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The Wisdom of Uncertainty

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Paul zealously offers his opinion that to embrace uncertainty is necessary and key to living a passionate, spirited, and authentic life.

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THE CRITICS ENTHUSE!  Zut! The Grand Fraud American of Blogging once more crucifies our world’s conscience and decency by attempting to undermine all that is holy and sacred about life.  He urges us to reject the certainty of every principle that is certain, reject the certainty of every truth that is a rock. I will not lie about the pig.  He is an outlaw, a criminal, a villain.  It is up to our world to deal justice to Paul Sunstone.  At last, he must be guillotined.  The guillotine must be returned to the public service of our world!”  — Aloyse Leblanc, Le Critique Passionné de Blog, “La Tribune Linville”, Linville, France.

(About a 5 minute read)

“The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty.” — Yoshida Kenkō

This is how I see it, my friend.  Your own mileage may vary.

Teenagers complain of boredom.  Adults complain of lacking passion.  Old folks complain of not having fully lived.  Everywhere you go in the world, everyone complains of these and related things.

Complains, and then within the same moment, desires their life to be more certain, more stable, more predictable, more comprehensible.

In the end, the rejection of uncertainty in so many, many ways amounts to little more than a refutation.  A refutation of interest, engagement.  A refutation of passion.  A refutation of fully living.  A refutation of life.

To be sure, life would be impossible without a substantial measure of stability.  Too much instability can be far worse than merely demoralizing.  It can have catastrophic effects on everything from our ability to feel safe to our ability to survive.  Yet, everywhere you go in the world, humans are busy willfully overdoing it.

Overdoing safety. Overdoing stability.  Overdoing certainty.

Sadly, most of us are even willing to all but physically, literally sacrifice ourselves for the sake of some extra and unnecessary safety, stability, certainty.  Bonnie Ware, an end-of-life nurse, asked her dying patients what their greatest regrets were.  The greatest regret of all for the largest number of her patients was they had not lived true enough to themselves.

They had betrayed themselves.  Sacrificed themselves.  But only when it was too late for them had they seen it.

Have you noticed? Humans begin practicing how to lie almost from the age they learn to speak.  Practicing it.  In so many ways, lying is a necessary and useful skill for a born predator who must outwit his prey or starve.  That’s to say nothing of its uses as a social lubricant. a means of escaping and/or besting enemies, and a route to power, wealth, and prestige.  But the human talent and skill for lying so often harms, cripples, or destroys the liar.

So many of us lie our way into self-sacrifice and so many of us die regretting it.

More often, perhaps, we don’t so much lie our own way into self-sacrifice as we are betrayed by those we trust to tell us the truth.  “Listen, my friend, I know you’re down, looking for answers.  Well I have answers.  Buy this or buy that.  Buy my product, my service.  Buy my politics, my worldview, my religion.  I sell these, my firmest truths, purely out of my love for you.  I myself am getting nothing from our deal.  No need to think for yourself.  No need to hesitate.  My offer is risk-free.  Buy now! Buy now!”

Strange how even the physically and mentally toughest men and women cringe at a little emotional pain.  Cringe and run from a little pain now and then.  To accept a new idea, a new view of the word has never even once cost me more than at the very most a mere few day’s of suffering.  An acute hour or two followed by a tapering off period of perhaps a few days. How hilarious it is to hear some tough guy or gal complain their life lacks all meaning and importance now that they’ve seen the sky is blue at noon on a sunny day.

“You’ll live.” I say, “You’ll survive.  You’ll even adjust to the truth that only hurts when it’s new to you — like a pair of new, blistering boots that will become comfortable old friends once you break them in.” But they never believe me.  “How will I ever live not thinking the sky is black at noon?”

To be sure, I have empathy for them.  I’ve been there myself.  I only lack sympathy for their taking such a suicidal attitude towards their own lives.

Uncertainty can be the most precious thing in life.  To accept it is to become open minded enough, flexible enough to attaining a bit of knowledge, even a bit of wisdom now and then.  It is to become open minded enough, flexible enough to adapt to a changing world in order to give yourself the best chance of achieving your goals and dreams.

That’s how I see it.  Right or wrong, those are my honest opinions and views.  How do you see it?  What do you yourself think?

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” ― Muhammad Ali

4 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Uncertainty”

  1. Once again, Paul, your point of view almost mirrors that of a Christian. With a little tweak here and there, your essay could be used at Sunday Mass as a homily.

    Good points made in your essay. I like your way of thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s quite interesting! Thanks for mentioning that. It doesn’t quite surprise me. There are ,multiple paths to any genuine truth. Almost always, there are multiple paths. Kenko, by the way, was a Buddhist monk. So, there’s that, too.

    Thanks, Carla, for the compliment. I like how you think too. Hope all is well with you this fine morning!

    Like

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