Mindful metaphors

Human thought and language are both inherently metaphoric.

Which means we never see or describe reality just as it is.

Hence a paradox.

Our metaphors matter because they determine what we can see and the meanings we can then make.

And at the same time, no word, perception, or thought is ever fully true. So we can’t take them at face value.

The secret to being miserable and/or unsuccessful is to believe your own thinking.

Although we can’t get by without words, thoughts, and perceptions, we can be mindful of our relationships to them. We can create traps where our ideas can be iteratively challenged.

We can also deliberately cultivate a bit of cognitive flexibility, by toggling between the modes of:

  • Seeing reality simplistically in terms of things and stories (the default mode of the intellect)
  • Appreciating inter-relationships and complexity (the default mode of the heart)
  • Opening up to wordless knowledge and unknowability (the default mode of the body)

Cultivating all three ways of seeing can enrich our language and our lives, and help others do the same.

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