Moreno on studying society.

THE MATERIAL ASPECT OF THE SOCIAL SITUATION

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
43
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.

This is a quote from Moreno — SOCIOMETRY, EXPERIMENTAL METHOD AND THE SCIENCE OF SOCIETY AN APPROACH TO A NEW POLITICAL ORIENTATION
J.L. MORENO — Foreword by GARDNER MURPHY

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

 

Roles Create Roles

“a role is the functioning form the individual assumes in the specific moment he reacts to a specific situation in which other persons or objects are involved” (Moreno, 1977, p IV)

Lets take a list of roles, these are from Max Clayton’s article (Clayton, 1994),  it is a convenient list, and it is the one that got me to think about this:

Artist
Playful fun-lover
Coach
Companion
Adventurer
Manipulator
Teacher
Despairer
Self-doubter
Guard
Frightened, abandoned orphan
Anxious and suspicious fantasiser
Angry controller
Condemning critic
Friend
Father
Good listener
Lover
Perfectionist

For each of these there is as Moreno puts it: “a specific situation in which other persons or objects are involved.” We can grasp the role it is possibly in relation to from the role.

Artist
Playful funlover
Coach
Companion
Adventurer
Manipulator
Teacher
Despairer
Self-doubter
Guard
Frightened, abandoned orphan
Anxious and suspicious fantasiser
Angry controller
Condemning critic
Friend
Father
Good listener
Lover
Perfectionist
Art Audience Muse
Playmates
Trainee
Companion
Mentor
Sucker, victim
Student
Stubborn controller
Critic
Invaders
Absent Parent, Threatening bully
Challenging person or situation
Helpless follower
Self doubter
Friend
Child
Speaker
Lover
Slob

Creating Change in a Role Relationship

These role pairs will change as one of the roles changes:

The teacher can’t teach without the student

Lovers need lovers

If the manipulatee ceases to be duped and becomes assertive the manipulator can’t manipulate.

If there is no speaker, become a good listener.

If there is no artist, become an appreciative audience and contribute materials

Be loving and love may come your way.

Stop criticising, appreciate and praise and you won’t be with a self-doubter for long.

Role relationships

There are different types of role relationship. Max talks of complementary roles and symmetrical roles.

“The diagrams made it easier to be aware of the complementary and symmetrical role systems that developed with other people and of the fact that there was an increase in complementary role relationships. As ability to analyse, plan and enjoy life came to the fore, so those roles pertaining to intimacy increased. There was a welcoming of closeness and an interest in complementing what others were doing. The aggressive approach to others diminished and along with this a lessening of symmetrical role relations and of the competitive dynamic that is associated with these. There was also a development of a real sense of being a role creator. Previously there had been much more of a sense of being a mundane person. A look at the diagrams also confirmed the ability to create forms of expression through which life purposes could be fulfilled. The experience of being a role creator was accompanied by an increase in motivation.”

An example of complementary role might be speaker / listener – and this would increase intimacy, as max suggests.

Symmetrical roles can escalate and be competitive e.g. Talker / talker can become shouter / shouter.

But some symmetrical roles can be intimate lover/lover gardener/gardener

Google search found the book online Note: I have a physical copy.

References

Clayton, G. M. (1994). Role Theory and its Application in Clinical Practice. In P. Holmes, K. Karp, & M. Watson (Eds.), Psychodrama Since Moreno (pp. 121–144). London: Routledge. Retrieved Tuesday, 9 February, 2016 from aanzpa.org
Moreno, J. L. (1977). Psychodrama Volume One (Fourth ed.). Beacon, New York: Beacon House.

Doubling, Spontaneity, Creativity and Encounter

Just added this to my Writing page.

Doubling, Spontaneity, Creativity and Encounter (docx) — Out of date (Saturday, 7 May, 2016)

Now working on a draft here in Google Docs

This is an article I’ve been working on since I presented something along these lines at 2014 AANZPA conference.  Its about the value of doubling what is adequate in the protagonist. Doubling is not coaching, but assisting the protagonist to say what is in them in a way that it can be heard.

It takes further the ideas I came away with from the Dan Wile workshop. He says something like this: I assist the couple to heave the conversation they would have if they were not fighting.

See additional notes from 6 October 2012 Zerka Moreno on Doubling and Tele

“Relational” TA and psychoanalysis, psychodrama and the relational paradigm 

I have been looking up anything to do with the relational paradigm  and keep bumping into relational psychoanalysis and relational T.A.

They seem fine. I’m surprised these branches of the tree are even needed – I would have thought that psychoanalysis and T.A. Were already “relational” in this way, i.e. Valuing of the relationship between the therapist and the client. Understanding attachment and early relationships as primary. Apparently not.

However I realise I’m in a different school altogether. One that see the relationship as the therapy, but not only the relationship with the therapist but the relationship people have with each other out there in the world. The marriage or committed loving relationship is the dominant one. I’ve come to understand that, especially in individual therapy, the relationship with the therapist can undermine the potential of the committed loving relationship with a partner. If there is no such relationship then the relationship with the therapist can be a surrogate, or if possible a way of facilitating the search for a mate. The rest of the time the therapist is there to facilitate the consciousness that will enable a committed loving relationship to be therapeutic. They are not naturally so – though they have a natural propensity to be so.

With this relational paradigm  more and more fully grasped of late I see that psychodrama has something of this philosophy well developed. Moreno speaks a lot of “in situ”. I think of that as working with the actual here and now relationships in a group.

Psychodrama does not require a theatrical setting, a frequent misunderstanding; it is done in situ – that is, wherever the subject is found.

Who Shall Survive? (1978) P86

However Moreno is not clear on this – Later in the same book he speaks again of therapy in situ

… it can take an immediate form, in situ, that is, in the course of all activities in which the individuals are en- gaged, in the home, in school, at work, for instance the handicraft shop, steam laundry, carpentry shop, department store, etc . The situations of living and working are at the same time used as therapeutic settings. We have found, however, that the analytic and activistic forms of group psychotherapy are not applicable to the deepest disturbances of the individual and the group; they require the application of deep action methods in the form of psychodrama. But they are applicable to social problems of the group in a setting in which, during the treatment, the group is artificially cut off from the community as if the rest of the community were non-existent and as if the influence coming from it could be disregarded.

He comes close to a relational paradigm, and then moves away for “the deepest disturbances of the individual and the group” to theatre where psychodrama clearly becomes treatment of or via a protagonist. Yet he stays close, because as we know, … the protagonist is a protagonist for the group. (ref?)

The idea that the relationship itself can be the source and vehicle for growth and healing, is not explicit in psychodrama – it is there in most psychotherapy, but only in the relationship between the client and the therapist. Yet this idea that the protagonist is working for the group can be translated to the protagonist working for the relationship. That helps!

The relational paradigm  is still to have its major impact, like any paradigm shift it is hard to get from the perspective of the old space.

Imago dialogue is one technique for activating relational healing, one that is easy to teach to clients. However I think T.A. Has the potential for that, Marshall Rosenberg NVC, and psychodrama does as well… Concretisation, role reversal, mirroring and doubling are potent methods. Psychodrama is not so easy without a director. How make the method easily accessible is what I’m working on all the time.

Thinking creātically – By Kenneth G. Johnson

Thinking creātically: a systematic, interdisciplinary approach to creative … By Kenneth G. Johnson

That is the Amazon link to the used books at a huge price.

As part of my link journey on the General Semantic theme I found it on Google and took a snap off the screen with the iphone of some references I wanted.

More details of my process and the book follows.

Continue reading “Thinking creātically – By Kenneth G. Johnson”

Relational Thinking

There are two really crucial ideas that are relatively new in the therapy field, that anyone in a relationship needs to know. They make up the the systemic, relational paradigm shift that for all its value, and having been around for decades, could be missed! To miss it would be like missing out the penicillin and micro-organism knowledge if you had an infection when that was just taking hold a ninety years ago. To embrace this relational paradigm is more important than the exact approach one uses, though it needs to be a relational one. Imago, Psychodrama, Non Violent Communication and many other approaches are systemic and relational, or at least not actively opposed.

One is that the right here, now, in the relationship is the solution to the relationship problem. How to get there might be painful and hard, you will need to learn skills, make effort, but individual therapy or leaving, or searching for a better mate has all those problems and will lead to similar relationship problems, or to no relationship at all.

The second is that it takes only one person in the relationship to commit to really working on it. In fact the ability or desire to take that role is never even and equal, so it is never quite fair.

These ideas seem straight forward to me now, but they fly in the face of much more prevalent notions, ones I was actively taught, and took on board as wisdom, and have had to unlearn: That it is good to sort yourself out before you have a relationship, and that each person needs to commit to doing their share, that it is 50/50.

Al Turtle puts all these things very well. Great to find his site today.

Creativity, spontaneity and something Blake said

I have linked to this quote before, I just noticed it again & saw it in a new light. In relationship to Moreno’s Canon of Creativity. I think the word “attention” is wonderful. Eastern traditions use attention in meditation, but what is attention? A Buddhist friend of mine said it is simply love. It is a mystery alright! I can put my attention where I will! Attention is intentional. Right now it is on the blinking cursor. A moment later on the song playing on the radio downstairs.

Attention & blessing are all forms of warm-up?

Continue reading “Creativity, spontaneity and something Blake said”