The Power of Not Knowing

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“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections, and the truth of imagination.”

-John Keats

In my life, my writing, and my appreciation of literature, I strive for awareness and understanding. I have done so in my life through the disciplines of theology and philosophy, in my writing through the tutelage of other writers, and in my appreciation of literature through the study of literary criticism. I have engaged each discipline, formally and informally, throughout my life. And so, I am myself one common denominator among these fields.

That said, I also recognize a dynamic interrelationship: my life influences my writing, and my writing influences my appreciation of the written word; conversely, my appreciation of the written word influences my writing, and my writing influences my life. With this interconnection in mind, I am also beginning to discover, and attempt to articulate, an important principle held in common among the three.

It stems from a phrase coined by an eighteenth-century English poet named John Keats, who said:

…at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously — I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.

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