The Uncertainty Mindset 2019-2020

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#3: Reality mining

vaughn2nd January 2021 at 3:36pm

This issue is about not-knowing, the importance of realistic imagination, and two kinds of negative capability: the soldier-on form, and the beginner-mind form.

  1. Soldier-on negative capability entails moving forward even in spite of not-knowing, in so doing acquiring new information. This enables action in the face of externally imposed uncertainty, and is useful as the world becomes more unavoidably uncertain.
  2. Beginner-mind negative capability entails being able to see what is truly there instead of what you want to see or expect to see—being able to mine reality. This is a particular skill that requires temporarily or continually suspending focus on a singular idea or system for thinking about value. This enables internal maintenance of uncertainty and helps develop realistic imagination. In turn, this provides freedom to act in sophisticated, elegant, and distinctive ways—and not only in artistic or creative work.

Both forms of negative capability are rare and valuable in an increasingly complex and uncertain world where innovation is prized. They also seem to be internally generated abilities that can be enhanced and strengthened by frequent exposure to situations of future uncertainty or value uncertainty—a kind of self-therapy for acquiring the uncertainty mindset.

You can find it here: #3: Reality mining