The beauty of uncertainty

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I came across an interesting physics article this morning entitled “Why removing the uncertainty principle accidentally creates perpetual motion“. By interesting, I don’t mean I understand what the principle is all about. After all, physics has never been one of my strong suits.

Both the title and content captured my imagination on a purely unscientific level. The Uncertainty Principle, from what it says here, suggests that “the more precisely the position of a particle is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa“. I wouldn’t even dream of dissecting that in a scientific manner. Rather, I’d like to explore why my mind was tickled by the idea.

Many people thrive on certainty. Moving forward to any actionable decision seems to depend heavily on analyzing, understanding, and feeling certain about something. But is certainty really viable given the constantly changing variables of time? Anyone who has experienced winning or losing in a matter of second may have an understanding of how fickle that infinitesimal moment in time can be.

Are people wired to be certain? Or is it merely the fear of the unknown that prods us to relentlessly pursue certainty at the expense of intuitive decisions? Is it better to be certain or to be more open to perpetual motion in the midst of uncertainty?

Perhaps the answer lies between both extremes. To abandon the quest for certainty in favor of never-ending motion towards something may not always be a good idea. This may only lead to a lot of wrong turns and destinations. But to stay rooted at the same place in the passing of time in an attempt to find certainty can be a dangerous thing to do. It gets us nowhere.

Time moves in a pace relative to how it’s spent. Do nothing and it seems to create an illusion of abundance. Do more and there never seems to be enough of it. Much like certainty and perpetual motion, isn’t it better to find the balance? What if uncertainty exists to challenge ideas that allow fear to prevent us from moving forward?

Many things discovered in life have almost always been in the face of uncertainty. Not knowing what’s beyond the range of view that confronts us either challenges or scares us. Embracing uncertainty means embracing the unknown. What lies ahead needs motion. Keep moving and there’s always something waiting at the other end. The beauty of uncertainty is that it doesn’t prevent us from moving on.


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