A word in my personal lexicon that is used often but never over-used is “uncertainty”.
For years, I have been following the writings of Ben Goldacre writing in the Guardian newspaper and elsewhere. This weekend I found his blog http://www.badscience.net/. I cannot recommend this highly enough. I am also reading his book “Bad Science” which is an easy and informative canter through his accumulated investigations of vested interests, hoaxers and buffoons http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Science-Ben-Goldacre/dp/0007240198. You can appreciate what good science is about by understanding the mistakes and misdeeds that constitute bad science. Good science is about uncertainty and transparency built into a systematic method of working. This description of good science is the foundation of good medicine.
This is of practical importance to me. Daily I am in conversation and partnership with people making their decisions at the cutting edge of their cancer treatment. I am challenged to combine what we know with uncertainty so that, jointly, we make informed and pragmatic decisions.
I have come to understand that uncertainty is a central component of my personal spirituality.
Thursday evenings, I go to the Experimental Drawing class in the Midlands Arts centre http://www.macarts.co.uk/. Constrained to use just charcoal and with the starting idea of cloudscapes, this is what resulted last week.
These are odd sessions. There is a big well lit room and sporadic but pleasant conversation. There seems little teaching and advice has been caricatured as “tear it”, “turn it upside down”, paint over it”. However, by attending, my drawing has definitely become more experimental and, well, exciting. Some of this is about letting go of certainty, of the image I have created, and working over and into it, destroying it but then rebuilding. These sessions work. Kevin leads them. Thanks Kevin.