Certainly Uncertain

Many things in the world are uncertain. The word, “maybe” is almost always more applicable than yes or no. Will I get sick? Will I get a promotion? Will aliens arrive to meet humanity? Will we have destroyed ourselves before they get here? The answer to all these questions is “maybe.”

Students in Class

“May we say, “perhaps,” if we want to sound smart?”

Even things that seem certain are not always so. We all assume the sun will rise tomorrow. It has risen every day for billions of years. But no one can be sure of what happens tomorrow until tomorrow actually arrives.

Orphan Annie

Not even little orphans.

The universe is uncertain, and uncertainty causes stress. We cannot help but plan for a future we are unsure of, and all of us are at least a little bit aware that our plans might not work out. Something could go wrong, or even worse, we could do something wrong. We might screw up so bad the whole system falls apart. The trouble with making plans for the future is that it makes you feel responsible for what happens. Even the things over which you have no control.


“I was planning to arrive by noon. Then this happened. It must be my fault!”

If only there were some solution. If only we could not be bothered by uncertainty, or even better, become seers with %100 accuracy. But this will never be, because the universe will always be uncertain, causing stress on the human mind.

We cannot predict the future, but we do know what has happened so far. And things appear to be working out. Things are not always desirable, but at least they are. The universe isn’t perfect, but at least the universe exists. No matter how bad things get, there will still probably be something. Maybe it will even be something nice.


“That’s a nice singularity you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if someone were to…set fire to it.”

Maybe there is actually an upside to uncertainty. There are a few things I know are going to happen to me. I will get old, my body and mind will falter, and I will eventually die. I am certain of these things, and they are unpleasant. But there are many more things about the future I am uncertain of. The things I am certain of are bad, but maybe some of the things I am uncertain of will be good.


The amount if cake in my future is uncertain.

There is an uncertainty principle here. The more we know exactly what will happen, the less we know it will be good. The more we want good things, the less we have to look for them.

I am not certain that the universe is on an irreversible course toward entropy and destruction. I don’t know for sure that everything will decay and fall apart.

But I also don’t know for certain that there aren’t little elves that fix these problems when we sleep, keeping everything going for another day.

Maybe things are kept going by mysteries and secrets. And if we were ever to catch a glimpse of these secrets, if we were certain of their existence, then they would cease to exist. Or it would just drive us insane.


The toys move when no one is looking! I swear!