Post number 23 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

Certainty is our ability to convince ourselves that we are right about something. Its opposite, then, implies we are open to the possibility of being wrong, or of learning more later. Of seeing things from another point of view and in new lights, depending on our growing, developing understanding. What I “know” today, I may only “believe” tomorrow, and may actively “doubt” the following day. There’s a wide range of possibilities, if we remove the notion of concrete, fixed “certainty” – but only one, if we accept it.

As Krishnamurti discusses at length in Freedom From The Known, the human desire for rigid, fixed understandings which are permanently and objectively true, misapprehend the universe we find ourselves amidst (and part of). I have said many times in this journal, the only constant in the Force is change. This is truer of human understanding than of most things; indeed, it was only a few hundred years ago we believed slavery was OK, and that the earth was flat. A couple of centuries later Guion Bluford was orbiting the earth. The fact is, what we believe to be certain and fixed “because it works” is only ever part of the story – the truth of the matter is far, far away, and still as uncertain as can be.

What am I certain of? I’m certain that I am sat at my desk typing words into my computer. So. I’m inserting words into my computer? Is it not truer to say my fingers are hitting keys, which in turn send electrical impulses into the processor, resulting in pixels on the screen changing colour? And what is a word? And hang on, fingers? Those are part of my hands, right? Or of my body? They’re part of the human race, too… and what is it which makes the arrangement of materials before me a “desk”, exactly? Isn’t it rather similar to a table or a bench?

The point is, certainty forgets the in-situ nature of all understanding. Here, today, practically, I’m typing at my desk. From a few hundred thousand miles away, I’m part of the bluey-green blob. Both are true, but they depend on our viewpoint. Truth is usually like this – like the old (and very useful for Jedi) phenomenological concept of Dasein is not just “Being”, but “being-there”, truth is only ever “truth-perspective”. It is always contextual, it is always perspectival. It is always uncertain, if we accept that certainty with regards to knowledge suggests that the truth, the understanding, is fixed.

“The first thing to ask ourselves then is what is fear and how does it arise? What do we mean by the word fear itself? I am asking myself what is fear not what I am afraid of.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

I lead a certain kind of life; I think in a certain pattern; I have certain beliefs and dogmas and I don’t want those patterns of existence to be disturbed because I have my roots in them. I don’t want them to be disturbed because the disturbance produces a state of unknowing and I dislike that. If I am torn away from everything I know and believe, I want to be reasonably certain of the state of things to which I am going. So the brain cells have created a pattern and those brain cells refuse to create another pattern which may be uncertain. The movement from certainty to uncertainty is what I call fear.

In the passage above, Krishnamurti tackles an important motivator in the reason humans crave certainty: the removal or placation of fear. It’s scary for us to open ourselves up to the unplanned, the unknown. We only want the good, never the bad. We try to know because it is as though we are imposing a structure on reality, allowing us to predict what will happen and minimise that which may come about and be negative for us or those we care about.

The reality is, those structures fail us time and again, yet we continue with the futile task of trying to categorise, predict and otherwise “tame” the wild Force which moves through all things. Jedi recognise this pattern, and understand that what comes, is what’s right. That is what trusting the Force means: understanding the uncertainty of a system so wide and wildly chaotic as the Force, but refusing to be intimidated into unhelpful, rigid modes of thought. A Jedi must trust they will have the skills, the allies, the resources to tackle these negative uncertain elements, when they come about – and not before. Now that doesn’t mean avoiding chances to prevent bad things from happening or taking precautions, but it does suggest the nature of a “failsafe plan” – at any point – is flawed. Every plan can fail, somehow. We can walk in one direction but we can always be pivoted.

The Force is the way. Not only our way, but all ways. In accepting the uncertainty at its core, we open ourselves to its possibilities. To live… to undertake adventures. To grow. No growth is possible encased in concrete, and the metaphor holds up: no meaningful growth happens when our beliefs are too rigid, too fixed. Think of the stubborn people in your life, the stick-in-the-muds, the jobs-worths. The sticklers. How much are they learning, each day? How much do they grown in a year?

Jedi move with the currents of the Force, rather than sticking rigidly in their views. Does that “rigidity”, to remain uncertain, to remain open, imply a degree of rigidity and inflexibility in and of itself? Well yes, it does, and as such it’s sensible for us to take a balanced view here as well. Be flexible and open, but also trust yourself. Be uncertain, but let yourself be certain within it, to a degree. Follow your intuition, but be ready to be proven wrong.

Certainty, yet Uncertainty.
Trust, yet Openness.

Those look a little healthier, to me.

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