Uncertainty Club is a magazine started by a group of friends. We are interested in the space between art, science, and consciousness. Because we’re a group of friends the magazine is a conversation. You are welcome to join, too.
Some bits of the universe are profoundly alive; they show up in the morning even before we are fully awake. At Uncertainty Club, we’re attracted to lively pieces because they’re beautiful or because they are destabilizing and that’s exciting. The pieces that jump out at us refer to something larger than our usual interests, to how we know things and what we are and our place in the matrix of everything. A piece here is a piece of the pattern, something that opens a door out of whatever prison the mind might have wandered into.
We like Zen koans and other material that is at an angle to the ways people usually understand things, material that reverses the expected conclusions. Zen koans, like art, can change your life, they embrace our vital unsteadiness—the way we are not actually standing on anything. One koan goes, “Not knowing is most intimate.” Language too is an unsteady, changing thing. Language is based on metaphor, which comes from the Greek “transfer, bear across.” All of our understanding rests on this uncertain, uneasy footing, a rickety bridge of words, myth, aspiration and half-sensed images.
Wondering what we are is part of the human condition. I might ask, “What is it like to be me, or what is it like to be a dog, a bat, a victim, a tyrant, you?”—the basic issues are imagination, curiosity, and empathy. We’re curious about the way images develop and what they tell us about who we are.
Uncertainty leads in the direction of not being separate from the life we’re in. It’s also in the direction of not believing most of the things I might otherwise have believed, even things about who I am. Not believing things is an important job for artists and scientists and meditators right now, when the world of power is full of vehemence.
Uncertainty Club comes out of the Pacific Zen Institute’s long-running project on Zen koans, the arts, and consciousness.
To learn more about Uncertainty Club’s editors and contributors, visit our Contributors page .
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– John Tarrant, General Editor