There's More to Life Than Knitting!

Join Suna as she stops knitting long enough to ponder her life, share her joys and concerns, and comment on the goings on in the world.
You are very welcome here, so feel free to comment and contribute!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

More on Metaphor

Since I haven't really said too much about myself in this blog, you wouldn't know I spent many years studying linguistics. I specialized in pragmatics (Japanese women's speech to be specific, but whoa have I stopped thinking about THAT for close to 20 years). I always admired the work of George Lakoff, at Berkeley. I am happy to find that I am still admiring his work today, especially now that he is taking is work on metaphor and applying it to US politics. I am finding it also applicable to situations in the organization I work for, which is really fun.

His work also dovetails interestingly into spiritual things--and it was interesting to read a review of a book by Lakoff (Moral Politics) in the most recent edition of UU World, the magazine for members of the Unitarian Universalist church. It talks about how he perceives the conservative and progressive movements in the US as both basing their metaphorical frames on parenting models. The difference is that the conservative movement uses the "strict father" metaphor (the same one used in many religious organizations today), while the progressive movement uses what he calls the "nurturant parent family" (and what the people I hang around with would call "attachment parenting"). I can easily apply this to two factions in the organization I work with, as well--especially in the frustrating fact that the two different "frames" make it really hard to understand each other because their views of common sense diverge:
"Contemporary American politics is about worldview. Conservatives simply see the world differently than to libarals, and both have a difficult time understanding accurately what the other's worldview is."

I think this really hits on the big problem: we can't understand each other because we don't understand the underlying basis for our disagreements. It takes a lot of talking and listening to get to that point, and we'll never get there if either side refuses to participate.

Other good reading: Don't Think of an Elephant, by George Lakoff. This is a really short book about the elections of last year, but it makes points that are still applicable today and will be for a long time. And they also apply to other things in US culture, and world culture as well.

No comments: