Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:


“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 […]

“Another Lens on Reality”

That’s how the later Ursula LeGuin described her work. I don’t claim to know what sense she had of her line, but if we expand “reality” as a concept to include every-one, and then include everyone to include the sentient life forms such as the snake-people on the fifth planet circling the giant start Betelgeuse—don’t […]


This is a term I just made up—one who enjoys contemplating. I confess I use the medium of the blog to go ahead and see what I’m contemplating —writing mini-essays. It’s a more prosaic type of poetry, articulated so as to explain. So it’s not just the suggestiveness of poetry, and I confess to being […]

“Make New Friends but Keep the Old”

I used to sing the above as a simple song, a round, in fact. A camp song:    Make new friends, but keep the old:    One is silver and the other gold. Is it true anymore? I wondered recently. Or does it depend on reciprocity. When I learned this little tune, I had no […]

“My Precious” (Trash?!)

It doesn’t have to be a magic ring that could make you invisible if you wore it—and which imparted a kind of “high” that made you want to wear it a lot—, as it was for the weird frog-man character, “Gollum”  in the Hobbit stories by Tolkien.  It can be a plastic ring that you […]

“Subversive” Books

My friend Jackie Woolley, with whom I square dance and we work out in the same exercise class in our community gym, is a thinker and writer, and wrote recently about how she has enjoyed reading books, noting that they are subversive. Indeed, I too have enjoyed my quiet rebellion against what I intuitively sensed […]

“Ultimate Concern”

Paul Tillich, the theologian, uses this phrase to refer to his approach to theology. He attributes this to everyone, but I think people relate to religion at their own level of consciousness. Tillich is attributing to everyone an abstract resonance that he himself experiences. (I tend to do this also, because I take my thinking […]

"Other than That, He’s Perfectly Normal”

This line from a skit in the mid-1970s done by the British comedy troupe, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which was on public television at the time. The line would address the fallacy of normality —there are so many variables that no one could ever be “normal” —but rather everyone copes with the institutional requirements, and […]

A “Perfect” Life

I’m not claiming that my life was objectively perfect, but subjectively I’ve come to a point of cultivating an attitude of “so this is what it is,” really knowing that I don’t have a clue to what it is, but there is that awakening sensation, that moment of perceived insight: I had to mess up […]

A Birthday Card

My daughter-in-love, Debbie, sent a beautiful birthday card to my wife, Allee, which, now that I think of it, symbolizes my wealth in relationships. I need this now that I’m divesting of stuff. Kids, grandkids, being proud, grateful, as I hear tales of folks who don’t have it so good, I realize that I shouln’t […]

A Christmas Tree Contemplation

I’m singing again, for the 16th or so year, in our community chorus, getting ready to perform our Christmas Holiday conference. It’s pretty Christian, but also some Hanukkah melodies sometimes, and some secular melodies about the contemporary Holiday season, “kids jingle-bell-ing” and that sort of thing. I really like this, even though I’m more an […]

A Confession of Faith

A personal myth: Which is to say,       The older I get, I sort of think the following:   Not that I believe any of this is literally true, of course.    It is such a metaphor! But, seriously, I do live deeply into it:    That God/Universe is Awakening       In a billion galaxies […]

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 Decision to Become a Doctor

When I was seven years old, Dr. Dixon operated on me at the Mayo Clinic, leaving me with a colostomy for a year. I went back a year later and he closed it. He wrote articles such as this shortly afterwards: Surgical Clinics of North America; Volume 28, Issue 4, August 1948, Pages 889-902: In […]

A Hundred Loose Screws

I have a panel in front of me, figuratively speaking, a panel with a hundred more-or-less tightened screws, although 34% have been loosened 1/8 to ½. I am loosening them a little at a time. It’s not that I have a screw loose, which implies that there is one screw holding my mind in place, […]

A Jewish New Year Contemplation

It’s Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, one of the highest holy days, a time to contemplate the year past and the year forward. My wife went to the services, and I stayed home and contemplated events. I cultivate a deep spirituality of creativity, one that even as I settle into certain mythic theme keeps […]

A Kaddish Contemplation

Kaddish is the name of the Jewish prayer said for those in mourning for those who have passed on, also known as a prayer for the dead. But in fact it’s not a prayer for the person who has died, it’s a prayer to re-align the living. Kaddish re-focuses the one praying; its words implicitly […]

A Little “Tottery”

To tell you the truth, I’m growing older, approaching 80, a tiny bit more tottery. I still dance, but for fast folk dances it takes a little more time to get the messages through my nerves down to the feet. Still ballroom dance. There seems to be a balance between exercising to one’s capacity and […]

A New Computer

For my 81st Birthday—heck, just because it was time—we (my darling wife and I) decided to purchase a new computer with MS Word instead of Wordperfect, the latter word processing system disappearing as a viable “force” in the field. That’s kinda funny, because I had assumed that it was a major competitor for the word-processing […]

A Sad But Amusing Situation

Fields of Specialization in psychology or medicine or anything need to struggle to gain recognition and status, but what happens when some of the more active aspirants are “upstarts” who challenge the “establishment”? I was one who, because of my persistence, obtained status from some people—but not in the eyes of everyone! I see this […]

A Theological Confabulation

  I am a contemplateur, an affected term I made up to make my lazy thinking about stuff sound fancy. It’s a way to play. So I’ve been thinking about the Big Whats-it-all-about, beyond space, time, matter, and energy. I view these categories as fabulous in their infinitude, but still I have a hunch that […]

A Well-Rounded Life

Here’s a myth I heard: We sing and dance for the gods. This is our task. They don’t have hands and feet, so we need to do it, and they enjoy through us. I think it was about Australian Aborigine nature religions, but I’m not sure. It’s a deep idea, though. Dancing and singing has […]

About Me (Adam Blatner)

I play many roles. My more official role that is gradually fading, but not completely, is that of physician who specialized in psychiatry. Not that I was ever mainline, but neither was I very maverick—sort of in-between. I was enough mainline to serve on the faculty of a mainstream medical school in their departments of […]

Adam Blatner, 1937-2021

Adam Blatner, M.D., “floated to the finish” (in his own words) in October. Inspired as a child by his primary physician’s kindness, Dr. Blatner declared his intention to become a doctor even before elementary school, saying “I want to help other little children, like you do.” Graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, where he […]

Adam Many-Parts

In a recent blog post on dancing a thousand flames, I mentioned the idea of being many selves—playing many roles. I’m flagrant in this regard, playing with the whole idea of playing roles. Of course many cartoonists, comic book writers, and dramatists do likewise, and I’ve been more than a little influenced by these genres. […]