Re: force

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Fri, 23 Aug 1996 17:15:41 -0400

On Thu, 22 Aug 1996, janet cross wrote:

> Metaphors, rather than being reductionist, spin out into multiple/
> multiplying naming of our situational contexts.

I like this. I've been following the recent discussions of grading,
force, and so forth and I've been struck by how particular metaphors
somehow get established (the "somehow" is actually a process I'm
interested in) and then in many ways dictate where the conversation
goes. I've likened metaphors to holograms in this sense, thinking
that in an electronic world entirely defined by language (as far as I
know this group does not exchange or post pix) metaphors are capable
of generating entire landscapes if not worlds, as Janet says, in
their spinning out. For example the metaphor of "liking"
(student work, for example) spins out or generates a very different
landscape than that which spins out of "game."

> If I define/name/metaphorize elists as communities, and
> you define/name/metaphorize elists as instruments, the ratios will spin out
> very different purposes and motives for action, eh? At any rate, that clash
> of key terms points to where the ongoing discussion leads to enactment of
> basic principles.

Again I like. Once a move is made towards recognizing the terra-forming
and basic role of metaphors in language-environments, establishing a
criteria for choosing metaphors becomes an interesting project.

Anyway, because I haven't been able to follow the recent discussions too
closely, it's been interesting to see, from a slight distance, the
patterned process of: 1)establishment of a particular metaphoric currency
and 2)conversational "conclusions" which reflect or trade in the chosen
metaphorical premises (which is, I think, a part of what Janet is getting

I guess I found the introduction of the metaphor of "liking" as
particularly intriguing since it introduced a sort of disruption or
interruption into the at that pointfairly seamless flow of what for me
are more standard currencies of game, force, socialization, etc.

In part I also found "liking"interesting in that it introduced an
emotional appeal which differs quite a bit from the emotional appeal of
calls to arms (against knavity, against whatever). Anyway, metaphors. . .

Bob King