myth : metaphor
In conceptualizing metaphor, a
mechanism for using inference
language from a source domain to
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
"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
In sacred text
metaphors are used to reference
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
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.
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 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
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.
are all manifestations of Buddha
consciousness, or Christ
The word "Buddha" means "the one who woke up."
are all to do that! Find
wake up to the Buddha or
This is blasphemy to
Christians that take the Bible literally, but it is
the very essence of Christian
gnosticism and of the Gospel of
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 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
The reincarnation idea is
not that you and I, as the personalities that we are,
will be reincarnated.
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.
The sacred sound of Ohm.
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.
understood myth is grounded in subconscious
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
Since the 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!'
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
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
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
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