Certainty vs Uncertainty

Who actually wants to know for sure what consequences an action will have?

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

Personally I get a thrill out of not knowing exactly how my life is going to end up, so I have a kind of rule of thumb in terms of keeping myself occupied, entertained and excited.

In any given scenario there is usually a point at which you have to make a decision about how either to act, or not act.

Example: You’re walking down the street and you see someone with a funny hat or a really cool pair of shoes.

Option 1: Don’t say anything and carry on.

Option 2: Talk to them, tell them whatever you were thinking and make use of that little observation your mind has given you.

If you don’t say anything, you know exactly what is going to happen – you’re both going to keep walking, and your day will carry on where it was going.

Option 1 = Certain

If you do start talking to them, you don’t know what is going to happen. You may find out that you both get along very well. You may find out that the person is a total prick. You may just share a brief moment of laughter, or perhaps nothing at all.

Option 2 = Uncertain

This is a very simple example. But utilizing it can help turn seemingly everyday drudgery into something more… adventurous.

*******************************************************

Let me put a disclaimer here that before taking the uncertain option you should take into account whether the outcome will be either:

a)      Be likely to cause offense and discomfort

b)      Put you or anyone in danger

c)      Contrary to your principles or moral standards

ie you don’t HAVE to tell someone they smell bad, just because they happen to… – it might hurt their feelings.

*******************************************************

How does this relate to creativity?

Well say you’re writing a certain type of song, with a certain kind of feel. You get to a point in the song where the obvious thing would be to end with a bridge and a repeated chorus.

You know what that would sound like before you’ve even written it. That’s the certainty option.

Why not try something else? Try changing the tempo of the song. If it’s a rock song, make it switch at the end to a waltz or a tango. Slow it down, speed it up. The worst that could happen is that it could sound crap and you just move on to the next thing.

Break out of your comfort zone. Certainty is boring.

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.” – William Congreve

I hope you find this useful.

Advertisements

7 Responses to “Certainty vs Uncertainty”

  1. Certain changes and acts of impulse are still too scary for me. That is all.

  2. I think things are scary as a sign that perhaps they are exactly what you should be doing.

    There’s no such thing as ‘safe’ in life – no one gets out alive. It’s just a question of how you want to go.

  3. Jesus – I feel your thinking!

    Everyday, each moment, anything could happen if you want it to, but it’s easy to flow with the same mundane routines, comfortable.

    Even when easy is what you hate.

  4. Hey MD,

    Yeah, adventure isn’t always ‘convenient’, but at least it’s an option.

    It’s been a while since anyone called me Jesus. 😉

  5. […] keeping with my attitude towards certainty/uncertainty, if I smoke, and smoke a lot, we all know exactly what my voice is going to sound like, right? […]

  6. […] My most commented on post was Certainty vs Uncertainty. […]

  7. […] For example, I was playing one venue and noticed the sound man was wearing a Bad Brains T-shirt. I got the idea in my head to play one of their songs, then and there on acoustic guitar. You could call this a stupid idea, whimsical, novelty, or inspiration. All might be true. But to me, it was a clue even, or just something I could smell on the trail to the unknown. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: