Metaphor, a Problem-Solving Paradox

Metaphor takes perception of reality and twists it into a problem-solving paradox. The literal view seeks to defend its perspective as truth – using memory, facts, and logic to resolve paradox. The figurative view seeks to apply meaning to the literal view through metaphor, using imagination and possibility to resolve paradox. Together they seek a resolution to a fundamental problem – life.

Did You Catch the Paradox in the Metaphor?

The choice we suggest as metaphor-thinking operates best as a paradoxical view we experience with others in relationships. Thus, I understand me in a metaphor of my perception of you in relation to me. This is made all the more paradoxical when I act on my belief that you and I are literally separate.

Consider how difficult it is to see one’s own face without looking at its reflection. One would have no idea what their face looks like. With a reflective surface, sufficient light, and a properly working visual sense, and awareness of self, however, I can see a reflection that, although not me, presents a metaphor that I think represents me. Do you see the paradox in your reflection?

Even though I hear your voice doesn’t mean I hear your words. Just because I hear your words doesn’t mean I understand their meaning. Even when I hear your words and understand their meaning doesn’t mean I understand your concept. Sometimes I want an example to help me get to the meaning of a concept. That example is not the concept – it is a metaphor to help me understand the concept in an alternative form. Do you hear the paradox in these words?

What If Metaphor Presents a Problem-Solving Paradox?

Living in a problem-solving mind creates a paradox that connects solutions to problems through justification. Justifying the solution is a problem because it defends one against alternative solutions. The defense focuses attention on only one option rather than to search for alternatives. Once justified, this solution presents a mental scotoma – a problem that mind has difficulty resolving through ever-limiting repetition.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” (Albert Einstein)

This sets up a self-referential paradox in which problems justify solutions that justify problems. As the paradox expands, it further limits the range of awareness. This limits my realization of me as both me and not me.

Reinterpreting what I defend as a solution can’t be done – due to its defense of problem and solution. Sounds like a catch-22 situation. Oh, no! Not another PROBLEM!!!

This makes metaphor inevitable and necessary.

When I consider, “This is not as it appears,” I open my conscious awareness to metaphoric interpretation. And loosen the grip of my narrow focus on literal interpretation.

Did you catch the metaphor in the paradox?

 

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