When I was young, I lacked certainty, too, ' he says. 'I have the certainty, now, of not needing certainty. I have the certainty, of uncertainty. The peace, with being uncertain. All is good. All is holy. Whatever you choose, it can be fine. Hatred never ceases with hatred, but with love alone is healed. Rejection never ceases with rejection, but with acceptance alone is healed.
T. Scott McLeod
People are looking for certainty. The more complex the world becomes, the more people look for people to give them certainty and tell them what to do. During the past few years of actively thinking about this, there is one thing that I have accepted: certainty is not out there. There is not one strategy to follow, and that's OK.
In our worship of certainty we must distinguish between the sound certainty and the sham, between what is gold and what is tinsel; and then, when certainty is attained, we must remember that it is not the only good; that we can buy it at too high a price; that there is danger in perpetual quiescence as well as in perpetual motion; and that a compromise must be found in a principle of growth.
I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me-that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.
I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me--that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.
The South African artist William Kentridge speaks to this type of certainty: 'To say that one needs art, or politics, that incorporate ambiguity and contradiction is not to say that one then stops recognizing and condemning things as evil. However, it might stop one being so utterly convinced of the certainty of one's own solutions. There needs to be a strong understanding of fallibility and how the very act of certainty or authoritativeness can bring disasters.' The outcome of the current crisis is already determined.
Politics have always covered two distinct kinds of problems: problems of administrative routine, and those that may be called 'questions of the moment.'... A question of the moment is, indeed, a substitute for some notion, such as the idea of God, or hereditary monarchy, or national glory, that has hitherto acted as a symbol of human co-ordination. It provides no new positive certainty to replace the discredited certainty, but is what the name implies: the raising of a question which the old certainty no longer answers.
Because of its concrete content, sense-certainty immediately appears as the richest kind of knowledge, indeed a knowledge of infinite wealth for which no bounds can be found, either when we reach out into space and time in which it is dispersed, or when we take a bit of this wealth, and by division enter into it. Moreover, sense-certainty appears to be the truest knowledge ... but, in the event, this very certainty proves itself to be the most abstract and poorest truth. All that it says about what it knows is just that it is; and its truth contains nothing but the sheer being of the thing.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
When I stepped onto the bridge over the Iowa River and stood looking out across the water, I knew I was home. I was wrong about that, as it turns out. And I know now that my certainty was based on a series of troubling misconceptions, but it would be years before I would lose the comfort that certainty gave me.
People are saying that they want be convinced [about global warming], perfectly. They want to know the climate science projections with 100 per cent certainty. Well, we know a great deal and even with that there is still uncertainty. But the trend line is very clear. We never have 100 per cent certainty. We never have it. If you wait till you have 100 per cent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield. That's something we know. You have to act with incomplete information. You have to act based on the trend line...
Gordon R. Sullivan
Some people get certainty by working harder and saying I'm going to master something. Some people get certainty by lowering their expectations, going 'it will never work. And they lose their dreams, but they get their needs. The needs are not like goals. They're not like belief systems that are built into you.
First, the only certainty is that there is no certainty. Second, every decision as a consequence is a matter of weighing probabilities. Third, despite uncertainty we must decide and we must act. And lastly we need to judge decisions not only on the results, but how those decisions were made.
A short while later, as I stare down at the bodies of the six men I have just killed, I cannot help but wonder: Do I love killing? Of a certainty, I love the way my body and weapons move as one; I revel in the knowledge of where to strike for maximum impact. And of a certainty, I am good at it.
The significant contribution of empiricism was not the eradication of certainty, but the eradication of infallibility as a criterion of certainty. And this shift from infallibilism to fallibilism has profound consequences not only for toleration, but also for the subordination of faith to reason and theology to philosophy.
George H. Smith
... I feel certain that his tale is true. Feeling that certainty, I befriend him. As long as that certainty shall last, I will befriend him. And if any consideration could shake me in this resolve, I should be so ashamed of myself for my meanness, that no man's good opinion - no, nor no woman's - so gained, could compensate me for the loss of my own.
Are you finally admitting that you can sell a man hope? Have I at last succeeded in teaching you that?' He laughed and flicked his whip again, harder. He was in a better mood than I had seen for months. 'No, Camelot, not hope. Hope is for the weak; have I not succeeded in teaching you that? To hope is to put your faith in others and in things outside yourself; that way lies betrayal and disappointment. They didn't want hope, Camelot; they wanted certainty. What a man needs is the certainty that he is right, no selfdoubt, no fleeting thought that he might be wrong or misled. Absolute certainty that he is right, that's what gives a man the confidence and power to do whatever he wants and to take whatever he wants from this world and the next.
I think it is wrong to expect certainties in this world, where all else but God that is Truth is an uncertainty. All that appears and happens about and around us is uncertain, transient. But there is a Supreme Being hidden therein as a Certainty, and one would be blessed if one could catch a glimpse of that Certainty and hitch one's waggon to it. The quest for that Truth is the summum bonum of life.
His heart pounding with fear and elation, and his head humming with the fierce certainty of a sure thing, he kissed her. She responded as though for her too a certainty had proved out, and in the midst of her hair and lips and long arms encircling him, Smoky added a treasure of great price to the small store of his wisdom.
I have a certainty about eternity that is a wonderful thing, and I thank God for giving me that certainty. I do not fear death. I may fear a little bit about the process, but not death itself, because I think the moment that my spirit leaves this body, I will be in the presence of the Lord.
While the dogmatist is harmful, the sceptic is useless ...; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or of ignorance. Knowledge is not so precise a concept as is commonly thought. Instead of saying 'I know this', we ought to say 'I more or less know something more or less like this'. ... Knowledge in practical affairs has not the certainty or the precision of arithmetic.
What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It's a sure thing! It's a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles.
What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It's a sure thing! It's sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles.
In practice, some come to see easily, some with difficulty. But whatever the case, never mind. Difficult or easy, the Buddha said not to be heedless. Just that--don't be heedless. Why? Because life is not certain. Wherever we start to think that things are certain, uncertainty is lurking right there. Heedlessness is just holding things as certain. It is grasping at certainty where there is no certainty and looking for truth in things that are not true. Be careful! They are likely to bite you sometime in the future!
It appears, from all this, that our eyes are uncertain. Two persons look at the same clock and there is a difference of two or three minutes in their reading of the time. One has a tendency to put back the hands, the other to advance them. Let us not too confidently try to play the part of the third person who wishes to set the first two aright; it may well happen that we are mistaken in turn. Besides, in our daily life, we have less need of certainty than of a certain approximation to certainty. Let us learn how to see, but without looking too closely at things and men: they look better from a distance.
Remy de Gourmont
There's something very peaceful about being in love. It can make you light as a feather; so blissfully unaware of anything else of importance. It can make you feel anger, rage, jealousy and lust all in one sentence. But the most important thing that love can give a person is certainty. Certainty that love, real love, will always pull you through your darkest days.
The Principle of Uncertainty fixed once for all the realisation that all knowledge is limited. It is an irony of history that at the very time when this was being worked out there should rise, under Hitler in Germany and other tyrants elsewhere, a counter-conception: a principle of monstrous certainty. When the future looks back on the 1930s it will think of them as a crucial confrontation of culture as I have been expounding it, the ascent of man, against the throwback to the despots' belief that they have absolute certainty.
A great man, who was convinced that the truths of political and moral science are capable of the same certainty as those that form the system of physical science, even in those branches like astronomy that seem to approximate mathematical certainty. He cherished this belief, for it led to the consoling hope that humanity would inevitably make progress toward a state of happiness and improved character even as it has already done in its knowledge of the truth.
Nicolas de Caritat
Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possiblities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what the may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familar things in an unfamilar aspect
Skepticism is thus a resting-place for human reason, where it can reflect upon its dogmatic wanderings and make survey of the region in which it finds itself, so that for the future it may be able to choose its path with more certainty. But it is no dwelling-place for permanent settlement. Such can be obtained only through perfect certainty in our knowledge, alike of the objects themselves and of the limits within which all our knowledge of objects is enclosed.
The propositions of mathematics have, therefore, the same unquestionable certainty which is typical of such propositions as "All bachelors are unmarried," but they also share the complete lack of empirical content which is associated with that certainty: The propositions of mathematics are devoid of all factual content; they convey no information whatever on any empirical subject matter.
Carl Gustav Hempel
The only difference between causation and the value is that the word "cause" implies absolute certainty whereas the implied meaning of "value" is one of preference. In classical science it was supposed that the world always works in terms of absolute certainty and that "cause" is the more appropriate word to describe it. But in modern quantum physics all that is changed. Particles "prefer" to do what they do. An individual particle is not absolutely committed to one predictable behavior. What appears to be an absolute cause is just a very consistent pattern of preferences.
Robert M. Pirsig
Those who say they dislike dogma, or 'certainty', tend to be liars, hypocrites, or simply wrong. What they really dislike is the dogma of those they disagree with. A society that was certain, certain beyond all certainty, that putting its citizens in death camps was wrong, would never put people in death camps. Such things are only possible when you're open to new ideas.
Climate Change is a national security issue. We found that climate instability will lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world. People are saying they want to be perfectly convinced about climate science projections. But speaking as a soldier, we never have 100 percent certainty. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield.
Gordon R. Sullivan
We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified - how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don't know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.
We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified "" how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don't know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.
Richard P. Feynman
The very foundation of science is to keep the door open to doubt. Precisely because we keep questioning everything, especially our own premises, we are always ready to improve our knowledge. Therefore a good scientist is never 'certain'. Lack of certainty is precisely what makes conclusions more reliable than the conclusions of those who are certain: because the good scientist will be ready to shift to a different point of view if better elements of evidence, or novel arguments emerge. Therefore certainty is not only something of no use, but is in fact damaging, if we value reliability.
Out of the element of participation follows the certainty of faith; out of the element of separation follows the doubt in faith. And each is essential for the nature of faith. Sometimes certainty conquers doubt, but it cannot eliminate doubt. The conquered of today may become the conqueror of tomorrow. Sometimes doubt conquers faith, but it still contains faith. Otherwise it would be indifference.
My Lord Bacon, in his Novum Organum, discusses this point, and investigates with his habitual brilliance the various categories of evidence, and finds them all flawed. None conveys certainty, he decides, a conclusion which (one might think) would be devastating for scientists and lawyers alike: historians and theologians have learned to live with this, the former modestly tempering their claims, the latter resting their glorious edifice on the more reliable foundations of revelation. For without certainty what is science except glorified guesswork? And without the conviction of certainty, total and absolute, how can we ever hang anyone with an easy conscience? Witnesses can lie and, as I know myself, even an innocent can confess a crime he did not commit. But Lord Bacon did not despair, and claimed one instance of a fingerpost which points in one direction only, and allows of no other possibility. The perfectly independent eyewitness, who has nothing to gain from his revelation, who is, in addition, schooled in observation and report through a gentlemanly status and education, this is the nearest we can get to a reliable witness and his testimony may be said to be conclusive, overwhelming all lesser forms.
Like the body craves oxygen, the mind is desperate for certainty. It believes that without a safe foothold on reality, it will die. But the fascinating thing is that the illusion of certainty is exactly the opposite of safety because it hardens and narrows the vision to make everything fit its own scope. Then when new information arrives which would be its ally, the mind pushes it away in favor of the leaky life raft to which it clings, sinking all the while beneath the waves of change. In fact, the only antidote for this is to embrace 'I don't know' so deeply that a powerful, dynamic safety emerges. This is like learning to surf so well that a tsunami wave shows up as a challenge to test our mastery.
To me it seems that those sciences are vain and full of error which are not born of experience, mother of all certainty, first-hand experience which in its origins, or means, or end has passed through one of the five senses. And if we doubt the certainty of everything which passes through the senses, how much more ought we to doubt things contrary to these senses - ribelli ad essi sensi - such as the existence of God or of the soul or similar things over which there is always dispute and contention. And in fact it happens that whenever reason is wanting men to cry out against one another, which does not happen with certainties. For this reason we shall say that where the cry of controversy is heard, there is no true science, because the truth has one single end and when this is published, argument is destroyed for ever.
Leonardo da Vinci
It is precisely this refusal of the Cartesian paradigm that characterizes Radical Orthodoxy, which seeks to reanimate the account of knowledge offered by Augustine and Aquinas. On this ancient-medieval-properly-postmodern model, we rightly give up pretensions to absolute knowledge or certainty, but we do not thereby give up on knowledge altogether. Rather, we can properly confess that we know God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, but such knowledge rests on the gift of (particular, special) revelation, is not universally objective or demonstrable, and remains a matter of interpretation and perspective (with a significant appreciation for the role of the Spirit's regeneration and illumination as a condition for knowledge). We confess knowledge without certainty, truth without objectivity.
James K.A. Smith