Saturday, 23 November 2013

Guying the Metaphor


Skholiast was wondering like about my firm distinction between analogy and
metaphor. Metaphor arises out of analogy of course but it is more
general and unrestricted. An analogy has a narrow focus and serves to
draw out an aspect of reality that requires an aid to intelligibility
or serves to implant an image in the mind for rhetorical purposes. You
might say that someone had eyes like a hawk meaning that however remote
he was from your activity he was aware of it. Here the focus is on the
all seeing eye. However if you said that someone was a 'hawk' then the
extension of meaning into the sudden swoop of the raptor comes into
play as well. Polysemic might be the word for that expansion. That
generality can be 'guyed' for the purposes of mockery i.e. made an
effigy of, paraded through the streets and ceremonially burnt with
commination.

In the realm of advaitic analogy the snake/rope is a classic
illustration of superimposition. As I wrote, extending that analogy
into metaphor i.e. saying that the cosmos is a 'snake'and extracting
far more from it than was meant is also a classic wrong turn.

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