no absolute certainty

Xiang - charlottesville, Virginia
Entered on December 5, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: question

I believe in the uncertainty of all things. Nobody can be one hundred percent certain about anything. For centuries, people deeply believed in geocentricism; they thought without a doubt that the earth was the center of the universe and other objects all go around it. It was not until 16th century, when Copernicus presented a heliocentric system of the universe, people started to realize that what they thought as the truth was wrong and what they thought must be certain was not.

A good friend of my mom’s was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. The doctor said she could live no more than two years. Everybody felt sad and sympathetic that she would leave us soon. However, she was very brave and optimistic; she said, “I respect the doctor’s professional knowledge and judgment, but there can’t be absolute certainty.” It’s been three years from the diagnosis until now, and she is still with us. She has lost most of her hair due to chemotherapy, but other than that she looks just fine like other people. We are all grateful to this miracle.

Her life philosophy has touched me: there is no absolute certainty. What other people tell us and what we come up with ourselves can be wrong at times. There are plenty of times in our lives when we are the victims as results of believing in the certainty of something. Sometimes we think, “of course it would be fine not to read for the class, since the teacher would not do anything to check on us.” And when the teacher gives a pop reading quiz, we whine and regret. How can we be so certain about what the teacher is going to do? Haven’t we all learned our lesson from the weather forecast? When we get all wet and freezing without an umbrella because the weather forecast says it will be sunny all day, we know the accurate equipments are not so sure about what they are predicting either. Life is full of impulsive moments, and we should be ready for surprises and changes. Learn to doubt and learn to think more thoroughly.