Is anything not a metaphor?

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30 Nov 2015 22:06 #211074 by Proteus
Replied by Proteus on topic Is anything not a metaphor?
"Metaphor" was the term I used probably a bit loosely, as a means to say "a way of speaking and interpreting ideas and experiences around us by using a handle (a word, an object, etc) that points to something else for which is it's parent nature of purpose or existence. The word "pen" is not the pen. But the table in my room as I look at it, is not even that. What I see is my perception interpreting wave-lengths of color and energy frequencies of its energy, as its shape and other attributes of it which my interpretation uses to recognize by those attributes what it is for. (If that makes any sense at all?)

Everything seems to point to something else as its parent nature, in a nested list that goes up and up into what is essentially no "root thing" at all.

It seems that I know that I know.
What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know.
- Alan Watts
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30 Nov 2015 22:19 #211078 by Khaos
Replied by Khaos on topic Is anything not a metaphor?

Proteus wrote: "Metaphor" was the term I used probably a bit loosely, as a means to say "a way of speaking and interpreting ideas and experiences around us by using a handle (a word, an object, etc) that points to something else for which is it's parent nature of purpose or existence. The word "pen" is not the pen. But the table in my room as I look at it, is not even that. What I see is my perception interpreting wave-lengths of color and energy frequencies of its energy, as its shape and other attributes of it which my interpretation uses to recognize by those attributes what it is for. (If that makes any sense at all?)

Everything seems to point to something else as its parent nature, in a nested list that goes up and up into what is essentially no "root thing" at all.


What value does this ultimately have to....well anything?

Hugs and Kisses.
~Khaos~

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30 Nov 2015 22:23 - 30 Nov 2015 22:26 #211081 by Khaos
Replied by Khaos on topic Is anything not a metaphor?

If we can permit a small expansion of the definition of metaphor from merely being a figure of speech to the reality that everything we sense is not literally applicable to the subject/object in question (e.g. colour, smell, touch), or at least the use of the word 'metaphor' as a metaphor, then we can perhaps we can begin to realise how shaky the ground beneath our feet is - metaphorically speaking of course!


Uh, thats a bit more than a small expansion on the definition.

Also, the ground is not shaky at all. You can break down a table to whatever words(as they are not metaphors, by any stretch) but if you walk into it, it will still hurt.

So that is literally applicable to what you have sensed(touched) the object/subject.

Im sorry, you have lost me in your attempt to make everything a metaphor.

So, ultimately, again, what is the value of this ..."understanding", of a metaphor?

Everythings nothing?

How does this matter in your day to day dealings?

Hugs and Kisses.
~Khaos~
Last edit: 30 Nov 2015 22:26 by Khaos.
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30 Nov 2015 23:33 #211098 by Loudzoo
Replied by Loudzoo on topic Is anything not a metaphor?
Thanks Khaos - no everything isn't nothing. Something that we call a 'table' exists - it just doesn't exist in the way we can be tempted to think it does, as my understanding of what Proteus wrote eludes to. Its hardness would not exist without the softness and sensitivity of my (bruised) leg - or anything else that is of a different hardness on the Mohs scale, that comes into contact with it. Now you mention it - physical pain is also fairly ephemeral, but that's a slightly different matter. Ask any dentist that removes wisdom teeth using hypnosis rather than anaesthetics (or a patient for that matter) - or watch a video, there are some on YouTube.

It's not really my attempt to make everything metaphor - others, much more considered than I, have been making the case for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The "shaky ground" was a metaphor - I hope we can agree on that. What we experience is never a wholly accurate view of reality.

Its late where I am but I'll attempt to answer the question on utility tomorrow. The usefulness of this concept is intimately linked to the pain and suffering that we experience, as many have argued before and as I understand it.

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01 Dec 2015 00:25 - 01 Dec 2015 00:29 #211111 by Adder
Replied by Adder on topic Is anything not a metaphor?
Perhaps a metaphor should be seen as a 'function' of distinct things. In which case nothing is a metaphor except the function for which it's structure defines it as a metaphor. Then it would be better to say anything can be part of, or used in, or serve as a metaphor.
So the more diverse the attributes held to any particular label (which are attributed to within that labels category of attributes), I guess the more widely it can be used functionally as a metaphor instead of its pure purpose as a label of its attributable parts!?
:silly:

So perhaps a deeper metaphor has levels of metaphorical association, and a simple one is cute succinct. This could mean we could assess a metaphor for various qualities... but I'm not sure why. I think they are intended to mean something useful, to facilitate understanding and so in that regard perhaps intended to serve as only a fraction of the communication to orientate someones ignorance about something in familiar terms so further information can be provided to inform in more detail.
:S
A familiarization and orientation tool, like a 'handshake'!?

Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med
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Last edit: 01 Dec 2015 00:29 by Adder.
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01 Dec 2015 10:33 #211194 by Gisteron
Maybe you should look up what "literally" means...
Also, if all language is a metaphor, none of it is. The word metaphor refers to a specific stylistic tool, not to all of language. We do have a word that refers to all of language. It's "language". We also have one that refers to all words. It's "words".
Now, of course, words don't have meanings, they have usages. And you are free to define metaphor as whatever you wish at any time you like, but if we are going to twist our definitions to whatever idea we like to convey, questions of whether something is or isn't a metaphor become meaningless, because any sufficiently specific definition is enough to settle the discussion. If I am free to define cucumbers as members of the set of solid objects, my question whether aeroplanes aren't really just another type of cucumber becomes completely pointless because what ever anybody thinks on that, my freedom to redefine the words will always lead me to conclude one answer over the other and in that sense I don't even need to discuss the question first.

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01 Dec 2015 13:02 - 01 Dec 2015 13:19 #211204 by Loudzoo
Replied by Loudzoo on topic Is anything not a metaphor?
Literally is an interesting word. Definitions of literally:
1) using the real or original meaning of a word or phrase
They were responsible for literally millions of deaths.
We live literally just round the corner from her.

2) If you translate literally, you translate each word in a text separately, without looking at how the words are used together in a phrase or sentence:
Translations that are done too literally often don't flow well or don't sound natural.
3) informal used to emphasize what you are saying:
He missed that kick literally by miles.
I was literally bowled over by the news.

4) informal simply or just:
Then you literally cut the sausage down the middle.

Literally can mean ‘the original meaning’ or an exaggerated meaning. Or I could even say "You're taking the definition of metaphor too literally" :P

In any case, Gisteron, I think you’ve missed the fact that language is self-referential. Yes, on the first iteration a metaphor can refer to a specific stylistic tool but hopefully it’s not too much of a stretch to realise that the whole of language is precisely that type of stylistic tool, also. You can choose not to see it like that if you want but it’s hardly following the meaning of the word to its logical end. If all language is metaphor it doesn't bankrupt its utility, but to suggest that some words are metaphorical and some aren’t is to draw imaginary distinctions that don’t actually exist – in my opinion.

It maybe that we have to leave this at a level of I agree with Nietzche (on this point of all language being metaphor) and you don’t. That’s fine by me, I’m not trying to sell anything here. I hope we don't leave it there as it’s nothing, if not an interesting discussion :)

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Before the truth will set you free, it'll piss you off (MANTRA ~ Bring Me the Horizon)
Last edit: 01 Dec 2015 13:19 by Loudzoo.

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01 Dec 2015 13:11 #211207 by Khaos
Replied by Khaos on topic Is anything not a metaphor?
Except its not interesting, I simply have no idea what your trying to convey....At all.

If your simply going to "exaggerate" things then there is no real conversation to be had.

What we experience is never a wholly accurate view of reality....Ok, but you have in no way laid out why this "Is anything not a metaphor" is a useful concept in that regard.

Still, it seems that any attempt to understand is simply exaggerated to fit a square peg into a round hole rather than actually addressing the concerns and points brought up that may not jive with the concept put forth.

Not only is that not interesting, but in assures that it will go nowhere in real understanding.

Hugs and Kisses.
~Khaos~

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01 Dec 2015 13:16 #211209 by Loudzoo
Replied by Loudzoo on topic Is anything not a metaphor?
Why might it be helpful to recognise everything we experience as metaphor?

I think we’ve established that the definition of metaphor requires it to be a figure of speech. I’d argue it’s also perfectly valid to use the word ‘metaphor’ as a metaphor in the sentence “everything we experience is metaphor”. It’s a metaphor to address the fact that what we experience of the world, via our senses, is not the whole story, and not solely dependent on the properties of the ‘object’ we’re interacting with. As far as I’m aware there is no English word that adequately describes this phenomenon so it is perfectly valid to try and describe it, using the word ‘metaphor’ as a metaphor.

What we see, touch, hear and taste is not solely due to the intrinsic nature of the object we’re sensing. The information that we glean about anything has as much to do with the nature of our sensory apparatus and cognitive processing as it has to do with the object we are sensing, itself. The object does exist but it does not exist independently of the interaction, as far as we can ever know.

It’s the interaction we experience, not an isolated object or set of objects.

People are free to believe that objects do exist independently of each other - but we can never prove that they do. The idea of independently existing objects is just a hypothesis. As David Bohm wrote in his book Quantum Theory:
“ . . . the world cannot be analysed correctly into distinct parts; instead it must be regarded as an indivisible unit in which separate parts appear as valid approximations only in the classical limit . . . thus, at a quantum level of accuracy, an object does not have any “intrinsic” properties belonging to itself alone; instead it shares all its properties mutually and indivisibly with the systems with which it interacts . . . Although such fluidity and dependence of form on the environment have not been found, before the advent of quantum theory, at the level of elementary particles they are not uncommon in fields such as biology, which deal with complex systems.”

So the way we commonly see the world – as being made up of distinct independent objects is not supported by scientific fields such as biology, ecology or quantum theory. There is an argument often put forward that quantum theory doesn’t apply on the macro (or classical) scale of our experience. I find this argument unconvincing. Our experience of solidity day to day is explained by quantum theory – indeed it’s the only good theory we have to explain it.

This pre-amble is important because hopefully it begins to sketch a picture that our perception of reality – is not an objective reality. Indeed we can never know an objective reality – it may exist but we can never know it. Our experience is a kind of language with which we can comprehend our interactions – but only in a metaphorical like manner.

I hope that idea is not too offensive.

Clearly the ‘regular’ way of seeing the world is helpful in many ways. But if solely relied on it can lead to many delusions that are literally figments of our imagination, and literally do not exist other than in our minds. Personally I’m keen to understand what aspects of my experience are worth my limited attention and emotional bandwidth. Understanding my experiences as metaphors for what may, or may not, be actually going on might help take some of the sting out of them, make them less painful without reducing my awareness of them, allowing me to respond in more constructive ways than might otherwise be the case. I can expand on this further if you would like.

Lastly, I don't see these [two] viewpoints as being mutually exclusive, or the sum total of the perspectives we can have. I find both viewpoints helpful in my day to day life.

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