Alexander Cockburn

Alexander Cockburn is a syndicated columnist and well-respected author. He writes a weekly column in the Anderson Valley Advertiser called National Notes. In the March 18th edition, he wrote this excellent piece. It is titled "Snip, Snip". [Shelton Walden]

I mentioned Wilhelm Reich a couple of weeks ago, and what a spirited writer he was. Here's the old boy talking about circumcision to Dr. Eissller, in some xeroxed pages from Reich Speaks of Freud that I turned up on my bookshelves this week:

When a child is born, it comes out of a warm uterus, 37 degrees centigrade, into about 18 or 20 degrees centigrade. That's bad enough. The shock of birth, bad enough. But it could survive that if the following didn't happen. As it comes out, it is picked up by the legs and slapped on the buttocks. The first greeting is a slap. The next greeting: Take it away from the mother. Right? Taken away from the mother. I want you to listen here. It will sound incredible in a hundred years. Take it away from the mother. The mother must not touch or see the baby. The baby has no contact after having nine months of body contact of very high temperature - what we call the "orgonotic body energy contact", the field action between them, the warmth and the heat.

`Then, the Jews introduced something about six or seven thousand years old. And that is circumcision. I don't know why they introduced it. It's still a riddle. Take that poor penis. Take a knife - right? And start cutting. And everybody says, 'It doesn't hurt.' Get it? That's an excuse, of course, a subterfuge. They say that the sheath of the nerve is not yet developed. Therefore the child doesn't feel a thing. Now that's murder! Circumcision is one of the worst treatments of children. And what happens to them? You just look at them. They can't talk to you. They just cry. What they do is shrink. They contract, get away into the inside, away from the ugly world. I express it very crudely, but you understand what I mean, Doctor. Now, that's the greeting: Taking it away from the mother. Mother mustn't see it. Twenty-four or forty-eight hours, eat nothing. Right? Penis cut. And then comes the worst: This poor child, poor infant, tries always to stretch out and to find some warmth, something to hold on to. It goes to the mother, puts its lips on the mother's nipple. And what happens? The nipple is cold, or it doesn't erect, or the milk doesn't come, or the milk is bad. And that is quite general. That is not one case in a thousand. That is general. That's average.

So what does that infant do? How does it respond to that? How does it have to respond to that bio-energetically? It can't come to you and tell you, 'Oh, listen, I'm suffering so much, so much, so much.' It just cries. And, finally, it gives up and says, 'No'. It doesn't say 'no' in words, you understand, but that is the emotional situation. And we orgonomists know it. We get it out of our patients. We get it out of our emotional structure, out of their behavior, not out of their words. Words can't express it. Here, in the very beginning, the spite develops. Here the 'no' develops, the big 'NO' of humanity. And then you ask why the world is a mess.

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