“Not Sure” Improves the Situation

“If you know that you are not sure, you have a chance to improve the situation. I want to demand this freedom for future generations.” ~Richard Feynman, The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist (p. 28).

E.E. Cummings announces in his play, Santa Claus: A Morality,

Ladies and gentlemen: If you have been
deceived by some imposter—so have I.
If you all have been tricked and ruined—so have I.
And so has every man and woman, I say.
I say it, and you feel it in your hearts:
we are all of us no longer glad and whole,
we have all of us sold our spirits into death,
we are all of us the sick parts of a sick thing,
we have all of us lost our living honesty,
and so we are all of us not any more ourselves.
—Who can tell truth from falsehood any more?
I say it, and you feel it in your hearts:
no man or woman on this big small earth.
—How should our sages miss the mark of life,
and our most skillful players lose the game?
your hearts will tell you, as my heart has told me:
because all know, and no one understands.
—O, we are all so very full of knowing
that we are empty: empty of understanding….

To get out of the built-in traps of every life grown within the limits of any family or society there needs be an appreciation for holding light and lightly in a finer sieve than those of prior generations. To not do so is to constrain self and future generations to the limits of yesterday.

Future freedom is based on that of past and present. The more active observational investigation has been and is, the freer the opportunities we provide to nurture and nourish any who may follow after (contingencies of imaginative sclerosis and ecological disaster also need to be honored).

Our starting spot is the simple one of noting a different point of observation and finding a next metaphor that will not deny but enlarge to the point of moving to a more specific and thus, mysteriously, encompassing set of data and consequences.

Of course, this simplicity is increasingly more difficult than can be anticipated until it arrives and we exclaim “Of course!” and set about dethroning the latest king-of-the-mountain by way of an intentional and innocent affirmation of, “I’m not so sure.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.