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that whole private mythology

October 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Presumably all obsessions are extreme metaphors waiting to be born. That whole private mythology, in which I believe totally, is a collaboration between one’s conscious mind and those obsessions that, one by one, present themselves as stepping-stones.

J.G. Ballard, “Extreme Metaphors”

Categories: metaphor

bridging semantic concepts and phonetic representations

March 14, 2010 Leave a comment

formerly located at Wikipedia: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis # Experimental support (which also no longer exists, redirecting to “linguistic determinism”), but still available in edit history or elsewhere online like this

Experimental support

The most extreme opposing position – that language has absolutely no influence on thought – is widely considered to be false (Gumperz: introduction to Gumperz 1996). But the strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, that language determines thought, is also thought to be incorrect. Whorf himself never held this strong version; it is more of a theoretical construct employed as a foil. The most common view is that the truth lies somewhere in between the two. Current linguists, rather than studying whether language affects thought, are studying how it affects thought. Earlier, the bulk of the research was concentrated on supporting or disproving the hypothesis; the experimental data have not been able to disprove it. (Lucy 1992; Gumperz & Levinson 1996)

Investigation into the recall of linguistic entities confirms that the brain stores associations between semantic concepts (like the idea of a house) and phonetic representation (the sounds that make up the word “house”). The initial sounds are more important for recall purposes than later sounds. Relationships between semantic concepts are also stored, but indirect relationships between unrelated concepts can be inadvertently triggered by a “bridge” through a phonetic relationship. For example, one experiment showed participants photographs and asked them to name the item depicted. Participants who saw a picture of a cherry pit later responded more quickly and accurately when shown a picture of actor Brad Pitt.

passively multiplayer online games

March 13, 2010 Leave a comment

from io9’s “You Are Already in a Game. Right Now.”

My favorite new mind-bending idea is an extension for Firefox released today by brainy game designers Merci Grace and Justin Hall. It’s called PMOG, for passively multiplayer online game, and it turns the entire web into a fantasy world where you can go on quests. Like all cool art, PMOG makes apparent something that you knew unconsciously for a long time. Browsing the web is just a game. Gathering knowledge is a game. Finding cool new pieces of information by reading is a game. PMOG just makes those games literal, by letting you earn points for web surfing — erm, questing.

Wikipedia: Nethernet

The premise of The Nethernet came from the fact that internet users spend a large portion of their time multitasking, browsing information, or contacting other people online. The Nethernet aimed to classify and allocate an individual’s internet use and then utilize the gathered information in a unique and playful manner.

Official site
Wired: A New Type of Game Turns Web Surfing Into All-Out Information Warfare

pataphor

March 12, 2010 Leave a comment

from Wikipedia: ‘pataphysics:

Pataphor

The pataphor (Spanish: patáfora, French: pataphore), is a term coined by writer and musician Pablo Lopez (“Paul Avion”), for an unusually extended metaphor based on Alfred Jarry’s “science” of ‘pataphysics. As Jarry claimed that ‘pataphysics existed “as far from metaphysics as metaphysics extends from regular reality,” a pataphor attempts to create a figure of speech that exists as far from metaphor as metaphor exists from non-figurative language. Whereas a metaphor is the comparison of a real object or event with a seemingly unrelated subject in order to emphasize the similarities between the two, the pataphor uses the newly created metaphorical similarity as a reality with which to base itself. In going beyond mere ornamentation of the original idea, the pataphor seeks to describe a new and separate world, in which an idea or aspect has taken on a life of its own.

Like ‘pataphysics itself, pataphors essentially describe two degrees of separation from reality (rather than merely one degree of separation, which is the world of metaphors and metaphysics). The pataphor may also be said to function as a critical tool, describing the world of “assumptions based on assumptions,” such as belief systems or rhetoric run amok. The following is an example.

Non-figurative
Tom and Alice stood side by side in the lunch line.

Metaphor
Tom and Alice stood side by side in the lunch line, two pieces on a chessboard.

Pataphor
Tom took a step closer to Alice and made a date for Friday night, checkmating. Rudy was furious at losing to Margaret so easily and dumped the board on the rose-colored quilt, stomping downstairs.

Thus, the pataphor has created a world where the chessboard exists, including the characters who live in that world, entirely abandoning the original context.

Categories: metaphor

Oulipo, labyrinths, metaphors, and kōans

March 10, 2010 Leave a comment

from “Into the Maze: OULIPO” by Mónica de la Torre

In the words of Raymond Queneau, Oulipo’s co-founder, Oulipians are “Rats who build the labyrinth from which they will try to escape.” Even if you’ve never heard of Oulipo, if you’ve written something beside e-mails, then you probably know what this metaphor means. You have an idea in your head, you start putting it down on the page, and as you go along you realize that it simply keeps getting muddier, to the point that you forget what you thought you wanted to say in the first place. Every word that you jot down brings to mind an onslaught of other words and ideas that lead you further and further away from your original intention. If you allow yourself to go wherever these associations take you, then you are practicing what the Surrealists referred to as “automatic writing”. If you think that you’d be cheating by considering the results as a poem, for instance, because the writing wasn’t thought out or transformative enough, then you’d be closer to the spirit of the Oulipo.

from vpfluke’s comment on Georges Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual

The idea of life as a puzzle, and our living space as a puzzle, and that we must go all the way through the maze of our house or life is appealing

from Phil Brown’s “Reinventing the Landscape” (a review of Matthew Welton’s We Needed Coffee but… and Chris McCully’s Polder):

Reading this sequence I am reminded of Ted Hughes assertion that certain words are ‘meaningless hieroglyphs unless the stories behind the words are known’ (Myth and Education). In these baffling bombardments of famous names, Welton makes us as readers constantly skip from story to story, congratulating ourselves when we recognise a reference, scratching our heads when we are stumped, and eventually realising that the poem is deliberately entirely meaningless without the meanings we already possess.

The rest of this sequence more or less follows suit, with the lines rearranged into different structures. This sequence makes a bold and necessary point about art – we are never entirely reading something, so much as we are looking for something based upon our previous experiences. These ‘poems by themselves’ invite the reader to do just that – we cannot help but create our own meanings from the most basic of stimuli; why not literally give us an interpretive carte blanche?

He never appears to be trying something different to create the illusion of progress, but rather out of a belief that the only true meanings left to uncover exist in nonsense – apophenia never seemed so beautiful.

from Wikipedia: apophenia

Apophenia is the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. …

As narrative is one of our major cognitive instruments for structuring reality, there is some common ground between apophenia and narrative fallacies such as hindsight bias.

Wikipedia: kōan

from An Introduction to Zen

The koan is a riddle without a logical answer. To the casual reader some of these riddles, and the conversations which contain them, will seem utter nonsense.

from The Koan

These riddles of course defy logic, and that is just what they are supposed to do; they are designed to break down the rational intellect, just as LSD does, and thus provide the student with a new viewpoint.

Categories: metafiction, metaphor Tags: , ,

life==game metaphor

March 8, 2010 Leave a comment

abstract to Marvin K. L. Ching’s Games and Play: Pervasive Metaphors in American Life

An underlying metaphor for life in the United States is “LIFE IS PLAYING A GAME.” Metaphors of games and play pervade our discourse in explaining phenomena in diverse realms of life for several reasons. Using Caillois’s (1979) typology of games, games of agn (skill) with some alea (chance), this study shows that such metaphors are frequently used because they are consonant with our culture’s prototypical person, as shown by linguistic concepts inherent in the phrase “game player” and with our culture’s assignment of prototypicality to masculinity. Second, because of the wide repertoire of games from which we draw metaphors–even what Caillois considered nonprototypical cultural ideal games, such as games of ilinx (disequilibrium and destruction) and mimicry (acting and the theater)–games and play as metaphors are elastic in incorporating diverse ideas in many unconnected realms of life. Such metaphors thus simplify life’s disparate experiences through one explanation, sometimes reflecting a reality that already exists and at other times making a cultural criticism, as in Berne’s (1964) “sick games.” Moreover, these metaphors are widespread because they perform multiple speech acts in one condensed form. Widespread use of such metaphors not only blurs the distinction between reality and games and play but also provides a specific framework for responding to situations because a game has a narrative structure that can be read, like Barthes’s five codes used to read fictive literature.

Categories: metaphor

not hyperstition

March 7, 2010 Leave a comment

from 43 Folders’ Life as Roleplaying Game: beyond metaphor

The purpose of those post is to start a discussion on viewing self-betterment/productivity hacking/etc as a role-playing-game-like character advancement process. I have read some places of this idea as a compelling metaphor, but I am considering the value of moving it beyond metaphor, to the point that I am literally creating a “character class” for myself and designing a character sheet, etc…

hits a bunch of the keywords, but not what we had in mind…

Categories: metaphor