One might be led to believe there was something confusing about navigating one’s career in the world of work. And confusion there is to one who is not equipped with guides and maps.
As one looks at the many factors which might
Enough unsolved problems add up to a huge confusion. Every now and then, on his job, enough conflicting orders bring the worker into a state of confusion. A modern plant can be so poorly managed that the entire thing appears to be a vast confusion to which no answer is possible.
Luck is the usual answer one resorts to in a confusion. If the forces about one seem too great, one can always “rely on his luck.” By luck we mean “destiny not personally guided.” When one
One has seen a friend shutting his eyes to the bill collectors and gritting his teeth while he hopes that he will win at the races and solve all his problems. One has known people who handled their lives this way for years. Indeed, one of English novelist Charles
It would be wise, then, to understand exactly what a confusion is and how it could be resolved.
Confusion and the
A confusion can be defined as “any set of factors or circumstances which do not seem to have any immediate solution.”
A CONFUSION IN THIS UNIVERSE IS
If you were to stand in heavy traffic, you would be likely to feel confused by all the motion whizzing around you. If you were to stand in a heavy storm with leaves and papers flying by, you would be likely to feel confused.
Is it possible to actually understand a confusion? Is there any such thing as an “
If, as a switchboard operator, you had ten calls hitting your board at once, you might feel confused. But is there any answer to the situation?
If, as a shop foreman, you have three emergencies and an accident all at the same time, you might feel confused. But is there any answer to that?
A confusion is only a confusion so long as all particles are in motion. A confusion is only a confusion so long as no factor is clearly defined or understood.
Confusion is the basic cause of stupidity. To the stupid, all things except the very simple ones are confused. Thus, if one knew the anatomy of confusion, no matter how bright one might be, he would be brighter.
If you have ever had to teach some ambitious young person who was not too bright, you will understand this well. You attempt to explain how such-and-so works. You go over it and over it and over it. And then you turn him loose and he promptly makes a complete botch of it. He “didn’t understand,” he “didn’t grasp it.” You can simplify your understanding of his misunderstanding by saying, very rightly, “He was confused.”
Ninety-nine percent of all education fails, when it fails, on the grounds that the student was confused. And not only in the
We have, in
THE DOCTRINE OF THE STABLE DATUM.
If you saw a great many pieces of paper whirling about a room, they would look confused until you picked out one piece of paper to be the piece of paper by which everything else was in motion. In other words, a confusing motion can be understood by conceiving one thing to be motionless.
In a stream of traffic, all would be confusion unless you were to conceive one car to be motionless in relation to the other cars and so to see others in relation to the one.
The switchboard operator, receiving ten calls at once, solves the confusion by labeling—correctly or incorrectly—one call as the first call to receive her attention. The confusion of “ten calls all at once” becomes less confusing the moment she singles out one call to be answered.
The shop foreman,
Until one selects one datum, one factor, one particular in a confusion of particles, the confusion continues. The one thing selected and used becomes the stable datum for the remainder.
Any body of knowledge, more particularly and exactly, is built from one datum. That is its stable datum.
Now, in teaching an ambitious young man to use a machine, he failed to grasp your directions, if he did, because he lacked a stable datum. One fact had to be brought home to him first. Grasping that, he could grasp others. One is stupid, then, or confused in any confusing situation until he has fully grasped one fact or one item.
Confusions, no matter how big and hard to overcome they may seem, are composed of data or factors or particles. They have pieces. Grasp one piece or locate it thoroughly. Then see how the others function in relation to it and you have steadied the confusion. And relating other things to what you have grasped, you will soon have mastered the confusion in its entirety.
In teaching a boy to run a machine, don’t throw a
Confusion is uncertainty. Confusion is stupidity. Confusion is insecurity. When you think of uncertainty, stupidity and insecurity, think of confusion and you’ll have it
What, then, is certainty? Lack of confusion. What, then, is intelligence? Ability to handle confusion. What, then, is security? The ability to go through or around or to bring order to confusion. Certainty, intelligence and security are lack of or ability to handle confusion.
How does luck fit into confusion? Luck is the hope that some uncontrolled chance will get one through. Counting on luck is an abandonment of control. That’s apathy.
Control and Confusion
There is “good control” and “bad control.” The difference between them is certaintyand uncertainty. Good control is certain, positive, predictable. Bad control is uncertain, variable and unpredictable. With good control, one can be certain. With bad control, one is never certain.
A foreman who makes a rule effective today but not tomorrow, who makes George obey but not James, is exercising bad control.
Because there can be so much uncertain, stupid control, some of us begin to believe that all control is bad. But this is very far from true. Control is necessary if one would bring any order into confusions. One must be able to control things, his body, his thoughts, at least to some degree, to do anything whatever.
A confusion could be called an “uncontrolled randomness.” Only those who can exert some control over that randomness can handle confusions. Those who cannot exert control actually breed confusions.
The difference between good and bad control then becomes more obvious. The difference between good and bad, here, is degree. A thorough, positive control can be predicted by others. Therefore it is good control. A non-positive, sloppy control cannot be predicted. Therefore it is a bad control. Intention also has something to do with control. Control can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes. But you will discover that when destructive purposes are intended, bad control is used.
Thus there is a great deal to this entire subject of confusion. You may find it rather odd for confusion itself to be used here as a target. But you will find that it is an excellent common denominator to all that we consider evil in life. And if one can become master of confusions, his attention is freed for constructive activity. So long as one is being confused by confusions, all he can think about are destructive things—what he wants to do most is to destroy the confusion.
So let us then learn first how to destroy confusions. And this we find is a rather simple thing.
When all particles seem to be in motion, halt one and see how the others move according to it and then you will find less confusion present. With one adopted as astable datum, others can be made to fall in line. Thus an emergency, a machine, a job or life itself can be viewed and understood and one can be free.
Let us take a glance at how this works. There are a number of things which might influence obtaining, holding and improving a job. One can handle this entire problem, as people most often do, by entering into the problem the single datum, “I can get and hold a job.” By clutching to this as a single belief, the confusions and insecurities of life become less effective, less confusing.
But suppose one has done this: Without further investigating the problem, one, when young, gritted his teeth and shut his eyes and said, “I can get and hold a job, come what may. Therefore I am not going to worry about the economics of existence anymore.” Well, that was fine.
Later on, without warning, one got fired. One was out of work for ten weeks. He felt then, even when he did get a new job, less secure, less confident. And let us say that some accident occurred and one was out of a job again. When once more unemployed, he was once more even less confident, less secure. Why?
Let us take a look at the opposite side of this Doctrine of the Stable Datum. If we do, we learn that confusions are held ineffective by stable data and that when the stable datum is shaken, the confusion comes into being again.
Let us envision a confusion as stopped. It is still scattered, but it is stopped. What stopped it? The adoption of a stable datum. Let us say that one was bothered badly in the home by a mother-in-law. One day, after a quarrel, one
That was a decision. That, rightly or wrongly, was a stable datum adopted in a confusion. At once one felt better. He could deal with or live with the problem now. He knew that “All mothers-in-law were evil.” It wasn’t true, but it was a stable datum.
Then one day, when he was in trouble, his mother-in-law stepped forward, true-blue, and paid not only the rent but the other debt too. At once he felt very confused. This act of kindness should not have been a thing to bring in confusion. After all, hadn’t she solved the problem? Then why does one feel upset about it? Because the stable datum has been shaken. The entire confusion of the past problem came into action again by reason of the demonstrated falsity of the stable datum.
To make anyone confused, all you have to do is locate their stable data and invalidate them. By criticism or proof, it is only necessary to shake these few stable data to get all a person’s confusions back into action.
You see, stable data do not have to be true. They are simply adopted. When adopted, then one looks at other data in relation to them. Thus the adoption of any stable datum will tend to
Let us say one has no fears of national economy because of a heroic political figure who is trying his best. That man is the stable datum to all one’s confusions about national economy. Thus one “isn’t worried.” But one day, circumstances or his political enemies shake him as a datum. They “prove” he was really dishonest. One then becomes worried all over again about national economy.
Maybe you adopted some philosophy because the speaker seemed such a pleasant chap. Then some person carefully proves to you that the speaker was actually a thief or worse. One adopted the philosophy because one needed some peace from his thoughts. Invalidating the speaker would then at once bring back the confusion one faced originally.
All right. We looked at the confusion of the workaday world when we were young, and we held it all back by stating
Confusion need not be an unavoidable and persistent part of one’s working life. By employing the Doctrine of the Stable Datum one can gradually bring order and understanding to any situation.