Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Moreno and Jung: Confabulating

Originally posted on September 8, 2017

An acquaintance of mine is writing about J. L. Moreno (the creator of psycho-drama) and Carl G.  Jung, the founder of analytic psychology. It might be more correct to say that she has written about their associated theoretical system and how these systems have evolved over the years. It should be noted that Jung emphasized that he could only speak about the vast realm of psyche from his own temperament and, indeed, his own individual journey, with his own background, etc. What may be generalized from that is somewhat limited by those disclaimers.

Moreno was of a far more extraverted nature, and also shows less humility. Nevertheless, much of his vision is equally valid, from other angles. That is, for some, reading  Moreno sparks insights and associations. I might say this also for all others who have written about the mind!

The mind is amazingly complex, transcendent, and able to confabulate. “Confabu-lation” is a word theat describes an unconscious way that meaning is made, patterns are discerned, and yet it is all seemingly rational. This process is evident in some brain diseases such as Korsakoff’s psychosis, caused by alcoholism plus protein deficiency: You can say to such a person, "Hey, I saw you yesterday at the baseball game! You were in front of me! Yeah, the Yankees were playing the Dodgers!"  and the person addressed  that way would "remember" (lightning-fast) and replies. "Oh, yeah, you were behind me." This is confabulation. It’s quite unconscious.

In this sense, then, the human mind can make up sensible seeming-realities—confabulate—- meanings in alchemy, astrology, the I-Ching (Chinese "Book of Changes," Tarot cards, and other ambiguous stimuli. Dreams, too. So add this to the mix. Mind creates meaning.

Moreno was more extraverted, but he also confabulated meaning. He didn’t literally believe his theology, but used it metaphorically. He might even have trouble saying this, though. Indeed, I consider all the major pioneers right, and their views of the mind complementary: Adler was right and Otto Rank, etc., in what they affirmed. They could be mistaken in what they denied, as in improv—Yes, and… instead of No, but.

The mind as Jung knows it is vast. I explain it using the idea of dimensionality. (That is, descriptions in the cosmos are limited by what dimension they may be  ‘at.’ I like the idea of inter-field compare-and-contrast, what you are doing! It adds thickness to our field.  Many fields can be viewed as valued within the framework of other fields—psychodrama from a Jungian perspective; Jungian work from a psycho-dramatist’s perspective. (Freud from Jung’s viewpoint, Jung from the  perspective of Otto Rank, etc.) But back in the first half of the 20th century most people claimed that their preferred modality was somehow ‘better’ (for everyone)!

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