The Vikings knew, for instance, that prolonged exposure to combat can goad some men into a state of uncontrolled psychic fury. They might be the most placid men in the world in peacetime, but on the battlefield they begin to act with the most inexplicable and gratuitous cruelty. They become convinced that they’re invincible, above all rules and restraints, literally transformed into supermen or werewolves. The Vikings called such men “berserkers.”

LOSING THE WAR by Lee Sandlin

(The New Kings Of Nonfiction, edited by Ira Glass)

Imaginative rationality

Metaphor is thus imaginative rationality….Metaphor is one of our most important tools for trying to comprehend partially what cannot be comprehended totally: our feelings, aesthetic experiences, moral practices, and spiritual awareness. These endeavors of the imagination are not devoid of rationality; since they use metaphor, they employ an imaginative rationality

–George Lakoff Metaphors We Live By

Samuel Parker’s distrust of metaphor, in a metaphor

The empiricist distrust and fear of metaphor is wonderfully summed up by Samuel Parker:

All those Theories in Philosophy which are expressed only in metaphorical Termes, are not real Truths, but the meer products of Imagination, dress’d up (like Childrens babies) in a few spangled empty words____ Thus their wanton and luxuriant fancies climbing up into the Bed of Reason, do not only defile it by unchaste and illegitimate Embraces, but instead of real conceptions and notices of Things, impregnate the mind with nothing but Ayerie and Subventaneous Phantasmes. [Free and Impartial Censure of the Platonick Philosophy (1666)]

–George Lakoff Metaphors We Live By

Aristotle saw poetry as positive

Aristotle, on the other hand, saw poetry as having a positive value: “It is a great thing, indeed, to make proper use of the poetic forms,… But the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor” (Poetics 1459a); “ordinary words convey only what we know already ; it is from metaphor that we can best get hold of something fresh” (Rhetoric 1410b)

–George Lakoff Metaphors We Live By

Metaphor are devices for understanding

Metaphors are basically devices for understanding and have little to do with objective reality, if there is such a thing. The fact that our conceptual system is inherently metaphorical, the fact that we understand the world, think, and function in metaphorical terms, and the fact that metaphors can not merely be understood but can be meaningful and true as well—these facts all suggest that an adequate account of meaning and truth can only be based on understanding.

–George Lakoff Metaphors We Live By

No such thing as inherent meaning in sentences

understanding. A sentence can’t mean anything to you unless you understand it. Moreover, meaning is always meaning to someone. There is no such thing as a meaning of a sentence in itself, independent of any people. When we speak of the meaning of a sentence, it is always the meaning of the sentence to someone, a real person or a hypothetical typical member of a speech community

–George Lakoff Metaphors We Live By

Purpose in metaphor

The most important thing to bear in mind throughout our discussion of coherence is the role of purpose. A metaphorical structuring of a concept, say the journey metaphor for arguments, allows us to get a handle on one aspect of the concept. Thus a metaphor works when it satisfies a purpose, namely, understanding an aspect of the concept.

–George Lakoff Metaphors We Live By

Metaphor vs. metonymy

Metaphor and metonymy are different kinds of processes. Metaphor is principally a way of conceiving of one thing in terms of another, and its primary function is understanding. Metonymy, on the other hand, has primarily a referential function, that is, it allows us to use one entity to stand for another.

–George Lakoff Metaphors We Live By