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Thread: Confusion

  1. #1
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    Default Confusion

    The other night I read something about people becoming increasingly unwilling to suffer or expose themselves to confusion and it got me thinking abut the value of confusion as a sensation. It seems that a lot of issues occur due to an unwillingness or inability to accept complexity and uncertainty, people demand simple answers and cling to them like a buoyancy aid. Obviously it's an unpleasant sensation but I can't help but feel that there's some value to experiencing and having to come to terms with genuine confusion from time to time.

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  3. #2
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    The internet and the explosion of information has opened everyone up to the fact that there is infinite complexity and uncertainty in the world, whereas quite recently one would have taken one's opinion on key topics of the day from a very small range of sources. So I think it's partly a reaction to over-stimulation in terms of opinions and facts.

    But I agree that there's value to confusion, or at least being able to hold two things in mind which prima facie might seem contradictory. One of my most-stoked bugbears recently is the inability to hold that two things can simultaneously be true if they are not explicitly contradictory i.e. there's no need to treat life like football and have to 'take sides' at the expense of any nuance (many obvious examples in recent politics). But maybe social media feeds that tendency, because of its limitless capacity for outrage and finding people who are wrong at 1.59am and being forced to correct them rather than going to bed
    Last edited by baboon2004; 11-10-2018 at 01:34 AM.

  4. #3
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    people are probably unwilling because they find the uncertainty of confusion to be threatening. confusion means loss of control, people can't deal with the notion that they don't understand or have a situation sorted out. insecurity comes with the notion of not being in control of their situation or life.

  5. #4
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    Definitely. I'm just mulling over the value of experiencing that loss of control as it seems like something of a double-edged sword; on the one hand it can afford perspective and humility, on the other it can encourage a lack of responsibility and recklessness as people feel that the world's too big and complex for them to have any sort of effect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baboon2004 View Post
    The internet and the explosion of information has opened everyone up to the fact that there is infinite complexity and uncertainty in the world, whereas quite recently one would have taken one's opinion on key topics of the day from a very small range of sources. So I think it's partly a reaction to over-stimulation in terms of opinions and facts.

    But I agree that there's value to confusion, or at least being able to hold two things in mind which prima facie might seem contradictory. One of my most-stoked bugbears recently is the inability to hold that two things can simultaneously be true if they are not explicitly contradictory i.e. there's no need to treat life like football and have to 'take sides' at the expense of any nuance (many obvious examples in recent politics). But maybe social media feeds that tendency, because of its limitless capacity for outrage and finding people who are wrong at 1.59am and being forced to correct them rather than going to bed
    The 'fake news' argument springs to mind here, I've noticed a lot of people writing off organisations and sources based on individual stories and inaccuracies rather than accepting that most of them will be a mixed bag and it's up to them to verify and sift through what's presented. They want clear good and bad guys they can trust to be 100% good and 100% bad at all times and seem incapable of accepting that it's more nuanced than that and that some effort is required on their part.

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  8. #6
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    Exactly. The urge to simplify and polarise value due to information overload. (Also, a lot of people still seem to misunderstand how newspapers and media organisations work at a basic level, and the plurality of opinion that exists within each. Parallels with political parties there of course, but at least that's been blown open properly recently)

  9. #7
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    embracing and exploring confusion is a pretty scary prospect for people, and most of them probably don't have the interest or inclination to do so. I think it's a really interesting prospect, even though I shy away from it for the most part. would be a great learning experience, good or bad. throughout history, some leaders have seized the opportunity of confusion to mark their mark.

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