Embrace the uncertainty of life, and accept that you don’t really know anything.
In quantum physics there is an idea called the uncertainty principle. Werner Heisenberg coined the phrase in 1927 to explain how subatomic particles cannot be measured with high precision as:
‘the more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known, and vice versa.’
This means there is a blurry line inherent in nature, a fundamental limit to what we can understand and know about the behaviour of quantum particles, as when we measure one thing correctly, the other one eludes us. Scientists love determinism. They love to know that ‘x’ causes ’y’, and that the universe can be understood and explained. This principle shook those beliefs, as it essentially held its hands up and said ‘we’re not quite sure here’. If you’re wondering what else this principle did for us, it helped to explain why the sun shines and told us that the vacuum of space isn’t actually empty.
We don’t really know anything.
Think how this principle works in real life, how the uncertainty of life is with us every single moment. Just as we begin to comprehend one part of our life, another is thrown into disarray. Have you noticed that when you focus on work, family suffers, and vice versa? We feel like ‘we’re getting somewhere’ and then we receive a phonecall that changes it all.
Someone gets ill.
Someone gets pregnant.
A baby is born.
A job is lost.
A car crashes.
A partner leaves.
An earthquake hits.
A storm comes.
When you think about it, we don’t really know anything about anything.
We don’t know why we’re here, what our purpose is, what the universe is all about, whether it’s infinite….what infinite really means. We don’t know when we’re going to die, why we were born anyway, why we’re alive right now to read this blog, and why we’re able to understand the words being written. We might know how the sun shines, but we don’t know why it shines.
We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, 10 years, 100 years, 1000 years or a billion years. We don’t even really know what a billion years is. We have a loose concept, but our minds can’t really process what a billion years is actually like.
We don’t know what other people are thinking, what we’re going to think tomorrow or what we’ll think next year. We don’t know what our choices today will mean tomorrow, what effect our actions will have on our life, or what our life will look like in the future. We don’t know when fortune will favour us or when tragedy will strike.
In every direction.
In every way.
Hurtling forward, with no idea why.
Understanding this can be truly liberating.
To stand in the face of the universe and shout ‘I haven’t got a clue and it’s wonderful’ is truly enlightened.