(Inspired by “deep” conversations with Jules)
Absolute certainty can be a dangerous stance. Have you ever observed the face of people in the midst of an argument or debate? There is this false look of confidence that they present in their eyes, a look that must be maintained in order to support the fragile argument they present. The appearance of certainty exists to mask the little boy or girl inside who knows that they are still trying to figure life out. It exists to present a mature adult who has gone through life and stands before you with a truth that we will one day come to. Absolute certainty is a way to show the world that we are all “grown up”.
After going through childhood and adolescence fighting for the right to be heard, the idea of being all “grown up” is a dream we wish to achieve. We run hard and work tirelessly to gain the ears of our elders and peers so that we can reach a certain place where maturity and wisdom is evident in our speech and actions. We are a people who don’t like to be portrayed as being “in the process”. We want to be a finished product, a completed piece of art, a person who has it all together. We want this because we are tired of people telling us to “grow up”.
Space for Change
To consider ones self “grown up” is to assume that our learning days are over. The problem with this is that a made up mind leaves no room for new ideas or information, nor does it have the space for necessary change. A.R. Bernard (the speaker I quoted in my last blog) states that “change is the essence of maturation” and that the refusal to change is destructive. We must realize that change can only be acquired through a mind that acknowledges that it is still developing. Change is the object that fits within the space we leave in our minds for the chance of something new. That space exists with the condition that we accept the fact that we are still in the process and that we need to continue growing up. Ironically, thinking that we’re all grown up caps our ability to mature and limits the wisdom we need to face new levels of life.
This is why being like a child is so important to me these days. A child is innately humble. They acknowledge there limitations and are less likely to hesitate to ask in times of uncertainty. Although children are immature, being like a child during our adult years surfaces the humility necessary to cure our current condition of pride.
Run to Beat Your own Time
It would be to our benefit if finishing was not our goal. People who achieve beyond there own expectations tend to run hard past the finish lines of each stage of life and they break only to rest for further travels. They never break because they are ahead, for they know that their only competitor is the potential inside. There is no need to look at who is in front or just behind, they just run as if they have already won, they run to beat there own time.
Therefore, there is no need to be that finished product, there is no need to have it all together. There is no need to present to the world that you know all the answers and that you are certain about every subject there is to know. Embrace the process and understand the beauty of growing up.
Never be certain about assumptions, for certainty can only be found in truth. Life is all about the discovery of truth, it is the pursuit of the absolutes. It is fair for us to proclaim the absolutes we have discovered thus far in life, however proclaimed certainty is different then imposed certainty.
The Delivery of our Certainty
The imposition of certainty disrupts and robs others of the self revelatory process that is required in order for they them self to be certain. Proclaimed certainty simply provides others with options that are marked with conviction, that as they look upon the wall of truth presented to them throughout their life, they will not be able to ignore the stains of conviction YOUR certainty exudes. As they add to their pool of absolutes, their process of revelation will take your certainty into account. However, if certainty is imposed, the process of revelation will never begin for them. Imposition doesn’t only mark a persons options with your convictions of truth , it erases all other opposing options. The elimination of option is what produces naivety. Those who are naive only know what they are certain about and have yet to take into account the options that were once taken from them through the imposition of others.
This simply explains the means in which we deliver our certainties and the way in which we can influence our world. Some believe that everything is self-discovery and that influence is manipulation, other believe that truth needs to be forced down the throats of those who don’t have the ability to individually process what is given to them. This distinction provides the balance between the individualistic code of morale “you do what YOU want I’ll do what I want” and the fundamentalist perspective “do what I say or DIE!”.
With all this said, it would be safe to conclude that certainty is powerful only if it attained through self revelation and delivered in humble proclamation. We must be confident in the acknowledgment of our lack and humble with that which we are certain. We must trust that the truth will always prevail when we express it in meekness.