Tolerating uncertainty

Bion ( Wilfred Bion,psychoanalyst) did not advocate patience for its own sake, however. For him, as for Keats, (John Keats the poet) the intended outcome of negative capability was ‘achievement’. Not knowing tends to stimulate high levels of uncertainty and anxiety and is a threat to fresh thinking, whether in the analytic pair or in an organizational context. As a result, there is often pressure to invoke prior knowledge – that may no longer apply – or to adopt a new certainty too quickly, before a new pattern has had the chance to evolve (Bion, 1970: 124). Hence Eisold’s definition of negative capability as ‘precisely the ;ability to tolerate anxiety and fear, to stay in the place of uncertainty in order to allow for the emergence of new thoughts or perceptions’ (Eisold, 2000: 65). “

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