Coping with Uncertainty – What does it Mean?

Encapsulating thoughts for the day.  I struggle to get across what it means if you accept you cannot determine your future.  What it means to build resilience.  How does this make life different?  How does it change our focus in life?  What do we seek to build as means to an end if you can never be certain of those ends?

The inherent uncertainty and mcmansionuncontrollability doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have an end, an outcome we consider good. Though I would say that any outcomes ought to be well
considered.  Having a goal of a tasteless McMansion or to be as rich as Croesus is about as shallow as saying we want a red bicycle. To what end?  So we can look good? What, are we suffering from status anxiety?  So the house is merely a means – and we have no greater sense of being?

Dig deep inside ourselves.  What do we want in life?  What purpose?  What is that ‘good life’?  What do we want to feel in those last days?

And then ask how to best get there, knowing that nothing is certain. We can never know where and what our child will be in 20 years time. We cannot know. There is no model that will tell us.  I’m talking about the absence of mathematical predictability within complex, interconnected and continually adapting space.  Also known as ‘life’.

Life in the land, the economy, in our communities and the places with which we identify is a lot more like raising a child than building a machine with mechanical certainty.

Faced with the uncertainty, some choose to I'm in charge.jpgcontrol, to command, to establish hierarchies and order, to have only room in life for one thing and to be ‘efficient’ in that, to live within the delusion that they can eliminate surprises.  Within their imagination, they build a brittle castle around themselves, convinced of its iron strength.  Deluded by the paper bulwark they build against the tidal shift.

Some desire such mechanical certainty as their goal.  This is their ‘good life’.  This is their delusion.

Let them have their faith.  But not at the expense of me and mine, of the people and the place I care about.  Let them *not* have the power to build their dystopia on the bones of others.  Theirs is no good life.  It reduces others – people and place – to mere means and objects, ‘resources’ and cogs, parts for the mills, or grist for the grinding, all to appease a self-appointed and immoral king.  We live within this delusion today.  Know malevolent power.  Call it for what it is.

life-is-unpredictableThere is another way.  We provide best for our children by providing the *capacities* and the abilities that are the prerequisite for a good life of their free choosing.  Resilience and flexibility.  The capacity to live life to the fullest; to bring forth every Picasso and never command them into being an accountant.  The ability to see and be wise, to relate and feel.

To laugh, to love, to share, to have the unpredictable-beautyenthusiasm for open dialogue without the arrogance that takes offence.  To rejoice in the beauty, to accept when it changes you because there was a moment that was so profound that you can only stop and drop into the bliss.  To embrace, to sit and contemplate, to be broad or focused whenever the need arises.

To be independence of thought, unconstrained by convention, to treat all clichés as the empty vessels they are.  To treat triumph and disaster the same.  To not be over-reliant on any one thing that may vanish into dust tomorrow.  To cooperate because no one is an island, yet have the ability to stand with autonomy as a moral actor.  To have self respect alongside the respect for others.  To know what belonging is.  To take responsibility, to have integrity and not expedience.  To strive when the needs arise; and to have the moral strength to stand together or alone and say “no” when it is time.

Manaakitanga - mycommunitiesThis is indigenous thinking.  Belonging and resilience go together.  Those that try to set us apart, or reduce us to parts within a transactional machine, destroy them both.  Being Native to a People and Place is incompatible with ideas of trade-off, exploitation and attempts at engineered certainty, because you are arguing for the insanity of eating yourself.   We can reject the machine as life’s metaphor and replace it with belonging.

Those same principles we build in our children – of building capacities and abilities – ought to be the focus of what we build in our land, communities and economies.

Because there will be surprises, and we need people, communities, land, and economies that can foresee, cope and adapt. Societies with vision, and people who belong.

Our choice.  Build resilience and the capacity to realise potential and adapt, or continue with a mechanical rigidity that suppresses the soul and puts Beethoven on the assembly line?

Chris Perley



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2 Responses to Coping with Uncertainty – What does it Mean?

  1. Mark Belton says:


    The Wisdom of Insecurity…Alan Watts

    To Have or to be…Eric From

    *Mark Belton*

    Managing Director

    Permanent Forests NZ Limited

    PO Box 34, Lyttelton 8841, New Zealand

    Tel: +64 (0)3 3299 203

    Mob: +64 (0)27 229 1483

    Email: * *

    Web: **

    [image: Permanent ForestsNZ_Email Footer]

    *From:* Chris Perley’s Blog [] *Sent:* Monday, October 24, 2016 5:18 PM *To:* *Subject:* [New post] Coping with Uncertainty -What does it Mean?

    cjkperley posted: ” Encapsulating thoughts for the day. I struggle to get across what it means if you accept you cannot determine your future. What it means to build resilience. How does this make life different? How does it change our focus in life? What do we seek to”

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