Excited Reasons About Metaphors
Excited Reasons About Metaphors
Life is a journey.
Which pictures do you think? Does this metaphor remind you of some personal experiences? Does it put you in a white or black mood?
It seems that metaphors can rearrange the way we think about the world and even the way we live our whole lives. Someone who lives his life by the metaphor “love is a journey” will have very different romantic relationships than someone who thinks “love is just a game”. The first could last until it reaches its final destination, a happy 50th anniversary with grandchildren. The other will see romance as merely winning or losing to other players, or love as a mere reason to have fun and play with as many partners as possible and give it up when tired of the game. For a long time, people did not give serious scholarly attention except poet metaphors because they thought they were just embellishments of our language. But lately philosophers and psychologists have been rethinking the meaning and ubiquity of metaphors in our lives. And recently, an amazing number of new books and studies have been published on the subject. For example, the famous work of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in their book “Metaphors We Live By” shows that we not only use metaphorical sentences, but that our concepts themselves can be metaphorical. For example, consider the conceptual metaphor “argument is war.” This conceptual metaphor leads us to discussing arguments such as “your criticism was just right,” “I can not lose this debate,” or “it has crushed all my arguments.” In fact, it is almost impossible to imagine arguments in any other way. Although it would probably be revolutionary if someone could adopt the conceptual metaphor of “argument is lovemaking”. How would such a metaphor help a conflicting husband and wife?
The overall revival of interest in metaphors may be traced back to Max Black’s seminal 1950s paper, “Metaphor,” in which he introduced his new metaphors of interaction theory as an advance on the older metaphorical substitution view of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who said “Metaphor is to name something that belongs to something else.” Before Black published this article, philosophers paid little attention to the metaphor and left it almost exclusively to the poets and rhetoricians. But after him, many other philosophers followed his lead. Another famous philosopher of the twentieth century, Donald Davidson, called the metaphor the “dream work” of language. And said that metaphors should be used to make other people aware of things that they have never noticed before. Metaphors are like tools to change the perspectives of others. Now, more and more is studying how metaphors rearrange and organize our understanding of the world. If we can change the metaphors that guide our thinking, we can probably live our lives in a whole new way. The question right now is, which metaphors determine your life? What are metaphors that can change your life? Try to explore metaphors yourself. Perhaps they are one of the most precious treasures you will ever discover.