September 29, 2012

Metaphors We Live By

Lackoff and Johnson’s, “Metaphors We Live By” made me realize a lot more about metaphors that I would never pay attention to. Knowing what metaphor meant, I never really bothered to actually break down its concept. Do we really use metaphors to make life more understanding and descriptive or do we actually live through life metaphorically? Yes metaphors have a way of making life more charismatic but they also structure our perceptions and understandings. A metaphor isn’t merely a thought or action but the structure and arrangement of words. Life most people, I myself too thought, that metaphors were just chosen whenever an individual cared to use metaphors. However, that is not the case- in fact we use metaphors in everyday life through our thoughts and our actions. The concepts that go through our thought are not just matters of intellect, they are also what helps us function through our daily lives. As human beings our minds work by how we perceive things, how we think and what we do. Which is exactly what a metaphor does to make us think act this way.

Lackoff and Johnson use the metaphor, “Argument is War” as an example. This metaphor is used in common everyday language where we as speakers fail to notice. “He attacked every weak point in my argument.” I initially thought the reason this was a metaphor was because a man cannot physically “attack” and argument since attacking is a physical thing to do and an argument is made up of words. “Though there is no physical battler, there is no verbal battle, and the structure of the argument – attack, defense, counter-attack, etc—reflect this.” Another point that was made by the authors was that Argument and War are two completely different actions, one being a verbal discourse and the other an armed conflict. Although they are both entirely different they both complement each other. “Argument is partially structured, understood, performed, and talked about in terms of War.”


Shanae Simon said...

I find it interesting that we use metaphors whenever we are not intentionally trying to do so. I think our minds do a lot of things without us consciously knowing. For example, when we sleep we do not know what our mind is thinking about and even through dreams, we do not know how our mind came to these thoughts. It can be argued that metaphors is a way mankind comes to "structure our perceptions and understandings" as you said. I like the "argument is war" metaphor because it does show how the mind understands war. War can be a literal war or a metaphorical war. I do not feel that our mind only functions through metaphors, but metaphors are a way for our mind to understand different concepts.

Drea Fetchik said...

I just thought of this will reading your post but i find it interesting that we have to use what we are talking about to describe it. For example in the Lakoff article to explain metaphors and arguments they used metaphors and arguments.
Interesting how you think that these mental pathways make us who we, i wonder why we have to process things like that? Do animals... they probably do to some extent? I guess things are really in the eye of the beholder, and this article is a good example

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