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Uncertainty is the only thing we can count on.

Posted by on July 5, 2011

Life is quite the ride.

And it couldn’t have been said better than by the Count himself.

“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next-what makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome, “do your worst!”, for I will do mine.”
-The Count of Monte Cristo

This is part of what I think of when I think of certainty/security. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, the brain craves certainty.  Always wanting to know what is coming next, this must be evolutionary.  The need to know where our next meal is coming from, the safety of our family and friends is assured, and the location of adequate shelter.  As always, its about survival.

The human race hasn’t really evolved much past its caveman days, aside from the ability to not die from small pox and sporadically create above average television, but now in western civilization we simply look to different things to guarantee our sense of illusory certainty.

But the way I see it, the eccentric that I am, that the only certainty there is in life is uncertainty. There’s nothing we can depend on in this life, especially in this specific time in history.

Governments are unstable and corrupt, relationships are fragile, our health seems like a guessing game, and the afterlife…well, I guess that depends on which cult you belong to.

Life IS a ride.

And the most thrilling rides are those in which you’re not sure what’s coming next.

Why do you think people that have gone Skydiving tell you it was the most exhilarating rush of their lives?

Or why do people get unparalleled clarity and perspective from a near death experience?

Because the rest of our lives is spent living in a bubble we’ve formed around ourselves, sheathed in the lie that we know what’s going to happen tomorrow.  We convince ourselves that today and tomorrow is a certainty and slip into a deep coma of bordeom and complacency, pretending for the rest of our lives that we know what’s ocming.

But we don’t…. and while the conscious mind tries to hide, our brain knows what’s up.

So it goes looking for novelty, a way to feel alive.

This is where activities as unimaginative as watching a horror movie, sports fanaticism, or gambling become acceptable substitutes for life itself.

Why do you think people typically find so much joy in the early years of parenthood?

I hear this a lot (and I am sure you have too) from new parents:

“Oh, its incredible, everyday is something new.”

Of course it is.

I’m starting to think that vitality and happiness awaits us in embracing the uncertainty of life. Because maybe, if we can all find a way to accept life’s unfortunate randomness and illogical circumstances…

We can let go of the rest of the inate fears that seem to control and dictate the rest of the human experience.

The best we can do is look daringly into life as we say,

“Do your worst, for I will surely do mine.”

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