Psyche Psychodrama Relationships Science World

Moreno on studying society.


The dynamic logic of social relations is particularly intricate and has remained unconscious with Man because of his maximal proximity and involvement in his own situation. For millennia therefore, the activities of human society perhaps have been a greater mystery to him than every other part of the universe. Because of their greater distance from him he could see the movement of the stars and planets, or the life of the plants
and animals, more objectively. Therefore, the science of human society is today hardly as far developed as physics and astronomy were in the minds of Democritus and Ptolemy. It takes enormous sacrifice and discipline to view and accept himself as he is as an individual man, the structure of the individual psyche, its psychodynamics; but the degree of invisibility of the structure of human society, of its sociodynamics, is much greater than that of the single individual. The effort of becoming objective toward the socius encounters many more obstacles than to be objective toward his own individual mind. The involvement of the ego he can still grasp, perhaps he can pretend to know it because it operates within him. The involvement of the socius, however, he cannot pretend to know as it operates outside of him; but it is an outside to which he is inescapably tied.


The same paragraph appears in a different context in Who Shall Survive? P73.

Here are my thoughts about  this passage which I think has some important concepts and raises a question for another post:

    • “The dynamic logic of social relations is particularly intricate”

This might sound trite, but it shows how he is focused on the relationship, not the individual. Not like Freud, Jung and all those on that tree of thought, who were predominantly individualists, in theory and practice. And note the  words dynamic logic. Dynamic, moving changing, alive, and logic, something that makes sense, that can be grasped. Moreno wrote this in 1949 so this is written at the time of the upsurge of systems theory, cybernetics and the Macey conferences in New York. Maybe he was influenced by the zeitgeist of the time, or influenced it.

    • “…remained unconscious with Man because of his maximal proximity and involvement in his own situation.”


  • Unconscious. He uses the word unashamedly even though he is equally unashamedly anti Freud later in the same essay. The words maximal proximity are nice. McLuhan used the analogy of a fish not knowing what water is. It is because of the water’s maximal proximity to the fish. While so much is made of the bias of maximal proximity we see that for the study of humans Moreno turns this problem into the crucial advantage. Science is turned on its head, the group studies itself. Of course! Humans are explorers of space, of stuff outside of us, minimal proximity, so to study ourselves we have to make that inescapable maximal proximity a feature of the work.
    • “… the degree of invisibility of the structure of human society, of its sociodynamics, is much greater than that of the single individual. The effort of becoming objective toward the socius encounters many more obstacles…”


    The invisibility of the structure of human society is a phenomena.  Invisibility … we can see people, but not ‘systems’. someone famously said “you can’t kiss a system”.  Now the meditation on Moreno’s writing here gets interesting… note the title of the section:  The Material Aspect of the Social Situation.  So does the relationship, the network, have a material aspect?  What does that look like?  You can see two things but the relationship between them is a space.  The space between is a cherished notion in Imago Relationship Therapy.  I’m not sure how Moreno resolves these questions about the material aspect.  (I think I heard Timothy Morton talk sense on this. For another post.)

    The socius.   Another potent word.  He uses it as if there is a reality that exists. I think of his other wording: the sociometric matrix as being somewhat similar, if not the same.  The socius is similar and just as slippery as ‘the psyche’.

    •  “The involvement of the ego he can still grasp, perhaps he can pretend
             to know it because it operates within him.”

Note the word pretend. For Moreno it’s all roles. There really is no inner even though he uses that language here.


I’m looking forward to writing another post  on the whole section on the material aspect of relationship


Science World

 If the UK can do this surely we can in New Zealand!

This week there is so much bad news about the environment. Maybe it will stimulate us a bit more. Got me to post this.
This seems a simple plan. I can imagine popping up some sort of receiver from my car.

UK government backs scheme for motorway cables to power lorries

E-highway study given £2m to draw up plans for overhead electric cables on motorway near Scunthorpe The government will fund the design of a scheme to install overhead electric cables to power electric lorries on a motorway near Scunthorpe, as part of a series of studies on how to decarbonise road freight.

Source: UK government backs scheme for motorway cables to power lorries

Psychodrama Science World


For Moreno spontaneity was “a new response to an old situation or an adequate response to a new situation” (1953, p. 336), with creativity adding the element of inventiveness.


Moreno, Zerka T. (1987) “Psychodrama, Role Theory, and
the Concept of the Social Atom.” in Zeig, Jeffrey K., Evolution Of Psychotherapy, first Conference. Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Zerka is quoting from the definition that is on the same page in the 1978 edition, 366.

Here is another quote from “Who Shall Survive?” 1978 edition, Page 42:

Spontaneity operates in the present, now and here; it propels the individual towards an adequate response to a new situation or a new response to an old situation. It is… the least developed among the factors operating in our world; it is most frequently discouraged and restrained by cultural devices.

So is spontaneity the response, or that which propels the response?

Philosophy Psychodrama Science World

It’s only ontology.

From the Dictionary:


noun: ontology; plural noun: ontologies
the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them.
“what’s new about our ontology is that it is created automatically from large datasets”


early 18th century: from modern Latin ontologia, from Greek ōn, ont- ‘being’ + -logy.

I have long had a phrase I use “It’s only ontology”.  I use it to listen to people as they talk about Jesus, Chi, Shan, God, spirit or soul and so on.  My little phrase reminds me to listen to the person rather than get into a debate about the existence of this or that. Also, irrespective of the existence of stuff, ontology  “shows properties and the relations between” categories.  For an archetypal psychologist, for example,  there is a fundamental distinction between soul and spirit. Other people may use the words differently, yet they can reveal much about their world view.  It’s only ontology.

PSM_V10_D562_The_hindoo_earthScreen Shot 2020-07-27 at 11.19.24 PM

I am looking back on earlier posts in relationship to ontology.  Here is one where my phrase does not hold:

Journal Psyche Relationships Science World

Slavoj Žižek, Quantum and Dialectics

“The idea that knowing changes reality is what quantum physics shares with both psychoanalysis (for which interpretation has effects in the real) and historical materialism”.

Slavoj Žižek – quoted on Redit

That is a great little paragraph!


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Medium article by Paul Austin Murphy

A useful read!!


I wish they had an inkling of Moreno in these discussions — psychodrama fits in more tightly than “psychoanalysis.”


Interesting the extent to which Bohm was influenced by dialectical materialism:

“In this way Bohm understood it as idealistic. In Bohm’s interpretation, however, the particle possesses at all times a well-defined position and momentum regardless of observation or associating ideas. So, in Bohm’s view, matter came before mind in his theory. Thus he called his interpretation a materialistic one.4 With this materialist interpretation, Bohm wanted to expel mysticism from physics.”

Christian Forstner
Dialectical Materialism and the Construction of a New Quantum Theory: David Joseph Bohm, 1917–1992

✔ July 2021


Journal Science

I am consistent!

I just looked up something and I read a page or so and I thought – wow – this is good. It was my own thesis from 1996.

Its got a lot in it…

What I was looking for was

“what sort of science can examine the validity of a metaphor”

Somehow through the interconnections in cyberspace I answered my own question back in 96.

Well… in so far as there is an answer.

Psychodrama Science

Moreno and social science

This is the second of three posts based on the monograph “Origins of Encounter and Encounter Groups” by J.L. And Zerka Moreno

I’ve read and written extensively on Moreno’s scientific methods. This is a concise statement from the Encounter Monograph I have not seen before.

Moreno’s Ideas of a Science of Human Relations

An adequate science of human relations did not exist before the advent of sociometry. *

“Comte’s Hierarchy of the Sciences, 1) mathematics, 2) astronomy, 3) physics, 4) chemistry, 5) biology, and 6) sociology, has become obsolete. His assumption that all sciences can be treated by the same basic methodology is an error. The social sciences need—at least in their crucial dimension—different methods of approach. The crux of the ontology of science is the status of the ‘research objects.’ Their status is not uniform in all sciences. There is a group of sciences like astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology in which the research objects are always mere ‘objects’. Their actions speak for themselves and the generalizations concluded from them are not threatened by any metaphysical protest or social revolution of their kind.

Then there is another group of sciences, the social sciences. It is because of a chronic inertia in their development that sociometry has raised the question: how are social sciences possible? It has found that the social sciences like psychology, sociology, and anthropology require that its objects be given ‘research status’ and a certain degree of scientific authority in order to raise their level from a pseudo objective discipline to a. science which operates on the highest level of its material dynamics. It accomplishes this aim by considering the research objects not only as objects but also as research actors, not only as objects of observation and manipulation but as co-scientists and co-producers in the experimental design they are going to set up.” Our two chief experimental designs are sociometry and psychodrama.

* J.L. Moreno, Who Shall Survive?, 1934 and 1953. p. 63-64.

(Moreno & Moreno, 1970)

Moreno, J. L., & Moreno, Z. T. (1970). Origins of Encounter and Encounter Groups (Psychodrama and group psychotherapy monographs, no. 45). Beacon House.

Psychodrama Science World

Moreno’s Scientific Methodology

Here is the paper I presented at the Christchurch AANZPA conference 2015:

Moreno’s Scientific Methodology

Books Philosophy Relationships Science

Evolution and human behaviour and culture.

So much on my mind – I can’t keep up with it!

Books to read on relationships – “Marriage is the medium”

I have been reflecting on the role of evolution in relationships.

An hypothesis follows and then a long list of books.

Books Philosophy Science

Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding Da Vinci’s Creative Genius — By Leonard Shlain

I like the look of this book.

Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding Da Vinci’s Creative Genius


Have looked inside on Amazon. I’ll get it one day. Have a few more on my plate right now.

It is an ebook on Google

Brain pickings has more its no 10 on the list.