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
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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

 

Time for a talk? Create a good warm up.

You are fed up. This is been on your mind for a while. You need to tell the other person. Its not fair. They are a problem. You’ve been meaning to do this but they’d never listen…

Those thoughts and feelings are your warm up. A warm up like that needs some attention. The other party is not likely to listen. When the time comes to talk you need better warm up. The six steps will create a good warm up for a productive conversation. “It is all in the warm up.”

Create a Topic

What is the title of this conversation? One that is of interest to both parties. Create a topic that is constructive. Do this well before you approach the other person. This will determine everything from here on.

Begin with the impulse for the talk, e.g. “Your careless behaviour over the years has made me resentful and bitter and it is time you changed.”

Remove blame: “I think you are careless and I resent that and I’d like you to change.” Notice the subtle difference with the words: “I think…”

Remove resentment: Resentment is something you have allowed to build up, own it. “I think you are careless and I have found this difficult to raise with you, and I’d like you to change.”

Convert judgmental words, and be specific about outcomes: “I think the jobs can be done more efficiently.”

Make it collaborative: “I think we can do this more efficiently.”

Topic: “How we can do some things more efficiently”

Make a Request

How you do that also creates a warm up. More on that soon.

Marriage and family therapy – Moreno

Here is a fuller quote of a section quoted earlier.

Marriage and family therapy for instance, has to be so conducted that the “interpsyche” of the entire group is re-enacted so that all their tele-relations, their co-conscious and co-unconscious states are brought to life. Co-conscious and co-unconscious states are by definition such states which the partners have experienced and produced jointly and which can therefore be only jointly reproduced or re-enacted. A co-conscious or a co-unconscious state can not be the property of one individual only. It is always a common property and cannot be reproduced but by a combined effort. If a re-enactment of such co-conscious or co-unconscious state is desired or necessary, that re-enactment has to take place with the help of all partners involved in the episode. The logical method of such re-enactment a deux is psychodrama. However great a genius of perception one partner of the ensemble might have, he or she can not produce that episode alone because they have in common their co-conscious and co-unconscious states which are the matrix from which they drew their inspiration and knowledge.

Psychodrama Volume 1, 4th edition, page vii

The Dance

I’ve been overdoing my exploration about the “relational paradigm”. I’ve been reading, writing, integrating & putting into practice Imago & Psychodrama ideas about systems and the locus of therapy.

So I thought I’d give myself a break and read a thriller.

book


Blinded by Stephen White
, who I have read before & enjoyed.

I am only a few minutes into it and there are passages that stimulate me right back into my work passion, no rest!

I will quote them here and share my reflections.

Continue reading “The Dance”