We can decide what to believe.
“The Will to Truth, which is to tempt us to many a hazardous enterprise, the famous Truthfulness of which all philosophers have hitherto spoken with respect, what questions has this Will to Truth not laid before us! What strange, perplexing, questionable questions! It is already a long story; yet it seems as if it were hardly commenced. Is it any wonder if we at last grow distrustful, lose patience, and turn impatiently away?”
Friedrich Nietzsche — Beyond Good and Evil
Humans have forever attempted to find an absolute truth to guide their lives, but this truth seems to always be out of our reach. Sometimes good questions about life give it more sense than the answers we come up with. Nevertheless, we’re always stuck in uncertainty. I have a simple proposal on our quest to find meaning: What if uncertainty in itself is what generates meaning? If we had an absolute truth, wouldn’t that take away the point? What if we believed in pure uncertainty to guide our lives?
Clarifying Pure Uncertainty
The fact that we will never know the true meaning of life gives us the freedom to decide what our meaning is. Based on this same premise, this first sentence could be wrong.
Think about this.
There’s no book with perfect answers, no human capable of seeing into the next life, or making us understand how life actually works.
There IS a book with perfect answers, and there’s a human capable of seeing into the next life and making us understand how life works perfectly; if you decide that there is.
As humans we seek for meaning that may or may not exist in things that may or may not have one. This takes us to the foundation of this article: not knowing gives us a choice. The choice to believe that there might be a point, and that we can believe in the same point together, or not.
There’s freedom in lacking certainty about everything, because you can find certainty in the things that you want.
This way of thinking is liberating, but can also be paralyzing.
So how do we decide?
I have a simple proposal.
Does the belief in question feel right for you? Does it make you happy? If the answer is no, you have the freedom to change it. Otherwise, why would you keep it?
Life is not about what we do, but how we feel about it.
Haven’t found the right belief? The world is a playground with unlimited options to believe in, mainly because there are unlimited minds to give it meaning. I encourage you to seek the things that make you feel good and make sense to your understanding of this world. As long as those things you seek don’t damage other people’s rights, why wouldn’t you pursue them?
Escaping Pre-established Certainty
Society is consistently trying to push certain meanings into our heads; get the right job, get the right career, there is a certain way of doing things. All of these beliefs are created out of thin air. Recognize this and start thinking if these beliefs add any value to your life.
Do you find meaning in working a 14 hour job? Why? Is it because of the money? What extra meaning does that money give you? Or are you just doing it because you have to do it? Is there a point?
Don’t get me wrong, working 14 hour days can be awesome, but does it give happiness and meaning to YOUR life? If not, why are are you doing it? Are you sure that’s the right thing to do for you? Or are you thinking about impressing someone in a conversation?
You could also argue that not having a point to earning money has a point. If you decide there’s no point to having one, then that could also be valid.
Deciding on Meaningfulness out of Pure Uncertainty
What we can be somewhat sure about is that we have a choice on what we want to believe in: whether that is to believe anything or not. I have personally decided to give meaning to my life doing the things I enjoy with the people I love, which is a pretty simple and happy way to live it. You might decide differently 🙂.
Guide your own happiness in this uncertain life.
Otherwise, what’s the point? There’s only one if you decide there is.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!