2 min read

Duende38: Bridges as metaphors for metaphors

Duende38: Bridges as metaphors for metaphors
Photo by Aleksandr Barsukov on Unsplash

The solstice has come and gone. The earth will shift on the 23.4 degrees axis back towards the equinox. I feel that this is a perfect metaphor for our lives. We are constantly shifting within set guardrails, and the seasons guide us in those ebbs and flows of our lives.

There is no normal, just variation within an acceptable range.

I love metaphors. In fact, I love them so much that if I ever start a band, it'll be called "Like a Metaphor."

In the above paragraph, when I introduced the concept of the earth's axis as a metaphor, I inadvertently used two other metaphors to support the original metaphor - 'guardrails' and 'ebb and flow'.

The purpose of a metaphor is to introduce a new concept by anchoring (again, another bloody metaphor) to something already known and understood. The essential purpose is to connect something familiar to the new idea or concept. For example, the new concept was the idea of the earth's axis. I used a familiar concept of 'guardrails' as a way of making the unfamiliar familiar.

Now, if you've never heard the term 'guardrail' before, then there would be no chance of you understanding me. It'll be like crossing a bridge that looks unstable.

Scariest Bridges - Fear Of Heights Terrifying Bridges

I've been thinking about the purpose of metaphors, as I am in the process of un-digitising my notes. I am going old-school, using old-fashioned pen and paper.

Niklas Luhmann referred to his analogue note-taking system as a conversation partner. And this is the holy grail for the modern note-taker, to make unique connections between disparate pieces of information.

Over the last two years, I have been honing my note-taking system. I have been teaching my students to take analogue notes when studying a novel or play. And I believe it works.

But personally, I have been using a digital version. It has been good, however; I don't feel that I, as the note-taker, am engaging in the conversations with my notes. Whereas, in the system I teach students, the level of engagement is far more exciting.

I feel I can bridge across ideas when those notes are tangible. As I have a robust understanding of my notes, it feels as if I am building the bridge whilst crossing it.

As we, in the Southern Hemisphere, move towards longer days, this is the perfect time to redo my note-taking system. I can feel the notes sitting more firmly in my mind because I have handwritten them. There is an advantage of encoding the information into the mind. The feel of the pen on the index card is a level of tactile sensation that both slows the mind and sharpens the new information.

I have much bridge building to do.