We are all on the same boat… but we have lost sight of the sea… and our captain is not drunk yet, but quite obviously incompetent… it’s time to take hold of the wheel ourselves and get back on course
The metaphor of the “body politic” has existed at least since Aesop defended the role of the stomach against accusations of laziness in his fable, The Belly and The Members.[i] A defence which was put into practical use to calm social unrest regarding the apparent unfairness of the system by at least one Roman senator, Menenius. His discourse was recorded in the chapter on Coriolanus in Plutarch’s Lives and made more prominent by Shakespeare in the opening scene of his play Coriolanus. Hobbes also used the idea in his own way in his introduction to the Leviathan, and Marx updated it to modern understandings of how the human metabolism works in Capital.
In Shakespeare’s rendering of the plebeian revolt, the belly story is used by Menenius to pacify the indignant mob. He tells them that there was a time when all the body parts rebelled against…
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