"When I forget my ways, I am in The Way"

Philosophical and experiential notes on Nothingness, with supporting insights from martial arts, quantum physics and Taoism

27 December 2013

The Futility of Certainty


Is it really all that disturbing to be uncertain? To live adrift in the tireless flux of the unknown? To no more understand the depths of our own self than the expansiveness of the universe? I think we underestimate our desire for the unknown - for the mind-expanding sense of a universe and a self without end. For the sublime rewards of a world of no clear and definitive answers. 

“If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.” — Henry David Thoreau

Within the unknown, within uncertainty, lies our freedom. The freedom to think, breathe, live, love and experience whatever we desire - without limitations. Arguably, desire can be taken to extremes, but desire can also drives us in positive ways. Our desire to realize, to understand ourselves and our world is among our most fundamental drives.

Certainty's main purpose, it can be argued, is the satisfaction of being 'right', and particularly the sense of superiority that our self-righteousness lords over others. But for me, I'd rather live a life of being perceived as stupid, dumb, wrong or foolhardy than give into the shallow, tepid, anemic temptation of being certain and right. Righteousness is not full living. Let me experience wrongness as well, along with open-mindedness, success, failure, answers, questions, pain, misery, frustration, longing and, yes, desire - as I muddle my way through the endless fascination of uncertainty. What great adventure or challenge will the next bend in the River of Uncertainty yield?