Is that a youthful stance, a Keatsian stance? Is that—could it be—negative capability? Should one mature beyond it? I don’t know. Rilke advises the young to “live the questions now,” because the answers can only be revealed in time, the extension of which they do not possess. Much like Keats himself says, in a letter, that certain lessons can only be learned on the touchstone of the heart, that is, through direct experience.
What has life taught me? I am much less afraid than I ever was in my youth—of everything. That is a fact. At the same time, I feel more afraid than ever. And the two, I can assure you, are not opposed but inextricably linked. I am more or less the same age Emily Dickinson was when she died. Here is what she thought: “Had we the first intimation of the Definition of Life, the calmest of us would be Lunatics!” The calm lunatic—now that is something to aspire to.
see also: Blood Soup