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Do we ‘get pissed’ to ‘let off steam’?


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#1    coberst

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 12:33 PM

Do we ‘get pissed’ to ‘let off steam’?

We generally speak about knowledge from a phenomenological (an observable fact or event) perspective; recent developments in neuroscience, however limited, suggest some of the neural bases for conceptualization, which is brain action discernable via brain scan technology

“Concepts are neural activation patterns that can either be “turned on” by some actual perceptual or motoric event in our bodies, or else activated when we merely think about something, without actually perceiving it or performing a specific action…The most sweeping claim of conceptual metaphor theory is that what we call abstract concepts are defined by systematic mappings from body based, sensorimotor source domains onto abstract target domains.” Quote from “The Meaning of the Body” Mark Johnson

Words have meaning for us only within a context that is meaningful.  At some time in my life plants have become meaningful to me and thus the word “bloom” evokes that meaning; likewise “traveler” with journey and “ashes” with fire.  

“Because words can evoke schemas, and metaphors map schemas into other schemas, words can prompt a metaphorical understanding.”

Poets use metaphor to convey meaning.  Cognitive scientists study metaphor to comprehend the hidden aspects of the human mind.  To understand poetic metaphor one must understand conventional metaphor.  To study metaphor is to discover that “one has a worldview, that one’s imagination is constrained, and that metaphor plays an enormous role in shaping one’s everyday understand of everyday events.”

As creatures we perceive our self as a container having an interior and exterior with a boundary between.  We experience our bodies as structured wholes with identifiable parts.  We move about in space to achieve our needs and desires; sometimes our path is obstructed by objects that we try to eliminate or move around.  

“Each of these quite basic interactions with the world is generalizable, and each is in fact generalized across a series of other domains.  Each of these generalizations is a recurring structure or repeatable pattern by which we are able to understand the world as a unified place that we can make a sense of.”

Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—
And Immortality—Emily Dickinson

Without metaphors for death we could not comprehend this poem easily.  Why do we know so many metaphors for death?  Winter and other authors inform me that we think with conceptual metaphors because without them we could not comprehend our world.

Quotes from “A Clearing in the Forest: Law, Life, and Mind” by Steven L. Winter



#2    Saard

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:24 PM

coberst on Nov 25 2008, 12:33 PM, said:

Do we 'get pissed' to 'let off steam'?

We generally speak about knowledge from a phenomenological (an observable fact or event) perspective; recent developments in neuroscience, however limited, suggest some of the neural bases for conceptualization, which is brain action discernable via brain scan technology

"Concepts are neural activation patterns that can either be "turned on" by some actual perceptual or motoric event in our bodies, or else activated when we merely think about something, without actually perceiving it or performing a specific action…The most sweeping claim of conceptual metaphor theory is that what we call abstract concepts are defined by systematic mappings from body based, sensorimotor source domains onto abstract target domains." Quote from "The Meaning of the Body" Mark Johnson

Words have meaning for us only within a context that is meaningful. At some time in my life plants have become meaningful to me and thus the word "bloom" evokes that meaning; likewise "traveler" with journey and "ashes" with fire.

"Because words can evoke schemas, and metaphors map schemas into other schemas, words can prompt a metaphorical understanding."

Poets use metaphor to convey meaning. Cognitive scientists study metaphor to comprehend the hidden aspects of the human mind. To understand poetic metaphor one must understand conventional metaphor. To study metaphor is to discover that "one has a worldview, that one's imagination is constrained, and that metaphor plays an enormous role in shaping one's everyday understand of everyday events."

As creatures we perceive our self as a container having an interior and exterior with a boundary between. We experience our bodies as structured wholes with identifiable parts. We move about in space to achieve our needs and desires; sometimes our path is obstructed by objects that we try to eliminate or move around.

"Each of these quite basic interactions with the world is generalizable, and each is in fact generalized across a series of other domains. Each of these generalizations is a recurring structure or repeatable pattern by which we are able to understand the world as a unified place that we can make a sense of."

Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—
And Immortality—Emily Dickinson

Without metaphors for death we could not comprehend this poem easily. Why do we know so many metaphors for death? Winter and other authors inform me that we think with conceptual metaphors because without them we could not comprehend our world.

Quotes from "A Clearing in the Forest: Law, Life, and Mind" by Steven L. Winter




This 'rings a bell'. It sounds, if I remember my psychology right, comparable to semantic networks, the basic way some cognitive psychologists believe info is stored in the brain.

Fire for instance has qualities including heat, movement and danger and is stored in the brain accordingly. If a dangerous person comes along who exhibits heat (a metaphor itself for passion) and is very animated, then we might use the metaphor (well, anaology) of "they're like fire".

It could be suggested that creative people simply make more connections between different concepts located in their minds.

This kind of associative storage is very economic and mother nature is all about the economy. Instead of having a complete entry for every single concept, we file things for meaning according to qualities we recognise and already understand.

It's also why poetry is an incredibly economic form of expression.

and, yes, we get drunk to release tension.


#3    coberst

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 05:08 PM

Saard

Very good!  Very few people have any idea of the nature of concepual metaphor.


#4    Saard

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 12:17 AM

coberst on Nov 26 2008, 05:08 PM, said:

Saard

Very good! Very few people have any idea of the nature of concepual metaphor.




I've got the unpleasant feeling that if we were in the same room, you would have just patted me on the head.


#5    coberst

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 11:42 AM

Saard on Nov 27 2008, 01:17 AM, said:

I've got the unpleasant feeling that if we were in the same room, you would have just patted me on the head.

That is a possibility, I consider myself to be a Dutch Uncle to anyone under the age of 50.


#6    Chauncy

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 09:29 PM

coberst on Nov 25 2008, 01:33 PM, said:

Without metaphors for death we could not comprehend this poem easily.  Why do we know so many metaphors for death?  Winter and other authors inform me that we think with conceptual metaphors because without them we could not comprehend our world.


Is it that we could not comprehend our world, or is it that we would not be able to tell one another how we comprehend our world.......I've always seen it as the latter.

As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress.
Julius Robert Oppenheimer. (1904-1967)
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#7    coberst

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 09:46 PM

Chauncy on Nov 27 2008, 10:29 PM, said:

Is it that we could not comprehend our world, or is it that we would not be able to tell one another how we comprehend our world.......I've always seen it as the latter.


Our common acquaintance with metaphor is linguistic metaphor.  It is only in the last few decades that SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) discovered the conceptual metaphor.  

The conceptual metaphor is the means whereby we use our common physical experiences to become the core of our subjectice concepts.  The conceptual and inference structures of our physical experiences are mapped onto a new mental space wherein our subjective concept is formed.

Many years ago, before ‘self-service’, it was common to pull into a gas station and when the attendant came to the car the motorist would say “Fillerup”.

“More is up” is a common metaphor.  I think of it every time I pour milk into a measuring cup when baking cornbread.  The subjective judgment is quantity, the sensorimotor domain is vertical orientation, and the primary experience is the rise and fall of vertical levels as fluid is added or subtracted and objects are piled on top of or removed from a collection.

We can see (know is see) by this mechanism that we equate vertical motion in the spatial domain with quantity; we use the vertical domain to reason about quantity.  We have a vast experience in vertical space domain reasoning and thus we derive this great experience to help us in reasoning about quantity; no doubt a very useful thing when first learning arithmetic.  Teachers of mathematics, I suspect, depend upon this storehouse of knowledge to make abstract mathematical reasoning for children more comprehensible.

In a metaphor the source domain, ‘up’, is mapped onto the target domain ‘more’.  The neural structure of the sensorimotor domain, the primary metaphor, is mapped onto the subjective domain ‘more’.  Reasoning about the vertical motion in the spatial domain is mapped onto reasoning about the quantity domain.  This is a one-way movement; reasoning about quantity is not mapped onto spatial domain reasoning.  The direction of inference indicates which the source is and which the target domain is.

Physical experiences of all kinds lead to conceptual metaphors from which perhaps hundreds of ‘primary metaphors’, which are neural structures resulting from sensorimotor experiences, are created.  These primary metaphors provide the ‘seed bed’ for the judgments and subjective experiences in life.  “Conceptual metaphor is pervasive in both thought and language.  It is hard to think of a common subjective experience that is not conventionally conceptualized in terms of metaphor.

Quotes from "Philosophy in the Flesh" by Lakoff and Johnson



#8    Chauncy

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 10:16 PM

coberst on Nov 27 2008, 09:46 PM, said:

In a metaphor the source domain, ‘up’, is mapped onto the target domain ‘more’. The neural structure of the sensorimotor domain, the primary metaphor, is mapped onto the subjective domain ‘more’. Reasoning about the vertical motion in the spatial domain is mapped onto reasoning about the quantity domain. This is a one-way movement; reasoning about quantity is not mapped onto spatial domain reasoning. The direction of inference indicates which the source is and which the target domain is.

Quotes from "Philosophy in the Flesh" by Lakoff and Johnson


Tell me if i'm incorrect...........So the interesting thing about this is that an actual neural pathway is what makes metaphors unique , set apart from say, "summing things up", or "synopsis".


As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress.
Julius Robert Oppenheimer. (1904-1967)
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#9    coberst

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 08:36 AM

Chauncy on Nov 27 2008, 11:16 PM, said:

Tell me if i'm incorrect...........So the interesting thing about this is that an actual neural pathway is what makes metaphors unique , set apart from say, "summing things up", or "synopsis".



I would not say that metaphors are unique.  A metaphor uses a common experience as a means for establishing the inference pattern for a non common experience.  The infant experiences warmth when held and this inference pattern is mapped into a later subjective experience of affection and that is why we think of affection as being a warm feeling.






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