In their book Metaphors We Live By, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson talk extensively about how we conceptualize many everyday things metaphorically.
Taking a page out of the TentBlogger play-book, I’m gonna start a new series working through some of the insights of re-thinking our conceptual metaphors.
Most of my thoughts will come from this particular book, but there are a couple of others that have stimulated my thinking in this area, specifically, Steven Pinker’s The Stuff of Thought, and Vern Poythress’ In the Beginning – A God Centered Approach to Language.
In a way, this is a kind of sub-point in my thesis on watching movies Christianly, but like some of the other thoughts, it has a high applicability to other aspects of culture and social interaction.
To give you an idea how metaphorical reconsideration works, let’s look at a well known abstract concept: the argument.
I’ll expand on this more tomorrow, but for now, see if you can think what the dominant metaphor is at work in our conceptions of the argument. Because an argument is an abstraction it is thought of in concrete terms. I am thinking in terms of the idea “argument” not, a specific argument (like particular theological ones we tend to get into from time to time). We do this with other things, like for instance time, which in Western culture we conceptualize as money.
Something abstract (time) is thought of in concrete terms (money).
So, how do we conceptualize arguments, and how does that affect how we go about them?
Tomorrow, I’ll answer the question and show how it sheds some light on arguments that run through our culture and specifically through our churches, and even more specifically, in recent events in the evangelical world.