The facts of nature are what they are, but we can only view them through the spectacles of our mind. Our mind works largely by metaphor and comparison, not always (or often) by relentless logic. When we are caught in conceptual traps, the best exit is often a change in metaphor - not because the new guideline will be truer to nature (for neither the old nor the new metaphor lies 'out there' in the woods), but because we need a shift to more fruitful perspectives, and metaphor is often the best agent of conceptual transition.
Stephen Jay Gould
My poems always begin with a metaphor, but my way into the metaphor may be a word, an image, even a sound. And I rarely know the nature of the metaphor when I begin to write, but there is an attentiveness that a writer develops, a sudden alertness that is much like the feel of a fish brushing against a hook.
Creativity is more about taking the facts, fictions, and feelings we store away and finding new ways to connect them. What we're talking about here is metaphor. Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we are experiencing now with what we have experienced before. It's not only how we express what we remember , it's how we interpret it - for ourselves and others.
The mechanism by which spirituality becomes passionate is metaphor. An ineffable God requires metaphor not only to be imagined but to be approached, exhorted, evaded, confronted, struggled with, and loved. Through metaphor, the vividness, intensity, and meaningfulness of ordinary experiences becomes the basis of a passionate spirituality. An ineffable God becomes vital through metaphor: The Supreme Being. The Prime Mover. The Creator. The Almighty. The Father. The King of Kings. Shepherd. Potter. Lawgiver. Judge. Mother. Lover. Breath. The vehicle by which we are moved in passionate spirituality is metaphor. The mechanism of such metaphor is bodily. It is a neural mechanism that recruits our abilities to perceive, to move, to feel, and to envision in the service not only of theoretical and philosophical thought, but of spiritual experience.
Comic strips introduced me to metaphors. They are pure metaphor, so you learn how to tell a story with symbols, which is a very valuable thing to learn. And I learned that from motion pictures, too, and from poetry. Poetry is mainly metaphor. If it doesn't have a metaphor, it doesn't work.
Moreover, metaphor is typically viewed as characteristic of language alone, a matter of words rather than thought or action. For this reason, most people think they can get along perfectly well without metaphor. We have found, on the contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.
The word "metaphor" means carrying something from one place to another . . . and it is when you describe something by using a word for something that it isn't. This means that the word "metaphor" is a metaphor. I think it should be called a lie because a pig is not like a day and people people do not have skeletons in their cupboards. And when I try and make a picture of the phrase in my head it just confuses me because imagining and apple in someone's eye doesn't have anything to do with liking someone a lot and it makes you forget what the person was talking about.
This is what metaphor is. It is not saying that an ant is an elephant. Perhaps; both are alive. No. Metaphor is saying the ant is an elephant. Now, logically speaking, I know there is a difference. If you put elephants and ants before me, I believe that every time I will correctly identify the elephant and the ant. So metaphor must come from a very different place than that of the logical, intelligent mind. It comes from a place that is very courageous, willing to step out of our preconceived ways of seeing things and open so large that it can see the oneness in an ant and in an elephant.
Muse of poetry, come to his aid, I thought. Could the man produce one more metaphor of husbandry? He seemed to be trying. "Green wood," I suggested, but even he sensed that there was something unfortunate about a metaphor for a king in which you dry out your royalty before you set fire to it.
Megan Whalen Turner
It's easy to look at the vampires as a metaphor for any feared or misunderstood group. It's also easy to look at them as a metaphor for a shadow organization that says one thing and has a completely different agenda on their mind, and anybody who gets in their way, they just get rid of them. Does that sound familiar?
Had We willed, We could have elevated him through them; but he clung to the ground, and followed his desires. His metaphor is that of a dog: if you chase it, it pants; and if you leave it alone, it pants. Such is the metaphor of the people who deny Our signs. So tell the tale, so that they may ponder.
Without metaphor the handling of general concepts such as culture and civilization becomes impossible, and that of disease and disorder is the obvious one for the case in point. Is not crisis itself a concept we owe to Hippocrates? In the social and cultural domain no metaphor is more apt than the pathological one.
Physicists use 'God' as a metaphor more often than other scientists-- especially in popular writing, but in the technical literature as well. Of course, this is just a metaphor for order at the heart of confusion. A rational or aesthetic pattern underlying reality is far from a theistic God.
Tolstoy does not tell us how things look to the author; he tells us how they look to the characters. In short, he does not use simile and metaphor. (That astonishing assertion in Wood's review is what got me started reading Tolstoy in the first place. How can anyone write without using metaphor and simile? That would be like-never mind.)
John Mark Reynolds
It is a great thing, indeed, to make a proper use of the poetical forms, as also of compounds and strange words. But the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. It is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars.
When I was 40, I wrote my first book, The Pilgrimage, and I said to myself, "why did it take so long for me to write this book?" Because my dream, since I was 10 years old, was to be a writer. I said, I have to revisit my life using a metaphor, and the metaphor was basically this boy that has a dream and has to go far away to realize that his dream is close to him.
Lakoff's idea is that most of our thought is guided by underlying conceptual mappings between two domains that share some content, that overlap in the sets of their attributes. ... Contrary to the assertions of Lakoff and some of the cognitive metaphor theorists, people can read through to an underlying mapping, but only when the surface metaphor is new to them.
There's no question that how Johannesburg operates is what made me interested in the idea of wealth discrepancy. 'Elysium' could be a metaphor for just Jo'burg, but it's also a metaphor for the Third World and the First World. And in science fiction, separation of wealth is a really interesting idea to mess with.
King in Crimson is actually an alchemical term. King Crimson is a metaphor for Devil or Satan, but at the same time it's also a metaphor for one of the statures in the purification of man and the purification of mankind soul towards union with God and with Infinite, which is the philosophical aim of alchemists.
If we don't understand how metaphor works we will misunderstand most of what we read in the Bible. No matter how carefully we parse our Hebrew and Greek sentences, no matter how precisely we use our dictionaries and trace our etymologies, no matter how exactly we define the words on the page, if we do not appreciate the way a metaphor works we will never comprehend the meaning of the text.
Eugene H. Peterson
Sport is a seductive metaphor (life as a game in which we gain victory through hard work, discipline, and visualizing success). but the older metaphor of farming (life as hard labor that is subject to weather and quirks of blind fate and may return no reward whatsoever and don't be surprised) is still in our blood.
Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance. First, the subjects of deepest dread (corruption, decay, pollution, anomie, weakness) are identified with the disease. The disease itself becomes a metaphor. Then, in the name of the disease (that is, using it as a metaphor), that horror is imposed on other things. The disease becomes adjectival. Something is said to be disease-like, meaning that it is disgusting or ugly.
Landscape pictures can offer us, I think, three verities: geography, autobiography, and metaphor. Geography is, if taken alone, sometimes boring, autobiography is frequently trivial, and metaphor can be dubious. But taken together, as in the best work of people like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, the three kinds of information strengthen each other and reinforce what we all work to keep intact - the affection for life.
If there is anything in writing that comes easy for me it's making up metaphors. They just appear. I can't move two lines without all kinds of images. Then the problem is how to make the best of them. In its geological character, language is almost invariably metaphorical. That's how meanings tend to change. Words become metaphors for other things, then slowly disappear into the new image. I have a hunch, too, that the core of creativity is located in metaphor, in model making, really. A novel is a large metaphor for the world.
Creativity itself is a joyous unlatching. The act of creative imagining, inventing, saying differently, crafting a metaphor or image, then crafting another metaphor or image when you go further or when you revise - all these take whatever you think "is" and make clear that other possibilities exist as well. The sense of possibility, the amplitude and freedom that sense of malleability brings - for me, that cannot help but be joyous.
A metaphor is not merely a linguistic expression (a form of words) used for artistic or rhetorical purposes; instead, it is a process of human understanding by which we achieve meaningful experience that we can make sense of. A metaphor, in this "experiential" sense, is a process by which we understand and structure one domain of experience in terms of another domain of a different kind.
If we lived close to nature in an agricultural society, the seasons as metaphor and fact would continually frame our lives. But the master metaphor of our era does not come from agriculture - it comes from manufacturing. We do not believe that we 'grow' our lives - we believe that we 'make' them. Just listen to how we use the word in everyday speech: we make time, make friends, make meaning, make money, make a living, make love.
Parker J. Palmer
The traditional metaphor for careers is a ladder, but I no longer think that metaphor holds. It doesn't make sense in a less hierarchical world. ... Build your skills, not your resume. Evaluate what you can do, not the title they're going to give you. Do real work. Take a sales quota, a line role, an ops job, don't plan too much, and don't expect a direct climb. If I had mapped out my career when I was sitting where you are, I would have missed my career.
For the Persian poet Rumi, each human life is analogous to a bowl floating on the surface of an infinite ocean. As it moves along, it is slowly filling with the water around it. That's a metaphor for the acquisition of knowledge. When the water in the bowl finally reaches the same level as the water outside, there is no longer any need for the container, and it drops away as the inner water merges with the outside water. We call this the moment of death. That analogy returns to me over and over as a metaphor for ourselves.
I love metaphor the way some people love junk food. I think metaphorically, feel metaphorically, see metaphorically. And if anything in writing comes easily, comes unbidded, often unwanted, it is metaphor. Like follows as as night the day. Now most of these metaphors are bad and have to be thrown away. Who saves used Kleenex? I never have to say: "What shall I compare this to?" a summer's day? No. I have to beat the comparisons back into the holes they pour from. Some salt is savory. I live in a sea.
Metaphor isn't just a fancy turn of speech. It shapes our thoughts and feelings, reaches out to grasp new experience, and even binds our five disparate senses. James Geary's fascinating and utterly readable I is an Other brings the news on metaphor from literature and economics, from neuroscience and politics, illuminating topics from consumer behavior to autism spectrum disorders to the evolution of language. As a writer, as a teacher, and as someone just plain fascinated by how our minds work, I've been waiting years for exactly this book.
Do you know, it's really hard to be a parent. I blame it on Santa Claus. You spend so long making sure your kid doesn't know he's fake that you can't tell when you're supposed to stop." "Mom, I found you and Calla wrapping my presents when I was, like, six." "It was a metaphor, Blue." "A metaphor's supposed to clarify by providing an example. That didn't clarify." "Do you know what I mean or not?" "What you mean is that you're sorry you didn't tell me about Butternut." Maura glowered at the door as if Calla stood behind it. "I wish you wouldn't call him that." "If you'd been the one to tell me about him, then I wouldn't be using what Calla told me." "Fair enough.
Many Christians, including BioLogos, like to throw out the "you can't take the Bible literally" argument. They think it is the ultimate zinger that will end any debate in their favor. But if we shouldn't take the Bible literally, why should we believe God is real in the literal sense? Perhaps God is a metaphor also. Maybe God is really a metaphor for nature or chance. Heaven forbid! However, BioLogos insists on having it both ways: God is literally true but the Bible is not. That's like saying Mother Goose is literally true but her nursery rhymes are not.
Clay can be a metaphor for many things. I made it a metaphor for flesh and earth, and these are two kinds of generic givens of life, if you look at it poetically, biblically, the idea of the life of beings, of man, being transitory, the earth abides-ashes to ashes, dust to dust-man returns to earth, grows out of earth like a flower, wilts, goes back to the earth... We are frail, transitory creatures with aspirations of immortality, conscious of our inevitable death, and we have to deal with it somehow.
Stephen De Staebler
Holding onto and manipulating physical objects is one of the things we learn earliest and do the most. It should not be surprising that object control is the basis of one of the five most fundamental metaphors for our inner life. To control objects, we must learn to control our bodies. We learn both forms of control together. Self-control and object control are inseparable experiences from earliest childhood. It is no surprise that we should have as a metaphor-a primary metaphor-Self Control is Object Control.
A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me will full hands; How could I answer the child?... I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. There was the hope Dr. Holden had talked about-the grass was a metaphor for his hope. But that"s not all. He continues, Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped, Like grass is a metaphor for God's greatness or something... And then soon after is itself a child... And then soon after that, Or, I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic, And it means, Sprouting alike in broadzones and narrow zones. Growing among black folk as among white.
We are all born and someday we'll all die. Most likely to some degree alone.What if our aloneness isn't a tragedy? What if our aloneness is what allows us to speak the truth without being afraid? What if our aloneness is what allows us to adventure - to experience the world as a dynamic presence - as a changeable, interactive thing? If I lived in Bosnia or Rwanda or who knows where else, needless death wouldn't be a distant symbol to me, it wouldn't be a metaphor, it would be a reality. And I have no right to this metaphor. But I use it to console myself. To give a fraction of meaning to something enormous and needless. This realization. This realization that I will live my life in this world where I have privileges. I can't cool boiling waters in Russia. I can't be Picasso. I can't be Jesus. I can't save the planet single-handedly. I can wash dishes.
The hardest bones, containing the richest marrow, can be conquered only by a united crushing of all the teeth of all dogs. That of course is only a figure of speech and exaggerated; if all teeth were but ready they would not need even to bite, the bones would crack themselves and the marrow would be freely accessible to the feeblest of dogs. If I remain faithful to this metaphor, then the goal of my aims, my questions, my inquiries, appears monstrous, it is true. For I want to compel all dogs thus to assemble together, I want the bones to crack open under the pressure of their collective preparedness, and then I want to dismiss them to the ordinary life they love, while all by myself, quite alone, I lap up the marrow. That sounds monstrous, almost as if I wanted to feed on the marrow, not merely of bone, but of the whole canine race itself. But it is only a metaphor. The marrow that I am discussing here is no food; on the contrary, it is a poison.