Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On Uncertainty

When a downturn occurs, the anticipated fails to materialize, our expectations are dashed, and uncertainty increases. The old verities have become less true. We become less sure of our beliefs and of what to believe. Our plans are drawn in, focusing less on the future and more on the present. The good times have gone and we struggle, not knowing how bad times will get, how long they will last, or how fast good times will return. What is uncertain is the future.

With stability and time, our anxieties recede and we become more confident of what tomorrow will bring. It is difficult to believe in the end of the world forever. As our worst fears fail to be realized, we become more sure of our position and its possibilities.

Stability and time can be hard to come by though. Since we were taken by surprise by the downturn, and uncertain about the cause, condition, cure, and what will happen next, we steel ourselves for more surprises, and if they materialize our uncertainty is redoubled. People will seek out uncertainty and take note of it at times like these as justification of their uncertainty and to avoid taking actions, but the real uncertainty is always the future. The search for new truths, for reassurance of familiar patterns, will continue until a new stability and a new time is made.

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