Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:

Essays and Papers

Psychological Literacy: Further Comments

In the June 7, 2010 issue of the New Yorker on page 21 there is an article about whether college is really cost-effective. My attention was caught by the statement that skills appropriate to the workplace include the ability to “resolve conflict and negotiate,” “cooperate with others,” and “listen actively.”  What strikes me here is […]

Psychological-Mindedness Confronts Simplicity

People have a deep sense of entitlement to being able to perceive and think about the world in simple terms. It’s easier to imagine that there is either sin or virtue, and we still have a subtle backwash from the belief in higher and lower classes. People feel entitled to scold: “Don’t muddy up the […]

Re-Considering Epistemology

Epistemology is that branch of philosophy that addresses the question of how we know what we know. There are other branches of philosophy that address other questions, such as “what is fair or good in the realm of social relations”—ethics; or what is really real—metaphysics; and so forth. This topic of “epistemology” came up in […]

Re-Enchantment (Cultural Trends-Part 2)

This continues a reflection on “whassup?”—what cultural trends we may be in the midst of. I wrote in a previous blog about the emergence of creativity. Another trend, I think, is towards what I call re-enchantment, or perhaps a more precise (and non-existent) term might be re-mythologize-ation. (what a mouthful!).  It marks a swing back […]

Reasons for Non-Reason

A recent and most interesting book came to my attention, Matthew Hutson’s 2012 The Seven Laws of Magical Thinking, subtitled How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane  (New York: Hudson Street Press / Penguin). I’ve been thinking of the phenomena associated with illusion for much of my life. From rhetoric, propaganda and semantics […]

Reasons to Scowl

On the airplane home I noticed some scowling folks and I was tempted to judge them for being a little grumpy; but then, I shifted to a compassionate contemplation of why they might be scowling and jotted down the notes that led to the items listed below. I confess that I’ve been rather happy about […]

Recent Psychodrama Postings on My Website

Now on my website with the links here is presentation on Beyond Psychotherapy , which will soon be given as a plenary presentation at the national ASGPP psychodrama conference. I speak to two issues on my mind of late: That Moreno’s methods have many applications well beyond the clinical context; and that these methods should […]

Reconsidering Speculation

Speculation is a word that implies to some a less-worthy category than, say, knowing, or deducing. The latter have the aura of greater maturity, more certainty. However, I want to suggest a reversal of valuing here, at least in some arenas. There are a number of mysteries and domains about which we know very little. […]

Regarding Psychotherapy Research

Efforts to offer research on psychotherapy are worthy, but there is an additional and rather fundamental problem: People range from low to high ego strength, and this variable—more than the severity of their "diagnosis"—that determines prognosis (i.e., the degree of response to a therapeutic intervention or healing). People with a generous number of compensatory skills […]

Rehabilitating “Play”

Play isn’t just for kids: It’s the essence of experimentation. I know that in the past play is just kids’ stuff, frivolous. That’s the semantics, but gradually the word is getting rehabilitated. Innovation is “in.” People are promoting creativity, and we’re seeking to develop and sustain the underlying skills that lead to creativity. Guess what: […]

Reiteration as an Important Component of Communications

Reiteration in communications means saying something repeatedly in slightly different ways. The point is that saying it just once may not be effective, not only because the information is not adequately processed by the audience, but also because the receptivity to the message is embedded within a context of a perceived relationship. What is communicated […]


An acquaintance by email, Eric Kreuter, is writing about relevance. What an interesting word! It seems to connect in my mind with meaning, the sense of meaning, of being meaningful to others, to some cause, as needed, as having made a difference. It links also with a sense of self as rooted in a historical […]

Rounding Out Life

An acquaintance over email—a new type of relationship, please note—we’ve met in passing and he kindly accepts me into the periphery of his social network— remarked, “Glad to see you’re still going strong.” But I’m not going strong! I’m weakening! I’m wrapping things up. There’s a whole lot to wrap and it may take a […]

Scroog-enomics: A Book Review

Joel Waldfogel recently published a little book titled Scroogenomics: why you shouldn’t buy presents for the holidays. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (2009). The author presents results of his research showing what I’ve become aware of for years: Folks frequently get gifts that they don’t care for that much. The author finally suggests, why don’t […]


As we enter the election cycle, I call upon an old cartoon by Gary Trudeau, regard-ing the old British Petroleum oil spill. He notes snappy words and dismisses dull words or those with negative connotations. Spin doctoring. Manipulating. As we hear rhetoric about making America great (without any specific plans), we are asked to suspend […]

Shree Yantra (plus commentary)

A common theme that I play with is the Sri (pronounced Shree, for “holy”) Yantra (or special meditative design) that I draw to center and relax, thereby opening whatever channel then allows me to become more spontaneous, to be inspired. It’s a fine symbol of whatever there is in the Beyond for me to open […]

Social Inclusiveness

It occurred to me that another function of psychodrama is social validation.. We are social beings who are unconsciously asking, “Do you see me? I exist. Does anyone care? Does anyone find me interesting? Am I in any way a part of the whole?” A colleague in Italy wrote that in a sense, the field […]

Some Theology of Consciousness

I recently heard a talk by Ilia Delio, a Catholic theologian and professor who stretches what catholicity means. She recently wrote a book about Teilhard de Chardin and quotes some little known papers that have come available. It turns out that Teilhard went beyond denominational religion, which meant that he went beyond the necessary hierarchy […]

Spectro-Psychography II

For some time I’ve been thinking about how there are so many things that are best thought about as as spectrum, from too little to just right, to too much. I hinted at this in my post yesterday and wrote about this also on my website Another boost to this idea was the work my […]

Spiraling “Upward”

A correspondent asked me about alchemy and process philosophy, of all things. Here is the gist of my reply: There is a spiraling upward happening, metaphysically speaking. It must be imagined on a higher dimensional level, weaving together all of the accumulating advances. These advances are happening more rapidly, I think. Saying it another ways: […]

Spontaneity Development

There are needs for this skill set in a rapidly changing world. When once young people had been taught to simply follow directions, now they’re expected to not only think for themselves, but also innovate. We’ve discovered that the key to creativity is improvisation, and spontaneity development is improvisation training. For example, Justine Jones and […]

Spontaneity Development

I met a woman who teaches a type of sport to teenagers—I’ll leave the specifics out for the sake of confidentiality—, and her point is to help the youngsters show some drama, liveliness, the opposite of seeming “wooden” to onlookers. The kids are so intent at performing well that their faces seem fixed: all their […]

Subtle Oppressions (I): Role Overload

There’s a rather unpleasant yet widespread story that if a frog is put into hot water it will jump out, but if put into cold water and the water is very gradually heated, the frog won’t notice until it dies of hyperthermia (i.e., too high temperature for life). I don’t know that this is even […]

Teasing: Another Spectrum

Teasing can range from mild joshing to outright sadism, really nasty mean. The other extreme has nothing indirect,  just people being kind, tactful, appreciative. There’s a good deal of communication that’s in-between. Some people feel anxious about being perceived as being “soft” by others. Others are are coarser: they interact by introducing an an edge […]

That’s What It’s All About! (General Philosophy)

This conclusion in the song, “The Hokey Pokey,” addresses the existential and widespread question: What is it all about? What is the purpose of the Cosmos? What is God’s purpose for Humanity? What is the Meaning of my life? Happily, I have an answer. I’m not saying it’s the right answer, or the final answer, […]