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
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 with holding unanswered questions.