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It is thought that the word “ok” (or “okay”) has some origins in the Greek phrase oλα καλα used by sailors in the 19th century to mean “everything is fine on the ship.” In 2006, San Fransisco design studio MINE created yellow barrier tape printed with the words everything is ok. The studio stated that everything is ok to them was meant as “both an affirmative phrase and a condemning indictment of mediocrity.” The phrase became something of an irl meme, in particular noted for being written on a sign held by libertarians in Hyde Park in London every day for years
I think everything is ok sums up something important I believe about humanity. Everything really is ok. Humanity is ok. Stop worrying.
Now, in an important sense, everything is not ok. We all agree – poverty, disease, oppression, etc. There are problems. However, most of these problems come precisely from our lack of recognizing that it’s ok. We don’t realize that human individuals (including ourselves) can address and minimize and solve these problems. We don’t recognize the spontaneous emergence of complex order in human society. We don’t think we can do it. So we look to things we delude ourselves into thinking are outside humanity – particularly the institutions of organized religion and the nation-state. We look to them as superhuman, as deus ex machina, to solve problems that they cannot solve because they are not outside humanity. These institutions make things worse. They add nothing to humanity that wasn’t there already and they create new problems. And then we look to them again and again to solve those problems when the only possible solutions to these problems are in humanity itself.
We break out of this destructive and unsustainable cycle by realizing that everything really is ok.
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