Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Moreno’s God-Playing

Originally posted on March 4, 2015

Psychodrama was invented by Jacob L. Moreno in the late 1930s, and applied mainly in psychotherapy—although he tried to spread it into business and education. I have books of ideas about psychodrama, building on his foundation. Moreno was an odd fellow, a bohemian if there ever was one. I’m reading about the modern-day fusion of bohemian and bourgeoise in David Brooks’ book, Bobos (Bohemian Bourgeoisie): The New Upper Class and How The Got There (2000, New York etc.: Simon & Schuster.) (Especially page 68, the Bohemian qualities that describe Moreno’s life around 1910).

John Nolte recently wrote a fairly decent book about Moreno’s many ideas, though I object to the idea that Moreno really thought he was God. In my studies I never got the impression that Dr. Moreno himself ever really, really thought he was the God of the Cosmos. Rather, he dared to go 1/3 of the way there in fantasy, knowing that it was fantasy: In writing the Words of the Father Moreno psychodramatically took on the role and from that role-taking allowed inspiration to flow through him. This is not at all really thinking that he was god.

Indeed, Jacob suffered too many minor humiliations, too much neglect. The actual ruler of the universe would not be so afflicted. Moreno brushed these  subtle rejections off, his narcissism not letting him spiral into a defeatist attitude. This was his strength as well as evidence of an underlying pathology. Good for us he did this. But I don’t think he could ever go so far as to think of himself in the sense that our Western view of God as really “the” director of the whole shebang.

Perhaps Moreno might have intuited that he was god—just a tiny bit—insofar as all of us may imagine that we are expressions of Divine spirit—not just Moreno but you, too. But I think that this quasi-Eastern philosophical viewpoint was not in his conscious mind. Rather, I think he just dared to play out his own theses that we can play in surplus reality, we can be god or devil, cowboy or bank-robber, hero or villain, and he dared not only talk about it but exemplify it. I acknowledge that in his narcissism he went a little further than most, but yet nowhere do I see him really getting lost in the pretending. So, yes, Moreno did a bit of God-playing, but then again, so have others, such as Ivan Tate, who wrote “Letters from God,” or Neale Donald Walsch, who wrote a series of book about “Conversations with God.”

Indeed, it’s a salutary exercise: What would you notice, comment on, command, if you were in the role of God. Of course it’s beyond our puny-human brains to dare to even contemplate it, but it’s a worthwhile stretching exercise and it doesn’t really hurt the cosmic unfolding a bit. It might even help if we dared to imagine a bit.

One Response to “Moreno’s God-Playing”

  • Walter Logeman says:

    I’ve just grasped how it might be that the I-god is literally what Moreno meant. I have been skeptical of his theology and can’t bear “God the Father” but I had a glimmer.

    We like god can bring forth something new out of nothing. New responses. We perpetuate conserves but occasionally we do a new thing… We make a shift happen in the world. Maybe cocreators with god. Once we have gone through the warm up, spontaneity to creativity process we are in a zone – maybe godlike. At that moment of creativity we are protagonists, sociometrically linked to everyone – working for all of us and influencing the whole.

    I wrote an essay on this theme

    I refer to psychodramatic moments.

    Now I think they may be I-god moments.

    What do you think?

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