Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

I Can “Fabulate”

Originally posted on July 29, 2015

There’s a word, “confabulation,” that refers to the way some people’s minds rather  obviously make up a reality, memories, consistent thinking, that jibes with a slight suggestion. It’s more obvious in some patients than others. I daresay that in subtle ways it’s ubiquitous!

We do this far more naturally in dreams. Then when we wake up we forget the dream—but more importantly, we forget the way we half-made-it-up. It’s very complex, because the unconscious mind feeds the conscious mind far, far more than it can handle. It selects some bits and lets the others go.

I can fabulate (consciously confabulate). This word, “fabulation,” is new—I just made it up. The point here is one way to manage the human tendency to believe what one has made up is to more consciously fabulate, and by so doing you take on a new level of responsibility. You recognize that you’re doing it, confabulating, at least a little. That is, you weave your thoughts together so they make sense. As I said, dreams, too.

So to exert a bit of conscious will, do it on purpose. As I say, to “fabulate,” is to make up stuff and know explicitly that you are making it all up. Then you begin to realize gradually how much you do make up less consciously, more automatically.

I’ve become more aware of the scope and power of the unconscious mind, or the borderland—the subconscious—and how it plays off with the conscious. I had underestimated the ratio of the subconscious mind to the unconscious. The thing to notice—as difficult as it may seem, is that there’s much more unconscious mind and it doesn’t follow the rules of conscious thought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *