Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Being Baffled as Route to Hope

I attended a fantastic talk last night (one that will likely lead to another post or two later this week), and I wanted to share one of the central joys of the evening: the discovery of a new meaning to a familiar word.

I love words, both the sounds and the layers of meaning they inhabit.

So today's word is baffle.

I was only familiar with baffle as a verb describing challenges and confusion:
1. to perplex; bewilder; puzzle
2. to frustrate (plans, efforts, etc.)
3. Archaic to cheat or trick
But baffle in fact has another set of connotations in an engineering context:
4. to check, restrain, or regulate (the flow of a fluid or the emission of sound or light)
5. to provide with a baffle
This gives a whole new flavor to "baffled by fate;" life constantly redirects our best laid plans. In the spirit of optimism and my own little quest to maintain the modes of joy in my life, I'll try to remember this word the next time I'm perplexed, frustrated or feel cheated by the many people and obligations around me.

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