Essay written for my AP Eng III class last year, as a practice AP test essay. I got an 8/9 on it so I'm pretty pleased with it. Sorry for the bad jokes in it though - I wrote them on the actual paper though, and if it's on the paper then I am required type it! ;)
Certainty: to be absolutely positive that something is/is not. Doubt: a feeling of unsureness that something is/is not. These two words are two sides of the same coin. When someone is certain about a thing, they're typically comfortable acting on it. Likewise, if someone is doubtful about a thing, they typically are not comfortable acting on it. There is debate on whether or not to act on a matter even if there is a degree of certainty. As Bertrand Russell, British author, states, "I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt." This is most certainly* true. [*haha see what I did there?]
People feel certain about many things: the existence of God(s), that his or her grandmother is the best cook ever, that cramming for an Advanced Placement test an hour before it commences will totally work out, etc. However, there are other people feel certain that all of those things are completely untrue. Certainty is an uncertain phenomena. Anyone who believes anything will be subject to the opposing beliefs of others, and maybe the opposition of 100% proven world facts. So while one can certainly* be certain in their opinion, one should also hold said opinion with a grain of salt. [*haha I did it again]
William Lyon Phelps, American educator and journalist, wrote, "If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible." There is certainly* enough evidence that this is true - the American government and their scientists were certain that they could get a man on the moon, so they did; J.K. Rowling was certain that she could not give up on her novel, so she didn't and became wealthier than the Queen of England; several unrelated men who were certain they could communicate with (their) God led hundreds of people to obscure places in communes and then had everyone there murdered because their power was potentially threatened; some people with severe delusion disorders jump off sky scrapers because they are certain that they can fly, only to plummet to their deaths; the Spartans were certain that they didn't need to look their gift horse in the mouth, and were subsequently slaughtered by the Greeks. Is a pattern not emerging? Yes, people can get themselves to do anything if they're certain enough, but that very much does not mean that should. There should ALWAYS be doubt, so that the worst case scenario can be prepared for, just in case. Hope the best but expect the worst, n'est pas?
To reiterate: certainty and doubt are two sides of the same coin. Doubt, however, should also share certainty's face, if only as a precaution/formality. This is for certain*. [*had to get one last one in there, hehe]
Hope you enjoyed. Again, sorry for the horrible jokes. My teacher liked them though, so I don't feel that bad about it...