Uncertainty about the future is the most fundamental and obvious aspect of the human condition. No one can predict accurately what is going to happen. We are constantly confronted by events which strain our precarious hold on certainty. Yet we act, most of the time, as though the world was orderly and predictable. We routinely go about our business as if uncertainty was not a problem in a world which is constantly throwing us askew. We make plans in the confident assurance that by and large they are likely to materialize. Indeed not to do so would be to abandon the whole precarious edifice upon which we construct our lives. Social life would be impossible without such assumptions of orderliness and predictability. By maintaining this ‘as if’ principle we assure ourselves of our place in the world and assert its continuity.
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