Uncertainty

The essence of romance is uncertainty.

Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don't let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.

If life were eternal all interest and anticipation would vanish. It is uncertainty which lends its fascination.

Demanding security and certainty prevents peace of mind. No human has the omniscience to foresee everything. Always realize the unexpected can occur. Plan as much as is appropriate, but realize that regardless of how much you plan there will always be difficulties that you had previously not imagined. By expecting there will always be unexpected occurrences and accepting them, you will have much greater peace of mind than if you have unrealistic expectations of complete control. A person would be making a big mistake if he felt that the way to peace of mind is to obtain complete security from all risks... Uncertainty is inevitable... The demand for success is detrimental to peace of mind... Keep your focus on trying to accomplish with the best of your ability.

Men would never be superstitious, if they could govern all their circumstances by set rules, or if they were always favored by fortune: but being frequently driven into straits where rules are useless, and being often kept fluctuating pitiably between hope and fear by the uncertainty of fortune’s greedily coveted favors, they are consequently, for the most part, very prone to credulity.

The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.

The future is uncertain... but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.

The Principle of Uncertainty is a bad name. In science or outside of it we are not uncertain; our knowledge is merely confined, within a certain tolerance. We should call it the Principle of Tolerance.

In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted shortcuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.

Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.

Ere you lie down to sleep in the night, sit still awhile, and nurse again to life your gentler self. Forget the restless, noisy spirit of the day, and encourage to speech the soft voices within you that timidly whisper of the peace of the quiet night; and occasionally look out at the quiet stars. The night will soothe you like a tender mother, folding you against her soft bosom, and hiding you from the harm of the world. Though denied and rejected by men in the light of day, the night will not reject you and in the still of her soft shadows you are free. After the day's struggle there is no freedom like unfettered thoughts, no sound like the music of silence. And though behind you lies a road of dust and heat and discouragement, and before you the challenge and uncertainty of untried paths, in this brief hour you are master of all highways, and the universe nestles in your soul.

In both social and natural sciences, the body of positive knowledge grows by the failure of a tentative hypothesis to predict phenomena the hypothesis professes to explain; by the patching up of that hypothesis until someone suggests a new hypothesis that more elegantly or simply embodies the troublesome phenomena, and so on ad infinitum. In both, experiment is sometimes possible, sometimes not (witness meteorology). In both, no experiment is ever completely controlled, and experience often offers evidence that is the equivalent of controlled experiment. In both, there is no way to have a self-contained closed system or to avoid interaction between the observer and the observed. The Gödel theorem in mathematics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in physics, the self-fulfilling or self-defeating prophecy in the social sciences all exemplify these limitations.

The difference between theism and non-theism is not whether one does or does not believe in God. . . Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there's some hand to hold: if we just do the right things, someone will appreciate us and take care of us… Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves.

The basic fault lines today are not between people with different beliefs but between people who hold these beliefs with an element of uncertainty and people who hold these beliefs with a pretense of certitude.

Ought a man to be confident that he deserves his good fortune, and think much of himself when he has overcome a nation, or city, or empire; or does fortune give this as an example to the victor also of the uncertainty of human affairs, which never continue in one stay? For what time can there be for us mortals to feel confident, when our victories over others especially compel us to dread fortune, and while we are exulting, the reflection that the fatal day comes now to one, now to another, in regular succession, dashes our joy.

In their new personal development the girl and the woman will only be for a short time imitations of the good and bad manners of man and reiterations of man's professions. After the uncertainty of this transition it will appear that women have passed through those many, often ridiculous, changes of disguise, only to free themselves from the disturbing influence of the other sex. For women, in whom life tarries and dwells in a more incommunicable, fruitful and confident form, must at bottom have become richer beings, more ideally human beings than fundamentally easy-going man, who is not drawn down beneath the surface of life by the difficulty of bearing bodily fruit, and who arrogantly and hastily undervalues what he means to love. When this humanity of woman, borne to the full in pain and humiliation, has stripped off in the course of the changes of its outward position the old convention of simple feminine weakness, it will come to light, and man, who cannot yet feel it coming, will be surprised and smitten by it. One day

So we have arrived at the following paradox. If a theory of the origin of life is sufficiently 'plausible' to satisfy our subjective judgment of plausibility, it is then too 'plausible' to account for the paucity of life in the universe as we observe it. According to this argument, the theory we are looking for has got to be the kind of theory that seems implausible to our limited, Earth-bound, decade-bound imaginations. Seen in this light, both Cairns-Smith's theory and the primeval-soup theory seem if anything in danger of erring on the side of being too plausible! Having said all this I must confess that, because there is so much uncertainty in the calculations, if a chemist did succeed in creating spontaneous life I would not actually be disconcerted!

In physics the truth is rarely perfectly clear, and that is certainly universally the case in human affairs. Hence, what is not surrounded by uncertainty cannot be the truth.

It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn't get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.

The glorious uncertainty of the law was a thing well known and complained of, by all ignorant people, but all learned gentleman considered it as its greatest excellency.