Heroic Uncertainty

I like to think they didn’t know.
That despite what the sacred texts tell us, that it was just a guy and a girl, finding themselves far from home.
Without any guidance.
Without any family.
Without any friends.
And despite that – despite the lack of angels giving them walkthroughs or cheat codes, despite the lack of miracles and signs and portents, despite their people imprisoned and prophecies unfulfilled – they still went on.
Despite their doubt.
Despite not really knowing what would come next.
It’s that doubt that is important. That uncertainty. In a universe where everything is known then decisions don’t have meaning. Where every action is fixed, predicted, and inevitable, then every decision is meaningless and futile.
No matter how evil. No matter how banal. No matter how good.
In a world where the future is known, Ezekiel is right. All things are vanity.
That’s not the world we live in.
At a fundamental subatomic level, there is an unpredictability where absurd thought experiments are literally true, where matter is created from nothing and disappears back into nothing.
Yes, at the level we experience reality, that uncertainty is not really observable. It’s true: Charlatans say “quantum” instead of “abracadabra” to invoke unobtainium and excuse away their handwavium. We may never have the ability to create wormholes the size of a person, to communicate across light-years instantly, or to manufacture functioning warp drives no matter how many engineers with Scottish accents give it all they’ve got.
But there is uncertainty.
There is randomness.
There is chance.
And in those places, there is freedom.
So the real heroes of our story – the story we keep telling ourselves while burying it in more and more decorations and carols and saccharine greetings and public posturing and manufactured controversy – the real heroes are two people.
By themselves.
Far from home.
Without a walkthrough. Without an angelic host telling them what to do next.
Our heroes – forged ahead anyway.
Determined to make things a little better than they were before.
And that determination – not the Child, not choirs of angels, not rich foreigners or all the trappings that followed – that is what brought a little more light into the world.
And that is something that we can do, too.
Happy holidays.

“Lost Frontier” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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