Psychodrama as Education for Life

edwschreiber at edwschreiber at
Thu Sep 30 10:28:09 UTC 2021

Hi, thank you for your thoughtful response.
What generated my writing this, was a overview for a chapter in a new book by Springer
in the works.
I am speaking directly to a few of Moreno's ideas that are somewhat different from your
noted and referenced thoughts and for many of us, less familiar in the constellation of
JLM's ideas.

These ideas:
“Human society has an actual, dynamic, central structure underlying and determining all its peripheral and formal groupings. 
It exerts a determining influence upon every sphere in which the factor of human interrelations is an active agent – in economics,
biology, social pathology, politics, government and similar spheres of social action.”
J.L. Moreno Sociometry and the Science of Society
“Human society has an atomic structure, which corresponds to the atomic structure of matter. Its existence can be brought into an
empirical test by means of social microscopy.  The present human society is a preference system produced, to a considerable extent, by the
sociodynamic effect.”
J.L. Moreno Who Shall Survive?
“In certain moments the sociodynamic effect changes, the distribution of social energy is capable of spreading.  The precipitating cause may be
a social trauma, some factor, an economic war, migration, sickness, death, famines and epidemics.  These moments are wide open for social change,
either in one dimension – the axiological, or the economic, or the involvement may reach all aspects of society.”
J.L. Moreno Who Shall Survive?
“Why I chose the course of theater instead of founding a religious sect, joining a monastery, or developing a system of theology (although none of these alternatives
excludes any of the other) can be understood by taking a look into the setting from which my ideas arose.  I suffered from an idee fixe, or from what might have been
called an affectation then, but which could be called today, now that the harvest is coming in, the grace of God.  The idee fixe became my constant source of productivity. 
It proclaimed that there is a sort of primordial nature, which is immortal, and returns afresh with every new generation, a first universe which contains all beings, and in which all events are sacred.”
J.L Moreno Diary of a Genius
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sep 30, 2021 1:18 AM
Subject: Psychodrama as Education for Life

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 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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