Nothing Simply Is

“Well, I refuse to accept that we should just learn live with COVID,” somebody I know announced grandly.

There’s absolutely no better summary of the neoliberal mentality than this. People see everything as a matter of choice. Everything that happens is a result of either good or bad choices that you make. You can choose your way out of every situation. Nothing simply is. The possibility that your refusal to accept something might have zero bearing on the outcome is unthinkable.

9 thoughts on “Nothing Simply Is

  1. In my opinion, the biggest problem is not that they want to have a choice. While there are many situations you simply cannot choose your way out of, it does not bother me if some people keep trying. I may feel sorry for them and think they are foolish, but as long as their behavior does not harm others, let them be. The main problem is that they want to choose for themselves and everyone else too and that is not OK. This is more about exercising control over other people than it is about them making a free choice.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It is kind of like happiness. If you are not able to find it inside of you, nothing that someone can do for you nor any material possession will ever help.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s a phrase you can incorporate into your regular use around people you suspect are Unconditional Positivists …

    “It is what it is.”

    Several variations exist, and of course clarifying what “it” is with a preface helps.

    But the people who flinch visibly when you use that phrase?

    They’re the Unconditional Positivists who believe that quick fixes and technological hacks are going to save them from that which cannot be negotiated with.

    It’s essentially believing in Santa Claus for Rationals. 🙂

    The word “shikataganai” (仕方がない) in Japanese condenses the “it is what it is” concept down to a single word that enters into daily use in Japan, and so many Japanese have inoculated themselves from the false hope of Unconditional Positivism.

    Barbara Ehrenreich was spot on when she wrote about the tendency of Americans to want to blow smoke up everyone’s backside while pretending everything has an orderly, planned, and “mostly harmless” exit when she wrote “Smile or Die”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have seen this concept explored from another angle, as the difference between a problem and a predicament.

      Problems have solutions.

      Predicaments are things you have to figure out how to live with. Or perhaps die with. But there’s no solving them.

      Liked by 2 people

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