Wednesday, October 28, 2009

metaphors

"The price of metaphor is eternal vigilance."
Norbert Weiner

Metaphor erodes as we are distanced from the cultural and chronological context of the original statement. The Bible is shackled so. This week I read Luke 6 and 7. The Father, The Son of Man, Elijah, Israel, Heaven all lie heavy on the page.

Perhaps erode is the wrong word. The metaphors have been "fine tuned" over the last two millenia. Knowledge of the fine tuning is essential yet forgotten. Never eating the soup to the bottom, we drink the broth and wonder why we're undernourished.

3 comments:

  1. The above post is not to be taken as Bible specific. Metaphors are perhaps our only means of describing the ineffable. We depend on them. Words fail us. Particularly in spritual matters words can become communal gum; its on everyones lips, everyone had a chew, but its devoid of flavour or even particularity. Words like god, faith, spirit, soul are preeminent in this category.

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  2. the gum thing made me think. like gum that you have forgotten you are chewing when you take a pause to taste it you realize you should have stopped chewing it some time ago and taken another piece. made even try a different kind?

    our stories are filled with metaphors throughout the ages and in some cases humans believed their understanding to be the one truth only to have reason come along and create a new explanation that humanity came to accept as the new truth.

    I believe an important consideration with the metaphor is the risk that our interpretation leads us to believe that our ideas are the best and therefore we need not investigate the world to better understand it or see its many angles and consider them with our historical teachings.

    Stone soup should be obvious as a story of sharing but if you grew up with and are surrounded by people who believe that stones do in fact have a power to enliven a soup, the transformative power of the story evaporates.

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  3. just to be clear, I am not implying you go around chewing old gum that you should have spit out. I was speaking generally of us all. ;-)

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