Saturday, March 19, 2005


"Some people would say that because we don't know, it can't be. I would say that because we don't know, we don't know."

- Charles Towne,
Physicist, Nobel laureate

And so in this corner we have the world of ghosts and devils, spirits and shamans, Loch Ness monsters and all of those other unseen, unborn mythical-or-not creatures that go bump in the night, and then in the other corner we have faith, stability, crosses and candles, crucifixtions and chants, certainty and faith.

You either believe that Oswald did it, or that the whole bloody mess was an elongated, elaborate, massive conspiracy.

You either believe that people from the other side continue to enchant us and guide us and listen to us, literal angels on our shoulders, or you hold firmly to the view that the coffin, once in the ground, or the ashes, once in the urn, are the complete and sum total of all that is left of our earthly selves.

This and that.


Worlds of certainty versus universes of ambiguity.

But let's say this, and I'll say it quietly. I won't make a fuss, or raise my voice. There are those in the other room, the one right next to you, who may disagree with what I'm saying, and we don't want to offend them, piss them off, alter their trajectories.

What if the physicist is right? What if all of our uncertainties are not necessarily reflective of any ultimate end-goal? Because we don't know means, well, we don't know. Period. Turn the page.

It doesn't mean that there is a God, or that there isn't. It doesn't mean that UFOS actually exist, or that they don't. It doesn't mean that death is the end of this life, or the beginning of another one.

Just because you're not sure about your new job doesn't mean that it won't turn out to be something spectacular. Just because you can't figure out your life now, doesn't have to lead to you not figuring out your life in the near future, or ever.

It just means that all of the myriad mysteries of the universe, whether they be the exact size, shape and texture of this close and present galaxy or the exact size, shape and texture of your husband's toupee are simply riddles waiting to be solved at some future date. The worth of our own uncertainties can be validated by their own essential unknowability.

It's okay not to know, in other words. To not know means you will keep attempting to know. To not know means you will allow other entrances to be opened. To not know means that the door is always half-open, not half closed.

I'm not sure if the Loch Ness monster really, truly exists.

But I'm betting that he does.

Besides, a life with even the slimmest possibility of a Loch Ness monster silently floating beneath the misty gloom of a Scottish night is a life that I would gladly alter my trajectory for, if necessary.

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