Metaphors

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Happiness is not a possession to be prized. It is a quality of thought, a state of mind.
Daphne Du Maurier
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Universal history is the history of a few metaphors. ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Quotes about metaphors.

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Everything which distinguishes man from the animals depends upon this ability to volatilize perceptual metaphors in a schema, and thus to dissolve an image into a concept. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

[[Image:Caspar David Friedrich 032.jpg|144px|thumb|right|The drive toward the formation of metaphors is the fundamental human drive, which one cannot for a single instant dispense with in thought, for one would thereby dispense with man himself. ~

  • Universal history is the history of a few metaphors.
  • The progress of science requires more than new data; it needs novel frameworks and contexts. And where do these fundamentally new views of the world arise? They are not simply discovered by pure observation; they require new modes of thought. And where can we find them, if old modes do not even include the right metaphors? The nature of true genius must lie in the elusive capacity to construct these new modes from apparent darkness. The basic chanciness and unpredictability of science must also reside in the inherent difficulty of such a task.
    • Stephen Jay Gould in "False Premise, Good Science", in The Flamingo's Smile (1985) p. 138
  • We often think, naïvely, that missing data are the primary impediments to intellectual progress — just find the right facts and all problems will dissipate. But barriers are often deeper and more abstract in thought. We must have access to the right metaphor, not only to the requisite information. Revolutionary thinkers are not, primarily, gatherers of facts, but weavers of new intellectual structures.
    • Stephen Jay Gould in "For Want of a Metaphor", in The Flamingo's Smile (1985) p. 151
  • The facts of nature are what they are, but we can only view them through the spectacles of our mind. Our mind works largely by metaphor and comparison, not always (or often) by relentless logic. When we are caught in conceptual traps, the best exit is often a change in metaphor — not because the new guideline will be truer to nature (for neither the old nor the new metaphor lies “out there” in the woods), but because we need a shift to more fruitful perspectives, and metaphor is often the best agent of conceptual transition.
  • Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what is called the real world. It is built up with a vocabulary or lexical field whose terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical world.
    • Julian Jaynes, in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976)
  • The divine kingdom to be regained is psychological not physical. It is metaphorical not literal. It is "within" not in extenso.
    • Julian Jaynes, in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976)
  • We do not think good metaphors are anything very important, but I think that a good metaphor is something even the police should keep an eye on.
  • We believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things — metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.
  • What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions — they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins.
  • The metaphor is perhaps one of man's most fruitful potentialities. Its efficacy verges on magic, and it seems a tool for creation which God forgot inside one of His creatures when He made him.

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