Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Table of Contents:


Action Explorations: A New Category

I’m proposing a new category for thinking about and addressing collective challenges: “action explorations.” This term includes a variety of approaches that have in common the properties of enactment, improvisation, role, and story. One of the approaches within this category is psychodrama, but most dictionaries and many professionals think of this approach mainly as a […]

Afterlife Letter from Freud to Jung

The following is a fantasized letter from Sigmund Freud to Carl Jung about the nature of a more holistic psychology: Dear Carl,         Now that I’m dead to the living, I’ve discovered that as part of my purgatory, my purification process, on this post-death plane I’m encouraged to do a life review. I have come […]

Age-ing (Growing Older)

I’m age 80 now. My wife and I are reading an intriguing book about ageing titled Aging: An Apprenticeship, edited by Nan Narboe. This book’s goal is to help us think about the finitude of our living and to prepares us for our dying, our mortality, our limitedness. The book got me thinking about my […]

All About Fun

A friend mentioned fun as a primary philosophical category and I agreed: I’ve talked to my guardian angel who translates for the committee of about 30 angels—I’m sure I don’t know for sure—who manage my life and on the side and serve as inspiration sources about fun—and they reported that, though some nuances may be […]

All Are Prophets

I was looking through one of Neal Donald Walsh’s Conversations With God series of books and other media, and this notion occurred to me: You and I can imagine vividly, too. It’s just that there has been a cultural taboo against speaking or writing one’s inspiration and then claiming as did the prophets of yore […]

Am I Okay? (Sure)

A certain degree of self-acceptance becomes more necessary as life progresses and I make choices that diverge from the norms of the culture as to what is desirable. Consider: They all have a point, and many other perspectives and intrinsic values might also be entertained: irrelevant, trivial, lacking seriousness, amateurish, lowbrow, intellectually too esoteric, etc. […]

Ambiguous Decisions

Sometimes I’m rather unsure as to which position to take. There are good arguments on both sides of so many things.  (Indeed, on my webpage on ethics I list over 30 current policy issues that I haven’t come to any conclusion.) Someone suggested I join some of the social media, such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, […]

An Amateur Confabulator

I’m an amateur confabulator. Amateur means only that I don’t get paid for this. Or should I say, “You couldn’t pay me to do this!”? And to con-fabulate means to make stuff up. Originally this was a medical term referring to people who because of a mild dementia didn’t even know they were doing it. […]

An Ethical Will (Part 1)

I brought up the idea of the ethical will with my son and we were wondering together what kind of words, what heritage, did we wish to impart to his kids, my grandkids, others.  (Whoa! as of today, over 100,000 hits!) The ethical will is an old Jewish tradition in which we write a letter […]

And the Devil will Drag You Under…

That phrase from the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls (“Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat”) is evocative; but really, it’s not “the” devil—really they’re just old patterns of childish motives combined with the imps of facilitating mental magic that work to seduce you. They’re prevalent, in everyone, not intentionally malignant to begin with. This is […]

Annoyances 2014

Well, one way to cope with them is to bring them from the preconscious, hardly articulated “mood” level to explicit and expressed consciousness, so here are some that have come up lately. They’re minor, residues of childish desires, but saying them neutralizes them a bit: – Having to put away stuff. I don’t mind taking […]


I’ve realized that in the 20th century a major subtle attitude emerged: that there were “answers.” It was okay to ask questions and the unspoken message was that someone somewhere did have an answer. What wasn’t said explicitly enough was that indeed, there were answers to some questions, but this accounted for perhaps only around […]

Aptitudes: Language

I am interested in individuality, a concept that calls the reality of individual differences into sharper contrast. People differ in so many ways and one of these is the aptitude for picking up languages. Some people have a tin ear for music while others are naturally more talented. Michael Erard just wrote a book ( […]

Argument versus Reconciliation

My dear wife Allee and I have some of our greatest enjoyment in talking deeply. Rather than arguing, we listen and then try to not only understand, but express in terms of what the other might be thinking and feeling. We explored two key archetypes last night: I realized I’m settled into a sense that […]

Asymptotic Limits

This is the property of infinitely approaching a limit while being mathematically barred from achieving it. It’s a useful concept not only when studying hyperbolas back in high school algebra, but also insofar as it applies to our tendencies to speak of ideals as attainable. Although there is an element of just liking fancy words—I […]

Awe: Another Viewpoint

Stimulated by a recent article a friend sent me about awe, and building on my theory of levels of consciousness, awe emerges as our minds perceive that which is far greater than us. We open to not just the bigness or whatever, but that such realms exist. It is not only nature. In milder terms […]

Bean uh Splainer

I’m uh splainer. I splain things. You got a thing? I’ll splain it. No problem. I don’t claim to splain it right, according to you or some other standard. I don’t even claim that my splanation will work good. It’s just a splanation. Like a myth. Or a construct, a story, a figment of imagination. […]

Becoming More Spontaneous

One of a number of chosen missions in life is to help people re-own their own natural potential for spontaneity and their capacity for exploratory playfulness. As Allee and I write in The Art of Play (which we’re presently re-writing), spontaneity and playfulness not in itself childish. Although its roots begin in early childhood, and […]

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 […]

Being Introduced

Picture this scene: You are to be a speaker or presenter at some event  and you may or may not be introduced in a way that does justice to you or the subject you’re speaking about.  This has happened to me innumerable times as I’ve spoken at a wide variety of lectures, workshops, symposia, etc. […]

Beyond Reason in Philosophy

Most of true philosophy involves reason, but not all. I like this following quote from one of my favorite philosophers, Alfred North Whitehead (1869-1947), who wrote near the end of his book, Modes of Thought: “The use of philosophy is to maintain an active novelty of fundamental ideas illuminating the social system. It reverses the […]

Bringing Forth Others

It occurred to me that the art of bringing forth others’ creativity and fullness has become part of the role definition of many types of people-helpers—including parents, managers, teachers, spiritual directors and counselors of every type, personal coaches, etc. In the past, the job was simpler: For parents, get kids raised, fed, launched. For most […]

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 […]

Bucket List

What do I want to have done, achieved, experienced, before I “kick the bucket”? This is the “Bucket List.” It becomes ever-more relevant for some and less so for others. My wife, not relevant. Me? A bit. A cousin as part of his Christmas greeting sent me a picture of his holding the New Zealand […]

But It Seems So Compellingly Real

This takes off from previous blog posts. It combines dimensional perspectives and numinour verisimilitude. These may be thought of as deriving their compelling-ness because mind operates on many levels simultaneously: – It can experience things as more or less, as if on a spectrum: One Dimension. – It can experience pattern, color, map, writing, all […]