Metaphors We Live By Essay examples

954 Words4 Pages
Metaphors We Live By In Metaphors We Live By, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson give the following definition: “The essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another” (5). An obvious focal point of Metaphors We Live By, and the idea this essay will attempt to further explicate, is the notion that the title implies: we live by certain dominant metaphors. Some of the most universal concepts in our species, culture, and language are not only talked about, but also thought about, in metaphorical terms. The concept love, for example, is structured mostly in metaphorical terms: love is a journey, love is a patient, love is a physical force, love is madness, love is war, etc. The concept of…show more content…
First, experiences themselves are ways of understanding complex emotions, controversies, and other innate human feelings. In an attempt to understand these experiences, we employ language. But then, the chain repeats as we search for ways of understanding our language. The metaphor, frequently used to render language more accessible, in fact, loops us back to the beginning of the chain: we again use experience as a means of understanding. Essentially, this complex process of understanding our most basic human feelings is circular—with metaphor providing the crucial link that closes the circle. Because these metaphors are central to the ways we understand our lives, the book gets its title. Expressions like wasting time, attacking positions, going our separate ways, etc., are reflections of systematic metaphorical concepts that structure our actions and thoughts. They are “alive” in the most fundamental sense: they are metaphors we live by. The fact that they are conventionally fixed within the lexicon of English makes them no less alive. (55) As an integral part of our everyday language, used even when we do not even realize we are using them, these metaphors structure our common, daily thought, speech, and action, further reinforcing the idea that they create a circular process of understanding experience. The metaphors shape the way we experience something, but the experience itself must, at some level, influence the metaphor we use to comprehend
Open Document