u: confound, totally lost
Etymology: The origin of this symbol and spectrum
The “u” of understanding developed out of writing the word “understand” with the “n” of honesty. I wanted to emphasize that this was something I was truly grappling with, sincerely trying to understand, to take into my life.
And when I could not do this, the “u” developed a tail like the “n” of deception, of treachery and betrayal. This helped me figure out when I was lying to myself, ducking out of comprehending painful truths that could not be avoided.
Orthography: How to remember these symbols
This “u” does work the same way as “n” --just write a “u” and underscore it to show a mastery of the subject, a comprehension. The longer the underscore, the deeper the understanding. Write the “u” of confusion as a “u” with a loopy tail going down—the more loops, the greater the incomprehension.
Philosophy: How I use these symbols to embrace life
In my writing, I underscore the “u” showing I get the point, even though I probably don’t like it. Yes, I understand that there is nothing medically that can be done for my legs. Yes, I understand that the chemo probably won’t work, and that is all the doctor can offer.
In meetings or lectures when I am not getting the concept, I tend to doodle the “u” of not understanding and work within the loops, trying to focus on the conversation and figuring out how I can get what is going on—can I ask a clarifying question, can I research the basics, can I ask someone later, etc.