Metaphors We Live By

By LakoffAndJohnson, University of Chicago Press, Dec. 1983 ISBN 0226468011

Metaphors are a way of thinking and a way of seeing. -- Gareth Morgan (1986)

I read the book mentioned at the top. It's really interesting, and argues that just about everything we say is metaphoric, and that when we peel away the metaphors they are eventually grounded in spatial relations we learn as children. As children, we learn to equate "up" with good ("things are looking up") and down as bad ("I feeling mighty low"), we also use forward and back ("I see where you're going with this idea") and so on. It's a small book, and an easy read. Good for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

-- AnthonyLauder

For most people metaphor and poetic language are linked. Most people think they can do perfectly well without metaphor (and poetry?). This book convinces of the opposite. Metaphor exists not only in language, but in thought. Metaphors are important in our everyday functioning, in our reality. They affect the way we perceive, think and act.

See also ConceptualMetaphor,, MetaphorAndOrganizations, and RulesToLiveBy.

Metaphors look a lot like a perceived manifestation of the underlying linking principle in the human mind. We human beings metaphorize more than we realize. See the book WhackOnTheSideOfTheHead by Roger von Oech for quite of few examples of this phenomenon. If you don't know what I mean, read a paragraph of almost any piece of natural language writing and and analyze what you've read. There are unconscious and unstated metaphors throughout. Look particularly at the verbs used with the nouns; e.g,. the voice of reason, attacking a problem, picking an approach, the fruit of our labor. I am convinced that we have a metaphorical abstracting process built into us that trunks down to a set of root primitives which are elaborated into these many leaves and that we experience this as metaphor. -- RaySchneider

The metaphor is perhaps one of man's most fruitful potentialities. Its efficacy verges on magic, and it seems a tool for creation which God forgot inside one of His creatures when He made him.
-- Jose Ortega y Gasset

Here are a couple of personal metaphors that I am living by. Would like to hear some of yours.

I am a gardener, not a god. This is very freeing for me, the future is unfolding and out of my control, I can only make it more beautiful (or ugly). Organic architecture vs evolving architecture is a corollary metaphor.

Surfing the wave of life. We cannot see the end of the wave only feel the force of the wave. I am going to die, don't know when but I know I am free to live today. This freedom is only available in the moment - so take it. know it, feel it, live it

I am a contradictory wise fool. I am have no proof these metaphors are true, I make no claim all my actions follow these metaphors, being good enough is okay and I decide what is good enough. I know enough to know that I don't know and you don't either. I am not able to discover 'correct' system architectures so like an artist I create systems that feel good and are beautiful (to me - I'm not sure Chris Alexander would consider them objectively beautiful). KeepAnOpenMind

Tapestry of Life. Our potential is greater is we nurture our relationships and collective intelligence, we are not alone - by design. A fool on the hill is truly a fool. This metaphor effects the way I live in the following way. I choose not to be surprised when I meet people I know or I need, or who need me. I look for it around the globe - and I find it! TreatAllWithDignityAndRespect

-- PaulCaswell

The metaphor most people live by is television. sigh

Television is not the metaphor people live by.

Seen on a t-shirt ...
 Theater is Life
 Film is Art
 Television is Furniture


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