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.


Ryan is a professional nerd, teaching engineering in the frozen north. Somewhat less professionally, he is a costumer, author, blacksmith, juggler, gamer, serial enthusiast, and supporter of the Oxford comma. He can be found on twitter and instagram @studentofwhim. If you like what I do here, feel free to leave a tip in my tipjar.

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  1. 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.

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