Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Truth or Certainty?

I've noticed - and this isn't new, but several things have recently called it to mind - that there are an awful lot of people in the world who claim to want truth, when in fact what they really want is certainty.

Now, this is neither entirely true nor entirely fair. That's the nature of generalizations. But I think it's true enough to merit discussion.

Certainty is comforting. It's definite, it's solid, and it gives you something you can depend on.

Truth, on the other hand, is messy. It's uncertain, it's contextual, it's conditional. It requires us to acknowledge the limits of our understanding, to admit that we don't know things, to see that the things we do know are incomplete. It takes work.

I don't trust certainty, and I'm generally wary of people who seem driven to find it. The problem with certainty is that it's quite possible to be both certain and wrong. And if you're so certain of something that you never feel compelled examine, doubt, or question it - well, then you're far less likely to notice if it is wrong.

1 comment:

Feel free to leave comments; it lets me know that people are actually reading my blog. Interesting tangents and topic drift just add flavor. Linking to your own stuff is fine, as long as it's at least loosely relevant. Be civil, and have fun!