myth : metaphor
In conceptualizing metaphor, a
for using inference patterns
language from a source domain to
talk about another domain comes into play.
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."
"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 a individual, "You are a
nut," I am not suggesting that
I think the individual is
literally a nut.
"Nut" is a
The reference of the metaphor in religious traditions is to a
thought construct transcendent of
literal physical object.
you think that the metaphor is itself the reference, it would be like going to
a restaurant, asking for the menu, seeing beefsteak written there, and starting
to eat the menu.
Christ ascended to heaven.
That is literally what is being said.The denotation would appear to be that Christ
ascended into the
If that were really the intent of the message, then we have to
throw the message away, because there would have been no such place for Christ
to literally go.
that 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
ascending at the speed of light, Christ
would still be in the galaxy.
Astronomy and physics have simply
eliminated that as a literal,
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 that is
the Source of all things, the kingdom of
The images are an outward reflection of
an inner reality.
ascend with Christ we turn inward.
It is a metaphor of returning to
the Source, alpha and omega,
the fixation on the material behind and going to the dynamic
Source of Life.
story of Christ
ascending to heaven and the standard
way of thinking about the Christian religion, 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.
the Gospel of Thomas that was dug
up in Egypt in 1946, Christ says, "He who drinks from my mouth will become as
I am, and I shall be he."
Now, that is Buddhism.
We are all manifestations of
Buddha consciousness, or
Christ consciousness, only
we do not know it.
"Buddha" means "the one who
We are all to do that! Find
up to the Christ or Buddha
This is blasphemy in
literalist Christian thought,
but it is the very
essence of Christian gnosticism and of the
Gospel of Thomas.
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
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 monad is the
principal hero of Eastern myth.
monad 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 is what the
monad throws off.
monad 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 insubconscious 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
from what have been called the Muses - or, in
This is no fantasy, it is a fact.
inspiration comes from the
subconscious, and since
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.
So when one
hears the seer'sstory, 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
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
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 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
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.
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
Anger trumps fear creating courage to stand up to
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
back to stacks
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