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Unknown, Uncertain, Unfair

Updated on August 6, 2019

In the journey of life, we have to face many unknowns, to expect many uncertain, and to accept many unfair:

  1. We do not know how our life is going to turn out. Are we going to be happy or stressful? Are we going to be mostly healthy or in occasional discomfort? Are we going to be a socially responsible person or law breaking criminal?

  2. We have to make decision on matters whose outcome we have no control of. We plan and work hard for our future that may not turn out the way we want. We have a lot of choices to ensure that we do the right thing but wrong thing can still happen;

  3. Some of us never have to worry about making ends meet while some have to hold more than one job. Some of us can be a doctor while some can work only as janitor. Some of us seldom get sick or injured while some are as vulnerable as glass.

    The journey of life is an obstacle course. Everyone will be challenged one way or the other.



In the dawn of our civilization, our life was totally at the mercy of the unknown of the outside world. We lived day to day not knowing where our food was coming from, when we would be ambushed and killed by the predators, and how to survive the next stormy weather.

After 7000 years, those unknowns are no longer a concern. Food is easily available in the local supermarkets and fast food restaurants, the only predators we have to worry about are other people who lay in wait to take advantage of our weakness, and we live in home that is built to withstand any weather.

With the external unknowns under control, we have to face the unknowns presented by our mortality, vulnerability, and sociability. We do not know why we are born into this world, who and what we will be, and when we are leaving this world. All that we can do is to play along with whatever we are born with in happy or sad times, in health or sickness, and amongst friends or adversaries.



As we grow older and are able to decide how to live our life, we find that there is no sure thing and the uncertain is the name of the game:

  1. We strive for a stable and good paying job, but an up and down economics and changing market conditions keep us on the toes planning for the unexpected – layoffs, relocations, personal conflicts, learning new processes, etc;

  2. We prepare and train for a competition. To come out ahead of the pack depends on a slew of external elements- last minute injury, weather condition, toughness of the opponents, luck of the draw, etc;

  3. We make sure that the car is in good condition, observe the road signs, and stay alerts. Statistics shows that traffic accident can happen to anyone due to rain, speeding, impatient, drunk driver, etc;

  4. We raise a family and provide clothing, food, and education hoping that our children will have a bright future and be a responsible citizen. However, some of them will become criminal, murderer, or homeless due to genetic predisposition, bad friends, financial hardship, etc.

    We have learned to accept the uncertain in our life. However, we will never give up planning and striving for a better future.



As we grow older and understand what is going on around us, we have learned that not everyone is dealt with a fair hand in the game of life:

  1. While some are born with physical disability, some can compete in the Olympic to win gold medals;

  2. While some possess musical talent and can perform in concert, some can only enjoy music by listening;

  3. While some are model citizen making a honest living, some can find work only in the shady side of the society;

  4. While some have lots of opportunities to make friends and to work many places, some have few people to talk to and are always on the top of the layoff list;

  5. While some live a life of affluence and abundance, some have to endure hunger and homeless, etc.

    In a democratic society under the rules of the laws, we have learned to accept the unfair and to live with the fate as dictated by who and what we are, and the inescapable social predicament.



Reality and experience show that:

  1. To face the unknown teaches us to appreciate our limited life span, to come to term with our unique physical attributes, and to expand our mental objectivity and understanding;

  2. To expect the uncertain teaches us always to try our best to succeed, to have relentless determination, to be prepared at all time, and to possess optimistic spirit;

  3. To accept the unfair teaches us not to give in to the seemingly hopeless predicament, to work harder under adversity, and to remain hopeful that better time will come.

    We all start the journey of life in the same fashion. After that, our paths start to differ as each tries to cope with the unknown, the uncertain, and the unfair. But, at the end of the journey, we will all have experienced happiness and sadness, success and failure, love and hate, friendship and loneliness, compassion and prejudice, kindness and cruelty, generosity and indifference, etc.; and that are known, certain, and fair.


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