Negative Capability is “the willingness to embrace uncertainty, live with mystery, and make peace with ambiguity.” The phrase was first used by romantic poet John Keats, 1795- 1821, in reference to the lack of absolutes in the artistic world yet it applies to all of life. It has been said “only fools are certain” and there is a lot of truth to that.
Negative Capability is “ability to tolerate the pain and confusion of not knowing”, resisting the desire (need?) to impose stock, off the shelf, cookie cutter interpretations of reality, ready-made to sooth us by conforming neatly to our world view, transforming emotionally challenging ambiguities into comforting, calming (even if truth stretching) “certainties”.
It takes courage to live with uncertainty but it is often the only way to see the world as it is truly.
“Inquiry is fatal to certainty.” – Will Durant,1885-1981
“Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.” – Mark Twain
“What men want is not knowledge, but certainty.” – Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970
“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” – Voltaire, 1694-1768
“The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain.” – John F. Kennedy
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier