I’ve been thinking about the metaphor that we are like kids on a playground run by a bully. I’ve thought it does organize our thinking about current affairs. It makes a claim that there are certain things more important than others when we try to understand our lives. It makes the claim that there are some of us “kids” who intimidate the rest of us. They corner us and steal our lunch money. These few more powerful and ruthless kids tell us, “if you don’t give me your lunch money, I’ll hurt ya.” It’s a grim message. It makes me want to, maybe, escape this playground a go somewhere else. The argument will be, though, that when you get to the next spot of land, the next city, the next destination, it too, as the metaphor suggests, is just another playground with bullies.
The metaphor will teach us things about ourselves, I want to say. I said that I thought that the prospect of having to be afraid of giving up my lunch money would make me want to go somewhere else. I thought, well, things will be different elsewhere. There won’t be bullies. However, the underlying truth of the metaphor, I’m saying, will argue that you can’t find anything different in this regard elsewhere. Everyone everywhere lives in a playground, their local playground, and they are all run by bullies.
Another thing I believe the metaphor will teach us is that the problem with the bullies is not just that there are a few bad apples in our midst. It isn’t just that most of us are good and a few of us are bad.
The metaphor will teach us that there’s something common to all us kids that makes the metaphor true and that makes bullies take advantage of the rest of us.
The question for me has been, well, what is that common link we all share, the principle that makes the metaphor true?