At age 70 one of the community’s most active residents, Dr. Blatner is
a co-founder of
Interested in philosophy, comparative religion, and other fields, Dr. Blatner is an admitted intellectual, although he stresses that an intellectual is merely “someone who loves ideas.”
Born in 1937 in
He earned his bachelor’s degree at the
“I draw cartoons for the Daily Cal for the first political party that
That environment, which urged everyone to question authority, shaped him, Dr. Blatner said.
He attended medical school at the
After starting private psychiatric practice in
“It was lovely finding an intellectual companion who liked my mind,” he remarked. “That is called grace. The angels set me up. I was lucky enough to meet the smartest woman I ever met. She was doing a graphic design job for me in the Bay Area. Allee enjoys the pursuit of ideas, and she often has insights that I miss at first.
“We’ve been collaborating on everything,” including a book called The Art of Play, which is about using psychodrama mixed with creative drama. Psychodrama, he said, is “therapeutic role playing, imagination expansion mixed with fun. It helps people be more creative with their life. It’s a method of education, like a flight simulator or a rehearsal.”
Dr. Blatner said he loved psychiatry because “I like to listen. “Life is the greatest show on earth, and a physician gets a front-row seat,” he said. “A psychiatrist gets into the locker room and interviews the people. "It’s a detective story better than Sherlock Holmes and poetry better than any poet.”
He added that he was delighted by a line that actor Robin Williams delivered on “Mork and Mindy”: “Reality? What a concept!”
That memory came from Dr. Blatner’s previous life, the one he lived before he swore off television. “I have not had a TV in my house since 1978,” he declared. “That’s because I am an addict and can’t turn it off. I found it amusing and horrifying.” Instead of the box, he prefers the imagination. “Imagination is to thinking as a heartbeat is to exercise,” he said. Thinking so infuses him that he said it is common for him to get out of bed at and start typing fresh ideas into his computer.
Dr. Blatner had just settled in
Dr. Blatner has been advocating his ideas in print since 1973, when he wrote an introductory text on psychodrama. Four books have followed, the latest published earlier this year, titled, Interactive and Improvisational Drama: Varieties of Applied Theatre and Performance.
His books, he said, have been translated into several languages. He continues to write articles on applied philosophy, psychology, psychodrama, and other topics. His next project, he said, is to publish a book of his cartoons.
In the age of video and the Internet, Dr. Blatner continues his love
affair with the printed word. “I love to eat libraries,” he stated. “I
would rather browse a library than wander the streets of