Psychodrama as Education for Life

cartmel at cartmel at
Thu Sep 30 05:18:49 UTC 2021

Thanks for sharing your visionary statement. I am not sure why you send it just now or what has 
prompted you to ‘put pen to paper’ but I will use the occasion to share some thoughts on how to 
expand on the ideas embedded within.
I read your – ‘education for Life’  - as a sort of manifesto.

Yes – Moreno had as a basic tenant - there is a central socio-psycho causal-power generating social 
dynamics. For we humans this causal-power impacts us most directly through our bodies as a, – 
Self-an-Other, and, Other-an-Self, force of attraction. Moreno named this force tele` and said that 
when measuring the tele` we can see the means for organization and structuration of our social 
world. The terms Self-an-Other, and, Other-an-Self, comes from Gilbert Simondon and I use them 
here because they are the most succinct expression I know elaborating Moreno’s notion of ‘I-Thou’ 
and when seen together they imply the necessity of Role-Reversal. We do not know where Moreno 
plucked the term tele` from but it is worth noting George Hegel was using the term tele-praxis as 
early as ~1810 to talk about how we humans socially navigate our Self through society and culture..

Yes – Moreno crafted [invented] the science of Sociometry as means of scientifically engaging with 
Actors informed by the central causal power; hidden as it is within themselves and underlying the 
global social systems’ organization.

Besides Moreno discovering the power of the choreographed drama techniques - as theatrical 
production in cosmopolitan culture [Eg of New York and California]  – it is hard to say just what 
Moreno “discovered”. The BIG IDEAS of; habitus [now associated mostly with Bourdieu] and  
techne` [now associated mostly with Stiegler] and haecceity [actor’s essence] as actor’s psycho-
socio Role, have of course been to hand since Duns Scotus and around since ancient Greek times; 
Plato, et al. Since this is the case Moreno is best described as ‘Re-discovering’ ancient modes \ 
wisdom practices in modern times. Moreno talked of  ‘dialectic’ as the power of our indigeneity [the 
origins of Role] and Simondon has reiterated this in terms of our protogenetic drive as primordial 
intelligence affording our individuation and emergence of autonomous self.

Just how we conceive of the BIG IDEAS as dialectics affording universality is of course still open to 
speculation - as explicated by Hegel.
It is speculation [in Hegelian terms] because Hegel never could remediate, nor make a requisite 
sublation for, the idea of; the Absolute or Totality or System, as being Material or Spiritual [non-
material] in nature. We are left to speculate just what makes [is the such-ness of]; Universality, the 
Absolute or Totality or System. Any meta-physics, whether of material or non-material form is just 
that - speculation. 

Some may take comfort in speculating our ontogenetic primordial intelligence is of some 
[aboriginal] material energy quantum field; a physis like quantum physics contends exists.
Unfortunately the latest cosmological physics via the LIGO experiments indicates we all [as the 
universe] are headed into a cosmic black-hole where the quantum field and its ‘intelligence’ is 
obliterated. Some others take comfort in speculating our ontogenetic [pre-original-form] is of ‘non-
material’ angelic spirit.

Given this cognitive framework we are left to decide, ‘Who Shall Survive?’ As such, what shall we do 
next to best survive?’
 which of course is the socionomic challenge Moreno set us.
Or as you so adequately articulate, ‘how do we best Educate for Life?’

This raises the problem how best to evaluate education.
As best as I know the best resource for - Socionomic Education for Life in respect to hidden social 
mechanisms - are Sociodrama’s grounded in Ray Pawson’s ‘Science of Evaluation’, 2014 Sage.

Does anyone know of a - Critical Realist Social Science Evaluator using Sociodrama?
Does anyone know of anyone in IAGP using Sociodrama as Critical Realist Social Science 

Thanks for the chance to comment,
Brendan Cartmel
Integral Socionomy

From: List <list-bounces at> On Behalf Of edwschreiber at
Sent: Thursday, 30 September 2021 4:29 AM
To: edwschreiber at; list at
Subject: Psychodrama as Eduction for Life 
Psychodrama as Education on Life
Moreno wanted his method to be a way of living and not only a therapeutic method.  This idea was 
taught by Zerka Moreno through her books and seminars.  What is it about living that the method 
captures beyond the therapeutic value to the method?  What would an education for life include 
from the lens of JL Moreno and Zerka Moreno, the founder and co-founder of psychodrama?  What 
ideas about living would be the most essential to understand? Moreno identifies specific life-
education ideas for psychodrama as an education for a way of living.
 First is the central idea that Moreno discovered about society and organizations:  that all have 
within themselves an underlying central structure that impacts the functioning of the organization 
and explains society and its problems as a whole. Moreno discovered that this central underlying 
structure is mostly hidden within the systems as it exerts a determining impact on the whole 
organization and everyone in it.  This central underlying structure determines how an organization is 
organized and includes formal and informal organizational structures and economic realities such as 
all forms of privilege and access to resources. 
 For example, racism is visible to us and yet the society has an underlying structure to it that makes 
racism possible as a system and structure   The same is true with all forms of social oppression and 
social isolation.  The same is true of poverty and abuse.  All of these social realities are related to 
this underlying central structure in our social world. Under all social problems of society something 
is hidden.  To make the hidden central structure visible is a critical part of Psychodrama as 
Education on Life.
Secondly, there is a primordial intelligence, a “first universe” that we now understand is related to 
the quantum field as noted in the realm of quantum physics.  This field as an intelligence is present 
and active at all times.  The human experience, realized through a direct experience of this field of 
Intelligence, is a form of enlightened activity. This can yield a direct encounter with the unseen 
Intelligence to which we are always related to at all times.  Once experienced and over time 
integrated, the clarity of one’s life is forever changed. One sees the unseen Intelligence in its action.  
One is never alone again because one is always related to this Intelligence. 
Both the underlying central structure impacting all society and everyone in it – and the field of 
Intelligence that exists within us, around us, and between us, are central to understanding 
psychodrama as an education on life.  How society is organized, how organizations reflect this 
underlying central structure, how poverty, racism, misogyny, homophobia, all forms of abuse are a 
reflection of this underlying structure is the genius of Moreno.  How the field of Intelligence between 
us, around us, within us brings illumination to our lives and to this central structure impacting our 
world, are applications of psychodrama theory that brings light to the darkness. It is in the nature of 
social justice.

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