Uncertainty again

Some notes on uncertainty for week 3.

Can the presented uncertainty be acted on, worked with or become something that becomes knowable?


If we can’t enter into the uncertainty in a way that we feel is meaningful then it remains a form of nonsense. If we create the uncertainty or it forms part of an agreement to not seek a single interpretation then we can have a social energy that sparks a search for understanding that is group built and not something that leaves some powerless in their inability to fully understand or honestly agree / disagree.

If we know what constitutes a falsehood we can narrow the field of uncertainty (narrowing is not necessarily a good thing) to something that leads towards value. The point is not to make a rigid “truth” but rather a malleable and understandable agreement powered by its goal to move us towards a richer understanding without necessarily providing the closure of a definitive answer.

A number of people in Rhizo14 have mentioned uncertainty as the unfamiliar that creates a kind of vacuum for discovery. Being allowed to say “I don’t know” releases energy that being obligated to know kills. A person free to explore the field of a dilemma enriches the environment they practice in and shuns false obligations to technique over truth.

Uncertainty allows for mystery and confusion to exist as rightful states of the human condition. Why not be undecided? If we learn to live with uncertainty we become more complete and ready for responsibility that doesn’t lean on the instance of impersonal rules but does rely on personal commitments to hold care of reality regardless of however it presents itself.

Thanks to Karen Armstrong and her book “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.” Alfred A. Knopf, 2011

 Humberto R. Maturana and Francisco J. Varla “The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding” Revised 1992 Shambhala Press

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  • balimaha  On February 2, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Loved this post, Scott. Very well articulated and nuanced rather than being overly positive or negative about uncertainty. I might quote you in my class!

    • scottx5  On February 3, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      Hi Maha, thanks for the comment. Tried to think of the things uncertainty allows rather than those things that make it into a difficulty. We are often pushed into answers we don’t really believe because it’s easier to “know” than to explain. I have an image of school where the teachers spend the whole day closing door with “figured out” written on them. As a teacher it’s ard to escape the expectation of knowing the answers though.


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