If you’re anywhere in Europe, it’s hard to avoid talk of Brexit and the uncertainty of just about everything these days.
Theresa May, negotiations, Commons vote, People’s Vote, no deal, Norway minus, Canada plus plus plus, hard border, backstop. Brexit and its strange language are everywhere.
And a recurring theme of the Brexit talk is the uncertainty of what’s next. The uncertainty of what happens after March 29th — whether Britain leaves the European Union with a deal, or no deal; whether the common travel area between Ireland and Britain (because we might be nearly 100 years independent from Britain, but don’t take away our right to move there and back freely…); whether the United Kingdom is breaking up before our eyes.
So much uncertainty.
But it got me thinking. Is every generation faced with its own constant doubts, its own recurring uncertainty?
I remember a time, back we were kids, a friend of mine was in tears because of the hole in the ozone layer and the prospect of humanity being fried to death.
The Bay of Pigs, the Cold War, recessions, depressions, climate change.
So much uncertainty that it might not be a bad idea to resist certainty. To treat uncertainty as normal. To think that uncertainty is everywhere and uncertainty is not necessarily bad.
Uncertainty means problems to solve, but humanity, for all our history of bloodshed and war and terror, has a decent record of solving problems and making things better.
Does that mean we can kick back and relax on a job well done? No, because that would be to stay still and to stay still is to stagnate and eventually die.
No, maybe it’s just that we need to embrace the uncertainty that exists both in our own small three feet of space and at local, national and global level.
To embrace the uncertainty and to try our best to do the right thing.
Here, now, today.
In an uncertain time, doing the next right thing, in this precise place and the single moment we have before us, is the only thing we can really do.
And when uncertainty is everywhere and forever, doing the next right thing, in this precise place and the single moment we have before us, is the only thing we can ever really do.