Unavoidable and Unpredictable

culture Mar 13, 2019
“One became great by expecting the possible, 
another by expecting the eternal, 
but he who expected the impossible became greatest of all.”
Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling
 
 
Kierkegaard famously said that the great person is the one who expects the impossible. This statement begs the question of how exactly one expects what is essentially beyond the realm of expectation? 
 
In our online Spiritual Entrepreneur class we discussed the relation between the unavoidable and the unpredictable. The unavoidable, is the world we all see coming, usually characterized by what is no longer working and the inevitably of decline. It’s the statistics we all know and read about; the future of faith, the decline of denominations, the loss of church attendees, the rise of the nones and the spiritual but non-aligned and so on. The unavoidable is the future painted by the logic of predictability. But, the economist John Maynard Keynes famously said that we have to remember that the unavoidable generally doesn’t happen because the unpredictable prevails. 
 
Game-changing events and circumstances are always unpredictable, impossible, to put it in Kierkegaard’s terminology, but those are the things we must prepare for. The task is to be intellectually ready for the game change, to begin the process of preparing for the impossible, the unpredictable. We do this by re-focusing our thinking, moving away from what we know into the realm of un-knowing, where the opportunity to discover new ways of thinking and doing can emerge.
 
Barry Taylor
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