Uncertainty - By Chuck R 03/06/2011
By Chuck R. In response to Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment and EnlightenNext - is it a cult? When one is uncertain, perhaps stressed by unsolved or insoluble issues, anyone who appears to be certain, to have positively true answers to difficult problems, is highly attractive. Uncertainty can be painful. Gurus who claim to “know” the (capital T) “Truth” can look like ports in a terrible storm.
Unfortunately, uncertainty is our lot in life. Certainty is often a delusion, a con, or a self-delusion. The human neurological system evolved to produce certainty, whether or not the certainty is warranted. Such certainty is of great use in fight-or-flight situations where speed is essential and extended cogitation can be lethal. But in more intellectual pursuits – philosophy, theology, human relationships, “evolutionary enlightenment”, etc. – it can be a unexpected hazard. Certainty arrived at through intuitive experiences such as the AHA! experience should always be treated skeptically. If you can find additional evidence to support such certainty, fine. If you can’t, you’d better set aside such certainty.
Certainty is a *feeling* or a *sensation*, not an idea or intellectual conclusion. As such, it is no more reliable than any other feeling such as fear, love, disgust, hatred, etc.
Doubt and uncertainty can be painful, but they are better than the soporifics of false “truth” and phony “knowledge”.
Check out the book “On Being Certain” by Robert Burton, MD. (2008) You’ll find yourself less addicted to seeking certainty and “knowledge” of “deep truths” than you may now be. (I have no connection to this book other than admiring it.)