Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:


The Lure of Irrational Hope

A friend asked, “Why are people so inclined towards irrational hope?” I pondered and here are some thoughts. You are welcome to comment. First, some hope is semi-rational in the sense of it doesn’t hurt to look for the best, and it’s no help to imagine negative consequences—unless you can do something realistic to change […]

The Myth of Truth

Recently I wrote about the problem of truth. For many centuries the search for truth has had its own value. It seemed virtuous to be in search of truth, but villainous to question whether the goal of seeking truth was foolish. Yet I am daring to ask this, and to suggest that in light of […]

The Pervasiveness of Illusion

On a paper on my website I present what I said (sort of) to those attending the June / Summer program of the Senior University Georgetown, where I often teach. I find that we’ve shifted in our awareness of the pervasiveness of illusion so that instead of illusion being a sometime thing, these dynamics tend […]

The Roots of Spontaneity

It occurred to me that spontaneity is a natural drive that emerges when in healthy infancy and childhood kids can enjoy the innocence of feeling (1) the freedom to take it  over, to do it again and again until one “gets it”; and (2) the freedom to not feel at all ashamed to ask for […]

The Seven Deadly Sins—but Sometimes a Little Bit is Good!

The seven deadly sins were enumerated by clerics in the Church in the 6th and 7th centuries. The point to be made here is to think of them and their sub-categories in the spirit of sin not as something to be punished, but rather as a recognition of that which is off the mark, harmartia, […]

The Truth About the Truth

We are misled by arithmetic, where, according to the rules there is one and only one “right” answer. We absorb this as ultimately true. Things we come to believe cannot have multiple explanations—there can only be one true answer. But consider that there may be multiple valid answers; there may be more than one “truth.” […]

The Un-Acknowledged

I am reminded  that for much of the world, what is history for us goes unspoken! Indeed, there are peoples who live with massive repression! Let’s not talk about that! Let’s not even THINK about that! Indeed, that is a way of life for perhaps most of the people in the world! I’m fortunate indeed […]

Thinking About Trauma

I think it useful to consider that there is a spectrum of trauma from the mildest to the most severe. On one hand, I’m inclined to say that it does not meet the requirements for being considered “trauma” unless there is a radical break with what the psychiatrist Jules Masserman in 1953 called the “Ur” […]

To Blog or Not to Blog

To paraphrase Hamlet’s soliloquy, in the play by Shakespeare, but things are different today: I have become more aware of “blogging,” which is another way of publishing my random thoughts or writing. What ego! What conceit! to think that anyone out there would care in the least about “random thoughts,” no matter how well-put. To […]

Top Dog in the Cosmos?

What if indeed we are NOT top dog in the cosmos? What if we humans are a species of life that ’s a whole lot smarter than algae, but only about half-way up to the ultimate in really-being-smart (yet still short of omniscience).

Toward the Popularization of Psychology

This has become a trend towards popularizing psychology, beginning almost a century ago, but this hasn’t happened, because vested interests in traditional religion oppose it. (One of the main doctrines in popular psychology, as I see it, is that we fool ourselves, and becoming aware of the many ways we do this would  benefit humanity. […]

Two Types of Foolishness

My point here is that worry and grumpiness are forms of folly that are remarkably seductive. They feel entirely plausible in the moment, so if you’re not alert, they’ll fool you. (A good deal of foolishness or folly comes from fooling yourself with thoughts and emotions that seem okay, but on reflection from the perspective […]

Types and the Power of Folly

How much insight can we expect people to develop in our time? I am wary about this, because it seems to me that very few people value or expect to experience true creative breakthroughs. That expectation is a rare “meme”—a term for an idea that catches on. In contrast, a meme that has widely caught […]

Types of Knowledge

There is a spectrum here. There’s stuff I know pretty much with certainty and then stuff I pretty well know but I could tolerate being corrected. Then there’s stuff I sort of know and I can go back and retrieve other memories and shore this up. Sort of “yes, that was when… and the book […]

Victimoid Cruelty

I coined this term to describe a type of subclinical emotional abuse that arises not from the cruel person’s feeling of power, but rather a kind of grumpy defiance. I also think that for every situation in a marriage or family where there’s recognizable emotional abuse—not to speak of the other kinds of physical or […]

Watch Your Language: On Self-Scolding

I was talking with a friend who heard a sermon about taking God’s name in vain, and what this conversation reminded me of is that even if one doesn’t believe in the idea that the god of a hundred billion galaxies and more could have what we could ever begin to know of as a […]

What’s It All About

It’s gloriously complex, to begin with. Each person has an incredible complex of challenges:   – to heal the various hurts arising from areas of particular weakness, general weakness, lack of talent, physical disability (even slight), body form, too much this, not enough that, so many things to feel ashamed of. Then there’s the subtle […]

What’s Wrong & How To Fix It

Of course this title is presumptuous, but it’s a grabber. Really, I don’t claim to address all problems, as the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz movies sang in If I Only Had a Brain: “I would answer every riddle for every individ’le….” On the other hand, I do think that a great deal of […]

Who’s Right

On a website, , the writer of a blog criticizes a New York Times essay by Barbara Ehrenreich, a best selling author. The essay criticizes the “selfish side” of thankful-ness. The criticism suggests that she may have misread the research? My response is that this is a meaty topic for sociodrama. Of course there […]

Winding Down, Finishing Up (I)

A friend wrote me and was wondering what to continue with and what is to be regarded as a closing chapter.  It got me thinking: Wow! Have I done enough? (I’m aware that the answer is a rousing YES! But I ask myself maybe for the first time: Can I stop now? I don’t want […]

Wisdom & Folly in Our Time

This blog was stimulated by my reading a recently published book by Howard Gardner titled, Truth, beauty and goodness reframed: educating for the virtues in the Twenty-First Century (New York: Basic Books / Perseus, 2011).  I have become increasingly aware of the responsibility each person has for integrating the reality of his or her individuality […]

Wisdom-ing and Consciousness-Transformation

Hello, sports fans—er, well, if the sport is seeing how well we can penetrate the veils of illusion in which we live, or how well we can construct a more useful philosophy of life. Today I just posted on my website a couple of papers, both published in a now-defunct journal several years ago—or at […]

You Don’t Have to Know What You’re Doing

The other day it occurred to me that although I have high status in several areas, have diplomas and certificates and am generally thought to know what I’m doing, in fact, most of the time, I do not know what I’m doing! I sort of explore the world, improvise, get feedback, adjust, negotiate, feel my […]