Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#125976 03/24/04 11:51 AM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 619
G
grapho Offline OP
addict
OP Offline
addict
G
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 619
Confabulation is a good word. It leads naturally from our discussion in "epiphanitis" about suddenly seeing something, or becoming consciously aware of something, which has been there, unnoticed, all along.

No-one actually came up with a word which precisely describes this 'perceptual prestidigitation', but all agreed the phenomenon is real.

"Confabulation" is almost the opposite of the word we are searching for (which I will call the Xword for the sake of convenience).

The Xword means 'suddenly becoming aware of something which has always been there', whereas "confabulation" is fabricating an untruth out of something which is actually there, whilst tricking oneself into believing the fabrication is true.

Here's a formal definition:

To fill in gaps in one's memory with fabrications that one believes to be fact.

Confabulation is actually more common than most people think.

When we dislike someone or something and we don't have a rational reason for it, that is, a reason which is not simply emotional, we often "confabulate".

This confabulation reconciles our intellectual response with our emotional response and it makes us feel better about being 'pig-headed'.

No-one likes to think of themselves as pig-headed, of course, so confabulation serves a purpose ... of sorts.

Of course, people who confabulate are only fooling themselves.

I know it is considered bad form to quote oneself, but my purpose is benign so I will depart from my usual courtesies.

To see what's always been there
Often takes more than a stare
Sometimes it's a bump
Or a kick in the rump
That makes us become aware.



#125977 03/24/04 12:16 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,379
I
Pooh-Bah
Offline
Pooh-Bah
I
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,379
\Con*fab"u*late\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Confabulated; p. pr. & vb. n. Confabulating.] [L. confabulatus, p. p. of confabulary, to converse together; con- + fabulary to speak, fr. fabula. See Fable.] To talk familiarly together; to chat; to prattle.

I shall not ask Jean Jaques Rousseau If birds confabulate or no. --Cowper.


source: Webster's online



#125978 03/24/04 12:57 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 619
G
grapho Offline OP
addict
OP Offline
addict
G
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 619
To talk familiarly together; to chat; to prattle.

That is certainly one definition, inselpeter.

But it is not the meaning ascribed to "confabulation" by psychologists.

"Confabulation" is understood by them to be a psychological disorder.

But, like all psychological disorders*, it springs from very ordinary psychological defensive strategies.

We all have the seeds of every disorder within us, inselpeter. As a playwright, you certainly know that.

Shakespeare understood it best of all.

*The trick, of course, is to get all our 'disorders' in balance.

Aristotle said famously (his "Golden Mean") that the mean between every human vice is a virtue.



#125979 03/24/04 02:46 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,400
of the top of my head, (before i read this thread) i would have said confabulation was a tale with a germ of the truth, but with a great deal of exageration.

a tale of exploits, like catching the great fish--which of course, alas, gets away in the end, so you have no proof of the fight you had with this amazing animal...

or other tale tales of this type..

so not just the idle chatter of inselpeter, but closer to grapho's defination of To fill in gaps in one's memory with fabrications that one believes to be fact.--but i would disagree about the that one believes to be fact-- i don't think they really belive the are telling facts, but rather just enhancing the story.

one TV show had an episode about a fabled writer, who had been stabbed (aledgedly) by his former spouse. the waitress told the detectives, in reality, the wife had thrown a spoon, but each time the writer retold the story, the episode had gotten more violent, and more harmfull. she commented in few years, the writer would be claiming to have died from the stabs wounds inflicted by his (now, former) wife. we all have told talls, (that get enhanced with time) of our youthful exploits... these are often confabulations


#125980 03/24/04 03:05 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 619
G
grapho Offline OP
addict
OP Offline
addict
G
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 619
the waitress told the detectives, in reality, the wife had thrown a spoon, but each time the writer retold the story, the episode had gotten more violent, and more harmful.

If that's not "confabulation", de Troy, it's a twin sister.

Actually, I think of your example more as "acclimatization" than "confabulation" ... which is why taking liberties with the truth is said to be a very slippery slope.

If we repeat an embellishment often enough, we might end up believing it ourselves.

Unfortunately, there is often no end to it.

One embellishment leads to another until, like the Enron fiasco, it blows up in our face.

As Shakespeare's King Duncan said: "I am steeped so far in blood that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er."

Shakespeare's King Duncan didn't begin the tragedy as a wicked man.

He was a victim of degrees of wickedness.

As we all are, of course.

Who was it who said?

"There is so much good in the worst of us
And so much bad in the best of us
That it hardly behooves any of us
To speak ill of the rest of us."

There's a lesson in that
Not just for a gnat.




Moderated by  Jackie 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,904
Posts228,043
Members9,148
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
gonekrazzzy, accCngrssMRA, rexdee, gypsydancer, Astrostu
9,148 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 79 guests, and 3 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,542
LukeJavan8 9,805
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2021 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5
(Release build 20201027)
Responsive Width:

PHP: 7.4.26 Page Time: 0.013s Queries: 23 (0.004s) Memory: 2.8896 MB (Peak: 3.2483 MB) Data Comp: Off Server Time: 2021-12-03 06:18:13 UTC
Valid HTML 5 and Valid CSS