Invisible threads

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”

The space between is invisible – we can only talk about it in metaphor e.g. “broken heart”, “bound together”, “muddy path” and here as “sympathetic fibers”. Not only do we use metaphor, we can use images and symbold – rings, hearts. And in psychodrama we have the simple act of concretisation: place people or objects at a distance to show where they are in your life. Distance becomes visible and conveys meaning.

The quote above from (not the Moby Dick man) seems to be saying that our actions can live after us and multiply. Then come back as karma. And then impact everyone. Be careful what you say and do it can reverberate into the future.

I think of this as Moreno’s sociometric matrix. Sympathetic is a nice word there with its roots in symphony – all the parts of the network working together.

The network of course is a physical metaphor for something unseen, the space.




Lenin used the concept often

All humanity is thrown into a tangled bloody heap from which no nation can extricate itself on its own. Though there are more and less advanced countries, this war has bound them all together by so many threads that escape from this tangle for any single country acting on its own is inconceivable.

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Therapeutic Tele

I found a few pages in Psychodrama Vol I by J.L Moreno – I think this item was written well before 77 when the book came out – a Symposium in the 40s?

Moreno talks of the individual locus of physical ailments.  There is another locus for psychological work, the relationship.

Then he gets really radical.  The relationships in life are therapeutic.  The psychodramatist activates the healing potential of the relationships.

And then there is one more thing!

the medium of therapy [is separate] from the healer as well as the group therapeutic agents.

What is that “medium” – Moreno in other places calls it the sociometric matrix.

Here is how I sum up Moreno’s philosophy:  there is a network of social and cultural role patterns we are born into. Born out of perhaps, that is the matrix. Spontaneity is our ability to transcend that given.

Here is the selection in Google Drive.  It should be public – if not email me.

Thus the healing is in the relational paradigm.  (an imago book)

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In the Beginning Is the Relation by Edward Hirsch

Following on from the last post the idea of the primacy of the relationship is beautifully expressed by Edward Hirsh. This time in relationship to poetry.

In the last post with the passage from “A Bridge to Unity” the idea of participation mystique comes up in the context of shamanism.

Moreno’s tele however is universal it is not a special event – not shamansm or poetry. Tele is ever-present and the stuff we work with in relationships.

Edward Hirsh puts it beautifully though:


This is an excerpt from his book:

How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love With Poetry By Edward Hirsch

I found it on the wonderful

PoetryFoundation site:

“In the Beginning Is the Relation

The message in the bottle is a lyric poem and thus a special kind of communique. It speaks out of a solitude to a solitude; it begins and ends in silence. We are not in truth conversing by the side of the road. Rather, something has been written; something is being read. Language has become strange in this urgent and oddly self-conscious way of speaking across time. The poem has been (silently) en route—sometimes for centuries—and now it has signaled me precisely because I am willing to call upon and listen to it. Reading poetry is an act of reciprocity, and one of the great tasks of the lyric is to bring us into right relationship to each other. The relationship between writer and reader is by definition removed and mediated through a text, a body of words. It is a particular kind of exchange between two people not physically present to each other. The lyric poem is a highly concentrated and passionate form of communication between strangers—an immediate, intense, and unsettling form of literary discourse. Reading poetry is a way of connecting—through the medium of language—more deeply with yourself even as you connect more deeply with another. The poem delivers on our spiritual lives precisely because it simultaneously gives us the gift of intimacy and interiority, privacy and participation.

Poetry is a voicing, a calling forth, and the lyric poem exists somewhere in the region—the register—between speech and song. The words are waiting to be vocalized. The greatest poets have always recognized the oral dimensions of their medium. For most of human history poetry has been an oral art. It retains vestiges of that orality always. Writing is not speech. It is graphic inscription, it is visual emblem, it is a chain of signs on the page. Nonetheless: ‘I made it out of a mouthful of air,’ W. B. Yeats boasted in an early poem. As, indeed, he did. As every poet does. So, too, does the reader make, or remake, the poem out of a mouthful of air, out of breath. When I recite a poem I reinhabit it, I bring the words off the page into my own mouth, my own body. I become its speaker and let its verbal music move through me as if the poem is a score and I am its instrumentalist, its performer. I let its heartbeat pulse through me as embodied experience, as experience embedded in the sensuality of sounds. The poem implies mutual participation in language, and for me, that participation mystique is at the heart of the lyric exchange.

Many poets have embraced the New Testament idea that ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ but I prefer Martin Buber’s notion in I and Thou that ‘In the beginning is the relation.’ The relation precedes the Word because it is authored by the human. The lyric poem may seek the divine but it does so through the medium of a certain kind of human interaction. The secular can be made sacred through the body of the poem. I understand the relationship between the poet, the poem, and the reader not as a static entity but as a dynamic unfolding. An emerging sacramental event. A relation between an I and a You. A relational process.
Originally Published: January 12, 2006

Poet and author Edward Hirsch has built a reputation as an attentive and elegant writer and reader of poetry. Over the course of eight collections of poetry, four books of criticism, and the long-running  ‘Poet’s Choice’ column in the Washington Post, Hirsch has transformed the quotidian into poetry in his own work, as well as demonstrated his adeptness at explicating the nuances and shades of feeling, tradition, and craft at . . .

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History of the Relational Paradigm

It occurred to me that before Imago therapists came up with the idea of the relationship paradigm there were earlier attempts at the formulation.

I’ve mentioned Moreno and ‘tele’, Martin Buber and I-Thou today it occurred to me that Jung also had a concept for something similar: participation mystique. [Turns out I’ve written on this earlier in this post.]

Sure enough, I’m not the first to notice this.

Bridge to Unity – By MD Wilford W. Spradlin, Susan Renee Amazon

The connection between I-Thou and participation mystique is mentioned at least twice in this novel. I’ve also found thesis and other comments I’ll add in later posts.

Page 60:

Screen Shot 2012 10 12 at 2 29 41 PM

Page 96:

Screen Shot 2012 10 12 at 1 53 39 PM

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Social and cultural atom

The pattern of role relations around an individual as their focus is called his cultural atom. Every individual, just as he has a set of friends and a set of enemies, – a social atom – also has a range of roles facing a range of counter-roles.
Psychodrama v. 1 p. 84

The interpsyche occurs then when the role cluster of a couple is particularly intertwined. Love. Upon investigation I imagine there would be a particular quality to the role relationships. The tele would be strong at least in some areas. The tele with the roles passed though the original social atom of each party would be strong. The mutual and positive/negative matches would outweigh the neutral?

This is a psychodramatic look at what Harville Hendrix calls the Imago. Sociometrically it can be explored in great depth.

More moreno quotes follow on the cultural atom

Continue reading

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Zerka Moreno on Doubling and Tele

Still thinking about the interpsyche – and found this passage from Zerka Moreno in the Psychodrama Network News from the American Society of group Psychotherapy and psychodrama 2005 I now see the difference between empathy and doubling. Doubling in its conception includes the relationship, it is not the intuition of the therapist directly but the voice of the interpsyche – the relationship between two people.

But there is another, more important, aspect of McGaw’s presentation. When he speaks about how his doubling with a protagonist is so often correct, he interprets this as due to his intuitive ability. When pressed by Rogers to explain it more specifically while speaking of his own power in that respect, he refers to it as his “empathy.” Unfortunately, he overlooks the contribution to the process by the protagonist, as if it all comes out of the therapist’s psyche, that of a single mind. By unfortunate I mean that this is just the area of Moreno’s contribution, namely to have pointed out that it is the interaction between people – tele – resulting in the “inter-psyche,” the space between people, that is the foundation of his and our work. This observation, more than anything else McGaw speaks of, tells me he has not really grasped Moreno’s message. It is our emphasis on the moment, the here and now, the spontaneity of the protagonist, the interaction of minds, that distinguishes our own field from that of individual psychology, a lesson we must never overlook.

Zerka Moreno makes it so clear psychodrama is a relational not an individual method.

Recently while teaching doubling it was clear the person was trying to think what the other person was thinking. Close, but not quite it. I said… let yourself be him, become him, breathe like him, sit like him, look at the world through his eyes and then voice what comes up, you won’t be guessing, you don’t have a choice about what comes up.

The doubling was then noticeably different even though not always exactly right.


Later: Saturday, 6 October, 2012

I’m now (post the Dan Wile workshop) thinking the phrase above, “you don’t have a choice about what comes up” is right, but not enough.

Many things will come up and it is useful to choose to voice those things that are progressive for the protagonist, such things as empathy for another person, declaring an inner struggle, claiming the validity of experience.

Judgement of others, blaming and self righteous anger may also come up. They could be ignored, but if they feature strongly they could be moderated with such phrases as: I know this is might not be easy for you to hear. I wish I had a way of expressing this more constructively. I have been sitting on this for a long time and my intention is to bring it out to improve the relationship.

Later: Sunday, 29 November 2015

…this is just the area of Moreno’s contribution, namely to have pointed out that it is the interaction between people – tele – resulting in the “inter-psyche,” the space between people, that is the foundation of his and our work.

This makes it so clear that Moreno had the relational paradigm, he did not call it that and he often slips into thinking of individuals, yet he is so instrumental in this as an influence on Buber and then Harville Hendrix and Hedy Schleifer.

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Jung: Reciprocal Influence

Stumbled on this scrap: Jung wrote that

For two personalities to meet is like two different chemical substances: if there is any combination at all, both are transformed. In any effective psychological treatment the doctor is bound to influence the patient; but this influence can only take place if the patient has a reciprocal influence on the doctor. You can exert no influence if you are not susceptible to influence.

(C.G. Jung, CW, vol. 16, para. 163)

This is close to describing Moreno’s tele with the emphasis on reciprocity, ie a flow both ways.

Friday, 18 November, 2016

This is the relational paradigm in Jung, but as in so many psychotherapies it is thought of primarily in the therapeutic relationship. The obvious leap is to see that this reciprocity is present among people, in families, groups. The more significant the relationship the greater the power of transformation.

That there is a therapeutic quality in tele differentiates psychodrama from “individual therapy”.

More on this from Zerka.

See especially this post. It has the link to the section of Psychodrama Vol 1 that is relevant to this discussion.

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I continue to hold an hypothesis that the behaviour of particles is a microcosm of human relationships. Not just as a metaphor, but that something of the “tele” involved is the same in both levels.

Listening to this podcast from Nights on RNZ confirms and extends this hypothesis. But hypothesis aside – it is ASTOUNDING stuff!

Synchronistically I just had this one arrive from the BBC IOT, have not listened yet.

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Archetypes, teleology and what is real

Archetypes of Cyberspace is the title of an essay I am writing (still!). The research notes are on this weblog, they are this weblog. I will be doing a more research in the next few weeks if I get the time.

What *is* an archetype? It means chief type as I understand it, in other words the BOSS. But not the boss of the other types so much as the boss of the phenomena. Thus Venus and Eros are archetypes of love, Mars is the archetype of war. The question I put then is – who is the architect of cyberspace, the force that governs it, is behind it, whose domain is it? WHO is building cyberspace? It is interesting think if there is an outcome we are being pulled towards. Is there a plan.

That question might look to Terence McKenna as if I am thinking of the pioneers of Cyberspace as human receivers of instructions from the spiritual realm – the mushrooms or the aliens telling them what to do. Terence postulates that we are TV sets who receive our thoughts from angels etc. I don't think like that.

Even less am I thinking of teleology as used in the Catholic proof for the existence of God by design – though that might have some mileage in it for me.

In a way I do think in both those ways, but not literally, not ontologically. The world is *as if* there were these daemons running the show. It is best to behave as if there are. This is because there are objective unknowable structures in their depth and detail, that we can participate in only by allowing our own psyche to mesh with those structures. To do that we need to live, to allow our own unknown depths to mesh. We are not as machines, but living participants in the world. In other words to live as full humans who are not just systems and wo see not just systems. Is fathering the same as being the male in a family system? No, but sadly many people talk like that. Seeing through the mechaniocal world to the living energy might be hallucination but it is the way to fully participate in life.

The paragraphs so far are prelude to an I dea i am dwelling on. Teleology. That we can relate to a living world by knowing the archetypes is the essence of psychology. But to what extent are the archetypes also out there with definite plans – with an end-point in mind?

Thinking that there is a plan, a pre-conceived end point, is teleology. The idea is much maligned in science as nonsense hanging over from God as the literal architect of everything. Let us be struck for a moment with the word tele here. There is something archetypal in this word. Look how it recurrs in various devices we use: television, telescope, telephone etc.. Distance – space in other words – is what it refers to. J.L. Moreno used the word on its own to refer to the feelings and thoughts directed by a person into space – distance – to an entity, imagined or real, I am not sure about how that hangs together… space=tele, if we substitute space with tele we get cybertele. If steering is what the cyber is about we are able in cyberspace to steer our tele in the morenian sense.

This following passage is interesting from Teleology item on Principia Cybernetica. In this item they manage, quite appropriatly for a 20th century science, to take the supernatural out of teleology while still allowing it to have a meaning within the legitimacy of a fairly positivist model.

Originally, the study of ends, goals and purposes. In cybernetics, the STRUCTURal and organizational conditions for systems to exhibit purposeful behavior, reach goals (see goal oriented), maintain steady states (see homeostasis), survive threats from their environments (see evolution, adaptation), etc. (Krippendorff)

Along with the supernatural they take the metaphor out, and thus the psychology out. They see the world as a machine – which is one way. Which is fine – it makes them biologists or physicists of large systems. Someone has to do that, but it is not psychology. So can we think of a metaphorical teleology? Can we rescue teleology from religion, not for the physical sciences but for psychology? It is the *as if* which cyberneticists leave out that is important.

One reason is role reversal, we can learn about the world from the inside by being the world, or the spitit of a 'system' in the world. Role reversal is the ability we have to step into another's shoes. But we can do this with things and imaginal entities as well as people. As Moreno put it, [1975, p22]

Instead of coming down from the skies, he comes in by way of the stage door. God is not dead, he is alive in psychodrama!

Archetypes are dramatic, imaginal, that is where their power lies, by fully entertaining them we get to know them. But is there some sort of destiny, some sort of pull into the distand future?

I have a sense there is, and that this is not some "transcendental other" hovering out there in any literal sense. More along the lines of a fractal, that a bit of coastline will let us know the shape of the whole coastline, even when that coastline is still in formation.

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