Friday, November 14, 2014
I’m spending a lot of time on the bus these days. And this has been making me think about some of my favorite bus metaphors.
My favorite of course is the Ken Kesey quote from Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test: You’re either on the bus or off the bus.
My second favorite is the great bus metaphor that the late Kenyan scientist and environmental activist Wangari Maathai outlined in a speech I heard her give in 2009. She talked about how to know when the approach you’re taking isn’t right — what happens when you are not on the right bus.
I think in response to a conversation I had with a friend about that bus metaphor (though I don’t remember the details right now), my friend sent me a link to a piece by photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen that describes his Helsinki Bus Station Theory.
I re-read the Minkkinen piece the other day and was struck by the phrase, “We find out what we will do by knowing what we will not do.”
Life is a process of elimination.
If you are lucky, you get to something you want to do before having to go through too many things that you will not do.
If you’re not lucky, you get stuck doing something for a very long time that you really don’t want to do at all. And maybe you eventually get to something you do want to do, and maybe you just watch a lot of tv.
We find out what we will do by knowing what we will not do.