(Supplement to biographical information.)


A missionary of human potential

     finds Sun City Heavenly

By journalist Temple Pouncey, who interviewed me)

This was an article in the City Week, the Community Newspaper of Sun City, Georgetown, Texas (November 4, 2007, p. 2:

    Before moving to Sun City 10 years ago, Dr. Adam Blatner was a psychiatrist. “But I’m not a shrink,” he emphasized in a recent interview. “I’m an expander.” Indeed, he continues to expand his mind and those of anyone he meets.

      At age 70 one of the community’s most active residents, Dr. Blatner is a co-founder of Senior University and one of its most prolific lecturers. He also is an author, speaker, and cartoonist, and with wife Allee is an avid walker, folk dancer and square dancer and a member of the Sun City Singers and Theater Group.

       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 Los Angeles, the young Adam Blatner was in perfect position to witness the birth of the counterculture/ hippie movement of the Fifties and Sixties, what he calls “a cultural shift.”

    He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of California at Berkeley (graduating with honors in cultural aspects of religion and being accepted into Phi Beta Kappa).

      “I draw cartoons for the Daily Cal for the first political party that emerged at Berkeley, which was called Slate,” he recalled. “It was apolitical but a force for change, advocating that college should be more than fraternities and frills. It was a fun education, a wonderful experience. We were spoiled because we talked about politics, religion, and sex.”

That environment, which urged everyone to question authority, shaped him, Dr. Blatner said.

    He attended medical school at the University of California’s San Francisco campus--I always loved medicine”--and did his psychiatric residency at the Stanford University Medical Center. “I think of myself as a missionary from the San Francisco Bay human potential movement to the rest of America,” he said. “I am on the outer fringes of the cutting edge.”

      After starting private psychiatric practice in Palo Alto, Calif., Dr. Blatner had the good fortune to meet Allee, who would become his second wife and partner in thinking, reading, and writing books about their intellectual passions.

“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 remembers a statement of a man who was a rather good abstract artist as well as one who suffered from relapses of schizophrenia. Faced with life’s difficulties, the patient said, “It’s that darned reality,” as if it were just an annoying mosquito. Dr. Blatner recognizes the place of imagination and the limits of being too strictly oriented to physical events.

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 3 p.m. and start typing fresh ideas into his computer.

        Dr. Blatner had just settled in Sun City – he arrived in April 1997 – when he took steps to spread education in the community. “Linda Watkins and Jack Kelly and I got Senior University going,” he said. “The first session was in January 1998. It has been an education in politics, the art of getting things done. I still tell people not to be afraid of it, to present themselves to teach something, anything.”

        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 New Delhi.” Sun City, with its wide range of resources, has delighted him for a decade. “I think this is Heaven,” he said with a broad smile. “So I like it here.”