Home > Uncategorized > (That’s the) Confabulation of my Life

(That’s the) Confabulation of my Life

People say I have a good memory. Whether or not I do depends on how you define memory. How much is recognition and how much is recall? Are they truly distinct phenomena? I *recall* precious little of my life and often feel as if my memories are akin to reading an account of events, instead if actually having lived them. This is subjective. It is how I feel qualitatively.

I’ve read that many of our memories are hastily thrown together reconstructions of events. Similarly, our professed motives and personality traits are generally confabulations, stories we tell ourselves about why we acted the way we did, when in fact our actions are most often driven by the situation and not by any qualities inherent in ourselves. Questions such as “What kind of person am I, really?” and “What do I believe in?” usually elicit the incorrect response.

I’m not sure what kind of story I could confabulate about my life, which suffers from a distinct lack of plot. Without a throughline, it’s hard to define things like identity and faith. The center does not hold; it turns out to be a handy fiction. But there are those who say that there is truth in fiction, or that fiction is just another type or interpretation of the truth. Stories resonate. Whether or not they are factually correct, they do what they are designed to do: they are an expression of the human experience. They elicit an emotional response. They bolster our sense of who we are and where we are going, no matter if the impression they give is false. Memories, self construction is a universal trait in humans. It seems probable (though not provably so) that the story of self, the Fundamental Attribution Error, serves some sort of evolutionary purpose.

It is human nature to confabulate, to unknowingly believe huge untruths about our own nature and the nature of the universe. And so, even if we are not always being entirely honest, to our own selves, we remain true.

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