Negative capability: how to embrace intellectual uncertainty - Deepstash

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Negative Capability

Negative Capability

Intellectual certainty can limit our creativity. Where lies a certain path, many alternative doors leading to innovative ideas are ignored. In contrast, negative capability is the art of embracing intellectual uncertainty.

Negative capability is about uncertainty, mystery, and doubt, as opposed to “fixed” and “enforced” conceptions of the world. Negative capability encourages us to keep an open mind and always consider the possibility that we may be wrong. Negative capability goes hand in hand with continuous learning, discouraging arrogance, and encouraging personal growth. 

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Three Main Benefits Of Negative Capability

  • Increased curiosity. When you open your mind to unanswerable questions and the mysteries of the universe, you will naturally develop a stronger sense of genuine curiosity. Negative capability helps us enjoy the discovery journey rather than rushing to a seemingly perfect solution to our questions. 
  • Better creativity. By unlocking complex emotions, insecurity may be linked to higher creativity.
  • Deeper humility. By accepting that we don’t know what we don’t know, we are more prone to view our knowledge as ever-evolving and ourselves as a constant work in progress.

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How To Apply Negative Capability

  • Embrace your ignorance. Become comfortable saying “I don’t know” — it is a form of courage and humility.
  • Suspend your judgement. Keep on being a neutral observer, collect more information, consider various perspectives. 
  • Sit with your doubts even of they make us feel uncomfortable.
  • Question your assumptions. All of our opinions are based on assumptions. That’s fine, as long as we are aware of them. 
  • Revisit your ideas. It is okay to change your mind! Even when you have formed an opinion, don’t let it cement and become part of a fixed mindset. 

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