Would You Bet Your Life On It?

Harry Callahan asks "Did I fire six shots or five? Would you bet your life on it?"

In the 1971 movie Dirty Harry, San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood, confronts a wounded criminal whose gun is in close reach,

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

I mention this because it relates to Step 79, “I will allow uncertainty to exist today” of Steps to Knowledge. At the beginning of studying Steps to Knowledge, some students might be so bold as to claim there were many things about which they were certain. But many ideas considered to be true have been challenged between Step 1 and Step 79. The benefit of judgment has been challenged from many different angles. The concept of aloneness is currently in the crosshairs of Steps to Knowledge.

Would you bet your life on it?

Step 79 declares, “.When you allow uncertainty to exist, it means that you are becoming honest, for in truth you are uncertain.” Someone might say that it’s presumptuous of Steps to Knowledge to say that in truth the student is uncertain. I find a good way of testing someone’s sense of certainty about something is to ask “Would you bet your life on it?” How about your fortune, or your sacred honor? I’m not trying to be flippant or sarcastic. It is merely my observation that people (myself included) tend to claim certainty regarding things about which they are not certain.

UPDATE:Dave Cavette has informed me that the aforementioned punk decided to try his luck with disastrous consequences.

The word “luck” does not appear in Steps to Knowledge. But it’s a good thing to be slowly backing away from a claim of certainty, if in truth I am uncertain. Would you bet your life on it?

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