We are said to live in an “Age of Anxiety” – just like every other age, I suppose. The media makes more money selling anxiety. Facts without anxiety are boring. When scientists recently determined that a huge swath of molten carbon lies 200 miles beneath the surface in the American West, reporters deftly linked the story to our fears – suggesting that if a massive volcano erupted in Yellowstone National Park, it would mean the end of the world as we know it. There are many such news reports, on subjects from solar flares to low testosterone. So much to worry about, so little time.Share
Many anxieties, of course, are far more understandable, if not exactly “reasonable.” Personal health – especially as we grow older – can cause worry. But when a doctor diagnoses a malady after tests, the certainty of the diagnosis usually brings some sense of relief. The illness can finally be treated, or at least understood, going forward. The certainty of truth is a remedy for anxiety.
The firm certainties of life vary depending on context. On the one hand, our personal history is certain because events have taken place (even if memory fails) and simply become facts of our life. We were born; we grew up and were educated; we found jobs; we loved; we’ve suffered – the factual certainties are endless. (Read more.)