Friday 25 March 2011


I was alerted to a speech on Ted the other day by a relative of mine; thank goodness for Ted and it’s charitable attempt to keep our brains nimble. There was a speaker who was talking about vulnerability and its vital importance in our lives. It’s a speech worth watching. She said something during her talk that really stuck with me, it’s not revolutionary, and yet, it says so much about where we are now as a global community, not to mention in our personal lives.

She explained that in today’s society, we make everything that was uncertain, certain; or try to anyway. And of course we are driven to abolish uncertainty out of our fear or discomfort with the not knowing. Cause not knowing is of course uncomfortable, and as a society we pride ourselves on knowing how to fix or eradicate discomfort. We have pills for that you see…or books, or doctors, or tv shows, and so on. The list is long on how to dispel the uncomfortable areas of our lives and yet, to our bafflement the discomfort continues - as does addiction, obesity, over consumption etc. Gosh, shouldn't that tell us something?

And of course this determination for certainty happens in all spheres of our lives - politics, religion, our health, relationships, you name it. Whatever area we can possibly find an answer, even if it’s only temporary and flimsy at best, we pride ourselves on arriving at one. Because certainty looks like we know what we’re doing, when in truth, in many areas of our lives, we simply don't have a clue. 

This speaker went on to say that mystery and discourse have been replaced with absolutes; in short, this is right and that is wrong – and in some cases, a battleground of certainty has developed. Which of course, as we all know has landed us in a heap of trouble. In the case of politicians, no longer are they communicating and having a healthy discourse about the path of our futures. There is no more, 'we simply do not know – and are hence, uncertain - but let’s get there together.'  It has become a tug of war of certainty from either side. We are certain this is the way to lead, and you are clearly wrong! Of course, the only certainty in that way of thinking is that they’re both certain to be right until they’re both wrong, and we've all seen that happen time and time again.

I actually look forward to the time when the King says to me that he doesn’t understand something, or asks me questions I can’t answer. Because I will tell him wholeheartedly that there will be many things in life that are uncertain and he has to find comfort in the discomfort, so to speak. Or at least not run screaming from it like it’s the boogey man.  As a person admittedly obsessed with certainty and amassing as many facts as I can, I wish I was told a long time ago that the unknowing may be a mysterious wormhole, but surrendering to that unknowing is a hell of a lot easier than trying to figure out what’s in there. That’s just a recipe for one big headache.

Cause as we all know there are pretty much two certainties in life – death and taxes…and that my partner will misplace his phone charger at least three times a week. The rest of it is anyone’s guess really…and that’s for certain.

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