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Can you live without answers?

Reflecting on what went down at the Capitol yesterday:

I mentioned yesterday that I’m currently reading another fantasy book titled Toll the hounds by Steven Erikson. Today I came across the following:

Can you live without answers? All of you ask that of yourself. Can you live without answers? Because if you cannot, then most assuredly you will invent your own answers and they will comfort you. And all those who do not share your view will by their very existence strike fear and hatred into your heart. 1

This is a great line! It strikes me as very psychoanalytic.

If someone can’t stand a lack of answers (ambiguity) then that person will make whatever answer (S1) they need to act and feel as if they are doing the right thing. This inability to cope with ambiguity, with a lack of certainty, is one of the things that I think unlocks the monsters in people.

I also think that having lots of people feeling unsure is what leads to the the conditions that help dictators and autocrats rise in power.

  1. Steven Erikson, Toll the Hounds p. 252.↩︎

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