Thomas Henry Huxley opined about ‘The great tragedy of science—the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact’. The scientists steady state built on a strong hypothesis gets thrown into disarray by new evidence. It seems to me that we expect it in science .. even if we are not always ready for it .. but not so in politics.
The apparent steady state hypothesis in politics and world affairs has been thrown into disarray by two recent election facts … the vote for Brexit in the UK and President Elect Trump in the USA. What will these changes mean to the global and local economy, the UN, the wars in Africa and the Middle East? The world has the jitters.
We expect unplanned change even less in our own sphere of influence… family, work, friends, neighborhood. We get devastated by bereavement, loss, unemployment, disruption. We find it hard to cope with unpredictable people and places. We worry.
What fuels this fear of an uncertain future? Is it fear of not coping or the forced acknowledgement that I am not in control? Periods of stability lull me into an illusion of control which is supplemented by material resources and strong institutions. But this false hypothesis of control deserves to crash. It has no facts to support it.
Uncertainty unravels us. So as we approach Christmas how do we deal with the ancient hypothesis that seemed to provide security about an uncertain future for our forefathers. The hypothesis: God among us in baby skin, totally dependent on an unmarried mother, and about to flee with his mother and her partner to Egypt as political refugees. Does it still stand today? And what security did they find there?