Culture Politics & Society

No harm in metaphors or similes

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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.

Culture Writing

Repeat after me

giphy (15)
via giphy

  • Boys will be boys
  • It’s not over until it’s over
  • It is what it is
  • I am what I am
  • What will be will be
  • A win is a win
  • It ain’t over till it’s over
  • A man got to do what a man got to do….etc.

And if a deadline-enforcer says “If it’s late, it’s late,” the response might be “But it’s not late late.” Here repetition indicates that the canoncial meaning of late it intended. It’s not late late, it’s just a little late.

Tautologies, like metaphors, break things down to their essence. They make things easier to accept so we can move on with the business of living.

Read How to use repetition

Culture Life & Philosophy Writing

Exploring metaphors

The road is better than the end?

Metaphors redirect exactness. They reduce the friction of being honest and straightforward.

Having “a lot on your plate” is more gentle than saying that you have tons of work to do.

Saying that a person’s “a walking dictionary” is to say that they’re good with words.

“America is a melting pot” means Americans come from diverse backgrounds.

Metaphors help illustrate the truth without having to say it like it is. Metaphors are soft and illustrative.

It’s much faster to impress an idea when we can fabricate an image in mind.

We remember 2/5 of what we hear and 3/5 what we see. Together, metaphors help us communicate 100%.