Uncertainty arises when we have to deal with the unknown. In this world, we can really only be absolutely certain of two solitary things. We know that we were born and it is a sure certainty that we will die. Beyond these proven truths, what is really known about the world? Many may disagree with me, but you can’t deny that much of our lives are spent with a looming level of uncertainty in them. Meaning that our lives can become dominated by apprehension, doubt and suspicion. Which isn’t exactly a suitable tag line for the human existence…
Even the greatest minds who have achieved the most unimaginable successes experience uncertainty. I am sure that even Albert Einstein doubted himself at many points in his career. Perhaps before completing the final points of his study or before adding the final chemical to an experiment, he was uncertain if it would all come together correctly. What about all our successive Presidents and leaders in this world? They couldn’t have just made all these great (or not-so great) decisions without being faced with doubts, fear and uncertainty. I guess it makes sense since we can be pretty uncertain (to say the least) about these Presidents ourselves…
I often made the bold presumption that the creative minds in this world were so sure of the prophecies that they wanted to convey or perhaps so lost in that world of their creation; that they were not affected by something as cruel and as mundane as uncertainty. It’s not that far a leap when you see them conquering the world with the stroke of a pen, the strum of a guitar or perhaps even a flick of their hair. But, the extra numbers in their bank account balance do not negate the crippling nature of uncertainty. The pressure for these people to succeed must be absolutely enormous, so I guess you can see why they might be uncertain about that song on their album or that plot twist in their book. They may be able to convey the intensity of their emotions with a metaphor or a quick twist of a phrase but unfortunately for them, this does not act as a barrier against the rampant nature of uncertainty.
Compared to these celebrity encounters the moments that us ‘regular’ folk experience doesn’t seem to stand up to it all. However, although we do not have the pressure of fame or the burdens of such expectation, it is the monsters that inhabit our own brains that always seem the scariest. These demons tend to manifest in various different ways, to transfer uncertainty from one moment to the next.
Perhaps the greatest cloud of uncertainty lies over the impending doom of the leaving cert. Some of us are so uncertain of what it holds and what it will bring about for us that we refer to it simply as “what will happen in June”, or perhaps in Harry Potter terms, “the Voldemort of the teenage existence”. This looming cloud of uncertainty can only be dealt with by consuming copious cups of coffee, demolishing dozens of dairy milks and perhaps a strict study schedule. Because truly we know very little about what will actually be facing us in June - despite everyones best attempts - and that uncertainty makes every hour from now until then an obstacle course of fear and doubt. I, along with many of my classmates, will be dealing with this uncertainty by adding up points from various exams until our calculators and our nerves are fried.
If my brain capacity wasn’t entirely focused on this looming atrocity, I could perhaps find the time to play the ‘what if’ game. This is no Candy Crush I assure you, but it can occupy a lot of your time if you're not careful. What if I didn’t go out on Saturday? What if I didn’t meet that person? What if I never tried Nando’s? Would everything be slightly different? Playing with the unknown is one rabbits hole that you may never be able to climb out of - even with the help of a Mad Hatter.
Uncertainty isn’t a nice feeling. It’s like swimming in the ocean, and only being able to see a dark black abyss below you. It is an experience that can give you chills; as if a Great White Shark will arise from the depths to shallow you whole. As human beings we like what is sure, what is known. We like to know what we are facing in to. Except for the odd Tiffany ring; we don’t like surprises as we like to feel like we are in control. Except for the rare occasion when your dad will relinquish the remote, these moments of control can be few and far between. However, we do not need to face into this dark abyss entirely alone.
Everyone doubts themselves, everyone experiences that sinking feeling when faced with a maths question (or that might just be me) - but everyone is able to overcome it. That, my friends, you can be certain of.
This was a little essay that I put together about the level of uncertainty that we all live with in our lives.. I thought that although it was written originally as an English exercise that it has a lot of relevance in the world we are currently residing in.