Richard Feynman: To live with doubt and uncertainty

Richard Feynman (1908 – 1988) is one of my great heroes. Here’s a short video of his.

. . . Are you looking for the ultimate laws of physics? No, I’m not. I am just looking to find out more about the universe. And if it turns out that there is a simple ultimate law, so be it. That would be very nice to discover. . . I don’t believe the special stories that have been made out about our relationship to the universe at large because they seem to be too local, too provincial.

He is channeling Descartes later when he says that doubting is a very fundamental part of his soul. Mine too.

. . . I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs with different degrees of certainty about different things but I am not absolutely sure of anything. And there are many things that I don’t know anything about. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose — which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell. Possibly. It does not frighten me.

Author: Atanu Dey


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