Saturday, May 27, 2006

Curious about Confusion - The Plethora of Meanings and Approaches Are Confusing

Here's to the confusion of our enemies!” - Frank Sinatra

The mere attempt to examine my own confusion would consume volumes.” - James Agee

I pretty much try to stay in a constant state of confusion just because of the expression it leaves on my face.” - Johnny Depp

I chose the theme of “Confusion” for this week’s blog, because I have recently been involved with and in many discussions about selling and marketing. These focused on “Confusion.” We don’t want to confuse our clients and/or our potential clients. Someone who is confused by a website, a sales letter, a presentation, etc. will not buy.

So, you can imagine that when I looked up quotations using the word “confusion” and found a huge variety of uses - far from my perception - how surprised I was. I was not only taken by the wide range of centuries from which they originated, but also my confusion over what many meant.

My goal now is to share many of these unusual quotations with you to see what they mean to you.

The closest they came to selling and advertising (marketing) are the two that follow:

  • An advertising agency is 85 percent confusion and 15 percent commission.” - Fred Allen
  • Rarely have I seen any really great advertising created without a certain amount of confusion, throw-aways, bent noses, irritation and downright cursedness.” - Leo Burnett

In many of the quotations, the word “order” or method appears:

  • When a man's knowledge is not in order, the more of it he has the greater will be his confusion.” - Herbert Spencer
  • "Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.” - Henry Miller
  • Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.” - George Santayana
  • Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope.” - William Penn
  • The business of the law is to make sense of the confusion of what we call human life - to reduce it to order but at the same time to give it possibility, scope, even dignity.” - Archibald Macleish

Taking a completely different approach to confusion are those that speak of nature and art:

  • Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.” - Edward Steichen
  • Human life itself may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist is to take these handfuls of confusion and disparate things, things that seem to be irreconcilable, and put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning.” - Katherine Anne Porter
  • Nature is garrulous to the point of confusion, let the artist be truly taciturn.” - Paul Klee
  • I would warn you that I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused.” - Baruch Spinoza

And, what about the philosophy of living?

  • Let's face it, confusion is what we're living with - not being able to make sense of what's happening to us from day to day.” - Paul Muldoon
  • The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.” - Doris Lessing
  • I don't want to add to the confusion by imposing Beverly Hills standards on my kids.” - Linda Gray
  • I simply can't build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery and death... I think... peace and tranquility will return again.” - Anne Frank
  • She was good at playing abstract confusion in the same way that a midget is good at being short.” - Clive James

Finally, let’s not forget technology and science:

  • A gross and palpable error of the era that is just closing has been the confusion of mechanical and material progress with moral progress.” - Irving Babbitt
  • The use of the polygraph has done little more than create confusion, ambiguity and mistakes.” - Aldrich Ames
  • The proving power of the intellect or the senses was questioned by the skeptics more than two thousand years ago; but they were browbeaten into confusion by the glory of Newtonian physics.” - Imre Lakatos
  • A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.” - Albert Einstein
  • On two occasions I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.” - Charles Babbage

Here are a couple to think about this coming week:

  • Grief is perhaps an unknown territory for you. You might feel both helpless and hopeless without a sense of a ‘map’ for the journey. Confusion is the hallmark of a transition. To rebuild both your inner and outer world is a major project.” - Anne Grant
  • It is still not enough for language to have clarity and content... it must also have a goal and an imperative. Otherwise from language we descend to chatter, from chatter to babble and from babble to confusion.” - Rene Daumal