Writers think in metaphors. Editors work in metaphors. A great reader reads in metaphors. All are continually asking, "What does this represent? What does it stand for?" They are trying to take everything one level deeper. When they get to that level, they will try to go deeper again.
Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.
The poet wants to 'say' something. Why, then, doesn't he say it directly and fortrightly? Why is he willing to say it only through his metaphors? Through his metaphors, he risks saying it partially and obscurely, and risks saying nothing at all. But the risk must be taken, for direct statement leads to abstraction and threatens to take us out of poetry altogether.
When we talk about the Universe Story we are talking about the acquisition of a totally new paradigm, one which overturns many of the patterns that we unconsciously believe to be true. There is not simply the addition of new metaphors and images, but the metaphors and images themselves flow out of a new consciousness inspired by a new awareness of the cosmos.
You can make a global film, which affects so many countries and affects sort of this worldwide epidemic, but it has, zombies are great metaphors for the times we live in today and that's what I always find fascinating about them, but then it's like the walking dead, you know, the unconscious, and the metaphors for them are just really something I was inspired by.
How can I begin to tell you how much I miss you without using those three common words that can't even start to express the magnitude nor the depth of my emotions. How can I write in my own blood while wanting to revert its color. The color of blood is similar to "I miss you". It has been raped by writers and lovers constantly, ever since Cain and Abel. I want to be able to create a new alphabet that can simply stand in front of you without bowing. I want to use new metaphors that would erupt like volcanoes between the phrases of my readers' souls. Metaphors such as your absence is similar to eating salt straight from the shaker while thirst is devouring my tongue. Metaphors such as the lack of your presence is like being straddled behind the glass of my own senses.
Malak El Halabi
Infrastructures of power always inhabit the surface of the earth somehow, or the skies above the earth. They're material things, always, and even though the metaphors we use to describe them are often immaterial - for example, we might describe the Internet as the Cloud or cyberspace - those metaphors are wildly misleading.
In music, you can use metaphors with ease - if a person doesn't understand the parable, they can still enjoy the melody of the music. If, however, a person reads a book and misses the meaning of its metaphors, this will be extremely disheartening for both the reader as well as the author.
You know, the immortality of the soul, free will and all that - it's all very amusing to talk about up to the age of twenty-two, but not after that. Then one ought to be giving one's mind to having fun without catching the pox, arranging one's life as comfortably as possible, having a few decent drawings on the wall, and above all writing well. That's the important thing: well-made sentences... and then a few metaphors. Yes, a few metaphors. They embellish a man's existence.
In all aspects of life... we define our reality in terms of metaphors and then proceed to act on the basis of the metaphors. We draw inferences, set goals, make commitments, and execute plans, all on the basis of how we in part structure our experience, consciously and unconsciously, by means of metaphor.
What do you see when you see me?' She asked him, burying her own face in his bosom. 'Do you want the truth?' She nodded. 'The firing squad.' 'That's not the whole truth. Try again.' 'Insatiability,' he said with some bitterness. 'That's oblique but altogether too simple. Once more,' she insisted. 'One more time.' He was silent for several minutes. 'The map of a country in which I only exist by virtue of the extravagance of my metaphors.' 'Now you're being too sophisticated. And, besides, what metaphors do we have in common?
What do you see when you see me?' She asked him, burying her own face in his bosom. 'Do you want the truth?' She nodded. 'The firing squad.' 'That's not the whole truth. Try again.' 'Insatiability, ' he said with some bitterness. 'That's oblique but altogether too simple. Once more, ' she insisted. 'One more time.' He was silent for several minutes. 'The map of a country in which I only exist by virtue of the extravagance of my metaphors.' 'Now you're being too sophisticated. And, besides, what metaphors do we have in common?
In philosophy, metaphorical pluralism is the norm. Our most important abstract philosophical concepts, including time, causation, morality, and the mind, are all conceptualized by multiple metaphors, sometimes as many as two dozen. What each philosophical theory typically does is to choose one of those metaphors as "right, " as the true literal meaning of the concept. One reason there is so much argumentation across philosophical theories is that different philosophers have chosen different metaphors as the "right" one, ignoring or taking as misleading all other commonplace metaphorical structurings of the concept. Philosophers have done this because they assume that a concept must have one and only one logic. But the cognitive reality is that our concepts have multiple metaphorical structurings.
Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what is called the real world. It is built up with a vocabulary or lexical field whose terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical world... concrete metaphors increase enormously our powers of perception of the world about us and our understanding of it, and literally create new objects.
What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions "" they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force.
What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions - they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force.
[P]hilosophical theories are structured by conceptual metaphors that constrain which inferences can be drawn within that philosophical theory. The (typically unconscious) conceptual metaphors that are constitutive of a philosophical theory have the causal effect of constraining how you can reason within that philosophical framework.
What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms - in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.
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.
Science fiction - and the correct shortcut is 'sf' - uses actual scientific facts or theories for the source ideas or framework of the story. It has some scientific content, however speculative. If it breaks a law of physics, it knows it's doing so and follows up the consequences. If it invents a society of aliens, it does so with some respect for and knowledge of the social sciences and what you might call social probabilities. And some of it is literarily self-aware enough to treat its metaphors as metaphors.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Do you know why teachers use me? Because I speak in tongues. I write metaphors. Every one of my stories is a metaphor you can remember. The great religions are all metaphor. We appreciate things like Daniel and the lion's den, and the Tower of Babel. People remember these metaphors because they are so vivid you can't get free of them and that's what kids like in school. They read about rocket ships and encounters in space, tales of dinosaurs. All my life I've been running through the fields and picking up bright objects. I turn one over and say, Yeah, there's a story. And that's what kids like. Today, my stories are in a thousand anthologies. And I'm in good company. The other writers are quite often dead people who wrote in metaphors: Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne. All these people wrote for children. They may have pretended not to, but they did.
Metaphors are tiny saviors leading the way out of sentimentality, small disciples of Pound, urging "Say it new! Say it new!" It's hard for emotion to feel flat if its language is suitably novel, to feel excessive if its rendering is suitably opaque. Metaphors translate emotion into surprising and sublime language, but they also help us deflect and diffuse the glare of revelation.
Truth is a mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, anthropomorphisms, in short a sum of human relations which have been subjected to poetic and rhetorical intensification, translation and decoration [... ]; truths are illusions of which we have forgotten that they are illusions, metaphors which have become worn by frequent use and have lost all sensuous vigour [... ]. Yet we still do not know where the drive to truth comes from, for so far we have only heard about the obligation to be truthful which society imposes in order to exist" from, "On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense".
The age-old, seemingly inexorable process whereby diseases acquire meanings (by coming to stand for the deepest fears) and inflict stigma is always worth challenging, and it does seem to have more limited credibility in the modern world, among people willing to be modern - the process is under surveillance now. With this illness, one that elicits so much guilt and shame, the effort to detach it from these meanings, these metaphors, seems particularly liberating, even consoling. But the metaphors cannot be distanced just by abstaining from them. They have to be exposed, criticized, belabored, used up.
I always thought of it like you said, that all the strings inside him broke. But there are a thousand ways to look at it: maybe the strings break, or maybe our ships sink, or maybe we're grass-our roots so interdependent that no one is dead as long as someone is alive. We don't suffer from a shortage of metaphors, is what I mean. But you have to be careful which metaphor you choose, because it matters. If you choose the strings, then you're imagining a world in which you can become irreparably broken. If you choose the grass, you're saying that we are all infinitely interconnected, that we can use these root systems not only to understand one another but to become one another. The metaphors have implications. Do you know what I mean?
There comes a time in a man's life, if he is unlucky and leads a full life, when he has a secret so dirty that he knows he never will get rid of it. (Shakespeare knew this and tried to say it, but he said it just as badly as anyone ever said it. 'All the perfumes of Arabia' makes you think of all the perfumes of Arabia and nothing more. It is the trouble with all metaphors where human behavior is concerned. People are not ships, chess men, flowers, race horses, oil paintings, bottles of champagne, excrement, musical instruments or anything else but people. Metaphors are all right to give you an idea.)
Sure, zombies can 'be a metaphor.' They can represent the oppressed, as in Land of the Dead, or humanity's feral nature, as in 28 Days. Or racial politics or fear of contagion or even the consumer unconscious (Night of the Living Dead, Resident Evil, Dawn of the Dead). We could play this game all night. But really, zombies are not 'supposed to be metaphors.' They're supposed to be friggin' zombies. They follow the Zombie Rules: they rise from death to eat the flesh of the living, they shuffle in slow pursuit (or should, anyway), and most important, they multiply exponentially. They bring civilization down, taking all but the most resourceful, lucky and well-armed among us, whom they save for last. They make us the hunted; all of us. That's the stuff zombies are supposed to do. Yes, they make excellent symbols, and metaphors, and have kick-ass mythopoeic resonance to boot. But their main job is to follow genre conventions, to play with and expand the Zombie Rules, to make us begin to see the world as a place colored by our own zombie contingency plans. [... ] Stories are the original virtual reality device; their internal rules spread out into reality around us like a bite-transmitted virus, slowly but inexorably consuming its flesh. They don't just stand around 'being metaphors' whose sole purpose is to represent things in the real world; they eat the real world.
Images are not quite ideas, they are stiller than that, with less implication outside themselves. And they are not myth, they do not have the explanatory power; they are nearer to pure story. Nor are they always metaphors; they do not say this is that, they say this is.
Robert Hass Twentieth Century Pleasures Prose on Poetry