An Appeal from Our Executive Director, Frederic Lowen
I have been fortunate to have a choice of vocations during my life. It has been important to me to work towards making positive and healthy change in the world. Nearly 45 years ago I created a solar and renewable energy contracting business to install solar equipment and conserve toxic fossil fuel energy use. Since that time, with nearly a lifetime's experience, I realized that the work of my father, Alexander Lowen, held immense and unique value and potential to mitigate individual and societal dysfunction. Much more so than installing even a million solar panels!
My father's work, the development of Bioenergetic Analysis, built on the paradigm shifting work of Wilhelm Reich is not just a state-of-the-art modality of individual psychotherapy. Its focus on feelings, subjective experience, life energy and energetic processes represents the culmination of 200 years of science in psychology.
Frederic Lowen with his father, Alexander Lowen M.D.
Adding an energetic perspective to psychological practice is the basis of Bioenergetic bodywork. In turn, the resulting enhancement of the subjective experience of feelings, emotions, and sensations has profound implications for Psychology and science.
In psychology, Reich's energy model recognized the unity between mind and body, thinking and feeling, psychology and physiology, many decades before it was validated by neuroscience. The disruption of that unity, the Mind-Body Split (MBS), a decades old construct that has yet to be fully explored, is fundamental and common to most, if not all, psychological disorders. The Alexander Lowen Foundation believes that recognizing and healing the MBS is a key to improving efficacy in the clinical practice of psychology and psychotherapy.
Frederic Lowen presenting on the concept of the Mind-Body Split in Moscow, Russia (2014)
We believe too that MBS is also fundamental to societal dysfunction. A product of fear, MBS is so widespread and pervasive (with little or no recognition), it perpetuates the worst aspects of our culture and the status quo: inequality, economic insecurity, racism and cultural domination, environmental degradation, run-away commercialism, etc. Likely as old as recorded history, perhaps as old as the Garden of Eden, MBS may be the fundamental cause of the cycle of empire building and destruction, causing mass human misery throughout history. Current times are no exception. We are only more vulnerable to the world-shaking effects of modern global technology.
Science too is a victim of MBS. It is my thesis that MBS is manifested in science as a disconnect between the value of objective inquiry and the value of subjective experience. Objective investigation, based on observation and measurement, is too often the criteria determining the boundary between science and non-science. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that much of our reality is neither observable, nor measureable, nor external to ourselves, modern science does not have the tools to adequately assess or evaluate subjective experience. This includes useful constructs like ego, resistance, denial, or the Mind-Body Split. Scientific insistence on objective scientific evidence is both reflective and an integral part of our collective mind-body split, valuing thinking over feeling.
Healing that split, and integrating feelings and subjective experience into science, permits the inclusion of Bioenergy, the energy of life best evaluated subjectively, as a valid subject of scientific investigation. Perhaps it will finally allow energy concepts to shed the stigma of pseudo-science.
I am most proud of my father's work developing Bioenergetics, a product of modern Western science and culture, because, to my knowledge, it is the first modern scientific connection with wisdom embodied in current and ancient indigenous culture. The emphasis on energy, and on the quality of relationship to all things, with affects on human psychic/physiological/spiritual functioning is timeless. It is in contrast to modern Western values of individualism, authoritarianism, specialization, and control of nature through non-subjective scientific methodology.
It is a huge legacy. I sometimes joke that I wish that Dad had left me a business, a factory, or chain of restaurants or some such. But it is only a joke. I am humbled and privileged to have some responsibility, and hopefully some capacity and ability, to continue this work towards a more sane and fulfilling, less painful and more beautiful way for humans to get along together.
The Foundation works towards this end in several ways. We enhance the availability of all books while developing new access to archived materials of Alexander Lowen. We continue to highlight the work of Wilhelm Reich, from which Bioenergetics was derived. This includes assisting with the production and dissemination of the new Reich film Love, Work, and Knowledge: The Life and Trials of Wilhelm Reich. Too, we continue the development of Bioenergetics with explorations into the energetic processes of groups, populations, and cultures, in the spirit of Reich's The Mass Psychology of Fascism.
Also, the exploration of the mind-body split represents a new and more basic view of psychological disorder, providing a meaningful construct based on energetic function. The Foundation increasingly presents Bioenergetics for the 21st century in presentations and trainings around the world, online, and in written articles. Of course, we also provide access to individual learning and Bioenergetic therapy, a state-of-the-art modality of psychotherapy.
It has been said Bioenergetics is the world's best-kept secret. The Alexander Lowen Foundation wants to let that secret out!
On behalf of The Alexander Lowen Foundation I appeal to all for help as we work as closely as possible to the core of our issues, for the betterment of current and future generations. Please give now.
Executive Director, Frederic Lowen