Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:

Book Reviews

“Mythification”

I am not shy about daring to coin new words, such as the verb, “neologize”—to create neologisms, which means “new words.” Today I’ll put out for your assessment the word, “mythification,” meaning to generate mythic-type ideas or mages. I see a trend in our culture towards mythification that has been advancing especially since the mid-1960s. […]

“Subversive” Books

My friend Jackie Woolley, with whom I square dance and we work out in the same exercise class in our community gym, is a thinker and writer, and wrote recently about how she has enjoyed reading books, noting that they are subversive. Indeed, I too have enjoyed my quiet rebellion against what I intuitively sensed […]

A Critique of the “War on Drugs”

Book Review: Pain control and drug policy : a time for change, by Guy B. Faguet, M.D. Santa Barbara CA: Praeger / ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2010.     This excellent book offers a careful, scholarly analysis on the war on drugs—taking a stance that challenges the hysteria associated with this policy. I especially resonated with something I […]

A Jewish New Year Contemplation

It’s Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, one of the highest holy days, a time to contemplate the year past and the year forward. My wife went to the services, and I stayed home and contemplated events. I cultivate a deep spirituality of creativity, one that even as I settle into certain mythic theme keeps […]

A World Shorn of Meaning

I was reminded of my enjoyment of the picture books by Abner Dean when I was a teenager. These involved a mixture of surrealism, a bit of cartooning, and the presentation of world shorn of meaning. He was an illustrator whose books were more known in the late 1940s and 1950s.  I was impressed by […]

Anthro-zoology: Human-Animal Relations

I was stimulated by a book recently published titled Some we love, some we hate, some we eat: Why it’s so hard to think straight about animals, by Hal Herzog (New York: HarperCollins, 2010.) This book is fun and delightfully varied, addressing many aspects of pet ownership, why we eat some animals and not others, […]

Astonishmentality: A Review of “Spectrums”

A recent book, Spectrums: Our Mind-Boggling Universe From Infinitesimal to Infinity, written by David Blatner, my son, is really a great book, even though I may be biased. The author has opened his mind beyond what I’ve known, and his reaction, I’m proud to say, is, basically, "Wow!" But, not satisfied with wow-ing, David has […]

Beyond Religions

Book Review: Beyond religions: ethics for a whole world. By the 14th Dalai Lama. (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2011).      Pleased to discover this book as it speaks to the beginning convergence of psychological literacy and what His Holiness calls “the education of the heart.” I think we need this and the book describes a […]

Common Sense

(I confess that what follows is perhaps more of my commentary than a good book review, but still I want to acknowledge Common Sense: A Political History, by Sophia Rosenfeld (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011), is an excellent, scholarly review of the notion, especially as it has evolved in the last few hundred years. […]

How Great “We” Are

Reading a chapter in a book on Jung and Moreno (edited by Craig E. Sephenson), I was struck not only by the general theme of the ways different approaches are finding some common ground, but in particular one part of Chapter 11 by Emilijah Kiehl. She is an analytical psychologist in the London area, but […]

Illusions: A Wider Perspective

Two topics (among many others) on my mind seem to be overlapping as I discover more books reflecting more research on the topic: illusion and critical thinking. It turns out Freud just opened the door a crack—the unconscious is far more vast and complicated than he ever knew! (Freud once likened himself to Columbus and […]

Individuality

A recent correspondence: My friend Ed wrote about seeing the video of my son David’s presentation in Seattle about “Spectrums”—a book he had just published. He wrote, “You son David has inherited your exuberance and capacity for projection. I learned something .. of the existence of "tetrachromats": Amazing idea, that some people have sensory capacities […]

My Way or Thy Way?

Reading a recently published autobiography by Paul Anka, “My Way” (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013), I was taken by his description of Frank Sinatra, for whom Anka wrote the hit song, “My Way” in 1969. Sinatra had his ups and downs and was both a bigger-than-life character who had indeed lived a life that’s […]

Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids (Book Review)

Mason, Phil. (2009). Napoleon’s hemorrhoids (and other small events that changed history. New York: Skyhorse Publishing —delightful book, chock full of brief anecdotes about the little glitches, where things went awfully wrong, close calls, or moments of serendipity. It’s amusing or terrifying to contemplate how things might be different but for… The  author in this […]

On Bullshit*

Sorry, but that is the title of this tiny book by the philosopher Harry Frankfurt and  published in 2005 by Princeton University Press. To save your sensibilities, I’ll just use the term b.s.  It has some good ideas, but the idea of selling as a book that which more properly should be a longish article […]

Over-Load Eluded

One of the challenges of the postmodern era is that we become aware—no, we are gently assaulted—with a range of interesting and compelling possibilities, and also calls to action from seemingly noble causes. This morning I was reminded of someone who says the Navy’s sonar testing is hurting the whales and inhibiting their own emission […]

Perspectives on “Mental Illness”

Things have changed: Different types of “mental illness” need to be discerned. Certainly the history of medicine includes as a them the recognition that, for example, some diseases that seemed to be infectious were actually due to nutritional deficiency—such as pellagra. Similarly, a number of major mental illnesses such as “dementia paralytica” that was a […]

Re-Juvenile

Thinking of Christopher Noxon’s book, “Re-Juvenile,” (New York: Crown Publishing, 2006),  generally I enjoyed it. I think the author speaks to the hunger for a re-integration of the best elements of child-like-ness, as I talked about in my book, The Art of Play, now being revised. However, the language is problematical. I described the value […]

Religion for Atheists (Book Review)

The sub-title of this book is “a non-believer’s guide to the uses of religion,” and the author is Alain de Botton (UK) (2011, New York: Pantheon). For a while it seemed to atheists that religion would disappear because it failed to be compelling at the level of of the critical intellect. The author notes that […]

Spectrums: Publicity

I wrote about this a few days ago, and here’s more: Proudly announcing a new book by David Blatner titled Spectrums: Our Mind-Boggling Universe From Infinitesimal to Infinity . November, 2012. 192 pages. Walker, hardcover, $25.00. ISBN 9780802717702 Library classification number: 539.2.         Information about the book, including the video teaser and links to buy:  […]

The Adaptive Unconscious (Book Review)

Timothy D. Wilson, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, wrote a lovely book titled “Strangers to ourselves: discovering the adaptive unconscious. (2002, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap press of Harvard University Press). Lovely book that is worth studying. It seems to me that it overlaps with my theory of the Amplified Unconscious, and, indeed, I […]

The Counter-Productive “War on Drugs”

Following up on the “War on Drugs” blog entry #1380 (and on my website), there has been another pulse: This last week for our summer lectures of miscellaneous presentations at Senior University Georgetown (which I helped found 17 years or so ago), one of the speakers, Russell Jones, gave a talk on parallels between the […]

The Humanities in Medicine

One of my roles is as an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the local branch of Texas A&M Medical School, where I give occasional lectures on psychotherapy. Allied to that, I have an interest in supporting those who would promote the “Humanities in Medicine.” There’s a sore need for this, because most medical students […]

The Mythic Path (Book Review)

Feinstein, David & Krippner, Stanley. (1999) The mythic path: discovering the guiding stories of your past—creating a vision for your future.  (Publisher: New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher / Putnam, 1999.  On page xiii of  the Introduction to the 2nd edition by Jean Houston , she says, “ The zeit is getting geistier… the new mythology, […]

The Psychology of Rapport: Sociometry

The Brafman brothers’ recent book, “Click,” and other writings speak to an extension of the growing popularity of applied social psychology and social intelligence, which is a sub-trend in contemporary psychology. Back in the 1930s, one of my teachers, Dr. J. L. Moreno, was writing about this dynamic. He became more well known for his […]