Metaphor: How to Explain Blue to a Blind Man - Page 2


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Thread: Metaphor: How to Explain Blue to a Blind Man

  1. #11
    When we try to extract 'meaning' or 'significance' or 'feeling' from within a metaphor, our primary tool is ASSOCIATION, not specific or assigned logic, and Association is possible only within context.. That I think is the analytical nexus weaving thru the recent posts primarily from Darkkin, Tim, Carole, and Midnight. Context provides the shape within which the two elements 'approach' each other, then fuse. Coming to terms with that 'fusion' is a comix of the reader's life experience + the concrete elements of the metaphor. In Darkkin's 'silly' example above, a reader who knew all about writing desks but had neither seen a raven nor ever seen the word before, would be at a significant disadvantage in dealing with the metaphor at all. They would not be dealing with the metaphor, they would be projecting THEIR values onto half the metaphor, and moving forward. CONTEXT will at least provide a field of operation for the reader's imagination.



    ________________________________________________

    "I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of the imagination". Keats, ​Letters

    "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee. " John Donne, Meditation XVII

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by clark View Post
    When we try to extract 'meaning' or 'significance' or 'feeling' from within a metaphor, our primary tool is ASSOCIATION, not specific or assigned logic, and Association is possible only within context..

    ,,,


    Context provides the shape within which the two elements 'approach' each other, then fuse. Coming to terms with that 'fusion' is a comix of the reader's life experience + the concrete elements of the metaphor.
    And this is why, when we show not tell, is probably the reason why we interpret metaphors in different ways?
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  3. #13
    I don't know that a reader "interprets" a metaphor so much as they "experience" or "feel" that it WORKS. The latter is holistic, the former cerebral. If 'cerebral" is too extreme, this 'awareness' certainly involves intellectual activity in the explaining of itself. Maybe it's a two-part process: 1)'being' WITHIN the metaphor in some way, some almost-visionary way that defies neat rational language . . .then 2) finding the language to explain where you just were, which is unexplainable. Hmm.

    To project this thought forward a bit: I've contended elsewhere that the greatest gift humankind ever gave themselves, was language. Without it, NOTHING beyond picking fleas off each other and grunting around the fire would be possible. Metaphor stretches the traditional definitions of words. It expands ranges of meaning within its own terms and in the terms of reference of the reader's life experience. Example--I have certain expectations of the word "thought" as a cerebral activity: I know what 'shade' is in relation to, say, full sun; I have already developed a sense of the symbolic values traditionally attached to the colour "green". So I will never forget the reaction I went thru over these lines:

    Meanwhile
    [9]
    the Mind, from pleasure less,
    Withdraws into its happiness:
    The Mind, that Ocean where each kind
    Does streight its own resemblance find;
    [10]
    Yet it creates, transcending these,
    Far other Worlds, and other Seas;
    Annihilating all that's made
    To a green Thought
    [11]
    in a green Shade.
    [

    S6, Andrew Marvell, "The Garden" (1681)

    The stanza is an "Argument," building up to the last two lines, the Conclusion. My first reactions as a young student of literature, were a flood of feelings of familiarity and recognition of . . .whadda hell!. . .something, but I know it wasn't 'rational'. If fact, it wasn't anything that ever was before. And it made no sense. But it made perfect sense. It deals with 'thought' . . but it's way beyond thought. Much later in life, when I read Keats on Negative Capability, and his conviction that a poet was "Content to live with half-truths, uncertainties, and doubt" in his quest for the essence of an experience, did I understand that back then I had had an epiphany. And I understood that a poet's highest achievement was not to solve or unravel Mystery, but to accept that Mystery exists and to probe and capture it in words, KNOWING HE WOULD FAIL. For me, that was a very exciting moment.
    Last edited by clark; December 24th, 2019 at 10:01 PM.



    ________________________________________________

    "I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of the imagination". Keats, ​Letters

    "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee. " John Donne, Meditation XVII

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by clark View Post
    I don't know that a reader "interprets" a metaphor so much as they "experience" or "feel" that it WORKS. The latter is holistic, the former cerebral. If 'cerebral" is too extreme, this 'awareness' certainly involves intellectual activity in the explaining of itself. Maybe it's a two-part process: 1)'being' WITHIN the metaphor in some way, some almost-visionary way that defies neat rational language . . .then 2) finding the language to explain where you just were, which is unexplainable. Hmm.
    Well said. I know that I can't explain the connections or leaps, even to myself, at times. They just 'are'.
    There is no life I know
    To compare with pure imagination.
    Living there you’ll be free
    If you truly wish to be.~ Willy Wonka

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by clark View Post
    I don't know that a reader "interprets" a metaphor so much as they "experience" or "feel" that it WORKS. The latter is holistic, the former cerebral. If 'cerebral" is too extreme, this 'awareness' certainly involves intellectual activity in the explaining of itself. Maybe it's a two-part process: 1)'being' WITHIN the metaphor in some way, some almost-visionary way that defies neat rational language . . .then 2) finding the language to explain where you just were, which is unexplainable.

    I agree, Clark. We (I) use the word 'interpret' rather loosely as a catch-all for anything that implies grasping or absorbing poetry or art. But 'interpretation' is intellectual and analytical as opposed to being intuitive or experiential. Metaphor works on a subliminal level. It slides beneath logic and, as you say, "defies rational language.' Metaphor communicates in a way that rational language cannot, or at least, where language alone is insufficient. it's interesting, that in poetry, language is the only form we have to work with. Therefore, if we want to express intuitive knowledge, we must go beyond the limits of language. Metaphor is one way of doing this by creating subconscious associations. That's why it is important not to explain metaphors in the poem. Expressing the metaphor rationally derails intuitive understanding, or kenning.

  6. #16
    This Does Not Make Sense

    Art is often a solitary act.
    Swap 'r' for 'c' and you're the artist
    Blue can be a clue for those that see, but
    let us not undermine the mystery.
    Tact as well can go. No euphemism
    nor synonym. You sense the world with touch
    and I am often senseless to the feel.
    Dismiss the thought I do not dare and yet
    it's not just touch, nor is it only sight.

    Communicate a springboard
    to my understanding.

    I want a whole new alphabet: a range
    sounds new to ears, like 'bh' to to make me choke
    when I attempt assumption and then bhoke
    the eye that I may take for granted
    but know more profoundly does not make the cut.
    Last edited by Pulse; January 22nd, 2020 at 02:30 PM. Reason: space
    Kind regards,
    Hidden Content Katrina
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    Choreographing Calligraphy


  7. #17
    The topic is moving out of the realm of Nuts & Bolts. I don't mind at all. But I would like to ask the mentors if they prefer me moving it to Poetry Discussions?

  8. #18
    Darren -- I agree with the move. This thread is wayyyyyyyyy beyond "Nuts and Bolts". Good call Lad!



    ________________________________________________

    "I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of the imagination". Keats, ​Letters

    "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee. " John Donne, Meditation XVII

  9. #19
    But Katrina, no! Not a whole new language. I want to work with this limited one that we have in order to test and break its limitations, as so many of you are doing on this board in a way that both baffles and inspires one who has come from the classic rigours of pffa.
    Rule 13. Omit needless words - (William Strunk.)

  10. #20
    I don't visit poetry discussion but then would never have come to nuts and bolts had Darren not posted a link on a dfferent thread. I'll go back where I came from.

    Tirralirra, Darren's poem mentioned braille, which already exists. There may be some reason why touch is favoured over sound. You're right; it's not a system that I need; it's the time and patience to understand. But I am not the testing type. Limitations are mine not my tongue's. You need way more than language to communicate.
    Last edited by Pulse; January 26th, 2020 at 01:30 PM.
    Kind regards,
    Hidden Content Katrina
    Hidden Content
    Choreographing Calligraphy


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