The allure of certainty, and its shadow…

Last month I quoted Bill Isaacs on fixed beliefs:

Beneath the reluctance to let go of our beliefs is the fear that there will be nothing underneath – a kind of anxiety about existence itself. Perhaps we cling to our certainties because we believe this is all we may have.

This may lie behind the appeal of the character Inspector Javert in Les Mis. Here’s Philip Quast with a barnstorming performance of Javert’s anthem Stars.

The tragedy of Javert is that he can’t cope when his certainty is undermined. His quarry of the decades Jean Valjean, relinquishes an opportunity to kill him and instead sets him free. It’s more than Javert can bear; he would sooner die than let go of his beliefs:

You may hate musicals, or this one in particular. But read the comments on YouTube and you’ll see how these performances capture people’s emotions. A bit like Gollum in LoTR, Javert may be cast as a villain, but there is something deeply human about him.

1 thought on “The allure of certainty, and its shadow…

  1. Earl Mardle


    My uncertainty is a big chunk of what I have about me that is worth keeping.

    If nothing else it enables me to slide from one reinvention to the next without the pain of negating or denying what I have just spent several years on my life investing all my energy in.


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