Each of my efforts to write about George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By uncannily comprises a demonstration of its thesis.
As I started to plan my review, I wrote, I am late to the dance—referring to the fact that the book was published in 1980. As I began this very sentence, I was tempted to refer to the book I discovered only this summer. Previous drafts have included the idea that I devoured in two large gulps Lakoff and Johnson’s brilliant tour de force. However, as each phrase and clause entered my mind [does it ever stop?], I became aware that I was simply providing more and more evidence of the intricate arguments in the book.
Lakoff and Johnson denote the metaphors we live by in small caps; lacking those, I will use boldface. I clearly cannot express my admiration for their book without myself using metaphorical language, much of which fits their thesis about conceptual metaphors—i.e. that we think and communicate only via a consistent network of conventional metaphors grounded in our physical experience. In the italicized passages above, I have used the following metaphors, which we all share:
- The scholarly conversation is a dance.
- The written word is a hidden treasure.
- Ideas are food.
- Thoughts are light.
- Argument is war. Continue reading . . .