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President's Message (PDF)

December 28, 2020

Dear ACO Supporter:

Last year, in my “ACO’s Journey into the Future: President’s 2019 Message” I spoke of the ACO’s gathering momentum in the new world of functional thinking.1 At that time, no one could have predicted or even imagined what the future of 2020 would bring for the world or for the ACO. The COVID-19 pandemic has directly affected the physical and mental health of millions of people. But just as significantly it and the responses to it have impacted all aspects of our lives.

On October 3, 2020, in my opening remarks for the “What is Social Orgonomy?” section of a special ACO on-line webinar, “Changing Lives for the Better: Social Orgonomy and the ACO–Past, Present and Future,” I said:

Wilhelm Reich said, “Love, work and knowledge are the wellsprings of our life. They should also govern it.” Imagine if each of us lived directly and fully from these core functions, or if voters evaluated politicians on whether or not their platforms truly supported these vital expressions.

I then posed this question: “Why aren’t love, work and knowledge more important to us?” I went on to explain that if they were, we wouldn’t have so many promising marriages ending in misery or divorce; people wouldn’t tolerate unsatisfying jobs; we’d be more open to advances in knowledge and as a people not act so destructively towards each other and ourselves; and we wouldn’t be so politically polarized. I ended with one of the most important questions of all: What has happened to our capacity for love?

Orgonomy, and in particular social orgonomy, can help address many of these concerns.2

What’s on Everyone’s Minds?
Right now, we are all focused on the impact of COVID-19. Each of us has in some way been affected by the pandemic and the social turmoil that has resulted from the responses to it. To compound the problems emanating from these unprecedented circumstances, the U.S. election on November 3, 2020 generated more passionate responses from every political quarter beyond anything I’ve ever seen.

The World Needs Orgonomic Knowledge
It feels like the world has gone crazy. But orgonomic knowledge has applicability in every aspect of life—individual, social and political. For years the ACO’s ongoing struggle has been how to introduce new people to orgonomy. The current upheavals in the world make that task more essential and urgent than ever.

The State of the ACO Colony
For some years now, we have talked about the ACO as the functional equivalent of an early colony on the shores of the New World when first settled by Europeans. The ACO colony is establishing a foothold for functional thinking on the coastline of a vast continent of potential riches.3 We’ve portrayed the ACO property as a safe harbor4 for our work and the programs and activities as different kinds of watercraft to explore and convey functional knowledge to the world. Last year we announced plans to expand and improve our harbor. All of that changed with the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet despite major challenges we adapted to the new conditions and this last year has been particularly rewarding for the ACO.

2020—a Productive Year
On a strategic level the ACO:

On a tactical level we:

Making Orgonomy More Accessible
A major problem in connecting with new people about orgonomy is that most have never heard of it. In the October 3rd presentation, I spelled out the simple definition we formulated early in 2020, which we also included in the image at the beginning of the letter:

I commented that many people who have heard of orgonomy, often equate it with medical orgonomy, but… And…

In that presentation I emphasized that social orgonomy is integrally connected with medical orgonomy.

But social orgonomy goes beyond individual pathology and individual therapy and looks at how people relate in healthy or destructive ways, and the institutions and customs that develop from their interactions—from families and work organizations to political entities.

The Basis of Nature is Spontaneous Movement

Problems with a Deeper Definition
Our deeper understanding naturally points to a more complete definition of orgonomy: the science of the spontaneous streaming of orgone energy. That covers every aspect of orgonomy from medicine to sociology to biology to physics.5 But the fact that so few people know about orgonomy presents serious problems in using that definition with the general public, particularly in the current climate. As soon as we talk about energy—unless people have a deeper understanding of what we mean—they often lump us in with the myriad of New Age mystical disciplines and dismiss us. Or if mystical themselves, attribute mystical qualities to our scientific work.

A Workshop for Functional Thinking
For years we’ve talked about functional thinking and a functional approach, as opposed to mechanistic or mystical approaches to various subjects. The ACO sociopolitical discussion group begun in February 2017 as a forum to take a functional approach to sociopolitical subjects has been a workshop in which we’ve honed our understanding of functional thinking in recent years. Dr. Elsworth Baker defined functional thinking as “thinking as nature functions,” but that begs the question, “how does nature function?” We’ve now clarified that if nature functions spontaneously, functional thinking must be a spontaneous process that in turn directly reflects a spontaneous process in nature.

The Functional Method
In our discussion group, we clarified the functional method as: observe, observe, observe until a conclusion spontaneously emerges directly from those observations rather than from some preconception. To do that we must distinguish observations from conclusions—a crucial part of a functional approach that has become clear this year.

In a variety of circumstances, when we don’t have an answer, we feel anxiety from the uncertainty. If we can tolerate the anxiety, we can allow the conclusion/answer to come to us. But if we have trouble tolerating anxiety, we usually handle it in a dysfunctional way by either jumping to a conclusion or shutting down and never coming to a conclusion.

Harvesting a Treasure
The importance of differentiating observations from conclusions is a nugget of gold in the treasure trove of orgonomy. This method is revolutionary in any scientific or therapeutic approach, but for the ACO, it runs through everything we do whether in medicine, sociology, biology or physics. At the same time, it is full of practical implications including: helping people with their tendency to jump to conclusions in everyday life; understanding how a functional approach to medicine and therapy requires taking the time to observe and understand the patient before making a diagnosis6 and addressing the tendency for people to become polarized politically because they have rushed to conclusions about each other.

Recently we’ve more consistently taught this one simple but powerful principle in our clinical seminars, lab courses and the sociopolitical discussion groups. If we could convey its significance to a growing number of people, it could bring a more functional approach to the world. We now need to see how to carry this produce to market by showing it explicitly or implicitly in all of our contacts with the public. I think this approach has a chance of succeeding and at the moment is an essential step for any deeper, theoretical orgonomic principles to be understood and accepted.

Distinguishing Observations and Conclusion in the Sociopolitical Realm
In the current political climate people are jumping to conclusions right and left and acting on those conclusions without clear observation of, or facts about, what is happening. In the realm of sociology and social sciences, observations are more difficult to make. How can we know for sure whether something is a true observation or someone’s conclusion? In this realm it’s more of a question of differentiating facts from opinions. At the same time, especially in the realm of sociopolitics, it’s often hard to find sources of factual information that have not already been given a spin. In the social and sociopolitical realms, it’s especially important to distinguish facts from opinions and apply the functional approach.

Neurological Underpinning of Political Polarization
I recently ran across an article on Medscape based on an interview with a neuroscientist. He had conducted a study using a video about immigration in which he performed functional MRIs on the brains of the viewers who were liberal-leaning versus conservative-leaning. He analyzed the brain images to see what parts, if any, functioned differently in the two groups.7

He found clear differences in prefrontal cortical areas associated with interpretation and executive function—the parts that create a narrative—but none in the sensory areas. He came to an astounding conclusion: both liberals and conservatives see and perceive the facts the same way but interpret them quite differently.

The researcher suggested that trying to simply show liberals and conservatives the same facts to reduce polarization will not bridge the gap. They will each see the same facts but will continue to interpret them differently. His comments reinforced for me the crucial importance of the basic functional scientific method that we have emphasized of late. The answer to irrational polarization must come from taking a step back from the rush to conclusions. Helping people distinguish between observations and conclusions (facts and opinions) may allow the conclusions to emerge spontaneously and directly from observations (and facts) and can be based on the phenomenon under study and not an internal preconception and/or distorted perception of them.

Our Ongoing Work in Medical Orgonomy
The ACO’s medical orgonomy training program evolved as a direct continuation of the training seminars that Reich first developed in the 1920s and therefore existed long before the founding of the College in 1968.8 Case presentations about patients in medical orgone therapy were a part of our public conferences for years. In November 2018, in order to bring more awareness specifically to medical orgone therapy, we began a monthly public case presentation series. The brainchild of Dr. Dale Rosin, it is now in its third year under his able organization and direction.

Work in Social Orgonomy Expands
In 2001 we initiated a training program in social orgonomy. In 2006 we began an ongoing social orgonomy public presentation series. Our October 3rd event organized and coordinated by Dr. Virginia Whitener, with presentations by her as well as all the other members of the social orgonomy training faculty: Dr. Dee Apple, Dr. Edward Chastka and me, hosted by Dr. Chris Burritt, had the distinction of being the 52nd presentation made to date in the public social orgonomy event series.

We offered our first course in sociopolitical orgonomy from 2014 to 2015 organized by Dr. Chastka and taught by a rotating cast of ACO clinical associates. In February 2017 Dr. Chastka and I began the sociopolitical discussion group in order to provide a forum using a functional approach to sociopolitics in the aftermath of the 2016 election. It has continued every other month to this day and as mentioned, has been a workshop for developing a clearer understanding of functional thinking. In October 2020, we added a new on-line “Readings in Social Orgonomy” course, again under Dr. Chastka’s direction, that has generated an enthusiastic response and attracted new interest both in the U.S. and abroad.

The Focus of Our Publications
ACO Press, the publishing arm of the ACO, has published books on both medical and social orgonomy. Dr. Elsworth Baker’s Man In the Trap, a classic about medical orgonomy, is one of our consistent top sellers in our on-line bookstore. We have also published Dr. Charles Konia’s books on the subject of social orgonomy: The Emotional Plague: The Source of Human Evil, 2007, Neither Left Nor Right, 2013 and the soon to be released Clueless: The Great Human Disconnect. Articles on these two branches of orgonomy also comprise the bulk of the contents of the Journal of Orgonomy, which has also published special issues devoted to each.

Podcasts: A New Vehicle for Outreach
In July 2019, out of Dr. Chris Burritt’s enthusiasm, drive and organization, we added the ACO InContact: A Different Kind of Psychiatry podcasts, to our means of outreach. It began with an emphasis on case presentations to inform people about medical orgone therapy and now includes episodes focused on the pandemic and on social orgonomy. []

The 2020 Pandemic Created a Speedbump in our Momentum
The two previous annual letters focused on the momentum the ACO was gaining.9 We began 2020 carried by that momentum with a full schedule of events including our monthly case presentation series event in January, a special readings event of memoir stories in early February and our case presentation in mid-February. The case presentation event scheduled for February 29, however, was cancelled due to the restrictions dictated by the pandemic. The March 21 ACO Movie Night showing of Screenagers II, as well as a special social orgonomy event featuring members of the social orgonomy training program scheduled for April 4 were both indefinitely postponed. All of our other in-person events, including further case presentations and ACO Movie Nights, have been shut down since then. The momentum we had been building with warm, engaging and lively discussions at our campus was brought to a halt.

Our Training Programs Converted to an On-line Format
In April, without missing a single session, however, our medical and social orgonomy training seminars converted to an on-line video platform and have continued with that format on schedule to date. The quality of the case material in both the medical and social orgonomy case seminars has been as good as ever and the teaching and learning has remained excellent. Everyone agrees that this format is not as satisfying as in-person contact, but the resulting discussions are surprisingly gratifying. One benefit is that our west coast and European trainees can join us more easily and more often than they ordinarily would.

2020 Blasted us into the 21st Century
Because of the pandemic restrictions, we missed one public case presentation. But by the time of our April 18, 2020 presentation we had quickly adapted to an online webinar approach. At that time, rather than the case presentation I had been scheduled to give, it made sense to instead address what we thought might be on people’s minds at the time. Our “Dealing with Pandemic Panic: The Fresh Approach of Medical Orgone Therapy” webinar [] attracted 113 participants, one of our largest turnouts for any event we’ve ever held, with 45 participants new to our contact list—by far the largest number and percentage of new attendees. The on-line format allowed for many to attend who are not local to the ACO campus including 48 who attended from overseas: 29 from Greece, 6 from Germany, four 4 from Canada and a smattering from eight other countries.

From Watercraft to Spacecraft
Last year’s report compared our activities to different types of boats navigating the waters of the New World of functional thinking.10 If our previous programs and events were the functional equivalent of watercraft to serve discovery, exploration, sailors’ training, educational cruises and sight-seeing in the world of functional thinking, then this year we were blasted into space in unfamiliar spacecraft.

But that barely describes the experience of presenting that first webinar. I told someone afterward, “It was the most bizarre communication experience that I’ve ever had. I talked for a half hour to an image of myself on a computer screen with no feedback whatsoever of whether anyone was out there hearing or seeing me.”

Once I’d finished talking, it was a relief to see Dr. Chris Burritt’s face on the screen. This was his first experience as able co-pilot when he stepped in as host for the webinar to field questions from the audience. He is a natural in that role and has agreed to continue in it for all of our public webinars except those for which he is unavailable.

One of the survey responses to our first webinar included this comment: “Dr. Crist would be well advised to look at the camera. It’s that little green dot at the top of the black frame around the screen.”

After reading that, I laughed and thought. Yes, of course that would be good, but I was blasted into orbit in a space capsule. And while trying to keep my orientation I had to monitor and operate an astronaut’s instruments with only one afternoon of instruction.

Astronauts have years of training and experience flying spacecraft and aircraft in instrument-only mode without direct visual contact. All of our doctors have extensive training in visual contact flying with individuals in therapy and have been getting experience with in-person group visual contact in our public presentations over recent years. But we all need some help and training in flying spacecraft.

A New Kind of Momentum in 2020
On May 16 we offered our second on-line webinar focused on the timely topic of our therapists’ approaches to treating their patients during the pandemic. We returned to showcasing our case presentation series in August. We’ve been on a roll since then with presentations in September, October, November and December. Each of these brought larger audiences than any of our in-person events, many from throughout the US and overseas—some of whom have attended our webinars since their first contact with us in the initial April webinar. It’s been particularly heartening to see the lively discussions that come out of the Q&A portion of these presentations, allowing participants from all over the globe to connect with our doctors and have their questions answered. We currently plan to continue all of our events in the on-line webinar format until we can return to in-person public presentations.

Our ability to be flexible in the face of the pandemic showed again when days before publication we pulled a US1 advertorial set to promote our April social orgonomy event that had to be cancelled and replaced it with an interview on March 25, 2020 entitled: “American College of Orgonomy: Dealing with Pandemic Panic.”11

With all the uncertainty in the air and in the face of restrictions and often opposing information—such as the confusion at that time about who should be wearing masks—we felt it was important for us to share our different perspective about handling the disruption to everyone’s lives.

Several months later, after living with the new restrictions and in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, we decided to speak out again in “American College Orgonomy: Living in the New Reality.”12

The US1 presence, with a hardcopy distribution of 120,000 and 20,000 subscribers to their on-line newsletter primarily in the local Princeton, NJ area, is part of the ACO’s growing ability to respond and express a more public voice on matters of topical interest and concern.

At the same time, 2020 also saw ongoing production of the ACO podcasts with 14 new episodes. These started the year by continuing the initial focus on medical orgone therapy. But in 2020 we included two episodes specifically focused on the pandemic as well as another on social orgonomy. Since its inception in July 2019, we have produced a total of 19 ACO podcasts with total downloads of 5,005 as of December 17, 2020.

We ended the year on Sunday, December 20, 2020 with a special webinar, “2020 Hindsight: A Conversation with the ACO President About an Extraordinary Year,” which was a wide-ranging discussion between Dr. Chris Burritt and me. We had an attendance of over 60 people from across the country and around the globe. Check the ACO website for when the video will be available.

Turning Hardships into Opportunities
The change to an on-line setting has allowed us to engage many people on our contact list that we’ve rarely reached in the past, particularly from overseas. It’s important to strengthen our connection with people who are already interested in and involved with orgonomy and the College. At the same time a crucial group for us to attract are those entirely new to our work.

We are encouraged by how our on-line webinars have attracted a number of people in this group. It is essential for us to develop such new interest to find people who will eventually become inspired enough to want to join our training programs and become the new doctors and social orgonomists of the future.

Struggles with A New Approach
In addition to its advantages, the online format also presents new problems. It lacks the warmth, spontaneity and emotional presence of in-person live presentations and discussions and represents an entirely new experience for our speakers. To address that we’ve engaged a professional to help our presenters improve their abilities to convey the depth of their excitement and knowledge while on camera.

Holding Down the Fort
As soon as the COVID-19 restrictions prevented us from using our physical property, our staff continued to hold down the fort either from home or at the office. They have kept all of our operations going on a staggered work-schedule in the office with not more than one person at a time in our physical space. The wonders of modern technology allow phone calls to be forwarded so that they are being answered as usual during regular business hours. Rose Littlefield has seamlessly maintained the management of the office and its myriad details. Debbie Barbet has grown into her new role as promotions and media coordinator while continuing her original duties as bookkeeper. And all of the work of the ACO has been managed and coordinated by our executive director, Debra Mayes, without whose administrative abilities and tireless dedication we could not have accomplished what we did this year.

Our Core has Expanded and Strengthened
The annual meeting of the American College of Orgonomy Board of Regents originally scheduled for early 2020 was postponed because of the pandemic. It was a significant meeting that we wanted to hold in-person. But as the possibility of meeting in-person continued to recede, we decided to meet on-line on November 22, 2020. At that time, we inducted Edward Chastka, M.D. as a new associate member in the medical sciences and advanced three associate members to full regular membership: Virginia Whitener, Ph.D. in social sciences, Dee Apple, Ph.D. in physical sciences and Alberto Foglia, M.D. in medical sciences.

Time of Transition
The annual meeting was also the opportunity to announce major changes in the staffing of the Journal of Orgonomy. Dr. Charles Konia stepped down as editor-in-chief to allow him to focus on his writing. Dr. Howard Chavis will be the new editor-in-chief and Dr. Dale Rosin will be associate editor. We also expanded Debbie Barbet’s roles with the ACO to include helping with administrative management of the Journal.

We thank Dr. Konia for his years of hard work in which he established a structure and consistent format for the Journal. We wish him the best in his new endeavors and will certainly take him up on his kind offer to be available for consultation and advice with the Journal going forward. This is the first time in Journal history that the previous editor has been available to help in the transition to new editorial staff.

An Integrated Public Outreach
Spurred on by the necessities of the past year, an integrated ACO public outreach has been coming together that includes:

The support needed for this includes:

No Turning Back
Being forced into the 21st century technologically has also allowed us to experience first-hand the value of disseminating our material on-line. Once the coronavirus pandemic subsides and we are again able to meet in person, we plan to offer presentations with an in-person, live audience while at the same time live streaming them for those at a distance who want to join us. All of this will cost money to implement.

Reaching New People
As we’ve said, we must attract new settlers to our colony for its ongoing development and growth.13 We need professional help with this key problem of how to reach and interest new people in orgonomy. To address that, we are engaging a design and marketing firm in the Princeton area. We envision help from this company in four key areas:

  1. A detailed brand evaluation from knowledgeable professionals outside our group to identify more clearly what we have to offer to better focus our outreach.
  2. Image and logo design to develop an integrated look for all our printed and on-line material to solidify our image.
  3. Developing marketing tactics and strategy to increase our presence in the world.
  4. Developing an entirely revamped website as a key platform for engaging with the public.
    1. To provide public education of new people about what orgonomy is about.
    2. To keep people who are already interested in orgonomy informed about the College’s ongoing programs, events and publications.

Costs for Our Outreach Program
We will start with step #1, to evaluate our brand so that the marketing firm we’ve hired can see what the College and our wide-ranging efforts are all about. This will be the foundation for all of their ensuing work with us and will give both us and them the opportunity to evaluate our relationship with each other and assess the value of their work for us. We estimate this first step to cost approximately $6,000; the second step an additional $6,000. To engage them for the rest of the overall four-pronged project would cost in the range of $20,000 to $30,000. We need your support immediately for the first two steps and want to build a war chest now to allow us to efficiently pursue this enterprise as we engage them for the remainder of it.

What is Marketing?
In This is Marketing: You Can’t be Seen Until You Learn to See, Seth Godin describes marketing as whatever you do to get other people excited about what you are passionate about. That’s what the ACO has been struggling with for years. I’ve been excited to discover someone in the field of marketing who takes such a functional approach. The subtitle of his book also grabbed me because it echoes our understanding of genuine social contact—the integrated accurate perception of someone else’s excitation. And in recent years we’ve been saying that we need to be the percipient before we can convey excitation to someone else.

Godin makes clear that marketing is not just advertising and claims that to a great extent advertising ruined marketing because it conveyed the idea that you could make money by telling lies. He says the way to truly market yourself is to tell a truthful story about who you are and what you have to offer.

Godin states clearly that it’s impossible to market to everyone and one needs to find the “minimum viable audience.” His approach underscored what we’ve been saying of late that the average person is not the audience for orgonomy. We need to connect with those people who are truly interested and can become excited about what we are doing even if they do not yet know the name for it.

Every one of Godin’s principles that I’ve read so far is consistent with what the ACO has already done or needs to do. I’ve been excited in our conversations with the local marketing and design firm to discover that they know of Godin’s work and are also excited by his views.

Status Report on Expanding our Harbor
Last year we noted that we had engaged an architect to look into building an addition onto our current building and make various other improvements to the property to accommodate the steadily increasing numbers of people attending our public events. They completed phase I of evaluating our program needs and existing conditions, giving us schematic designs and building renderings. At our last meeting with them in January, they reviewed them with the Property Improvement Project group who were excited by the possibilities. The COVID-19 lock down, however, caused us to put that entire project on hold until after we’ve returned to offering public events again. Only at that point will we know what our attendance will be like and what facilities we will need.

One of the business advisory board members suggested that given the early success of the on-line webinar format we might consider building a quality studio that would accommodate a live audience while we broadcast the event at the same time. Once our situation changes and we can move forward, we will consider whether that might have more value than a new auditorium.

Opening Our Home to Contact with Nature
We have continued to work with a landscape architect to help us design nature trails to allow access to the upper, most beautiful part of our property. For June 6, 2020, we had planned a workshop, “The Art and Science of Nature Observation” as part of our ACO Discovery series and ongoing half-day orgonomic laboratory courses. That was cancelled because of the COVID-19 restrictions. But such outdoor teaching could be the first kind of in-person teaching we may be able to do until the pandemic has receded. And once we are able to return to full use of our facilities, such trails will also allow our seminar members and visitors to our public events the opportunity to connect with nature during their time with us.

Provisions for Our Expeditions
Last year we introduced the image of provisions for our expeditions and said, “planning requires foreseeing needs and amassing provisions for future activity,” as indicated in the word roots of provide, 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.14

2020 threw circumstances at us that no one could have foreseen, which makes it difficult to know what kind of expeditions we will be mounting and what provisions we will need for them. In 2020 we adapted remarkably well, and it remains clear that we will need to continue to provide for our upcoming needs by being flexible and agile. The descriptions below for 2021 are rough ideas and possibilities.

Providing for Six P’s
Last year we identified five key categories for which we needed your increased financial help: people, programs, promotion, protection and property. The disruptions in 2020 meant we incurred unexpected expenses to keep functioning and accomplish what we did. The uncertainty of the situation makes it extremely difficult to plan for 2021. The order of importance of the five p’s shifted in 2020 and we have added publications as a sixth key area.

The events of this year kept our focus on our programs, the people to support them and how to promote them. We hope sometime in 2021 to return to holding our activities at our physical property, at which time the importance of developing it will again take priority and along with that, the expenditures for security (protection) at our events. But the timing and cost of those is entirely uncertain at this time.

For people, including additional time from current staff, that included transitioning an independent contractor to an employee with increased hours adding payroll and workman’s compensation insurance; plans for a new social media intern; professional expertise for webinar support; a professional consultant to train our speakers; a marketing and design firm (as described above in “Reaching New People”) that will also help us design a new website to support and develop our increased outreach, we incurred unbudgeted expenses in 2020 and/or will have new expenses in 2021 that include:

For staff:
Unbudgeted in 2020: ~ $27,000
Ongoing increase or new in 2021: ~ $35,000

Webinar support:
Unbudgeted in 2020: ~ $10,000
Ongoing in 2021: ~ $10,000

Speaker and on-line presence training:
New in 2021: ~ $4,000

Marketing and design firm (including website)
New in 2021: ~ $40,000

Social media intern
New in 2021: ~ $10,000

Total unbudgeted and new expenses for people: ~ $136,000

For programs including monthly case presentation series webinars, social orgonomy webinars, production of podcasts, live-streaming of in-person events when we return to them, we incurred unbudgeted expenses in 2020 and/or will have new expenses in 2021 that include:

Unbudgeted in 2020: ~ $2,000
Ongoing or new in 2021: ~ $3,000

Live streaming
Possible new in 2021: ~ $9,00015

Unbudgeted in 2020: ~ $8,000
Ongoing added expense in 2021: ~ $8,000

Total unbudgeted and new expenses for programs: ~ $30,000

For promotion of our events and webinars in 2020, which included a photo shoot early in the year, hiring a new promotions coordinator, and advertising in print and on-line as well as social media boosts, we incurred unbudgeted expenses and/or will have new expenses in 2021 that include:

Unbudgeted in 2020: ~ $23,000
Ongoing or new in 2021: ~ $25,000

Ongoing implementation of marketing plan:
Planned new in 2021: ~ $5,000

Total unbudgeted and new expenses for promotion: ~ $53,000

Expenditures for protection, if we return to in-person presentation by mid-year in 2021, will include:

Security guards for possible in-person activities in 2021 ~ $8,000

Total new expenses for protection: ~ $8,000

Expenditures for our property unbudgeted in 2020 or new for 2021 include architect and engineering fees for our currently tabled plans for building addition and renovation (see “Status Report on Expanding our Harbor” above), design and construction of nature trails include:

Landscape architect for nature trails
Unbudgeted in 2020: ~ $11,200
New in 2021: ~ $5,000

Construction of nature trails:
Planned new in 2021: ~ $12,000

Unbudgeted in 2020: ~ $10,700
New in 2021: ~ $???

Unbudgeted in 2020: ~ $2,900
New in 2021: ~ $???

Total unbudgeted and new expenses for property: ~ $41,800

For publications we incurred unbudgeted expenses in 2020 or new for 2021 that include:

Editing of new publication (Clueless by Dr. Konia):
Unbudgeted in 2020: ~ $14,600

Publication (typesetting and printing):
New in 2021: ~ $8,000

Total unbudgeted and new expenses for publications: ~ $32,600

Grand total unbudgeted and new expenses for six p’s: ~ $301,400

Engineer, architect, construction expenses for property improvement: ~ $???

We Have Been Fortunate but Especially Need your Support Now
In recent years, we have been remarkably fortunate to experience the generous backing of supporters like you who have allowed us to continue our work. In 2018 we received a total of ~ $299,000 in donations and ~ $270,000 in 2019 with $238,000 of that from just six major donors ranging from $7,500 to $100,000.

In contrast, 2020 brought ~ $184,000 in donations by mid-December, which is significantly below the 2019 total of $270,000.

The ongoing uncertainty in the world this year is undoubtedly a major factor in our decline in donations. Most non-profit organizations have experienced similar deficits this year. Also note that thanks to the foresight of Debra Mayes, our executive director, we were fortunate enough to receive $29,000 from the CARES Act payroll protection program that helped keep us afloat.

We Remain Dependent on Your Support
In 2019 our total expenses were ~ $345,500. Our income from sources other than donations was ~ $90,000.16 Although the line item categories shuffled some in 2020 because of the changes in our programs due to the pandemic, we estimate the total figures for expenses that we’ve incurred to maintain and expand our outreach in 2020 will be close to $370,000.

That means that in contrast to the high levels of donations in the past two years ($299,000 in 2018 and $270,000 in 2019), in 2020 at $184,000 we have fallen short of the ~ $290,000/year in income from our donors we need to maintain our work at our current level.

We especially need your help now to make up the deficits from 2020 and allow us to continue our five-year plan for expanded outreach.17 I want to underscore what I’ve said for the past few years: now, especially as we are gaining momentum, is not the time to let up.

Hopes for the Future in Difficult Times
In the difficult times in which we’re living, we need rays of hope based on genuine possibilities. The potential that orgonomy offers to help individuals live more satisfying lives and to bring clarity and a functional way of looking at the world is as great as ever. At our roots we are about supporting the hope embodied in the simple, alive, unarmored children of the future. Awareness of that continues to remain 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. We showed a collage of them last year and repeat it here for you to enjoy:

More than Ever We Need All Hands on Deck

A year ago, in my president’s message, I said:

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.

This is the time to extend ourselves. We need all hands on deck and welcome you aboard to help us. The stream of living nature 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 and ride it as far as possible.

That is as true today as it was a year ago. In our world of virtual communication, it does feel harder to find the deck and be sure how to get on

board. But we still must find the stream where connections with our work can happen spontaneously and interested new travelers can join us.

More than ever we need your financial support to implement our new plans for outreach so that we can grow our colony of settlers.

Join Us
Again, 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 harvest of functional knowledge at a time when they are more crucial than ever. Genuine hope for the future is encapsulated in the treasures of functional knowledge that can help people through individual therapy and through social orgonomy and bring clarity to the greater world at large.

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 what we need to develop our new crafts and find 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
As I quoted Reich at the beginning of this letter: “Love, work and knowledge are the well-springs of life. They should also govern it.” With these few words he spelled out the basic functions central to our lives—love, work, and knowledge—each of which have been affected by recent circumstances. And each of which also represents a vast territory that needs to be explored 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 ways to bring the riches of those discoveries to a world in sore need of them.

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


Peter A. Crist, M.D., President

Please support the ACO today.

[1] That message was an extensive review of the ACO’s status on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. While the implementation of some details may be different, the broad fundamentals of that message are as true today as a year ago and worth reviewing. See the “ACO’s Journey into the Future: President’s 2019 Message” [].

[2] The October 3, 2020 webinar covered the whole scope of social orgonomy and what the ACO offers in the field. A video of the webinar will be made available for the public to view. Check the ACO events page. []

[3]See the “Gaining a Foothold in the New World” section on page 4 of my President’s 2014 Annual Report and Holiday Appeal. []

[4]See the “Expanding Our Harbor” section on page 12 of “ACO’s Journey into the Future: President’s 2019 Message” [].

[5]These are also the four disciplines for which Dr. Baker established college membership in the ACO bylaws at its founding in 1968.

[6] In How Doctors Think, Jerome Groopman notes how often doctors rush to a diagnosis based on little observational information citing the fact that in a study, doctors on average interrupted the patient within the first 18 seconds. Without knowing the term explicitly, Dr. Groopman’s book is an appeal for a more functional approach in medicine.

[7]Retrieved December 5, 2020.

[8] See the 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 []

[9] See the “ACO Momentum” section on page 1 of “ACO’s Journey into the Future: President’s 2019 Message” [].

[10] See the “A New View of the ACO Colony” section on page 12 of “ACO’s Journey into the Future: President’s 2019 Message” [].

[11] retrieved December 18, 2020.

[12] retrieved December 18, 2020.

[13] 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 []

[14] See the “Provisions for our Expeditions” section on page 13 of “ACO’s Journey into the Future: President’s 2019 Message” [].

[15] This is based on an estimate from our video media company of $1,500 per event and hoping that we will be able to return to in-person presentations with simultaneous live-streaming by mid-year but the timing of that is unknown.

[16] The major source, ~ $60,800, of that derived from training fees for the medical and social orgonomy programs.

[17] See the “Looking at a Five-Year Horizon” section on page 14 of “ACO’s Journey into the Future: President’s 2019 Message” [].