Adam Blatner, M.D

August 16, 2012   (also see paper on Creative Mythmaking, and various examples I've done in the section of papers devoted to Philosophy & Spirituality


    Using the example of J. L. Moreno’s writing The Words of the Father, this paper notes that the key issue isn’t what he said (the content) so much as offering as an example of an act of improvisation even in the taboo realms of theology. If he can do it, you can do it!
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Dare to improvise your philosophy and spirituality! Create myths that work for you, stories that express your take on the Great What-It’s-All-About. Of course it’s impossible for puny human minds to even begin to know, ultimately, but humans are instinctively bound to discovering meanings. Asking “why” and constructing inner maps are as basic a function as imagining or seeking food or sex. This essay aims to remind everyone that they indeed have the right and in a sense the duty to participate in myth-making. We need to realize that it is only a distortion of history, a quirk of patriarchy, that creativity has been outsourced to properly designated authorities or sources, and this maneuver has been demanded by the accretion of clerical hierarchies of all sorts.

Myth-making has been done as long as humans have told stories. If you think about it, much of the heritage of gurus, sages, saints, shamans, and others who have allowed themselves to be inspired are stories they've made up, new metaphors, allusions to other stories, variations on parables, ways of trying to put into language that which resists being compressed that way. The word "ineffable" captures that sense that what is said is compellingly significant and yet cannot adequately be expressed verbally---or musically, or artistically, or in dance, etc.
But then whatever the sages of the ancient have said have a tendency to be taken literally, frozen in time. What they've said is remembered; the idea of just digging down and trying to say it is forgotten. And that literalism further tends to take on the patina of authority. This is done because people tend to be lazy, they tend to hear a good line and say, "Yes, that's the way it is." They tend to be in awe of those more expressive than themselves. And more, there is some value to accumulating a body of tradition (a frozen cultural conserve)---especially with the aid of the medium of writing---and treat it as holy. (This is called bibliolatry, treating a scripture as if it were the Creative Manifesting Everything.) So establishments emerge, consolidate, mark what is and is not "in" the "official canon," mark everything outside as heretical and if that weren't bad enough, the work of Satan. This serves the accumulation of wealth, status, privilege and control of clerical elites, and these underlying incentives should not be underestimated.) Thus, there have always been tensions between those who try—usually for the best of conscious intentions—to systematize the process, to freeze it, and those who continue to discover and report yet new insights and offer new meanings! (We live in a time when the forces that freeze the cultural conserve are losing ground, but this is just beginning.)

An illustrative myth-story: When God said, “I’m a-gonna make me a world!” the Devil replied, “Hey, I’ll organize it for you!” One part of organization is the establishment of the cultural conserve not just as a source for further creativity, but rather frozen as a finished product to be relied on, thus stifling creativity. Moreno recognized the necessity of the first part—the proper function of the cultural conserve—everything useful that has been created—but tried to reverse the hypnotic and lazy tendency to freeze and worship the products of creativity. He wanted folks to keep creating, keep empowering themselves! Just because something was created that doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved, shouldn’t be questioned, or other avenues also explored!

Our culture has been for the most part in the grip of those who have conserved the ancient teachings, added to them, interpreted them, made “law” based on them, and in the course of this accretion, quite forgot that at the outset someone just made this stuff up. No way: These are holy words, the words of the Most-High Himself. (It is a rather patriarchal idea, associated with kings who give orders. Matriarchal spiritualities are more ambiguous and focused on the way spirit unfolds from within rather than descends from “on high.”)

It’s convenient in a way—it allows people to relax into the illusion that ultimate truth is taken care of, outsourced, and the people who take it on are well-qualified. None of that is so, of course, not a bit of it, but there is the authority of time: I mean (playing the role), if people believed it for thousands of years—or like that sort of thing, well, then, it must be so, mustn’t it? I mean, people wouldn’t just believe stuff that wasn’t so, would they? And that proves that it probably is so, or at least who am I to doubt the force of tradition?

Jacob L. Moreno, M.D. (1889 - 1974)

Moreno is best known for having developed the role playing technique known as psychodrama, as well as having been a pioneer in the fields of social  role theory, dynamic social psychology (sociometry), role playing for social conflicts, improvisational theatre, and group psychotherapy. However, less well known are two other roles: First, Moreno saw all his works as extensions of a spiritual philosophy of creativity. I say spiritual—he might have used the word, “religion,”—but what was involved is Moreno’s fearless and compelling recognition that God created, and that creativity is in turn God in action. We’re not talking about the Judaeo-Christian or Islamic or other patriarchal versions of the Supreme Unity: No, we’re talking mainly about the principle of creativity in the cosmos and, for literary or pedagogic purposes, the personification of this trans-personal force. (So while many theologians write about the "creator," few have really considered the full implications of continuous creativity!)

The second role was a derivation of the first: If Divinity is best recognized as the prolific, effulgent, persistent processes of creativity at every level in every moment, then it might be appropriate to recognize that the single commandment for plants, animals and humans is simple:  Be creative, and support the creativity of others. (Interestingly, this is the basic idea proposed by the little-known Russian philosopher, Nikolai Berdyayev around 1915.)

An interesting sideline is that attention to the great mysteries of afterlife, the heavens, the origins of the cosmos, the anatomy of angelic hierarchies, the ultimacy of rules that transcend mere social custom—all of these are really none of our business. There’s no way we will make the least headway on any of this stuff. One approach is to turn away from such speculations and address science as the source of value—but that is called scientism. However, there’s a big difference between what is (science) and what “should” be (morality), though they come close at times.

The other approach is to focus our broader philosophy or spirituality on how we can recognize that the challenge of helping the world be a better place is truly holy. (Holy, whole, healing---they come from the same word root.) The point, though, is that Moreno’s spirituality is very much in the realm of what humans can do!: We can support more creativity being valued and implemented in child-rearing, education, politics, medicine, spirituality, and so forth. We can also identify, accurately critique, and begin to counter the many traditions, rules, and minds that suppress creativity. All of Moreno’s many endeavors may be viewed as ways to achieve these goals. They may be applied on many levels, somato-psychic (freeing up frozen muscle patterns), intra-psychic, inter-personal, small group, organization, social and general cultural dynamics. His vision of sociatry took all this beyond mere therapy and aimed at promoting creativity in communities and national and international politics.

The philosophy of creativity reaches into the psychology—the way the mind tends to give up its own creative potential, tends to give its power to those shallow enough to demand it. It reaches into epistemology: Philosophers may argue, and commoners may dither, but truth go to the shallow but charismatic sociopaths who claim to be able know with confidence and tell others what’s what. People tend to be gullible followers and a few to be grandiose leaders, and only a few question whether this has to be this way.

Moreno’s Inspiration

I like how people’s weakness in one role can also be their strengths in other roles. Moreno was filled with a degree of belief in what he saw about his own creative potential and those of others that from one perspective would be magnificent self-confidence and from another perspective, pathological grandiosity. In some roles this energy and vision sustained his prodigious accomplishments; in other roles the same qualities led to many onetime allies who sensed his genius becoming quite fed up with him. As with many other life stories, the same quality was both positive and negative. In addition there were other qualities that added to strengths and weaknesses—some charm and some abruptness, and so forth.

These mixed qualities inhibiting the ultimate success of his genius. In other roles, it was just this quality that in part accounted for that genius. The man believed so strongly in his vision that he dared to dare many things. It drove his incredible productivity in writing and publishing—and let me say from experience, publishing takes a great deal of time and effort behind the scenes!

So it is in life. But in a broader frame, perhaps that edge of grandiosity was necessary for the era, because to dare develop a theology was pretty remarkably bold. Others were bold in interpreting spirituality in other ways, such as Rudolf Steiner, etc. But Moreno dared speak for God, imagining what God would say—the kind of God that was Creativity Personified.
The reason I bring this up is that Moreno dared to develop his own theology, one in which the Divine is more than anything a personification of the principle of creativity. Alas for him, his name for this spirit was painfully patriarchal at a time when patriarchy was being critiqued for partaking of too many cultural and gender-stereotype elements of hyper-masculinity. But that was really not his point at all. Much of his theology was really beyond any gender connotations (though, alas, not all). Indeed, his choice of “Father”-god was very much an expression of the turn-of-the-century Western-European culture and though he was a century ahead of his time in many ways, it would be unfair to expect anyone to completely transcend his own era.

What inspired me was another book—reading about the many types of theology expressed in the early centuries following Jesus’ crucifixion. Now considered heretical (because they bypassed the patriarchal hierarchy of the growing power of the church), these writings—described in the mid part of Elaine Pagels’ recent book on Revelation (2012)—clearly run the gamut of ways spirituality can be expressed, with more feminine metaphors, paradoxes, and a grounding more in the personal experience of connectedness (mysticism) and immanence—i.e., that the Divine expresses through the life and consciousness of everything.

This bridges back to Moreno, who didn’t worry about academic promotions or the critiques of other philosophers. He just did his thing, and having been somewhat influenced by the great sages of the past, allowed himself that childlike innocence that said, in effect, “Hey, if they can do it, I can do it!” Being of a similar (improvisational) temperament, I find this deeply wise. I don’t agree with every poem or formulation he came up with, but I do agree that not only Moreno, but you and you and everyone should be so empowered!

This is a major paradigm shift: Religion has always been made up by prophets and then conserved. You are far too puny to make up your own theology, your own philosophy, your own metaphysical viewpoint—heck, you can’t even make up a melody in the passing paradigm: These must be created by your betters. But like the Wizard of Oz, don’t look behind the curtain. A creator is great because of the products—but we blinded ourselves to really look at the process—the way most creators made tons of mistakes and revisions.

Creativity is a terribly inefficient process. I’m all for it, and appreciate the zillion creative activities that made for my world being more comfortable; but in fact, very few emerged fresh and new from the egg of inspiration. Thomas Edison’s comment about his creativity was 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

Moreno noted that what we need to recognize is the daring to create, and the willingness to re-create again and again. It doesn’t matter that it didn’t work. Try another variation, try a slight twist or turn or edited phrase. Glory in the activity of trying, not the success! This is so very difficult to “get” in a world where most of schooling is associated not with creativity but with memorization: Did you read what x said? X had the right answer. If you’d studied you’d know the right answer. Tests were of memorized facts—many of which have shifted in the postmodern turn so that if not wrong, they have become either irrelevant or just limited. No, the conditioning to memorization is part of what Moreno was trying to break through, to point to something obvious once you finally “see” it: process, not product!

We live in an era that in the last generation has increasingly begun to value creativity and innovation. The number of books on various ways of promoting this has expanded fantastically. It’s an “in” thing—and very few of the authors have any acquaintance with Moreno’s pioneering.

(Part of the reason is because his work quickly became folded into the realm of psychotherapy, which in turn was overshadowed by Freudianism. And though Moreno (1) applied the method in many non-clinical settings; (2) envisioned group functioning as operating far beyond again the setting of just “therapy,” and wrote about sociatry and sociometry again as being far from just therapy, that’s how he is thought of, and that’s what most dictionaries say psychodrama is—a form of treatment.  But my point is that it’s a great bunch of ideas and techniques that have application in bringing people forth, promoting group cohesion and creative thinking in all areas!)

Historical Perspectives

Back to theology, which is itself a very thorny subject. Moreno’s ideas emerged during an era when most theology was under the auspices of traditional, authoritarian, established, organizational religion! Thee modern and scientific world found this tradition profoundly non-compelling. Much of Western history since the late 1700s might be viewed as in part involving a flight from all forms of tyrannical, authoritarian, totalitarian, and state-church based religion. This is a struggle still happening between the modern and pre-modern elements of culture. The problem has been how not to throw out with the bathwater of the aforementioned toxic elements the proverbial "baby" of the essential intuition of spirituality: i.e., There’s more to life than what’s on the surface! Moreno got this, and for him it was the exciting, child-like, exuberant flow of creativity. Others of a more contemplative temperament got a deeper, quieter flow, or even a point of stasis amidst the hubbub of the mind. Different folks tap into different core archetypes.

(There’s an interesting sociometry of spirituality here: What if folks could really warm up to there being a multiplicity of deep metaphors truly freely available? By the way, there is a name for this: "spiritual privelege." Some small segments of culture enjoy and utilize this freedom to shop and choose what fits. But what if in general this were a norm. Everyone was helped to  warm up to what they intuitively connect with? Some might feel more naturally drawn to a more Tibetan, or Zen, or Roman Catholic, or any other religious ground—even without being told to do so. Being perfectly free, there might be a great proliferation also of personal takes on the Cosmic What-It’s-All-About.)

I have written on my own take elsewhere on this website, and have dared to speculate on myths that work for me. Nor is this fixed: I come up with new ideas not infrequently. I don’t argue that these ideas should or even could work for anyone else. Maybe some might stimulate other people's thinking, so I post them on this website or on my blog. This is key, because in the not-too-distant-past, mythic structures were thought of as semi-rational beliefs that accurately described the out-there. People believed that what they believed was true for others, too, and by golly we’re going to save their souls even if we have to torture them to death. Crazy sh*t! But that contaminated traditional religion (along with protestations of Love, Love, Love) like lines of fat and gristle in beef dishes (also known as murdered cow).

 What I’m getting at is that Moreno modeled making up his own spirituality. It took the form of his presuming to role reverse with his own idiosyncratic view of God, an act of imagination, not something that we need to take with any authority! (In my own opinion, Moreno's mystical poetry is okay, not great, although I can discern flashes of ideas, insights, that I find exciting. Some I might phrase differently if I were in the role of a revealing god, but, hey, the point I’m making here is that what's important is not what Moreno said in his god-playing, but rather that he offered an example: Here, I did it, now, you can do it too! You can relax and listen and channel and know on one hand that it’s just little-ego’d you talking, and on the other hand, there might be a 10 - 84% inspiration from “higher self,” “guardian angel,” “transpersonal entity,” whatever.

In my mythology, the truly one Manifesting Everything beyond a trillion galaxies does not engage in  dialogue with mere humans, but—this is my mythology, you understand—rather delegates this to the arch-angelic department of inspirational muses, sub-department of improvisational theology, galaxy 408,243,311,983c, sector 84-33-11, planet 3, etc.  —but within  that humble recognition, I still claim the honor of receiving inspirations! (As I also grant you!).
We’re talking about the joy of opening to inspiration, knowing we’re distorting it, but also knowing that it’s inspiring us. So you can do it too, and it’s a kind of creativity.

The radical point is that it’s possible to envision a time when everyone will find the level of prophecy, myth-making, getting in touch with whatever inspirations—spiritual, musical, dramatic, artistic—whatever creative angle is fun for you. That, I think, is where Moreno’s vision and the vision of some of the more open-minded, open-souled early Christians, and mystics of many other traditions may share in common. Go for it!


Moreno, J.L. The Words of the Father.

Johnson: A psychology of interpersonalism.

I believe it is necessary to interpret Moreno's writings, as I do not always find him very clear. One of his more intriguing passages is at the beginning of his 1947 translation and revision of his 1923 book, The Theatre of Spontaneity. He writes on page 3 of his "suffering" from an idee fixe, a French term for a mild obsession, not so much in the pathological sense, but rather more as a guiding vision:
..."The idee fixe became my constant source of productivity; it proclaimed that there is a sort of primordial nature which is immortal and returns afresh with every generation, a first universe which contains all beings and in which all events are sacred. I liked that enchanting realm and did not plan to leave it, ever."
Moreno then goes on to write about his story-telling in the gardens (i.e., parks) of Vienna, and then notes: "It was not as much what I told them, the tale itself, it was the act, the atmosphere of mystery , the paradox, the irreal become real..." (Now I'm aware that I'm being a little selective, here, because taking the whole of these few pages results in a blur of ideas, digressions and circumstantiality. Engaging in an act of interpretation necessarily requires a certain kind of focus.)

Then the top of page 4 is what I consider to be the most revealing and possibly meaninful paragraph in all Moreno's writings:

"When gradually the mood came over me to leave the realm of children and move into the world, it was with the decision that the idee fixe should remain my guide. Therefore, whenever I entered a new dimension of life, the forms which I had seen with my own eye in that virginal world stood before me. They were models whenever I tried to envision a new order of things or to create a new form. I was extremely sure of these visions. They seemed to endow me with a science of life before experience and experiment verified their accuracy. When I entered a family, a school, a church, the house of congress and any other social institution, I revolted against them in each case; I knew they had become distorted and I had a new model ready to replace the old."
Moreno goes on to talk about the theater at this point, but that is because it became his vehicle, his laboratory for developing his ideas. Yet I have not been able to find in his own writings any more explanations about specifically what that idee fixe entailed!

I think, though, Moreno was talking about this "primordial nature" or "first universe" on pages 34-35 about a realm of existence he called "metapraxie," and which I noted in 1988 to be the equivalent of a Platonic realm of ideal forms--and also related it to Jung's concept of archetype and the Jewish mystical system called "Kabbalah." (Although in the original article I hadn't found evidence of Moreno's knowing about Kabbalah, later I discovered in Moreno's autobiography--published in the journal in 1989, on page 30, that he did indeed study this approach.).

I think Moreno was describing what I call "the source," a vision of a world in which the best of child-like-ness (not child-ish-ness) is integrated with the best of maturity. These child-like qualities include openness, warmth, self-expression, self-disclosure, affection, moving away from that which seems unpleasant, imaginativeness, innocence, art, playfulness, exuberance, physical involvement, excitement, dramatization, enactment, excitement, vitality, and above all--and perhaps including all--spontaneity and creativity.

It was Moreno's genius--and I definitely think of him as a genius--that he was able to envision and intellectually respond to this vision, not by withdrawing from life into regressive and self-indulgent fantasy, but rather by manifesting it in real life. He disciplined himself to develop specific methods for developing these dynamics. Beginning with the discovery that the theatre offered a vehicle for experimentation, he then found that he could adapt theatrical devices to other social institutions, spontaneity training, education, applied sociology and psychotherapy. And yet, within these practical endeavors I discern Moreno's idee fixe in which he presses our adult life to partake of elements of the old pagan gods such as Dionysius and the muses.

Another aspect of Moreno's genius was that he envisioned the multidimensional nature of this quest. It wasn't just the need of the individual artist. (That inspiration would have placed Moreno in the ranks of so many individualists of the Modern era.) In addition, he saw that the social matrix needed creativity and healing, and even the cosmic--a term which for him I interpret to mean the complex of physical universe, phenomenal universe (including all psychological experience), and transcendent spiritual realms of complex interrelationships and meanings--which mystics have identified with the Divine realm. And these social and quasi-theological perspectives lent a truly holistic perspective that is becoming recognized in our own postmodern era as the only truly intellectually responsible worldview.

So while psychodrama may be the most obvious or well-recognized method elaborated out of Moreno's vision, we must also include sociometry, group psychotherapy, the theatre of spontaneity, his approach to role theory, a psychology of interpersonal relations, the philosophical place of creativity, and even its spiritual implications. In addition, there are also a number of important more specific concepts such as "warming-up," "tele," or the different types of "catharsis."

From psychodrama emerges a number of offshoots and/or connections: role playing in business and professional training, drama and role playing in education, drama therapy, spontaneity training in the community, other forms of "non-scripted theater," creative dramatics as recreation, sociodrama for problem-solving and in community programs, etc. The point here is that source has many applications, as the trunk of the tree has many branches.

Yet the roots of all these manifested forms is this idee fixe, this source of metapraxie, a source which, though certainly not the whole of wisdom in the cosmos, nevertheless refers to a dimension which needs to be recognized as interrelated to the whole, and which has been generally misunderstood and/or neglected.

This vision must be sought intuitively, directly imagined. It is not easy (or perhaps even possible) to fully communicate the mixture of interrelationships of elements mixed with what Jung called "numinosity."

Numinosity is a quality of vivid significance, something that "grabs" you emotionally as profoundly important. Falling head-over-heels in love partakes of the numinous. Finding a calling, encountering a story, myth, picture, scene that deeply inspires you, encountering your "vocation," discovering the "bliss" that Campbell suggests you follow--all refer to that category of experience in which your soul or spirit comes into sharp resonance. Occasional dreams or images can be numinous. Such experiences lend "juice" to life.

So the reason Moreno's "idee" was so "fixe" is that it was numinous, it resonated with some conjunction of archetypal images moving in his soul. One can speculate as to the source of a person's guiding vision, his "daimon," calling, or source of inspiration. Are they gifts from God or "the gods" or residues of "past lives"? A more familiar mode of contemporary hermeneutics is that of psychobiography, examining or speculating on the psychodynamics of this complex--and this might begin with the story of Moreno's earliest reported trauma.

Moreno's Life-Style Decision

If we bring an Adlerian perspective to Moreno's own story of his "God-playing" story, it leads to some interesting possibilities. First, according to his own and Marineau's biography, Moreno was clearly a pampered and idealized child--the ground for a narcissistic character elaboration was already in place. So it is not surprising that among his playmates he should choose the role of God and assign to the others the roles of angels. That morning in the basement they constructed a tower of chairs and tables, and in the heat of the enactment, little Jake climbed to the top of the tower, sitting precariously on a teetering chair. "Come on," called his pals, "you can fly too!" And little Jake, caught up in the moment, forgot his reality- testing and flew. But in the non-enchanted realm where gravity continues to exercise its dominion, the child tumbled down breaking his arm.

Now I interpret speculatively: Faced with this traumatic re-establishing of the power of the reality principle over the pleasure principle, did our hero submit? Not Jake! His counter-will was too developed. (Here I weave in a little theory from Freud and Rank.) I imagine this child's response was something like "I can too fly! I will fly! I will find a way to make my dreams, my fantasy, my play...come true!"

I further speculate that this child's play did not cease. Instead of becoming inhibited, he used counter-phobic mechanisms to play with even greater intensity. And as a teenager, he continued to play with kids, as a story-teller (as a pseudo-mature disguise)--yet still enjoying the role of the child who is playing out the stories. And in discovering the world of theatre, I think he intuitively recognized the sublimation for childhood play in the vehicle of drama.

And of course, he also intuited with displeasure the many ways the established theatre detracted from the spontaneity, the immediacy, and the personal self-expression functions provided by childhood imaginative play--and sensed these to be forms of degradation in the theatre--forms which, later, he would try to remedy by creating a theatre of spontaneity.

So, in Adlerian terms, a child makes early life decisions about who he is and what the world is about and constructs a "life style," or what Eric Berne more recently would have called a "script" which expresses his implicit assumptions about how best to cope with the way life is perceived. For Moreno that was a profound desire to reaffirm the possibility of preserving the pleasure principle as embedded in the fantasy-play of childhood. The shame of defeat in his childish God-playing was denied, and he engaged in an act of reaction formation: "I am not impotent, vulnerable, little. I am a creator. I can make up stuff! I can pretend to fly, and find kids who will play with me. And if that isn't as good as really, actually, physically flying, well, it's almost like that, and it's a whole lot better than acting as if I couldn't fly."

So I believe this was the source of his idee fixe, and because little Jake was a clever child, he was able to creatively synthesize elements as he grew, drawing from the philosophies of Bergson and Peirce (who wrote about creativity and spontaneity, thus giving him adult intellectual matrices for his desires); the social milieu of Vienna, which offered room for experimentation; and a host of playmates in later life who supported his maturing vision. He was able to poetically articulate his vision, and more importantly (especially for us), he was able to give it methods for its implementation.

Now, returning to Jung's concepts about archetypes. An archetype expresses the imaginative aspect of instinct, and instinct refers to the socio-biological and neurophysiological infrastructure of human nature. In this case we are referring to the nature of human play, an extension of animal play, but elaborated because of the human capacity for symbolic imagery. This is fueled by the underlying bio-psychodynamics of the affect of excitement. It is related to the innate capacity of mind to disattach from conventional ego-functioning in an active way, not just by meditation. These dynamics lead to ecstatic ritual, drama, catharsis, and many other aspects, which, like other spiritual truths, can easily be caught in a wide range of cultural conserves and so lose their essential vitality or the freshness and depth of their wisdom.

Moreno's idee fixe, his vision of the realm of metapraxie is a mystery, in the sense of a mystery (as defined by the scholar of comparative religion, Professor Houston Smith) being one of those phenomena that, the more you learn about it, the more you discover that there's yet more to learn--seemingly unendingly. Thus, I don't intend to try to encompass or fully formulate this source, any more than I would presume to "explain" the dimension of dreaming. I leave it as an "asymptotic limit," a term to describe some phenomenon which can never be fully realized, and the closer one approximates the goal, the more difficult it becomes--like the speed of light or the ideal of perfection.

Yet when one recognizes this vision as a source of inspiration, it can then serve as an idea for contemplation. This source has also become the foundation for my inspiration as I think, write, and teach about psychodrama. I never seem to get dry, to "burn out," because it isn't based in my own ego. The source seems "out there," and I find it revitalizing to "dip into it" for contemplation and ideas. And I think this vision may be helpful as a source of inspiration and creativity for others, also.

In summary, I think Moreno's idee fixe, his vision of an "enchanted world" where "primordial nature" returns "with every generation" may be translated as the realm of childlike multi-potentiality. I believe this concept can serve as a unifying vision also for psychodramatists, helping to integrate the seemingly quite diverse endeavors and elements in Moreno's system.

Beyond this, I think he was on to something important: Moreno's vision was of a kind of archetypal realm which synthesized the Dionysian and the Apollonian, the egocentric, soul-amplifying power of personal imagery and the social, organized, focusing power of methodology. That these themes can be synthesized through the vehicles of drama and the concretizing action techniques of sociometry is still generally unrecognized in the larger world. These ideas have tremendous relevance for the way people deal with the known world, not just the social sciences, but the arts and indeed all human endeavors. They have practical implications, but deserve to be considered afresh (in the spirit of spontaneity), and to be renewed in theory as well as in action.


Blatner, A., & Blatner, A. (1988). The metaphysics of creativity as reflected in Moreno's metapraxie and the mystical tradition. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama, and Sociometry, 40(4), 155-163.

Moreno, J.L. (1947). The theatre of spontaneity. Beacon, NY: Beacon House.

Moreno, J. L. (Spring, 1989). The autobiography of J. L. Moreno, M.D. (Part 1, abridged; edited by J. D. Moreno.) Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 42(1), 3-52.