The First Parish Blog

Big Questions Forum: How Do You Live With Uncertainty?

By , Published on October 19, 2017

These are uncertain times.

Perhaps times have always been uncertain: it’s the nature of being human. We want order, security, control and certainty. How else can we live a rational, orderly life?

Yet in spite of all our progress, are these times not ever more uncertain?

  • Perhaps the stakes are higher.
  • Perhaps we are more hyper-aware of the turbulence of these times.
  • Perhaps now, daily, we are confronted with the fragility of our shared environment.
  • Perhaps this uncertainty brings out greater certainty in others, hardening them to the vulnerability required for relationships of depth

Uncertainty can be described as “A state of having limited knowledge where it is impossible to exactly describe the existing state or future outcome.” And yet, is not uncertainty a prelude to some kind of faith and more authentic living? Does not an over-developed sense of certainty lead to smug indifference?

To thinking people from investors to actuaries, uncertainty is associated with risk. And living in a risky environment creates stress. Life on the edge of a precipice feels precarious.

Yes, these are uncertain times. So in this first Big Question Forum of the year, in the face of this endemic and widespread uncertainty, we’ll ask:

  • How are you doing?
  • What is your direct and visceral experience of uncertainty?
  • Are you burdened by uncertainty, or buoyed by the exhilarating creativity of an undetermined future?
  • What strategies do you use, tacitly or explicitly, to address uncertainty?
  • How has the perceived increase in uncertainty changed you?

The Big Question Forum meets on the 4th Tuesday of most months during the year. This session will take place next Tuesday, Oct. 24rd, at 7:30 in the Parlor.

We hope to see you there!

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