Life’s nature is uncertainty and yet we want nothing more than to turn that which is uncertain into something that is certain. This is truly the great paradox of humanity. From the moment of our birth to the moment of our death, we live an existence plagued with denial, denial of the fact that uncertainty is really ever the only sure thing.
To take things for granted is implicit of an existence believing that things as they are shall forever remain as they are. Of course it’s easy to pay lip service to change, but how many of us willingly accept it when it happens? With change comes fear and fear is the birthmark of uncertainty. When we don’t know what to expect, it’s exactly then that uncertainty raises the ghost of fear. It’s then that we do everything in our power to mitigate the unknown to preserve the known. Uncertainty is the enemy, and we do what we can to thwart it.
If this is not so, how else can we explain the abdication of freedom (see Freedom: There is No Substitute…) by so many seeking certainty? There is no freedom without uncertainty and yet so many think otherwise. The moment we become beholden to something, is the moment we lose our freedom. Were this not true, then why else would countless people remain in tedious jobs, trading freedom for a pension with benefits? The world is full of such people. Take the morning subway commute and you’ll see that there’s more than enough “quiet desperation” to go around.
To think that our politicians don’t recognize this when they espouse their social welfare promises is to think askew. Even he, who is considered the father of the modern social insurance system, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) recognized this upon introducing the world’s first social insurance initiatives in Germany in 1881 when he said: ‘Whoever has a pension for his old age is far more content and easier to handle than one who has no such prospect. Look at the difference between a private servant and a servant in the chancellery or at court; the latter will put up with much more, because he has a pension to look forward to.’ It’s naivety to think that this is lost upon our contemporary politicians.
The crux of the matter is that uncertainty is a wonderful thing. It’s the blessing that makes for a fascinating and interesting life. Of course it’s natural to want to mitigate our risk (see Risk: The Drug of Life…), but at what point does risk mitigation evolve into serfdom? Do we want a world without uncertainty? If so, then perhaps prison should be our destination of choice: wake up every morning at the same time, eat at the same time and sleep at the same time. What could be more certain than that? What could be a more dreadful existence than that?
It’s Goethe who pronounced that ‘Genius is knowing where to stop.’ Perhaps that’s the modus operandi in which we need to lead our lives? Careful the ship sails, but lest we be afraid to ever sail the ship…
For more check out the Global Ebook Awards GOLD & SILVER Winner of 2014 & 2016, The C.A.T. Principle: Change, Action, Trust – Words to Live By available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. See the latest Amazon reviews here.
Sign up above and receive this blog once every two weeks to your inbox. Comments and thoughts welcome.