February 13, 2013
“To be a good human is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertainty, and on a willingness to be exposed. It’s based on being more like a plant than a jewel: something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility.”
– Martha Nussbaum, quoted by Oliver Burkman in The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking
I just read Oliver Burkman’s The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. One of his key premises is that if we can only learn to live with and embrace uncertainty, we will be able to live happier lives. The discomfort caused by uncertainty too often motivates us to cling too tightly to goals (and their implied certainty) and to make decisions simply to have things settled instead of waiting for what’s right or best for us (illusion of control). I think there is something to this idea.
“Uncertainty is where things happen.”
– Erich Fromm