ActivismPhilosophyVisual Art

Rolling Boulders

Over a lunchtime conversation at CONvergence last weekend, I was reminded of an oft used metaphor for social change, the pendulum. While the imagery is compelling, I realized that the analogy is pretty much garbage and that there is a somewhat more robust one available.

After the break, I present my arguments using the medium most respected in formal debate, cartoony marker drawings.


I admit that the analogy isn’t perfect. I’m not sure what hills, or avalanches might represent, for example. I can’t speak to whether it is more  important to move sedimentary or igneous social issues.   Also, the application of dynamite or modern construction equipment pretty much demolishes the metaphor. Still, I think it has utility and much better represents the inherent difficulty and potential problems when attempting to advance social change than the pendulum.

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Ryan Consell is a skeptical artist, tap-dancing armorer, juggling scientist, rock-climbing writer, sword-fighting math teacher, uni-cycling gamer, fire-spinning academic and devout nerd. He has a Masters in Applied science, most of a bachelors in Fine Arts, and a very short attention span. He is the author of How Not to Poach a Unicorn and half of the masochistic comedy duo that is Creative Dissonance. Follow him on Twitter @StudentofWhim


  1. July 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    This is fantastic. Now back to rolling that boulder…

  2. July 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    cartoony marker drawings FTW!!!

  3. July 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    and who’s going to make the first Sisyphus reference?

  4. July 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I like the idea, as it appeals to my optimistic side: we may not agree on the exact path, but most everyone agrees that we want to move the boulder forward.

  5. July 17, 2012 at 12:19 am

    That’d be you oldbaldy77.

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