Deep End

You think you are certain, I think you are two faced.

And so am I. Hang in there for an explanation. As I see people find their voice and express themselves with voracious certainty, it gives me pause. Personally, finding certainty in much of anything has been elusive. Somewhat of a natural born skeptic, it seems far easier to doubt most things and take an opposing view to anyone without doubt regardless o f their side. (it even provides a perverse pleasure).  It is not always a welcome trait. Certainty is necessary, it’s powerful, and can be wielded to accomplish both great and dangerous things. For some of us though, it is frustratingly elusive. If I were to describe one certainty that proves itself regularly, it is that I know far less, about more things, than I used to believe possible, and of that I am certain. So, age is this sort of reverse evolution where you might find yourself dumber than you thought in your youth. It can be a sobering realization.

An exploration of certainty is not complete without a dose of skepticism. There is evidence all around us of the Yin and Yang of life, of the exception that proves the rule, of the pure necessity of the existence of opposites being a requirement in order to bring value to the other. In another conversation, it might be interesting to discuss death as being one of the greatest gifts of life, but that is for another time. (Bonus assignment – go listen closely to The Doors – Break on through to the other side track). The point being, certainty is far less relevant without the co- existence of skepticism. Experience would indicate that the world works better when these 2 things are in balance and no one or the other becomes prevalent.  “Balance, smalance what does it matter – what we all need now is more certainty”. Well, have to differ on that point to some degree.

Let’s explore some out of balance conditions on the human experience and some of the outcomes. The next assignment is to go up to the far North for the next year (you know where it is light for 6 months and then dark for 6 months) and report back. The outcome will be enlightening (pun intended? – maybe). Reports are it is very disorienting, and will start working on your psyche. In fact, some of that certainty you packed along will start unraveling. Too much of a good thing is a saying that took hold for a reason. You will likely not return the same person. Powerful stuff for something as simple as “lights on, lights off”. There are multitudes of examples where balance is a necessity, but time to move on. Think about this though before you abandon that subject. You ever see the effects of too much poverty, too much wealth, too much power, too little power, too much religion, too little religion etc? Seems happiness, harmony and what Americans deem is best, articulates regularly around balance.

“But you called me two faced, will you get to the damn point”. Ha, eventually, but via the scenic route. Let’s not ignore the brilliance and effectiveness of when things are totally out of balance (but in this case to a positive end). Think Wolfgang Mozart, Michael Jordan, Mother TeresaMahatma Ghandi, Ben FranklinNikola Tesla, Salvador Dali and a host of other weirdo’s. You see these folks were anything but in balance. They were certain, and they were extreme, with the net outcome being Mastery. In some of these individuals it was more of a torment than a passion that drove them, but the fact is their contributions were generally the result of imbalance. A pursuit of something so strong that virtually nothing would stop their goals, including the joy and harmony of balance. I am not entirely certain all these individuals chose to be great, they just chose not to prevent it. If there were one takeaway around this it is that most of us get in our own way. You see certainty is a powerful force, but not one that should be taken lightly. Credibility, commitment, truth, embrace of failure, ignoring embarrassment, ignoring naysayers, are what could arguably be labeled as necessities to move from skepticism, to certainty, to Mastery. It could also be argued that certainty without these traits may be more a function of ignorance. But, that’s ok, even expected, as every Master started as ignorant (there is still hope for the writer of these words).

Let’s move back to your certainty as well as mine. Are you certain you are certain? Let a skeptic try to throw some cold water on your certainty. Republican, Democrat, abortion yes/no, you love your spouse, there is a God, death and taxes; we are all certain about something. But are we really? In the sales profession in many cases the job is to move a person from one certainty to another in order to accomplish an objective. So if a salesman is effective it becomes clear pretty quickly that certainty is a relative term, not an absolute one. But surely you say, I know my own mind, I know what I want, who I am, and what I believe. Well, most of us are pretty certain about those things at least at points in time.

When you start peeling back the onion on us as individuals, you see (and already know this) that your brain is made up of 2 halves. And interestingly enough, science has determined that each half of the brain is quite capable of standing on its own and allowing us to be a fully functioning person with little disability. Look at it another way and evidence shows that we really have twice as much brain as we need (although there is ample anecdotal evidence that may not be quite enough for some).  This whole 2 brain premise led William McDougall to derive numerous theories and a burning desire to split someone’s brain in 2!  McDougall believed that “human personality was not a single consciousness but was made of various entities that he termed monads” (insert sophomoric jokes here). He went further to theorize that personality disorders were clear evidence of breakdowns in the telepathic communication between the nomads. (hang in there I’m losing you).

“Ok, one more time, what the Jello has this got to do with my certainty”. Well this is where it gets interesting. His theories and synopsis led to  surgical experiments in which a patient with his 2 brain hemisphere’s connected by his corpus callosum (like you and ) are split to create a split brain (you will want to click on that one) in which the 2 halves can no longer communicate. This was done out of a need to stop extreme epilepsy and it worked! But it now left a single person with 2 fully functioning brain halves that no longer talked to one another (you know like the Ultra Liberals and the Alt Right). The results are fascinating for us common Joes. After this separation it was now quite possible to interview each brain half independently in the same person. WHAT?? Yeah, that is correct, with some rather creative techniques it was possible to get 2 independent views that in many cases didn’t really align. What really goes on inside us is one side or the other steps up and takes over for the other if it is dominate. And different skills are dominate in different halves. So, you may really be Charlie Brown more than you know, but showing the world you are Lucy!

The rather interesting outcome of all of this, was finding the “other” person, that was living right beside the dominate one which was seldom seen. When interviewing someone with a split brain, that had spent a considerable portion of his life studying architecture and displaying a profound love of the subject, the one half responded as expected when asked what his calling in life should be. But when the other, less dominant side was asked the same question the unequivocal answer was “Race car driver”. Bam, certainty gone. No level of further discussion would change the conviction of the race car driver response. That was the certainty of that half.

If this is of interest it is explained in greater detail in Chapter 8 – Evidence of Cohabitation form the book Is there life after death? If you ever wanted to understand the edge of the writers comprehension, go read this book. It may literally make you rethink a lot of things, as it is chock full of quantum physics and a lot of mind blowing stuff. It truly explains a potential alternate reality we may not realize we live in today.

So, we should ask ourselves “who are we really”. What is that less dominate side of my brain thinking and just itching to try. Maybe it would do us some good to explore it with an open mind. If you could sit half of your brain aside and interview it would you want to? Would you tell it its wrong? Would you show it “proof”? Maybe you might be glad its buried away as it frightens you, or maybe you might wish it could find its voice because it inspires you. The point is, it is there, it is real and we have no idea what is lurking there. So, when you are absolutely certain of something, take a pause and consider which half of your brain is certain, you might find you don’t even agree with yourself. And what if, God forbid, your less dominate half was all of the things you think you despise. Now wouldn’t that be fun to find out!

In any case, this topic of certainty came to the forefront as the pounding of the table with “facts” and “false news” and the finger pointing; “here’s what we outta do” gets waved around. As stated earlier, lack of certainty is a good thing in balance. Find the middle, seek balance, let go of the certainty, and lose the fear that you may not be who you think you are. I expect many of us will be better off for it. #BellLetsTalk

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