Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Uncertainty and complexity

I used to think that being uncertain and reveling in it was a passing fancy of the young. Wisdom in old age then meant a progressive shedding of all indeterminacy and ambiguity. I am now more inclined to believe that being unsettled or in doubt, even at my age, is really not something to be much worried about. In fact, I think I would feel uncomfortable if I became more certain about a lot of things as years go by.

I sometimes marvel at the ease with which friends who've been with me for a tiny fraction of my waking life and who have barely skimmed my thoughts and experiences could pronounce such cold judgments on my actions. One friend whose every sentence was peppered with words like "contradictions", "conflicts", and "probabilities" some years back, now sounded like having no trouble whatsoever in diagnosing other people's sanity. Another friend recently noted our penchant for the Filipino word dapat ("ought to", "should", "must").

Reflecting on these on my way back home, I shuddered at the thought of consciousness' entropic movement towards certainty. It's like the mind slowing down, being contented with a few aphorisms about existence, and settling into this rut of boxed ideas and experiences. Years after I took my English composition course in college, my Jesuit teacher's words still echo in my mind: "Make your thoughts simpler; life is already too complex as it is." But my whole being has always rebelled against his dictum. Life processes and human thinking will always resist efforts to fit them into neat, little containers.

1 comment:

Cecile said...

dear friend,

your writings are testimonies to most of life's marvelous journeys...each piece speaks the utmost truth and honesty...

keep writing...I will always be reading them, and somehow listen to their subtle whispers...

your friend here,

Cecile