Reality: A Spiraling Vertical Space Between Two Infinite Mirrors
Negative capability? That's a term-of-artist Keats came up with to describe
"the capacity of human beings to transcend and revise their contexts." It is "the ability of the individual to perceive, think, and operate beyond any presupposition of a predetermined capacity of the human being. It further captures the rejection of the constraints of any context, and the ability to experience phenomena free from epistemological bounds, as well as to assert one's own will and individuality upon their activity."
In Keats' own words, it is the ability of a man to tolerate "uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."
How about that: there's even a paragraph about Bion, who really didn't influence me beyond plagiarizing him for all he's worth:
"The twentieth-century British psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion elaborated on Keats's term to illustrate an attitude of openness of mind which he considered of central importance, not only in the psychoanalytic session, but in life itself.
"For Bion, negative capability was the ability to tolerate the pain and confusion of not knowing, rather than imposing ready-made or omnipotent certainties upon an ambiguous situation or emotional challenge."
This is especially important in psychotherapy, where one must tolerate the ambiguity and not foreclose the bipersonal space with mere knowledge, which any "expert" can do, in any field, therefore Pundits.
Rather, some truths -- the humanly important ones -- must be experienced. Indeed, Bion's first book was called Learning From Experience. Where else does one really learn? Let us count the ways!
No, let's not. But let us throw in some gratuitous insultainment, in that Obama's omniscient ignorance is exactly in proportion to a contaminated pool of positive knowledge of which he is nevertheless quite certain. I don't think his narcissism permits any of the negative kind.
Thus the Meltdown into and through the core of reality, as the latter refuses to conform to his knowledge. As Taranto observes, "If it's taken Obama this long to sense that he isn't omnipotent, maybe he isn't omniscient either." Wo. That would be something.
Dávila has an aphorism for the occasion, that "Without philosophy, the sciences do not know what they know" -- let alone what they do not and cannot know. And "Each person sees in the world exactly what he deserves to see." I am sorry to report that Americans deserve to live in the world Obama sees, since they twice elected this ignoranus (which is of course an assoul who has no idea what he doesn't know).
Those rioters and looters in Ferguson -- they too see the world they deserve. They too are ignorant with positive knowledge -- most conspicuously, the knowledge that an innocent young man was gunned down by the police for no reason but his race. Why do people want to believe things that are patently untrue? Might as well ask why people want to be liberal: because it makes the irritating ignorance go away by replacing it with high-density stupidity.
Which is one of the reasons why "The most repulsive spectacle is that of the ascendancy of a living professor over a dead genius," for it always means that higher mystery is being displaced by lowdown fashionable stupidity. There is mystery in great literature, great poetry, great music: indeed, that is a measure of its greatness, that it radiates an inexhaustible mystery, a luminous darkness, so to speak. How does it do that?
I would say that the palpable radiation is actually a kind of shadow of its inwardness. It is the penumbra around its seductive allure; it is soul calling out to soul, or depth to depth. And not only. For in the final unalysis, this is the very structure of reality, which I have attempted to schematize with the pneumaticons O <--> (¶).
Ironically, the idea for these pneumaticons goes back to Bion, who developed an "empty" symbol system to deal with psychological change and development, whereas my purpose is to abstractly outline the complementary ontological confrontation between spirit and cosmos: the least and most we can really say is that there is an inexhaustible "reality," or O, at one end; and the human spirit (¶) at the other: the result is a spiraling vertical space, or worldpool, between two infinite mirrors.
The bad news is that the space goes both up and down. Or just say right and left. Or, in the astringent words of Dávila,
Between the profane world and the divine world there is the sacred world; and God is the region that one who walks forward finally reaches. One who does not walk in circles.
A progressive walks only in circles. If we are lucky.