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The Joy in Guessing

Nobody knows what they're doing

By Jamie JacksonPublished about a month ago 4 min read
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The Joy in Guessing
Photo by Alexander Fastovets on Unsplash

Life is a puzzle, and guess what? Nobody has all the pieces. That's nobody. Nobody knows what they’re doing. At most, they’re operating on a best-guess scenario based on the information with which they’ve been presented.

It’s more than likely all those self-assured and together people you know are stumbling through life just like you. Or me. Or anyone. It's more than likely they sit on the toilet in the moring with their hair sticking up and a pillow crease on their face and they think "What the fuck am I doing?"

How can they not? At least occasionally.

Nobody is an all-seeing eye, nobody is a wise oracle who’s experienced a thousand lives. We have a myopic view of life and we work within those limited parameters as best we can.

That friend of yours who always wanted to be a lawyer and now earns a packet doing just that — They’re guessing.

That entrepreneur you heard about who made millions creating a product that people wanted — They’re guessing.

That person you went to school with who is now showbiz famous and you see them on TV — They’re definitely guessing.

All of life is a best guess. Stop beating yourself up for not having the answers. There are no answers.

We can make well-informed decisions, or just listen to our gut feel, but however you cut it, we’re guessing.

Want to know how uncertain life is? We’re organic matter, evolved on a wet rock, heated up by a ball of fire, flying through infinity and we have no clue how or why we’re here. At all. Not an inclining. Not a smidgen. Not a jot. Not the teeniest, tiniest clue.

So with this in mind, how can anyone do anything but guess? Everything is built on the unknown, up. The very foundation of existence is “I dunno”. Isn’t that incredible? How can we hanker for certainty when there is none?

That lawyer friend of yours hasn’t got a clue. Society said lawyers are successful, so he did that. It met several of his needs, so he took the gamble, made a best guess, and now he’s the lawyer guy.

Would he have wanted to be a lawyer if he was born into an indigenous tribe in the rain forests of remotest Brazil? Was being a lawyer innate to his character? Doubtful.

He Just took the information available and took his best punt at happiness. And good for him.

However, if someone tells you they know what they’re doing, they’re lying to make themselves feel better. Perhaps they don’t even know they’re lying, but they are.

Serious French existentialists with peacoats, ruffled suits, and tobacco dependencies declared years ago we know nothing of the big questions and therefore life is absurd.

They puffed on their pipes and rolled up their roll-ups and said the only meaning life has is the meaning we give it.

In other words, we make a best guess and go with that, until we choose something else. And then something else. And something else after that. Guesses upon guesses, course adjusting as more information comes in.

There are people in this world who boldly admit they have no clue and some who don’t even care that that’s the case. But, as mentioned, others trick and deceive themselves, they pretend to have answers to unanswerable questions.

Religion offers up these answers in the same way atheism (a sort of religion-in-denial all of its own) also does, but nobody knows what happens when we die; not Pope Francis, not Richard Dawkins, not Ricky Gervais and not the Dalai Lama.

They’re all guessing.

They don’t know where we came from any more than where we’re all going, they just nailed their colours to a certain mast and said “My guess is the truth!”

Science offers some answers but whilst the scientific method is an admirable search for the truth, we still know nothing. Science can’t explain why we’re here any more than religion. Science can’t explain where everything came from, or what we’re meant to be doing. We can’t even properly explain gravity and that stops us from falling off the earth and floating around in space. It’s quite important.

Evolution is a fact, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a God. It doesn’t mean there is one either. And for us all to agree we mutated into these self-aware beings still provides us with no answers on how to live.

To repeat: We know nothing.

We don’t even know ourselves; our needs change, our guesses refine, we are malleable, and fickle and our desires are not even measurable by scientific methods. Who we were a year ago is different from who we are today.

At the heart of every man is chaos.

Nobody knows what they’re doing. Everybody’s guessing.

So what?

So, I guess (!), don’t worry about it. Go easy on yourself. If there are no answers, who is to say you’re doing anything wrong? All we can do is enjoy the now. Laugh and see the absurdity. Love, connect, and be at peace with who you are.

You’re not perfect because there is no perfect. There is no rule book or benchmark to live up to. There’s basic decency, manners, and kindness. That’s all we have.

There doesn’t need to be an end goal or a purpose, for your perfect to exist.

Life isn’t a destination, it’s just existing. It’s a messy dance, a farce, a cacophony of inputs and outputs. It’s guesswork from beginning to end.

Follow your gut, listen to your heart, seek only to love, and remember every single other thing in the entire spectrum of existence is bullshit.

We’re mad, free beasts trying to make sense of chaos and life's unpredictability is its greatest gift. So, embrace the chaos, celebrate the uncertainty, and remember: we're all in this guessing game together, and that's the beauty of it. It’s wonderfully hilarious.

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About the Creator

Jamie Jackson

Between two skies and towards the night.

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  • C. Rommial Butlerabout a month ago

    As an agent of chaos (not to be confused with a chaos agent!) I love this line of inquiry, but feel I must point out that within certain contexts, people do know what they are doing. For instance, when the Nazis invaded France, more than one Frenchman pretended to work with the Nazis while secretly feeding intel to the allies. Many paid with torture and death while their own people spit on them, thinking them traitors. They may not have known what the answers to the big questions were, but they knew exactly what they were doing and why. Does someone who internalizes the old hippy "Be Here Now" attitude or the absurdist attitude have the balls to stick that out for others when the time comes? I think the massive repeated failure of those movements to be agents of any real positive change in the world tells us the answer. At the end of the day, life can't just be about happiness. Laughter, yes, but sometimes laughing in the face of the enemy with a bloody gob of spit for their beady eyes, and not because its funny. This is just one of so many examples that always comes to mind for me. A child can push down a wall that's ready to crumble and think itself a hero, but too many have sacrificed their lives for a greater good by allowing themselves to be crushed beneath the rubble to write off the idea of a greater good. Sure we make it up as we go along, but the world we make, we must still live in, and a world full of drunks and vagabonds is a shitty one--take it from a former drunken vagabond! Neverthless, we've our place too... I agree with you about the anitheist movement. Dawkins and the like always try to replace religion instead of leaving it be. It's not going anywhere, because there is a science to devotional practice. It's the group ideologies, not the personal aspirations of the individual, which need to beat a retreat!

  • Esala Gunathilakeabout a month ago

    It is a nice writing. Well done!!!

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