Rose Hacker

In the BBC documentary, The Time of Their Lives, 102 yo Rose Hacker says (initially talking about the Iraq war):

"… I mean the awful thing is that we pretend we know. We know best so you do what I believe in, otherwise I'll kill you. What sort of life … I mean really clever people are saying that, believing it, I don't know how they can. See, Keats wrote you have to live in the … negative capability. That means to be able to say, 'I don't know, and I never will know.' There are mysteries, there are wonders, there are beauties, all kinds of things … how can we with our silly little ant brains understand? I mean, everything's a mystery isn't it, and love is the biggest mystery of all."

Here's the wiki entry on negative capability.


2 Replies to “Rose Hacker”

  1. Knowledge is possible, that it opens up more mysteries is not a mystery, but to merely claim the humble position as a form of virtue is lazy, even for a poet.

  2. Hi BrianInteresting because in the academic world I feel quite strongly that admitting ‘not knowing’ is a brave act, as opposed to an act of humility. I am certainly not suggesting or implying that knowledge isn’t possible, just that the ways in which we understand and address the edges of ‘knowledge’ are worth considering.Simon

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