Saturday, 13 September 2014

Response to Deeper Darkness

 Thank you Matt for starting this website and giving us the chance to ponder these deeper realities.

Deeper Darkness seems to connect with a theme I have been pursuing recently. It starts with a quote from Keats I read in the 1970s which I still remember because it so struck me at the time:

'I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable  reaching after fact and reason.'

The possibility of resting in uncertainty seems to express what is needed to be open to this deeper reality.

This links with something from R.D. Laing:

  'The really decisive moments in psychotherapy, as every patient or therapist who has ever experienced them knows, are unpredictable, unique, unforgettable, always unrepeatable, and often indescribable.'

 I think these guys are pointing to the same thing you are alluding to, approached from another perspective. It seems to me that this perspective, or experience, exists in all aspects of life, if we are open to it. It is not necessarily a comfortable place to be. And because of that we tend to try to avoid it, and stay with what is familiar, and 'known'.

(I put 'known' in inverted commas because this is what has come to be called knowledge in our society, not an inner knowing, but what is socially accepted as true.)

You also link this to the dark night of the soul and I agree with you. Doubting socially acceptable truth can rock your whole world, crash your foundations, and threaten your security, both personally and socially.  Think how whistleblowers are seen as terrorists.

For Bion, a psychoanalyst I came across in the 70s negative capability is '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.'  

These sorts of feelings usually generate embarrassment and shame if exposed socially. We try to keep them hidden. We don't expect our leaders or politicians to express themselves in this way. So we end up with a totally false idea of reality. It is essential for our sanity to allow these aspects of ourselves to be not just tolerated but welcomed.