Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner


Originally posted on May 6, 2011

Adam Blatner, Imagination-ologist


Confabulation is a term derived from psychiatry and neurology, describing the way some people make up stuff when they have certain kinds of brain damage. I realized that everyone makes up stuff, a lot, some more than others, but it tends to be a bit more aligned with consensual reality, whereas the condition refers to statements that are less aligned and thus kinda wacko. Anyway, much of science involves the awareness that for everything overt or obvious or flagrant there are often ten things that are less obvious and a hundred things that are subtle! So on balance, there’s a whole lot more confabulation going on of a slightly more subtle nature than most folks want to realize or admit to themselves.


In the ancient language of Sanskrit, in northern India, the term “maya” applied to the general idea we call “illusion.” Humans generate illusions as part of their mind, it’s as instinctual as thirst or eating or the fear of heights. It’s more primary than Freud’s theory that sex was a primary drive. We can’t help it, though we can learn to distance from it a bit, not be so caught up in it. Yogis and Buddhists do this through meditation, but we confabulologists go the other way: We generate more Maya, more illusion, tons and tons of it—and we do so explicitly, on purpose. This makes it a different experience from the way people do this unconsciously—and thus don’t know that they’re doing it, or that it’s “just made-up stuff.” So we live it but don’t believe in it so tenaciously.  So…

 May I Dance With Your Eyes?

On the left is a personal mandalaform that expresses an aspect of my karmic heritage, the power of  n-dimensional intuition, as transmitted via right-brain spontaneity to non-analytic fingertips. Nine is a magical, transformative number capable of evoking many associated powers. Complex just enough but not too much.

Mandalaform Transdimensional Existence

We should consider the idea that mind is also a dimension, or perhaps a set of dimensions. Brian Greene’s book  The Elegant Universe: superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory (1999, Vintage / Random House), included a picture that impressed me greatly (see to right), called the Calabi-Yau Manifold, a diagram-picture of a six-dimensional form. (It’s more complex than I can draw in some ways!)

Anyway, I’ve been contemplating anew the deeper message of the mandalas that have “come through me,” and here are some thoughts—albeit somewhat poetic: If there were a God/Goddess who wore a gown of galaxies and stars and dimensions, these mandalas would be buttons. Something cute and modest about buttons. Or let’s say that there are many dimensions and many universes and in some of these there are sentient beings and there are communities and they have flags. A flag of our state, our national club, our nation, our we-ness. So what if in this other universe they played with presenting a kind of dynamic “flag” that could actively move, evolve, like a slow-motion kaleidescope, and reveal levels and layers of improvisational becoming-ness-es. What if those “flags” looked a lot like my mandalas?

The Paroxysmal Dimensionoscope

This opens up the previously hypothetical multi-dimensional nature of “string theory,” exposing yet further intricacy and dynamism of the rolling and un-rolling of the “strings.” For example, at levels six and seven, their interactions my be pictorially represented as on the left.

Oneiroscopic Image

To the right is another angle in, so to speak, through the dreamscape, and the possibility of seeking those dynamic creative sprites that create our dreams. Of course the major elements are generated by dream-fairies half-angelic complexities working with the Jungian-analytic guides to frame plot lines that, when subjected to the proper hermeneutical procedures, will unpack into insights that can serve as symbolic guides. The minor elements, though, are filled in by these sprite-ettes, halfway to brain bugs, who structure the fine structure that often makes the dream seem both intensely aesthetic, providing verisimilitude (so that it seems oh so real), and drawing you back from awakening into a contemplation of such textures (like the cartoons of Windsor McKay, who drew Little Nemo in Slumberland and Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend).

Insert Tab % into Slot $     (@1958)

Periodic Explanation for Orientation of the Viewer

These diagrams, drawings, and comments are meant to suggest the nature of penultimate truth, some way of expressing a metaphysical worldview that I think is needed to cope with the accelerating changes of the postmodern era. Developing a more active imagination, more resilient intuition, and the art of psycho-aerobatics—not just leaps of fancy, but double twists with a somersault and a half-gainer into the cracks between worlds. Well, hey, it takes practice, but it can be done. For example, on left, my spirit-guides inspired the following advice, diagrammatically presented: Insert tab % into slot $. This one came to me around age 20, and opened a few crevices in my mind. Of course, some elements are lost in translation, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles (hee hee, see next item below)..

It’s not madness, because it’s nice, and helpful, and playful, and doesn’t take itself terribly seriously. It’s an invitation for you to play along. Enough for now.

Ultimate Truths Disguised as Platitudes

For years I sought truth, but on close examination, it fell apart, open to all the critiques of postmodernist philosophies. Rats (as Snoopy might say). Then in early 2010 I discovered a category of great truths! They worked! They were resilient to critique. Only problem was they were sort of superficial, meaningless platitudes. Oh, well, that’s the way it goes. Ya win some, ya lose some. You never know, you know? (Giggle.)

Angelic Help

Understand that I haven’t drawn these pictures—not entirely. Thee’s this as-best-as-I-can-tell “Lion-Magician” who inspires and guides my weird bouncing pencils—sometimes 84%, sometime 37%, generally in-between. (He came to me around 1970.) You may scoff or laugh, but it explains spontaneity. We are all more or less “possessed” and part of the dance of life is to let it happen just right—enough to milk it for its aesthetic and intellectual richness, to allow heart-compassion to become a guide, to allow love and consolation in—but not so much as to make foolish mistakes that end up hurting others or sabotaging my own situation. I’m retired now so don’t need to pretend to the higher levels of supposed sanity that the community thinks psychiatrists should hold. Of course, I’ve always treasured this more goofy edge, and indeed think that it accounts not only for my resilience, but would also be good for lots of folks. A mixture of play and work, that’s what Freud said he imagined to be the goal. So I’m trying to bring up the play part of that idea—but it seems that few folks appreciate what play really entails. So play along with me on this and see where it leads.

A Summary for Now

Here is a picture not by me but by a fellow confabulator, the late artist Saul Steinberg, whose works I particularly appreciate and resonate with.

The picture hints at my take on the  low down on the higher-ups: My angelic inspiration-guides try to help me along, give me clues. They love me dearly and are totally committed to bringing me forth, or helping me to open to channel their messages to humanity. (It’s also just a way to celebrate God and dance.) They try to explain in dreams and inspired drawings, and I, the little guy at the left try to open and let it in. I am but a child—bright and eager to learn, it’s true, but still part of a species that, on the whole, is still very immature (compared to some sentient species in the cosmos). Still, we are the only ones like us and that makes us fun for the gods and angels and the one Unifiying Depth Spirit beyond, who wonder, “What’s it like to be….”   (Even us!)

Related webpage links:   Confabulations 2:     3     4      5      6      7      8      9     10


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