Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:

Psychological Literacy

“Nonverbal Awareness”

What else can I call the mental alertness to one’s own nonverbal behavior. There are those who are attentive to their appearance regarding make-up, hair-do, clothes, but few people pay attention to the way they behave: Check out posture, eye angle, length of eye contact, tendency to smile or frown, etc. Let it be a […]

“Objective” “Reality” ?

I do not wish to quibble over the fact that our thinking refers to a past event, but I would note that two perfectly sincere people who in addition like each other remember the past differently, This happened not because it was in the past so much as the fact that remembering derives from mental […]

“Too Sensitive” ??

So let’s say that 2.3% of people, or maybe it’s 8.4%?, are “too sensitive.” No big deal, there are those who are too nearsighted, or too all sorts of qualities. Evolution tries out all variations and sees what’s most adaptive. Up to now, we haven’t been able to use those qualities 99% of the time […]


Here’s a term I just coined for vivifying what’s going on, highlighting it in a somewhat dramatic fashion. There is a spectrum of liveliness that one can bring to an experience. Drama does this, but, alas, the word “drama” tends to imply over-dramatization. Ideally, we should be aware that we can bring more or less […]


As I reflect on life and mind, I think that the word “wisdom” would better be appreciated as a verb: “wisdom-ing.” It is something you do, not are. One doesn’t “have” wisdom, or even “attain” wisdom, as if, once attained, is sustained by its own power. Rather, wisdom-ing is a doing, an activity. When and […]


Little known (because I just made it up) are the auxiliary selves, the adjunctive resonant energy forces that support the major unfolding of the psyche. These, too, are part of the experience of the “self,” though never acknowledged, unconscious, because, like invisible germs, they are hardly perceptible to the ordinary senses. One must cultivate not […]

21st Century Neuroses

On this Fathers’ Day I am proud of my son and son-in-law, and their wives, as parents. I find that they don’t impose a broad range of foolish expectations and injunctions that were common two generations earlier (the mid 20th century). I am hopeful that perhaps even a majority of kids will not be afflicted […]

A Fuzzy Tale

One of my favorite anecdotes is “A Fuzzy Tale,” written by Dr. Claude Steiner, an advocate for Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis (in the 1970s). Part of that theory overlaps with how I think about things and vivifies Berne’s theory of giving and getting “strokes.” This is a wonderful story, first written in the 1970s, about […]

A New Approach to Psychotherapy / Wellness

I went to a workshop two days ago given by a fellow who mixes positive affirmations, group dynamics, a technique of tapping acupuncture points and a variety of new age speculations. It was a mixed experience: I liked some things and didn’t like other things. What I liked was that this fellow wove together some […]

A New View of the Non-Rational Mind

A few months ago I wrote of one feature of the unconscious mind that is as yet hardly known. I call it the “amplifying unconscious mind.” Another category operates in some ways similarly and in other ways, I’m not so sure. (Well, I’m not very sure of any of this, but I am addressing some […]

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 […]

Action Explorations (More)

I am using the term “Action Explorations” to refer to the use of Moreno’s methods as well as those of many others, along with a number of creative innovators in improvisational drama, drama therapy, drama in education, and other fields. These are folks who delve into simulations and other possible applications of these methods. I […]

Adam Many-Parts

In a recent blog post on dancing a thousand flames, I mentioned the idea of being many selves—playing many roles. I’m flagrant in this regard, playing with the whole idea of playing roles. Of course many cartoonists, comic book writers, and dramatists do likewise, and I’ve been more than a little influenced by these genres. […]

Aesthetic Indulgence

My latest notion—I tend to have them fairly frequently—is that Freud was somewhat right but didn’t dig deep enough. He reduced the motivation system to sexuality because of its forbiddenness at the time, but I’ve been thinking as I’ve grown older about other deep motivations. For example, what about the small griefs I’ve had about […]

Aggregate Experiences

Although there are words for meaning, self, society, family, happiness, and other experiences, we should recognize that these are states of mind are not a single phenomena, but rather they are the product of many— possibly hundreds—of component experiences of a variety of types. There is no “thing-ness” to such phenomena, but rather they should be […]

All Roads Lead to Illusion

As I reflect on the series of lectures on illusions that I gave last month for Senior University Georgetown, it became increasingly clear that a variety of phenomena that have not been vividly recognized as being similar—i.e., illusory—should be so thought of:   – the defense mechanisms of the psychoanalysts, and some of the other […]

Am I Okay? (Sure)

A certain degree of self-acceptance becomes more necessary as life progresses and I make choices that diverge from the norms of the culture as to what is desirable. Consider: They all have a point, and many other perspectives and intrinsic values might also be entertained: irrelevant, trivial, lacking seriousness, amateurish, lowbrow, intellectually too esoteric, etc. […]

Ambiguous Decisions

Sometimes I’m rather unsure as to which position to take. There are good arguments on both sides of so many things.  (Indeed, on my webpage on ethics I list over 30 current policy issues that I haven’t come to any conclusion.) Someone suggested I join some of the social media, such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, […]

An Amateur Confabulator

I’m an amateur confabulator. Amateur means only that I don’t get paid for this. Or should I say, “You couldn’t pay me to do this!”? And to con-fabulate means to make stuff up. Originally this was a medical term referring to people who because of a mild dementia didn’t even know they were doing it. […]

An Exercise of Interpersonal Power

Here’s a way to discover how powerful you can be: Think of someone you know; and then, having thus thought, call that person and say, “Hi, I was thinking about you.” For a little extra credit, when you do think of that person, focus on some little thing they did, or that you did together, […]

An Interview with Adam about Creativity Here’s an interview with me—about a half-hour or so—made in 2006 at an American Creativity Conference that helps the listener: (1) Appreciate some philosophical ideas that offer an intellectual foundation for many more practical efforts; (2) Relate these, if one chooses–but it’s not necessary–to a contemporary view of spirituality; (3) Relate these, also to […]

Analysis Interminable

So my wife and I are pretty mentally healthy, but we are introspective, so we notice traces of neurosis, such as introjection of dissatisfied early attachment figures—also known as “hungry ghosts”—those for whom who we were was never enough—and we joked about it. I strongly suspect that 30 years of psychoanalysis would not suffice. “Only […]

And the Devil will Drag You Under…

That phrase from the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls (“Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat”) is evocative; but really, it’s not “the” devil—really they’re just old patterns of childish motives combined with the imps of facilitating mental magic that work to seduce you. They’re prevalent, in everyone, not intentionally malignant to begin with. This is […]

Annoyances 2014

Well, one way to cope with them is to bring them from the preconscious, hardly articulated “mood” level to explicit and expressed consciousness, so here are some that have come up lately. They’re minor, residues of childish desires, but saying them neutralizes them a bit: – Having to put away stuff. I don’t mind taking […]


Featured recently in the Oxford English Dictionary, their “word-of-the-day” feature misses the current relevance of the word. As embryos develop, parts of them dissolve, the cells going through a state of self-pruning, apoptosis. The webs between the embryo’s fingers disappear. The importance of the word is especially relevant in considering the relative changeability—the “plasticity”—of the […]