By Caroline Hurley
I think that there’s something to be said for confusion; that feeling of untethered loss; that state of cognitive limbo. Or, at least I’d like to think so as I write this in the midst of my third, very confusing year in Morningside Heights.
Doesn’t confusion have its place in reasoned pursuits? As a necessary step in cognitive development, or as an implicit psychological precondition for inductive reasoning? There’s some undeniable catharsis in the reconciliation of one’s confusion, a satisfying triumph in the face of adversity.
Armed with the superficial understanding of Plato which any student of the Core Curriculum can claim, one might suggest that confusion is a symptom of the respectable life of contemplation. I’d hesitate, however, to reserve confusion for the ‘deep-thinkers’ living the contemplative life to which Plato refers. I have friends as shallow as dinner plates who I would describe as often confused. People labor through confusion independent of any claim to intellectual competence or enterprise.
So, perhaps there’s something essentially human about the push through confusion… How ‘bout it? I can feel myself a hair’s-breadth from regurgitating some platitude about “virtue in struggle.” Maybe, I should surrender the point outright and acknowledge my abject failure as a writer. After all, perhaps this half-musing of mine is nothing more than the optimistic manifestation of a very confused student’s anxiety, these words a misguided attempt to sooth a self-conscious knot in my gut.
In any case, there’s typically an obligation with these sort of letters—from named editor to faceless reader—to reach some poignant (if empty) conclusion to the problem (which I’ve never fully analyzed). I’d like to hold back, however, from doing so, and relish in the murky, unsatisfying confusion of all these words. It only seems appropriate.