Barbara wrote: “…We are not in control of everything. We are not certain of everything -- which is another way of saying the same thing. I once wrote that my definition of maturity is the ability to live with uncertainty. We had better be able to live with it, because uncertainty is a fact of life. The only way we can pretend to ourselves that it is not, is to build a structure of dogma and true beliefs that will not in fact shield us from anything.
I think that this desperate need for certainty is in fact the mark of a desperate uncertainty and of a lack of maturity. Life is what it is. We know many things, and there are many things we would like to know that we do not yet know. Pretending to ourselves and others that we have all the answers changes nothing.”
I understand your meaning and agree completely with the importance of “…there are many things…that we do not yet know.” Given that we cannot know everything I personally think that it is very important to integrate non-contradictory knowledge, and resolve issues that are most important for us. There seems to be a semantic issue with “certainty”, or for that matter “moral perfection”. I was raised as a “beach kid” and have never had a religious bone in my body, I cannot conceive of “certainty” in any other form than from a reason-based context.
I use “certainty” all of the time in my work: is that color true? Did I get the proportions right? Does the emotion register? Is light crucial? Is form?
I have also found that the more ambitious the project it becomes absolutely crucial to be certain of your foundation. I don’t mean that you tell yourself that you are certain but that you take all the avenues of research and check and double check that your basis is correct for the goal you have in mind.
Certainty, for me, is being on target.