17 Geniuses Explain Why Not Knowing What You Want To Do With Your Life Is One Of Your Biggest Advantages

There are no answers. The solution is the complex. Uncertainty is good, and here 17 quotes from the smartest minds to ever live on why the answer to life is there is no answer.

“We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified — how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don’t know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.”

Richard Feynman

“When we are not sure, we are alive.”

Graham Greene

There are many things of which we are completely unaware—in fact, there are things of which we are so unaware, we don’t even know we are unaware of them.”

Donald Rumsfeld

“Nothing conclusive has yet taken place in the world, the ultimate word of the world and about the world has not yet been spoken, the world is open and free, everything is still in the future, and will always be in the future.”

M.M. Bakhtin

“No! Don’t think outside the box! Once you say that, you’ve established that there is a box.”

Walt Disney

“Truth captured loses its glamor; truths long known and widely believed have a way of turning false with time; easy truths are a bore, and too many of them become half-truths. Whatever the intellectual is too certain of, if he is healthily playful, he begins to find unsatisfactory. The meaning of his intellectual life lies not in the possession of truth but in the quest for new uncertainties. Harold Rosenberg summed up this side of the life of the mind supremely well when he said that the intellectual is one who turns answers into questions.”

Richard Hofstadter

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Gilda Radner

“What we find here is still the hyperbolic naiveté of man: positing himself as the meaning and measure of the value of things.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Total explicitness is impossible. The effort of formal logic to make thought entirely explicit, while an admirable and in many ways indispensable and fantastically productive effort, is ultimately doomed to failure and entails deep psychological strain because of its unreality. Thought can only be made more and more explicit, never totally so.

Walter Ong

“There is a crack in every thing, that’s how the light gets in.”

Leonard Cohen

“Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.”

— Richard Buckminster Fuller

“In a world of increasing uncertainty, expect…”

— Gino Norris

“I’m making explorations. I don’t know where they’re going to take me… My writings constitute the process rather than the completed product of discovery; my purpose is to employ facts as tentative probes, as means of insight, of pattern recognition, rather than to use them in the traditional and sterile sense of classified data, categories, containers… As an investigator, I have no fixed point of view, no commitment to any theory — my own or anyone else’s. As a matter of fact, I’m completely ready to junk any statement I’ve ever made about any subject if events don’t bear me out, or if I discover it isn’t contributing to an understanding of the problem. I just sit down and start to work. I grope, I listen, I test, I accept and discard; I try out different sequences — until the tumblers fall and the doors spring open.”

Marshall McLuhan

“A blind man sees with his cane, like all the rest of us.”

Marty Rubin

“I find it difficult but necessary to admit that no matter what we do, whether we stutter, stay silent, or break into declamation, we inevitably embarrass ourselves. The point never quite gets across, the communication is never completed, we fall off the stage and attempt to stand up again…”

David Shields

“When there is a solution, it is no longer a problem. When there is an answer, it is no longer a real question. For at that point, the problem is part of the solution and the answer is part of the question. And then nothing remains but solutions without problems and answers without questions.”

— Jean Baudrillard

“There were too many questions. This would always happen. The further you go, the more there are. And every answer is a threat, a new abyss that only sleep can close.”

Bret Easton Ellis

Keep up with Devon on Twitter

More From Thought Catalog