Thursday, November 13, 2014

What Do I Know for Certain?

There is one point on which I am absolutely certain. One thing of which I am certain is that there is little else that I know for certain.

The world does not follow a random and arbitrary set of rules. The laws of physics do not change. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. But the world is complex and impossible to model accurately.

Because the world is too complex to fully understand, it can appear random and arbitrary at the individual level. I don't know what today will bring.  I hope to finish this post, go for a hike at Rock Bridge State Park then come home and do some reading. But there is also a possibility that I will get hit by a car, shot by a terrorist or attacked by a mountain lion. It might be safer to go back to bed.

It is highly probable that I will have a pleasant walk and a quiet afternoon. Since I write these posts in advance and post them manually, if you are reading this, I made it home.

I don't know for certain what today will bring. I don't know whether the market will go up or down next week. I don't know whether my remaining time is short or long. The one thing of which I am certain is that there is little else that I know for certain.

However, I believe that by thinking in probabilities rather than certainties, my understanding of the world is more accurate. Expecting the expected and some elements of the unexpected is the most reasonable expectation. The way we respond to the unexpected defines us.

What do you feel you know for certain?

You might also like:
The Paradox of Certainty
Changing the Odds
Choose the Difficult Assignment