In other words: Metaphors matter

Chinese charater for myth

myth : metaphor

In conceptualizing metaphor, a subconscious automatic mechanism for using inference patterns
and language from a source domain to think and
talk about another domain comes into play.

"Reasoning by metaphor is an ingenious technique that allows us to remedy our weaknesses by capitalizing on our strengths - using things we can visualize to think, talk, and reason about things we can not visualize."
Daniel Gilbert

"We may not always know it, but we think in metaphor. A large proportion of our most commonplace thoughts make use of an extensive, but unconscious, system of metaphorical concepts, that is, concepts from a typically concrete realm of thought that are used to comprehend another, completely different domain. Such concepts are often reflected in everyday language, but their most dramatic effect comes in ordinary reasoning. Because so much of our social and political reasoning makes use of this system of metaphorical concepts, any adequate appreciation of even the most mundane social and political thought requires an understanding of this system. But unless one knows that the system exists, one may miss it altogether and be mystified by its effects." - George Lakoff

A metaphor is a symbolic conceptual image that suggests something else.

For instance, if I say to an individual, "You are a nut," I am not suggesting that I think the individual is literally a nut.

"Nut" is a metaphor.

In sacred text metaphors are used to reference thought constructs transcendent of literal physical objects.

If you think that the metaphor is itself the reference, it would be like going to a restaurant, asking for the menu, seeing an image of beefsteak, and starting to eat the menu.

Kingdom of Christ

Christ ascended.

That is literally what is being said.

The denotation would appear to be that Christ ascended into the sky.

If that were really the intent of the message, we have to throw the message away, there would have been no such place for Christ to literally go.

Christ could not have ascended to heaven because there is no physical heaven anywhere in the universe as was thought up until the time of Galileo Galilei.

Even ascending at the speed of light, Christ would still be in the galaxy.

Astronomy and physics have simply eliminated that as a physical possibility.

If you read 'Christ ascended to heaven' in terms of its metaphoric connotation, you see that Christ has gone inward - not into outer space but into inward space, to the place from which all being comes into the consciousness of the Source of Life - the Kingdom of Heaven.

These images are an outward reflection of an inner reality.

To ascend with Christ we turn inward.

Returning to the Source, alpha and omega, of leaving the fixation on the material behind and going to the dynamic Source of Life.

In the standard way of thinking of Christ ascending to heaven, we cannot identify with Christ, we have to imitate Jesus.

To say, "I and the Father are one," as Christ said, is blasphemy for us.

In the Gospel of Thomas, dug up in Egypt in 1946, Christ says, "He who drinks from my mouth will become as I am, and I shall be he."

This is Buddhism.

We are all manifestations of Buddha consciousness, or Christ consciousness.

The word "Buddha" means "the one who woke up."

We are all to do that! Find liberation.

To wake up to the Buddha or Christ consciousness within us.

This is blasphemy to Christians that take the Bible literally, but it is the very essence of Christian gnosticism and of the Gospel of Thomas.

The metaphor in Christianity that corresponds to reincarnation is purgatory.

If one dies with a fixation on the things of this Earth then one's spirit is not ready to behold the beatific vision, therefore one has to undergo a purgation, one has to be purged clean of one's limitations.

The limitations are what are called sins.

Sin in this sense is simply a limiting factor that limits your consciousness and fixes it in an inadequate condition.

In the Eastern metaphor, if you die in that condition, you come back again to have more experiences that will clarify, clarify, clarify, until you are released from these fixations.

The reincarnating soul is the principal hero of Eastern myth.

The soul puts on various personalities, life after life.

The reincarnation idea is not that you and I, as the personalities that we are, will be reincarnated.

Personalities are what the soul throws off.

Then the soul puts on another body, male or female, depending on 'what experiences are necessary for it to clear itself of this attachment to the field of time.

The prophets and what in India are called the "rishis" are said to have 'heard' the scriptures.

The sacred sound of Ohm.

Now anybody might open his eyes and ears, but not everyone has the capacity actually to hear the scriptures.

Many times they think there may have been a misspelling.

There has to be a training to help you open your ears, to pull the splinter out of your eye, so that you can begin to hear metaphorically instead of literally.

Carl Jung understood myth is grounded in subconscious archetype.

Anyone writing a creative work knows that you yield or submit yourself, and the work talks to you and builds it's creative self.

To a certain extent, you become the carrier of something that is given to you from what have been called the Muses - or, in biblical language, "God."

This is no fantasy, it is a fact.

Since the inspiration comes from the subconscious, and since the subconscious minds of the people of any single small society or culture have much in common, what the preacher, rabbi, teacher, shaman or seer brings forth is something that is waiting to be brought forth in everyone.

When one hears the story of the seer, one responds, 'Aha! This is my story too!

This is what I had always wanted to say but didn't know how to say it!'

- adapted from Joseph Campbell

metaphorical allegory

Metaphor is a word derived from Old French Metaphore, which came from Latin Metaphora, meaning carrying over.

Allegory is a word that has been derived from Latin Allegoria, meaning figurative or veiled language.

A metaphor is a figure of speech wherein an unfamiliar subject is described using an attribute of a familiar subject.

An allegory is a narrative in which a component, such as a character or setting, is representative of a particular value or underlying idea.

"William Golding's Lord of the Flies is a highly symbolic novel, and he uses both metaphor and allegory to make his point." - Lori Steinbach

Metaphorical allegory is an extended comparison of seemingly unrelated objects or actions composed upon a phrasal metaphorical foundational plinth using both metaphor and allegory interwoven into a complex spider's web.

The final result can be either the chaotic haphazard helter-skelter any-old-which-way irregular overdone hit-or-miss reckless slipshod web woven by a Black Widow playing a red violin, comparable to pulp fiction belonging in the trash bin of non-recyclables, or the fine re-usable weave of a Cross Orbweaver who bears the Cross for all to see while hanging out and rolling up her weaving, comparable to a fine leather-bound gold-leaf embossed timeless piece of literature that is faithfully returned time after time to its cradle between old friends on a shelf behind beveled crystal glass.

Signs, Symbols, Metaphors & Allegory

"Metaphor is not merely a matter of language. It is a matter of conceptual structure. And conceptual structure is not merely a matter of the intellect - it involves all the natural dimensions of our experience, including aspects of our sense experiences: color, shape, texture, sound, etc. These dimensions structure not only mundane experience but aesthetic experience as well."- George Lakeoff & Mark Johnson

light as a metaphor

metaphorical morality

Modes of metaphorical conceptualization cross cultural boundaries as the feeling of well being.

If the same forms of well-being are widespread around the world, we expect the same metaphors for morality to show up in culture after culture - and they do.

A system of metaphors for morality as a whole is far from arbitrary.

All humans fear the dark as stubbing your toe in the dark is evil while being able to see where you are going is good.

Better to walk upright like a man than to slump like a chimp - moral men are on the up and up, they stand up and are upstanding.

Immoral men do low things, are underhanded, are snakes in the grass.

To do evil is to fall, to descend. To do good is to ascend.

To climb is to ascend with support - repaid or not - as in lizards on the apex of the ponzi pyramid climbed over the investors backs.

A moral person is strong; an immoral person is weak.

Some people have a "heart of gold", "do not have a mean bone in their body" while others are "rotten to the core".

Anger trumps fear creating courage to stand up to immorality.

We speak of a "degenerate" person, the "erosion" of moral standards, the "crumbling" of moral values, the "rupture" or "tearing" of the moral fabric.

Moral Wholeness: Wholeness entails an overall unity of form that contributes to strength. Thus moral wholeness is attendant to moral strength.

wisdom is a danger to society

unique library index

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