Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

The Breadth of Being-ness

Originally posted on March 17, 2011

On my website I’ve posted a more lengthy paper about how it would be better for us to imagine that our sense of self expand beyond the boundaries of our brain and body to include not only close relationships, but our participation in wider social networks.

(Some of you may know that my career and life has been significantly influenced by the many ideas and methods of Dr. Jacob L. Moreno, and one of those ideas revealed his intuition that we don’t have roles we play, but rather it might be better to think that we are those roles; who we are really involves not only the part of us that subjectively looks at the world, but the deep way we respond to the many pulls, influences, tugs of others with whom we share many role relationships. Just as Freud opened the door to the personal unconscious, in a way, Moreno envisioned a social unconscious (though he never explicitly framed it this way). Much social psychological research more recently, especially, supports this, such as Daniel Goleman’s 2005 book, Social Intelligence. In other words, one who really wants to understand human nature nowadays needs to be as much of a social psychologist and in a sense a cultural psychologist as an individual psychologist! )

Our culture has drifted towards the more narrow vision, so I think it would be useful to correct this imbalance towards hyper-individualism and recognize the degree to which we are social animals. Several books, such as “From Me to We,”  also participate in this trend towards owning our social embedded-ness. 

I’d be open to your comments. (Another extension of this is the not-yet-widely-appreciated shift from writing as one-way author-reader communication to a more mutual and interactive relationship where readers become commentators, writers-in-response, and authors respond to readers’ feedback, and so it goes.

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