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Embracing Uncertainty: A Mindful Exploration Through Life

A deeply personal narrative that navigates the terrains of uncertainty, fear, and aphantasia, leading to a broader discourse on embracing unpredictability in daily life. This article is co-authored with the assistance of an AI.

Please Note: All content on this website is written by the site owner unless specifically stated otherwise. Some sections in this article have been generated with the help of an AI model, specifically those that are annotated with [AI Generated].

Introduction: The Dance of Uncertainty and Fear

I am nowhere near certain that I should be writing about the topic I chose to write about today; Uncertainty.

I’m struggling to decide where to go with this story, struggling to decide what to write. I fear that I’ll write something lame. That my opinion won’t be able to be expressed. I fear that I should be writing about something else. Maybe I’m more experienced in a different topic.

But here I am, uncertain and fearful, writing to you. Writing about how fearing the unknown is both natural and doesn’t have to be debilitating. Thank you for joining and I hope you enjoy the ride.

A Personal Experiment: Walking Blind

Every morning I take a walk around the neighborhood. There are many trails and paths to take and I find it to be a great way for me to start each and every day.

However, this morning I tried something different. I attempted to walk with my eyes closed just to see what it would be like. It might’ve just started with me being tired and not wanting to keep them open, but it very quickly turned into a personal thought experiment.

I ended up seeing how long I could walk with my eyes closed. I knew the path ahead was straight each time I closed my eyes, I could guesstimate about how long I could walk with my eyes closed without any repercussions, but the uncertainty a lack of vision brought into my walk was staggeringly high, and fear came alongside it.

Facing Fear: Confronting Uncertainty Head-On

My experiment ended up having a sample size of 4. By the second attempt I was already able to see some patterns and by the time I decided to stop there I had some concrete observations.

I wasn’t able to comfortably make it beyond ~6 steps forward before. By the time I reached that far with my eyes closed the fear of consequences started spiking. I could trip, I could fall, a car could be driving towards me, I could veer off course and end up walking into a fence or a road.

Without sight, I was uncertain of the outcome of my steps. Without certainty, I was terrified. The natural response of fear designed to protect my well being was so strong, so natural, and so engrained.

Aphantasia and Uncertainty: A Unique Perspective

I ended up finishing my morning and pondering on my experience further. I have Aphantasia, the inability to visualize imagery internally.

Subsequently, when I close my eyes, I have no ability to visualize the path ahead(both physically and metaphorically). My mind stores the concepts of my surroundings and I knew how much distance I had until potential hazards from the point of me closing my eyes.

I knew the sidewalk was straight when I last viewed it. I knew there was grass on the left and right up ahead. But in my mind I was simply a coordinate in an abstract thought. The position of my body moving on a grid aligned with the memorized data points of hazards and factual features of my surroundings.

With each step I took, the confidence in my initial estimates of distance, facts, and hazards lowered simultaneously to my awareness of where I’m currently positioned in comparison.

I’m not sure if a visual person would be able to better track where they are in the world by recalling what they saw before they closed their eyes or if this exercise results in similar levels of increased uncertainty over time. It’s fun to ponder for short amounts of time before the fear becomes overwhelming, I know that for sure.

Uncertainty in Daily Life: An Omnipresent Concept [AI Generated]

Our day-to-day lives can be riddled with uncertainties. Have you ever thought about how often we encounter it? Whether deciding what to cook for dinner, contemplating a new job opportunity, or even deciding which path to take on a morning walk - uncertainty is an ever-present companion. Even the weather forecasts we rely on carry a degree of uncertainty.

In the midst of these, one might wonder, how does the ever-present uncertainty affect our lives? On one hand, it might add stress or anxiety as we struggle to predict and control outcomes. On the other, could it potentially add a spice of surprise and novelty to life, keeping us on our toes, making each day different from the one before?

Reaping the Rewards: The Benefits of Embracing Uncertainty [AI Generated]

The thought might be a bit daunting, but could there be an upside to embracing uncertainty? From one perspective, accepting that we cannot know or control everything could potentially lift a weight from our shoulders. We might be able to appreciate the present moment more, letting go of the anxious quest to foresee the future.

Moreover, if we embrace uncertainty, could it encourage us to step outside our comfort zones, try new things, and grow? Some might argue that the greatest leaps in innovation and discovery have come from individuals who dared to step into the unknown, to question the status quo, and to embrace the uncertainty of uncharted territory.

But of course, the concept of embracing uncertainty doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing deal. We all have different comfort levels when it comes to uncertainty, and that’s okay. It’s about finding the balance that works for us, understanding our own reactions to uncertainty, and navigating our path accordingly.

Making Peace with Uncertainty: A Conclusion and Call to Embrace the Unknown [AI Generated]

Our exploration of uncertainty, like the topic itself, has been a journey filled with questions and conjectures. Uncertainty, it seems, is an intrinsic part of life. It can be a source of fear and anxiety, but it also holds the potential for growth, adventure, and self-discovery.

While we’ve delved into various aspects of uncertainty, it’s clear there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. How we deal with uncertainty is deeply personal and varies from individual to individual. The aim isn’t to completely eradicate uncertainty - an impossible task, to be sure - but rather to understand it better and perhaps to learn to live with it more comfortably.

As for me, I plan to keep my morning walks as a small reminder of the uncertainty that’s out there, and maybe close my eyes from time to time. Not because it’s easy, but because it’s a conscious choice to explore the unknown. And who knows? Maybe next time, I’ll make it past those six steps before the fear kicks in.

This exploration of uncertainty was a collaborative effort between me and GPT, a language model developed by OpenAI. When I felt I could not complete the task on my own, GPT-4 assisted in bringing my thoughts together and finishing this piece. It’s an exciting reminder of how AI can aid us in expressing our thoughts, ideas, and even help us navigate our uncertainties."

The Meta-Experience: Explore the Creation Process [AI Generated]

If you’re curious about the process that led to this piece, you might enjoy the “behind-the-scenes” conversation I had with my co-author, the AI. Click here to see how we worked together. I think you’ll find it amusing that the AI, who helped to write this piece, is also the one who is transcribing this conversation link. Talk about a self-referential loop!

For an even more immersive experience, why not watch the process unfold live? I streamed the whole creative journey on my Twitch channel. Catch the replay and see all the other cool stuff I get up to on my stream. Just click here and look for the Twitch link.

And while you’re there, feel free to check out all my other social media links and give a follow. I share a lot of behind-the-scenes and interactive content, so don’t miss out!

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