Author: Justin Mckibben
Having a life filled with uncertainty is probably the only real certainty we all will experience… yet uncertainty is defined as the lack of certainty…. seems legit.
It is also defined as a situation or theory of unknown future. Uncertainty exists in a world where predictions are made up and the evidence doesn’t matter because at the end of the day there is still the ever-present unknown.
They say expect the unexpected, and it would seem everything else can be summed up to the product of guess work or dumb luck, but there are no exact laws that oversee the dominion of destiny… at least not that we know of. Sure the laws of physics are pretty solid, every form of science is based off what can be rationally explained and reliably applied through organized knowledge, but even in science there is uncertainty.
So what is so beautiful about uncertainty? What could be good about knowing that you do not know something… and may never know it?
The Science of Uncertainty
Uncertainty in scientific study can consist purely of a lack of obtainable facts. There may be uncertainty about whether a new invention will work as a prototype, but this uncertainty can be removed with further analysis and experimentation.
But if we are talking essence, at a subatomic level uncertainty has often been envisioned as a fundamental and inescapable property of the infinitely incredible universe we all make up, and that we are all made up of.
Just to point out some interesting aspects of uncertainty in the scientific world (so you know I’m not just making it up) in quantum mechanics the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle sets limits on how much an observer can ever actually know about the position and velocity of a particle. This is not about ignorance of potentially obtainable facts, but this uncertainty is based off the idea there simply may be no fact to be found.
Controversy in physics exists as to whether such uncertainty is an irreducible property of nature or if there are “hidden variables” that would describe the state of a particle even more exactly than Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Those “hidden variables” mean different things to different people, while some just chalk it up to not yet having the means to measure it, others suspect it is actual evidence of a spiritual plane and the fingerprint of the divine. Either way, at this point it is simply… uncertain.
How We See Uncertainty
The term uncertainty is utilized subtly in so many different facets of life, such as:
There are extensive areas of life where you will see uncertainty commonly applied, but to limit uncertainty at all is kind of obscure in itself considering the whole concept of ‘nothing is for certain’ we find in our everyday lives.
How do you put a limit on ‘what if?’
You can probably think of a million different things you are uncertain about right now (using the word by its strictest definition), like:
Are we alone in the universe?
Is there a higher power out there?
Will I ever have enough money?
What do people think of me?
Will I ever get the girl/guy?
Some of these questions get a bad rap because they induce stress and anxiety, but if we already knew every conclusion why would the experience matter at all?
The Beauty in Uncertainty
The beauty of uncertainty can actually be very simple or subjective… because the beauty of uncertainty is the gift of this exact moment.
What is more meaningful than this moment?
If you believe it is a moment that has already past, you are missing out.
If you believe it is a moment yet to come you are missing the point.
Uncertainty in essence is what makes life more meaningful. It is the vivid contrast and emotional sparks that drive us apart as they weave us together. It is the ambiguity that shatters the barriers between the boring and the beautiful, giving us both a natural fear and a fulfillment in every instant. The point isn’t to have the answer; the point is seeking your truth.
Uncertainty is so stunning because it is exciting and empowering. It keeps us enthralled and engaged in our own existence instead of dragging our feet through a predetermined wasteland of the painfully obvious.
Sure… we want to know things, want to be informed on where we are heading, want to know what we need in order to get the most of what we want. A lot of us wish so desperately to have control of it all, but then what would be the point?
At the core of it is the heart, where we find peace in the unknown. One great gift of uncertainty is growth, because as we grow we learn how to live in harmony with the outcomes outside our influence.
My father once told me to stop worrying about the things that aren’t up to me, and find peace in the fact that it never was up to me. In my life today I find the vital and vibrant elements of my world have nothing to do with me and even less to do with my ability to be certain of them. Joy fills up my life in places I never could have anticipated, sorrow seeps in where I once thought for sure I was most secure, and love beyond words has encompassed my life far surpassing even my daydreams in uncertainty’s bitter-sweet way. Uncertainty creates the space for our freedom, gives us a reason to hope, and lays out a path to find love in all forms.
At the end of it all just try to be at peace with the idea that you don’t need to be certain of the next moment, because this one is already perfect whether you know it or not.
I found peace with uncertainty and grew so much in sobriety because of the guidance I was gifted with in early recovery. Trusting in others and living in the moment was never my idea, but it is a big part of what saved my life, and Palm Partners set me on the path. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135