Sometimes, my brain chooses to focus on something, and I am not quite sure why. I like to indulge my brain occasionally and go with the flow. That’s how this post started – with the flow of financial metaphors described by Roger von Oech of Creative Think:
Flood the Market Laundered Money Liquid Assets Solvency Deposits Slush Fund Pump Money In Frozen Assets Float A Loan Bank Currency Take A Bath Cash Flow Washed Up Sinking Fund Capital Drain Underwater Pricing
He calls it “The Water Model of Finance.” I have used those terms many times, but I have to admit I have never thought about the water metaphor. Curious…Now what about those corporate law metaphors of “White Knight,” “piercing the veil,” “poison pills,” “crown jewel”?
It made me wonder about the effects of metaphors on our thinking and learning. And the metaphors kept coming… I came across a post of Eide Neurolearning Blog on Metaphorical Thinking. It talks about how “[w]e often think, decide, and plan based on metaphorical assumptions of which we may not be fully aware.” It describes a study that asked college students to choose a metaphor that best descibed their learning during lecture classes: "Sponge," "Tape Recorder," "Stenographer," "Code Breaker," "Reporter," and "Explorer". The choice of metaphors was fairly predictive of the students’ preferred note-taking practices. The study posited that the students’ conceptual models could either facilitate or hinder their learning. Which metaphor would you choose to descibe yourself?
Analogy thinking is big in law. When lawyers talk about precedent, they make analogies between the fact pattern of their case and the fact patterns of the previously decided cases. "Is my case more like this one or that one?" Metaphors help to bridge the gap. However, because we are not always fully aware of our metaphorical assumptions, we can fall into a hidden trap. The Volokh Conspiracy has a post on dangers of believing your own metaphors.
What are the metaphors you live by?