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Posts tagged ‘history’

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. maybe.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say if you’re reading this, you have read at least one book that changed the way you looked at the world.  In essence, it changed the world.  There was some point, maybe halfway through, or at the end, or maybe even in the first paragraph, when you realized the place you were when you picked up the book was not the place you found yourself in as you laid it down.

Or maybe it was a film with subtitles seen on lazy Saturday afternoon.  Or maybe it was one intoxicating night in a strange land hanging out drinking with a few people who had been strangers on a train a few hours before.

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

One of those moments for me was as a young lad was coming across James Burke’s PBS series The Day The Universe Changed which was about, well, that moment when culturally, collectively, we had some of the moments when the world when, well, the universe changed.

And with all the focus these days on Congress, the White House, and the beltway-wall street complex being corrupt and inept, I think we do need to put some focus on the people.  And right now, I would say, that the nation of United States, as fragmented as it is, need to have its universe change.  Until it does, we can’t expect much more than more of the same.  Keeping in mind what Ellen Glasgow said: All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.

Here is Burke in the first part of the series



Confabulation is the act of creating a false event to fill in the gaps of missing memory and is a hallmark sign of dementia. Of course confabulation does not have to be limited to those with dementia, as one could unintentionally create false events as well, it has been described as a blurring of reality with fantasy. It can also be applied to the false interpretation of memories which is different from lying in that the person does not intentionally wish to deceive. It seems our political narrative has been taken over by confabulation. Many have noticed the rewriting of history (i.e. Reagan decreased the size of government, Obama’s administration developed TARP) that flies in the face of facts. It could very well be that the short-term memory loss sustained in the rabid, power hungry minds of those who retell history incorrectly isn’t intentional. Maybe there is some organic biological reason for their distortion of the facts. Perhaps they do not look to the facts at all, they just focus on memory alone. This phenomena is seen in eye-witness testimony where three people can tell very different sets of facts, they are all telling the truth to their ability, but their memories are not made the same. (As far as the politicians go though, I highly doubt it is unintentional but maybe instead of saying “You lie!” We could say “You confabulate!”)

Confabulation can be proved, as it is deemed unintentional, who could argue that when faced with facts. On the other hand for a lie to be a lie, you have to prove intent of deceit. It may open up the dialogue for fact-finding instead of fault-finding. With all the confabulation going around by the far-right Tea Party candidates, we need something, some phrase that will open up the narrative for further discussion. So when the facts are being misinterpreted or misrepresented, I will say “I believe you may be confabulating _ (events, facts, etc.)” sure they may not know what it means, but it is less offensive than calling someone a liar. It may open up an opportunity for teaching, who knows? It also happens to be one of my new favorite words.

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