Thursday, September 25, 2014

Certain vs. Doubt Mind

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  ― Winston S. Churchill 

To be creative you must set aside both certainties and doubt. Doubts are the driving force behind artistic creation. Doubts about what you see at any given time propel you towards finding other things that haven't been observed yet. Doubts are of unlimited value. Certainties are the functioning of the left brain, while uncertainties are that of the right brain. In any creative process, you need both certainties and uncertainties. 

The uncertainties give rise to the questions/problems, the certainties give rise to the contextualization of the problem and laying the foundational knowledge to solve the problem or make sense out of the uncertainties: Once all the groundwork was done, it is up to the certainties/uncertainties to make all the necessary connections in order to solve the problem. 

One cannot exist without the other; there is no yin without yang, no black without white. Maybe we are only to believe in shades of gray, something between right and left. But then maybe right does not exist at all. "The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.”  ― Erich Fromm 

Doubts are essential to intellectual as well as to creative thought, and to fine thinking in general. If we were "certain" we knew everything or anything, then we'd never learn anything. To take a cognitive "step back" from the two trees we're discussing...and look at the continuum forest from above. Part of what is vital to each of us is the consciousness of the fact that there is such continuum in the first place... Another is for each of us to retain that consciousness in-the-moment of creativity, choice, action, and so on. And yet another is the belief/recognition that we have the power to choose our own orientation along that continuum...even if just incrementally. Viktor Frankl quote: "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. And in that response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Einstein said that it is far more valuable to be able to unlearn things as opposed to learning things. We get bored due to certainty and look for discrepancies and anomalies to cure the boredom -- we get stressed from too much uncertainty and we seek something more solid on which to brace ourselves. Our built-in system is designed to keep us learning, growing, and exploring but to do it by extending from identifiable mental foundations -- places in our mental experiences where we feel comfortable.
Certainty of good things and doubts about bad things = OPTIMISM. While 
Certainty of bad things and doubts about good things = PESSIMISM.

If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.    - Francis Bacon 


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