Oct 17, 2023·edited Oct 23, 2023Liked by Alastair Sterne

Great thoughts! I’ve definitely had similar reflections walking by that giant neon sign here in Christchurch. After you recover from the initially cheerful facade it ultimately feels pithy. In particular due to its prominence and permanence, as if it speaks hope to every person who gazes upon its multicolored promise... in every situation... at all times.

Beyond its initially positive face value it is actually the epitome of disconnection.

The same sentiment often surfaces in one of New Zealand’s famous National catchphrases “she’ll be right, mate!”. In other words: don’t bother anyone else with your problems and eventually they’ll go away (one way or another). This breeds isolation, loneliness, false independence, and a fatalist demeanor of non-compassion toward one another’s and their personal issues. “Don’t bother us and we won’t bother you.”

It feels more like propaganda than hope. More like platitude and placation than a genuine lifeline to the “best that is yet to come”.

All that said - at times I have actually found it comforting as I apply it within the framework of my own worldview; a worldview which fully depends on a power greater than myself and truly believes that everything WILL be alright if God says it will be. Not because of fate or karma or some law of a balancing universe, but because when it comes out of the mouth of God to my heart it’s backed with all the force of heaven and a guarantee that while we may suffer momentarily in this life, all suffering will come to a glorious end one day.

So maybe, like most words, it all depends on whose mouth it’s is coming from and what kind of power they have to back it up.

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This is great, thanks for sharing your thoughts! In an earlier draft of this article, I had a whole section about how this phrase depends on who is saying it, i.e. If an artist says it, it's provoking, if it's used for spiritual bypass, disheartening, if it's on the lips of Jesus, comforting. I figure it the level of comfort comes down to experience and power—does the person actually know it will be okay? Do they have the capabilities to make conditions okay? etc.

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