Recently I learned about Keats' idea of negative capability.
In its simplest form, Keats' theory describes the ability to accept uncertainty--the capacity to have two opposing ideas in your mind without trying to choose one over the other. It's the ability to believe that two contrasting things are true, both of them, and that they can exist side by side.
Or, in other words, being satisfied with things that are unresolved.
And, well, wow. It struck a chord with me, this theory. How often I find myself trying to sort between black and white, yes and no, this way or that--when really, at the end of the day, what I'd actually like to settle on is both. Yes and yes. True and true.
Because it's possible, it is, to both love and loathe. To both admire and pity. To both appreciate and--just as truly, just as ardently--regret. It's possible that what's right is not just a matter of either/or, that it's not somewhere in-between--that it's simply both.
For whatever reason, it's difficult to accept ambiguity; it can be a struggle to embrace that sort of doubt. And yet it happens. To all of us. At some point or another, we know in our hearts that it's not A or B.
It's C: All of the above.
(Photo: Bourne Wu