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Why don't we like uncertainty?

Updated: Dec 13, 2018

Might be an odd question, but just reflect on it.

Given there are always in any moment, infinite possibilities about how the future gets created, why would we prefer to know in advance which 1 or 2 options will happen?

Surely the unknown, or lets call it the yet to be created, is more inspiring and fulfilling?

When you take a minute to get out of your head and spot it, it is one of the most truly amazing things about the human condition; that our experience gets created via our minds in every moment, so what is our conditioned fascination in trying to predict it, worry about it, and manage it?

Well, the only answer I can think of, is that whether we are aware of it or not, we think the future has some causal power over our wellbeing or resourcefulness. And of course in order to think that we must think the present can do that as well.

BUT THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS. Our wellbeing and resourcefulness (extend that to include, happiness, creativity, connection, resilience etc) are not created by external situations or circumstances, whether that be present, or future events. Our minds are where the action is. But not in way we might think. We are constantly projecting our experience. The mind does not work like a camera, it is not outside to inside.

Try it now - do a little experiment for yourself to see how easy it is to feel and experience something that isn’t in the outside world. All you have to do is let your mind wander from this screen that is front of your eyes, and ‘day dream’ something else, you’ll soon perceive and feel that as your reality.

The mind works like a projector not a camera. We cannot have an experience of anything without it coming through our system via thought. The only thing we can feel is thought - we experience our entire worlds via thought. But thought can make it look like it is the outside world causing our experience and feelings.

However, we are innocently and invisibly conditioned to be focused on, and worried about, the future — school kids are often given a reason as to why they have to do something....that it will be useful later on in their education or life...and that gets hard wired. There is an evolutionary fitness value in that, but we have severely over exaggerated that in the modern era. Creating a normalised and mainly invisible future focus that isn't neutral and is also layered with insecurity.

We are conditioned that ‘not knowing’ is a bad thing and not as good as knowing — so when a teacher asks a question you are meant to put up your hand and know the answer, or when you ask your kids what they want for dinner or what they want to do this afternoon, you want them to know. It is all innocent and normal, but it happens.

But what about ‘real’ life? Surely planning is useful?

Of course I am not completely mad, and do understand that in the game of life it is useful to plan, and organise; to have a house for your children to live in, food in the cupboard and an umbrella if the forecast says rain, and for BREXIT, work out how the planes are going to land if there is no deal. But as Eisenhower said, ‘plans are useless but planning is indispensable’. So maybe this maxim will help ‘don’t let today’s wisdom being tomorrow’s prison’.

And it gets even better…

If realising that the external events and circumstances of the future (or present) don’t have any causal power over our feelings isn’t enough of a benefit. Consider this….

Uncertainty, the unknown, the yet to be created, is the most wonderful aspect about being a human being. Once we see that the world we live in is created inside out, and is made of memory and imagination coming through in the moment via thought — we realise that we don’t have to settle for what we think we can have. We can play with creating anything it occurs to us to create, even if it seems unrealistic given our narratives and limitations on what and who we think we are. It is unlikely that we are not going to have thinking about the future, it is inevitable, so lets at least understand what is made of - thought in the moment, nothing else.

If something in this slightly abstract post resonates with you, there are some more practical ones saying the same thing differently here. This article builds on my last one Britain 'would be booming' if it wasn't for Brexit

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