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20 August 2002 (Tuesday): uncertainty

Hm. Posts here may slow to a crawl soon (as if they hadn't already). I've been deliberately vague in my descriptions of job #2 here, so as to keep the two separate, but now that my life consists almost entirely of job #2, it's hard to know what to talk about. I'd chronicle my adventures with Pasta-Roni and packing tape, but that would require more wit of the variety, which I haven't got.

Death and my own cosmic insignificance are two things that I find immensely comforting. This thing I'm doing, this act of living, will come to an end one day; I won't be confined to this consciousness forever. The decisions I make will have a profound effect on my immediate surroundings, maybe even the planet Earth as a whole, but beyond that I have little influence. There's such freedom in that thought -- definite bounds placed on my responsibilities as a speck in the universe. Some people find the same thought terrifying, I suppose, because of the flip side: what stands between them and nothingness, futility, the arbitrariness of existence? It would be terrifying to me, too, except that I like it here. I get to taste anxiety and hope, lust and hatred; I get to see clouds moving across a blue sky and wind knocking rain against a window. I get no clear answers on what's right and wrong, only theories formed by people as fallible as I am; I get aspirations with no promise that I can fulfill them. Somewhere in last night's dream, I was asked to write on a piece of paper the things I was grateful for. The moment before I woke up, I was about to write the word uncertainty.

posted by enjelani @ 12:15 PM PST

Replies: 13 comments

There is something about that sense of... smallness, that pressing sense of finite-ness about one's own existence. It can be intimidating, or belittling... but the humility that comes with it can be a good thing if you look at it a certain way.

Some people I know are pretty content with their place in the world. Others insist on making mountain ranges out of their little molehills, desperately seeking validation by making themselves the central figures in their own hermetically sealed delusions.

That's pretty sad. But at the same time, if you know and understand what a small part you are of a much larger entity, you realize just how powerful even that little mote can be, touching on the lives of so many others, just as small as you. Small though your light can be, it still has the ability to lend light to others, and the collective feedback can make the whole shine like a star whose brilliance is like that of a God compared to a throng of separate mortals. Sure, it sounds like something a hopeless romantic might say... but sometimes, what you bring to others really can contribute to a greatness that you couldn't acheive on your own. You won't be able to take credit for all of it; doing so sabotages the intent. But then, the aim doesn't lend itself to that perspective in the first place.

Geez. I don't speak like this. Pedantic. Really I don't.

*ducks out*

posted by m. mellow @ 20 08 2002 09:12 PM PST

m. mellow, you are not allowed to be apologetic for that post. :)

when are you going to start your own blog, huh?

posted by enjelani @ 21 08 2002 09:47 AM PST

i agree. i really liked that reply, actually... got me thinking...

posted by soren @ 21 08 2002 10:58 AM PST

Well, here's another thought - m. mellow is also (or has been) a venomous cynic with what appears to be a history of well-documented, decades-spanning distaste towards humanity.

I still honestly believe what I wrote, though :)

posted by m. mellow @ 21 08 2002 01:29 PM PST

ooh, blog? Hm. Hadn't thought of making one...

posted by m. mellow @ 21 08 2002 01:32 PM PST

This is why I like you, Enjy. ;-)
It's profoundly unattractive, my least favorite quality about myself by far--but uncertainty and I simply do NOT get along. Drives me nuts. Was the worst part about not having a job. It's what breaks down relationships--what if she leaves?

Confronting uncertainty requires a low-level understanding that even if everything goes all to hell, I-will-be-ok. And something keeps me from having that.


posted by Gaudior @ 22 08 2002 06:25 PM PST

I, too, have problems with uncertainty, but am trying to learn to like it, sip by sip, like I am trying to learn to like beer...and actually for the same (lack of) reason. Not sure what I'll gain from learning to like either, other than the ability to deal with both in their ever-pervasiveness.

And, yes, M. Mellow. How about a blog... I can set you up with one if you want... :)

posted by Moonpuddle @ 23 08 2002 06:26 PM PST

Strangely enough, I was writing something earlier tonight (not for public consumption, but for trying to work out some things) and when I saved it, I titled it "uncertainty." I, for one, do not like uncertainty. It is not my friend. And yet, if someone gave me the chance to glimpse the future, I don't think that I'd take it. I'd rather keep hope alive as long as I can, than have those hopes dashed forever by knowing for certain what will happen. So, perhaps in that way, uncertainty is more pleasant than not being able to have hope. Interesting. Besides, even if I knew for certain what would happen, I'd still be sitting there trying to figure out a way to change it to my liking. Am I making sense or is my mind still muddled from the lovely virus I picked up? I'll shut up now.

posted by Karin @ 25 08 2002 08:04 PM PST

gosh, how depressing.

posted by Liz @ 26 08 2002 09:30 AM PST

ah, to be 13 again. :)

posted by soren @ 26 08 2002 05:05 PM PST

13 again?! Nien! Nyet! Never Again! ;)

posted by m. mellow @ 26 08 2002 05:58 PM PST

when I was 13, I was round, and I had a bowl cut.

oh, and I lit things on fire a lot.

posted by echeng @ 26 08 2002 09:39 PM PST

"The arbitrariness of existence;" a haunting phrase you've spawned, dear Jelly, that conjures images of a capricious Fate presiding over the lives of us all. We live on the edge of a die continuously tumbling through space, never knowing when our number is going to be up.

posted by Ro @ 27 08 2002 12:15 PM PST