Friday, September 7, 2007


Post to the Host:
Garrison, On one of your recent previews to a show, you mentioned the Scandinavian principle of "good enough." I have been trying since to find it on your web site and read more about it. Alas, the closest the PHC search can find is the "godt nok. Good enough." line at the end of the July issue of The Ballast! Google is no better. It seems that this is an elusive principle at best. Can you point me in the right direction? That would be good enough.


The Good Enough principle is so common that Google can't find it, I guess, but basically it is a belief in mediocrity and an antidote to envy. Nobody is better than anybody else, superiority is mostly an illusion, so don't think you're a big shot because you're not. We're all about the same when you come right down to it. Don't look back with regret — your life was good enough. Your parents were good enough, so was your school, so is your job. So quit belly-aching. Don't sweat it. Good Enough may seem like faint praise, but some things really are good enough. Don't make a big deal over it. Don't try to make it the best that ever was or could be. It's good enough. And that's good enough.


"Good enough" and the Swedish "lagom" seem to correlate. "Lagom" means "just right" or "just enough" or "just the right amount."
I don't speak Norwegiaan but I imagine that "lagom" exists in that language as well.
Posted by Steve Shlafer at September 6, 2007 11:39 AM

My mother tongue is Danish, and I have never thought of 'good enough' as a 'principle' epitomizing the otherwise well-known basic egalitarian (rather than elitarian) sentiments of most Scandinavians. Better known, to Danes at least, would be the line by 19th century poet and educator N.F.S. Grundtvig, that 'much would then have been accomplished, when few have too much and even fewer too little'.

One common use of 'godt nok' in Danish is actually in the negative form, like in 'godt er bare ikke godt nok' (to be good just isn't good enough), but most often 'godt nok' is used - in distinct lower style and in certain dialects - to express emphasis, sometimes surprise, like in 'det var godt nok slemt', which would be 'for sure' in 'that was bad, for sure'. A third and likewise very common and lower style use would be 'Godt nok!', issued as a simple implicitly affirmative receipt when hearing a statement. The equivalent in English would be 'OK' or 'All right' or 'Fine' or whatever. It hardly amounts to a principle.

Thanks for a great show, a reliable survival kit in the desert of bigotry.
Posted by Thorkil at September 6, 2007 9:25 PM

Janteloven: Egalitarianism or restrictiveness?
(A website from Türkiye)

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