Fear and Uncertainty Came to Replace Our Illusions of Certainty by Todd Rutherford

Greg Messel’s The Illusion of Certainty addresses the end of the era of certainty that pervaded throughout the 2000s, replacing it with rampant “fear and uncertainty” that was experienced in September of 2008. Through the story of Marc, The Illusion of Certainty reflects the feelings of many as the economy, and ultimately, many lives dramatically changed.

Messel describes how “the world began to unravel on a weekend in September,” which was “as jolting as a hard slap across the face to most people.” Marc and his team were in the middle of a major software implementation in a Chicago suburb, when they hear the devastating news of the economic crisis on the television at O’Hare Airport on Monday, September 15th. As Marc, Samantha, and Jerry watch the news of the $7 billion loss of Lehman Brothers, the purchase of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, the stock market loss of more than 500 points, and reports that AIG might be “teetering on the edge of oblivion,” readers are reminded of seeing these same headlines themselves. Readers are also reminded that the circumstances of life can change on a dime.

As Marc and his team stand with “furrowed brows” trying to “grasp the significance” of what was transpiring on CNN and MSNBC over the course of the week, as the “fast-moving events” unfolded, with credit markets freezing, financial bailouts, and the President addressing the nation that “‘we are in the midst of a serious financial crisis,'” they to make sense of the events, asking what it all means, just as readers did a few years ago, when it became evident that “something akin to the Great Depression was looming, seemingly out of nowhere.”

This competent team is overwhelmed with a sense that “they were witnessing something much more than a bad streak on Wall Street.” Marc’s words echoes the readers’ own words and thoughts when these events transpired; “We had a limitless future, just two weeks ago. There was more business than we could handle. Now, everything is in peril. There is no security anywhere. This could be really, really bad. Fear and uncertainty are rampant.”

The Illusion of Certainty is deeply unsettling in recalling the illusion of certainty under which we all operated, becoming too comfortable and feeling too in control of our lives. Messel uses fiction to treat the question that we all asked ourselves at the time, addressing how we went from limitless potential to fear and uncertainty in a matter of weeks, highlighting the underlying problem that uncertainty was present all the while; we were just too blind to see it.

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Find out more about THE ILLUSION OF CERTAINTY by visiting www.gregmessel.com

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