Living with uncertainty

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Educational
  • Reading time:6 mins read

It is scary because the future becomes a black hole. It is exhausting because of the assaults of sudden fears, doubts, negative visions. It is tragic because it causes tension, stress, conflicts. It is confusing because it shadows trust and light.

Uncertainty is a nasty condition, causing serious troubles and dramatic consequences in individuals and communities.

To some extent uncertainty is part of life as nothing is certain but death (and taxes).

[quote align=”left” color=”#5E96B0″]“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos[/quote]

As long as the level of uncertainty stays in a small scale under the skin, we can cope with it and perhaps we can ignore it.

If uncertainty grows wide and deep, if it becomes a chronic status in someone’s life or in a community, their life condition drops to be miserable, which is probably frightening for those nor directly affected…

Why is the face of uncertainty so ugly?

One reason is that it is the face of the unknown. We are able to see what has happened in the past, what we have done, we find a deep comfort and peace while looking at the past. The past is safe, certain. It can be explored and well known, it can be enjoyable to recall. The past is melancholically supportive.

Not the same for the future. Future is highly uncertain, furthermore it is unknown, it is full of unexpected. We can try to plan the future, to forecast scenarios and trend-lines, but don’t have the same capability to see what it is going to happen next with the same clarity and same certainty as for the past.

Facing the bond of unknown, unexpected, uncertain makes the soul shivering, really.

Events in recent years show that uncertainty is becoming a social phenomenon, spreading from individuals to the large society.

[quote align=”left” color=”#5E96B0″]…looking at the past brings comfort and peace… Future is highly uncertain, unknown, full of unexpected.[/quote]

The 21st century  has began with an impressive sequence of events that fed uncertainty: from the tragic attack to the Twin Towers to the financial turmoil and the unrest in many countries until the long economical crisis, many circumstances seem to work at removing the past reference points of confidence and certainty.

Deep unbalances -both within individuals and communities- come up from such a powerless status of “hanging-over-the empty-space”. A condition,  which makes the mind blind, the will paralysed. Are we trapped then into the net of uncertainty and unknown circumstances? Depression is a likely outcome… Never, never give up! and this is not just to see light and positivity even where there is a pitchy-black hole.

There is in fact a magic in uncertainty as well as in what is unknown or unexpected.

This is similar to the magic of nature when in spring it carries seeds and bulbs out of their winter sleep and brings them through a chaotic, internal hurricane, almost invisible that helps them achieve the aims of their existence. In this process something has to die in seeds and bulbs… and magically from the dead matter a deeply metamorphosed new organism appears in the marvellous shape of new blossoms and flowers. And every year the nature celebrates in this way the step of uncertainty, for no living process exists without it.

Uncertainty is not an aim of life, but it is a condition of life, it is the dark moment of a process of changes and metamorphosis we are going through in our existence.

It is an opportunity. It is a strong shake to our consciousness. It is a path.

What is then the opportunity? the shake? the path? In other words: am I willing to explore the roots of uncertainty, beginning with myself?

Some people prefer to avoid speaking about uncertainty for the word itself is frightening, some people want to avoid uncertainty overall by enjoying icons and idols who are believed to provide identity and stability. Very long might be the list of illusions we like to build up and hide behind for the sake of our “peace of mind”. The choice of ignoring existential questions is obviously not leading to a state of “happiness”. It might temporarily make an individual feel comfortable, but it is going to be probably of tragic consequences for the individual itself and for the whole community, for diverting from a problem is the best way to create a barrier against finding an answer.

A more effective remedy is to face the challenge of uncertainty and do not remove it with any sort of artifices or trickery, don’t escape from changes that any living organism needs.

[quote align=”left” color=”#5E96B0″]…the most important remedy to tackle uncertainty is actually solidarity…[/quote]
That means basically a very simple statement: that I have to face myself! It is as simple as that. The first, simple step. There isn’t any shortcut. Does it mean that the others can’t help? that one has to be alone in fighting an adverse destiny? Someone recently told me that there are people thinking that destiny is your destiny. What happens, it is good for you, it is what you deserve and helps you become stronger, they think… Well, let me only say that those people are in need of love and compassion. No more.

What it is necessary in our time is in fact the second and most important remedy to tackle uncertainty: it is actually solidarity. It is not the social isolation to kill uncertainty, it is the closeness of one other that may restore confidence and hope, providing the psychological and practical support to  individuals or groups of people affected by adversity.  People hit by misfortune should do their part; the community might play the role of a life-jacket around them in support of their redemption.

Facing uncertainty is a path of knowledge, transformation, battle within yourself, the results of which can be delivered and shared with other “vagabonds” walking on the same path: the path to achieve freedom, the most relevant aim of human existence, and to understand the needs of the each others, which can be called love.

[quote align=”right” color=”#5E96B0″]Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life[/quote]
“Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.” (by R. I. Fitzhenry)

So, never give up.

 PS: In response to this post, I was sent the following link to the Tiny Buddha website that surely is of great interest: “Tiny Buddha,  simple wisdom for complex lives