"You're either on the bus or off the bus."

Just this.

Vincent Carriuolo
Mar 5, 2014 · 2 min read

Vincent left the parking lot after his shift, passing by the 18 school buses that had delivered hundreds of school children to play on the slopes of that hill in Bradford, Massachusetts. Two metaphors came to mind. Two sides of the same coin. Vincent just had to smile.

Bus Metaphor #1-Thanks to Ken Kesey

On the Great Bus Trip of 1964, Ken Kesey had a problem. Every time they had to stop for gas or something, some of the Pranksters would wander off and whenever it was time to leave, at least one Prankster could not be found. Hence the metaphor, "You're either on the bus or off the bus." Of course, no outsider had any idea what Kesey was talking about when he said that, because you had to have been on the bus that summer to get it.

Group consciousness was very important to the Pranksters. The idea was to put individual differences aside and work as a group, an attuned group. Those who weren't attuned were seen as rocking the boat, disrupting the trip. These were the people who were considered "off the bus." The ones who were attuned to the group consciousness, those who did their share of the work, and smile rather than pout, these were the ones who were "on the bus." Thus, the literal meaning of "You are either on the bus or off the bus" is "You are either attuned to the group consciousness or you are not attuned to the group consciousness."

Copyright © 1995, 1997, Colin Pringle

Bus Metaphor #2-Thanks to Anthony de Mello

"And here is a parable of life for you to ponder on: A group of tourists sits in a bus that is passing through gorgeously beautiful country; lakes and mountains and green fields and rivers. But the shades of the bus are pulled down. They do not have the slightest idea of what lies beyond the windows of the bus. And all the time of their journey is spent in squabbling over who will have the seat of honor in the bus, who will be applauded, who will be well considered. And so they remain till the journey's end."

Anthony de Mello, The Way To Love

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