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Allow Uncertainty

Key Points | Questions | Examples

Key Points

How can you allow some uncertainty, ambiguity, chaos, chance and/or tension?

The words allow uncertainty can help us use and remember a number of closely related concepts. Some uncertainty-related concepts are about variability, such as the unknown, the ambiguous and the changable. Some uncertainty-related concepts are about probability, such as the random, the unpredictable and the chaotic. Some uncertainty-related concepts are about dramatic mental states, such as tension, suspense, stress, intrigue, mystery and surprise. Some uncertainty-related concepts are about physical tensions and stresses. So by allowing some uncertainty, we suggest you consider introducing or allowing elements or relationships in the proximity of your situation which relate to the above concepts, or others of a similar nature.

Allow Uncertainty with ...

Relate Other PPs
The ProxPatterns are an integrated group of related patterns for relating to situations. By the Limits of One, any single ProxPattern has limits. In your proximity or situation, how does this ProxPattern relate to others?

1. For your situation, in the proximity generally or more specifically in ProxSets,
2. Possibly in relationship with other PPs,
3. To help with the Core Idea,
4. How can you allow some uncertainty, ambiguity, chaos, chance and/or tension?

Some uncertainty is often unavoidable. This ProxPattern goes beyond that by actively allowing some uncertainty.


• What elements might you introduce which are unknown, random, unpredictable, or variable? How could you include some of them, or some aspects of them?
• What elements in your situation are uncertain or ambiguous? How might you increase their effect or relate them in a new way?
• How might you relate elements so as to increase tension, suspense, stress, intrigue, mystery, and/or surprise?
• How can you move the uncertainty from a little, or a lot, to some? (See the Value of Some.)
• How might you be somewhat unbalanced?
• In what ways could you lean forward, requiring you to catch yourself from falling?
• What might happen if you allow some uncertainty? Do you have a rough feel for it, or know the odds? Is there a way to plan for it?

Allow Uncertainty with ...


Human Relationships
Uncertainty can be both engaging and difficult in human relationships. It can be engaging when it involves elements such as mystery, surprise, and rewards. It can be difficult when undesired results occur. But trying to stop all uncertainty is not only difficult but counterproductive.

Mystery and Risk
What makes mystery and risk exciting is the uncertainty and tension. By allowing some uncertainty in a proximity or situation, we allow some of that excitement.

Physicists tell us they can’t predict anything in the physical world with certainty. They can only say with greater or lesser probability the chance that something might happen.

For more examples, see Combo PPs, Limits PPs, Pure PPs and ProxPatterns.

Key Points | Questions | Examples

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