Certitude and the Pursuit of Understanding

Two seemingly conflicting need aspects of my thoughts work together for my experience. One aspect is my need to defend what I am certain of – the foundation of my beliefs. The other aspect is my need to pursue meaning and purpose for my experiences.

Each aspect offers a specific perspective to my experience. Knowing follows a process of learned experience through actions to achieve a particular end, the what and how of causality. Understanding adds why to the process of knowing.

I resolve uncertainty by justifying the causality of my actions with reasons. Thus, I satisfy the need for certitude by providing meaning and purpose to my actions.

A Paradox of Conflicting Needs

In what seems like a paradox, my resistance to adaptation threatens my ability to defend my knowing. That threat fuels my need to attend to what challenges my certitude. That attention is my acknowledgement of what I feel threatened by. The more I acknowledge threats, the more I need to know why I feel threatened.

The pursuit of knowing edges my curiosity towards threats to my security, creating risk in its departure from the known. I defend my need to know at the expense of that security.

The greatest threat to my pursuit of understanding is my defense of certitude. And the greatest threat to my certitude is my pursuit of understanding.

Satisfaction and the Pursuit of Understanding

The pursuit of the unknown seeks to satisfy my need to know, which adaptation serves to fulfill. In my certitude, I tend to resist challenges that feel threatening to what I already know.

Those challenges that lead to greater understanding of self lead to the greatest defense, adding value to my certitude. And yet because of my need to know, I accept the risk of change in adaptation.

Thus, my certitude helps me live a life of satisfied ignorance in a reality of uncertainty.

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