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Thread: Metaphor and Knowledge

  1. #1 Metaphor and Knowledge 
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    Metaphor and Knowledge

    Understanding any poem requires knowledge. The following poem is from the Sanskrit tradition:

    Neighbor please/ keep an eye on my house/ my husband says the water from the well/ is tasteless/ so even when I’m alone/ I have to go into the forest/ where the Tamala trees/ shade the river bank/ and maybe the thick reeds/ will leave marks on my body.

    Comprehending this poem requires the reader to know such things as—passionate sexual activity can leave marks on the body—in India at the time of the poem illicit sexual rendezvous often took place in the tall reeds of the river bank.

    Such knowledge would be required to understand a similar poem:

    There where the reeds are tall/ is the best place to cross the river/ she told the traveler/ with her eye on him.

    Take your average metaphor; it too requires knowledge to comprehend. Your average metaphor has a source domain containing knowledge and a target domain to which that knowledge is mapped.

    LIFE AS A JOURNEY is a metaphor describing our knowledge of journeys, which is used to help us comprehend the problem of living in our society. This metaphor helps us comprehend both consciously and primarily unconsciously that there is a correspondence between a traveler and a person engaged in the mundane and also important aspects of living, i.e. the road traveled, the directions taken, the starting point, the destination, etc.

    The reason that this form of knowledge is so powerful is because a whole lifetime of learning about journeys can be at our beck and call as we navigate life’s hazards. All of this need not be relearned at each of life’s crossroads. Purposes in life can be understood as destinations.

    Similar metaphors that come to our aid:
    LIFE IS A BURDEN
    LIFE IS DAY
    LIFE IS A FIRE
    LIFE IS A PLAY
    LIFE IS A POSSESSION

    We can see that the power to reason about living very largely comes through metaphor and basic schemas. Once we learn a schema we need not relearn it each time we need it. “It becomes conventionalized and as such is used automatically, effortlessly, and even unconsciously…Similarly, once we learn a conceptual metaphor, it too is just there, conventionalized, a ready and powerful conceptual tool…The things most alive in our conceptual system are those things that we use constantly, unconsciously, and automatically.”

    Quotes from “More Than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor” by Lakoff and Turner.


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  3. #2  
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    Thanks for that Coberst, i agree (which i often do with you)

    Metaphors are very powerful and form our beliefs and our beliefs form our quality of life

    If I think that life is a burden...
    Then so it shall be because every task i have to do becomes exactly that!

    One of the most important lesson in Buddhism is mindfulness in daily life.

    This mindfulness increases awareness of our thought and especially the metaphors and beliefs we use to get through the day. It also teaches you how these ideas and beliefs are the rudder which steers us in what we do and where we are going through our reactions.
    What is actually happening is a subliminal form of self hypnosis which modifies our behaviour depending on what that interior voice is telling us.
    It has been said that most of us go through our waking life as if asleep, but this sleep comes from not being aware of what our inner voice is telling us. Without control this voice can pick up negativity very easily which then taints the rest of our outlook and lives.

    Conscious effort is required to teach the inner voice to provide beneficial ideas, beliefs and metaphors which will take us to where we want to go and be the type of person we want to be.

    When i first practiced mindfulness i was shocked at the amount of metaphors and beliefs i was using that were actually hindering and harming me and the realisation that such thoughts actually bring misfortune by attraction.

    I truly think that their is some kind of energy in the universe which we use through our thoughts which brings experiences to us. I think this force is benevolent in giving you what you ask for. It is us humans and our lack of awareness in how powerful our thoughts really are that make the mistake of thinking the wrong type of thoughts that bring us exactly what we don't want.

    We blame it on life or lady luck or mis-fortune as if we were passive victims with no choice.
    But we do have a choice.
    One of the biggest favours I ever did myself was spending time being mindful and aware. It's like becoming a watcher in yourself and simply observing the thoughts and ideas that pop up and more importantly how you react to things.

    Only when you're aware of how powerful and how important your thoughts are that you realise you can train yourself to change them and then things will really start changing for the better and quite suddenly instead of life being a burden, hard work and a drag with misfortune following you, it starts to become easy fun enjoyable and you start getting what you want.

    This is exactly what magic sets out to achieve.

    It is very difficult to change ideas and beliefs once you've been using them so long, like any habit, but it is not impossible.

    What's needed is repetition and raising inner pressure by fixing an idea with an emotion.

    It's an interesting exercise that when you begin to observe yourself and you discover your beliefs and metaphors, try tracing them back to where they began. What made you think like that?
    You will often find that such a belief probably came from either a distressing period in your life or even an ecstatic one.
    But the thing you will discover that strong beliefs form when they are attached to an emotion.

    Magical practice and exercises such as ritual are an act which raises inner pressure and invokes emotion. The best and most highest type of emotion is of course love.This can be done by reciting a poem which you find emotive, or thinking about loved ones, or even playing a song. Anything which 'moves you' and makes your hair prickle works. (you don't need a circle or alter or paraphenalia or a goddamn guru to perform a ritual and make magic happen!)
    The new thought or metaphor that you want to form e.g the world is a wonderful place, or life is not a burden etc should then be repeated during the experience of this emotion.

    This should be repeated as much as possible. Another good way is of course visualization and imagining that life is NOT burden.
    When negative thoughts pop into your head just blow them away and don't give them any attention. Block it with the positive thought you want to acquire in it's place.
    I tend to imagine putting negative thoughts as being trapped inside a bubble (because i think that's what they do to me if i let them!) and i blow them away into the distant horizon.

    This is a form of self-hypnosis of course, just like forming bad habits and continually saying to yourself throughout the day that the world is a burden etc. The difference here is that the person who keep saying life is crap and a burden is unaware of the harm they are actually doing to themselves and their life with this self-fulfilling prophecy!
    They are stuck in a rut and of course life will be a burden if you think it to be so!

    The difference here with magic is that the 'magician' knows that a thought powerfully creates individual reality and therefore uses this force to his or her own ends by using the will to create better thoughts and improve life.

    So this idea of do our thoughts, beliefs and metaphors make our reality and affect external reality?

    YES very much so, and the sooner anyone realises this and does something about it is the biggest favour they will ever give themselves in their life.


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