Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:


I Gotta Be Me (?)

This cartoon by Gary Larson over 20 years ago struck me as funny. There’s a part of me who is this penguin. There’s another part who finds my stance pitiful, because I know that there are thousands, millions of other entities working “in the fields of the Lord” to advance humanity and the evolution of […]

I’m Not a Cheese

Kids learn weird songs such as “The Farmer in the Dell.” Unless the birthday boy or gets it, and nowadays he might not, it’s not funny. It’s a bit of name-calling. But the other kids are innocent and well-disposed, so there’s a disconnect here. I suspect that as time goes on many seemingly innocent bits […]


I’m preparing a series on illusion for a class I’ll be giving starting at the end of this month at the lifelong learning organization that I helped found about 19 years ago. Not optical illusions, or magician’s illusions—though those are undoubtedly interesting, but psychological illusions. These operate at all levels of social organization.   I […]

Illusions and Foolishness I

A few months ago my son David and I were chatting about ways people lapse into illusion and foolishness, and he suggested that I write it up as a book, or at least put it on the blog. I came up with several score items—well, actually I blurted out, “There are a hundred of them!” […]

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 […]

Imagination (a Personal Reflection)

I’m blogging various thought complexes in between my home-making tasks of laundry, drying, folding, preparing foods, hanging up clothes, keeping track of my various papers, reading library books, waking up, going to sleep—and those are peripheral to my core identity, which is manufacturing ideas for God. (Well, these other mundane tasks are less peripheral than […]

Impeding Your Own Progress

There are people whom I’ve touched and encouraged to grow beyond what they were. Of course most everyone does it—I just realized that I am doing it! Grow beyond what you were! Perhaps we are all "Threshold Guardians" for each other. That is a catchy phrase. Worth a book! Threshold guardians are a kind of […]

Introduction & Resisting Distractions

The topic for this blog is folly, also to be realized as forms of self-deception, lapses in critical thinking, giving in to your less-worthy motivations, allowing yourself the luxury of illusion, and so forth. In some roles, illusion is just fine, very adaptive, mature, poetic, sublime. It is the mythic foundation that makes our life […]

It’s All Mush: A Co-Creative Metaphysics

Around 25 years ago I was sitting with my sweet wife, Allee, in Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas, and I asked her, “What’s it all about?” She answered, “It’s all mush. You can do anything you want with it.” It was a playful remark, but at a deep level I experienced a certain core of […]

Just Kick ‘Em Out (?)

I know a nice lady who suggested that we should "rise up and dump the tea into the harbor. Kick out everyone in Washington and start all over." Well, I considered this and please forgive me, but I do have a suspicious bone in my body. The problem is that the people who would then […]

Just Thinkin’

There is a hidden assumption that everything can be presented in terms known to all. This is as fallacious as saying that all higher mathematics can be symbolized by simple arithmetic and no other symbols are needed. It’s a matter of trying not to be all “stuck up”—we learned to try to not be this […]

Laziness versus Death Wish

Freud posited a death wish, Thanatos (in Latin)—what word did he use?  These other instincts beyond sexuality were needed as the theory grew: It wasn’t possible to explain everything in terms of the sex drive. But I think these terms are misleading, even were we to accept that there’s more than a germ of truth […]

Let it Go (On Not Over-Packing One’s Life)

I’ve been contemplating a bit of obsolete mental programming I picked up in my youth: The cultural injunction to be well-read, well-informed, scholarly, well-traveled, active, etc. (At least this was so for the sub-culture in which I grew up in the mid-20th century.) I should keep up on the news, know what’s up so that […]

Magical Thinking

My wife reminded me that this bit of psychodynamic jargon may not be easily understood by most people, the term “magic” immediately drawing them into their own associations to that term. I realized (of course!) that she’s right, and that I’d grown so used to the term that I thought people knew what it meant. […]

Making Meta-Cognition Explicit

One of the trends in the last century—still not apparent to most people, though—is the increasing interest in how we think. It’s an extension of the interest not in the content but the spirit of psychoanalysis. In other words, let’s wonder about the possibility that what is true in astronomy and microbiology is also true […]

Maturity Becoming Obsolete

The very idea of “maturity” as having “grown up enough” is passing. We live in an era of exponential development where, by the time someone has grows up, the world has changed. The maturity involved in being fully “mature” keeps receding, like the horizon. “Maturity” has advanced beyond us, and even the best of us […]

Mild Social Learning Disability

f I’m so smart, why am I so dense? I have a little bit of social learning disability, a term I used for a borderline form of mild Asperger’s disorder. It’s enough so that I annoy people who think that I’m ignoring their feelings when really I mis-perceive or really fail to perceive those unspoken-about […]


“I know you believe you understand what you think I said but I’m not sure that what you heard was what I meant!” (I encountered this line on a button back in the early 1970s when lots of slogans were put on lots of buttons. T-Shirt printing wasn’t so easy then.) What we say that […]

Misunderstandings Abound

I recently inquired about some item that I wasn’t sure I should be looking for somewhere in the context, but the person I asked took it as an implied complaint, as if she “should” have had it there for me. I hadn’t even thought such a thing; there was no reproach in my mind—but the […]

Mondegreens and the Gestalt Function

On mis-hearings.  And wondered that the late Dr. Sacks didn’t mention mon-degreen ("")—i.e.,  mis-hearings. I agree with his challenging of Freud. The point to be made is that the unconscious mind is super-fast, really should be called perhaps the “super-conscious,” and has no difficulty manufacturing (confabulating) meanings that to some degree make sense, even if […]

Mythmaking (The Great Pumpkin)

Recently I saw this “Peanuts” comic strip about Charlie Brown encountering Linus in the pumpkin patch as the latter awaits the arrival of the “Great Pumpkin.” What struck me about this is the reminder that even surprisingly precocious and intelligent people can have weird notions. For example, Linus, whose character I played in the 2010 […]

Non-Rational Mind

Reading a book  (A Perfect Fit, by Jenna Weissman Joselit) about fashion changes in clothing (mainly women’s) in the period of the late 19th through the early 20th century: I’m impressed with the symbolic power of dressing smart, the boundaries of femininity, modesty, and the depths of feeling evoked by those who felt these changes […]

Now! Whoops, Then!

(A Meditation on the Present Moment): Now! No, that was then. Now! Dang it! Passed! Okay, deep breath: Now! Whoops, slipped through and is receding into the past. Okay:Deep breath: Right now! Ha! Got it! Oops, slipped through! It sure is hard to get that ol’ "now," isn”t it?   Okay, try again. Now. Got […]

Numinous Verisimilitude

I’m giving a lecture series on illusion—part of a long-running series on psychological literacy. Some people have experiences that seem so real, not illusory, and more, the experience is compelling. The word “numinous” means strangely compelling: A thought or image seems is so true and important that it must be witnessed to. It compels you […]

On Critical Thinking

I suspect that many people who went to college and got exposed a little to critical thinking have not as yet learned what a radical bunch of ideas it involves, and how it applies to almost everything:   – what the relationships between men and women should be about   – how to parent or […]