It is what it is
Posted by J Russell
I can’t decide whether this now apparently ubiquitous phrase is great for getting one’s head around those things that we can’t change – or whether it is a deeply irritating cop-out, used far too often to avoid effecting any kind of meaningful difference in the world.
Genuinely I can’t say which side of the fence I come down on with this; I think I have been known to use it myself. Perhaps it’s ok, if it’s used in the real Buddhist sense of non-attachment, or even as Shakespeare’s Hamlet said.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so
And yet, there is still a fist shaker in me, who wants to shout no, this is wrong, there clearly is good and bad in the world. Like bodies dropping out of the sky over Ukraine, or people being bombed in Gaza and Israel and Syria, or a polar bear trapped in a zoo in Argentina and elephants chained up in temples. If all of us were to habitually go round saying it is what it is, then where is our compassion and evolution of kindness- where is the change?
I suppose it’s at times like this that one should invoke the last line of the serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr and try and find somehow the wisdom to know the difference.
Here’s the version I’m going with…