Confound it!

Mirriam-Webster says the word “confound”, as meaning “destroy”, was first used in the 14th century. They track its derivation back through Middle English to Ango-French, which picked it up from Latin (meaning to “pour together”, thus bringing disorder). Currently, its 1st meaning is to throw a person into confusion or perplexity.

A Google Ngram shows the usage frequency of a word or phrase. “Confound” had been on a one hundred year decline in usage. That changed in the year 2000 CE.

What the trigger was for this shift will probably never be known. Here is how Wikipedia remembers that year:

The first day of the 21st century and 3rd millennium was celebrated worldwide on New Year’s Day 2000, even though according to the calendar it is a year early. End of Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Second Intifada begins. George W. Bush is elected President of the United States. Vicente Fox becomes the first opposition President of Mexico. Vladimir Putin becomes President of Russia. British Army launch Operation Palliser which effectively ends the Sierra Leone Civil War. International Space Station begins operations. First Inter-Korean summit. al-Qaeda suicide bombs the USS Cole. Philippine forces captured the main camp of MILF, Camp Abubakar in Mindanao. The Luoyang Christmas fire at a shopping center in China kills 309 people. ILOVEYOU computer virus. Millennium Summit. Air France Flight 4590, crashes into a hotel in Gonesse just after takeoff from Paris, killing all 109 aboard and 4 in the hotel. Overthrow of Slobodan Milošević. ASG gunmen seized 21 people including 10 tourists and 11 resort workers, two of them Filipinos, from the resort island of Sipadan, Malaysia. A rare century leap year date occurs. Canonization of Faustina Kowalska in the presence of 200,000 people and the first Divine Mercy Sunday celebrated worldwide. Elián González returns to Cuba with his father, Juan Miguel González, ending a protracted custody battle. Multiple terrorist bombings in Metro Manila occurs on Rizal Day, killing 22 people and injuring more than 120 others. Deaths of Charles Schulz, Alec Guinness, Walter Matthau, Tom Landry and Steve Allen.

Somehow it left out Wisconsin winning the Rose Bowl in 2000.

The Ngram only goes to 2012, but I sense that confounding is continuing to rise. It is something more significant than a virus and a quarantine.

Confusion and perplexity have moved on from seeming happenstance to an intentional strategy by those reactive to what seems like a shift away from established entitlements. This already arrived, but not yet consolidated, new stage or state of living with one another and the earth is greeted with a flurry of alternative facts. Such reversals of truth are ultimately no more successful than the curtain of the Wizard of OZ. At some point, a next Toto will reveal the Emperor’s Clothes to be absent, to be empty, as well as invisible.

The only refuge those trying to repeat a not so great past is a further plundering of physical resources, turning them into financial capital, and storing it back in the ground, absent any nutritional value to feed future generations.

In such a time, the throwing up of hands in frustration or surrendering to angst is tempting but not fruitful. Instead, those desiring clarity to being confounded can still focus on an old spiritual trick of letting their “Yes” be yes and “No” be no. This does not need an exclamation point to be effective. It is a simple recognition that there is no arguing with narcissistic liars and their fawning followers.

Still available is an affirmation of cardinal virtues: prudence (seeing ahead, wisdom), temperance (reasoned moderation), fortitude (courage), and justice (dealings with others). Blessings to you as you call them deeper into your life.

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