Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How it Shapes the Way We See the World, by James Geary. HarperCollins, 2011

I have always tended to think of metaphors as statements like “ran like the wind” or “raven haired”; statements that are obvious comparisons. Geary points out that metaphor goes far deeper in our language; stocks ‘climb’ despite not having limbs, time races by or crawls, a person or situation can be a ticking time bomb while having nothing to do with actual explosives. Metaphor is so ingrained in humans that we aren’t even aware of it. Metaphors help explain the world to us; new things are explained by comparing them to things we already know. Metaphors are so deeply ingrained in our brains that we can easily be manipulated by others using them; advertisers and politicians use them all the time. The book is very interesting; the man knows what he’s talking about if the gigantic bibliography tells us anything. Recommended if you are interested in learning about how your brain works and perhaps making you aware of how metaphors can ‘prime’ you to feel and act in certain ways.


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