Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:

Essays and Papers

“A World Too Wide For His Shrunk Shank”

This age-ist phrase was used by William Shakespeare in a little speech given by the character Jaques in the play, As You Like It (Act 2, Scene 7), to describe the 6th of the “Seven Ages of Man.” This sixth age is older than the “Justice” (the 5th age), and senility, the seventh, age. The […]

“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 […]

“Rationally Coordinated”

One of my heroes, Alfred North Whitehead, has a definition of philosophy at the end of his Adventures of Ideas. He speaks of novel ideas, “rationally coordinated.” that’s somewhat ambiguous. What if the novel idea is that truth cannot be fully or even largely rationally coordinated, but yet this idea is rationally coordinated enough to […]

“Reality” as a Mind-Spectrum

I’ve elsewhere proposed that many dimensions of mind be viewed as a spectrum, and here I suggest that the experience of reality also be thus portrayed. Some things seem really, really, real, while other things seem pretty unreal. The key word is seem and what is at issue here is the illusion that something is […]

“The Good Ol’ Days”

I have an acquaintance with an obviously conservative political inclination: She wrote: “It seems that no one wants responsibility anymore. I remember my proud, independent mother whose greatest fear was that some governmental institution might try to step in and interfere with the raising of her four girls.” Then she wrote, “We should all rise […]

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 Contemplative Blog?

It occurred to me that this blog may (or may not) be one of my most lasting contributions. I should not assume that it’s just tossed-off nothings, whereas books and papers are real stuff. That may assume that paper-based stuff is intrinsically more valuable and meaningful than “just” a blog. Well it’s true that this […]

A Graceful Goodbye: A Book Review

We’re reading together or apart a number of books, as I browse the local library and check out those that appeal to me. One was titled, A Graceful Goodbye: a New Outlook on Death,” by Susan B. Mercer. I’ve written about weddings as rites of passage, and she wr0te enlighteningly about dying. She asks many […]

A Passover Contemplation

What really happened on Mt Sinai (A myth): Moses: Okay Lord, gimme the rules. The Lord:  No rules. We co-create this. General guidelines. Be nice. Stuff like that.   M I gotta have rules. L: Yes, dear Moishe, you are dealing with slaves and the children of slaves, I understand. But I have a problem […]

A Passover Myth

In the spirit of creative mythmaking, I made up the following to illustrate the possibility of what true spiritual freedom means, which is not even subtle mental enslavement to what some authority figure dictates—forget about how terribly distorted those rules may become over the millennia—but rather taking on responsibility for the present moment and daring […]

Action in Education, Psychotherapy, and Life

The emphasis here is on physical enactment, direct encounter, as a way of being more involved than just talking about a topic. Admittedly, talking about is better than stifling, avoiding talking, avoiding being conscious at all. But action extends the process, makes it more holistic. One feels oneself more present and involved. Dr. Jacob L. […]

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 […]

An Ethical Will (Part 1)

I brought up the idea of the ethical will with my son and we were wondering together what kind of words, what heritage, did we wish to impart to his kids, my grandkids, others.  (Whoa! as of today, over 100,000 hits!) The ethical will is an old Jewish tradition in which we write a letter […]

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 […]

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, […]


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 […]

Appreciating Complexity (Cultural Trends Part 4)

Another trend is toward a growing appreciation of complexity in the social as well as natural sciences, and indeed in the general mainstream world-view. (For many of these trends, the growing awareness of a given trend may only involve a small fraction of the general population in the next few years—but I think this number […]

Argument versus Reconciliation

My dear wife Allee and I have some of our greatest enjoyment in talking deeply. Rather than arguing, we listen and then try to not only understand, but express in terms of what the other might be thinking and feeling. We explored two key archetypes last night: I realized I’m settled into a sense that […]

At the Bottom Edge of Higher Consciousness

Alas, my mind plays best at this interface. I even speculate on a half-level higher. Mind interpenetrates all these, from one to seven dimensions. Each dimensional advance partakes of all “lower” dimensions.  I’ve speculated on this spectrum of dimensions in past blog posts. The one before that also. I’ll not say that everything is mind, […]

Awe: Another Viewpoint

Stimulated by a recent article a friend sent me about awe, and building on my theory of levels of consciousness, awe emerges as our minds perceive that which is far greater than us. We open to not just the bigness or whatever, but that such realms exist. It is not only nature. In milder terms […]

Being Introduced

Picture this scene: You are to be a speaker or presenter at some event  and you may or may not be introduced in a way that does justice to you or the subject you’re speaking about.  This has happened to me innumerable times as I’ve spoken at a wide variety of lectures, workshops, symposia, etc. […]

Beyond Narcissism: Ideal Child Development

This mini-essay is aimed at broadening our sense of what the core motivations are for children (and adults). The Freudian view has been excessively reductionistic, and even more contemporary efforts to expand the set of what are considered to be core motivations don’t go far enough. The concept of “primary narcissism” in particular is a […]

Beyond the Beyond

There’s a Tibetan Mantra that, when translated, begins, “Beyond, beyond, beyond the beyond…” Recent developments in science have intensified the magnitude of its frontiers, from the vast to the minuscule. We are invited to consider theoretical constructs posed to explain phenomena that we don’t yet understand: At the micro-level,  “strings” of primordial energy millions of […]


There are realms beyond our own. This truth has been almost hammered into human minds over the last five hundred years: Micro-realms with the invention of the microscope, and macro-realms with the telescope. Current developments have extended these view many-fold. We have further learned that we perceive and can perceive only a limited range of […]

Bucket List

What do I want to have done, achieved, experienced, before I “kick the bucket”? This is the “Bucket List.” It becomes ever-more relevant for some and less so for others. My wife, not relevant. Me? A bit. A cousin as part of his Christmas greeting sent me a picture of his holding the New Zealand […]