The Tube Journey and Life Metaphor

During rush hour, it is often the strongest or the most determined that guarantee themselves a place on the tube: sometimes people will push and shove their way on to the carriage. Others, however, are left behind and have to wait for the next tube to arrive. When on the tube, some will rush to an empty seat in an attempt to get there before others – somewhat reminiscent of the battle of the fittest idea. It seems that we have a kind of instinctual inclination to do what serves our personal and temporary interests at the expense of others. But, then again, many will get up from their seat when an old lady or a pregnant woman steps foot inside the carriage. Others ask fellow passengers whether they would like to sit down first – even if they are around the same age as them.

The tube will stop every other minute; people will leave and new people will come on – reminiscent of the fact that people will always leave your life while new people will come into your life. Some people will be on the tube for only one or two stops while others will remain on the tube for a long time – just like some people will be on this earth for a very brief moment while others will be here for a longer time. Both, however, will depart from this earth sooner or later.

The people on the tube are dependant on the driver who is in control; he starts and stops the tube every now and then. We often forget the driver is there but his or her role is essential for us to arrive at our destination. However, the driver has no bearing on our conversations, moods or what we do on the tube. This is similar to the relationship believers have with their Lord who is believed to be in complete control but His Omnipotence does not affect His creations free will. Furthermore, we often forget He is there but we are still heavily reliant on Him.

In the morning and in the evening, the tube often becomes packed; there is little space to move – you’re often squashed and uncomfortable. But this is only for a short period of time until the majority of people get off or a seat becomes available. However, during the afternoon, the tube is empty, one sits comfortably and can think, contemplate and day dream whilst gazing out of the carriage window. In life, the inevitable vicissitudes we’re confronted with will mean that we are bound to face hardship. But in between the moments of hardship are periods of ease. And, most importantly, we realise that no hardship lasts forever.

This extended metaphor may seem hyperbolic to some, but there is some truth to be delineated from it.

Omar Shahid

Twitter: omar_shahid


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  1. “Battle of the fittest”…so true. Rush hour on the tube really is a something out of a futuristic version of the Jungle Book! Unfortunately not being the fittest of people, I would end up waiting. Great piece, brought back memories of London 🙂

  2. I really like how you portray reality and refuse to consider its triviality as bottomless. Even your driver metaphor managed to touch the hardcore atheist I am. Well done! 🙂


  3. Philosophical so say at the least, very interesting piece of writing.

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