Negative Capabilities

consciousness

In one of my discord servers there has been a discussion on what it means to be generative – create new ideas, rather than analytical which ends its life in optimization (operations research). Dr Jason Fox, who runs the server, wrote a fantastic piece on something called negative capabilities, a term coined by the poet John Keats in a letter!

Negative Capabilities is the ability to live with uncertainty, doubt or paradox. This is one of the things lost today, particularly in cancel culture and in contemporary human life.  The desire to take time and consider a situation in all of its gory incomprehension is antithetical to life hacking, optimization, and even the dopamine hit that comes from acting (and social  media actions in particular).  There is no dopamine in dwelling in the quagmire of paradox. But perhaps there is an increase of depth or of capacity for feeling that may make our later dopamine hits that much more pleasant… 

 

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