Improvising an Apology

This morning, I woke up with the term “muddle” bouncing around in my head.  I applied that term recently to describe Extension’s longstanding practice of working through problems over time rather than applying solutions too quickly — an organizational trait I consider to be one of our strongest, albeit with some reservations.

I’ve been a little uneasy about that choice of words ever since.

Anyway, I looked up the word in the online dictionary and my worst fears were confirmed.  Among other things, muddle means “to cause to become mentally confused.” 

Yes, I admit it: I overstated my case.

Improvise may be a better verb for the argument I’m trying to make.

So consider this post an improvised change of heart.

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4 responses to “Improvising an Apology

  1. But Jim, I love the word “muddle”!

    For me it implies the insights that come from the slog and the struggle, the trial and the error. In short, what life looks like for most of us.

    Its etymological origin, a Dutch word meaning “muddying the water” implies stirring up the precise clarity of vision by reason alone.

    Just seeing the word reminds me of the old folk spiritual, “Wade in the Water.” (“God’s gonna trouble the water.”) Muddle on!

    P.S. Do you remember Warren Johnson’s 1978 book “Muddling Toward Frugality”? A terrific read. Recently made available as a monograph http://bit.ly/muddleon

  2. missionextension

    Peg, coming from someone of your erudition, I feel much better about this choice of words — oh, and I will give Johnson’s monograph a look!

  3. Help! Nobody’s ever accused me of erudition before. I confess to studying philosophy and literature in a previous incarnation, but I’ve forgotten almost everything but the big words.

  4. Maybe instead of the word “muddle”, the better word to describe our progress might be “tinker”, much like an inventor tinkers around until he his idea takes full shape.
    Thanks for some thought provoking disucussion.

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