On December 21, 1817, the poet John Keats wrote a letter to his brother in which he expressed and named a quality of human existence that is tricky to articulate. Keats’ formulation has been adopted by philosophers, poets, and others ever since.

Roughly, the idea is our ability to simultaneously acknowledge the unpredictable nature of events and conduct ourselves with confidence and happiness. He called this familiar yet complex concept negative capability.

Here’s a passage from Keats’ letter elucidating the theory: “…what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in literature and 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 and reason.”

Keats felt that it was great thinkers in particular (like poets, for example) who had the negative capability to see that all life’s big questions can’t be resolved.

(Speaking of poets, why is the Poet Laureate, well, a “laureate“? Learn the fascinating history of the word, here.)

Scholars believe that Keats explores this idea in several poems, including his famous works “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode on a Grecian Urn.”

It should be noted that while other writers continued to explore negative capability, Keats only explicitly mentioned it once — in the aforementioned letter to his brother. This isn’t the only idea Keats casually mentioned that turned out to be hugely influential. You can read more about his life, poetry, and philosophy, here. It was an infamously tragic life. He died at 25, and his significance as a poet of the Romantic movement became clear only after his death.

On the topic of conditions that are hard to describe, what do you call the state when you are neither awake nor truly asleep? We present you with an answer, here.


States News Service April 4, 2011 OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The following information was released by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce:

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin today signed into law a measure reestablishing tax credits for engineers going to work for Oklahoma companies as well as the companies that hire them. The bill restores a tax incentive that was put on moratorium last year by the Oklahoma state legislature. electricalengineersalarynow.net electrical engineer salary

“The aerospace engineer tax credits have demonstrated their value as an important tool for job creation and economic growth in Oklahoma,” said Fallin. “Aerospace is one of the state’s most important, cutting-edge industries, and I’m proud to be able to sign a measure into law that will support our employers and help to bring in quality jobs to the state.” The average salary for an aerospace engineer in Oklahoma is more than $87,000 and the beginning average aerospace engineer salary is more than $66,000.

“This legislation is particularly significant because aerospace is an industry driven by innovation and truly successful aerospace ventures demand the best, most highly-skilled talent available. We want those companies to be successful here in Oklahoma,” said Secretary of Commerce Dave Lopez. “We are committed to serving the industry through our competitive incentives program and our world-class education and training system. With a rich history and tradition, aerospace is one of Oklahoma’s economic pillars.” Oklahoma is home to more than 300 aerospace companies, and another 200 companies that support aerospace/aviation. The industry employs more than 145,000 people, representing an industrial output that exceeds $12 billion and $60.6 million in state sales tax revenue annually. here electrical engineer salary

About the Oklahoma Aerospace Engineer Tax Credit:

The legislation extends tax credits of $5,000 a year for up to five years to engineers who are hired in Oklahoma. The companies hiring the engineers will receive a tax credit equal to 10% of the compensation paid to an engineer during the first five years of his or her employment if the engineer graduated from an Oklahoma college. If the engineer graduated from a college outside Oklahoma, the employer will get a tax credit equal to 5% of the compensation paid to the employee during the first five years.

In addition, the law grants Oklahoma aerospace companies a tax credit in the amount of 50% of the tuition reimbursed to a new engineer graduate for the first four years of his or her employment. The tax credit is limited to 50% of the average annual tuition paid by an engineer at a public university in Oklahoma.


  1. Erbie -  February 2, 2014 - 2:49 am

    (Sigh.) Pam, Pam, Pam! You appear to be a living manifestation of the probably (but not certainly) inevitable negative view of Keat’s generally positive concept that some — though probably not all — “men” (sic) — and in all probability at least some women too — are capable of deriving something positive from an inclination, not to say ability, comfortably and constructively to manage 70 [more or less] years of existence in a world that displays — at least to those whose heads are where the Sun does shine — certain uncertainties. On occasion.
    But gibberish? Not a word of it!
    As the movie marquee famously said — or, to be more precise, “read” — “If You Ain’t Seen It, It’s A Premiere.” Which, when considered from one worldview, appears to have a clear (and True, whatever that may be) meaning while to others it seems otherwise.
    Or do you disagree?

  2. Pam -  January 8, 2014 - 3:50 pm

    So much gibberish. As are some of the comments on here. Gibberish, gibberish, gibberish.
    Seekers of truth need only to turn to the Bible, which contains the revelation of all the truth whuch God has purposed to reveal to man. The only path to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

  3. Ding -  January 6, 2014 - 2:26 am

    The wisdom of insecurity. The power of now. Let go let god. Faith. Blissfull ignorance. Denial. Go with the flow.

  4. Ed -  February 27, 2013 - 8:13 pm

    The second book recommended, the one by Joseph Ratzinger–Is that the pope and head of the Catholic Office of the Inquisition who looked the other way so many times while kiddie-raper priests were molesting choirboys, altar boys, and other pubescent and prepubescent members of their parishes that he wound up with a permanent crick in his neck? I’m sure his book is just as infallible as he is (was?). Faith? In an outdated church loaded with misogynistic, perverted, and otherwise misguided priests, bishops, cardinals, and pontiffs? Sure, just as long as you don’t mind giving up the right to think for yourself and can force yourself to believe that priests should get a dispensation for child molestation.

  5. keith -  January 28, 2013 - 4:21 am

    Alfred E. Neuman said it best: “What–Me worry?

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