>Rumi, Negative Capability and Eastern Classic Literature

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I’m reading Rumi’s “The Book of Love,” a classic literature text worth reading. It isn’t so much about the sexual love you immediately thought of upon reading the title, but rather the love for life, on which I pride myself for having.

Not to sound like an arrogant asshole, but you know, the channeling of emotion, the appreciation of highs, lows, ups, downs, all that goodness and beauty.

The Eastern and Western notions of love are different. The former is based on sobriety, receptiveness and clarity; the latter, longing, desire and drunkenness. We need both, but in Western classic literature, the drunk-with-longing is more heavily emphasized. When the Eastern makes an appearance, it’s love for a flower or a bumble-bee. I’d say that Keats comes closest to achieving them both simultaneously in terms of sexual love, which makes sense if you think about his definition of negative capability.

So I’m going to try to follow in his footsteps and write about a new love beyond all as I write my kunstlerroman. The key is not to sound so damn self-absorbed. Or maybe to sound self-absorbed but alleviate it with a time-gap perspective, of say, ten years. Good luck you 22-year old snot nose. Yeah, like that.

Published by Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel was born in Brooklyn, NY, and has lived in Portland, Oregon. He studied literature and philosophy at NYU and creative writing at Edinburgh University. He is finishing an MFA in Fiction at University of South Carolina.

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