myth : metaphor
"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
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
That is literally what is being
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.
simply eliminated that as a physical
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
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.
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
The word "Buddha" means "the one who woke up."
are all to do that! Find
wake up to the Buddha or
Christ consciousness within
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.
metaphor in Christianity that corresponds to
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
Sin in this sense is
simply a limiting factor that limits your consciousness and
fixes it in an inadequate
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
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.
prophets and what in
India are called the "rishis" are said to have
'heard' the scriptures.
sacred sound of Ohm.
Now anybody might open his eyes and ears, but
not everyone has the capacity actually to hear the scriptures.
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
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,
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
what I had always wanted to say but didn't know how to say it!'
adapted from Joseph Campbell
Metaphor is a word derived from
Old French Metaphore, which came from Latin Metaphora, meaning carrying
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.
"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
Modes of metaphorical conceptualization cross
cultural boundaries as the feeling of
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
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
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
Some people have a "heart of gold", "do not have a mean
bone in their body" while others are "rotten to the core".
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
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