My answer to What is the one thing that you know for sure (absolutely sure) about the future?
Answer by Vijayendra Mohanty:
Death of course. That’s a given. I am going to die. And though I don’t know much about the person who asked the question, I am reasonably certain that they will die as well. Things decay and disappear all the time. It is the way of nature.
Our ability to predict the future is never absolute, but we can be maximally sure about certain things.
I had a cup of coffee on my desk when I began typing this answer. I was certain that I will drink it. And now that I have finished it, I find that my certainty was justified. But I was also certain that I will not spill any coffee and I was wrong about it — I did spill some on my pants.
So I would say it is possible for us to know some things, but never all things. I may even be wrong about death. But I am maximally certain that I will die. Absolute certainty is an ideal we strive towards because we must. But it is not possible.
Which begs the question — am I absolutely certain that we can’t know anything for certain?
The answer is no, we can’t. And it exposes something more basic about the idea of absolute certainty — it is a myth whose existence is necessitated because human societies have traditionally been structured around authority figures or authoritative texts. The influence of authority works because there is an assumption that it is absolute. Think about it. Which religious figure are people more likely to flock after — the one who says “I know the truth”, or the one who says “I think I know what the truth is but I am not entirely sure”?
I think every ideology we have is based on maximal certainty but it is seen as absolute because somewhere down the line, the people who propounded it felt the pressure to claim absolute knowledge because that’s what their competitors were doing.