The Inward Morning Commentary 1952-08-28
# Thursday, August 28, 1952
henry bugbee expands his conception of “Certainty.” He repeats that certainty is a “basis for action.” Therefore, it is the trigger to a beginning rather than a landmark for arrival. Certainty is not the closure of an endeavor. It is the beginning of action.
Every situation is absolute. This moment is itself. It will never change. According to Bugbee, when we realize this absolute nature of every moment, when we become sensitive to it, we start interpreting each moment, each action deeply—we start to live in “the depth of our experience.”
Certainty is the simplicity—or the “being used to”—this state of being. You are so used to this realization that each moment is absolute that it is who you are. You don’t think about it. Certainty then cannot be “attained,” Bugbee says. Given this, we have to confront the question: If certainty cannot be “attained,” the what use is reflection? Is reflection detrimental or supportive to certainty? Bugbee posits that Meditation or reflection is harmonious with the absoluteness of our situation. If that is the case, then reflection or meditation enhances certainty.
At this point, I am reminded of his argument yesterday that “certainty is faith.” The moment an individual thrown into this world realizes his throwness, he is confronted by the question of how to respond to this throwness. Should he respond with aggression? Should he kill himself? Or should he befriend this world? At this time, he doesn’t know anything or almost know nothing that will help him make a decision. He is just at the beginning of his journey. But at that moment, he needs to make a decision. It is impossible to “research” the situation. The moment he doesn’t kill himself, he automatically chooses to befriend his situation and the world (but is he doing this just according to instinct or to preserve himself?). If he is doing this consciously then, yes, he has “chosen” friendship. And if he did this in the depth of his experience (i.e., realizing that each moment is absolute), then he did this decision based on “faith” alone. No evidence was gathered.
This faith is faith that there is smething worthwhile to be had by attempting a friendship with the world. The only things I am bothered about Bugbee’s idea about certainty is this rejection that it is something one can attain. I think if one continues to realize the absoluteness of each moment and one couples this with meditation and reflection, these are things that could enhance one’s friendship with certainty. In this sense, certainty can be “achieved” and maintained through continuous practice.
Bugbee, H. (1999). The Inward Morning: A Philosophical Exploration in Journal Form. The University of Georgia Press.