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Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It Is What It Is, but It's All Good

It's all good. It is what it is. How many times have I heard these two excruciatingly overused sentences?!! And what, exactly, do they mean? Do they mean anything at all? I believe we can analyze the speaker's psyche and philosophical view of life by REALLY listening to how these phrases are used.

IT'S ALL GOOD: I find that "it's all good" is typically used to summarize a litany of life events the speaker has just related to the listener. It generally functions as a way of stating, "I'm finished telling you my story now and feel the need to wrap it all up for you in a neat package rather than leave it as a messy collection of disparate happenings." Is everything really "all good?" Doubtful. Actually, I've found that "it's all good" tends to be used quite frequently when the speaker has just provided the listener with news that would be judged as bad or unhappy.

So why say, "It's all good?" Perhaps the speaker is in denial about his or her life situation being bad. Although a primitive defense mechanism, denial is quite effective and protects a fragile psyche from being overwhelmed with negative emotion. Or perhaps the need to sweep badness under the rug is motivated by a desire to be seen in only a positive light. Thus, "it's all good" becomes a sign of the narcissistic personality. Lastly, "it's all good" could reflect the belief that all is as it should be or "God is good," that everything happens for a reason. This could be called a faithful, spiritual, or just philosophical belief.

IT IS WHAT IT IS: Let's compare and contrast "it's all good" with "it is what it is." Both statements serve to essentially preempt or end discussion about the meaning of an event or events. The speaker is, in effect, saying, "I am not interested in your opinion of what I've told you, as I've already stated my opinion of its meaning as the definitive one. I am not open to alternative viewpoints and have no need or desire to hear them." Like "it's all good," "it is what it is" is a conversation endpoint.

What does "it is what it is" really mean, though? Despite its tautological reasoning (defining something as itself), this overused tautology can also imply some things about the speaker. Unlike the (perhaps) false optimism of "it's all good," "it is what it is" implies a certain acceptance of the status quo. Whether this stance is a reflection of the speaker's Tao-like acceptance of the state of the Universe and his or her belief in "wei wu wei" or "action without action" or a psychological state of learned helplessness is a question one must ponder. Perhaps, even more disturbingly, "it is what it is" might express the speaker's belief that his or her situation will never change for the better and reflect a depressive mood disorder.

In closing, I wish to advise the careful and considered use of the phrases "it's all good" and "it is what it is." While they may, at first, seem to be merely today's modern language memes, in actuality they may convey more than one thinks. And if by overuse they come to lose all meaning whatsoever? Hey, it's all good. Language is what it is.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my achin head! WOW! No reply! Zip!
    Sure...make me look bad. :0)
    Where or what did you draw all that from by 7:56 a.m. this morning?? ;0)
    Humming Great Balls AFire.
    The part where the rattle my brain ...are in the verse.


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