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JosephM

Living with Uncertainty

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Previously written and  posted by myself and re-posted here. It seems to me this is a good read for all, not for debate but for reflection.

Joseph

 

It seems only natural, that we as humans seek a reason why, to such things as the happenings of life, the deep questions of our purpose and meaning and such. Is this not part of the purpose why religions have sprung up all over the globe. Even if they have veered in their purpose, were they not a response or attempt to answer these questions to satisfy the curiosity of our nature?

 

Often times it seems we are content to receive these answers as truth because they are generally accepted. Sometimes they seem logical and sometimes not. That brings us to the topic of uncertainty. Can we live with the realization that uncertainty is closer to reality than the answers that seem to make sense for a time. Only to be uncovered as flawed because of projecting human limitation on that which cannot be seen but is the source of all that is seen?

 

 

Uncertainty is all around us daily, we drive on the roads and live with the uncertainty that the driver on the other side will not pull over in our lane at the last second. We live with the uncertainty that in the next moment the earth could swallow us up in one of natures unexpected disasters, whether it be earthquakes, asteroids, lightning, tidal waves, economic collaspse, famine or wahtever. Yes we live with uncertainty all around us, Will we be the victim of some deraged killer, abandonment by our spouse or best friend, or a myriad of other possibilities?

 

What's wrong with uncertainty? After all, no matter how much preparations we make, can we really avoid a catastrophy that we have no way of seeing? Is uncertainty just something we refuse to live with?

 

Living with uncertainty is only as difficult as we make it because no matter how many bases we cover or precautions we take, uncertainty remains. It is a reality of this world and it is built in to human existence. Once we accept it as a natural limitation of existence here, we can as the flowers and grass do, do what we were designed to do. Increase and mutiply and replenish and care for the earth with all its creatures. The flower does not say, why show i grow and show beauty because perhaps tomorrow i will suffer drought, be stepped on or eaten by insects. Neither do the tree seeds say i will stay up here or on the ground lest i grow and a mighty wind or fire overtake and destroy me. No, life goes on in all its uncertainty doing that whatever is in its design to do.

 

We humans, being more complex, seem at times to allow the thinking mind to make a life of its own. In fearful thoughts of the uncertainty that come from where we do not know, it separates itself from life and creates it own identity. Whose perceived existence is strenghtened by entertaining these fearful thoughts which serve to perpetuates more fear and uncertainty and separation.

 

So what can humans do with uncertainty? We can realize that uncertainty is no an enemy. It is the nature of the thinking mind and not of life. Life itself is not subject to the tenets of uncertainty because we know that Life is energy and it cannot be created or destroyed. It can only change form. To identify with that Life is to live life in trust and peace without fear of uncertainty. Life is living in the moment in harmony with the whole. Life is not doing nothing about things but rather in a sense like the flower and trees making internal ajustments in harmony with surrounding stimuli. Life is doing the best with what we have been given and not allowing the mind to attach itself to results. Why? Because while results have measures of predictability based on our experience, they always contain an element of uncertainty. This could be because of unforseen elements. our limited human perception and perspective, or our uncertain nature of the whole.

 

In conclusion, it seems to me that to live predominantly with joy and peace in our life , there has to be an ultimate trust in Life itself. Call it God , Reality, the Unknown, the Unnamed, Being, or whatever label you like. It seems to me, it is that trust without boundaries that will bring you joy and peace in the uncertainty that is part of this life.

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Well done.  

We are not aware of things which we definitively know or have mastered.  Our nose is in our visual range, but we are not cognitively aware of it because cognition is unnecessary so the brain habituates to it and deletes itbfrom perception.  We can drive for miles without thinking about it, and muscle memory works without cognition.

Autonomic functions, reactions, dreams, and archetypal structures are also subconscious.  The very presence of consciousness indicates someting unknown or unfamiliar.  

Edited by Burl
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On 8/6/2017 at 0:48 PM, JosephM said:

In conclusion, it seems to me that to live predominantly with joy and peace in our life , there has to be an ultimate trust in Life itself. Call it God , Reality, the Unknown, the Unnamed, Being, or whatever label you like. It seems to me, it is that trust without boundaries that will bring you joy and peace in the uncertainty that is part of this life.

Nicely said.

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A nice article, Joseph. Thanks for sharing it.

The only thing I'm certain of is that I'm uncertain. ;)

One of the things I find attractive about agnosticism (both within and without religious venues) is that it frees us from the pressure of "I have to know." It is freeing to make best guesses or to rely upon probabilities or to just go with what you know until/unless you know better.

It seems to me that we would have to be omniscient to know anything with any certainty. That is a faculty that we simply don't have.

Of course, being uncertain does not mean that we don't have to make decisions or choose courses of action. We still face the choices we have to make every day. But living with uncertainty does not put us into the straight-jacket of not acting or not doing until we are absolutely certain. We simply do (or do not) the best we can, and then, as you say, trust Life.

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5 minutes ago, BillM said:

A nice article, Joseph. Thanks for sharing it.

The only thing I'm certain of is that I'm uncertain. ;)

One of the things I find attractive about agnosticism (both within and without religious venues) is that it frees us from the pressure of "I have to know." It is freeing to make best guesses or to rely upon probabilities or to just go with what you know until/unless you know better.

It seems to me that we would have to be omniscient to know anything with any certainty. That is a faculty that we simply don't have.

Of course, being uncertain does not mean that we don't have to make decisions or choose courses of action. We still face the choices we have to make every day. But living with uncertainty does not put us into the straight-jacket of not acting or not doing until we are absolutely certain. We simply do (or do not) the best we can, and then, as you say, trust Life.

I guess that is where I differ: I have to - or at least want to- know. Of course I recognize and accept that full knowledge will never come 'this side of the grave' still I think we can know (something) and it is a worthy endeavor. However I do think there is 'guess work' in faith also: you reason so far and then decide to go with it or not. 

I agree with your statement and much of the same applies to faith,

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I think wanting to know and having to know are not the same, thormas, so I don't believe you differ with BillM as much as you might think.

In my opinion, wanting to know is part of who we are as humans. We have this amazing capacity to at least strive to understand the universe, as well as our own position in it, that is not available to other animals. There is a reason for that - and it's a potential that can't be fulfilled by being like the flowers or grass.

In terms of having to know, I think the problem occurs when we close our minds to the possibility that our current understanding might be flawed, or that someone else with a different perspective might have something to teach us. We need to be prepared to continually return to that feeling of 'not knowing' in order to develop and evolve our understanding of the universe and God. It requires courage, facing that fear - not having to know all the time.

My own quest to understand God led me to a point where I realised that there are no boundaries - all the limits we think are there don't actually exist. They are constructs of the human brain. Religion, nation, law, walls, words - nothing can protect me from someone or something that intends to do me harm, because there is always a way through. Everything in life relies on the interrelationship between elements of matter. That is my only protection.

It was tempting at that point, and at many other points along my journey, to seek refuge in the words of those who claim to 'know' a different 'reality' with absolute certainty, and to perhaps ignore or close my mind to any evidence that might challenge that reality. But if I'm honest with myself, that isn't knowing. And I think I'd rather not know than pretend to know.

When we use the word 'faith' outside of religion, we refer to the attitude employed in taking a journey away from what is known towards something else. Those who emigrate to another country talk about faith - trusting limited information that what they are heading towards and what they take with them are more important, more essential, or better, than what they leave behind. The whole process of 'taking a leap' requires one to leave solid ground. There is nothing solid or certain about faith. It is part of wanting to know - which involves both the acceptance that where we currently are is not knowing, and the hope that we are moving closer to knowing with each courageous leap we take away from the solid ground of pretending to know.

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