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The feeling of certainty

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Covid-19 has become another flashpoint for political polarization. We dig in. We point fingers. We lament how stupid they are.

It’s easy to say one side is right and one side is wrong. What’s harder, I think, is to see that humans all share the feeling of being right. Internally, our truth feels self-evident. They must be either ignorant or evil for thinking otherwise, we tell ourselves. Both sides share that feeling of certainty.

In other words, the human feeling of being right is not a good indicator of actually being right. Often the more right we feel, the less truth we are open to.

I believe the most transformational change agents have strong convictions about the world. But they also don’t hold anything with certainty. They know that every moment we spend in certainty is a moment we’ve closed ourselves to possibility, and therefore to change itself.


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Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

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