The Principle of Uncertainty

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Unlike Werner Heisenberg’s great scientific postulation, famously known as the Uncertainty Principle, this article is not about quantum theory. Instead, it deals with the ordinary lives of common folks. It is about me, you, him and her. It comes with another limitation. It is one person’s point of view with which others may not agree. If I were to meet with an accident and break my leg tomorrow at 2 PM, it would greatly change the daily routine for me. All that was planned for the next two months will have to wait. I cannot move around with a plastered limb and go places. If a journey was planned, it would have to be cancelled. Like the journey, countless other things in the nature of official, social and family commitments would be consigned to posterity until after the physical movements are regained. Among other upsetting scenarios, it could result in an adverse effect like missing a promotion, missing a family marriage etc. But, on the other hand, if I were to know about the certainty of the impending event and what would cause it, I could stay out of harm’s way. Nothing would change.

There is a little fallacy with the scenario depicted above. One would say, accidents are called accidents because they don’t forewarn you. But I am making a bigger assumption. I am talking about the date and time of the event. One would wonder what I am driving at. It seems a bit complicated to assume that someone could be privy to the events of tomorrow. This does not happen. If the disaster can strike, it will, as Murphy said. So, in all probability I would nurse my wound, constantly run my hands on the plaster, watch the ceiling most times, curse my fate, invite depressive thoughts and suffer the ordeal. 

But what happened to me could have happened to any number of people. You don’t plan for such things. Our lives are lived on the basis of a certain projection of tomorrow, the next week and much later afterwards. Now what we term as certain, is not really certain. This, precisely, is what I want to convey. It is the uncertainty with which all of us live in this world. The uncertainty has its charm too. It keeps us occupied with a rosy tomorrow. It allows us to plan for self, family and friends, secure in the belief that tomorrow will be just another day. Even as we grow old, uncertainty keeps us on our toes. Imagine, if one was informed about the precise timing of ones final moment. Such a certainty will completely alter the pattern of one’s behaviour. Depending on the mental make-up, people’s attitudinal responses will be diversely different. It is likely that those with contended minds would make peace with themselves and evolve the way for the rest of the period. Some could be driven to the edge and bicker incessantly. But just as the case of my accident, the precise information on the end is uncertain. Therefore, uncertainty is glorious and our most trusted virtue. A sudden unplanned celebration is likely to give us a bigger pleasure than one meticulously planned. Certainty deprives us of all the heavenly dreams.


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