Monday, January 4, 2010

Change Your Conceptual Metaphor Change Your Life

Metaphor has the power to shake you up or rock your world or _________ (insert metaphor here). It’s a great tool in literature. It helps make something more meaningful and real to the reader.

Let me show you what I mean. Below is a line of a poem that is written literally.

“I love him so much.”

We understand it, but do we feel it? Do we really understand what the poet means by “so much”?
Let’s transform this line:

“My love for him boils over.”

Not great poetry, but now we see and have a sense of what the poet is really feeling. We understand now what they mean by “so much”. We feel the heat and how overwhelmed by emotion the poet is.

Metaphor not only makes better literature, it can make for a better life. This tool is how we understand our world. How else can we communicate the unseen?

We associate love with a warm feeling because as a baby we were embraced in the warmth of our mother’s arms. From this stems metaphors like “burning love”. The unconscious conceptual metaphor of “love is warmth” translates into many of our conscious metaphors like "you give me a warm feeling".

Not only are these conceptual metaphors hard wired some are also cultural like “time is money”. Though we may consciously say this we take its meaning to heart, it is deeply imbedded into the collective unconscious. This particular one is so powerful that it has taken over our way of perceiving the world in the past few centuries. How’s that for rocking your world.

Know the power of metaphor. Use it to make a better poem. And really know the power of conceptual metaphor. Dig into your unconscious mind for them and see what rules your world. If you don’t like what you see all you need to do is change it. Come up with some new metaphors for your life in 2010. See what kind of life and art you can create in the coming year.

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