Monday, May 15, 2017

Metaphor as illusion


I've been thinking about metaphors lately. I love them. 
The world is filled with metaphors. Speech and text are metaphors for objects or emotions. When I write 'cup', obviously there's no cup there. Cup represents an object in the world. 
(stay with me here, I'll be getting to my point soon).
The same with photos and movies. The images aren't the things themselves, they represent something in the outside world. Duh. 
Chess is a metaphor for war. Monopoly for business. All games are metaphors.

Tools are metaphors. A rifle is a metaphor for our teeth, a table for our lap, a knife for our nails, a hammer for a fist, adding machines for fingers, binoculars for eyes and on and on. 
Harry, my ventriloquial dummy is a metaphor for a boy. He's also a metaphor for impishness, irreverence and questioning authority. 

In Understanding Media, Marshal McCluhan talks about content and the medium that conveys it. It's the medium that changes society, not the content emanating from the medium. So first there was the stage, then movies, then radio, then TV and now computers. The content he says, stays the same, it's the technology that effects us. The technology (or medium) isn't the metaphor, the content is. 

Thoughts are metaphors (all right, I'm getting closer).  When we have a thought of a cup, it is NOT the cup. It's a neuron firing reflecting something that our visual sense picked up in the past and is now reminding us of. So the medium of our ego is the mind, the content are our thoughts. But because thoughts are metaphors, they're  illusions. (Bingo!) 
The mind is the medium, the content are our thoughts. And so, it's all an illusion, until we get past our thoughts and see the mind itself or as the great Tibetan scholar, Herbert Guenther put it, mind as such. More about this later. 

No comments:

Post a Comment