The power of no force



The Golden Compass

The best part about having the flu last week was the enforced leisure to read Philip Pullman’s amazing trilogy of His Dark Materials. Central to the plot is a state described by the poet Keats in a letter:

…several things dovetailed in my mind, & 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…
~John Keats 


Julio Olalla
Pullman cites this state as a requirement for the most important and powerful work a person can do.

Reminds me of the insistence by one of the greatest coaches, Julio Olalla, that coaches must be comfortable with not knowing and withholding unanswered questions.