Relax. Open. Redirect.

A new development can focus attention, even to alert or alarm. Something new can be merely unfamiliar, slightly mysterious, fairly intriguing or even quite surprising, as indirectly contrary to prior experiences and established expectations.

When something is surprising, it may seem to fit with some expectations but not others, as in seeming confusing. Confusing means that I have some familiarity with the surprising new development, but some awareness that my prior perception has not been entirely accurate or relevant.

I may not even fully recognize yet that I may have been confusing one thing for another (as in misinterpreting or misidentifying). I may say things like “that is confusing me” or “you are confusing me” rather than simply recognizing that I even might have been confusing one thing with something else.

So this brings us to the idea of “relax, open, redirect.” There is a time for focus, of course. However, there may also be a time for relaxing, and the experience of confusion may be a clear signal first to relax.

If I know that I am not clear about something relevant, one possible response is to keep proceeding however I was already proceeding, perhaps even more stubbornly. For instance, if I am speaking to a deaf person, I might try to speak louder or slower. However, if I am speaking to a person who is deaf (or who simply does not speak the language I have been using), then the speed and volume may not be relevant at all. I might try writing something instead of yelling it at them.

So the responsibility for my own experience of confusion may be within my own range. After I relax, I may be able to learn by experimenting attentively- not with frustrated intensity, but after relaxing and staying relaxed. I may be able to quickly establish the correct interpretation or relevant clarity.

However, reactively tightening my grip on my model of what I expected is not likely to end my confusing of one thing for something else. I can admit that I may have been confusing one thing for something else, relax away from whatever expectation or presumption I had about what was going on, then open to a new clarity, a correct understanding, a relevant perception.

Then, after I open to a new clarity, I can redirect my attention toward learning. What action can I use to test my prior expectations and presumptions- for some of them may be relevant, perhaps just not all of them?

By the way, the expectations and presumptions may have been inaccurate, but if I have been in the mode of shaming myself for having had an inaccurate perception or of blaming someone for allegedly being responsible for my inaccurate perception, then it may be time to go back to step one: relax. What is more relevant: anything about the inaccurate perception or everything about whatever perception is accurate and relevant?

Let’s take an example that is well-known and relevant. People may say “these rising fuel prices are confusing” or “those economic changes are confusing” or “that price decline is confusing.”

In such a case, the people speaking may have simply been confusing one thing for something else. For instance, they may have confused prior fuel prices as being accurate estimates of future fuel prices. Past prices are not inherently future estimates. Future estimates are not inherently accurate. That is why different people make different estimates using different methods.

Of course, people may use past prices to estimate future prices. However, the estimating is done by the people estimating, not by the prior prices. The prior prices were just prior prices.

In fact, in the absence of some relevant-seeming reason to expect prices to rise or fall, the obvious simple choice is to use prior prices to estimate future prices. Sometimes, this may work perfectly. Sometimes, an estimate may later be recognized as having been high or low. But none of that is inherently confusing.

What would be confusing is to interpret prior prices to be inherently stable. Prices just are not inherently stable.

Someone can list their real estate for sale with an asking price of $300,000, but that asking price is not an estimate of a future sale price. The asking price is just the price that the prospective seller is asking. Further, until the real estate is sold, the prospective seller is just a prospective seller and the asking price is just a prospective price.

So, someone can list their real estate for the same asking price for months, years, decades, or however long they own it. A stable asking price does not reflect the inherent instability of actual market prices, which can change very quickly or very slowly, but can be presumed to always change eventually.

Further, a particular model of change may be confused for being inherently the most accurate eternally. That would be confusing a symbolic model for the symbolized reality. Models of reality are part of reality, but they are within the part of reality called symbolic models. Models are for estimating and predicting and refining. If a model is evidenced to be inaccurate or irrelevant, than a revision to the model may be more accurate or relevant.

Models are always over-simplifications. Models are always presumptive. Using a model that does not fit with the actual circumstances is like raising my voice to shout at a person who is deaf, as if that would be useful. When a model clearly is not working, then it may be relevant to consider using an alternate model or even simply creating a new one.

Circumstances are never inherently confusing. In any particular process, some models are always more relevant than others.

So, those who claim that certain price changes are confusing may not be clear about what confusion is. Confusion is merely an incongruence between a model and a circumstance. The circumstance is never inaccurate. The circumstance is just a circumstance. Confusion is the result of using a model that does not fit currently as relevant.

Finding out that one has been using a model that does not work in a particular circumstance is the first step in either learning what model would fit… or at least in learning about the nature of confusion itself. Maybe I simply recognize my own confusion, withdraw from trying to force my prior model on some present circumstance, and then withdraw completely. Maybe I invite or request someone else to assist me. Maybe I know that another person with whom I am interested in interacting is not deaf and can definitely hear me, but they just do not understand my language. Maybe I ask for an interpreter. Maybe I focus elsewhere.

My confusing one thing for another is temporary. All confusing of one thing for another is temporary.

In regard to confusing a risky market for a stable market, once I see that prices are moving faster than I expected, I may wonder how risky a certain market is, “because obviously it is not as stable as I had previously understood in my prior confusion.” Just like I might ask for an interpreter to communicate with someone whose language I do not speak (which could even be the sign language of a deaf person), I might seek the assistance of someone who accurately predicted whatever price changes I did not accurately predict.

By the way, I am among the people who predicted the rising of fuel prices, the decline of real estate lending and borrowing, the fall of real estate prices, the fall of stock market prices, and also the sequence of which would happen when- like first, second, third, and so on. By 2004, I called that sequence “the DominOIL effect.” I continue to predict future prices based on the same models that have been consistently accurate for me for the last 9 years.

If you have been confusing inaccurate models for accurate models, then you may have been not only surprised but confused by prices changes that did not fit those inaccurate models. Remember, prices are just prices.

However actual market prices are never inaccurate or inherently confusing. Actual market prices are just actual market prices. Similarly, prices for actual transactions are not asking prices, and asking prices are not prices of actual transactions.

Actual price changes are not models of prospective price changes. However, actual price changes may be used to create and refine models of prospective price changes.

Confusing one thing for something else is just confusing one thing for something else. Confusing one thing for something else is not evidence that a particular circumstance is inherently confusing or that it should be fixed to be how it should be and kept that way.

Further, any claim about how any person should be is just an interpretation or a model. Every model is useful in some circumstance and there are always circumstances in which a particular model is not useful. Models are just models. Circumstances are just circumstances.

When a model and a circumstance fit, those two fit together. When two of them do not fit, those two do not fit.

Relax. Open. Redirect.

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