Wilhelm Reich is the focus of this second in a series of papers on a group of independent figures from the 1930s into the 1950s—also including Jung, the later Heidegger, Toynbee, Bergson, Teilhard de Chardin, and Simone Weil—who in the context of those years of crisis articulated overlapping visions of a future “New Age” spirituality that might in some more distant future serve to balance and even transform a globalizing materialism and disenchantment with traditional religion. The later Reich developed a highly original version of a “vitalistic” transpersonal psychology, as his “religion for the children of the future,” which needs to be differentiated from its more doubtful supportive research in his orgone physics and biology. The spiritual nature of his larger intuitions of a transformative life energy is also reflected in the parallels between Reich’s personal development and the classical purgation/illumination phases of unitive mysticism, and the “spiritual emergency” of his final “dark night” crisis. A later paper will concentrate on largely unrealized implications of Reich’s work for still evolving directions in consciousness studies, neoshamanism, the historical Jesus, emergent systems approaches in science, and a future planetary identity.

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