Lecturer's Corner



Life is full of certainties and uncertainties. Certainties create patterns. They are anticipated and taught in many subjects at schools. In English grammar, certainties are introduced in the simple present tense. In chemistry, certainties are exemplified in formulas. In physics, certainties are demonstrated by a falling apple due to gravity force. The list can go on and on. But one thing is for certain, certainties sometimes are monotonous.

On the other hand, uncertainties are primarily unexpected and not well-anticipated. People tend to avoid uncertainties. Uncertainties are sometimes seen as deviations. We can find uncertainties in our lives, such as sudden heavy rain on a hot sunny day, computer errors, or unknown mixed feelings when we meet someone special. People investigate uncertainties to find patterns and make them certain. However, in some cases, people get ready for uncertainties. Readers keep reading stories with unpredictable endings, and moviegoers cannot wait for a new movie to premiere in cinemas. In fiction, uncertainties create a world of wonders. Gulliver traveled to the unpredictable world of the giants and Lilliputian. Alice wandered in the unknown wonderland. Aladdin had no idea about the magic lamp.

Unlike certainties and uncertainties (and, therefore, like certainties and uncertainties at the same time), serendipitous moments are unexpected but not saddening at the same time. They are uncertain. They cannot be avoided as well. They have no patterns. Once the patterns are discovered, they are not serendipitous anymore. However, they do not evoke negative feelings. Otherwise, they bring little happiness sometimes. When you unexpectedly find money in your pocket when you do laundry, you might feel lucky. That might be your own money. There must be a reason why the money is there, but you cannot remember. Finding the money is an unexpected happy moment. It is a happy uncertainty. It is serendipitous. Hence, uncertainties might be as gleeful as certainties. When certainties meet uncertainties, there might be a serendipitous moment.

Anyways, that is just how life is, it is full of certainties and uncertainties. Embrace those (un)certainties as the relish for our life. Certainties help us focus on our objectives, and uncertainties bring surprises for us. We work our best on the certainties by doing our routines and habits and let us find serendipity in the uncertainties. What matters most is that we need to enjoy our lives and be happy, right?


Author: Simon Arsa Manggala, S.S., M.Hum.

Editor: Michael Tan 

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