The Book of Human Emotions: From Ambiguphobia to Umpty - 154 Words from Around the World for How We Feel - Tiffany Watt Smith 2016
During the Industrial Revolution, engineers invented a contrivance to force hot steam inside a machine to change course, restraining its natural flow. They called it a “baffler”—the old word for a magician. Bafflers are nowadays called “baffles”—and they are still tricksy. On an airstrip, for instance, they are used to drown out the roar of the engines, shooing sound waves first one way then the other until the noise dampens.
Feeling baffled is a bit like being one of those sound waves, wrong-footed by magic. It happens when too many options (see: UNCERTAINTY), particularly those poorly arranged in a disorderly heap (see: BEFUDDLEMENT), make it hard to follow, or know which direction we should proceed (see: OVERWHELMED, feeling), leaving us feeling frustrated (see: EXASPERATION), or angry (see: IMPATIENCE), even bilious (see: DISGUST), but most of all exhausted (see: APATHY) by a surfeit of information that creates a sense of blockage (see: BOREDOM), and precipitates a feeling of existential angst for the random purposelessness of things.
See also: BEWILDERMENT.