art and Science of Nature Observation” as part of our ACO Discovery series and ongoing half-day orgonomic laboratory courses.

An Exciting Ride

The ACO’s movement has not only been sustained but is accelerating. In fact, at times it feels like we’re riding a section of whitewater rapids in the stream. Our challenge is to stay afloat, find the current and guide our boats with, and not against, it. To accomplish everything that we’ve already taken on has stretched our resources. Many more exciting areas need to be explored. We need your help.

Provisions for Our Expeditions
The dramatic increase in our outreach and all other activities has and will continue to require additional expenses to support them. Any form of planning requires foreseeing needs and amassing provisions for future activity. This understanding is in the word roots of provide, which comes from the Latin providere “look ahead, prepare, supply, act with foresight,” from pro “ahead” + videre “to see.” Provisions, therefore, are those things we’ve foreseen and for which we’ve provided. Many of the exciting new developments in the ACO in recent years, however, have been spontaneous, which by their very nature are largely unpredictable (see the expanded anniversary report). Providing for our upcoming needs, therefore, requires being flexible and agile enough to hit a moving target.

Harnessing the Spontaneous as well as the Planned
In 2019, for the first time in many years, we needed to draw from our investment account. That $50,000 allowed us to take advantage of several opportunities that occurred spontaneously. The funds covered unbudgeted expenses, such as added staff time and promotional costs to handle the more than doubling of our public events, increased security and the major expense of our new septic system.

We need to replenish those funds spent on expenses already incurred. We also need to prepare for new activities on the horizon. We’ve summarized them below and will also detail them in our future expanded report. In addition, we hope we can count on our supporters to pitch in for spontaneous, unforeseen new opportunities as they arise.

Providing for Five P’s
We need your increased financial help in five key categories: people, programs, promotion, protection and property. (Each of these will also be spelled out in more detail in the expanded anniversary report.)

For people, including additional time from current staff, a new social media intern, professional expertise for website and podcast development as well as design work to support and develop our increased outreach, we incurred expenses in 2018 and 2019 and/or will need in 2020:

Unbudgeted expenses in 2018: ~ $4,900
Unbudgeted expenses in 2019: ~ $13,000
Anticipated new expenses in 2020: ~ $36,000
Total unbudgeted and new expenses for people: ~ $53,900

For programs such as the marijuana forum, West Coast Event, and future podcasts, live streaming and webinars of our events we incurred expenses in 2018 and 2019 and/or will need in 2020:

Unbudgeted expenses in 2018: ~ $1,000
Unbudgeted expenses in 2019: ~ $15,000
Possible new expenses in 2020: ~ $14,000
Total unbudgeted and new expenses for programs: ~ $30,000

For promotion we had unbudgeted expenses in 2018 and 2019 to cover advertising and video promotions for our new events. For 2020, we want to develop an overall plan to improve our websites and increase our print and on-line advertising for our growing number of events, our website and the ACO in general (~ $15,000/year). We are exploring the possibility of hiring an on-line media company (~$15,000 for an in-depth analysis and strategy and implementation workshop) to improve our numbers of interested people:

Unbudgeted expenses in 2018: ~ $4,000
Unbudgeted expenses in 2019: ~ $8,500
Anticipated new expenses in 2020: $30,000
Total unbudgeted and new expenses for promotion: ~ $42,500

For protection, we’ve installed a new electronic security and surveillance system and hired security guards for our activities:

Unbudgeted expenses in 2019: ~ $11,000
Anticipated new expenses in 2020: ~ $15,000
Total unbudgeted and new expenses for protection: ~ $26,000

Expenses for our property include the unbudgeted installation of a new septic system in 2018 (listed separately below as our largest capital improvement expense ever), unbudgeted expenses in 2019 for engineering and permits for enlarged entrance and new parking plus anticipated expenses for the architect and engineer of ~ $55,000. Possible construction expenses for building addition and renovations are not yet defined and are not included here:

Unbudgeted expenses for septic in 2018: ~ $42,000
Unbudgeted expenses in 2019: ~ $19,000
Anticipated new expenses in 2020: ~ $55,000
Total unbudgeted and new expenses for property: ~ $116,000

Grand total unbudgeted and new expenses for five p’s: ~ $268,400

Construction expenses for building addition and renovations: ~ $???

We Remain Dependent on Your Support
In 2018 our total expenses were ~ $370,000. Our income from sources other than donations was ~ $88,000. [24] We estimate the total figures for 2019 at a comparable level, which means we depend on ~ $290, 000/year in income from our donors to maintain our work at the level of the past two years.

We have been remarkably fortunate in recent years to experience the generous backing we’ve received. In 2018 we received a total of ~ $299,000 in donations, with $272,500 of that from just seven major donors ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. In fact, $100,000, as a one-time windfall, came to us after a donor sold his successful business. 2019 brought ~ $240,000 in donations by early December, which has not been at the same level as 2018, and accounts for our need to withdraw funds in 2019 from our investment account. But we are actually doing better in total donations in 2019 than 2018 if we remove from the 2018 total the $100,000 windfall that we cannot expect for the future.

Looking at a Five-Year Horizon

The ACO executive committee and board of regents are committed to a major effort to grow the number of people interested, involved and invested in our work. We are looking at a five-year horizon for increasing the population of our colony. At that point our most senior orgonomist will be 93 years old and our most junior one will be over 40. [25] Now is the time to dig in.

Where are the New Settlers?
All of our activities and expenditures must help us answer the question: Where are the new people with whom we can engage about orgonomy? We need new settlers to develop the land of functional thinking.

The stories of early ancestors who risked their lives to find a new way of life in the New World in the 1600s are inspiring in what they show about the best of humanity, but also disturbing in what they show about the worst. We must not become disheartened. Life is stronger than sickness or we would not be here. Many patients have said that medical orgone therapy is not for the faint of heart. It’s true. It takes courage to look deeply into oneself. [26] That capacity lies at the heart of exploring the New World of orgonomy.

There are people who have the courage, the heart, to risk giving up their Old World lives to face the dangers and explore and settle in the new world of functional thinking. We must keep reaching out and looking to see where we can find them.

A Hopeful Future
At our roots we are about supporting the hope embodied in the simple, alive, unarmored children of the future. Awareness of that has remained a guiding beacon on our horizon. To keep it in our sights and express that awareness, we’ve used images of babies and children in our reports since 2010. Enjoy some of them here:

We Need All Hands on Deck
We’ve set sail and are catching the current. If you’ve received this letter, you’ve undoubtedly already been on one of our expeditions. We hope you’ve experienced their value and have seen the treasures that come from the new lands we’re exploring.

2018 and 2019 have confirmed the truth of our December 2017 statement that this is not the time to let up. This is the time to extend ourselves. We need all hands on deck and welcome you aboard to help us. The stream will provide the movement but our work is to locate the current, set the sails and steady the rudder to stay our course so we can keep in the flow to allow us to ride it as far as possible.

Join Us
I hope you will join us as one of the hands on deck. Your continued financial support will help us maintain our momentum and ensure our success in our historic expeditions. We must continue to explore and map out a whole new world while finding people who will be open to receiving our gifts of functional knowledge at a time when they are more crucial than ever.

Please use the enclosed card to send in your contribution or donate online. You can make a single gift or sign up as a member-donor so that we can count on a steady income stream to give us the supplies to keep our vessels afloat and the people to man them in the coming months and years ahead. 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.

Thank You for Your Generosity
Reich spelled out the basic core life functions: “Love, work and knowledge are the well-springs of life. They should also govern it.” Each of these—love, work, and knowledge—represents a vast territory in the new world of functional knowledge. From all of us at the ACO, I thank you for the support and generosity that has helped us continue our exploration of new realms and establish the roots needed to sustain it.

We hope to see you in the near future on one of our excursions in the new world of functional knowledge.


Peter A. Crist, M.D., President
Please support the ACO today

American College of Orgonomy
P.O. Box 490
Princeton, NJ 08542
Phone: (732) 821-1144

VIDEO Dr. Peter Crist tells of three significant recent anniversaries and looks to the ACO’s future in the 21st century
2018-2019 List of ACO Accomplishments
2020 List of Upcoming ACO Events

[1] See page 1 and the “Gaining Momentum” section on page 15 of my President’s 2017 Annual Report and Holiday Appeal.

[2] The how—qualitative, subjective and process aspects of a phenomenon—always take priority over the how much—quantitative, objective and results aspects of a phenomenon. The origins of the words tell us so. Latin quails, the root of quality, means “of what kind,” while quantity comes from quantus, meaning “how great.” We must first know what kind of thing we are measuring before we can know how great it is. Clarity about the functional relationship between these represented one of Wilhelm Reich’s major contributions to functional thinking, See, Crist, P. “What is Science?” Journal of Orgonomy, Vol. 27/2 Fall/Winter 1993, 142-159.

[3] For a discussion of the “too-muchness” of orgonomy see Reich, W. 1949. Ether, God and Devil. Rangeley, ME: Orgone Institute Press, page 6 as excerpted below, page 7 and 8 of my President’s 2017 Annual Report and Holiday Appeal, and page 2 of my President’s 2014 Annual Report and Holiday Appeal

[4] A lot rides on a translation. The Theresa Pol interpretation of this work, Reich, W. 1973. Ether, God and Devil/Cosmic Superimposition. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, page 5 translates this phrase as, “the orgastic plasma pulsation.” That is probably more accurate but from what we know now, as clarified using the tool of orgonometry, it could probably be even more accurately rendered as, “the orgastic plasma convulsion.”

[5] Reich, W. 1949. Ether, God and Devil. Rangeley, ME: Orgone Institute Press, page 6.

[6] One serious study after another of human sexuality from Freud to Reich to Masters and Johnson has been distorted, misinterpreted or maligned.

[7] The Oxford online dictionary defines orgasm as, “a climax of sexual excitement, characterized by feelings of pleasure centered in the genitals and (in men) experienced as an accompaniment to ejaculation,”, retrieved December 15, 2019. In contrast, by orgasm, Reich meant a total surrender to spontaneous natural movement of energy accompanied by a convulsion of the total organism that integrates emotions and sensations while fully discharging the built-up excess energy.

[8] See the “The ACO is a Miracle” section on page 14 of my President’s 2017 Annual Report and Holiday Appeal and the earlier, “The ACO is a Miracle of Nature” section on page 3 of my President’s 2014 Annual Report and Holiday Appeal.

[9] See the “The ACO is a Miracle” section on page 14 of my President’s 2017 Annual Report and Holiday Appeal

[10] See the “A Story for Everyone” section on page 10 of my President’s 2017 Annual Report and Holiday Appeal

[11] The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, Jonathan Gottschall, 2012, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt;, New York.

[12] Bradford, W. 1657, rendered into modern English by Paget, H. 1920, Kindle edition 2016. Of Plymouth Plantation, first published 1920 by E.B. Button and Company.

[13] Reich, W. 1951. Cosmic Superimposition. Rangeley, ME: Orgone Institute Press, page 10.

[14] Crist, P. 1993, “Nature, Character and Personality,” Journal of Orgonomy 27(1) pp. 48-60.

[15] Reich, W. 1951. Cosmic Superimposition. Rangeley, ME: Orgone Institute Press, in Chapter II, “Survey on Man’s Roots in Nature,” section “In What Manner is Man Rooted in Nature?” page 12. 8

[16] “Orgone” has produced many derivatives: orgonomy, medical orgone therapy, orgonomic, orgonotic.

[17] See the “Finding a Common Language” section on page 9 and 10 of my President’s 2017 Annual Report and Holiday Appeal

[18] Baker, E.F. 2011. My Eleven Years With Reich. Princeton, NJ. ACO Press.

[19] See several sections starting with “The 100-year Old Legacy of Bio-psychiatric Therapy” and ending with “Growth of the ACO Training Program after Baker” spanning pages 2 and 3 in my 2015 President’s’ Annual Report and Holiday Appeal

[20] See the “We Need New Settlers” and the “We Need to Engage with New People” sections on page 5 of my 2015 President’s’ Annual Report and Holiday Appeal

[21] Baker, E.F. 1967. Man in the Trap, New York, NY. Macmillan Company.

[22] See the “Varying Depths of Contact” section on pages 8 and 9 in my 2013 President’s Annual Report and Holiday Appeal

[23] See the “Nomads or Settlers of a Colony?” section on page 13 of my President’s 2017 Annual Report and Holiday Appeal

[24] The major source, ~ $60,000, of that derives from training fees for the medical and social orgonomy programs.

[25] As we’ve said previously, the amount of time necessary to develop a new orgonomist is ~ 15 to 20 years. See the “The Critical Need for Medical Orgonomy Trainees” on page 6 of my 2015 President’s’ Annual Report and Holiday Appeal

[26] See the first page of my 2015 President’s’ Annual Report and Holiday Appeal