Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Will Miss #288 - "shikataganai" (the good)

When faced with hardship or a difficult situation, the Japanese have an attitude of "shikataganai" (or "shoganai") or "it can't be helped". When translated into mere words, it comes across as passive acceptance of the inevitable, but the thinking is more pervasive and applied more subtly to experiences in life. It is about acceptance, but it is also about taking things as they come with equanimity rather than casting about for someone or something to blame. It is a mindset that contributes to an attitude of personal responsibility and the sense that one should not and cannot constantly fight whatever comes your way. Things happen, and we sometimes just have to live with it and not let it control our happiness.

I'll miss the part of "shikataganai" thinking which has people responding to the inevitable with maturity and composure, and how it contributes to taking responsibility.