Metaphors we live by


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Introduction to power of metaphoric language in promoting community engagement

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  • PAIRS He rises early in the morning. He dropped off to sleep He’s climbing the ladder. He is at the bottom of the social hierarchy I am on top of the situation She is under my control If you work hard you will get ahead The lazy will always fail to succeed In some cultures balance, centeredness, and sharing are priority values
  • PAIRS More is Better More is up Buy the big car and don’t worry about the future His income rose Good is up He does high-quality work She’ll rise to the top LESS IS BETTER? Trappist monks, Quakers, Mennonites The future will be better The future is up Incomes will rise in the future Good is up Virtue will be rewarded THE FUTURE WILL BE WORSE?
  • This is why more is better and less is better conflict – and we tend to assume everyone thinks like we do
  • Let’s talk through this first example. Notice the words in italics
  • This is not a metaphor that would be accepted in all cultures – e.g. Asian, Native American – if a relatively new idea in hum history. Goes with western materialistic capitalist economy
  • Difference between machine and object vulnerable to breaking Cognitive and affective emphasis in schools
  • Metaphors we live by

    1. 1. METAPHORS WE LIVE BY EAF 587 COMMUNITY RELATIONS Linda L. Lyman, Ph.D. Professor
    2. 2. Concepts <ul><li>Our concepts structure: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What we perceive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How we get around in the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How we relate to other people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How we create the world of school </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Our conceptual system thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities </li></ul>
    3. 3. An Illustration <ul><li>Most of our fundamental concepts are organized in terms of one or more spatial metaphors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Active is up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Passive is down </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not all cultures give the priorities we do to up-down orientation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications? </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Other Examples <ul><li>More is better </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More is up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good is up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But not, “Less is better” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The future will be better </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The future is up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good is up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But not, “The future will be worse” </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Metaphors <ul><li>Human thought processes are largely metaphorical </li></ul><ul><li>The human conceptual system is metaphorically structured and defined </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamental values in a culture will be coherent with the metaphorical structure of the most fundamental concepts in the culture </li></ul>
    6. 6. Example 1 <ul><li>Concept = Argument </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphor = Argument is war </li></ul><ul><li>Type = Structural </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for relationships? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for schools? </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Alternative Metaphor <ul><li>The argument was balanced </li></ul><ul><li>The participants took turns </li></ul><ul><li>Each point of view unfolded through a series of steps </li></ul><ul><li>Each point of view was engaging and gracefully presented </li></ul><ul><li>The dialogue ended with an </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>unexpected turn </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 8. What did you hear? <ul><li>Concept = Argument </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphor = Argument is a dance </li></ul><ul><li>Type = Structural </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for relationships? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for schools? </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Example 2 <ul><li>Concept = Love </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphor = Love is a journey </li></ul><ul><li>Type = Structural </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for relationships? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for schools? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does “the journey is love” differ? </li></ul>
    10. 10. Alternative Metaphor <ul><li>Love is a collaborative work of art </li></ul><ul><li>Type – Unconventional </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for relationships? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for schools? </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Example 3 <ul><li>Concept = Time </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphor = Time is money. </li></ul><ul><li>Type = Cultural System/Commodity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for the culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for relationships? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for schools? </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Alternative Metaphor <ul><li>Time stands still. </li></ul><ul><li>Type = Personification/What happens when we experience what Greeks called kairos time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for relationships? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for schools? </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Example 4 <ul><li>Concept = Mind </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphor = Mind is a machine </li></ul><ul><li>Type = Ontological </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for relationships? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for schools? </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Alternative Metaphor <ul><li>Her ego is very fragile </li></ul><ul><li>You have to handle him with care </li></ul><ul><li>He broke under cross-examination </li></ul><ul><li>She is easily crushed </li></ul><ul><li>The experience shattered him </li></ul><ul><li>His mind snapped </li></ul><ul><li>I am going to pieces </li></ul>
    15. 15. What did you hear? <ul><li>Concept = Mind </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphor = Mind is a brittle object </li></ul><ul><li>Type = Ontological </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for culture? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implications for schools? </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Self-Understanding <ul><li>Develop an awareness of metaphors we live by </li></ul><ul><li>Metaphors have an experiential basis </li></ul><ul><li>Seek experiences that can develop alternative metaphors </li></ul><ul><li>Experience alternative metaphors as signs of cognitive flexibility and keys to empathy </li></ul>
    17. 17. Ritual <ul><li>Metaphors we live by are partially preserved in ritual </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural metaphors are taught through ritual </li></ul><ul><li>There can be no culture without metaphors and ritual </li></ul><ul><li>Choose metaphors and rituals carefully </li></ul>
    18. 18. Summary <ul><li>We are normally not aware of our conceptual systems or mental models </li></ul><ul><li>We act according to the way we conceive of things </li></ul><ul><li>Our language is evidence of our conceptual systems </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership requires paying attention to language, especially to metaphors </li></ul>