“When nothing is sure, everything is possible”

(Margaret Drabble).

I have just been re-reading Spotlight 121 and am sorry that so few (so far) have agreed to pay R$100 towards the cost of the annual subscription for the printed edition of the newsletter. Perhaps the majority of readers really do prefer the online edition, but are you still reading the articles, or just the headlines? Please share your thoughts.

The Internet is a double-edged sword. It’s wonderful to have instant access to so much information, and to be able to communicate online with distant friends without the need to post a letter.  What’s sad is that some of what we see on social media can breed envy or discontent.  As I write this, at the end of the holiday period when friends all over the world have been posting glamorous photos on Facebook, I can understand why some people suffer from what is known as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  However, we’ll never really know exactly what we are missing out on, or what is really going on in other people’s lives.  Uncertainty is a condition of life.

Total certainty is, at best, an illusion.  We’ll never know for sure what the other side is thinking during a negotiation, what your partner or friends really believe, whether the decisions we make today are the best ones or whether we have sacrificed too much money or time on a lost cause. The speed of life increasingly demands that we make decisions in the absence of complete or definite information. Tolerance for ambiguity comes at the expense of clarity, but the rewards are rich.  We are better able to take risks and make decisions without deluding ourselves into thinking we have all the facts. (Or that the facts are not fake!). In the end, ambiguity makes us more flexible, less anxious, and less gullible in this age of fake news. What we lack in certainty, we gain in confidence. And confidence is the best, perhaps the only, cure for FOMO.

Penelope  Freeland     

Can be contacted at