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No harm in metaphors or similes

gif by nothingisfunny

The brain works like a computer. The reference points are there — neurons resemble digital bytes, the brain is plastic and can keep learning like a droid pumped with artificial intelligence, etc.

Even Steve Jobs resorted to representations to make sense of complex, evolving circuits when he said that “computers are like a bicycle for the mind.”

We think in metaphors and similes to help frame the world. Exploiting illustrative examples streamline communication without having to go into excess detail.

The brain to computer comparison is therefore fitting, as is an athlete who’s “on fire.” Metaphors and similes crunch information into something that’s meaningful.

Save the complexity and nuance for the researchers.


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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of four books.