Chapter 10: The Power of Life’s Metaphors
“Metogram is perhaps one of man’s most potent potentialities.
Its effectiveness is almost miraculous,
and it seems to be a creative instrument
that God left in one of his creations. “- Jose Ortega Y Gasset
In the previous chapter,
we talked about words that have the power
to shape our lives and guide our destiny.
Now, let’s take a look at some words that have the ability
to convey more meaning
and have more intense emotional intensity,
“You cannot change your future,
but you can change your habits,
and surely your habits will change your future.”— Abdul Kalam
To understand what is metaphor,
we must first understand what symbols or symbols are.
What makes a more direct impression on you:
the “religious man” or the image of the cross?
Surely the cross has the power
to create more positive emotions.
In fact, it is just a cross,
but it has the power to convey a standard
and a moral to millions of people on this earth.
Now you take that cross,
break the four ends into a twisted cross,
and compare it with the word “Nazi”.
Which word makes a more negative impression on you?
The twisted cross is probably more emotional
and direct than the word “Nazi”.
Throughout human history,
symbols have always been used
to elicit emotional responses and shape human attitudes.
Many things can be used as symbols:
images, sounds, objects,
actions and of course,
If words are symbols,
then metaphors are lofty symbols.
So what is the icon?
Every time we want to explain or communicate a concept
by saying it is similar to something else,
we are using symbols.
“To succeed in your mission,
you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.”— Abdul Kalam
In reality two things may be only a little similar,
but if we are familiar with one it will be easy for us
to understand the other.
Metaphors are symbols,
and so they can create the intensity of emotion much more quickly
and fully than the words we are used to.
Metaphors can transform us in an instant.
As humans, we often think
and speak in metaphors.
When we say,
“I open the flag in my stomach”,
people immediately understand that we are having something very exciting.
“I wear clogs in your belly”,
“grab the guy with the hair but don’t make him bald”,
“release the tiger into the forest”,
“the bird escaped from the cage”,
etc are just a few of the countless metaphors we all have.
When we see it every day and hear it,
we immediately understand its rich
and direct implication.
Metaphors can empower us to expand
and enrich our experience.
But if we don’t mean to,
when we accept a metaphor,
we may also fall into the narrow beliefs that follow that metaphor.
For years physicists have used the metaphor of the solar system
to describe the relationship of electrons to the protons
and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom.
What is the advantage of this metaphor?
It directly helps students understand the relationship
between atoms and something they already understand.
Students can immediately picture the nucleus of the atom as the sun
and the electrons as the planets revolving around it.
The problem is that in using this metaphor,
physicists unwittingly accept the assumption that electrons are always
in orbits equidistant from the nucleus,
just as planets are always in orbits equidistant from the sun.
But this is an incorrect and limited assumption.
“Be active! Take on responsibility!
Work for the things you believe in.
If you do not,
you are surrendering your fate to others.”— Abdul Kalam
In fact, this concept crippled physicists for many years
because it did not help solve many problems related to the atom,
because they accepted a series
of incorrect assumptions due to this metaphor.
We now know that electrons do not keep an orbit equidistant from the nucleus;
Their orbits vary in distance from the nucleus.
This new understanding was only accepted
after the metaphor of the solar system was removed.
As a result, we have a breakthrough in our understanding
of atomic energy.
Life is a game
Everyone has different metaphors.
For example, when I reread interviews with Donald Trump,
I realize that he often calls life a “challenge”.
Either win or lose, there is no middle ground.
Since he understood life that way,
can you imagine how stressful his life was?
If life is a challenge,
it can be harsh;
maybe you should take precautions;
maybe you have to switch back.
“If you are born with fame,
it is an accident.
If you die with fame,
it is an achievement.”— Abdul Kalam
For some people,
life is a competition.
It can be very exciting,
but there can also be other people you have to beat
and in the competition there is only one winner.
For some people, life is a game.
What colors do you envision it with?
Life can be fun great idea!
Life can be a competition.
It can be your chance to play and enjoy more.
Some people say,
“if life is a game, there will be losers”.
“Is it necessary to have many talents?”
It all depends on what beliefs you ascribe to the word “game”.
But with this metaphor,
you have a number of factors that influence the way you think and feel.
The life metaphor for Mother Teresa is the sacred.
“If you want to shine like the sun,
first burn like the sun.”— Abdul Kalam
If you consider life sacred,
you will respect life more
more – or you’ll think you’re not allowed to have much fun.
What if you consider life a gift?
Immediately you will experience the surprise,
Which of the above metaphors is appropriate for life?
Surely all of these metaphors are useful at different times of your life,
because it helps you understand different aspects
of your life to make changes.
But remember, every metaphor has benefits
in some situations
and limitations in others.
A metaphor that could save your life
Martin and Janet Sheen are two special friends of my husband and I.
They have been married for nearly 30 years
and what I admire most about them is their love of caring for each other,
taking care of their families and taking care of those in need.
Everyone knows that the Sheen and her husband are generous,
but one cannot imagine how much Martin and his wife give each day.
Their metaphor for humanity is the “fraternity of the four seas”
and as such they care and sympathize with everyone,
even complete strangers.
“Dreams are not those which comes while we are sleeping,
but dreams are those
when u don’t sleep before fulfilling them.”— Abdul Kalam
I recall the moving story Martin told,
showing how his life changed years ago
while he was making the movie Apocalypse Now.
Before that time,
he considered life to be something to be feared.
Now he considers it a mysterious challenge.
His new metaphor is:
life is a mystery.
He loved the mystery of being human,
the wonder and the possibility of opening up to his experience day by day.
What changed Martin’s metaphor?
The movie Apocalypse was made deep in a jungle in the Philippines.
Their normal work schedule is Monday to Friday each week
and usually every Friday afternoon Martin and Janet drive about 2
and a half hours to spend the weekend in Manila.
But one weekend,
Martin had to stay an extra Saturday to film.
Janet volunteered to go to the city first
to buy glasses for a member of the group who was too poor to buy them.
By that day, Martin was left alone,
tossing and turning,
unable to sleep,
sweating all over and he felt pain all over his body.
By morning, he began to have a severe heart attack.
A part of the body that cannot be moved.
He fell to the ground and he had to use all his will to crawl
to the door of the tent and call for help.
Lying on the ground, he felt he was going to die.
Suddenly, he felt everything quiet and peaceful,
he found himself walking across a lake full of water in front of him.
At that moment he thought to himself,
“When you want something,
all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”— Paulo Coelho
“Oh, this is how death is” and that’s
when he realized that he wasn’t afraid of death,
but that he was afraid of life!
At that moment, he understood that life is a real challenge.
Immediately he decided to live.
He gathered the last of his strength
and reached out to grab a few blades of grass.
he slowly pulled the blade of grass up to his nose.
He felt almost nothing.
By the time he smelled the grass,
the pain returned to him
and he knew he was alive.
He continued to strive.
When the crew found him,
they thought he would surely die.
Their facial expressions
and conversations showed Martin that he had a hard time living.
His strength began to decline.
Seeing that there was no more time,
the Apocalypse crew leader risked his life
to fly the helicopter to the hospital in the city.
“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute,
the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”— Confucius
he was laid on a stretcher
and pushed into the emergency room,
with little hope of survival.
As time went on,
Martin became weaker and weaker.
Then Janet came.
I just heard that my husband had a heart attack.
But the doctors informed her that her husband’s condition was critical.
She refused to accept,
she knew that Martin needed strength;
I also know I have to break his fear as well as mine.
She acted immediately and expressed it in a sentence.
When Martin opened her eyes,
she smiled widely and said,
“Oh, it’s just a movie, man.
It’s just a movie!” Martin recounts that at that moment
he knew he was going to make the film
and was beginning to recover from his illness.
“What the superior man seeks is in himself;
what the small man seeks is in others.”— Confucius
A great metaphor!
he saw that the problem was not so serious,
just one of many problems he was capable of dealing with. ”
A movie is not worth having a heart attack” is the message of the metaphor and,
as I understand it,
has a much deeper meaning.
Anyway, the pain you go through
while making a movie doesn’t last forever.
It’s not real and at some point the director will order,
“Cut!” Janet cleverly used this metaphor to cut through Martin’s old way of thinking
and help him regain his strength.
To this day,
he has always believed that the metaphor saved his life.
A friend of mine doesn’t have children,
so he often calls them “little devils”.
And since he has that view of the kids,
you can easily understand their reaction to him.
we forced him to be Santa Claus in a department store
and he had to let hundreds of “little devils” come and sit on his lap.
Yet it was that very experience
that completely changed his view of children
and changed his metaphor forever.
Now you they are all “puppies”
and love to play with them.
When you call your kids “messy,”
you certainly don’t want to take care of them much.
“Education breeds confidence.
Confidence breeds hope.
Hope breeds peace.”— Confucius
Try to have appropriate metaphors
to support you in taking care of your children,
they hear and learn from you!
Metaphors can change the meaning you give to anything,
change your conception of pleasure and pain,
and transform your life as effectively as it transforms your language.
Choose them carefully, intelligently,
so that they deepen and enrich your life experiences
and those of those you love.