Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:


“A Precipitate”

In chemistry, mixing two solutions, depending on what they are, will generate a “precipitate”—a formation of solids that sink to the bottom of the test tube. It’s from a time when only physicians who know such words, who have taken chem-istry, were allowed to become psychoanalysts. In the 1960s first one psychoanalytic institute, then another, […]

About Psychotherapy Research

There are (at least) two variables involved in psychotherapy research: One is diagnosis, the other is ego strength. High ego strength allows people to exhibit a symptom, but also to recover from it. With low ego strength, all the other coping mechanisms are shaky or non-functional. People are deeply handicapped. Although it’s not a diagnosis […]

Accelerating Change

The spring became a trickle, then a stream, then a rivulet. That then became a creek, then a small non-navigable river; then a big ol’ river (navigable), and a bigger river. Then the water flowed into a delta and from thence to the sea. Then it rolled back to us as a tsunami (tidal wave)! […]

Adjustors to Rapid Reality Change?

There isn’t a word yet for people who help people who function in the “old” world but not in the new. What should they be called? “People who are highly function-ing, with areas that need some extra attention!?”  Even highly functioning people need attention, because the world is changing. A century ago the theme was […]

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 […]

Basic Clear-Thinking Principles

Thinking isn’t what it seems. It’ll trick you! People think they’re thinking whenever they assess a situation. But assessment is not really thinking about whatever, it’s merely getting oriented. Feels like thinking. Maybe it is a first step. But rarely do they re-consider any impressions or assumptions. They’re easily tricked. The first trick is the […]

Before Cell Phones

Stephan Pastis, who draws the “Pearls Before Swine” cartoon strip, did one lately that touched my sense of growing older. Says it all, doesn’ it?

Being a Little Unsure

Although I am bold enough to spout off on this blog, let’s be clear that I make no claims to being ultimately right. Often there is a varying degree of uncertainty. What brought this to mind is that I value a degree of intellectual humility. Not so much as to inhibit self-expression, but not so […]

Broad “Roots” in the Present

One type of root system for people feeling that they really belong in the world is through genetics—who your biological ancestors and relatives are. Genealogy is a “thing” in my community and age group, assisted by computer technology, more people are probing their family roots many generations back. Alas for me, I don’t have much […]

Challenging the “War on Drugs”

Building on a Lecture by Adam Blatner, Senior University Georgetown‘s Summer Program, June 9, 2004, posted on website November 18, 2004) For over sixty years, and with some significant escalation beginning in the late 1960s, local, state, and federal efforts to arrest and imprison those found to possess even small amounts of illicit drugs has […]

Changes are Happening!

Things that are changing at an ever-increasing rate: – People learning that other people have other opinions     … and what those opinions are          about religion, politics, etc.   – People are feeling free to change denominations,       or join this or that religion, or no religion        or make up their own, or […]

Changing Eras

Allee & I read in bed: One flosses, the other reads. Right now it’s Bobos in Paradise, Bobos being Bohemian Bourgeosie. It speaks to the sociological shifts of the late 1950s through the early 1970s. We only vaguely knew this was going on. The American culture was shifting from subtle aristocracy to meritocracy. More Jews […]

Chauvinism and Preference

What if part of the problem in male “chauvinism” is that many—perhaps most–people lack a clear awareness that people have different preferences—even women!—and this category must be recognized and dealt with consciously ! Many men a century ago were devoted to their wives, loved them deeply. It just never occurred to them that their dear […]

Collaborative Creativity through Psychodrama

The drawing below represents my vision of the way people can join in co-creating a more loving and joyous universe. Although two people are shown, and the symbol of encounter is between them, really any number can co-create. They are different—they offer their own angles on whatever is in formation. There is a playful liberation […]


That’s a word that talks about when one ties together images so that they seem to make sense—at least to the person doing the connection. It’s flagrant in cases of  alcoholic encephalopathy—Korsakoff’s Psychosis; or in some strokes of the right parietal cortex. It happens also when you’re dreaming—stuff that happens in your dreams seem plausible […]

Considering Psychiatric “Help”

I’m a retired psychiatrist, and I’m suspicious of psychiatric “help.” I estimate that less than a fifth of those seeking help are healthy enough so that for them psychotherapy is an aesthetic option, one aimed at elaborating a richer life. Then there are those who show deficits in rational thinking, those who "really need it.”  […]

Deconstructing Multi-Perspectival-ness

(…or is it multi-perspectival-osity? I mean, can you just make up words like that?) The scene opens at an unnamed university, not in a secret bunker under a mountain, but right out in the open looking like a normal college campus. Zoom in on one nice-looking building, into a window in which a nice looking […]

Disruptive Technologies—Photographs?

My son David told me about "disruptive technologies”—automobiles disrupt horseback or horse-drawn travel; telegraphy disrupted handwritten letters somewhat, and in turn this was disrupted in turn by telephones, emails, cell phones. In the past knights wearing armor disrupted attacks by archers: The armor deflected arrows—at least crossbow arrows. Cannons disrupted walls, and armor. As we […]

Does God “Exist”

Does “God” exist? It’s a hard question because so many people have different conscious and unconscious understandings of that word, “God.” We must remember that it’s only a word, and more, there are different words in different cultures to refer to sort of the same thing. But actually, the complex of associations called up in […]

Effective Love Requires More Consciousness

I recently read an email advocating the virtues of love of humanity and a quote from Albert Einstein about the ultimate unity of life. I agree, being a person of my time, subject to the idealistic paradigms of what civilization seemed to be reaching for. Yet it also stimulated in me a contemplation of why […]

Ego, Memory, and Forgetfulness

I have been contemplating the sheer vulnerability of my memories, and the innate elusiveness of so many of the experiences that part of me wants to cling to. I want to have these experiences whenever I want to access them, as if they were kept possessions, treasures. Well, that’s one of the things ego does. […]

Entitlements: An Invitation to “Get Real”

America is going through an interesting developmental phase, akin to the early teen years. The era of the cost of living being cheap and easy is drawing to a close, because (1) natural resources are less plentiful and cheap; (2) the expectations of the people have gone up significantly; (3) services (especially health) are more […]

Envisioning Cultural Trends

This is only the beginning of a century in which people will begin to expand and deepen their identities manifold. We have become aware of the vastness of the cosmos, the depth of time (not thousands, but billions of years!), the complexity of nature, the depth and complexity and frontiers of mind (and unconscious mental […]

Feminism & Masculinism

Talking with a friend about sex roles in contemporary culture, what occurs to me is that at least in part what is at issue is the way big business in collaboration with the fashionistas in advertising continue to promote certain ideals about what is sexually desirable, in body form, cosmetics, hairdo, fashions, and so forth. […]

Folly in Culture

A recent article in Wired magazine addressed tendencies in the field of medicine to perhaps over-reach itself, and to not-entirely-rationally support whatever seems new or fashionable. As an amateur historian of medicine, I found this wonderful. Several articles from many sources have explored the tenuous nature of modern medical "knowledge."  However, lest we get all […]