The hidden fact playing with metaphors to reframe the domains of meaning
Edgardo Morales Ed.D
Mary Gergen, Ph. D
Play with purpose: relational and
performative practices in everyday
“This is the greatest triumph of technical
skill in novel writing: to achieve invisibility,
the ability to endow a story with color,
drama, subtlety, beauty and suggestive
power so effectively that no reader even
notices that the narrative exists…he feels he
is not reading but rather “living” the story…”
All narrative is inevitably incomplete, if one was to tell
a whole story it would never end, for all stories are
It means narrating through "an extraordinary explicit
silence", through pauses and through the information
that is left out.
It actives the readers curiosity and imagination.
The reader is required to fill his own blanks and provide his or
her own meaning to what is being told.
The reader may be asked to question, provide an answer or
invent a solution to decipher the meaning of the story.
“The essence of Metaphor is understanding
and experiencing one thing in terms of
another” (Lakoff &Johnson)
It implies relating to one domain of
experience, in terms of another domain.
All metaphors imply an omission
They are relationally constructed and
In inviting us to think or experience one
thing in terms of another, we miss
alternate possibilities of meaning
Life is not really a bowl of cherries
Genes are not “selfish”
We don’t really “save” time
Relationships are not really “sick”
These ideas will not really be “food” for
And meanings are not really “constructed”
They can enable a “standing a part” from a situation
They can help us to connect and relationally engage
They can serve to provoke and shock, pose questions
and introduce and sometimes answer dilemmas.
They can facilitate the co creation of new meanings
and the affirmation of forgotten, or alternate
Metaphors can be explicit, but they don’t
have to be.
They may be linguistically delivered and
performed in the form of an analogy or a
They can also be part of a performance as
what we can call living metaphors.
We can move from one domain to another
How is this like learning to dance?
How is what’s happening like an acid trip?
How is this, like I eating a warm chocolate meting cake
How is what’s occurring like Alice inWonderland?
How is this like the “real story” of Hansel and Gretel?
How is this like the movie Kick Ass?What would “Hit Girl” really
How is this situation like a beauty parlor, like gardening or like
an emergency room?
Dramatically, through performance we play with
We are and we are not in this space
We are and are not in this time
We are and are not in this identity or in this role
We are and we’re not of this age
And this activity is and is not what we call it
Performance for play??????
Everyday experiences, stories, and
anecdotes can be a rich source for
generating transformative metaphors.
We can pay attention to the way metaphors
are “languaged” in the everyday experience
of people we work or relate with.
People often provide “obvious” metaphors.
“This is a prison”. “This is like an emergency
If this situation was a metaphor, what would
it be a metaphor of?
How can I use this (image, situation or
analogy)? What could it be useful for?
How can it serve to connect, shock,
question, or surprise?
In what context would it be useful?
Maintain a relational connection
Begin to improvise and perform
Let the response and involvement of your
audience guide your performance of the
Allow meanings to be c0-constructed
(Remember an explicit moral or teaching or
explanation is not required.)
What does it tell us about the situation, that may
not be initially apparent?
What meanings does it generate?
Where does it take us as an audience?
If the characters in the story heard it, in what
direction would it take them?
Would anything “old” be interrupted?
Could anything new be generated and co-created?