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Embracing Uncertainty or "You Know Nothing Erik Summerfield"

I was pondering how much I know and don't know and how they should affect how I make decisions. I have been a pusher of uncertainty (just see my blog post Estimate like a Pirate, use a B.O.A.T) and thought maybe if I do the math it would be a good way to show people that they should be less certain than they are. Well, I found that in fact, I was being too certain, and actually, I know nothing.
Let's start by looking at "Things to know", this is the sum of all of the "Known Things" and all of the "Unknown Things".
Understanding is then easily defined as the percent of "Things to Know" that are "Known Things".
As the Known things are finite, but there is no limit on the things to know, the only conclusion is that our understanding is approximately 0%.
Just to put a bow on how little we understand, because "Things to Know" are infinite and "Known Things" are finite, it follows "Unknown Things" are also infinite! So it does not matter how much we learn; we will always know less than we don't know.
So take a moment and let that sink in: we know so little that we understand 0% of what there is to know. And no matter how much you learn that is always an infinite amount more that you don't know.
Ok, I'm glad you let that sink in because it is about to get worse.

Time: Taking Uncertainty to 11!

How can it get worse, you ask? Time. Time takes our uncertainty to eleven.
For anything we knew yesterday, there is some non-zero chance that that is not true today and therefore not known today.
But that percent chance is not known! So then we just can't believe anything even if we knew it yesterday.
Introducing time shows "Known Things" is zero and we still have infinite "Things to Know."
So now we really do not know anything.


So, we know nothing, how are we ever going to make a choice? Well, it turns out that our brains are big heuristic crunching machines. They are all about handling uncertainty and still moving forward. I will be looking throughout this year to see how I can embrace uncertainty.

©Erik Summerfield 2022 Last Updated: 3/22/2022