If you’ve ever been to an airport then you know exactly what a baggage carousel looks like and what it does. It constantly spews out baggage from somewhere deep within the bowels of the building and then circulates it on a conveyor belt until someone claims it as their own. And while a visit to the baggage carousel can be an interesting study in humanity and a fun way to kill ten minutes, it’s also a fascinating metaphor.
Consider the carousel to be the human mind and the circulating baggage to be a endless selection of emotions. You have just arrived at your destination and like the good passenger that you are (but then maybe you should be the pilot?), you’re standing to attention when the first bag emerges from somewhere subterranean and crashes onto the revolving belt in front of you. Splashed all over the bag in capital letters are the words POOR SELF-ESTEEM. You pick it up. You know it’s yours. Next comes ANXIETY. You too. Boom; straight on top. Before long, you’ve loaded up your trolley with SELF-DOUBT, GUILT, PARANOIA, SHAME and SELF-PITY. In a few minutes you’ve collected all your baggage and you turn to make your way out of the building. To your surprise, the trolley won’t move. You try and try but it won’t budge and then right before your very eyes, the ANXIETY bag grows bigger. The overloaded trolley is incredibly heavy and you’re now sure that people are staring, judging and laughing at you (in reality, they’re not). As you feel your heart rate increase, your face begin to flush and your chest tighten, you glance back at the carousel and rolling across the floor towards you is a new bag: EMBARRASSMENT.
Of course it won’t fit on the trolley but nonetheless you choose to carry it awkwardly with one arm while desperately trying to budge the rest of your baggage. Nothing happens. You’re totally stuck. You’re pushing and pushing but the weight is killing you. Lots of effort and energy but no progress. A kind stranger suggests that you leave it all behind and simply walk out the door.
‘How can someone be so stupid’, you mumble under your breath.