Certainty can be a dangerous thing.
The mystery of the universe continues to unfold before our eyes; even our understanding of the things we thought we knew with certainty continue to unfold and expand.
We cannot say dogmatically about many of the important things which touch and affect our lives, “This is it.” Is there more beyond the Higg’s Boson?, or, Do I know everything about you?*
Companies, governments, religions, individuals all come unstuck when they believe their certainty is the one which really matters. There is hope, though: it’s you.
You are an enigma. You live on this material planet, the product of a material universe, yet you ask questions about the mystery of life and being – spiritual stuff.
Poets and philosophers and prophets lead us into the uncertainty of the unfolding mystery of the material and the spiritual alongside the scientists who’ve had to carry the exploration into the unknown on their own for too long. Knowing doubt, questions, and ambiguity** are important dimensions of knowing and living life, they keep us moving forward. Humans are the only explorers of the universe, as far as we know.
Like never before, we’re understanding our place in and relationship with the Earth and the universe. Only yesterday, I heard an interview with casino-heir and conservationist Damien Aspinall speaking about his dedication to preserve endangered species as a member of the human species with no greater right than any other to dwell on Earth.
Postmodernism has helped us to break away from certainty and now we’re asking towards what? Dogma wants to take us back to something. But the past has brought us to this point: so now what?
The people who will best lead us into the “Now what?” have honed doubt, questions, and ambiguity in the wild places of following hunches, thoughts and ideas, and taking risks in the uncertainties of life.
Every Human is capable of being this but not all answer the call and turn up.
(*Here’s a great podcast from the BBC’s Radio 5 Live interview with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.)
(**Diana Butler Bass names these three dimensions are the legitimate elements of spirituality, in The Practicing Congregation.)
(Today’s cartoon will slowly develop.)