This Keats quote has more punch to it when his circumstances are factored in; dead at twenty-five after years of poverty and painful illness. In spite of that, Keats lived with good spirits, focused on the beauty in the world and the truth revealed through that beauty.
Sounds way too simple…until I read something moving, or see a beautiful child or a stunning sunset, or am the recipient of an unexpected kindness. At that point, the meaning of life is distilled into such simple purity that I understand what Keats was getting at.
Or, when meaningless cruelty, inexplicable suffering, or aborted happiness knocks me off my feet, and I realize I don’t know what I thought I knew, then, Keats’ reminder that I really never knew is a lifeline to sanity.