Metaphors are a figure of speech that aims to conveying one idea in terms of another. As an old teacher once told me, “it is like comparing two things, but doing it in a way that the other person doesn’t notice.”
One of the classic references is “Metaphors we Live by” (George Lakoff/Mark Johnsson).
Why are metaphors so attractive and powerful?
Looking for common patterns and trying to reduce the Universe to a basic set of unifying rules is our way of dealing with complexity. Metaphors are tools for applying knowledge in one field transposing them into another.
Is that really true? Are metaphors passive tools? Or are they patterns embedded in our physical brain, driving the way we perceive and (mis-)understand things around us? If the “The Medium is the Message”, then maybe metaphors are our brain (trying to do as the old teacher said).
I was in Twitter this morning discussing an interesting business metaphor (could we create a “Company health index”) with @NurtureGirl and @KRCraft.
@HarryLyme interjected with: “as attractive as such abstractions tend to be: all metaphors are ultimately false.”
That thought made me think and conclude just the opposite.
Our brains work through patterns. That is why metaphors are so useful and powerful. They can take over our thoughts, shape our understand and lead us to conclusions disconnected from the original issue. Caution is advised.
But the world around us also follows patterns (or so does it appear to me). If that is true, our brain workings just mimic those patterns, then some metaphors might just be true.
Our brain follows patterns. So does the Universe.
Good metaphors are Truth.
Ok, time to go look for something to eat.