The danger of solutions

If you accept uncertainty as standard, it's not possible to be surprised or thrown off-guard by anything.

The danger of solutions

Human beings are hardwired to find solutions to problems; we simply love a short cut. If we can understand an issue and plug-in a simple solution to it, it gives us a lot of personal satisfaction. It makes us feel like superheroes, like we've conquered the world.

The problem with this way of seeing the world, is that we are now more aware than ever before, that no matter where we look, uncertainty really is the norm.

The nature of the universe means that there is just no way that we can ever understand anything well enough to have all the answers to it.

But that's not what we like to believe.

Rather than not have an answer we prefer to fudge some kind of theory into a problem to satisfy our addiction of 'knowing'. We fool ourselves into creating a nice story that we can believe in, in a desperate attempt to ward off the scary demons of uncertainty.

Even though it might appear as though we might have found a solid solution to a problem, that solution is an illusion.

It's in our unquestioning belief in the story of our solutions that the real problem lies.

When we falsely believe that we have found the answer, we stop asking any more questions of life - which puts us in a very rigid and vulnerable position. Under our false assumptions of knowing all kinds of unintended consequences play out as a result of our interventions.

A far better strategy to adopt, with all things, is to have a mindset that views everything as beset by uncertainty.

If you accept uncertainty as standard, it's not possible to be surprised or thrown off-guard by anything.

Under conditions of uncertainty you will always be asking new and creative questions, and seeking the opinions of many different people in an attempt to better understand something - to throw more light on whatever it is that you are trying to judge.

Seeing the world as uncertain and knowing that all solutions are subjective, is a powerful position to hold. Engaging with the world with a deep sense of humility is a strong stance to adopt, even if it is the exact opposite of what our global culture believes.

Not knowing anything for sure is the true indicator of wisdom.


Carlo Rovelli: What We Believe About Certainty
Our most reliable beliefs are those that survive constant questioning.