“Being ninety nine percent sure opens for a possibility that you might be a hundred percent wrong.”
― Hasse Jerner
Have you ever felt yourself between the proverbial rock and a hard spot, not knowing for sure which way to go, which to believe, which to think when faced with seemingly opposing or conflicting ideas?
Like religion. I was born and baptised into a faith, raised in and pursued it as a youth, and was ordained into leadership in my adulthood. And now, as an old man, while I still believe in ninety nine percent of it as the truth, that one percent of doubt opens the possibility that I might be one hundred percent wrong in thinking that other faiths don’t also have – as equal – truths that I should accept.
Like politics. I was taught at an early age that I should always vote for the party that best protected and increased my pocketbook, and ever since I attained the vote I have voted accordingly. And now, as an old man, while I still believe in ninety nine percent of that, that one percent of doubt opens the possibility that I might be one hundred percent wrong, that my self-centeredness may be at the cost of those who’s needs truly exceed my wants.
Like social engagement. I came of age when it was fashionable to confront the establishment, demand self-importance and recognition, flaunt one’s life-style daring anyone to object. And now, as an old man, while I still believe in ninety nine percent of that, that one percent of doubt opens the possibility that I might be one hundred percent wrong, having spurned the societal mores I was taught as a child – in an era when people were polite to one another, kept their own lives private, where self-promotion was unacceptable and thought to be low-class – might have been better after all.
I find myself betwixt and between.
Torn, having spent the better part of my life believing and practicing one thing only to begin questioning if I’ve been wrong, at least in part. It’s a difficult thing to contemplate.
But I’d rather that, than be like those who unthinkingly go through life cock-sure that they are never wrong.
As Plato said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”