Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

An Amateur Confabulator

Originally posted on January 15, 2014

I’m an amateur confabulator. Amateur means only that I don’t get paid for this. Or should I say, “You couldn’t pay me to do this!”? And to con-fabulate means to make stuff up. Originally this was a medical term referring to people who because of a mild dementia didn’t even know they were doing it. We need a word that’s a bit stronger than pretending, but that is done by writers of fiction and others who improvise realities as if they were real. It may vary as to the degree these creative minds  know explicitly that what they make up is not real, or not the same reality that others perceive. But anyway, I make up stuff.

I was taught that stuff might be discovered or passed along, but it was taboo, vaguely, to just make stuff up. The metaphysical paradigm of the 20th century, building on the previous few centuries, is that reality is out there. It is not the projection of mind. My point is that I think reality is an unconsciously collaborative construction. It’s partly made-up, partly really not only there, but beyond anything we know. What parts we perceive we then interpret.

Really, it’s all we can do, to make stuff up. Philosophically, this is the point of social constructionism.  (Here’s a link to a related set of ideas involves learning theory.)  Humans have a tendency to believe that what they have made up or bought into is not made up. That is to say, people tend to take no responsibility for what is perceived / imagined to be “discovered.” We don’t recognize or dare think that we wanted that result, or something sort of close to it.

Not that we don’t discover, you understand, but rather that it’s not all out there as we perceive it. It is partly out there, partly not all that we think it is, and partly co-created by an unconscious process that is far more subtle than anything we can access consciously. What a combination!

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