Subjected to fake news of the confabulated sort

President Reagan suffered from a memory disturbance whereby he confused imagined scenarios with actual memories, called confabulation. One could argue whether he sought to deceive or not.

There is a type of confabulation where an individual manifests a tendency to lie compulsively — Korsakoff Syndrome –which is due to brain damage. That is frontal lobe damage, seen in autopsies or scans as tiny hemorrhages in the brain, or patches of dead neurons.

Psychologically, confabulation may be “traced to shame and a need to cover up deficiencies.” That is, to admit ignorance upsets and embarrasses people. Their defense is to pretend. These defense mechanisms, lying and pretending, attempt to hide one’s brain damage, even from oneself. However, such compulsive and thinly veiled mechanisms are not unlike the cat who hides only her head behind the sofa.

To fabricate fictitious characters and project one’s failings onto them is another defense mechanism.

To many, it is not clear whether the confabulator knows he is lying or is simply unable, because of brain damage, to relate a coherent history of his life.

President Trump shows many aspects of brain injury. However, the entire nation recently pretended that a past president was a thoroughly virtuous man. He was eulogized — and celebrated — as heroic, humble, compassionate and supremely qualified to lead a great nation. We were subject to a confabulator’s fest. An incomplete, incoherent and false history.

Raphael O’Suna



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